2019 Challenge Mania Awards Complete Breakdown
First, I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me in 2019. I decided to take a break from writing about the Challenge after War of the Worlds 2 ended. Second, this article is a mess as I did not expect it to be anywhere near this long. Third, I want to thank Scott and Derrick for making these awards for the Challenge Community to discuss and vote on as it gives us something to do during the off-seasons. Fourth, I want fans to recognize how hard it is to make these nominations. Yes, I have my own grievances that I note in the article, but to try and fill out all the categories and keep everyone happy is very difficult. I was given an “Expert Vote” for these awards, and at the end, you can see who I voted for, and those I almost voted for.
Last, if anyone is going to Challenge Mania Nashville and has an extra VIP ticket or you know somebody who can’t go and they are trying to sell it, then contact me. I just bought a plane ticket for the event and am super excited for it!
MALE COMPETITOR OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Jordan
During the infamous relic challenge where Turbo blew up on Jordan, Jordan stated that he might yell at you during the daily challenge, but it’s because if you follow Jordan, you’ll win. Team US (Paulie/Cara) did not agree with this idea, and they forced him and Tori off the team. Jordan proceeded to pull out his 3rd straight Challenge title and prove he is one of the greatest to play the game. He won a tug of war with one hand and eliminated maybe the best player on WOTW 2 besides himself (Theo).
Contenders: Turbo and Theo
If you win the hardest final in Challenge history on your rookie season, then people are going to view you highly. Turbo kind of disappointed by performing below average on War of the Worlds 2; however, there were not many opportunities for him to stand out.
Theo finished second on the hardest final ever, and if he were slightly better at math, he’d have finished in first. He went on to win three eliminations in his second season and only lost to Jordan (who is maybe the greatest challenger ever). Theo won 200k dollars and now holds a 4–1 Elim record.
Dark Horses: Wes and Paulie
Wes and Paulie tied for the most tribunal appearances on War of the Worlds 1. Wes made the final, and Paulie didn’t. On War of the Worlds 2, Wes lost to Bear, and Paulie died in the final. Each has had a bunch of highs and lows.
FEMALE COMPETITOR OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Cara Maria
Cara’s physical performance on War of the Worlds 1 is underrated. She killed the daily challenges alongside Theo and guaranteed herself a spot in the final by crushing the terrifying airplane puzzle. It’s weird to put her as the favorite after her weak finish in WOTW 2, but in 2019 she saw two finals without seeing an elimination.
Contenders: Tori, Ninja, Dee
It is bogus that Ninja isn’t recognized as a Champion when she was the only female to complete the WOTW 1 final. Gender-less finals are lame. The reason why she is not the favorite is that she shit the bed during the WOTW 2 final and gained the ire of the fandom throughout most of the season. Tori killed WOTW 2 as she won two eliminations against strong competitors in Georgia and Jenny. She also performed well in the daily challenges and was carrying herself well in the final until she got purged.
Dee is the only female to win money this year, and the goal is to win the game, so does that make Dee the competitor of the year?
Dark Horse: Georgia
I think Georgia has had an incredible stretch as a competitor. The problem is it reminds me of Tori’s performance on the show, and Tori’s run was slightly better; thus, Georgia can’t be the competitor of the year with that logic.
FEMALE TV PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: DaVonne
If you never watched the Challenge but saw Challenge social media, you would think DaVonne is a four-time Challenge Champion and not someone who has only been on two seasons of the show and may never come back. DaVonne is not only a great entertainer because of her confessionals on the show, but because of the recaps and videos, she does on her YouTube page. DaVonne is not an elite competitor, and she hasn’t had any legit hookup storylines, yet she has had a massive impact on the show.
Contenders: Georgia and Tori
As I mentioned in the commentary portion, Georgia and Tori act as narrators for the show, and it is a crucial role they fill. If we include social media influence, Georgia had a bit of a problematic 2019. Tori won 2019 and silenced her haters by showing more personality and physically winning on the show. Tori gained the most Instagram followers from the beginning to the end of WOTW 2. Both were in the heat of drama and excellent competitors.
Dark Horses: Ashley and Kam
Ashley was hilarious on War of the Worlds 2. Every week I wanted more camera time for Ashley because she had me dying laughing with her commentary. Sadly, the reason she isn’t a favorite is that we didn’t get enough of her. Being in the Paulie/Cara alliance meant she mostly got to coast.
Likewise, Kam is entertaining; I just don’t think she stood out as much as she did in 2018. I wish Dee were on this list, as she did a great job of interacting with fans by going on various podcasts and taking the time to interact with people on social media.
