My favorite rivals duos are usually the ones that also have sexual tension with one another. Great examples include Tony/Camila, Jamie/KellyAnne, Cory/Ashley, and Kenny/Wes. Rivals is great because the dysfunctional nature of the format creates natural comedy. Add some sexual tension to that mix, and the format works on even more levels. The Joss and Sylvia pairing is a great one. Sylvia definitely likes to look at Joss, and together they might actually make a really strong team this season.
Introducing the rivalry: Sylvia had a splendid time on Vendettas when she first arrived. She bunked in the Dolphin room with Kam, Kailah, and Marie and these new friends gave her a special experience entering the season, differing from her Invasion alliance. She got to live in a nice house from day one, a massive upgrade from the Shelter and even the Oasis, if we are being honest. The best part for Sylvia though was male model and cleaning boy Joss Mooney. Sylvia enjoyed watching him clean and walk around in his swim trunks, like any rational human being with a pulse would.
Then one day the universe flipped on her. When picked as the losing team of a challenge, Joss had to decide between sending Brad or Sylvia into elimination. Even though Sylvia volunteered to be their team’s eater in the challenge, Joss still voted Sylvia in to save himself from potentially going in against Brad. It was a smart move for his game, however, it was also a pussy move considering Sylvia ate rotten cheese when he was too afraid to, and he still could have been safe anyway. These two seemed to be cool with one another after the season ended, but Joss has dropped multiple pegs in Sylvia’s eyes. Can he make it up to her this season?
Joss Mooney: 29 years old, 6'0, 190 lbs, 1 season, 0 finals, 0–1 elimination record
Sylvia Elsrode: 29 years old, 5'4, 2 seasons, 0 finals, 3–1 elimination record
Team Skills and Physical Strength: Joss made a big statement by winning the Gibraltar Rock Race to begin his Challenge career on Vendettas. Following this win, he fared okay on the new few challenges, nothing standout. However, he made a name for himself in his elimination against Derrick, continually pounding Derrick for an hour, often losing out on a win due to ring out technicalities, and eventually losing due to a loss of focus at the last second. Sometimes a big loss pushes someone more than a win would. Joss is sculpted like a Greek God, and he was confident he would beat Derrick going in. However, he learned the hard way that being in the best shape does not make you the best competitor. Based on all the podcasts and interviews he has done, Joss is determined to come back and win this season. There are still some things we need to learn; how good is he with heights and is he good swimmer? We will find out this season. What we do know is that athletically, Joss can compete with the elites.
Sylvia looks great going into this season. I never would have considered Sylvia to be out of shape during her Invasion of the Champions debut, but when you look at pictures of her now, she is without a doubt in significantly better shape and is looking confident as well. One of her issues on Invasion, and even sometimes on Vendettas, was that she would check out when she began to fail. Only once she was put in the elimination arena, and forced to go head to head with another person, the fighter in Sylvia came out. Sylvia saw how successful she was without training and working out, and has since put time in to improve. With strong showings on both her seasons, one would expect Sylvia to be highly rated going into this season, yet there is still a lot of doubt surrounding the competitor. She has not been successful in daily challenges, besides the Hashtag Challenge on Vendettas, in which she displayed fearlessness while 20 feet above the water. In order for this team to be great instead of good, we need to see Sylvia succeed in more than eliminations.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Sylvia has been betrayed by male counterparts who she thought were her friends on both seasons. Her female friends are her closest bonds on these shows. Entering Final Reckoning, she part of the Lavender Ladies and the Dolphin Room alliance, therefore she has ties to five teams going into this season. Thus, If they do not cause any drama, and perform average, at the least, in daily challenges, we can expect Sylvia and Joss to make it to the halfway point. From there, Sylvia will need to make more male connections, and we need to see Joss make true friendships. He seemed to be cool with everyone, but being cool does not necessarily keep you safe in the long-term game.
The best strategy for this team going into the season is loyalty; as long as they commit absolute loyalty, people will go for the more dramatic targets. Also, they must exhibit prowess when it comes to eating, puzzles, and mental competitions, those are the small differences that get you through a final or an intense late season challenge.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Sylvia has been in four eliminations already in her short Challenge career. She has competed in an endurance elimination, a headbanger physical elimination, and two carnival games which involved strength and endurance. Her one loss was against Jenna, nothing to be disappointed about. At this point, I would not be shocked to hear Sylvia beat any of the female cast in an elimination, other than Cara Maria. Would Sylvia be favored in all of those eliminations? No, but it would not be out of this realm for her to win. Likewise, Joss has only seen one elimination, yet it is hard prospect to think many of the guys who witnessed his performance against Derrick on Vendettas would want a piece of Joss. Only CT, Zach, and maybe Nelson/Brad could go toe to toe with Joss in arena like that.
Can this team win? Hmm… I am going to say no on the basis that they have such little experience with something similar to the magnitude of a final. Joss can run a final physically, no doubt. The problem is not how fast he can go, but rather, whether Sylvia can keep up and push their pace to first. Since Invasion, she has improved cardio-wise. Improved enough to win a final? Seems unlikely. Can this team make the final? Without a doubt, they are a tough team to face in the elimination arena, they should get along with one another, and are set-up well politically.
Sylvia’s Rating: 81/100
Joss’s Rating: 87/100