A decade is a long time, and a lot can happen over the course of ten years. Some good things, some bad, and we’ve seen a lot of changes on The Challenge. As the decade ends, I want to look at the best of the worst. These flops can be anything: a competitor, a single appearance, a twist, or an entire season. It’s mostly meant to be fun, especially because some of these flops have been corrected over time.
10. Jordan’s Move on Free Agents
Jordan did succeed in one thing on Free Agents: he was memorable, but he should have known not to flip all of the cards at The Draw. Wrecking Wall was a game he’d almost definitely lose, and flipping the cards was his ticket home. It would have been super cool if he won, but he was placed in a scenario where that would never happen.
9. Ty Ruff
At some point in time, production thought Ty would be a great addition to the show. He did well enough on Battle of the Exes, but every other appearance would indicate that Emily was the reason for his success on that season. We watched him gas out on Cutthroat, fail a rope climb on Rivals, and stumble while ringing a bell on Rivals 2. Eventually, we all just accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to give us anything better than the “don’t call me a guy, Ty” line.
8. Invasion of the Champions
I often feel there’s a format that people want to see, then there’s the format production gives us. In many ways, I thought this was a good season. I liked the casting, but the format of the season left much to be desired. Did anyone want the Champions to only go into eliminations against other Champs? Did anyone want the whole season to be in teams until the final? No.
7. Big Easy
Once a fun-loving partier, it feels like a piece of Big Easy died in the Gauntlet 3 final. Then he lost weight (which I still applaud), but his time on The Challenge this decade was far from a redemption story. On Cutthroat he lost in a slapping contest, but Laurel’s verbal assault was his biggest slap in the face of the season. He got a second chance on Battle of the Seasons. He fought a good fight for a few episodes, then he just quit in an elimination.
On Vendettas, the “grenades” were introduced as a method of creating new vendettas and exposing rivalries. Instead, competitors feared grenades. They never used them to their full potential and tried to throw the grenade causing the least damage. Then, they reappeared out of the blue in the Final Reckoning finale. No one asked for them, and they should have disappeared with Vendettas.
5. The Paulie/Kyle Rivalry
If there’s one thing Jordan did right, it was actually getting into elimination with his rival. Meanwhile, the Paulie and Kyle rivalry were all talk. They spent seasons going back and fourth with Cara Maria at the center. Come to find out, no one was willing to take the risk to make the rivalry memorable. War of the Worlds 1 was a dozen episodes where the two burnt votes on each other. Then, on War of the Worlds 2 the rivalry seemingly dissolved. Why did we need to sit through this?
4. Victor Arroyo
After winning “America’s Favorite Player” on Big Brother 18, Victor was a huge grab for The Challenge. His time on the show was short lived, but it left a sour taste in his mouth. He moved on, left MTV in his rearview, and never promoted Vendettas. At least other Big Brother players came in to prove the show was worthwhile.
3. The Stars
I was surprised by how enjoyable Champs vs. Pros was, but the Stars MTV added to the subsequent spin-off didn’t quite deliver. Spinoff #2 forced us to sit through an entire season of stars losing everything. Spinoff #3 was a little better, but we still had some quitters and we mostly saw success from the “Stars” who were athletes. Casper Smart is the exception, he was at least good at the game.
2. Real World: Bad Blood
Regarded as the season that killed The Real World, Bad Blood shouldn’t need anything else to solidify its floppiness. There were too many people on the show and too few plot lines that mattered. Then, we saw two people appear on The Challenge. Both lasted a mere two episodes and never appeared on more than a single season.
1. Battle of the Bloodlines
What happened here? The formatting made no sense. The show started with pairs, then mixed teams (but not Vets vs. Bloodlines), and eliminations allowed one person to send their bloodline home. Then, we barely even saw representation from the Bloodlines on subsequent seasons. Only four people appeared on more than one season with Nicole R. being the only one to appear on more than two seasons. Further, we went through half the season with challenges that didn’t really matter. The blue team threw everything so the red team would have full control. This season missed the mark on so many levels, but we did get some good drama.