Challenge Vendettas Player Preview: Marie Roda

It is hard to comprehend how it came to be, but Marie has become one of the most divisive figures in recent Challenge memory. Most people on Facebook believe Marie to be an irrelevant cast member, people on Vevmo (the Challenge spoiler site for diehard fans) treat Marie like the second coming, and Reddit is split on her, usually enjoying her as a personality and a bit underwhelmed when it comes to her as a competitor.

One of the biggest complaints fans have of Marie is she’s not the same person from Battle of the Seasons in 2012. Marie back then was a wild child who loved her liquor and lashing out, plus she was on television for the first time. She wasn’t about the drama, she was the drama. There was about four or five-year difference between when Marie filmed Battle of the Seasons to when she filmed Invasion of the Champions. If you expect someone to leave the reality television world for five years, go get a real world job, and then jump back in suddenly — expecting to get the same exact person is a completely far-fetched concept. Anyone who is the same person at 28 as they were when they were 23 scares me. Marie is still someone who loves her vodka soda’s, but she’s not one to have an outburst for no reason; if anything her fights are over things which actually make sense.

Marie’s biggest strength on the show is self-awareness. To me, the Challenge is the 5th major sport. The dynamics of it being a physical, mental, social, and political game with many recurring players creates both a show and sport on par or better than any other reality competition. At the same time, the show still has a ton of silliness. Being on MTV’s the Challenge does not make you an NBA or NFL player. And you’re not a celebrity either. At best you’re a step above a career minor league baseball player. LeRoy has been on nine seasons of the show and he is your bartender at Planet Hollywood. Jenna is your local babysitter, Amanda is your nurse, Dario is your realtor, and Marie is your saleswoman (well, maybe not yours, but someone’s). Losing on this show is not a big deal for the people with real jobs and degrees because they will be fine. Winning the money is huge because they understand what the money can do for them, and could mean a nice vacation or car. For others, success on the show decides your life (that sounds too dramatic).

There are people who train year-round to come and compete. Losing for them means they either weren’t good enough at the job, or they didn’t work hard enough. Johnny Bananas losing hurts a ton because it’s his career. Marie losing is fine because it’s her vacation. Unless Marie becomes unemployed, don’t expect her to go crazy in order to win.

Skills & Physical Strength: Glancing at the female cast this season, there is a clear divide between all the girls. You have the three girls who spend their lives in the gym (Cara Maria, Nicole Z., and Kailah) and then you have the rest of the cast. While every girl spends time in the gym in one way or another, those three girls make fitness one of the biggest parts of their life. They are the clear-cut favorites to make the final. However, what makes the game interesting is those girls are going against one another (Kailah v Cara rivalry), meaning Marie and all the other girls have a solid shot to sneak into the final.

Marie never saw the Double Cross last season, and while she never did all that great, she has proven not to be a complete roll-over. In her elimination loss against Kailah on Invasion, she won the physical wrestling portion of the elimination — she lost in the endurance portion. If it comes down to one on one raw physical size, Marie can beat a lot of girls on the show. Someone like Britni got to face Nicole and Briana in physical eliminations, giving her two elimination wins. If Marie faced them, she’d also have two elimination wins. The difference is Marie has had to face Kailah and Tori, two of the best female competitors currently in the Challenge universe. In the Challenge, all elimination wins are good, there are good losses, and then there are bad losses.

From social media, Marie looks to be in better shape. The only negative is she won’t eat sewer rat.

Social, Mental, & Political Game: Based on the trailer, Marie is playing the game much more actively this season. Her along with other girls on the show are beginning to full-on to show their distaste for Cara Maria. Veronica, Kailah, and Marie all dislike Cara and will be playing to get her out. This is dangerous for Marie as Cara is good at winning challenges and will have power in the game. The good part is if the girls on the outside can find a way to get Cara out — then the season is an absolute success for them.

No clue whether Marie can do puzzles as she really hasn’t gotten any in her challenge career.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: It really depends on who she sees in eliminations. As I mentioned before, Marie could easily have more elimination wins if she faced weaker opponents. Maybe this season she can buff her stats. I could see her pulling off a season like Aneesa on the Duel — where Marie doesn’t necessarily kill challenges, but her size would allow her to win eliminations and make it far in the game.

In order for Marie to make it far, she needs to create good relationships with male competitors. This is something that has often been lacking in her game. The game forces co-ed pairs on them, making them find someone they can trust in the game. Cara had CT for years, Amanda/Ashley had Nelson/Hunter, and Tori had Jordan. Marie needs to find someone who she can trust and work with.

Will she win the final? I’d say no. Could she make the final? Yes.

Overall Rating: 76/100



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