Managing Madness: Can Cory Earn His First Challenge Win?

Once a ticking time bomb, he's showing a newly zen side

Cory — one of The Challenge's most notorious hotheads — seems to have done something completely unexpected: He's let his temper go, and appears to have achieved genuine peace.

Crazy, right?

The young dad, who's got a second baby on the way, proved on the latest episode of Total Madness that he's gone from combustible to calm in record time. The question is: Will his new zeal for zen finally help him to earn his first win?

Cory, whose list of previous nemeses is as lengthy and winding as a cross-country course, (remember when he was bounced from Final Reckoning for attacking Tony over stolen pasta?), shocked viewers at the latest house vote when he stood up to Nelson (his best pal) in defense of Kailah (a previous foe).

Nelson, who took issue with the fact that Tori volunteered to enter Purgatory against presumed opponent Jenna, turned the house's nomination ceremony into a battlefield quickly after it began. Because Nelson presumed that Jenna would lay down and give Tori the win (Jenna had been toying with the idea of going home to reconcile an argument with her boyfriend Zach), Nelson began mocking Jenna's lack of fight. But Kailah, Jenna's closest friend, leapt in to defend her BFF, at which point Nelson began to hurl slut-shaming insults Kailah's way.

"You're the foulest woman here," Nelson spat. "You have no respect for yourself. Go get f*cked in a Porta Potty...She's a slut."

Needless to say, the house was in shock. Perhaps even more shocking, though, was that Cory assumed a spot beside Aneesa, Josh and Bear in trying to restore peace and force Nelson to confront his bad behavior.

"You get too angry; you get too hype. You're getting so worked up," Cory said, urging Nelson to take a good, hard look at his hostility. "The game is playing [you]."

And not long after, upon catching Big T crying over yet another nomination into Purgatory by the Tribunal, Cory jumped in to comfort the sweet soul, smothering her with hugs and encouragement.

"Keep doing you, Big T," Cory insisted.

And sure, the two noble acts might have seemed minor in a vacuum, but they're only the latest examples of Cory's new instinct to snuff out a fuse instead of light the wick. This season, he may as well ask his housemates to rub his belly and call him Buddha.

What do you think: Has Cory finally grown up enough to win a Challenge, and does he seem focused enough to nab his first victory? Or was his defense of Kailah an anomaly, and is it only a matter of time before he loses his temper again? Share your thoughts, and be sure to tune in to a new Challenge episode Wednesday at 8/7c!