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Need proof that veterans have an advantage on The Challenge? Look no further than Louise Hazel, the very first returning Champs vs. Stars pro athlete, who proved on tonight’s Season 3 premiere that experience — even just one season — can make all the difference.
Returning host Mike “The Miz” Mizanin wasted no time challenging the latest crop of competitors — which included new Champs like Kam, Devin and Shane and new Stars like Lil Mama, Brooke Hogan and NFL star Arian Foster — to their very first mission. In “Stair Down,” which was performed in two heats, players had to individually ascend a staggered structure. The catch? They’d be lubed up to make things especially slippery, and many of them took tumbles before eventually reaching the summit.
By the time the chaos was over, Tony was named the ultimate winner, while CT took second place. And The Miz told both Champs players that they’d earned more than bragging rights — for the very first time on Champs vs. Stars, the lines were going to blur, and CT and Tony were going to each serve as team captains for two ensembles that’d each include Champs and Stars players.
And players were stunned.
“We’re so much better than them, though — it’s not fair!” Ashley shouted incredulously.
For the most part, The Stars assumed their new teams would dictate new loyalties and alliances. But Louise, the only returning Star, was already thinking two steps ahead, and knew that even if The Champs were divided among two teams, they were still going to work together to eliminate The Stars.
And she wanted to be a part of that strategy.
“I’m hoping I end up on Tony’s team — not because of Tony, but because of Wes,” Louise said, adding that she and Wes — two consummate tacticians — had forged a friendship since filming the show’s first season together. “Wes knows what a strategist I am…And I’m not gonna lie, having Wes in my back pocket feels kind of good.”
And Louise’s suspicions proved to be correct — Wes quickly admitted that The Champs were planning to band together. Still, because Louise was such an asset, he told her he’d strive to keep her around, even if it meant sacrificing one of the Champs’ women.
“The Champs are going to pick up the Stars one at a time,” he said. “The lines might be blurred, but it’s still Champs versus The Stars.”
Still, Louise felt placated by the deal.
“Even though I’m a Star, and Wes is a champ, it’s a risk I’m willing to take,” she said.
But is it wise for Louise to trust Wes? After all, The Champs managed to send two of the strongest Stars — Casper Smart and Arian — into the very first elimination round, in which Arian was knocked out to incredulity from the crowd. Is it possible Louise will eventually be on the chopping block too?
What do you think — was it smart for Louise to hop aboard the Champs train, and could it be her straight shot to the finals? Or, should she have stuck with the Stars, and will she ultimately be on their sinking ship, too? Share your thoughts, and see how her game progresses next Tuesday!