Challenge Vendettas Player Preview: Shane Landrum

I spent about ten hours looking for the right actor comparison for Shane. The best one I could come up with is Neil Patrick Harris (Robert Downey Jr was a runner-up). Essentially, I was looking for an actor who had decent fame early on as a gimmick (NPH as a child actor and Shane being one of the first gay reality stars). Then people basically forgot about them, didn’t give a shit about them for a decade, then they made a comeback, and made people realize they have actually always been awesome. No Challenge fan was clamoring for a Shane comeback before it happened on Invasion of the Champions. If you say you were, you’re either a liar, or you’re Shane’s mom. He had always been a good competitor — he had just always been a minor character on all his Challenges.

However, Shane’s out of nowhere return on Invasion was nothing short of amazing. In a season of bumbling players who had no idea how to play the game or simply were not good at the game, Shane found a way to steal the show. Shane made a lot of fans realize the show isn’t about the muscles on the exterior (even though he is very fit and has great abs). He showed the Challenge is about fearlessness, mental and physical endurance, and playing the game. The Challenge in recent years has become too many people following the game of Bananas and falling in line with the veterans. Everyone plays scared. Shane does what is his best for his game, which is what matters at the end of the day.

On Invasion, he started off by playing under the radar and becoming everyone’s friends. Shane made friends with the girls who became known as the Lavender Ladies (Ashley, Amanda, and Sylvia), as well as LaToya/Marie. One of the best moments in the early stage of Invasion was Cory deciding between whether he wanted to face Theo or Shane in elimination to get to his Oasis ticket. Shane talked about how everyone would want a Cory/Theo match-up, allowing Shane another week to try and win a challenge — which he did.

After getting into the Oasis, Tony chose Shane as the person to see in the first Oasis elimination — the match even close, Shane crushed him. He then went on to be a crucial reason for the Underdogs success in daily missions, often coaching them up. Shane won the first part of the Underdog Bloodbath, only to lose the physical portion after a combo of Nelson double crossing him, and then kind of giving up against Cory. Following a ten year break, he ended up coming short right before the final once again.

Another close loss which makes his appearance on Vendettas have you wonder, is this the one?

Skills & Physical Strength: As much as the strategic and mental angle for Shane is played up as his biggest strength, he is in killer shape. Shane loves doing Cross-Fit. At Shane’s old Cross-Fit place in Charleston, they have a list of testimonials from their site. This is Shane’s testimonial “Best decision of my life, (one of those decisions involved donating a kidney to my mom).” He might not be this hulking mass of muscle, but Shane is not far behind the other guys when it comes to size and strength. Shane’s body is more functionally than others. Whether it is a long distance run or having to carry weight, Shane will not fail either, he might not win — at the end of the day, he will be one of the most balanced competitors.

His biggest strength which he has not gotten to show is his skill in the water. Growing up he did a ton of swimming and played water polo. Shane would likely be the best swimmer on this cast. One of the worries for Shane is he smokes cigarettes (or at least he did on Invasion). How will those cigarettes affect his lungs if he ever gets to a final?

Social, Mental, and Political Game: He generally prefers to hang out with the girls, or at least it seems like it from the edit. Shane will be socially aligned with the grouping of Veronica, Marie, Sylvia, and Jemmye. You might see him also playing the game with Nicole R, Nicole Z, Devin, and Nelson. MTV is trying to play up a Vendetta between the Nelson and Shane, however it might be a better game for the two to align. Shane is one of the most balanced players, while Nelson is one of the strongest physical players — together they could do some damage.

Late game in Invasion, Shane began to become a bit paranoid and tried to really stir the pot in order to protect himself. Shady Shane makes great game moves most of the time, and other times he is self-destructing.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: A career 1–3 in eliminations. This arena of competition is not his strong suit. Most eliminations are about raw physical size and strength, which is what Shane hates. He loves to use his brain to give himself an edge, and then bring out his inner athlete. What he doesn’t like is a competition decided on by who is bigger. Shane needs to make sure he doesn’t end up in eliminations, and he can’t give up like he did in the Bloodbath.

Could Shane win? If Bananas isn’t there, his shot at winning is a lot higher. In this whole cast, Bananas is the only person who has the experience of winning modern finals on a consistent level. After Bananas, the main contenders to take the throne on this season are Shane, Nelson, Brad, and Zach (not in any order). With the news there will be a gender-less winner, Cara Maria is also a threat.

A Shane Landrum Challenge win would be pretty wicked.

Overall: 86/100

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.