It seems like each passing installment of The Challenge gets longer and longer. With episodes creeping up to 90 minutes a piece and seasons containing 18+ episodes, it can be a big time investment to see our winner.
But in these cases, we could have guessed the winner from day one. These people were the front runners, during the first challenge, and unsurprisingly, they maintained that title in the final episode.
This is another installment in my series of Challenge winners. I’ve done overrated winners, underrated winners, and competitors who should have won. Like the previous entries, I will rank based on individual appearances, but this time I will focus on teams, duos, or individuals based on the design of the season. My assessments are based on the perceived competition, the competitors’ abilities, and the statistical probability of winning.
10. The Champions (The Ruins)
While I wanted to steer away from big teams, I can’t ignore how obviously dominant the Champs were. A bunch of proven winners will beat a bunch of newbies and proven losers. We expected it, and it happened. It’s a shock that the Challengers even won a single daily mission.
9. CT Tamburello (Spies, Lies, and Allies)
Usually, there are at least two super vets on a Challenge season — people like Bananas, Wes, or Darrell. But CT was the only person to fit the bill on Spies, Lies and Allies, and he steamrolled the competition. The only reason he isn’t higher is that the Big Brother Alliance and the potential rookie alliance should have had the numbers to stop him. It could have made winning harder, but they didn’t even try.
8. The Men (Battle of the Sexes 2)
If we learned anything from the first Battle of the Sexes, it’s that production hasn’t done a great job balancing the game for differences between the sexes. Then, the two seasons between Sexes 1 and Sexes 2 made the show more competitive. So it was a peculiar choice to make a second Battle of the Sexes, but there was no difference in the final outcome.
7. Laurel Stucky (Free Agents)
Many of the Individual seasons do a poor job casting competitive players, especially on the women’s side. Coming into this season, Laurel was the girl to fear. To give credit where it’s due, other girls did try to send Laurel into elimination and get her taken out. But she kept coming out on top, because that’s what the top dog does.
6. Rachel Robinson (The Duel 2)
Similar to Laurel, Rachel was the obvious front-runner at the start of this season. We only had a handful of female champs on The Duel 2, and she was one of them. Then, it became clear that Mark would be her partner throughout the rest of the game and the pecking order was extremely predictable. So Rachel avoided eliminations, and the few times she was vulnerable, no girl would call her out.
5. CT and Wes (Rivals 2)
There’s a handful of Challenge men who always come into the game with power. Bananas is one of those people, but CT and Wes also fit the bill. So when the two were paired together, their advantage was obvious. They had a lot of connections with the girls, who inevitably kept them safe, then they dominated the final. Bananas would be their only real competition, but he wasn’t in the best shape this season. Frank was likely the stronger male in that partnership, and he didn’t stand a chance against CT or Wes.
4. Jenny West (Total Madness)
During the trilogy, production did a pretty good job making the game less predictable. By the time Total Madness rolled around, a lot of the strongest girls were banned or pissed off with production. Not Jenny, this was only her second season. She was ripped and friends with the right people, and her only competition was rookie Kaycee or Tori (who eliminated her on War of the Worlds 2). Neither were able to stop Jenny, and predictably, Jenny won.
3. Jodi Weatherton (The Duel)
The men’s side of The Duel was stacked with strong rookies, and the fact that 9 of the 10 would eventually become Challenge champions proves there was a lot of potential. On the women’s side, Jodi was the only real threat. Who was going to stop her? Maybe this was an era where people had some faith in Aneesa, but when Svetlana became her inevitable final opponent, it was clear that the girls didn’t have the same level of competition as the men.
2. Paula and Emily (Rivals 2)
If CT and Wes were obvious winners, these two were all but guaranteed. Their “rivalry” was based on late-game elimination matches, which means they’re both prone to success. A lot of the men liked these girls, which kept them safe, and no girls really wanted to face them. So they got the end by repeatedly winning and leaning on alliances. Then, they got to the final and won. To her credit, Cooke put a lot of pressure on this team, but she wasn’t going to change the outcome.
1. Bananas and Sarah (Rivals 3)
Coming into Rivals 3, Bananas and Sarah had huge Challenge resumes filled with wins, strategic moves, and manipulation. Most of the other competitors had resumes filled with alcohol, cigarettes, and Truth Booths. Add to the fact that production forced Vinny and Jenna into the game to give Bananas a built-in ally, and they were always sitting pretty. The final was so predictable that the money-stealing twist basically needed to be introduced so something, anything, would make the outcome more climactic.