Challenge Total Madness Player Preview: Josh Martinez

I still am not a big fan of Josh on the Challenge. To me, his personality never really fit on the show, and he was a bit awkward in his first season especially. I do respect that Josh has been working his ass off in the gym to improve in the game. Also, he is finally becoming adept in terms of the social aspects of the game.

At the end of last season, Josh came into his own, and he stepped out of his own shadow. We, as fans, are way too critical and want to decide whether someone is going to be a legend or a flop immediately. I also am a victim of this as I spend so much time watching the show and labeling people too soon. It wasn’t until the end of last season that I finally opened my eyes and saw Josh through a broader perspective. Josh is 6'2, close to 200 lbs, has big arms, is a great swimmer, and has the aspirations to be great. It’s easy to criticize what he’s bad at and to mock what you think is weird about him, but as a competitor/human, he’s already displayed an incredible amount of growth. Cory has done six seasons of these shows and has probably regressed if anything. If you’re going to bet on someone’s potential, maybe we should be betting on the guy who keeps improving.

Introducing Josh: He is the first Big Brother winner to show up on the Challenge. Josh was able to win Big Brother by playing a game where his target became so big that people ignored it. He played a brash game where he was loud, obnoxious, and would hit pots and pans to annoy enemies. Everyone assumed at a certain point, Josh would just get voted out. I describe as if you went to Target to buy a new microwave, and instead, you walk out with 80 different items, and forget the microwave you went to Target to buy. While Josh may have annoyed some, he never became anyone’s #1 target. Likewise, Josh’s loyalty gained the trust of others. His formerly idiotic actions made others underrate his abilities as a strategic player. They didn’t think the Pots and Pans guy would go on to make big plays. Josh won Big Brother due to constant underrating and a bitter jury.

During the meet the prospects episode of War of the Worlds 1, Josh chose not to join the truth or dare game played by the most of the cast. He wasn’t ready to jump into the more wild nature of the Challenge. In the opening purge, he was knocked out of the game immediately. Josh was able to return because Alan Valdez broke his hand. Once partnered with Amanda, they won the first daily challenge, and then he did terribly across the board in every other challenge. He then was the one to fall in their elimination against Kam/Ash. Josh was also attracted to Amanda, and she rebuffed all of his advances. He had one of the worst seasons in Challenge history in terms of the total amount of losses.

On War of the Worlds 2, Josh found himself on the most stacked team in Challenge History. To me, it was a team of Challenge All-Stars + Josh. Yet, Josh never held them back in the daily challenges, and as the season went on, he more than proved himself, especially in the swimming challenges. Josh ended up being one of the best swimmers in the game and even showed to be a great teammate by supporting and helping people versus only ensuring he did well. He lost the final elimination of WOTW 1, though it was to Jordan, so at least he lost to one of the best to ever play the game.

Josh Martinez: 26 Years Old, 6'2, 2 Seasons, 0–2 Elimination Record

Skills and Physical Strength: Josh notoriously lost a considerable amount of weight while inside the Big Brother 19 house. Fans still throw jabs at his looks, but Josh has worked to make himself healthier, and physically, his endurance and strength are vastly underrated. When Josh stands next to someone, you begin to view him as a much more legitimate threat. The guy is physically imposing. While I wouldn’t expect Josh to do well in a Pole Wrestle because I don’t see him having the killer instinct, I could see him out lifting people in the cross-fit type courses that challengers have been forced to participate in.

As mentioned above, Josh is a great swimmer. Although, he still trails Jordan and Wes in terms of ability in swimming challenges. During WOTW 1, Josh struggled considerably in heights challenges. You could tell heights terrified him. However, most challengers improve as they do more of them.

I would like to see Josh face Bear in a headbanger type challenge or elimination. Josh is much bigger, but Bear is more accustomed to physical contact. He needs to prove he can use his size, or else people will view him as a pushover.

SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Last season, Josh became good friends with Jordan, Tori, and Nany. Those are great friends to have. Being aligned with potentially the best player for each gender puts him in a good position. There are also four new Big Brother players in Swaggy, Fessy, Bayleigh, and Kaycee. Josh doesn’t need to align with them per-say, but he should at least create a mutual agreement to look out for one another early in the game. Especially Bayleigh and Kaycee, as they each have the potential to be top girls this season. Hell, Fessy could be a dominant male as well.

I do fear that Wes could be gunning for Josh after Josh threw Wes into elimination the previous season. Wes is more well-connected and is the type to get revenge for a storyline. Josh would be smart to strike first if he can because Wes plays well with rookies, and he could potentially poach Josh’s potential Big Brother allies and turn them against him. Not to mention, feuding with Wes gets you camera time. Josh should stay away from Bananas, mostly because Bananas won’t reciprocate the loyalty that Josh has a friend/ally.

Josh’s ability in puzzles and mental challenges is quite poor. He gets frantic, and his brain stops working (he got purged on WOTW 1 because of a puzzle). Josh doesn’t seem anywhere near as dumb as the people who he ranks near in puzzles, but until proven otherwise, we have to rank him at the bottom.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: He is a career 0–2 eliminations. His first elimination was a climbing competition that became controversial because production seemed to have changed the rules in the middle of their elimination. Josh and Amanda got told they could not climb the salmon ladder back to back, and then after they fell, Ash/Kam began going back to back and proceeded to win. Josh’s second elimination was last season against Jordan. It should have been a win for Josh as he had the distinct weight advantage and the significant advantage of being able to use both arms in comparison to Jordan’s who couldn’t get a good two armed grip due to his disability. In the end, Jordan outsmarted and outworked Josh in the elimination. Seeing these eliminations are essential, and as I mentioned in the opening, Josh has improved a ton as a competitor. Those elimination losses could fuel him towards a win or two this season (we know he is going to be in one at least). If it’s a puzzle, Josh is screwed. If it’s something physical, then has the size (though I’d expect the Kyle’s & Nelson to have their way with him). If it’s a carnival game, he has a shot.

Can Josh win? No. The fact he isn’t the best with puzzles and has never physically dealt with running a final makes me believe he would struggle too much. I could see Josh making the final. If Josh can get an elimination win mid-way through the season, and then people still might need to get theirs to guarantee themselves spots in the final, then Josh could coast through. The big question is whether he can win an elimination. As much as Josh has improved, he needs a final appearance so he can wipe away doubt from his haters and gain casual respect for himself as a player. Even though he has improved, he still ranks closer to the bottom than the middle all-time.

The male cast this season is a bit weaker, and I’d love to see Josh take advantage of it.

Josh’s Overall Rating: 76/100

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.