A second season of The Challenge: USA has officially wrapped up, with several MTV stars reaching the final only to be outdone by stars from CBS’s Survivor.
Challengers reaching the USA 2 final included Ride or Dies winner Tori Deal, seven-time Challenge champ Johnny Bananas, and multi-time finalist Cory Wharton.
Of those stars, Cory had the best finish, coming in second place for the men behind the show’s winner, Survivor star Chris Underwood.
While it was an impressive season for Cory, as he never saw an elimination and made it to another final, getting the win would’ve been much more satisfying.
He called passing his castmate Bananas in an ATV one of his favorite moments of that final, but he still may have unfinished business.
During post-season interviews, Cory shared his thoughts on being on CBS’s spinoff show and whether he plans to return for the MTV version of The Challenge.
Cory called Wes and Bananas his USA 2 ‘shields’
Cory found himself more protected than ever with the CBS spinoff due to the game’s setup. Most of the cast consisted of Big Brother and Survivor stars, with six MTV Challengers added for a unique twist compared to Season 1.
Several CBS stars also appeared in one or more seasons of MTV’s Challenge, with Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat and Josh Martinez, two people Cory has become good friends with.
And while he might have been a target for Johnny Bananas and Wes Bergmann in previous Challenge seasons, Cory quickly realized the CBS stars were trying to eliminate the two multi-time champs. That allowed him to play the game without worrying about being targeted as much.
“From the minute we pulled up on Jet Skis, they wanted Bananas or Wes, and I got to just play, ‘Those are my shields. Let’s keep Johnny around as long as we can. Let’s keep Wes around. Those people are protecting me.’ Because if they want to go big, they’re going for Johnny and Wes. So it was definitely a change for us both,” Cory shared with Parade.
As viewers saw, Cory received a few balls in the Hopper during the season but was never chosen for an elimination. That made his season much easier than any he’d experienced in his MTV Challenge career.
Cory said The Challenge has given him ‘a purpose’
Speaking with Gold Derby, Cory talked about The Challenge’s role in his life, as it’s given him “a purpose” and an outlet after he got out of playing sports.
“The Challenge has changed my life, and you know I’ve got to travel the world and live in some of the coolest places and meet all these cool people. It’s given me that adrenaline that I need in my life coming off of sports and not competing anymore. I was kind of lost there for a while, so to be doing these shows and to be doing the challenge and things like, it just adds that excitement to my life,” he said.
Cory said competing in MTV’s show gives him something to focus on preparing for when he’s at the gym. Based on his comments, he’ll use the USA 2 experience as motivation to get that first win on the flagship show.
“I’m just thankful for it. I’m happy that I got to join CBS and become a part of that family…Now I just gotta come back on MTV, you know I gotta become a Challenge champ,” he said, adding, “It’s been a blessing.”
Cory has participated in multiple finals on MTV’s The Challenge but remains winless on the competition show. He last appeared in Spies, Lies & Allies before taking a break to be with family. However, he doesn’t seem done with MTV’s show quite yet.
Viewers are unlikely to see him or Bananas appearing in The Challenge Season 39, as it will feature only non-winners of the show. While former winners are entering the game to compete in single eliminations, Cory and Bananas weren’t revealed as part of that group.
However, Season 40 is around the corner, and with calls going around to assemble the cast, one would hope these two Challenge stars will join the competition on their home network.
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion premieres Wednesday, October 25, at 8/7c on MTV.