This is the fourth in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season. Next up: Jasmine and Theresa
COOKE and NAOMI
Where did we last see them? Although she gave it her all, Naomi did not have the most stellar of rookie campaigns (although endearing) on Battle of the Exes. Cooke has been off the screen and out of the non-obscure Southeast Asian women’s professional soccer fans radars since leaving Las Vegas.
The Rivalry: Let’s just say that Naomi was on the unwelcoming committee when Cooke came to Real World: Las Vegas (the second iteration) to replace the catastrophe that was the Adam Royer Experience. Naomi did some territorial ostracizing of Cooke, doing her best to keep her away from the other women of the house (Nany and Heather) and of her friend with bed benefits, Leroy. Some verbal battles ensued and they have stayed out of touch since.
Rivalry Meter on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is a Leroy and Mike from Rivals I “Rivalry? They’re actually really good friends” rivalry and 10 is a Kenny and Wes from Rivals I “they have hated each other for years” RIVALRY) – 5 (but it must be taken with a grain of salt – like a rivalry between the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats, not too many people are pining to watch), best Rivals I comparison: Davis and Tyrie
Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:
“One of the most physically mismatched teams in Rivals II, Cooke is a fitness fanatic who plays on the Philippine national soccer team, while New York City girl Naomi is one of the least athletic players in the game.”
This is the central storyline of this pairing and MTV Bio writers do not beat around this bush. Naomi seemed a little (understatement) out of place exerting physical energy on Exes and that was with the support of Challenge beast, Leroy.
“‘The girl can’t even run a mile. I could run 10. I’ll definitely need to have a lot of patience with Naomi and really help her to believe in herself,’ Cooke confesses.”
This will be Cooke’s charge. She must find a way to motivate and inspire Naomi to become a version of herself that was not thought possible.
“Can Cooke coach Naomi to a win? Or will this pair crumble under pressure?”
I wouldn’t exactly call it pressure. They will probably have the least amount of pressure (maybe some of Cooke’s Filipino teammates will feel differently) of any pair in this game. So, no. They will likely crumble under no pressure.
Best-Case Scenario: Naomi does something athletically unexpected, receives some universal praise, and gains some confidence, allowing them to stick around for a few extra weeks. Cooke has some time to pull out her inner Laurel and becomes a Challenge force against some of the other weaker female teams in the early weeks.
Worst-Case Scenario: They go home week one and Cooke does not pick up any future Challenge cred.
The Verdict: When sizing up her chances in their pre-interview (not to be missed by the way), Cooke says, “Basically, we’re screwed.” Pretty. Much.
Watch the Cooke and Naomi pre-interviews here.
Other team previews:
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly “The Challenge: Rivals 2” power rankings will begin the week of July 10.