Want to win The Challenge: Total Madness? You’ll also need to win an elimination.
Throughout history, The Challenge has had many people battle their way to victory. They’ve also had a lot of people get to the final without seeing a single elimination. Some of these people got crazy lucky, and some people were just lay-ups. Other people never had to risk their games in elimination because they dominated in daily challenges. This list is for those people. The ones who never saw elimination because they earned it. For purposes of this list, a competitor who went into Redemption and won will not be eligible. So CT and Cara Maria’s appearances on Dirty Thirty will not be considered.
This isn’t to say I don’t like the twist on Total Madness. I think it’s interesting for one season, but I don’t want it to become a staple in the game.
While “best” is a subjective term, there are a number of factors that are considered:
- Daily challenge wins
- Ineligibility to go into eliminations due to victories
- Difficulty making a final without seeing an elimination: making it to the end of a Duel was more challenges than a Gauntlet.
- Other competitors perceptions of competing against a person
- Avoiding elimination due to luck (like Free Agents or Dirty Thirty) is generally not a strong reflection of a competitor. Don’t expect to see Nany from Free Agents on this list.
- Pairs will be considered one entry on this list.
10. Veronica (The Inferno)
On The Inferno, it seemed like you could point a gun at a Road Ruler’s head and they’d take a bullet before sending Veronica into an elimination. The girl won four Life Shields this season, but the most impressive feat was the lengths her team went to so Veronica would be safe. They literally threw a mission so she could win a Life Shield and send Katie into The Inferno. Veronica is a crafty player, and this season was her biggest accomplishment.
9. Derrick (The Ruins)
Between Evan, Kenny, and Derrick, one of them deserves recognition for making it to the end of The Ruins. I’ll give it to Derrick, because the bond between Kenny and Evan was stronger and they’d vote in unison at any point in the game. The fact that the JEK alliance would rather send Johnny into elimination before Derrick speaks volumes to Derrick’s importance in the game and his value to his team.
8. Zach (War of the Worlds 2)
Competitors like Dee, Rogan, Cara Maria, Paulie, Kam, etc. made it to the War of the Worlds 2 final without seeing elimination. This is likely the reason the elimination twist was put into Total Madness. There is a lot of merits to their alliance, and they did play the game well. There’s also no denying that this alliance made their road to the final easier than competitors like Tori and Jordan. Meanwhile, Zach opposed “Cara’s Cult” and avoided elimination. This was because he performed so well in daily challenges, and because he intimidated other competitors. No one wanted Zach targeting them, and no one was going to suggest Zach should go into elimination before someone like Josh.
7. CT & Wes (Rivals 2)
CT & Wes and Bananas & Frank made the Rivals 2 final without seeing a single elimination. Both teams won two daily challenges, but CT & Wes won the final challenge. It seemed like Bananas & Frank had the perfect combination of new school and old school allies while CT played a disastrous social game but his physical dominance made him a team no one wanted to see in The Jungle. He got his first win, and Wes got his second.
6. Cara Maria (Vendettas)
Cara Maria became the first solo winner in Challenge history after Vendettas, but her road to the finally wasn’t that hard. She won a few daily challenges, but was never truly immune from elimination because she was never part of the Troika. So why is she so worthy? No girl wanted to face her. At this point in her Challenge career, her dominance in elimination was well known. Sending her into elimination most likely meant she’d come back and point the target in your direction. This is an elimination she fought to earn, and Cara Maria continues to be viewed as an elimination beast.
5. CT (The Inferno 2)
Making it to the end of an Inferno is pretty easy, relative to other seasons. There were only eight Infernos and twenty competitors. This means a minimum for four finalists will see the final without going into an elimination. On The Inferno 2, CT never saw elimination because he couldn’t. He won six Life Shields, and four of them were on male Inferno days. This meant he never had to go into the Inferno because he took his fate into his own hands and won when it mattered.
4. Emily & Paula (Rivals 2)
If there was ever a team to fear, Emily & Paula was probably that team. Of the five girls’ eliminations, they were immune from three because they won the daily challenge. For the other two, the other girls were scared. These girls had a great social game and were massively successful throughout the season. No one is surprised they won this season, especially because the other girls didn’t want to try to eliminate them when they had the chance.
3. Rachel (The Duel 2)
The Duel was a fairly straightforward game, at least compared to more recent Challenges. As the numbers dwindled, your chance of going into a Duel increased. Still, no one wanted to see Rachel in elimination. The boys knew she’d be a great parter, the girls knew she could beat them. She won four challenges this season and walked way from the season with a gold medal and a $100,000 check.
2. Turbo (War of the Worlds)
Nobody knew Turbo prior to his debut on War of the Worlds. When they laid eyes on him, the first thing they knew was intimation. Turbo won three challenges with his partner Nany, then two more individually. This earned him some safety, but let’s be honest, nobody was going to call him out. Then he won the final on rookie season, debatably the toughest finals ever. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.
1. Jodi (The Duel)
On the original Duel, there were only seven female elimination. Jodi was immune from five due to her victories on daily challenges. She was the most physically intimidating female competitor, and no girl wanted to say her name for elimination. Add in two other daily wins and her $150,000 first place prize, and she played a nearly flawless game. Despite the fact that she never saw elimination, it’s hard to say the didn’t deserve her victory.