If you’re reading my blog, you know Johnny Bananas. With more Challenge seasons under his belt than anyone else, his record is full of really high highs and really low lows. Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit his name is basically synonymous with The Challenge. After 19 seasons (seventeen regular, two spin-off), Bananas’s Challenge career is more of a roller coaster than anyone else’s. Here is my ranking of every seasons in his 13-year-old career.
24. War of the Worlds
If Bananas has taught us one thing, it’s that there are things worse than just flat-out losing. War of the Worlds has to be a humbling experience for him: Losing after calling out one of his friends and getting sent into elimination at the hands of Wes.
23. The Gauntlet 3
Being the first veteran male to get sent home, Bananas didn’t last that long this season. While losing to Evan isn’t that embarrassing, it’s the fact that his ally Evan wanted to face Bananas in elimination. Evan was on the veterans team with people like Big Easy, Adam, and Danny… but he thought Bananas would be the easy win. In the end, Evan wasn’t wrong.
22. Champs vs. Pros
By the time Bananas was on Champs vs. Pros, he had six wins under his belt and a full-fledged rivalry with Wes. So, Wes didn’t hesitate to give the people what they want. He faced Bananas in the first male elimination of the season and took Bananas out of the game. As much as it must suck to lose to an enemy, he lost in the game Snapper which is basically two blind men snapping twigs. That makes the loss less embarrassing, but it don’t change the fact that Bananas lost to Wes.
21. The Duel
If going home first on his first Challenge was his worst moment, this list would be boring. Bananas said this moment was a learning experience for him, and after twelve more years on The Challenge and lots of money won, I think he did learn a lot. Losing to Tyler on episode one must be humbling, but I bet Tyler it happy this rivalry came to formation.
20. World Championship
This departure was a result of a sloppy alliance. Bananas did nothing to help his fellow members of Team USA get on the same page, but he was much more organized than other people. While Danny, Ben, and Sarah were all doing their own things, Justine seemed like a loyal ally. Still, an early departure isn’t a good look at this point in his career.
19. War of the Worlds 2
By this point in his career, Bananas more had enemies than friends. While he took an early flight home, he did play a role in some iconic blindsides. He was minimally involved in Wes’s departure, but he did help orchestrate the Ninja vs. Laurel elimination. So, at least he made this season entertaining.
Bananas won a lot of challenges this season and made it pretty close to the end. It really wasn’t his worst showing, but this season is low on the list for the obvious reason. He lost to Devin in elimination. Sure, it was a puzzle which are not Bananas’s strong suit, but it was still a loss to an enemy.
Despite the fact that he survived 75% of the season, I often feel this season is Bananas most forgettable. He was on the blue team, a team that should be performed better than they did, and he shared leadership on the team with Derrick. Of course, this season did give us the Johnny Bananas backpack. A classic moment in The Challenge, but one that has to be humbling for him to watch.
16. Invasion of the Champions
Though his time on this season was brief, Bananas did manage to show the rookies how the game is played. His veteran mind tricks saved him from his first elimination, but he went into the second veteran elimination and lost to Darrell. Despite all of this, his most memorable moment was taking Ashley’s toilet seat and sending it to sea.
15. Dirty Thirty
If Cutthroat isn’t his most forgettable season, Dirty Thirty probably is. This is the closest Bananas can get to “flying under the radar” at this point in his career. Team Young Buck wanted to send him home, they never really got the chance, but he did start a rivalry with them. He lost in elimination to Derrick, and if you’re going to lose, Derrick is a respectable loss.
14. Battle of the Exes 2
This season had some really great moments for Bananas- such as his string of wins in Battle of the Ex-ile and his return to the house. It also had some really low moments, such as losing to his friend Leroy due to Wes’s power play and losing to Leroy again due to Sarah’s backstab. By this point, he had five wins under his belt and learned that success can earn you some friends, but it’ll earn you even more enemies.
13. Final Reckoning
Let’s be honest, this was a clusterfuck of a season. Bananas & Tony lost two elimination, performed well in the daily challenges, and defeated Shane & Nelson in a Redemption challenge. A mixture of success and failure. There is a lot of controversy on this season, and of course Bananas found himself in the middle of it. Not his worst showing, but this should have been a season where he saw the final.
