The Challenge

Road Rules Campus Crawl vs. Real World Key West: Best Season to Compete on The Challenge

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?


    1. Ev and Emily played big roles, but Ev lost Fresh Meat 1 & 2 and Emily lost Exes- all partner Challenges. I’m not denying that Paula was the weaker teammate, but there is some merits to Paula’s abilities in her victories. After the seasons, both Evelyn and Emily were praising Paula.

      1. You have to admit that Paula would not have won those challenges or the daily challenges she did on either rivals if she was partnered with any other girl instead of those two.

      2. I will certainly admit that Ev and Emily are superior partners. Paula said it both seasons, and we all know it’s true. We can’t say for she that she wouldn’t have won without Em/Ev, but having those two as a partner made her team the front runner both seasons.

        In this post I wanted to make a case for both sides, though I clearly state that I rank Rachel as the superior competitor.

  1. This was a fail attempt to try to boost Paula to Rachel’s level.

    “However, she has only won one elimination and it was against Jasmine & Tyrie- not the most noble competitors.”
    She didn’t have to, she was too busy beating noble competitors by winning missions granting her immunity, she didn’t get last place, get picked last for duels or voted in/called out much bc ppl knew they would be sent home. The only time she had to really go in was when she was on a female-female team while the rest of the competition had males. That alone proves how good she was, she was good enough to be the “male partner” to Aneesa lol.

    1. I’m not trying to boost Paula to Rachel’s level. I just want to make a case for both sides. In regards to the eliminations, we don’t have a lot of stats for Rachel. I do clearly state that Rachel has a better win ratio in eliminations, but we can’t deny that Paula has more impressive wins than Rachel even if it is due to lack of data for Rachel.

  2. I’d say Bananas and Darrell are a draw. Darrell has political game but doesn’t need to use it because he’s one of the people who is physically capable of winning, and he’s not a pussy when it comes to eliminations. Bananas has proven to be one of the best physically and politically but the only reason he got his first 2 wins were because of the politics ran by Kenny and Evan. He got a nice ride because he was their friend. What was his next win after Ruins? Rivals. Thats when he found his political voice. And even then, Kenny and Wes outplayed him when it came down to the girls voting who would face CT and Adam at the final elimination.

    1. It’s hard to say Johnny wouldn’t have won without the JEK alliance, but there’s no denying that they played a big role in his success. Alliances are part of the game and the JEK was a great alliance, even if Johnny was the low many on the totem pole. I do believe that Johnny get in much better shape after Rivals 2. If you look at him on Rivals 2 he was in in rough shape, but now he’s stronger and capable of being the leader of an alliance.

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