In this article, you’re going to read about 10 of the worst individual seasons in Challenge history. These are not going to be solely lists of players who sucked at the game and exited early. No, this is a list where a players entire experience on the game went poorly, they dealt with issues that would affect their real-life, and would sometimes make them not want to come on the Challenge for an extended period of time, or even never again.
The inspiration for this article was Joss’s sudden purge from War of the Worlds 2. Joss committed himself to a weak alliance where he often made moves against himself and the team in favor of protecting his friends and alliance. Essentially, Joss was the custodian of a giant cult. Nobody wants to be Manson’s family’s janitor. There were some risque subjects I avoided in this article for obvious reasons.
Quick Honorable Mentions:
Hunter on Dirty 30: I think the wrist break endeared Hunter more to fans than his personality ever would.
Cara on Free Agents: Same thing as Hunter. I think Cara has a good shot of making the final on Free Agents if her hand doesn’t get broken, but the hand breaking turned her into a superstar and the ultimate underdog.
Cohutta on every season: I just think Cohutta always deserves better.
10 Nany Gonzalez — Rivals 3
During the Invasion/Dirty 30 era of the Challenge, Nicole Ramos would often do Instagram Lives to do her makeup and answer fan questions. Fans would often ask her about her cousin, Nany, who had exited as a major franchise figure following six consecutive seasons from Seasons 23 to 28. Nicole and others have mentioned that Nany had been unhappy on the show for a few seasons and was only going back because the appearance check looked good compared to her day job.
From the look on her face all season, you could tell Nany did not want to be there, and that the show itself was draining her soul. She arrived on Rivals 3 with a troubled relationship with a former friend and ex-Johnny Bananas, who had allowed her to go into elimination after she had his back on Bloodlines. Her best friend Jenna was pitted against her because Nany’s partner was Wes, who was on the opposite side of Bananas. Camila was one of her top allies, and that’s a big YIKES. Her cousin often put Nany in tough situations, including her partner Dario making a move against their alliance by not voting Johnny and Vince into the Jungle.
Nany and Wes had to win multiple eliminations because Bananas had his foot on their necks, and they sucked at picking skulls. Finally, Nany had to face her cousin in elimination. Although Nany could have bullied her smaller cousin in the elimination, she was mentally and emotionally fried. Nany lost and did not return for five seasons. Fortunately, the three-year break improved her mental and physical health as Nany looks younger now than she did on Free Agents. Unfortunately, there are some signs of Rivals 3 Nany on War of the Worlds 2 right now as she struggles with the mental toll of the game.
9 Brad Fiorenza — Final Reckoning
I don’t think people would consider Brad for this list, but I thought he had a terrible time on Final Reckoning. For starters, his girlfriend’s partner was her ex-boyfriend who had dumped her, and even though she was into Brad, she still had feelings for Chuck deep down. Then, the two of them get sent immediately to the Redemption House. He does not see Britni again until she gets Purged via the double-cross by Paulie. After Paulie loses elimination, he tells Brad that Britni was fucking Chuck in the Redemption House. Brad cannot shake the feeling that his girlfriend was cheating on him. Meanwhile, he has to worry about winning the money for his family, and he knows Tori will be judging his choices and shading him on social media.
Brad loses an elimination to Nelson and Shane and then loses two additional redemption eliminations, including losses to Paulie and Natalie, and then Kam and Kayleigh. One of the all-time great players lost three consecutive eliminations, and his relationship with Britni was never the same (they eventually broke up while the show was airing).
8 Tony Raines — Bloodlines
I will note that the person at fault in most of this portion of the list is Tony. Tony is a habitual line-stepper, who in all honesty, should get way more shit for his actions. However, his Bloodlines run was ROUGH. Tony enters the house and immediately hooks up with Christina LeBlanc. Fun Fact: Christina was not even Tony’s first choice. Her actual first choice was Thomas Buell’s twin brother Stephen. Tony hooked up with Christina with a pregnant girl-friend (Madison from RW Skeletons) at home. He then gets into a fistfight with his brother. Tony gets cursed at by Camila at one point.
All of these are Tony’s fault, but the reason he ends up on this list is that he RUPTURES his SPLEEN. Some injuries make sense when you hear them out loud. Oh, a broken wrist? Ok. Concussion? Make sense. Does your knee pop out of place? I get it. But a fucking ruptured spleen? That is so insane. Even worse, the medical team in Turkey allows Tony to return to the house after he does so as they thought he was maybe okay. He then passes out on the small hike up to elimination. Thank God for that short hike. Imagine if Tony had participated in a daily challenge with a ruptured spleen? Rupturing your spleen is awful, it’s even worse when the doctor does not even diagnose it.
