The Definitive All-Time 'MTV Challenge' Power Rankings - Men
Who are we kidding? This season of The Challenge has been over for months. Why bother with another recap letting you know Bananas and Sarah won another challenge (they did) and Devin pulled another white skull (he did)? Let Dr. AB* take you through some Challenge history.
*FYI, I have a bachelor's degree in Reality Television and doctorate in MTV's The Challenge.
It’s been a sad year in professional sports, as we watch our idols continue to grow old and deteriorate in front of our eyes. Kobe, Peyton Manning, Tim Duncan, and now the most devastating of them all, Wes Bergmann. A legend who has done it all in the Challenge house, Wes appears to have competed for the last time. Although he hasn’t officially announced his retirement, we can safely assume he is done. The man simply doesn’t have it anymore.
As we do with all the sports greats, when their time comes to an end we debate their place in history. Let’s take a look at where Wes sits among the all-time greats.
MTV's The Challenge All-Time Rankings (Men)
Honorable Mention: Landon Lueck
The Real World: Philadelphia
Three championships, $184,166 career earnings
Landon is a fan favorite who found himself sitting atop the Challenge throne more often than not. Unfortunately Landon only competed in four seasons, keeping him out the Top 5 All-Time.
Honorable mention: Derrick Kosinski
Road Rules: X-Treme
Three championships, $176,293 career earnings
One of the smallest male competitors, what Derrick lacked in size he made up for in heart. The usual underdog gritted his way to three championships and earned respect from everyone along the way.
5) Chris "CT" Tamburello
The Real World: Paris
One championship, $137,500 career earnings
CT is undoubtedly the most dominant athlete in Challenge history. The man struck fear in his competitor’s hearts and then ripped their hearts out and ate them as everyone watched in pure amazement. CT was also the instigator of the most terrifying moment in Challenge history, where there was a very real possibility that he was going to kill another competitor:
(skip to 1:45)
Even though he was a terrifying monster, CT in his later years somehow became a fan favorite. Although CT doesn’t have the championships to get him to the top of this list, his pure athleticism and dominance makes him an all-time great.
4) Wes Bergmann
The Real World: Austin
Two championships, $248,000 career earnings
The freckled ginger everyone loves to hate. Wes is the King of Eliminations, fighting his way through every season he’s been on. Wes has been thrown into elimination challenges a record 19 times, sending 13 of his enemies home along the way. He's always one of the leaders of every house he steps in, often going head-to-head with the biggest and best competitors. Who can forget the time Wes sat calmly as CT screamed in his face that he was going to "rip his fucking head off?" Or the longstanding feud he’s had with Johnny Bananas?
Wes has proven to be a worthy rival to Bananas and will forever be remembered as the competitor you never wanted to see in a one-on-one situation.
3) Darrell Taylor
Road Rules: Campus Crawl
Four championships, $240,550 career earnings
Darrell Taylor is the ultimate “what could have been” story in Challenge history. Darrell retired from competing after only six seasons. His career started with an unprecedented streak of four consecutive season championships. Even Johnny Bananas can’t touch that type of record. One can only wonder how many championships Darrell would have won if he had continued to compete in Challenges.
Unfortunately for Darrell, he will be remembered not for his titles, but for breaking Brad’s face into a million pieces.
2) Kenny Santucci
The Challenge: Free Agents
Three championships, $236,293 career earnings
Mr. Steal Your Girl. The world was introduced to Kenny on The Challenge: Fresh Meat. Kenny, unlike most competitors, wasn’t on Real World or Road Rules but instead joined the show as a free agent. Kenny competed in eight total challenges, reaching the finals an incredible seven times. He was an unstoppable force in eliminations, losing only one in his career.
Mr. Beautiful (self-proclaimed) will be remembered most for the greatest championship performance of all time. Challenge finales are known for being physically and mentally grueling, and the final Rivals episode was no different. While other competitors — including his partner, Wes — were breaking down from the heat, Kenny was ready to go all CrossFit on everyone’s asses. As Wes cramped up from heat and exhaustion, Kenny decided it’d be faster to just pick him up and carry his ass up a MOUNTAIN to victory. As Kenny put it, “Just when you thought I couldn’t get any more amazing...” Bravo, Kenny. Bravo.
1) Johnny Bananas
Real World: Key West
Five championships, $410,543 career earnings
With a whopping 13 Challenges competed in and a record five Challenge championships (along with two additional finals appearances), Bananas has had a similar career path to LeBron James.
John started off as a baby-faced fan favorite who never won anything. He then formed a superteam, becoming a villain with Free Agents Evan and Kenny, and started winning championships. Bananas branched off on his own and became the GOAT, winning $150,000 more than any other competitor in Challenge history. Over time, Johnny has become a master of Challenge strategy and has packed on 50 pounds of pure muscle, making him a beast both mentally and physically. Along with being an elite competitor, Bananas is arguably the most entertaining contestant in every Challenge house. Bananas is the whole package and the face of this show. We are indeed #blessed to live during his era. |ES|
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The Challenge airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET, 9pm CT on MTV.