The Challenge

Twenty Most Important Challengers of the Decade

With 2020 right around the corner, it only seems right to remember the past decade of Challenges. To do this, I want to celebrate the twenty Challengers who made the biggest impact this decade.

I am only assessing people based on shows aired from 2010-2019. In other words, it’s Fresh Meat 2 until War of the Worlds 2. So CT punching Adam doesn’t matter on this list and we won’t factor in Banana’s betrayal on the Island. We’ve seen a lot of people do many Challenges this season, so be prepared to see a list with all of the same names on it!

Out of respect, I am not assessing Diem or Knight. At this point, it seems odd to only assess them based on justThe Challenge, especially when their time was so limited. Plus, I don’t really need a list to explain their impact.

20. Turbo

MTV Turbo

Being the only representation from Turkey on the show, Turbo won the most difficult final in all of Challenge history. He’s strong, so strong he intimated half of the War of the Worlds 2 cast and all of the security team. Perhaps he may not come back because of this, but his legacy will portray him as a force in the game.

19. Amanda Garcia

Amanda Garcia

To some, Amanda is the devil. To others, she’s a psychic who identifies problematic people before they expose themselves. Regardless, Amanda always makes a splash when she’s on the show. She won’t back down from a fight and she might even start a few of those fights. Even if you hate her, you can’t deny the strength of her “Lavender Lady” alliance who ran a couple of seasons.

18. Frank Sweeney

MTV Frank Sweeney

Despite only doing three Challenges, Frank’s appearance on The Challenge may represent something greater. His “Rookie Revolution” on Battle of the Seasons painted veterans as trophies and his alliance defeated veterans one-by-one. He was loud, opinionated, but somehow a stellar athlete. We’ve yet to see another Frank, but there’s no doubt he’s an interesting presence in the game.

17. Brad Fiorenza

Brad Fiorenza

Winning Cutthroat in 2010 was a big deal from Brad, and it seemed he’d retire with that victory. Not the case. He returned to Vendettas in 2018 as a newly single man. His return may have been the most entertaining return of them all, winning multiple eliminations, getting into a new relationship, and starting many new rivalries. He still only has one win, but he’s earned a bit more notoriety in the game.

16. Leroy Garrett

Leroy Garrett

Spending most of the decade competing on the show, Leroy has yet to get a win. His close relationship with Bananas may have given him a ticket to make it far in the game, but it may have also resulted in him losing competitions so Bananas could win. He’s had other relationships over the course of his time on the show, but no relationships strong enough to give him the win.

15. Jenna Compono

Jenna Compono

This Barbie Beast started on The Challenge by making three consecutive finals. Sadly, her first three seasons would also be her most successful. Though she’s come back many times, her storyline has mostly centered around her relationship with Zach or getting stuck in a Redemption house with Jemmye.

14. Tony Raines

Tony Raines

Tony’s start on The Challenge was an utter train wreck, getting into fights on Battle of the Bloodlines and hooking up with Christina on the first night. He then got kicked off of Rivals 3 and hooked up with Camila on Dirty Thirty. Things changed around Vendettas when he made it to the final by playing a malicious game. He started a rivalry with Bananas and earned a parter for Final Reckoning. It’s unclear whether or not we’ll see Mr. Raines again, but his time on the show has been pure madness.

13. Paula Beckert (Meronek)

Paula Beckert

Paula came into the decade more desperate than ever to get a win. In 2011, she finally got her victory with Evelyn on Rivals. Of course, her journey didn’t stop here, and she returned to Rivals 2 to get a second win. This decade has been kind to Paula who has left The Challenge to start a family, but we’ll never forget her battle on the show and becoming the first person to appear on ten seasons.

12. Zach Nichols

The Challenge’s very own Thor, Zach burst onto the scene winning Battle of the Seasons. Since then he has shown up time-after-time trying to get his second win. No luck yet, but many of his other moment have become more memorable than his win. Most notably, there’s his relationship with Jenna which will continue into the next decade.

11. Laurel Stucky

Laurel Stucky

Where there is an underdog, there has to be a top dog. Laurel has assumed this role, despite the fact that she’s only won a single season. Competitors like Cara Maria and Camila have played the game in fear of Laurel, and her bark is just as strong as her bite. Get on Laurel’s good side and you have the best ally in the game. Get on her bad said and she’ll show no mercy.

