Challenge Invasion Preview: Zach Nichols
It may infuriate many of you, but Zach Nichols is a Challenge champion, flat out. The season he won Battle of the Seasons 2, he won 2 eliminations, and his team won 4 daily challenges in order for them to make it to the final where they physically dominated. As much as San Diego filled the villain role so well on Battle of the Seasons, they were the best team that season and they proved it by making it to the final with the whole team intact and them finishing the final a good distance above the rest. In recent years, Zach has floundered a bit as a competitor. On Rivals 2, him and Trey were actually dominating the season finishing first and second in most of the daily challenges before faltering, going into elimination, and cheating when they would have won easily anyway. Free Agents he made it back to the final, but it involved high altitudes, cold weather, and long endurance, Zach’s body could not hold up a for long time in those conditions when he was beefed up. He finished an embarrassing distant 3rd. Then we had Battle of the Exes where he toed the line between an amazing game and a terrible one, he did things like align with Wes against Bananas as he did not see himself as part of Johnny’s game, but then he was a terrible misogynist partner who belittled Jonna who was a great partner. It was very satisfying to watch Jordan send him home in that sledgehammer elimination, and to watch Jonna do much better than Zach in it. The last time we saw Zach on a Challenge, was on Battle of the Bloodlines where he came in as a heavy hitter and took out Abram’s brother Mike, sadly. We all know that Zach was going to come back eventually, but here he comes.
Let me put this forward, I do not like Zach. The way he has talked about women, the way he talked to Jonna and Sarah on Exes 2 was atrocious. He yells at females too often, and will treat himself like a golden god. I could continue to go in on Zach, which he deserves, he has been a terrible human being on these shows, but I find it more important to analyze him as a competitor so I can more objectively write about him. He has also had his good moments on the show.
Now here’s my review of Zach as a competitor:
Skills/Physical Strength: Zach is an elite physical competitor, no doubts about it. He is about 6'4 and is a massive physical specimen who is faster than anyone else in the house. His time as a football wide receiver has given him incredible agility. Zach’s size has led him to win so many daily challenges purely because he was able to cover more ground than any of the other guys. Zach has also proven to be an above average swimmer, and may be one of the top 3 or 4 swimmers on this season of the show. With Zach there comes a big weakness this season, he injured his wrist before going on the show and has had some trouble with putting any major amount of weight on it. My fear is that whenever Zach will struggle, he will blame his wrist instead of just blaming himself for once. The wrist will be a major issue, and he will have to rely on his body more than his arms. It will be a tough season for Zach.
Mental Game/Politics: One of the few things I like about Zach is, is that he has never played Bananas game, and he has never enjoyed playing someone else’s game. As one of the Champs this season he may need to play that game, he has never been on a season with any of the challenger guys, CT is his only friend for Champ guys, and on the girls side he maybe is friends with Laurel and Cara Maria, but then he has 2 exes in Jenna and Ashley K. The exes part is especially interesting. He cheated on and broke up with Jenna last season over the phone during Rivals 3, and Ashley K is a distant ex now. Zach going after girls will be tough as he is somewhat labeled now as a misogynist cheater. Zach is not at his strongest this season.
Eliminations: Zach has been to 5 eliminations, won 3, disqualified in 1, and lost 1. His wins were decently impressive, beating CJ in sudden death hall brawl, winning water torture against Knight, and beating Brandon in Oppenheimer(the Free Agents version of hall brawl). Where Zach is struggled is anything that involves technical skill or tools, the dude is huge and he had no clue how to use a sledgehammer. If Zach was allowed to use hands or beat something that way he may be better off than having to do something with technical skill.
Final Potential/Endurance: We have seen it happen multiples times — Zach dies out when it comes down to endurance. His muscles need oxygen and his body needs to relax, but his body has to keep going in order for him to win a final. He has done well in higher temperatures, like in the Battle of the Season final. I also think he is in better shape for a final now, as he is a bit more trim and in cross-fit shape. He just needs to keep his cool and mentally be strong, not get angry and learn more about himself. In order for Zach to be successful, it is required for him to blame himself, he has been so good looking and strong his whole life that the world bowed to his feet. Zach needs to grow up and take responsibility so he can win another Challenge.
Final Score: 85/100