When it comes to The Challenge, there are some things we’ve grown to expect. Trivia, Hall Brawls, heights over water, and plates full of disgusting cuisines. Usually these elements have grown to become fan favorites, but there are some memorable challenges that haven’t been so frequent.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of off-beat daily challenges that worked really well. While that makes them fun for viewers, it’s not a requirement for this list. Any challenge that tests competitors and teams on uncommon skills can qualify.
I’m looking for competitions that are functionally unique: not built around theatrics. More recent seasons will place competitors in airplane crashes, stunt cars, or semi-trucks. While this makes for a cool trailer, the actual competitions were just puzzles, math, and wrestling. I’m not looking for the same old games in exciting packaging.
Come Sail Away (The Inferno)
It might be wild to think about, but there was a time when the cast could interact with the public. On The Inferno, they had a mission where the cast needed to sell garbage to tourists. Ultimately, CT ended up in a bikini and Shane and Abram were giving out massages for sales. Nowadays, production does everything possible to keep the cast hidden from the public, but there was a time when they were begging the public to engage with the cast.
Run For Your Money (The Inferno 2)
A lot of challenges have tested speed, strategy, and basic math, but no challenge has wrapped it all into such a concise package as Run For Your Money. It’s funny how such a simple concept can make for such an entertaining show, but the cast ran for fake bills like they had real value. I think everyone has the dream of money falling from the sky, but everyone fears having so much money they can’t keep track of it. This challenge made Inferno 2 competitors experience it all in a single episode.
The Pit (The Gauntlet 2)
When people think of unique but interesting challenges, The Pit probably enters a few minds. On The Gauntlet 2, the cast had to escape from a makeshift pit using nothing but novelty items. They had duct tape, pantyhose, and an assortment of balls. Ultimately, it was the last person on either team that made the competition difficult. Alton needed to use his body as a human ladder, but it let the Rookies to win.
Luging My Mind (The Duel 2)
The human bobblehead challenge takes some classic challenge elements, makes them silly, then tests some new skills. The cut out in the bobblehead limits vision, then it makes the game a lot more dangerous when the cast needs to steer go-karts down a hill. It was fun to watch, but seriously surprising that no one got in a go-kart accident.
Bottleneck Stampede (Cutthroat)
There were a few challenges on Cutthroat that embraced the 3-team format, but Bottleneck Stampede may have been the most unique. This challenge induced claustrophobia and forced teams to squeeze through a number of bottlenecks until one team crossed the finish line. The highlight may have been Abe holding back entire blue team, but this is a challenge that could only work so well with three big teams.
Car Crusher (Rivals)
On the surface, this challenge seems super random, but it’s also one of the more memorable ones from Rivals. Teammates had to work in unison to crush a car and push it under a beam. While the concept is simple, few competitors had ever used a claw or worked construction. They were given moments to learn how to operate heavy machinery that could rip through metal.
Up All Night (Rivals 3)
On recent seasons, we’ve seen a few night time challenges. However, no challenge really depended on sleep deprivation like Up All Night. On Rivals 3, teams needed to stand on boxes all night and watch a series of interesting events. Then, they needed to remember specific details without getting any wrong. The twist: no one was told to remember details. Sarah picked up on the real challenge quickly, but other people twerked through it all.
Fallout (Invasion of the Champions)
Fallout wasn’t just an endurance challenge. It was a competition to gain access to two ropes then hang onto each other like a bunch of bananas. This also allowed Shane to implement a unique strategy where he sacrificed himself to knock out all of the veterans. It worked well, and made the game more strategic than just a hoping onto a rope.
Doom Buggy (War of the World)
We’ve seen challenges were speed was a factor, but usually competitors have water or a semi-truck under them. In the Doom Buggy challenge, sand was the biggest deterrent. Competitors needed to crawl across a series of tires, and while that might sound easy, the unfamiliar terrain allowed some unexpected people to excel while others were left in the dust.
Drone Control (Double Agents)
The cast had to fly drones through a cave. It had never been done before and should never be done again.