MALE TV PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Wes
He is hilarious on the show, he is clever on social media, and when he does podcasts/interviews, Wes attempts to give insight into what goes on during the show. Wes might be a little overrated as a competitor, but in terms of pure entertainment value, he is the most entertaining challenger ever. He would rather go up in flames and be entertaining than be a wet noodle sticking to the bottom of a bowl unnoticed. His political performance on WOTW 1 was masterful, and his loss to Bear on WOTW 2 was hilarious. He fills in both ends of the spectrum.
Contenders: CT and Jordan
CT is funny even though he mumbles half his lines. Watching him be the old guy on a flailing UK team for most of the season was insanely entertaining. Jordan is weird in this spot; he is the person you hate because he is very arrogant, yet, you like him being on as he is a damn good competitor.
Dark Horses: Leroy and Bananas
Leroy is a nice guy and a fan favorite. Bananas getting nominated is like when Meryl Streep gets nominated for an Oscar, nobody is going to question it. My biggest complaint is that Paulie isn’t here. Paulie is so entertaining. I made so many tweets/jokes at Paulie’s expense, and those tweets did way better numbers than all my other tweets combined. The man is a human content machine.
MALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The Favorites: Turbo and Theo
Read the male performer of the year section on Theo and Turbo above.
Playing for 3rd: Bear and Josh
Bear has a 3–2 elimination record and picked up an elimination win against his arch-nemesis (Wes). Josh has a 0–2 elimination record, but he threw Wes into elimination and dramatically changed the game in only week three. Josh’s personality shined quite a bit on War of the Worlds 2 and endeared himself to fans over time (though, a significant portion still dislikes him). Meanwhile, Bear started strong and has likability dwindled. One is trending up while the other trends down.
The Idris Category: Idris
I know Chase McNary hooked up Challenge Mania fans when they came to Denver, so I feel he should get this spot over Idris. Idris seems like a swell guy who loves the Challenge.
FEMALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Contenders: Georgia, Dee, and Ninja
Dee is the most significant surprise power player. The girl tied for most daily challenge wins with Cara on WOTW 1 and followed up her excellent rookie performance by winning WOTW 2 and outperforming other elite females in the final. She also proved to be a ride or die friend whose biggest fault is being too loyal.
While Challenge fans have not taken much of a liking to Ninja Natalie, she was the top female performer of WOTW 1 and made the Final of WOTW2. She also has a 3–0 elimination record.
Georgia has a 4–1 elimination record, killed the daily challenges on WOTW 1, made the final of that season, and is poised to win a season one day.
Dark Horse: Mattie
I think Mattie would be up there with the “contenders” if she had competed on War of the Worlds 2. It’s hard to compete against three girls who have two quality seasons versus her one.
5th Place: Jenny
Jenny is a good competitor; she just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to show it yet.
The Favorite: DaVonne
DaVonne got put on the Challenge and Big Brother because of her exuberant personality and her quick comebacks. She also just happened to be a solid competitor. My favorite DaVonne moment from War of the Worlds 1 was her laughing after realizing Wes had to be her partner in a daily challenge. It was so simple, yet so iconic.
Contenders: Turbo and Zach
When Zach is not an angry misogynist grunch, he is this hilarious and charismatic guy who has consistently great confessionals. Whether it be him talking about Disney Princesses or him rolling his eyes at Team USA on this season, Zach is funny. The problem is the rest of his personality.
People began using the phrase “pussy chicken” because of Turbo, and he’s had a bunch of cute little quotes while on the show. Although, some of his jokes kind of veer on the violent side, which is problematic considering he was kicked off this season for continuing to threaten Jordan.
Dark Horses: Bear, Tori, and Georgia
Tori is good at commentary as she acts as a reliable narrator, but I’m not sure if I would categorize her as “funny.” She fills a vital role for the show but doesn’t have the zingers like the others. Bear is a high volume commentator. Due to the way he conducts himself, everything is a joke, so it’s almost a battle of quality/quantity. Similar to Tori, Georgia is more of a narrator than a commentator. However, her joke about the team being okay if Joss died early onto War of the Worlds 2 had me choking.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Wes
Wes took four seasons off (tied for his longest gap) and came back for WOTW 1 where he outlasted Bananas, CT, and Zach, and was able to make it to the Final despite being one of the most prominent figures in the game. The entire UK alliance of Theo, Bear, and Ashley wanted Wes out, and he still coasted to the final. Wes made deals and played a phenomenal social game, which got him a third-place finish and 50,000 dollars. Not to mention, this was the best Wes had ever done in daily challenges. Let’s not mention his WOTW 2 run (even though I did in a previous paragraph).