7 KellyAnne Judd — The Ruins
The reason why Wes is not on this list and KellyAnne is, is due to the fact Wes enjoys being the underdog and loves knowing he has everyone pressed. KellyAnne knew Wes being there would anger a ton of people, but she did not quite understand that going in that her boyfriend would get kind of bullied in a Challenge house. Wes was a social pariah due to the way he carried himself and his actions on the season. However, he talked about his experience on the Ruins, where people set up a treadmill next to where he slept and took turns running to fuck him up for his elimination. Always playing pranks on him, and so on. Wes sometimes exacerbated and instigated these situations, but it was KellyAnne who was by his side who had to take the brunt of it.
Even worse, she had to deal with the Champs throwing in their best player and KellyAnne’s best friend in Evelyn into elimination to face either. So either she was going home, or her best friend was. KellyAnne had to deal with losing Evelyn, losing Wes, dealing with the misogyny of the males on her team, losing the strongest male on her side due to violence, having to be on the same team with creeps like Dunbar and Adam King, and then still coming up short. Considering KellyAnne’s first two seasons were the Island and the Ruins, it makes sense she didn’t come back for almost ten seasons.
6 Joss Mooney — War of the Worlds 2
Joss was in the majority alliance of War of the Worlds 2 where the players skated through the game and never saw an elimination as they controlled the numbers on both sides. Despite actively working towards his alliance’s needs, Joss reaped little of the benefits. When Kyle went into elimination, Joss was the first person to vote for Kyle, actively putting a wedge between the friendship they had since Vendettas. Why couldn’t CT or Rogan be the first ones to budge? Kayleigh made him the second vote to put Georgia into elimination, forcing him to be the bad guy. Why couldn’t she have made Dee the second vote? He had to be the one to face Bear in elimination, having no warning prior. Joss did everything he could to protect Rogan, Kayleigh, and Dee, and yet he had to face elimination despite being the best player among them. In the end, he got purged because the girl who controlled him could not swim.
Even after he got eliminated, Rogan pinned the move to put Dee in elimination on Joss. Joss was a follower not keen enough to lead, and he received all the punishments of a leader.
5 Derrick Henry — Dirty 30
It is one thing to get cheated on while your partner is filming a season of the Challenge. It is another to get cheated on by your partner while shooting the same season you were on. Derrick was an early elimination on Dirty 30. He got eliminated during the first real elimination and then lost the first redemption in the game. Tori made it to the final, where she finished in third place. While making it to the final, she became very close to Jordan Wiseley, eventually hooking up, and then starting a relationship off the show.
Derrick and Tori had a real-life relationship before the show aired and were on the show making a pact to have a baby if they both won. Jordan and Tori were meant to be, it is just the fact that if you rewatch those first couple episodes of Dirty 30, Tori and Derrick are all over each other, and by the end of the season, Jordan and Tori are a power couple. IT IS WILD.
4 Diem Brown — Duel 2
Diem had a rough run on multiple seasons of the show. Her losses always happen in the worst ways. The reason I put the Duel 2 over other seasons is mostly due to the CT/Adam fight, also known as when CT attempted to murder Adam. Diem and CT’s relationship had been over for a decent amount of time at this point, yet the two were always linked as we would go on to see for years to come. It was a rough night for Diem. She learned that CT had hooked up with Shauvon during their first hours at the house, and then she watched the man she had once loved go ballistic.
She would pull through and perform adequately through the game. Diem eliminated Jenn Grijalva, which does not sound impressive on paper, but Jenn had a 4–1 elimination record at the time (5–2 for her career). Unfortunately, she came up short, losing the final elimination of the season to Brittini. Diem lost the last elimination of three different seasons and the second to last elimination of another. It’s utterly heartbreaking how she would lose.
3 Devin Walker — Final Reckoning
On Final Reckoning, Devin was initially supposed to be partners with Johnny Bananas. While they hate each other, most Rivals pairs end up creating friendships by being partnered with another. Less often do partners end up still hating each other, rather than being able to develop a healthy relationship. There’s a world where Johnny Bananas and Devin become friends.
