'The Challenge XXX: Dirty Thirty' Recap: Weeks 1 and 2

America's fifth major sport is celebrating its 30th season and I, for one, could not be more excited. 

MTV's The Challenge XXX: Dirty Thirty promises to be biggest season in Challenge history: more contestants, more money, and more twists than ever before. The season begins with 30 of the dirtiest Challenge contestants ever arriving in Cartagena, Colombia to wage war over $300,000*.

MTV has really outdone themselves this season, bringing the vets you love (Bananas, CT, Camilla), the vets you forgot you loved (Derrick, Jordan, Veronica, Leroy), a solid crop of newbies, our fearless ringleader TJ Lavin. CAN’T WAIT. 

* TJ, you sly dog.

Below is what we know about the game so far. All of this is almost certain to change next week.

  • The game starts with 15 men and 15 women
  • No teams — it's every woman/man for themselves. (Think Free Agents)
  • Each week, competitors will take part in a different challenge to crown a winner and loser of that week’s competition.
  • The winners (this week had eight winners) are in a position of power.
  • The losers are eligible to be thrown in an elimination.
  • The winners from that week’s challenge vote to determine two people (one male, one female) automatically thrown into elimination.
    • The losers take part in some sort of vote or drawing to determine who will also be thrown into elimination.
  • Once you're eliminated from the Challenge house, you are taken to a REDEMPTION House where you can earn you way back into the game. (Think double elimination tournament with a loser's bracket)
    • As of now we know NOTHING about the Redemption House.
  • OH YEAH, this Challenge is worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS, not $300,000 ... but the contestants don't know this yet.

AB’s Random Challenge Thoughts:

  • Say what you want about Johnny Bananas, the man always delivers a great toast.
  • Darrell being eliminated in the first episode may be the most shocking early elimination in Challenge history. Lucky for him he’s not actually gone.
  • They've turned the weekly challenges up a notch this season.
  • The Redemption House is the place to be. More partying and drama going on there than in the actual Challenge house. ICYMI we’ve already had two people kicked out of the Redemption House for fighting.
  • I feel so bad for Darrell, stuck in the loser’s bracket with a bunch of kids. Poor old man.
  • CT, winner of our Best Male Challenge Competitor bracket, has showed up with that old-school, “I’ll rip your head off and eat it” vintage CT swagger. CT is *here* to defend his title. 
  • I wonder if someone kills another contestant when they find out that this Challenge is actually for a million bucks and not $300K. Could turn into The Hunger Games before we know it.
  • It appears were headed towards an all-out Rookies vs. Vets alliance showdown. The house is split down the middle, with every contestant likely having to choose a side.

Lets take a look at our extremely early season power rankings:

Guys

1) Bananas

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The winningest Challenge competitor of all time started this season off with wins in the first two weekly challenges, including smoking every other guy in the first contest. Bananas appears to be in the best shape of his life and has plenty of allies to work with in the house.

2) CT

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The reigning Challenge champion should go deep on fear alone. NOBODY wants to see CT in an elimination. He may not be the athlete he once was, but CT is wise AF and is still bigger than every other competitor.

3) Derrick K.

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Everyone’s favorite underdog is back after a seven-year absence. What Derrick lacks in size he makes up for in heart. Winning the first two weekly challenges has Derrick sitting in a very nice place.

4) Nelson

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Listen, I hate Nelson with every fiber of my being. He’s corny AF and gives the worst interviews in Challenge history. I generally just despise whenever he’s on my screen. That being said, the man competes. Nelson came in second in the last season of The Challenge so he knows what it takes to make it far.

5) Hunter

The man is JACKED. If Hunter can avoid any sort of puzzle it will be extremely difficult to get rid of him.

Girls

1) Tori

My favorite new contestant in recent memory, Tori is competitive AF and will rip your head off for a win. Tori has won the first two weekly challenges, letting everyone know shes not your average Are You The One? competitor.

2) Cara Maria

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The CrossFit queen and winner of Champs vs. Pros is an elimination monster. Cara enters the house as the most in-shape person, and it’s hard for me to envision anyone taking her out.

3) Jenna

The Blonde Barbie is back and ready to dominate. Jenna has made it to the Finals in three of her four previous seasons. Jenna is a smart bet to make it there again.

4) Veronica

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This is pretty much a career achievement award. Queen V is old AF but is tied for the most season championships by a female, winning three times. Let’s see if Veronica can enjoy similar success CT has experienced upon returning to the show after a long absence.

5) Camilla

The Camillinator — along with Bananas, CT, and Cara Maria — is one of the faces of The Challenge. You never want to catch yourself 1) in an elimination with Camilla, or 2) In a room with Camilla after the bars if you’ve wronged her.

Speaking of female competitors, we never got around to holding our final vote to determine the best of all time. We've got a #6 and a #4 seed in the finals — a VCU vs. George Mason situation. Vote below.

All images courtesy of MTV.