When you think of “classic” or fan-favorite eliminations, there are probably one or two that pop into your head. Some examples are: Hall Brawl, Balls In, Wrecking Wall, and Knot so Fast. Meanwhile, we’ve had over 25 seasons with eliminations and many great eliminations have only appeared once.
This list focuses on unique games that varied from other competitions. Some are just fun to watch, but other are great because they test multiple skills. Underdogs have a shot at winning these competitions, even if they aren’t guaranteed to win.
Minute variations on fan-favorite eliminations are not considered. Pole Wrestle is basically the same thing as Rag Doll from The Ruins, except one used a pole and one a rope. They’re not different enough to get Rag Doll listed.
10. Meet Me Half Way (Final Reckoning)
A cool idea stolen from a Mario Party mini-game, this concept was wasted with unbalanced teams. One parter finds a key, the other finds a lock. To navigate through the course, they need to smash through a series of walls. Then, they will meet in the middle to unlock the lock. This would be the perfect contest for two coed teams, but instead we saw Cara Maria & Marie vs. Shane & Nelson.
9. Hooking Up (Battle of the Exes 2)
In a watch-your-back style game, Hooking Up required competitors to hook the back of their opponent’s harness. This would then launch the loser into the air. Size played an advantage but speed and agility were also required to win.
8. Home Wrecker (Bloodlines)
An ironic name for a competition between Abram and Thomas’ teams, Home Wrecker is an adaptation of the Wreck ‘N Roll mission on The Inferno. In this game, competitors need to destroy all of the furniture in a room and shove it through a tiny hole. It’s unexpectedly exhausting and requires as much skill as it does strength.
7. Oil and Water (Vendettas)
A rare battle that doesn’t take place on sand, this elimination gave us an epic battle between Sylvia and Melissa. Two girls wrestling while covered oil sounds like a production dream. And the viewers loved the fight we saw. While this is a newer game, it seems like the type of thing that would be brought back because it was popular the first time around.
6. Oh Ring (The Ruins)
Pole Wrestle is a simple but intense game. Oh Ring replaces the pole with a ring, but ups the ante by making gravity a factor. Competitors can try to wrestle the ring away from their opponent or make it an endurance game against gravity. When one person lets go, the person holding the ring wins. This game actually reappeared on the Spring Break Challenge, but did anyone watch that?
5. Knock Your Block Off (The Gauntlet)
The Gauntlet had something in the elimination arena most seasons do not: a pool. This allowed competitors to fall into water after a loss. In Knock Your Block Off, the goal was to use a huge pugil stick to knock your opponent off a beam and they’d fall into the water. Memorably, The Miz beat Abe, but the game seemed like a good test of speed and strength.
4. Shadow Fighter (The Ruins)
This was a 4-way tug-of-war. With a rope attached to each wrists and ankle, competitors had to pull their opponent off their platform. This game gets a bad rep because Evelyn quit, but the idea required more coordination than an average tug-of-war. Strategy could outperform strength, but our only real visual of the game is Wes vs. Nick Brown.
3. Name that Coconut (The Gauntlet 2)
A game that combined: speed, knowledge, and wrestling, Name that Coconut produced some memorable battles on The Gauntlet 2. The questions were about The Challenge, Real World, and Road Rules. We might not be able to quiz people about their cast members’ origins anymore, but the concept is still strong. It could have easily been used for geography questions on War of the Worlds 1 or 2, replace cast members with countries on the coconuts.
2. Push Me (The Duel)
A great concept ruined by a dumb technicality, Push Me is best known for CT and Beth ripping flags and getting DQed. Viewers were treated to a good show the one time the game was completed without issue. Svetlana took Kina “for a ride” and pushed her way back into the game. The competition is as much about patience and strategy as it is about strength.
1. Back Up Off Me (Cutthroat)
I really don’t know how this game didn’t get reused, as it gave us the infamous Bananas Backpack moment. It’s a simple game of strength, but you can’t see your opponent. She’s strapped to your back like a backpack. Drag her to a barrel and win.