Challenge seasons last months, so it’s annoying when the show ends and viewers are dissatisfied with the winners. Often, these competitors lose fair-and-square, but there are times when there’s reason to believe a loser should have won.
I guess I’m doing a series on winners now, because I posted about underrated and overrated winners recently. Today, we’re checking out people who should have gotten the win. Like previous installments, each entry is based on individual appearances. So, some people on the list might be champions, but they’re mentioned for a specific season when they did not win.
Honorable Mention 2: The Veterans (The Gauntlet 3)- We all know Eric was DQed, and they lost because they had to finish “as a team,” but no other season has ever played by this rule.
Honorable Mention 1: Zach and Ninja- Zach was the best male on Vendettas and Ninja was the best female on War of the Worlds. Those seasons only had one winner, but there was no reason for it. Jonna or Kellyanne should also be considered, but their scores were tied so we don’t truly know who would have won for the females on All Stars 1 (I bet it would have been Kellyanne though).
10. Janelle Casanave (All Stars 2)
Janelle is one of those players who took a long time away from the show, but returned in great shape. She kind of floated in the middle of the game for a while, but she took out Jodi before the final. But, there was a sketchy mistake at the end of the final that could have cost her the game. It seems like she was mentally and physically prepped to win, but she blinked her eye and Jonna & MJ were getting the crown. Darrell also helped this team be successful, but it came down to a puzzle in the end, and let’s face it, Janelle would be the one to solve it.
9. Mark Long (The Duel 2)
Mark lost this season because he had to wait for Aneesa, and the game wasn’t truly “individual” like it was advertised to be. While it is true that Mark was the last male to the second checkpoint, he had a lot of experience on Challenges and he won multiple daily challenges on the season. It’s not ridiculous to think he could have made up time after this checkpoint, but he lost a lot of time waiting for Aneesa.
8. Sylvia Elsrode (Final Reckoning)
It’s not uncommon knowledge that the Final Reckoning final was sketchy at best, but Sylvia played that entire season as flawlessly as anyone could. While she “lost” to Ashley, she was part of the only duo who stayed in the main house for the whole season. So, why is Sylvia here over Joss? Well, Joss was robbed as well, but his path to the final was a little easier because the Lavendar Ladies dominated this season, and he has Sylvia to thank for that.
7. Kenny Santucci (Rivals)
Kenny’s first day in the final was pretty legendary. He dominated, getting a much faster time than Johnny & Tyler, only to get a 2-minute lead the second day. While many people have suffered similar fates on later seasons, there was no precedent set on Rivals. So why does Kenny get mentioned and not Wes? Because Wes would still be cramping on a mountain right now if it wasn’t for Kenny carrying him through the final.
6. Mark Long (Battle of the Sexes 2)
We all know Mark threw the final mission of the season so Eric would get to the end and Arissa would be guaranteed a spot on final the girls’ team. But the guys would have almost definitely won the Vertigo mission, and there’s little doubt that the men would have still defeated the women, even if Tina took Arissa’s spot.
5. Brad Fiorenza (The Duel)
Brad came in second during both installments of The Duel, and both times he seemed seconds away from winning. On The Duel 2, he lost because he exhausted himself during a dig and Evan hit the gas harder at the last second, but he lost the first Duel because of a bogus soccer twist. Wes earned a 2-minute time advantage. Without that, Brad would have won because he completed the course in less time.
4. Kam Williams (Vendettas)
Clearly the stand-out rookie of the season, Kam really stood a chance at victory — until a weird mercenary twist impacted her. She was the only person to lose in a random game of blackjack, had to bury a log, and missed her shot at competing in the final stage. Kam’s pretty good at puzzles, so it’s not too crazy to think she actually could have won the whole thing, but thanks to the silly twist, we’ll never know.
3. Cory Wharton (Total Madness)
Cory’s competed in four finals without a win, but in one case, you could make an argument that he should have won. On Total Madness, he the winner of day 1 in the final, and we know he had a lead on his opponents (and Bananas, the eventual winner). Then, on day 2, it was reduced to minutes. This allowed Bananas to take the win, but he wasn’t too far behind. If we measured the final by cumulative time for completion (similar to War of the Worlds 1), Cory likely would have had the best time overall.
2. Diem Brown (Battle of the Exes)
Everyone’s heart broke when they watched Diem get so close to victory, then they watched her lose at the eleventh hour. The worst part? She wasn’t the anchor on the team. She set a good pace and did everything she should have done, but CT crashed hard during the mountain climb, allowing Bananas & Camila to get the victory from under her nose.
1. Tori Deal (Spies, Lies and Allies)
You need to give credit where it’s due: Tori was performing incredibly well during the season 37 final, even zipping through puzzles earlier in the game. She avoided the elimination, because her cell won the team portion of the final, only to be forced to lose CT as a partner. There’s no doubt in my mind that CT and Tori would have chosen to work together if given the option, but instead, the losers got the chance to pick their partners and Kaycee snagged CT and the win.