10. Nany Gonzlez

Nany Gonzalez

Unlike most of the people on this list, you always seem to know what you’re going to get when it comes to Nany. She’s straight forward, but takes no bullshit. She’s the type of person who comes on the show to hook up and make friends, then defend her friends when need be. Sadly, she still hasn’t won, but after taking a few seasons off we can she the spark hasn’t died and she still wants that win.

9. Ashley Mitchell

Similar to her Rivals 3 partner Cory, Ashley has embodied all of the twists MTV has thrown her way. She’s a savage, but she also has an alliance she will never betray. Her shining moment was winning Invasion on her second season. She later won Final Reckoning and “stole” half a million dollars from Hunter, earning the biggest prize in Challenge history.

8. Jordan Wiseley

Jordan Wiseley

The one-handed wonder, Jordan immediately identified himself has a tough rookie. His early seasons were focused on his desire to prove himself, whether through arguments or forcing himself into an elimination against Bananas. He then won Exes 2, but he’d make a bigger name from himself on Dirty Thirty and War of the Worlds 2. Now a three-time champ, Jordan is a lot more intimidating than when he started in the game.

7. Sarah Rice

Sarah Rice

Sarah came into the decade as a strong rookie with a lot of potential. Sadly, she’d suffer a fate similar to Paula. Many close calls and a few disappointments later, and Sarah spent half a decade trying to score a win. It wasn’t until she played a cut throat game that she won Battle of the Exes 2, winning the grand prize and a rivalry with Bananas. This would cost her when they were pairs on Rivals 3, they won, and Bananas took all her prize money.

6. Camila Nakagawa

Camila Nakagawa

Who would have thought that a random inclusion from the Spring Break Challenge would make such a big impact on the show? She was loud and feisty on her Cutthroat debut, but she really stood out when she won Battle of the Exes with Bananas in 2011. Since then we witnessed many Camilinator episodes, various arguments, but just as many impressive feats in the playing field. Each season she outdoes herself, but her tirades on Dirty Thirty and Champs vs. Star may have cost her the opportunity to compete.

5. Wes Bergmann


Despite taking quite a few seasons off, Wes seems to be able to return to The Challenge at any point in time and pick right back up where he left off. He aligns with rookies, targets Bananas, and becomes sick with power. Somehow this old schtick has remained entertaining and Wes always does a good job keeping his competition on their toes.

4. Cory Wharton

Cory Wharton

Skating onto the show in the second half of the decade, Cory would embody everything the Challenge has become. Steamy hook ups, volatile rivalries, and a bunch of random twists. MTV is obsessed with this man, segueing him onto Teen Mom after he had a baby with his Rival 3 fling Cheyenne. While his tenure on The Challenge hasn’t been the longest, he became one of the faces of The Challenge during the Dirty Thirty/ Vendettas era.

3. Johnny Banana

Johnny Bananas

Defaulting into the bad guy role after his allies Kenny and Evan were laid off, Bananas has become the villain people love to hate. He’s known to stir the pot, but that has often come at the expense of others. He won four times this decade, most notably when he stole Sarah’s money on Rivals 3 because he feared his time on The Challenge may be limited. He returned on every subsequent season, but upset Sarah so much that she never came back.

2. Cara Maria Sorbello

Cara Maria Sorbello

The little oddball the could, Cara Maria managed to go from the first boot on Fresh Meat 2 to appearing in five consecutive finals. This decade has had many tough moments for her, but she’s persisted through them all. Her storylines with Abe, Laurel, and Paulie have defined quite a few seasons and each time she comes back she appears stronger than before.

1. CT Tamburello

CT Tamburello

I firmly believe CT saved The Challenge twice. First when he returned on Rivals and Exes and later when he returned on Invasion. The Challenge has had its share of ups and downs this decade, but CT has mostly been a constant. He won three times (plus twice on spin-offs) and has brought many memorable moments. He’s remained a beloved character, whether on the verge of fighting or when he’s on the show to win his son ice  cream money.


    1. She’s done a lot, and she’s probably most improved. But I’d say CT’s contribution during the Rivals-Exes era was invaluable for the show. It had mediocre ratings, but people became fascinated with CT’s storyline (mostly with Diem). The should could have died if not for him.

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