Contenders: Rogan and Nany
It’s weird to call Rogan a comeback because we never really got to see him compete in the first place. It was more an arrival. Because we do not have a most improved category, this is why Rogan should be considered a pseudo favorite for this award. Rogan was like the wrestling heel who fans love to hate as he stole a win from out of nowhere and lasted longer than the “good guys” who “deserved” to win.
Nany also returned after four seasons, and in back to back seasons, she put up the peak Nany performance. Last long into the season and then lose right before the final. She is fantastic and a queen and she knows just how to crush our hearts every time.
Dark Horse: Laurel
If we want to talk about quality, Laurel came in scorching hot on War of the Worlds 2. She hooked up with Bear, blindsided Wes, and had a fucking weird elimination loss.
5th Place: Josh
I feel like you should not qualify for rookie of the year and comeback of the year.
DUO/COUPLE OF THE YEAR
The Favorites: Jordan and Tori & Paulie and Cara
War of the Worlds 2 was a battle between Jordan/Tori and Paulie/Cara with other cast members simply being background characters. Jordan vs. Cara is a WrestleMania main event type feud. If we only base our voting off WOTW 2, then Jordan and Tori win outright. Not only did they get engaged, but they went a combined 4–0 in elimination (quality wins too), Jordan won 250k dollars. They both saw massive social media gains (while Cara lost the most followers out of any cast member).
However, Paulie and Cara dominated the daily challenge on WOTW 1, and they only got voted into one elimination combined in two seasons. Love them or hate them, but they were the central figures of two straight seasons.
Dark Horses: Kam and Leroy
The drop-off between the top two and the rest is too huge. Kam and Leroy had an up and down ride where on WOTW 1, they were not on good terms. On WOTW 2, they reconciled and are potentially back together again. They both killed the WOTW 2 final and then got purged very unceremoniously.
Happy to be Nominated: Zach and Jenna & The Nolan Twins
I got to meet the Nolan Twins at Challenge Mania Live, and they are incredibly kind and smoking hot. Zach and Jenna got engaged after the show, so I guess they should do be on here. Although, Zach did have to call for security to separate Jenna from him after she was curious whether he was on Bumble or not. Their on-screen relationship has not been great. Their everyday relationship has been much better.
ELIMINATION OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Kyle vs. Theo (WOTW1)
An excellent elimination between two competitors who wanted to win. Kyle was physically hurt from the daily challenge and had gone through two physical eliminations already during the season. Theo was the best pure athlete on the show, but this was his first elimination, and his first time getting physical.
In round one, Kyle got low, pushed Theo back, and took the win using grit. Unfortunately, Theo played much smarter the following two rounds, and it became an intense wrestle between the two men where Theo would pull off the 2–1 comeback win. Theo’s speed and athleticism proved to be too much for Kyle to overcome, however, had Kyle been 100% healthy, he maybe pulls off the upset. It was an incredible elimination to watch that only created more “what ifs?”
Contenders: Jordan vs. Josh (WOTW2), Tori vs. Jenny (WOTW2)
Sometimes I get the Challenge episodes early to write my recaps. On a random Monday morning, I jumped out of my chair at Starbucks, watching Tori truck Jenny in round two of their epic Hall Brawl battle. The Tori haters were completely shut up, the people who had mixed reactions to her became fans, and the Tori fans became validated.
Josh and Jordan’s elimination was one of the most impressive exhibitions of strategy in Challenge history. Jordan had to compete in a tug of war where his opponent had not only the weight advantage but also an extra arm as Jordan’s second hand couldn’t get a full grip on the rope. Jordan had to play a game of chicken against Josh, where he would have to change his grip on the rope to trick Josh into overpulling and DQing himself. Jordan won 3–0 in an elimination he should have lost 0–3.
Dark Horses: Hunter & Georgia vs Ashley & Chase (WOTW1), CT v JP v Kyle and Mattie v Natalie v Julia
On paper, the two threeway eliminations are epic. In actuality, the editing of the eliminations were a bit choppy and anticlimactic. The Hunter/Georgia vs. Ashley/Chase elimination suffered from being only a best of 3 when it should have been a best of 5 or best of 7. Though, Ashley did note this elimination went for much longer than what we got shown.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: The Proposal (WOTW 2)
Regardless of how you feel about Jordan and Tori as individuals, they have one incredibly strong and authentic relationship. They both do things their own way, yet they support each other and want the best for one another. It is adorable.