Sadly, Devin’s father passed away after Devin got off the flight to South Africa. Devin flew back home to be there for the funeral, grieve, and remember his father. Tony became Johnny’s new partner and the two were aligned against Devin’s friends and eventually Devin for the rest of the game. To which, it hurt the former friendship between Tony and Devin. He would then re-enter the game weeks later as a Mercenary, attempting to compete his hardest, in memory of his father. And then Cory chose to body slam Tony, ending their time on the show. Nothing is worse than seeing Devin defend Cory with the trust that it was an accident. Then watching Devin be shown the footage and realizing Cory did it on purpose. I know people were not fans of Devin following Bananas throughout the night; however, the dude’s luck throughout the season was merely awful.
Sidenote: Tony and his baby mama Madison were supposed to be on Final Reckoning as a Mercenary team. Tony becoming Johnny’s partner allowed alternates Hunter and Ashley to enter the game and win. Darrell was supposed to be Cory’s partner on Final Reckoning, except he was replaced by Devin. There were reports early on that Darrell and Cory would be appearing a month later than everyone else, which was bizarre, until we saw how the mercenaries were used in the season. Darrell did tweet something during the premiere of Champs vs Stars 3 where he thought the boasting of the Champs team so early into the season was not very humble (Devin and Tony were the most boastful).
2 Jonna Mannion — Exes 2
The worst part about watching Jonna being partnered with Zach on Battle of the Exes 2 is the fact that you can tell Jonna still cared about Zach. Although Zach consistently acted as a shitty person to Jonna, put her intelligence down, would put her down in order to compliment Jenna, and purported this idea that she is the reason they’re not winning is ridiculous. Yet, Jonna still tried to make things work, and she always had love for Zach or cared for him. In their real life as a couple, Zach literally walked out on Jonna and ghosted her. He left Jonna in an awful state, and she still wanted to forge a healthy relationship between them.
Instead, Zach berated and belittled her. Jonna had proved herself as a solid competitor in previous seasons and performed well on Exes 2. Except Zach created this idea in his mind that if they were not winning, he could not be the problem. Had Jonna been given positive reinforcement, maybe they as a team do a bit better. All Zach did was enforce any feelings of fear or doubt in Jonna’s mind. Jonna could not perform when her partner had already committed himself to blame her for their loss. In the end, Zach was the reason they lost their elimination, and he was a significant reason why Jonna never showed up on a Challenge again. I am thrilled Jonna seems to have a happy life now after getting married and having a child.
1 Sarah Rice Rivals 3
At first, I had this moment ranked seventh on my list. And then kept I pushing forward and forward, and here we are at #1. Part of my brain feels as though Sarah Rice shouldn’t be put #1 as she won the season and was far and away the best female in the game, probably the best overall player as well.
Then I thought about the fact that the origin of this article was my general disappointment in Joss’s game. Sarah Rice did almost everything she could to win, and then not only did she not earn any money, but Johnny Bananas took her half. Whereas Hunter and Ashley had a legitimate reason to steal from one another as they had a dysfunctional run as a pair where Ashley would not co-operate with Hunter, and then Hunter berated and slut-shamed Ashley. Sarah tried to win and be civil with Bananas while he regularly took pokes at her. He called her a backstabber, a liar, and even threw an early season to challenge to spite her. Eventually, they began to work incredibly well as a team as no other pair even came close to them talent-wise. They also had a puppet team for an immediate alliance, Vince and Jenna. Bananas and Sarah’s only potential rival was an anemic Wes and a Nany who didn’t want to be there. They breezed to the win, worked on their relationship, and then Bananas took the money from her. All Sarah did was put him in elimination in a game. When you compare Sarah to the rest of the women on Rivals 3, one could argue Sarah could probably win with a Wes or a Jamie or maybe even a Vince. Still, it’s hard to say that Bananas wins with a Jenna who can’t eat or do puzzles, or a Nany who is not even on her B-game.
Sarah has had a tough couple of years, dealing with a divorce and miscarriage. Recently, she has looked to be in incredible shape, has a beautiful new boyfriend, and who knows, maybe we get one more Challenge appearance down the line. I think Sarah Rice is perhaps the 3rd or 4th greatest female competitor in Challenge history and is easily one of the most influential figures in the show’s history. With her not being on S35, it now marks seven seasons since we last saw her on a Challenge, which is surreal. One more Sarah, please.