This is the twelfth in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season. Next up: Leroy and Ty
JORDAN and MARLON
Where did we last see them? Jordan and Marlon were last seen together serving pizza and beer at a pizza slice establishment pioneer (at least for Portland) and weathering Hurricane Nia on Real World: Portland.
The Rivalry: This rivalry of two stubborn, athletic alpha dogs was more about who can jump higher than about jumping down each others throats. Jordan’s troubles with Nia (can you blame him?) did manifest themselves in some borderline offensive and racially charged behaviors and Marlon was rightfully none too pleased.
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) – 2, best Rivals I comparison: Leroy and Mikey – Although Jordan and Marlon did not have the bond that Leroy and Mike shared, they did get along and are coming directly off their Real World season without other Challenge competitors having the benefit of having seen their season (a potential advantage).
Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:
“Rookies can be sacrificial lambs in this game, but Marlon and Jordan are hoping to buck the trend.”
With Battle of the Seasons as the most glaring exception to this rule, this is a The Challenge truism, but…
“Former Big 12 linebacker Marlon is no stranger to intense competition, and despite being born with only one hand, Jordan has excelled in sports his entire life, from rugby to wrestling to gymnastics.”
…Marlon and Jordan are at a level of athleticism where a long run could be in play if they are able to win some challenges. Despite some of Jordan’s provocative social behavior in Portland and an apparent desire to always have the last word and to be correct, I think it derives from some deep-seeded insecurities that he will be better able to modulate in such an intensive competition experience where this desire to “always be the winner” is inherent to success.
“Marlon explains, ‘Some of the people that don’t know Jordan are going to underestimate him a lot. But they don’t realize that him not having two hands has actually made him that much better of a person and that much more of a competitor.’”
Marlon’s analysis is right on. Jordan will be underestimated (especially initially) and this could be a major advantage for these two rookies. Jordan seems to be genuinely excellent at every athletic activity he tries despite any hand challenges he may come across. It will be in the best interest of other teams to see Jordan and Marlon as a real threat as soon as possible.
“Know-it-all Jordan gets under everyone’s skin while getting under the covers with two veteran girls, while Marlon explores his sexuality by playing both sides of the fence, hooking up with a guy and a girl.”
I anticipate this to be more clever word play than actual truth about “getting under everyone’s skin,” but the “getting under the covers with two veteran girls” part is most intriguing (Was that a kiss with Sarah that we saw in the trailer?). Marlon’s sexual exploration (and his commendable and straightforward approach to explaining it) will be another positive subplot to watch out for. Although I enjoyed both of these guys on The Real World, their talents were always really meant for the competition of the The Challenge. The rivals format (partners fighting for one another) of this, their first rodeo, could be most conducive to success.
Best-Case Scenario: They win some timely challenges and crucial eliminations against power-playing opponents to last until the finals. Once there, anything is in play for this rookie tandem.
Worst-Case Scenario: They have to go against tough competition in an early elimination (several teams fit this description) and are sent home early.
The Verdict: I am buying Jordan and Marlon stock for Rivals 2. I think these two have a legitimate shot of being a serious (and surprise) force in this competition this season.
Watch the Jordan and Marlon pre-interviews here
Men Team Previews:
Women 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.