Contenders: Laurel’s Suck It (WOTW 2), and Wes getting Blindsided on WOTW 2
Laurel and Wes’s moments are kind of intertwined. Wes’s blindside resulted in the Cara/Paulie alliance using their UK power to throw in Laurel. Then it ultimately ended with Laurel losing a bizarre elimination that would allow Paulie/Cara to have the numbers for the rest of the game. The way in which Laurel gloated after her “win” was both embarrassing and entertaining. It was a little much and will get put on multiple top 10 lists and videos for the rest of Challenge history.
Dark Horses: Turbo winning WOTW 1, and Tori trucks Jenny
Tori trucking Jenny was an all-time Hall Brawl moment, but not a top 2 moment for the season. Top 5 makes sense, though. Spoilers somewhat deflated Turbo’s win. I felt like 60–70% of Challenge Fans knew Turbo was winning the entire time, primarily based on the way people idolized him on social media before we even saw him compete. Legitimately, if you go back to the first three or four episodes, Turbo wasn’t that great, yet, people online were still treating him like a God. It’s hard for me to believe that many people watch Survivor Turkey.
CHALLENGER OF THE YEAR
The Favorite: Jordan
He is the first challenger to win three appearances in a row in over a decade. Jordan has become the greatest Challenger of all-time to a significant portion of fans (I think he is, and the stats back it up), and it’s undeniable that’s he’s at least top 3. He got engaged to the love of his life. And more than anything, he guaranteed his arch-nemesis Cara Maria went home with no money in her pocket. Jordan did that.
Contenders: Turbo and Dee
Dee is the first Asian winner since Jamie Chung back on Inferno 2. She represented both Australia and Vietnam in her win. The spoiler team on Vevmo had no idea Dee was on till halfway into filming War of the Worlds 1. A girl nobody knew was able to kill it as Wes’s partner on her first season, then forge her path her second season, and was ready to face all her fears en-route to a 250k dollar check and a Challenge win.
Turbo won 750k dollars and defeated all other players on War of the Worlds 1. That’s a pretty good season.
Dark Horses: Georgia and CT
MTV invested a lot into Georgia based on the number of confessionals she got. She is an elite competitor who proved herself on day one by eliminating Ashley Mitchell and then continuing to excel in each challenge and elimination going forward. However, her dying in a final, and then the social media drama from WOTW 2, sink her stock a bit. CT is fantastic, in general. Winning 250k is awesome, but I think someone like Rogan had a better year than CT, personally. CT is similar to late-career Dirk Nowitzki, you can put him on the all-star team, and nobody will bat an eye, and you can leave him off, and nobody will mind either.
I feel like Cara, Paulie, Theo, and Wes got snubbed from this list. Cara and Paulie were at the heart of the biggest fights and were a significant factor in all social media drama. Love them or hate them, but fans pay so much attention to these two (I know I did). Cara and Paulie vs. Kyle on WOTW 1 was such a big storyline, and then Cara and Paulie vs. Tori and Jordan were equally as big.
Wes was the star of War of the Worlds 1. He played the game at a high level politically, physically, and had rivalries with Bear, Bananas, Theo, Ashley, and DaVonne. Wes also had cute friendships with Dee, Hunter, and Mattie. Theo should have been on here because he was slightly better than Georgia.
Challenger of the Year: 1st Jordan 2nd Dee 3rd CT (Wes and Paulie 2nd and 3rd if they were nominated)
Male Competitor of the Year: 1st Jordan 2nd Theo 3rd Turbo
Female Competitor of the Year: 1st Cara Maria 2nd Tori 3rd Dee
Male TV Personality of the Year: 1st Wes 2nd Jordan 3rd CT (Paulie 2nd and Kyle 3rd if they were nominated)
Female TV Personality of the Year: 1st DaVonne 2nd Ashley 3rd Tori (Dee 3rd if they were nominated)
Duo of the Year: 1st Jordan and Tori 2nd Paulie and Cara 3rd Leroy and Kam (Paulie and Kyle 3rd if they were nominated)
Male Rookie of the Year: 1st Theo 2nd Turbo 3rd Bear
Female Rookie of the Year: 1st Dee 2nd Georgia 3rd Mattie
Funniest Commentary: 1st DaVonne 2nd Zach 3rd Georgia (Kyle 3rd if they were nominated)
Comeback Player of the Year: 1st Wes 2nd Nany 3rd Laurel
Elimination of the Year: 1st Kyle vs Theo 2nd Jordan vs Josh 3rd Tori vs Jenny
Moment of the Year: 1st The Proposal 2nd Suck It 3rd Tori trucks Jenny (Paulie trying to kiss Theo 3rd if they were nominated)