With the Mercenaries coming into the game, we saw four eliminations in one night. Three people went home, while Kam was the sole winner on the Vendettas cast.
The main event of the evening was Derrick vs. Joss, an elimination that lasted eleven rounds before Derrick scored the single point and won.
Before we get into my analysis, I want to cover the rules, we as we saw them, for the Crazy 8 elimination. In the game, two competitors had to retrieve a rope shaped like an 8 and place it on their hook. The rope is hung in the center of the ring with the intent being competitors will battle each other to gain control of the rope so they can score a point. We also know that taking the rope out of bounds will result in the round being reset, though it appears both competitors must step out of bounds. We also know competitors must hold onto the 8 with their hands, as TJ yelled at Derrick once for hooking is elbow through the rope.
From round one, we know it’s going to be a battle to gain control of the rope, and it appears competitors have different strategies. Derrick’s goal is to wear Joss out while Joss’s goal is to yank the rope toward his goal, even if that means pulling Derrick along with the rope. Essentially, Derrick is playing defense and Joss is playing offense.
Derrick spends a lot of time close to the ground, trying to keep the rope close to his body and preventing Joss from getting a good grip. There are moments when it appear Joss has no control over the rope, but by the time Derrick gets out of his crouched position Joss is able to regain control of the rope.
In this battle, staying within bounds may be the biggest factor. Joss will often inch toward his goal, pulling Derrick along with the rope. By the time the two get to the edge of the ring, Derrick will get out of bounds with Joss and the round will be reset. It is important to note, the goals are located outside of the ring so it is impossible for the rope to be hooked without at least one person stepping outside of the ring.
In the eleventh round, both Joss and Derrick are exhausted. By this point, TJ has announces the game is going to sudden death. Every other round required a competitor to hook the rope twice, but there is so little progress between Derrick and Joss that there’s no way production is going to wait around for two hooked ropes. Both guys are hurting, Joss having strained his bicep while Derrick has a gash above his eye because he’s been dragged across the ground.
In this final round, Joss gets out of bounds as he has done before. He steps over the ring and lets go of the rope expecting the horn to below and the game to be reset. However, Derrick remains in bounds and the horn doesn’t sound. Derrick runs toward his goal, hooks the rope, and wins.
When I first watched the elimination, I thought Derrick got lucky. When I watched the elimination a second time, Derrick’s move looked more intentional. As a veteran in this game, he’s aware people win by using every rule to their advantage. Joss, being a naive rookie, probably believed production wanted to see a real game of tug-of-war played until someone gained control of the rope (or he was just too tired to think about the rules). This allowed Derrick to sneak by and secure the win.
Does Derrick deserve the win? Upon rewatch, I’m going to say yes. He’s used his years of Challenge experience to find a way to win even though he couldn’t out-muscle Joss. For this, I applaud Derrick. There’s a reason why he has a reputation of being an elimination assassin, and this is an example in his favor.
However, I think Joss was stronger. If this was a game of tug-of-war to get control of the rope and there were no boundaries, I think Joss would have won. I can’t shit on Derrick for using the rule to his advantage, but as a viewer, the victory was underwhelming. As I said earlier, there were moments when Derrick had control of the rope, but I don’t recall a moment where Derrick physically had control over Joss. To see two great competitors beat themselves up so much, only for boundaries to determine the victory, is a disappointment.
There are always rules that factor into the outcome of eliminations, but I find The Challenge as a whole to use silly rules to prevent viewers from seeing the battle they want to see… usually the battle that is portrayed in the previews. In this case, if the goal posts were placed inside of the ring we may have seen a different outcome. Regardless, when the rules are put into effect, I can’t be mad at a Challenger for using the rules even if it leads to a worse viewing experience. For this reason, I believe Derrick was clever enough to earn his victory.
Who do you think should have won?