Some Challengers have come so close to victory just to have it ripped away. It sucks when a competitor steals the prize money at the last moment, but there’s a worse scenario. Sometimes, production implements twists that change the course of the game. Even the most prepared Challenge players couldn’t have predicted these moments. In fact, there are times when it seemed like production wanted to play puppet master.
The people who have lost opportunities at the hands of these twists have been dubbed robbed goddesses (or gods).
The term comes from Survivor (just like “winner’s edit“), and it is generally understood to be someone who was doing well in the game but lost because of an unfair/ unexpected twist. Usually, you can see production’s thumbprint all over these moves, and the inclusion of this twist reminds viewers they’re watching a game show, not a true sport.
Derrick, CT, Tony, or Hunter (Dirty Thirty)
Thanks to Nelson’s disqualification from the game, the third and final redemption on Dirty Thirty brought back two men instead of one. CT came in first place during the redemption game, so Jordan — the season’s eventual winner — got to return only because of the vacancy created by Nelson’s departure. Had Nelson remained in the game, one of the other men would have won. Nelson also would have been a contender, but he’s responsible for his own misfortune.
We all know that Back Up Off Me elimination on Cutthroat for the infamous Bananas backpack moment. While CT couldn’t replicate the moment with Tyler, we also know Tyler was bigger and heavier than Bananas. Most likely, Tyler would have beaten Bananas… we just wouldn’t have gotten the iconic moment. The same can’t be said for Theresa. Tina has openly admitted to going easier on Tori as a wedding gift to her and Brad, and it cost Theresa the game.
I can’t say for sure that Tori would have lost to Theresa, but on paper, this is a much closer match. The heavy hitter twist undeniably gave The Challenge a lot of attention, but in the end, Theresa got sent home because her heavy hitter was going easier on Tori. If the Blue Team had an extra player, it could have rewritten the end of the season… but we’ll never know.
Angela (The Challenge: USA)
On the CBS Challenge spinoff, Angela emerged as one of the craftiest players. She was performing well in the final, but thanks to Ben’s injury, every female had to perform one stage solo. While all the girls had to deal with this, Angela had to be solo during the overnight portion — the hardest one with the most taxing punishment. So, she decided not to move dirt, assuming it would resign her to the lowest point tally. Instead, this was considered “quitting” and kicked her out of the final. While Angela could have done more, there’s no denying that the outcome would have been different if she had had a partner like intended.
Mark (The Duel 2)
After the first Duel installment, Challenge fans loved the format because it finally introduced an individual gameplay. Then, The Duel 2 came around to remind us that all good things come to an end. Almost every daily challenge this season required players to work in pairs, and Mark coasted through the season with Rachel as his chosen ally. Then, in the final, your partner was determined by the time players arrived at a checkpoint. This forced Mark, who had avoided every Duel this season, to “run” the final with Aneesa. He came in third place, and by the time Aneesa arrived at the checkpoint, his game was over.
Tori (Spies, Lies and Allies)
Say what you will about Tori, but she brought her A-game to the Spies, Lies and Allies final. She earned her spot on the superior purple cell… and what did it get her? She got to bypass the elimination, but it ultimately cost her the game. Kaycee got the first pick of partner (despite being on the losing orange cell), allowing her to take CT.
To be fair, if Kaycee didn’t snag CT, we don’t know for a fact that Tori would have worked with him. Based on his partner preferences (stated clearly on Double Agents), it seems likely he’d choose Tori, but he could have stuck with Emy who worked with him throughout the season. At this point, it’s irrelevant because the losers were rewarded in this final.
Despite all of the random BS that was included in Vendettas, Kam overcame many twists to get to the final. In eliminations, she defeated two mercenaries, but production felt the need to include Bananas and Melissa in the final for a random game of high-low. Kam was the only person who lost to a mercenary in the final, and as a result, she had to bury a log. The was a very real possibility that Kam could have won this season, but at the very least she could have taken home her bank. Instead, she went home penniless because she didn’t make it to stage two of the final.
Wes (Battle of the Exes 2)
When Bananas & Nany returned to the game via Battle of the Ex-iled, it was the first time we ever saw a redemption-style twist. Until this happened, Wes & Theresa had played a near-flawless game. They chipped away at the “Bananas Boat” alliance and even converted Leroy into an ally. Then, the numbers flipped upon Bananas’s reentry into the game. Wes & Theresa were sent into The Dome, but unlike everyone who preceded them, there was no second chance.
Theresa was screwed just like Wes, but it’s hard to say that she didn’t have a reversal of fortune when she returned as Leroy’s replacement partner.