War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2, and War of the Worlds 3 Total Madness. They were supposed to be a War trilogy, but production changed their minds at the last minute. They may be remembered for the jerseys covered in country flags or they might become the trilogy of Tribunals.
These three seasons saw an influx of rookies onto the show, from the foreign countries like the UK, Turkey, Australia, and CBS. Some contestants developed their own storylines throughout this three-part series while others faded away.
Much like I did with the last trilogy, I am going to rank all of the Challengers who appeared based on their importance. Appearing on multiple seasons certainly gives competitors boost in the rankings, but it does not guarantee a high spot. As a rule of thumb, competitors who perform well, produce compelling storylines, and get recast are the type of people who become important in the franchise. Competitors who are mellow, poor competitors and avoid camera time are less important. Competitors will only be judged on their time spent on War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2, and Total Madness.
Remember, these are just my opinions. Don’t take them too seriously.
59. Natalie Negrotti
Perhaps the biggest fall from grace, Natalie was basically edited out of War of the Worlds. On that season she performed poorly, barely got a confessional, and avoided the drama she caused on Vendettas and Final Reckoning. Someone who once had a spark of potential burnt out like a match in a hurricane. Perhaps she just wanted to focus her attention elsewhere, or maybe production was just mad that she made Zach all glittery.
58. Shaleen Sutherland
Coming into the show, Shaleen said “you may know me for a little show called Bachelor Canada.” No, Shaleen. I don’t have any Canadian television networks. Even if I did, your episode 1 boot probably wasn’t memorable. On War of the Worlds she got paired with Leroy, didn’t do too well, and tried to cause drama that never saw airtime.
57. JP Andrade
Turbo’s friend who foolishly chose to compete against CT on the Killing Floor. Not a lot of screen time, probably because he was Natalie’s partner.
56. Alan Valdez
All he did was break his hand and give Josh a second chance in the game. Somehow this is more memorable than a few other people.
55. Sean Lineker
Coming onto War of the Worlds 2 after winning Shipwrecked UK, Sean only had one connection in the game. So, team UK scarified him as soon as they could and we never heard from him again.
54. Liz Nolan
Liz is remembered as the twin who got Purged on episode 1 of War of the Worlds. Unlike Josh, she really had to leave and allowed Julia to take on the game individually. The poor girl dyed her hair brunette just viewers could tell her apart from her sister, but viewers only had to watch one twin this season.
53. Idris Virgo
Idris was a mediocre performer, but his team was awful. He beat Sean in elimination and was part of the Tribunal that sent Laurel into elimination. Otherwise, we didn’t get too much.
52. Gus Smyrnios
For someone coming from a drama-fueled show like Florabama Shore, he didn’t do a lot on the Challenge. He got into one Tribunal by taking a leap of faith, fought with Josh at the reunion, and got sent home.
51. Nicole Bass
Production decided to give Georgia a free trial pass for The Challenge, so she gave it to her friend Nicole who can’t tell time. Nicole did nothing, but Geogia’s tears watching her lose were quite comical.
50. Faith Stowers
After showing some potential, Faith returned to War of the Worlds 2 as the only true veteran. Then, Faith quit War of the Worlds 2 after banging pots and pans. Allegedly she was sick and bullied and just wanted some sleep.
49. Chase McNary
His time on The Challenge was short lived after being popular on The Bachelor and a big star on Ex on the Beach. He wasn’t awful, but got targeted because of Ashley. Plus his awkward flirtation with Nany was uncomfortable, but kind of memorable.
48. Asaf Goren
Coming onto The Challenge two seasons too late, Asaf did kind of a lot for a first boot. He hooked up with Nany, called out Wes, and avoided any reference to Are You the One. He was probably in better shape than we were led to believe.
47. Julia Nolan
Liz’s sister and CT’s partner. She was just ok, and the unspoken victim of the silly double elimination on War of the Worlds. She probably did more than we saw on TV, but she did have some potential.
46. Zahida Allen
Her appearance on War of the Worlds 2 was all-but-erased, but she seemed to be OK on War of the Worlds. She taught Zach that Bangladesh was a country, but potentially went home because Zach might have quit on War of the Worlds.
45. Jenn Lee
44. Esther Falana
Esther came to The Challenge as a single mom from a YouTube series. She was nice, not in the best shape, but her motives were pure. She lasted longer than most people anticipated, but we still have to wonder what production was thinking.
43. Morgan Willett
Truth be told, Morgan is mostly on this high on list because of her reputation off the show. Not that it’s particularly bad, but she didn’t do a whole lot on the three episodes of The Challenge where she actually appeared. Her relationship with Bananas gives her a reason to reappear in conversations, even if she doesn’t reappear on your TV.
