In 2005, Real World Philadelphia alumnus MJ made his Challenge debut on The Gauntlet 2. He won, along with his roommate Landon, and only did two more seasons of the main show. Over a decade after his appearance on The Duel 2, he came back to All Stars. Now, he has two victories under his belt.
Despite being a champ, MJ was seldom discussed prior to All Stars 2. Now that he returned and snagged his second win, he has become more relevant than he has been in ages. Plus, he’ll be on All Stars 3, so it seems like his name might stick around.
The Gauntlet 2
Despite winning, MJ had an incredibly easy season. He’s a big guy and a college football star. If team captain Alton wanted to stay in the game, he wasn’t going to risk facing MJ. So, MJ just coasted through the season. Was he an asset to the rookies? Yes, but they likely would have been fine in the final without him. His victory demonstrated he can navigate The Challenge, but it still left him with something to prove.
The Gauntlet 3
Coming back as a replacement Rookie, MJ was in a tough spot. He was on a team fueled by alliances, and the team wasn’t beating the Veterans much. It was only a matter of time before he’d see a Gauntlet, and he faced Frank. This is likely his most humbling moment because he lost to a smaller, more strategic Frank in a strength-based game.
The Duel 2
MJ was a replacement cast member two times before he won The Challenge twice. Again, he was at a disadvantage coming into the game late, but at least he had Landon. This gave him some help in the game, but it didn’t last for too long. He beat two competitors in Duels, and made it to the second-to-last Duel. This season showed us MJ was a good player, but not necessarily the best. It also showed us his biggest flaw: his political game.
All Stars 2
Returning to the show, it seemed like MJ fit right in with this cast. He recognized many people from The Gauntlet 2 and found himself part of a big alliance. This helped him get through a few episodes easily, but eventually, he won a challenge and made it to the final without seeing an elimination. While he won the final, it certainly wasn’t a dominant victory, but he does get props for working well with his partner.
How Will MJ Be Remembered?
First and foremost, he’ll be remembered for his size and strength. If you’re in a physical elimination, you don’t want to see him on the other side. But, he’s not unbeatable, and he might not be the most strategic. The Gauntlet 3 will tell you this.
He’s also someone who plays the game with friends rather than just allies. He likes the people he’s working with, and he’s unlikely to betray them. So, his political game is a bit predictable.
While MJ has a pretty good record on the show, there aren’t any huge moments I can point to and call him a beast. He seems to have benefitted from circumstance, and he only won seasons where he didn’t go into elimination. This means he might not be as respected as other players, especially going into the All Stars 3 season.