The Challenge

10 Most Overrated Challenge Champions

Some champions get way more credit than they deserve.

The exclusive club of Challenge winners has of a lot heroic performances in there. It also had some winners who don’t get fair assessments for their performances. Last week, I looked at the underrated winners. This week, we’ll look at the ones who you could consider overrated.

These are people who receive a good amount of praise for their wins, even though they had fairly easy roads to victory or let their partners do a lot of the work . However, the list won’t include people who generally receive a lot of backlash for their victories, as they’re already poorly rated. And once again, I am looking at individual performances, not the sum of every victory.

10. Johanna Botta (The Gauntlet 3)

All of the winning Rookies on this season won by default, but Challenge fans are pretty hard on most of them. Yet Johanna seemed to skate by on her two subsequent seasons. Maybe it’s because she’s pretty, or maybe it’s because she makes a bigger contribution to the show’s drama. While people like Tori Hall receive a lot of criticism for her victory, Johanna appeared on the Champions team of The Ruins and people didn’t seem to bat an eye.

9. Johnny Bananas (Rivals)

A lot of people were upset to see CT lose to Bananas & Tyler in the final elimination, but the only funny business in T-Boned can be attributed to Adam. So the team gets to the final and lags behind Kenny & Wes, until the clock resets on day two. In true Challenge fashion, all of Kenny & Wes’s work is diminished into a 2-minute lead and Bananas & Tyler swoop in for the win.

Technically, Bananas is just as worthy of the win as Tyler, but this list is based on competitors being overrated, and Johnny seems to get a lot of credit — especially when he walked into Exes defending his champ title.

8. Landon Lueck (The Gauntlet 2)

For someone who won 3 of his 4 Challenges, Landon didn’t contribute a whole lot to his second win. Granted, he did have strong moments, like winning Balancing Act, but he mostly flew under the radar. Mind you, a lot of this can be attributed to the captain twist, but Landon was really just on this season for a party. He didn’t even compete in the final, yet he got a share of the final prize.

The same argument can be made for Jamie Murray, but he gets a lot of shit for being a veteran on the Rookies team, so his win is already tarnished.

7. Jamie Chung (The Inferno 2)

Jamie Chung is one of those anomalies on reality TV, and a great underdog story from the 2000s, but what are we really impressed with? She didn’t win any Infernos and her team in the final was stacked, but she got to the end because she was the OK-est girl on the team. If she was strong, the Bad Asses would have sent her into The Inferno. If she was a bad player, her team would try to send her in via life shield. But, she’s a genuinely nice person and a true Good Guy, so at least the easy win went to the right person.

6. Zach Nichols (Battle of the Seasons)

Zach has appeared on Invasion and Champs vs. Pros thanks to his victory on Battle of the Seasons. While Team San Diego received a lot of scrutinies, Zach probably gets the least — because let’s be honest, he looks like a champ. But Zach’s win can really be credited to Sam, or even Jonna. If Sam didn’t beat Jasmine in Hall Brawl, Zach would have lost to CJ in the elimination and there wouldn’t have been a tie-breaker. Plus, the team’s success is heavily a result of its strong alliance, and a lot of that credit goes to Frank.

5. CT Tamburello (War of the Worlds 2)

When CT wasn’t picked for Team USA at the start of War of the Worlds 2, he seemed doomed. But this was actually the best-case scenario. Team UK was so fresh and drama-fueled that they needed CT’s seniority, but he was fully disconnected from the feuds. Team USA wasn’t going to mess with him, so if he was ever in jeopardy, the Tribunal would have tried to keep him around. While we can’t discredit his endurance in the final, we also can’t act like he had a hard time getting there, or even had to earn his leadership position on Team UK.

4. Kaycee Clark (Spies, Lies and Allies)

Throughout Spies, Lies and Allies, Kaycee was a consistently strong performer. She held an alliance together fairly well, so why is she on this list? Likely, she only won because she was paired with CT in the last leg of the final. And she only got to be his partner after (easily) winning an elimination against Nany. She had to fail to be successful, and her “cell” earned the failures that got her sent into that final elimination.

3. Johnny Bananas (Rivals 3)

There are a lot of reasons to dislike Johnny’s performance in the Rivals 3 final, whether it be the fact that he stole Sarah’s money or that he allegedly cheated to do it. But really, this win feels overrated because Bananas & Sarah had no real competition the season. The money twist felt necessary because we knew the winners from day one, and watching the team win would be way too predictable. Production knew they needed to do something to make it interesting, and Johnny gets all the glory for it.

2. Evelyn Smith (The Island)

Evelyn declaring war with Bananas was the highlight of The Island, but we rarely look at the way this feud ended. Bananas earned his key back, then Evelyn won the right to steal the final key. Rather than get her revenge on Bananas, she chose to work with him. She could have taken his key and worked with Kenny and Derrick, likely winning in the end, but she chose the path of least resistance. She got her money, but she had so much potential and she threw it all away for the easy win.

1. Cara Maria Sorbello (Battle of the Bloodlines)

While Bloodlines had one of the coolest finals, Cara Maria was not cool under the pressure of the final. It’s hard to believe she’d win if she didn’t have Jamie next to her making up for the time she was costing the team. She couldn’t drink the beer and choked on the puzzles. Admittedly, she did a great job carrying her sandbag and she was average during the eating portion, but she needed Jamie’s performance to compensate for the struggles. Fortunately, it seems like Cara Maria recognized her weaknesses and worked to improve. She went on to win Vendettas and demonstrated to us that she’s a worthy Champion without anyone by her side.


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