42. Ashley Cain
Coming into War of the Worlds, Ashley was highly anticipated for a foreigner. He’s strong, but he also didn’t make a huge impression. He fought with Josh, then Paulie at the reunion, but he only made it midway through War of the Worlds despite having a great partner.
41. Swaggy C
When making this list, there seemed to be a turning point between the seldom-seen and the real players in the game. This is that turning point. Regardless of your opinion on Swaggy, he showed up to play. He earned a few spots in Tribunals was ready to make some power moves. He lasted a while, partially due to his relationship with Bayleigh and partially because of the Red Skull twist. Ultimately, his shortcomings in the game cost him a spot in the final, but he certainly gave the show a good run as a “prospect.”
40. Melissa Reeves
After getting into many fights on her prior seasons and taking two seasons off, a tamer Melissa returned for Total Madness. At the beginning of the season she didn’t get much airtime, but at toward the end she started making some waves. Lowkey Melissa proved to be a solid competitor, making it to the final despite being pregnant for the entire season. Perhaps that makes quitting in the final somewhat more understandable.
39. Kayleigh Morris
Already an established competitor by the time she was on War of the Worlds 2, it seemed Kayleigh had a solid position in her alliance. She flew under the radar, and it seemed she was absent from some episodes, but behind the scenes she was keeping her allies safe. Her shining moment was convincing Joss to send Georgia into the Proving Ground, only to get purged with him later in the season.
38. Big T
On War of the Worlds 2, her limited time on the camera showed her as ambitious and loyal to Sean. Her return on Total Madness showed her as a ray of light: someone who didn’t take the game too seriously but still wanted to win. Sadly, a toe injury took her out of the game that time.
37. Joss Mooney
One half of Jogan, it seemed Joss was in a good place this season. Per usual, he was eye candy, and per usual, he did well in the competitions. He beat Bear in a twisted game of Hall Brawl, but lost in a purge with Kayleigh thinking Dee was the one who sucked at swimming. Perhaps someday he’ll get a win.
36. Kaycee Clark
Similar to Melissa, Kaycee played a very solid game while staying relatively under the radar. She came into the game as a Big Brother winner, but had a notable moment when she sided with Nany and betrayed her BB20 cast mate Bayleigh. Her second place finish was quite impressive for a first-timer, but she stood no chance against Jenny.
35. Kailah Casillas
After a two season break, Kailah came back and viewers didn’t know what to expect. She was part of an alliance, but it seemed the fighter we saw on Dirty Thirty and Vendettas didn’t show up. Instead, we had a tumultuous but memorable hook up story with Bear. It was kind of funny, but not the way you want to be remembered.
34. Mattie Lynn Breaux
Early into War of the Worlds, Mattie shows a lot of promise, persevering against Kyle’s “vendetta” Paulie and winning a double elimination. She later started to fizzle as she started to show romantic interest in her partner Kyle. She made the final, but tapped out early into the game. Then, she was pretty low-key on Total Madness, only really getting into a fight with Ashley and losing to Dee in elimination.
33. Hunter Barfield
The return of Hunter told a story of a man physically prepared to compete while dealing with the emotional scarring of Final Reckoning. He was all over the place, hooking up with Julia and Nany and fighting with Turbo and Amanda. He did make the final with the guidance of Wes, but he lost to Ninja and left another one with no money.
32. Bayleigh Dayton
Coming onto the show with a ring on her finger, Bayleigh had one true ally: Swaggy. As we’d find out, Kaycee wasn’t going to help her out this time around, but Bayleigh showed a lot of fight. She landed in multiple Tribunals and defeated Aneesa in elimination. She had a successful run as a rookie, but a knee injury took her out of the final.
31. Jay Starrett
Many rookies have tough paths, but Jay faced the first three male Purgatories and had some monumental moments thanks to this difficulties. He defeated CT, and as far as accomplishments go, that’s a huge one. Though his time on the show was short-lived, he has a uniquely memorable rookie season and this appearance will be remembered for his underdog storyline.
30. Amanda Garcia
There are some people who establish such a presence on The Challenge that their impact can be felt for multiple seasons after they’ve left. During her time on War of the Worlds, Amanda crept into drama that would transcend the season. Her role in the Jenna and Zach fights would reappear as the series progressed, and people would soon warm up to her opinions toward Cara Maria. People are quick to call Amanda a hater, but a year later they usually discover Amanda had a point.
