Throughout the years, we’ve seen many seasons compete on The Challenge. Many of them have provided us with multiple competitors, but there are two seasons that stand out for giving use remarkable competition: Road Rules Campus Crawl and Real World Key West. This season we saw Johnny Bananas and Darrell face off, and while neither made it to the final, Darrell did eliminate Bananas. Here, I’m going to compare the most comparable competitors from each season so we can determine which season is better.
1. The Gay Wonder: Shane Vs. Tyler
When it comes to gay competitors on The Challenge, Shane and Tyler stand out as two of the strongest. Shane returned after an eleven-year hiatus to return for The Challenge Invasion and put in his most impressive performance yet. He almost made it to the final and won his first elimination. Despite this fact, he never really performed too poorly and always made it past the halfway mark in his earlier seasons. Tyler, on the other hand, has won twice. However, he first two performances are pretty awful where he barely made an appearance on the show. While Tyler didn’t have a strong start on The Challenge, his two wins and multiple elimination wins make him stand out, so I’m going to give this category to Tyler.
The One-Challenge Wonder: Sarah vs. Svetlana
When it comes to competitors who only have one Challenge appearances, Sarah Greyson and Svetlana may be the two most memorable. Svetlana won multiple eliminations and made it to the final on The Duel, the first season where there were no teams to lean on. Sarah, on the other hand, was the lowest member on the Road Rules totem pole on The Gauntlet. She had to fight her way through five eliminations but kept coming back and won in the final. For this reason, Sarah wins in this category.
The Barely-There Competitor: Eric vs. Zach
Eric was a model competitor on his Road Rules season and a leader on his team, but on Battle of the Sexes he finished third-to-last based purely on his performance. On The Gauntlet 3, Zach made it about half way on the crumbling Rookie team and was only a middle of the pact competitor. While neither competitor is exceptional, I’m going to give this category to Zach because Eric’s performance was a bigger let down.
The Under-The-Radar Winner: Janelle vs. Kendal
Neither Kendal nor Janelle were the best on their Inferno teams, but they were not the worst either. On seasons with so few eliminations, that is enough to get you to the end. The Inferno was Kendal’s only season, so her win makes her a bigger stand out than Janelle. Especially because Janelle competed on The Gauntlet 3 and went home really early. I think it’s close between these two, but I’m going to give this category to Kendal because I like her more she actually won an elimination.
The Female Powerhouse: Paula vs. Rachel
Very few females on The Challenge have multiple wins, but Paula and Rachel both have two. Rachel has always been a stand-out competitor and won her second and sixth seasons (out of seven total). She won The Duel 2, one of the most competitive seasons ever and seems to be getting stronger with time. However, she has only won one elimination and it was against Jasmine & Tyrie- not the most noble competitors. While Rachel won twice in her seven seasons, Paula didn’t win until her eighth season(and then again on her tenth and final). While Rachel seems to be getting stronger with time, Paula has become a more logical competitor with political savvy in the game. Paula has won four eliminations, but has lost five, which actually gives Rachel a stronger win/lose ratio. However, Paula has beaten more noble competitors such as Aneesa and even Rachel. While both of these women are memorable female competitors, I’m giving this category to Rachel due to her pure strength winning more in a shorter period of time.
The Multi-Win Male: Darrell vs. Johnny
Between Bananas and Darrell, these two men have some of the biggest Challenge records. Bananas has the most wins and has won the most money on the show. Prior to Bananas holding these records, they were held by Darrell who still has the most consecutive Challenge appearance wins. Darrell’s first three wins were on big team Challenges, and on these Challenges he mostly hid in the background and let the louder competitors do the hard work. However, his dominate performance on Fresh Meat really set him apart from other competitors and his dominance continued onto The Ruins here he won multiple eliminations until he was sent home for fighting. Then, he reappeared on Fresh Meat 2 only to get sent home first. On the other hand, Bananas started out his Challenge career as a louder rookie who was easily scarified. It wasn’t until he won The Island and then The Ruins that he was taken seriously. He then won Rivals and Battle of the Exes, but his biggest accomplishment may be winning his tenth season: Free Agents. This was an individual-based season and Bananas’s was almost an underdog, having to win multiple eliminations to get to the final. On Invasion, Darrell sent home Bananas and even Bananas admitted he was outplayed by Darrell. It’s a close call between these two, but I’m going to give it to Bananas. While Darrell may be physically stronger, I think Bananas has a better social game and plays a more cutthroat game than Darrell.
Bonus. The No-Shows: Jose vs. Raquel
Neither of these competitors have ever competed on a Challenge, but I’d guess Raquel would have performed better. Jose probably wouldn’t have stood out and is a smaller guy while Raquel proved herself to be a solid competitor on her Road Rules missions. Of course, we’ll never know. Especially because we can assess Raquel based on Road Rules but we have nothing to base Jose’s performance on.
The Verdict: I’d say Road Rules Campus Crawl is the more remarkable season. While the Key Westers have evolved into great competitors, people like Darrell, Rachel, and even Shane helped to structure The Challenge into the competition it is today. It’s close though, and I’d love to see the two seasons go head-to-head. Which season do you think is better?