With Final Reckoning essentially being a Rivals 4/Exes 3 type format, I decided to look back in time at the 10 worst pairs in Rivals history. Some teams were excluded because they actually did well on their seasons. Nate and Christina were the lay-up team of Rivals 3 on paper, but they won a daily challenge and an elimination, so they can’t make this list. Same for Dario and Nicole, and Jasmine and Jonna. On paper bad teams have done surprisingly well on this show. Likewise, I am giving a pass to potential good teams like Camila and Theresa who left early because we did not get to see much of them.
10th Ryan Knight and Preston Roberson-Charles (Rivals 2)
They finished fourth on their Rivals season! Not because they were good, but because the other teams wanted to keep them as a lay-up team for the final. The only thing this duo had to do in order to avoid elimination was not finish in last place. Unfortunately, this happened for them twice. The first time they played Snapper, a blind-folded stick fighting game in which Knight created the crawling method for the elimination. Their upset win over Derek and Robb was both hilarious and disappointing because they were taking the place of a more deserving team. This lay-up also made strong social connections within the game. On paper, maybe one of the bottom teams, though not the worst.
9th Brandon Nelson and Ty Ruff (Rivals 1)
You might be surprised to see this duo on the list. Brandon and Ty were okay challengers, each having one strong season and then many other quick flame outs. On the surface, they do not seem like a bad team, and traditionally they are not. The problem is this team had absolutely no strengths in the Challenge world. Yes, they are strong physically, but they cannot go toe to toe with the likes of Wes, Leroy, and Jordan, let alone Zach and CT. Wes and Kenny were more fearful of Mike Ross on Rivals 1 because he was intelligent and they did not want to face him in a puzzle. They knew that they could beat Ty and Brandon physically. If you cannot make people fear you and you are not a lay-up team, you are in a worse position than an actual bad team.
8th Devin Walker and Cheyenne Floyd (Rivals 3)
The only rivals pair on here to actually make a final. The Rivals 3 elimination format allowed Devin and Cheyenne to make the final based on them pulling white skulls out of a bucket. In the end, the one thing they accomplished was never finishing in last. Which is pretty huge for the teams that made this list. However, they played in a season with a relatively weak cast, it is not a big accomplishment by any means. Hell, they got eliminated first on the season. At least they branded themselves well with the Team Princess title.
7th Thomas Buell and Simone Kelly (Rivals 3)
This team did surprisingly well in some challenges. During the race where players got naked, they finished near the top. Unfortunately, they were near the bottom most of the season. We did not get to see them face an elimination due to Thomas quitting. On paper, a horrible team, but not as bad in reality though.
6th Sarah Rice and Katelynn Cusanelli (Rivals 1)
Ironically, this duo includes one of the greatest players in Challenge history. As good as Sarah Rice is, she could not elevate Katelynn to even below average. Katelynn was afraid of heights, afraid of water, and simply uncoordinated while simultaneously not fitting in socially in the house. To top it off, Sarah could not deal with Katelynn’s personality whatsoever, leading to even more dysfunction between them. They talked shit to Jasmine and Jonna the entire day, going into the elimination confidently, especially if it was going to be mental. And what happened? THEY LOST. An awful team carried themselves like a good team, performed horribly all season, and lost when they actually had to see an elimination.
5th Johnny Reilly and Jessica Mccain (Rivals 3)
Another team consisting of one good player and one bad player. Johnny Reilly was a strong competitor who won two eliminations and made a final in his first two seasons. When partnered with Jessica Mccain, they finished in last place during every single competition they participated in. Although they beat Devin and Cheyenne in an elimination, they proved themselves to be worse overall from their subsequent performances. Jessica was nowhere close to finishing her puzzle during their elimination with Amanda and Nelson, and the team showed no signs of improvement. Rivals 3 was Johnny Reilly’s nightmare.
4th Dunbar Merrill and Tyrie Ballard (Rivals 2)
When TJ announced the rivals pairs, Dunbar was less than pleased to get Tyrie as his partner. Most players are unhappy to get a partner because of animosity towards the person. Dunbar was simply disappointed because he knew Tyrie had never won an elimination in five seasons. By the end of the first episode, it had become six seasons. Fun fact, Tyrie has been eliminated in the first elimination he was eligible for three times. That’s a challenge record if you didn’t know. Even funnier, Dunbar performed worse in their elimination.
3rd Jessica Mccain and Anastasia Miller (Rivals 2)
Anytime Jessica is the better member in partnership, you run into some major problems. This team only competed in two challenges on Rivals 2. On the girls elimination day, a pitiful performance led them into the elimination arena. Their poor performances were not helped by Anastasia both hooking up and fighting with CT. Then, Anastasia hyperventilated prior to and after elimination. Even TJ took a dig at Anastasia after her elimination loss. This elimination made you feel bad for Jessica, until we saw her on another season and were reminded why she is also awful.
2nd Brandon Tindel and Briana LaCuesta (Rivals 3)
This team … while they performed decently in the two challenges they participated in, mentally, Brandon and Briana were one of the weakest teams in Challenge history. Briana got into a fight in front of all of the veterans during the first night in the Rivals 3 house. She was also unaware of Nate making a deal with the veterans, which hurt her because they legitimately lived together as roommates. This made her want to quit, but Brandon talked her off a cliff and convinced her to stay. That was until Brandon quit because he missed his girlfriend who he had been dating for less than six months and is currently not together with. HOLY CRAP WERE THESE TWO NOT MEANT FOR THE CHALLENGE. I love Briana on Twitter, however, I am glad they never invited Brandon back.
1st Tyrie Ballard and Davis Mallory (Rivals 1)
Imagine Dunbar and Tyrie, except Tyrie is in worse shape, and with a worse partner. Actually, I am not sure if the drop-off between Dunbar and Davis is too huge, but it is clear which one is better. This duo hated each other due to words exchanged on their Real World Denver season. Wes and Kenny picked them for the first elimination stating nothing would be more embarrassing than losing to the awful duo. Their elimination was a defensive lineman drilll. Although Tyrie was the heaviest guy (by over sixty pounds) in the elimination, the team still lost 0–3. They had no social connections, no strengths, and a lot of weaknesses. Without a doubt the worst duo of rivals in Challenge history.