29. Nelson Thomas
After a two season break, Nelson’s return began slowly. He didn’t get much attention until his arguments with Aneesa and Kailah, but as Total Madness progressed Nelson would gain more favor in the house. He eliminated Bear, and showed his loyalties in the game by warning Aneesa of her second Purgatory and volunteering to face Rogan so Cory could stay in the game.
28. Laurel Stucky
The brief but wonderful return of Laurel gave viewers a lot to digest. In four episodes she went from physical dominance, to sleeping schemer, to plotting against Wes, to fighting with Cara Maria, and then to “losing” in one of the most controversial elimination outcomes ever. We only got a taste of Laurel this time around, but she proved she is a worthy competitor and someone who can run the show.
27. Aneesa Ferreira
After a few seasons away from the show, we saw a spark of excitement in the return of Aneesa. She defeated Jenna in elimination and we saw some positive interactions between herself and other veterans. Sadly, the old “Aneesa sucks in the final” trope returned, and she was eliminated near the end of the season… again.
26. Josh Martinez
Josh is someone who always finds himself in the middle of someone else’s story. Whether he’s fighting Amanda’s battles, voting in Laurel’s plan, or inserting himself into Wes’s narrative, his involvement can feel disingenuous. He’s actually a decent competitor at time, but becomes riddled with anxiety during eliminations. He’s not the worst, not the best, and not an essential personnel.
25. Fessy Shafaat
The second he stepped on the field, we knew Fessy was a competitor. Based on size alone, other people knew he wouldn’t get going out of the game easily. While he wasn’t hugely involved in drama, he was a source of fear for other vets. People who are great physical competitors wanted to avoid Fessy, and for such a mellow competitor, he held a unique position of fear in the game. It’s not too surprising to see him in the final during his rookie season, though he finished in fourth for the men.
24. Da’Vonne Rogers
Known for her commentary, Da’Vonne surprised people with her competitive abilities on War of the Worlds. Being paired with Bear, her team had no ability to fly under the radar. Fortunately, she could step up to the plate when need be. She eliminated Shaleen, Jenna, and Dee and nearly made the final. She narrowly lost to Mattie in a purge challenge, but got eliminated right before the end. Oh, and her commentary was stellar.
23. Cory Wharton
After body slamming Tony on Final Reckoning, Cory came back on Total Madness with his mind on the money. He was fighting for his daughter Ryder and baby #2 who was on the way. Cory’s game was strong this time around, shifting his focus away from Bananas and making smart deals along the way. His loyalty to Nelson paid off, and his newfound friendship with Fessy benefitted him as well. Cory got to the final, and while he may have completed day 1 the fastest, he lost on day 2.
22. Georgia Harrison
Coming into The Challenge from the UK and dressed like a Spice Girl, Georgia quickly impressed spectators by defeating Ashley in elimination on War of the Worlds. Later becoming Bear’s original plaything, she walked a thin line between impressive and obnoxious. Her elimination wins were generally strong showings, but War of the Worlds 2 proved her old habits of sleeping with Bear were here to stay. That season she lost to Tori, but eliminated a couple of competitors along the way.
21. Kam Williams
Always a solid competitor, War of the Worlds 1 & 2 reminded us that Kam came from Are You the One. Caught between Leroy and Theo, Kam had a little love triangle of her own with Da’Vonne being a satellite outside of it. In the game, she lost her first proper elimination against Paulie & Ninja, but she performed quite well otherwise. Getting purged out of the War of the World 2 final was a bummer, but somewhat typical ending for Kam.
20. Theo Campbell
Tall, fast, and abrasive, Theo arrived on The Challenge as if he owned the show. In fact, he did quite will and picked up a habit of “winding up” Paulie along the way. He did a stellar job on War of the Worlds, coming in second and earning a $200,000 prize. On War of the Worlds 2 he lost to Jordan and found himself on the wrong side of the majority alliance, but he did eliminate Bananas which is an accomplishment.
19. Jenna Compono
In between her moments of sadness and embarrassment came moments of success and accomplishment. Jenna eliminated Tori on Total Madness, and made a couple of Tribunals on her two seasons in this “trilogy.” Sadly, this will all be overshadowed by her relationship drama with Zach, and there was plenty of that. Whether it was Amanda exposing Zach’s hidden Bumble or Zach threatening to kick her out of his house, Jenna could never just compete when she got on the show.
18. Natalie “Ninja” Duran
Making her first two finals is quite impressive, but Ninja found herself the center of many odd controversies. First, she comes from the competitive American Ninja Warrior, so she’s obviously going to be physically strong. Second, she freaks out at Turbo for underperforming, only to make the Tribunal. Third, she is the best performing woman in the War of the Worlds final but wins no money. Then she returned for War of the Worlds 2 as a reinforcement, even though she’s from USA and there’s an American team. Then she “wins” against Laurel in elimination. Then she loses her second final and goes home empty-handed. Is she a good competitor? It’s up for debate.
