I Wanted to Be Underestimated on ‘The Challenge: USA’

Domenick AbbateHe hoped to finish second in the final round. Survivor: Ghost Island wouldn’t be top of mind for other players as he went in to compete on The Challenge: USAThe CBS version of the long-running MTV franchise is titled.

The construction supervisor wanted to fade “into the background” and get his footing in the game.

“I’m just gonna let the game come to me,” Dom exclusively tells Us WeeklyYou can watch the interview above. “I will find out pretty quickly who I can and want to work with, whether it be a SurvivorPerson, a Big Brotherperson, no matter what it may be. I want to let the chips go where they may. Sometimes, you just have to let the game take its course. If you do too much too early, that can burn you.”

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount ©2022 Paramount, All Rights Reserved.

Naturally, players would gravitate towards castmates from their shows in the early days. “Definite Survivor connection immediately,” Dom says. “I know most of the other Survivor contestants outside the game, not a deep relationship with these people but definitely, I’ve run into most of them in my passing. Through social media, we talk a lot.”

Still, he stayed clear of “any pregame” discussions, and focused on finding a close ally like he had with winner and good friend Wendell HollandOn season 36 Survivor. “If you can find a Wendell in a game like The Challenge, it goes a long way for sure,” the New York native tells Us, adding, “There’s definitely something to be said about loyalty and creating a bond in a game because a strong bond can you through the toughest times out there.”

As for threats, Dom says “seeing there were six members of the Big Brother 23 season,” that made them an obvious one. “Oh no, we’re in trouble,” he explains. “I think that was a lot of people’s concern on day one.”

The Challenge USA Cast Revealed Cast
Laura Barisonzi, Courtesy Of Paramount

Dom also looked around to size up the competition’s physical prowess. “The sheer size and physique on some of the other men and women, and realizing I’m 43 years old,” he says with a laugh. “I’m not saying I’m the oldest, there are people my age out there, but I only got two months heads up about doing this show. So I wasn’t really in training for it, let’s put it that way.”

He adds, “People underestimated me on day one.”

The Challenge: USAPremieres on CBS Wednesday July 6th at 9:30 PM ET/PT