The Challenge: Final Reckoning was constructed to build on the drama of the duplicitous game play and broken alliances of the previous two seasons, but it's actually turned into one of the most messy romantic seasons of the show.
At the center of the relationship drama is Kyle and Cara Maria, who became an item on Vendettas and made it to the final together before Cara Maria won the whole show. They visited each other off-camera during the break, but when they arrived at the house for Final Reckoning, things were definitely off in their on-again-off-again relationship. Kyle rejected Cara Maria on the first night in the house and opted to make out with rookie Faith instead, so Cara Maria found comfort in the company of Big Brother alum Paulie.
"I shouldn't have said 'I want to get with other girls and not you', but there was a reason behind that," Kyle told TV Guide over the phone, helping to break down the love triangle of doom that's formed in the house.
Cara Maria's flirtation with Paulie made Kyle jealous, which he admitted multiple times on camera, so when Kyle and Brad managed to win the first challenge of the season, he used their double voting power to send Paulie and his partner Natalie into elimination. The most head scratching thing about this situation is if Cara-Maria was only flirting with Paulie to make Kyle jealous and it worked, why didn't Cara-Maria and Kyle just ditch the others to be with each other? Now we have the answer. Kyle had a girl back home who didn't want him and Cara-Maria back together.
"I'll just tell the truth because I don't give a s--t... I was getting with this model girl and I was quite close with her. She said to me, 'I know you work in reality TV and that's fine. I get it. I know you're going to have to hook up with girls on the show,' but she knew that I had feelings for Cara, so she said, 'If you get with Cara, if you hook up with Cara, I don't want anything to do with ya,'" Kyle explained. "It's all good as long as I don't get with Cara so that's why I didn't want to get with her — but then it sort of just blew up in my face."
While many of The Challenge showmances have led to true off-screen romances, Kyle and Cara-Maria have an entire ocean between them when the show isn't filming. As much as they like each other on the show, it logistically doesn't make sense for them to be a couple when the cameras aren't rolling.
"I didn't want to do anything with Cara because it would have just ended up with one of us heartbroken. I couldn't keep going back and forwards to America. She couldn't keep going backwards and forwards to England," Kyle said. "It wasn't going to work out like that, even though we have feelings for each other. It was just going to end up in heartbreak, anyways."
Still, those feelings led Kyle to throwing Paulie and Natalie under the bus and it led to being eliminated by Kam and Kayleigh. Even though it means Kyle will get at least a couple weeks without having to watch Cara-Maria and Paulie flirt in the house, he has some regrets about kicking Paulie out so soon.
"Paulie was messing with Cara and stuff. I just took it out on him, I really did. Even though in hindsight, if I knew how everything was going to turn out I might have [gone after] Shane and Nelson," he said, teasing there might be some redemption house revenge that goes on later. "[Paulie] was an easy target for us. It was easier to go after Paulie and Natalie than Shane and Nelson at the time. I didn't want to piss off Nelson because he's a good guy. I just used the Cara thing as an excuse to vote for Paulie. Everyone else did as well."
The drama in the house has real-life consequences though. Cara-Maria is officially dating Paulie off the show and hasn't reconciled with Kyle even on a platonic level, even though he's hopeful they can figure it out in the future.
"After one of my best friends died of a heart attack, I decided all these grudges I've got with people and all these grudges I've got against everyone everywhere in the world, I want to squash. That's why I texted her like, 'I'm just happy for ya, whatever you want to do. I hope the best for you,'" Kyle said. "She just really didn't want to be my friend and she really hates me because she doesn't want anything to do with me. I sent her a message. I said that I'm happy for her and Paulie. I hope they make the best of it. They're on the same continent so that's a good start because me and Cara were not on the same continent. I was happy for them and I wish they make it as a couple."
There's a chance this situation could still work out really well for Kyle though, at least in the game. He's got a solid plan if The Challenge ever decides to do another season of Battle of the Exes.
"They should do a Battle of the Exes but let you have all of your exes on one team, so it'd be me and my girls against everyone else against each other," he pitched, but he already sees the downside. "If I won with Cara, she would 100 percent like take the money off of me or f--k me over any way she could."
The drama continues on The Challenge: Final Reckoning Tuesdays at 9/8c on MTV.