What the Final Reckoning Final means for all of the participants

We are here. It is time for a final and this time around, we have eight finalists; six are competing in their first final ever, while the remaining two are both Challenge champions. Cara Maria is attempting to be the third women, and ninth overall, in The Challenge to win 3 times while Ashley is trying to win her second title.

What does making the final mean for each player’s legacy and what will winning do for their reputation? Let’s break them down one by one:

What does reaching the final do for Joss and Sylvia?

In a season with many opportunities to be eliminated, this team has gone the distance without ever visiting the redemption house. No team deserves this final more than Joss and Sylvia, not even close. This final, solidifies Joss’ position as one of the best new generation players. After losing to a Mercenary on Vendettas, he has worked well with Sylvia in the daily missions and led the team physically. With a 5–1 elimination record and a finals appearance in her third season, Sylvia ranks right beside Jenna, Kailah, and Tori, and possibly ahead of all of them.

What would winning do for them?

If Joss and Sylvia win the final, Joss is anointed the best new generation to debut since Invasion. He is a strong competitor who can easily be billed a champion. Likewise, Sylvia erases any concept of being “lucky” by winning. I’ll be honest, following Vendettas and mid-way into Final Reckoning, I still was not sure if Sylvia is a good competitor. Now, I firmly place her amongst anyone in the upper-middle tier of female competitors currently in the game. Winning would undoubtedly put her ahead of many of her contemporaries.

What does reaching the final do for Cara and Marie?

Cara adds another finals appearance to her resume, becoming the only woman in Challenge history to make seven finals. This season for Cara is almost like the Peyton Manning Super Bowl season. Her and Marie were not very good, but they are still here. Marie making the final proves she is a solid strategist and political player. They made it here as a lay-up team after not performing well in the daily challenges. Their one elimination win is the bright-spot for this team. Other than that, they were the Jay-Jenna lay-up of this season.

What would winning do for them?

If Cara Maria wins this season with Marie as her partner, then she actually has a legitimate argument for being the third greatest female competitor in Challenge history. She will never be in the same conversation as Evelyn and Laurel, but she could get into that 3rd place conversation if she carries Marie like an elite player in this final. If Marie wins this season, her trolls can shove it.

What does reaching the final do for Ashley and Hunter?

This is Ashley’s first real season since Invasion and she has made it back to the final. Nothing about Ashley’s season has been particularly good, yet she has found a way back in the final. However, you could have said the same for most of her Invasion run. Ashley is a good political player who manages to find a way to end. Almost like a cockroach or like Kenny Santucci, Ashley ends up in contention to win and it is not luck. The most underrated Challenge quality is winning and Ashley is a winner, even if it does not happen consistently in the daily challenges, she has come up big when it matters most. Hunter put up two of the strongest non-final performances in recent history in Invasion and Dirty 30. Coming back from injury to make the final proves that he has always been an elite competitor and he finally has a chance to win it all.

What would winning do for them?

In the current Challenge era, pulling out wins has become incredibly difficult and so many things need to turn out right for a competitor. One of the reasons we see many of the same competitors at the end is because experience matters. Ashley winning a second title does not put her ahead of Cara Maria all-time, although it would open a debate as they would be equal. Seriously, Coral, Laurel, and Emily only have one win, Ashley winning two in an era with more twists, eliminations, and purges is insane. Hunter winning would make him the first AYTO winner in Challenge history and the best Young Buck. Considering his dominance in daily challenges on previous seasons, a win here would give Hunter a formidable three season run, one that you can compare to all-time greats like Jordan, Evan, and CT.

What does reaching the final do for Paulie and Natalie?

I am sorry, if this teams wins, I will be very upset. Even with their hot run at the end of the season, this duo was rewarded again and again for losing, while some of the best teams this season are out. Zach/Amanda dominated the daily challenges, Tony/Bananas were the #1 or 2 team all season, and Nelson/Shane worked their asses off politically and in eliminations. It pains me that this team is in the final. Winning the season would inflate Paulie’s ego even more, he would probably get a his face tattooed on his back the size of a walrus, like Andy Samberg had That’s My Boy. A win would validate MTV putting Big Brother on the Challenge. They are the first Big Brother finalists and can be the first Big Brother winners. Along with Cara/Marie, they could be the first teams to lose an elimination and win a season.

What would winning do for them?

Winning would validate all of Paulie’s cockiness. He talks a big game and since re-entering has walked the walk. A win for Natalie would be huge as well, it shows she is one of the best competitors as long as she doesn’t have to be in elimination. As much as Big Brother has become a part of the Challenge, they still seem like foreign invaders. Winning would be bigger for Big Brother fans than for Paulie and Natalie.



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Allan Aguirre

26 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.