Challenge Total Madness Player Preview: Cory Wharton
After Cory popped up on Teen Mom, I never expected to see him on the Challenge again. Teen Mom checks are much nicer than Challenge checks. However, Cory has a second child coming with girlfriend Taylor, and thus he has to become a two-sport athlete (Teen Mom and The Challenge).
Cory returning to the show makes the optimist in me incredibly excited. The pessimist in me views him as a waste of a spot on the cast. One could argue that Cory is one of the Challenge’s all-time biggest failures. MTV has consistently pushed Cory as one of the faces of the franchise since his arrival on Bloodlines. It makes sense as Cory is an attractive man who has the look of someone you want to put on a billboard. The problem is, Cory has not lived up to the position MTV has put him in, even with production creating formats to benefit him. What hurts is that Cory has often been someone to blame others, point out the faults of his enemies/person, and then show no introspection. The last time we saw Cory on the Challenge, he got disqualified for slamming Tony into the ground after a night at the club. Hopefully, Cory shows some remorse and comes into this season seriously.
Introducing Cory: MTV wanted Cory to debut on Battle of the Exes 2. Unfortunately for him, both of his Real World exes declined. When Cory debuted on Battle of the Bloodlines, he was everything they wanted in a rookie. He established an alliance of his own (Cory, Dario, Thomas) and was ready to go toe to toe with the veterans. Cory found his way into the bed of Aneesa despite the age difference and the fact he had a girlfriend at home. Alongside his cousin, they made the final and went on to finish in 2nd place. MTV thought they had their next champion. Unfortunately, if you look at the tape, the reason Cory came close to winning was that his Cousin Mitch was a puzzle savant. Mitch solved a puzzle in seconds in the most crucial daily challenge of the season (one that created a Bananas vs. Cara elimination), and then made up a considerable amount of time for them in the Final. Yet, MTV didn’t notice because they had this shiny and beautiful new toy.
Cory had a devastating elimination loss to Nate on Rivals 3 that MTV should have seen as a wake-up call. However, they probably took it as a fluke.
Invasion of the Champions was built to make new stars. MTV gave Cory an elimination where all he had to was jump off a cliff, and regardless of how the other person did, they could say Cory won as they kept the times private. They created the Underdog bloodbath where Cory just needed to beat Nelson/Hunter in Sudoku, and then beat Shane in something that was raw physical. If the game had played out regularly, he would have had the numbers against him. Later in the final, he finished last in every single portion and blamed his partners versus himself. Despite the fact, he sunk Nicole and Camila’s chances of winning the final.
On Dirty 30, he got eliminated, and then MTV gave him a redemption where he would only have to face one person (Hunter), and they made sure Cory had a chance because it wasn’t something physical. He lost the first elimination of Vendettas (AFTER THEY PUT HIM ON THE NEW YORK BILLBOARD). For Final Reckoning, he was able to bypass 60% of the game and jump in late as a mercenary. To which he got disqualified for violence.
If Cory had the accomplishments and performances that his best friend Nelson has had, then MTV would be treating Cory as if he were the new CT.
Cory Wharton: 29 Years Old, 6'0, 180 lbs, 6 Seasons, 5–3 Elimination Record, 2x Finalist, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Battle of the Bloodlines
Skills and Physical Strength: In terms of natural athleticism and speed, Cory is a fantastic athlete. Cory was a solid high school football player who should have played at the college level. He proved during the Dirty 30 purge when he outran Darrell and Tony that he is fast. Speed matters in daily challenges because they often come down to seconds. Running a final is much different as you need to have good cardio, and Cory has rejected that concept for years, often resulting in his demise. Early in his career, Cory was able to blame the fact that he had Achilles issues.
Cory is fearless in heights challenges, can lift a good amount of weight, and, as I mentioned, he can out sprint anyone. He is a fairly below average swimmer, though we have not seen him participate in a swimming challenge in a long time. As an eater, Cory is average.
I hope Cory has been running long-distances daily to prepare. If he hasn’t, then he has zero shot of improving as a physical competitor.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: His best friend Nelson is on this season. It worries me that they are on together because it’s easy to put them in elimination against one another (especially since Nelson does not win many daily challenges). Cory has always had a good relationship with Wes, and he and Jenna have a bond from doing Real World together.
In terms of enemies, Johnny Bananas and he have taken shots back and forth. Cory put Bananas on his Miss List on Dirty 30, Bananas threw Cory into elimination on Vendettas, and Cory bodyslammed Tony (Bananas partner) on Final Reckoning. However, Bananas is fuming that Cory gets that sweet Teen Mom paycheck, especially after he failed to woo Farrah Abraham. Kyle lied to Cory and threw him into elimination on Vendettas (though that was two years ago). Cory has always been shady towards Kailah on social media because he is still bitter that she didn’t stay loyal to him after he banged Camila immediately after Kailah got eliminated. Jordan also used to refer to Cory’s alliance as the Young Bitches.
The good news for Cory is that there’s a ton of people on the cast who he has no association with! He has the chance to create new friendships. If Cory plays low-key, he might be able to thrive. In the past, Cory has tried to make big plays (like the hit list) and has held himself as a power player. Except he’s not good enough to be a power player and thus has gotten picked off easily. Only someone like Jordan could get away with that style. Even Bananas, CT, and Wes have had early exits from playing that power player style in recent years.
Cory is bad at puzzles as he is not the smartest guy. I will give him props for getting top tier legal counsel as he’s been able to scrub away any unsubstantiated negative news put out about him recently.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Cory’s 5–3 elimination record is misleading. None of his five wins have been quality, and all of his losses have been embarrassingly bad. 2 of his wins are from the Final Reckoning elimination against Zach/Amanda and Jozea/Davonne, where both teams jumped on ropes and had to knock off little tiles. Both teams Cory/Devin faced suspiciously couldn’t knock down the same final tile, and for Amanda/Zach, it was really dirty because they were ahead by a significant margin.
Cory’s most impressive win was a physical elimination against Shane (the same guy who lost Pole Wrestle to a one-handed Jordan). His losses were to Nate Siebenmark on Rivals 3 in one of the biggest upsets all-time (while Cory had 2x Champion Ashley as a partner!). Another was the soccer ball elimination to Nelson. And while this one doesn’t count for his record, he lost to Matt Rife on Champs vs. Stars. All of Cory’s eliminations have been so weird. I want to see him play pole wrestle against someone like Kyle or Bananas so we can gauge what type of competitor he is.
Can Cory win? No. Unless he began running triathlons for fun, I can’t imagine him having the endurance to win an individual final. Cory struggled during the Bloodlines/Invasion finals. If he struggled then, he would die in a final half as hard of the War of the Worlds 1 final. There isn’t a single thing in a final that Cory excels in. He isn’t a puzzle person, or an eater, or a swimmer, or a kayaker, or a long-distance runner.
Could he make the final? I guess. If anything, people should keep him around. Cory is a solid daily challenge competitor, but a lay-up in the final.