Challenge Invasion Preview: Cory Wharton
Is Cory good at the Challenge? It is a fair question. It would have been very easy to say yes after his first season where he made the final with his cousin and finished a strong second to Cara Maria and Jamie. Although Bloodlines was a bit of a minor league season, it still is tough to make it to a final regardless of the competition, especially as a rookie. However, on Rivals 3 he LOST TO NATE. I do not care if Cory’s muscles got in the way, or if Sarah had given Nate and Christina a heads up on how to win the elimination from her prior history in an elimination on the Ruins. That does not excuse losing to Nate. Nobody should ever lose to Nate in anything physical on a Challenge ever. No excuses.
Cory needs redemption after that big loss. He was so confident that he would make another final and maybe have a chance at winning, but he got out early, and now he has to prove that he is an elite competitor, that all the time he has as a personal trainer was not put to waste. Are you an athlete or are you a challenge dud?
Usually someone going to their third challenge who’s already made a final, gets a longer timetable for us to figure out if they’re good or not, but for Cory it seems weirdly urgent. Re-watching his Bloodlines season, I forgot how much Cory struggled with his ACL and carrying weights for distance that you think would be easy for his size. Hilariously, his skinny cousin Mitch carried him that season, winning an elimination and killing all the puzzles while being a patient and kind partner with his cousin. Cory’s main strength these past two seasons is that he is a great teammate and leader. His cousin was a bit shy and timid, but he pushed him to be the best he could. Ashley is Smashley, but he was always super supportive of her and calmed her down whenever she got tense. If you’ve watched the latest pair seasons, that has been the best quality about people like Bananas, LeRoy, and Wes. Even if you do not like them, they have always been good teammates who got the best out of their partners.
Now here is my review of Cory as a competitor:
Skills/Physical Strength: Cory is an athlete. He was a scholarship athlete for football at a university in Michigan, and since being on the Real World and a part of the Challenge universe, he’s been a personal trainer in California. He has incredible physique, is very fast, and is buffer than most of the guys on the show. Ironically, he’s struggled with most of the lifting portions of the Challenge, despite him not even being a Cross-Fit type of athlete. There was a good amount of water sports and swimming on Battle of the Bloodlines, Cory did not struggle in any of those, though he was also not at the top either. On all of the balance and grip portions of daily challenges last season he excelled in. He is not the tallest, but doesn’t give up any size compared to the other guys. In total mass and size, Cory is one of the biggest guys, but I am not sure if he is one of the strongest. Where Cory excels most is the daily challenges, he consistently finishes at the top of those, and won multiple daily challenges at this point.
Mental Game/Politics: Cory’s political game took a major hit last season. He learned the hard way that being in more than one main alliance essentially means that you have no alliances. On Bloodlines, Cory watched as his alliance partners Dario & Raphy and Thomas & Stephen were taken out with him next on the chopping block, except before the Bananas/Cara Maria plot-line took over the season, and cousin Mitch’s clutch puzzle skills led him them to the final. As I have mentioned before, Cory is a really nice guy who can diffuse tough situations. He has been doing it since he was in the Real World house, he can be everybody’s friend, but he also has to drive the line in the sand and show everyone where he truly stands. Cory and Dario are friends, but Dario sent Cory into the elimination that sent him home last season. While I love revenge and rivals storylines, it would be best for them to pair up this season, get Tony and Smashley and build a stronghold on the game before the champs come in. Cory is part of the new generation of the challenge, and his generation needs to make their mark on this game.
Eliminations: He has only been to one elimination ever, but he lost it to Nate. I would never leave my house again if I lost an elimination to Nate; Cory has much more courage though. I actually like Cory’s chances in most eliminations. We have seen with guys like Tyler, that sometimes being big with athleticism matters more than the shape you are in. If you can push around and hold the down your opponent then that is what it takes to win an elimination. If it is a puzzle or strategy, I do not like Cory’s chances at all. He has always heavily relied on his partners to solve anything for him.
Final Potential: Cory has done a final and finished in second. Despite struggling early in the final, Cory finished the final very strong. He also never complained, and showed an ability to do a variety of sports from running, to swimming, to kayaking. Cory can finish and win a final. If he gets to another final I would probably peg him to finish 2nd or 3rd, but he wants the win badly, he wants another final, and he is in it to win.
Final Score: 82/100