Challenge Vendettas: Cara the Champion
Here is a list of jabs people, fans and challengers alike, have thrown at Cara Maria over the years:
- She was to blame for Darrell’s first ever elimination loss.
- Cara was carried by Abram during Cutthroat.
- Cara prevented Laurel from being her dominant self and winning Rivals 1.
- Cara dragged down Abram in Exes 1.
- Her social game got her and Cooke thrown into elimination a lot during Rivals 2.
- Her swimming dragged Cooke’s game down.
- She could not carry the body bags in the Rivals 2 final.
- She was always in the Draw on Free Agents.
- Cara cheated on Abram with Thomas.
- She only won Bloodlines due to the weak cast.
- Beers made her cry and she freaked out too much .
- Laurel demolished her on Invasion.
- CT carried her on Dirty 30.
- She lost four finals and cannot beat real elites.
- Rookies, like Kailah and Kam, don’t fear her as an elite.
- She only won due to the final puzzle.
Now, fuck all that bull-shit, because Cara is officially a 2x Challenge Champion with a record 6 finals under her belt, a record 12 elimination wins, and a Champs vs Pros win. You might have your issues with Cara Maria, you might not like her now, before, or ever, but she has now staked her claim as one of the greatest Challenge competitors of all time. She is, arguably, the most decorated female competitor in Challenge history over a long period of time.
Since her Bloodlines win, Cara has been labeled “cocky” and “entitled”, which is fair considering many of her castmates have expressed this. Many have come to her defense, while others have become her rivals. Yet, Cara has continued to perform at a high level, reaching the final in two of her last three appearances, finishing 1st and 2nd in Vendettas and Dirty 30, respectively. Cara originally came into the Challenges, hoping to win one day, and now she comes into them as a clear favorite.
NOW. Where does Cara go from here?
Based on all indications, Cara plans to be on Season 32 (The Final Reckoning), finishing off the trilogy. She will be tying Aneesa for most seasons done by a female competitor, making her the female Johnny Bananas and the female face of the franchise. That’s a good thing from a promo perspective, however, in order for fans not to actively root against her, like they do Bananas, here is what she will need to do:
#1 DOMINATE: She currently swings among the 4–7 rankings of all female competitors. Any stacked up accolades can only get her so far. She needs to, not only, pull off win #3, but dominate physically and socially as well, like CT or Laurel would. She had a dominant Dirty 30 performance but lacked the win.
#2 MENTOR THE ROOKIES: Despite 10+ appearances, challengers like Wes and CT stay fresh because they are able to relate and mentor younger players. CT has taken people like Hunter, Zach, Knight, and Reilly under his wing over the years of competing, while Wes has his main apprentice Devin. Too often, Bananas finds himself at odds with younger players, fearing they will take his spotlight. As the veteran, Cara needs to create a foundation for girls to join her ranks. She did this to some extent with Natalie on Vendettas.
#3 HAVE FUN: Her relationship with Kyle made Cara a lot more low-key and enjoyable in Vendettas. Cara seemed a bit tense during Invasion and Dirty 30, getting a hookup on Season 32, whether it be with Kyle or some other guy or girl, i would be nice.
#4 GO INTO ELIMINATION: As a fan of the game, I understand that it is much smarter to avoid elimination than going in. However, looking at Cara Maria’s elimination record; she is one away from tying Wes’ all time elimination record. We have not seen her in an elimination in what feels like forever. Cara and eliminations are like Liam Neeson and action movies.
#5 HELP OTHERS OVER THE HUMP: Again, it would be very cool to see Cara help another female competitor get to a final or even get a win. Like a veteran wrestler helping a young up-and-comer, training someone up to her level would be good for Cara’s and The Challenge’s sake. At this point she either loses and disappoints or wins, helping someone along the way would endear her to fans.
Cara Maria will continue to perform until the wheels fall off. She has been the first person eliminated in a season, the first picked in a draft, the first ever solo champion, and so much more throughout a near decade on the Challenge. Expect her to annoy you with her tweets, expect her to make some shady statements, but at the end of the day she is now a 2x Champion who will bring competition every season.
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