Challenge Final Reckoning Team Preview: Tori Deal & Derrick Henry
Just in case you forgot, Tori agreed to go have a baby with Derrick if they both won Dirty 30. Derrick went on to lose the first elimination on Dirty 30, and lost the first redemption challenge as well. Derrick’s reality television career has been marked by losses, whereas Tori has consistently placed at the top of every show she has done. She finished in 3rd against two Champions in her first season (Dirty 30), 2nd on AYTO Second Chances, and has only been eliminated via Purges on Champs vs Stars shows. To say their careers have gone in different directions would be a heavy understatement.
Will Tori’s success rub off on Derrick? Sometimes a strong partner is the only thing needed to accelerate another player’s potential on the Challenge. Once the wheels get turning, success is a regular. Derrick was a legitimate Division 1 college basketball athlete who was All Academic and had the ability to play professionally overseas. He is a top level athlete who is highly intelligent, a devastating combo which should make him a Challenge powerhouse. Derrick puts his hat in too many baskets way too often. Although, he has the ability to fit into many roles as a character, for Derrick to succeed, he must focus on competing this season. If Derrick focuses on winning, everything else will become much easier. He has a partner who wants to turn her 3rd place finish into a 1st place win, let’s see what they can do.
Introducing the Rivalry (Relationship): This is an exes couple. Rivals pairs often fight because they instinctively dislike one another upon initial encounters.Therefore, they are able to fix their relationships as they get to know each other. Contrastingly, exes pairs fight because they know too much about each other and have inherent trust issues. If the exes do not have closure, their problems will be much more exaggerated than almost any of the rivals pairs. On Dirty 30, Tori cheated on Derrick with Jordan, which is not that unbelievable considering they had not been dating for very long, and were separated for six weeks. Obviously cheating is bad, but their relationship was still very much in the puppy dog phase. Their main issue will be trust due to the infidelity as well as the way Derrick treated the relationship after they split. The positive is Derrick wants to win and Tori wants to win.
Tori Deal: 25 years old, 5'8, 1 season (+2 spinoffs), 1 final, Highest Finish: 3rd Place Dirty 30, 1–0 elimination record
Derrick Henry: 25 years old, 6'3, 1 season, 0 finals, Highest Finish: 13th Place Dirty 30, 0–1 elimination record
Team Skills & Physical Strength: From a pure physical perspective, this team is intimidating size wise. A 6'3 guy and a 5'8 girl is a team you do not want to face in a raw physical elimination unless you are a dual male pair. I do not believe they are quite as good as the Emily Schromm/Ty Ruff pair on Rivals 1, but the comparison is suitable. A strong pair who might underwhelm in challenges, yet you should not want to see them in any physical one on one. Tori is nowhere near as strong as Emily physically, though her biggest strength is her personality. The way she supported Lil Mama on Champs vs Stars showed an ability to get the best out of a partner. When Derrick begins to scramble, Tori can calm him down and bring out the athlete in him. People say Tori is overrated, but even if she is on the same physical level as many of the other girls on the show, the attitude she has when competing allows her to leapfrog her competition. Having a positive personality matters and makes people want to work with you.
Cardio wise this team should be able to keep up with the best and they can carry a good amount of weight. Tori is an average swimmer and Derrick is a big unknown. Tori is decent with heights, and Derrick is a big unknown. Because of how little we have seen from Derrick, he is basically still a rookie at this point. You can watch Derrick averaging 16 points per game in basketball highlights from his senior year of college. Tori was also a college athlete as well, playing soccer for a D2 school.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Their social game will be incredible. Derrick loves to party, he wants the good vibes always churning. He will flirt with girls and be everyone’s friend. Likewise, the guys love Tori because she is low maintenance and the girls like her because she is supportive. Unfortunately, they are not set-up well politically. Even though Derrick is cool with everyone, no one is truly looking out for him in the house. The same could be said for Tori. She is not a Lavender Lady or a Dolphin, which would be fine under normal circumstances as she could straddle the middle, but this season it means there are multiple girls who value other girls over Tori. They need to make real alliances in order to further themselves. If not, they will go into many eliminations.
This team could be the best mentally and strategically. Derrick had a massive target on his back during Ex on the Beach and managed to stay on the show the entire time despite having no major relationships. He earned multiple degrees and had a high GPA in college, therefore, Derrick could shock you with his ability to play the game if given the chance. That is if he can focus on the game and not the ladies in the house. Tori has the awareness to put herself in spots where she gets no blood on her hands. This season she will have to deal with what happens when you make someone angry.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Derrick lost his first elimination against Cory on Dirty 30. Cory flat out beat him and Derrick lost because he had no urgency. When TJ blew the horn to start, Cory pulled down two torches immediately, while Derrick was still figuring out a strategy. Derrick played like a rookie on Dirty 30. He needs to play like a veteran this season if he wants an extended stay. Tori technically lost an elimination when she faced Kam as a Mercenary on Vendettas, though with her game on the line, we can expect more out of her. She won her elimination against Marie on Dirty 30. Theoretically, both are formidable physically and mentally.
Can this team win? As much as my gut says no, my brain says yes. Looking at this team on paper, if they are in the final, they have the cardio, they have the strength, they can do puzzles, and if they make it to the end their relationship will have mended. At the same time, there is still something underwhelming about this team. Ultimately, we will not know how good they are until we see them compete. It sounds like a cop-out, because it is.
Derrick’s Rating: 77/100
Tori’s Rating: 88/100