17. Kyle Christie
Appearing on all three seasons, Kyle has become a likable character on the show. Still, his role on the franchise is a bit unclear. He’s constantly bickering with Paulie, but they never face each other. He won very little on Total Madness, but me made the final. His most interesting season may have been War of the Worlds 2 when he watched his allies crumble before his eyes.
16. Ashley Mitchell
Coming into this trilogy as a millionaire, Ashley faced a lot of scrutiny and an uphill battle. This resulted in her losing the first elimination on War of the Worlds, but she redeemed herself by surviving the entire War of the Worlds 2 season. She befriended one-time-nemesis Cara Maria and navigated the game with a strong alliance. She lost the final, and returned on Total Madness earning a reputation as a snake. She left early due to a game of chance, now she remains a wildcard competitor in the game.
15. Tori Deal
Her performance on Total Madness was unimpressive, as she was the third girl out of the game due to the anxiety caused by the Red Skull twist, but she was a huge player on War of the Worlds 2. One of the turncoats that season, she faced constant frustrations from Cara’s alliance. She had a major upset when she beat Jenny in Hall Brawl, and despite being purged out in the final, but her biggest prize was getting engaged to Jordan.
14. Leroy Garrett
This era is the point where Leroy showed up hoping to get some respect put on his name. On War of the Worlds, that wasn’t going to happen with Shaleen as his partner, but he became a part of Cara’s alliance on War of the Worlds 2. Trading in the Bananas Boat for the Cult of Cara ruffled some feather, especially Nany’s, but it also got him to a final. Sadly, he was purged out of the final and after ten seasons Leroy hasn’t gotten his win. But hey, Kamroy is a thing.
13. CT Tamburello
Appearing on all three seasons, only one was successful for CT. In fact, he got his third win on War of the Worlds 2, but he played a unique role this time around. He was separated from the US veterans and had to work within the UK alliances. As a result, we didn’t see the beast we’d come to love. We saw a political CT: a successful player, but the type of guy who’d play rock, paper, scissors to throw a challenge.
12. Jenny West
Coming into the game as a physical force, Jenny proved to have a heart as big as her muscles. She’s viewed as a truly caring person, but her gameplay wasn’t without its flaws. She was on the wrong side of the UK alliance, and eventually lost to Tori in Hall Brawl. On Total Madness she found herself in an alliance with Dee, then trying to eliminate Dee. She redeemed herself, beating Dee in Hall Brawl and won the entire season.
11. Nany Gonzalez
After taking four seasons off, Nany returned as flirtatious as ever. It’s like she never missed a beat, because her performance in the game was about on par with older seasons. She performed decently well, but she never won an elimination. She made it far in the game, but never made a final. Nany maintained her friendship with Bananas, struggled in her relationship with Leroy, found a new nemesis in Cara Maria, and became flirty with Chase, Hunter, Asaf, and Kaycee.
10. Cara Maria Sorbello
In this game, it’s like Cara Maria can do nothing wrong and do everything wrong at the same time. She’s made five consecutive finals, and War of the Worlds and War of the Worlds 2 were no exception. In these two seasons, her primary ally was her boyfriend Paulie and her expanded “cult” on the latter season. This earned her a lot of enemies, and she was closed off from people who didn’t work with her. This meant Kyle, Nany, Jordan, and Tori all resented Cara and would have liked her gone. Regardless, Cara never saw an elimination and may have been inspiration for the Red Skull twist.
9. Zach Nichols
How is it that Zach pops up in every single season? Even when he’s not on the cast, he’s in the drama. On War of the Worlds, he was only on the season for a few episodes and allegedly quit. Still, was accused of stabbing Bananas in the back and had his relationship jeopardized by Amanda. Then War of the Worlds 2 comes around, and he’s suddenly likable and the muscle against Cara’s Cult. Then, he doesn’t show up on the Total Madness cast but gets involved in some FaceTime drama because he read all of Jenna’s old DMs on Instagram. Whether you like him or not, Zach is always a part of the show.
8. Paulie Calafiore
In a world where you need to be competitive and dramatic to remain on The Challenge, Paulie fits in perfectly. His beef with Kyle dragged all season on War of the Worlds and his friendship with Josh deteriorated on War of the Worlds 2. He also had arguments with Ashley C. and Theo, and it seemed like many of the veterans held resentment toward Paulie. Still, he generally did well in competition, but when he fell, he fell hard. He got purged out of War of the Worlds and deteriorated during the War of the Worlds 2 final. Paulie is a good competitor, but it seems like the focus is his wild personality rather than his fight in the game.
