The Greatest Female Players in Challenge History: #11- Veronica Portillo

The Greatest Female Players in Challenge History: #11- Veronica Portillo

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11 Seasons: Challenge 2000 (Win), Battle of the Seasons, Battle of the Sexes, The Gauntlet (Win), The Inferno (Win), Battle of the Sexes 2, Inferno II (Final), The Ruins, Dirty 30, Vendettas, Final Reckoning

2?2 Elimination Record

48 Challenge Wins

Daily Challenges: 8/10

Eliminations: 8/10

Finals: 8/10

Politics: 9.5/10

The original queen of The Challenge (or at least co-queen with Coral), Veronica was one of the show?s first real mainstays, appearing on seven of the first 10 seasons.

Veronica was an above-average competitor in her prime, but she is more known for being one of the best political players of all time. However, she wasn?t always in control in her first few seasons.

After picking up a victory on Challenge 2000 with Road Rules, she was voted out on her next two seasons.

On Battle of the Seasons, the married couple of Chadwick and Holly B made a move to take out a strong team early to help them stay in the Inner Circle, voting out fourth-place Veronica and Yes in the first elimination.

On Battle of the Sexes, Emily Bailey, who also was involved in voting Veronica out on Seasons, targeted Veronica the entire season for hooking up with her boyfriend James. Veronica was in the Inner Circle twice during the season, but was voted out in 9th place despite having a higher point total than Anne, Ayanna and Genesis, as Emily convinced Ruthie and Ellen that Veronica was a cancer to the women?s team. Jamie?s attempt to save Veronica with the Live Saver was in vain, as he didn?t tell Jonny Mosely he wanted to use it on her before the vote.

Veronica really started coming into her own on The Gauntlet, avoiding even being nominated for elimination the entire season and winning two Eyesavers as Road Rules beat Real World in the final.

Her best game came on The Inferno, again staying out of elimination for the entire season. She was instrumental in getting her team to throw missions to put perceived weak link Katie into eliminations.

Veronica convinced her team to let her get the Life Saver and put Katie in to face Julie, then rallied most of Road Rules to try to get Timmy the lifesaver and put in Katie again, but it was thwarted when Kendal wasn?t made aware of the plan and won the Life Saver.

In the final mission, Veronica won the Life Saver on her own volition, again sending Katie in. Her ultimate goal of getting Katie out never came to fruition, but it didn?t matter, as Road Rules again beat Real World in the final.

The Inferno was really Veronica?s season. She won four life savers, controlled the politics on Road Rules, and had two iconic moments in her topless fight with Katie and in Julie?s attempt to murder her on Grope the Rope.

For my money, Veronica?s victory on The Inferno is the best victory by a female in the pre-Fresh Meat seasons (along with Sarah Greyson on The Gauntlet), as she completely controlled the game politically and she was one of the best female competitors on the season.

On Sexes 2, Veronica had a massive target on her back being aligned with Coral and Rachel. Just like in the first incarnation of Sexes, she was voted out in 9th place by the Inner Circle of Tina, Sophia and Arissa, but this time it was more for performance reasons.

The last of Veronica?s Queen V seasons came on Inferno II. With her Mean Girls alliance of Rachel and Tina, she again ran things politically on the Bad Asses team (although it was much harder to stay out of elimination with the other team getting to choose who went in), as Beth and Tonya were on the outs of the team.

Veronica earned her first elimination win on the season, beating Jodi in That?s a Wrap. But the bickering Bad Asses fell to the Good Guys, even though Veronica and Rachel were the only girls who could hold their own in the final.

After a long layoff, Veronica made her return on The Ruins. She wisely polidicked her way into kingpin Evan?s good graces, and the strategy paid off when Evan changed his vote to get Veronica a more favorable matchup in the Ruins against Kim instead of KellyAnne.

Evan tying the vote set off a chain of events where the entire Champions team came in to vote, resulting in Ibis having to go into elimination instead of Veronica.

Veroinca was only able to stave off elimination for that round, however, losing to KellyAnne in Hog Tie.

Veronica took an even longer break after The Ruins, taking off 11 seasons before coming back on Dirty 30. She had a very solid (and underrated) season in her return, winning four missions, defeating Aneesa in the Web of Lies elimination, and pulling one of the biggest political moves of the season by sending Leroy into the Presidio.

Veronica was only eliminated due to a purge challenge where she was picked to go to the Redemption House by Jenna, and she was unable to get back into the game in the final redemption challenge.

Her last two appearances have been lackluster, not being able to finish her elimination with Aneesa on Vendettas due to a broken finger, then getting purged out of Final Reckoning with CT after the second mission.

Veronica is probably (hopefully, for her sake) done with The Challenge, but there?s no denying she?s an absolute legend of the show. As one of the best female political players of all time and one of the best competitors in the early day of the show, Veronica is clearly a borderline top-10 player of all time.

She gets downgraded slightly for me because of the era she competed in, and because she had a lot of early exits throughout her career.

The only seasons that I would say were good campaigns for Veronica were The Gauntlet, The Inferno, Inferno II and Dirty 30 (not counting Challenge 2000 because I don?t give much credit for winning a season with no eliminations).

There?s some seasons where she got bad breaks, like getting voted off on Battle of the Seasons and Battle of the Sexes when she was one of the top performers, and having to leave Vendettas due to an injury. But since she?s only made it deep past the halfway point in four out of 10 seasons (again, not counting Challenge 2000), it keeps her out of my top 10.

Rankings

25. Tonya Cooley

24. Holly Shand

23. Ruthie Alcaide

22. Theresa Gonzalez

21. Jenna Compono

20. Jillian Zobroski

19. Diem Brown

18. Tori Deal

17. Dee Nguyen

16. Kam Williams

15. Jenn Grijalva

14. Tori Hall

13. Jodi Weatherton

12. Ashley Mitchell

11. Veronica Portillo

10. Paula Meronek

9. Susie Meister

8. Coral Smith

7. Rachel Robinson

6. Sarah Rice

5. Camila Nakagawa

4. Emily Schromm

3. Cara Maria Sorbello

2. Evelyn Smith

  1. Laurel Stucky

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