Thirteen years ago, for season 18, MTV debuted The Ruins. Fourteen champions came onto the competition for this toxic season. About eight years later, eight Champions invaded an all-rookie season for the show’s 29th season, appropriately named Invasion of the Champions.
It seems like the 39th season of The Challenge would be an appropriate time for a Champion-centric season. But could this happen? The Challenge is much different than it was in 2016 — and it’s exceptionally different than it was in 2009.
Then we have the real question: Should this happen?
Could We Have Another Champions-Based Season?
There’s a level of exclusivity associated with being a Challenge champion, and the winners’ club hasn’t been growing much since Invasion. From the start of Invasion to the end of Spies, Lies and Allies, only 8 new people have joined the club: Ashley, (debatably) Hunter, Turbo, Rogan, Dee, Jenny, Amber, and Kaycee. You could add four people to that number for winning spin-offs (Tony, Jonna, and 2 people from The Challenge: USA), but then you’d need to subtract one (and maybe a few more) for getting banned. Moral of the story: Our casting pool hasn’t grown much.
But, depending on the size of the team, I think it could happen. Especially because there’s some renewed interest from Old Schoolers after All-Stars.
If we were going to have a Champion-based season, I think these people would be contenders (plus two potential new winners from Season 38)
- Active cast members/ decent shot of participation: Johnny Bananas, Jordan, Turbo, Darrell, CT, Wes, Derrick, Kaycee, Amber, Veronica, Ashley, Jenny
- Potential yeses/ rocky relationship with show: Rogan, Zach, Hunter, Brad, Laurel, Cara Maria, Ashley K.
- People who could have done The Ruins, didn’t, but might say yes because of All Stars: Yes, Alton, Mark, Nehemiah, MJ, Kendal, Roni, Jodi
- Random people who might say yes: Jamie Banks, Tyler, Syrus, Sam, Carley
- Not likely, but maybe: Frank S., Abe, Landon, Jamie Murray, Sarah, Emily S., Rachel Robinson, Katie, Tori Hall, Susie, Julie
With all of those names, it doesn’t seem impossible to make a team of 14 or 16 people. Not only that, it’d be pretty exciting, because it would incorporate a lot of big names and some returns we haven’t seen in a long time.
Should We Have Another Champions-Based Season?
There’s a lot of factors that come into play when making a team Challenge, especially in the modern era. Here are some of the things we need to consider before making a Champions vs. non-Champions season:
- Will daily challenges matter?
- Does the format make sense and will the viewers be happy with it?
- Are the underdogs actual competition?
Over the past decade, especially since we got the $1,000,000 prize, competitors haven’t had lot of incentive to perform well in dailies. If we look at War of the Worlds 2, people were throwing challenges to get rid of their teammates. This doesn’t make the show interesting.
So production would need to find a way to keep people invested in winning. In recent years, this has been a struggle, and there isn’t uniform solution. But I’d like to believe there’s a way to incentivize winning daily challenges to encourage competition throughout the season.
Invasion really missed the mark in terms of formatting. Based on feedback, viewers want to see the Underdogs face the Champions. We don’t want predetermined Underdog eliminations and Champion eliminations. This could be fixed by using equal-sized teams, and by not keeping eliminations within teams.
A lot of people think the outcome of Invasion would have been different if the Underdogs faced the Champions — especially on the women’s side. I don’t really think so, because the Underdogs had more people on their team and could have used numbers to keep the Lavender Ladies safe. To avoid a similar situation, teams should be equal sizes from the beginning.
The formatting is where The Ruins nailed it and Invasion failed.
Is It Competitive?
This is where The Ruins struggled. The Challenger team was no competition for the Champions, but on Invasion, the teams were a bit more competitive. And now that fewer people win seasons, the non-Champion team could be stacked with strong people.
Yet I think this is where production would fail us. Rather than give us a crop of strong people, we’d get people like Nany, Josh, Aneesa, Nelson, etc. These people keep doing the show and losing, so they’d pose very little threat to the existing Champions. We need people who can disrupt the status quo.
Theoretically, we have the an existing pool of non-Champs who could make a badass team. Realistically, production will keep giving us the same faces.
Should This Season Happen
Despite the potential for shortcomings, I’m all for it. Even if production fumbled the non-Champion team, it would be a great opportunity to bring back people we haven’t seen in a while. And we’re in a better position than ever to assemble competitive teams. A lot of older Champions have renewed interest, and we have so many non-Champions that we could have a stacked underdog team.
This would be a great way to bridge Season 38 and season 40, which I’d expect to be somewhat monumental like Dirty Thirty was. But only time will tell if we even get to season 40 after 39.