The sole winner of War of the Worlds, Turbo was a likable dark horse that season. His commitment to Nany showed a sensitive side but his no-bullshit attitude resulted in some arguments with Hunter and Ninja. In the end, all of this was swept under the rug and his drive to win was put on display. Flash forward to War of the Worlds 2, and he’s portrayed as a mediocre competitor who overreacted to all of Jordan’s criticism. He was kicked off the season do trying to fight and pushing through multiple security guards. This was a stark contrast to the man we saw on War of the Worlds.
6. Rogan O’Connor
After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance on Vendettas, Rogan had back surgery and returned on War of the Worlds 2. Part of the JOGAN duo, he managed to avoid every elimination that season. He politicked correctly, hooked up with Dee, and took home a quarter of a million dollars. Next season he returned, and this time he was much more arrogant. He bodied Jay in elimination, defeated Nelson, and betrayed Dee (again). Rogan proved he’s a good competitor, but he lost in elimination during the final, remaining a one-time-champ.
5. Stephen Bear
Bear coming onto The Challenge was a big investment for the show, but one that paid off. He played a big role in each of the three seasons. First, he hooked up with Georgia only for her to discover he had a “cousin.” Then, he defeated Wes in War of the Worlds 2 while continuing his relationship with Georgia. Finally, he hooked up with Kailah, ending her relationship with Mikey P. Bear is a funny character, and a lighthearted addition to the show who’s willing to ruin lives for the sake of a having a laugh.
4. Jordan Wiseley
After winning Dirty Thirty, Jordan shacked up with Tori and needed more money. So, he returned on War of the Worlds 2 and caused quite a splash. He mocked Turbo, switched to Team UK, proposed to Tori, won a couple eliminations, and left with $250,000 in his pockets. Very few competitors have done this much in a single season, so a lot was expected of him on Total Madness. This season was more of a flop for him. He failed to get Tori her Red Skull and left with a dislocated shoulder rather than fattened pockets.
3. Wes Bergmann
After a four-season break from the Challenges proper, Wes returned and made quite a splash. He performed well on War of the Worlds, coming in third in the final and mentoring Dee along the way. He played a role in Bananas’s early boot, and his political game was on point. The same can’t be said for the next two seasons. He lost to Bear in a blindside on War of the Worlds 2 and lost to Bananas on Total Madness. His appearance on the last season was marked by a surprise alliance with Bananas and covered in a bright red beard.
2. Johnny Bananas
No matter what he does, Bananas plays a role on The Challenge. His micro-appearance on War of the Worlds resulted in a betrayal by Zach and a new relationship with Morgan. Then, he did slightly better on War of the Worlds 2, where he was the third male out, but at least he got to watch Wes leave. After two disappointing appearances, he decided it was time to work with his foe. On Total Madness, Bananas found an ally in Wes. His twentieth season was his most profitable. He beat Wes in elimination and left with half a million dollars.
1. Dee Nguyen
If you look at this “trilogy” in a vacuum, you’ll really see the metamorphosis of Dee. She’s really the only competitor who played an important and successful role in all three seasons. She begins as Wes’s padawan, learning to play a smart and savage game. This season she established her groundwork, learned to swim, and made it to the later half of the season. War of the Worlds 2 removed training wheels and Dee navigated the game by herself. With the love of Rogan and the support of Team UK she made it to the final. She avoided the purge with her very-average swimming abilities and avoided elimination with her very-big crocodile tears. Dee shut up the doubters when she became the only girl to walk away with a share of the prize money.
Flash forward to Total Madness and we discover Wes created a monster. Dee became a ruthless player who was willing to stab friends in the back and destroy alliances. She remained a solid competitor, winning two eliminations, but her devious gameplay made her the target of some blindsides. Her second and third eliminations were due to her willingness to betray Jenny and the fact that other competitors had no respect for her gameplay.
Needless to say, the existence of Dee on The Challenge will live and die within this Trilogy. Outside of the game she made some crude, racist, and tone-deaf remarks. MTV severed ties, and Dee was edited out of the her last few episodes for the most part. Instead, she became the reason viewers had to see a PSA at the beginning of every episode.
Based strictly on the footage we saw and the gameplay, Dee had the biggest impact out of any competitor across the three seasons. Most of the veterans had one good season and early eliminations, but Dee won one season and made it far on the other two. It’s hard to deny that MTV put a lot of faith into a competitor who blew her chances at becoming the face of the show.