12. Battle of the Bloodlines
Bananas may have lost to his then-rival Cara Maria this season, but I have to give him a lot of props for this season. Firstly, he handled this loss really well and gave Cara Maria let Cara Maria have her moment. Also, he basically controlled the game up until his departure. The red team won every mission and the blue team threw many of the missions, thanks in part to Bananas & Vince making decisions in the game. I’m also going to note the bomb that Bananas dropped on Abe this season, a move of “mental warfare” Devin would take credit for three years later.
11. Rivals 2
When Bananas showed up for Rivals 2, I really thought he was starting to fizzle out. He had already won four times and Frank outperformed him on a few challenges. Yes, Bananas made it to the end, but he really skated through this season and never made the power moves we wanted to see.
10. Ride or Dies
Bananas took two seasons away from The Challenge, but by the time he returned, the show was dominated by new alliances. Despite this, he reintegrated well and was the runner-up this time around. He did win a couple of Challenges, but his age did show during this season and he seemed exhausted by the time filming was done.
9. Champs vs. Stars
Bananas won this spin-off season, which is impressive, but did anyone think the Stars had a chance? They literally lost everything. He does get credit for kicking Wes out of the final by beating Wes in a water challenge, but that’s about it. He won, but his only real competition was on his own team.
8. The Inferno 3
Let’s be real here, The Infernos are the easiest Challenges ever created. 60% of the cast makes it to the final. Still, this is the season where Bananas really got his gusto. He went from first out on The Duel to finalist on The Inferno 3. This is an impressive glow-up, even if it was on an easier season.
7. The Ruins
Out of all of his wins, this season may be the least impressive for reason similar to the one noted on Champs vs. Stars. Of course a group of proven Champs are going to beat Challengers like Shauvon, Chet, and Casey. Plus, Bananas had to go into the final male elimination against Dunbar. Of course he beat Dunbar, but it proved his team cared about Kenny, Evan, and Derrick more than Bananas.
Winning with a rival is a big feat, but there are a few things reducing the excitement of this victory. Firstly, Wes & Kenny lost a 45 minute lead on day one and received a one minute head start on day two. His biggest success may be beating CT, which is a huge accomplishment, but we can’t ignore the fact that CT was paired with Adam. Suddenly, the victory feels like less of an upset.
5. Rivals 3
When the Rivals 3 cast and pairings were revealed, we all know Bananas & Sarah were the #1 team, by a long shot. The duo dominated this season and did a great job together. We can’t deny this, but Bananas biggest success will be taking Sarah’s money. At the time, he had the biggest prize ever earned by a Challenger. This came with a lot of hate from fans, but most of his cast mates expected him to take the cash.
4. The Island
While many people want to block this season out of memory, it was an important one for Bananas. He solidified his reputation a controversial and cutthroat competitor. There are many moments on this season we’d like to forget, but working with Evelyn and scoring his first win are pretty memorable. So are the tears in Paula’s eyes when she lost, but that’s a story for another day.
3. Total Madness
Winning 7 Challenge seasons is an incredible accomplishment, and this was a cold, grueling final. While the conditions on Total Madness were super difficult, Bananas didn’t have to do much in the middle of the season other than win one elimination. Of course, it was against Wes, but after that he coasted until the final.
2. Battle of the Exes
This victory leaves a bitter taste in a lot of mouths. I wanted CT & Diem to win, as did most viewers, but that doesn’t mean Bananas’s victory isn’t a huge success for him. He was the top dog for most of the season and proved he didn’t need Kenny or Evan to thrive on The Challenge. I still think this may be the most brutal final we’ve seen, and Mr. Bananas dragged a Brazilian to the top of a mountain to win that final.
1. Free Agents
On his 10th appearance on The Challenge, Bananas earned the title (which he still holds) as the most seasoned Challenger. Somehow, he also found himself as somewhat of an underdog this season. The new generation of strong competitors had their eyes set on Bananas. People like Cara Maria and Jordan were willing to call him out and send him into elimination. On this season, Bananas proved the hype is real. He won three elimination and won the season. This was his first, and only, time winning as a solo competitor. An impressive title few Challengers hold.