5 Times MTV Challenge Producers Ruined Iconic Moments and Storylines
On the first episode of Double Agents, MTV could have potentially started us off with a colossal bang by putting Wes against CT in the first elimination of the season. With a total of 39 seasons between them (including spinoffs), Wes and CT have never faced off one on one in elimination. It would have been the most iconic episode one elimination in Challenge history, easily. That’s a Wrestlemania Main Event level match. Instead, production announced it was a “girls” elimination day. Maybe it was always a girls’ elimination day, but for all of us who prefer to live in the conspiracy theory shadows, we will believe that MTV pivoted to protect the two cast members they spent the most money on from getting eliminated Episode 1. I do want to say, Natalie vs Ashley is a Wrestlemania Opening Level Match and is also iconic; it just doesn’t sell as many tickets as Wes vs CT.
There have been many moments in Challenge history where MTV had something special and then production either intervened or didn’t intervene enough to enhance what they had in front of them. Whether it be choosing the wrong elimination, poor execution of twists, and simple format choices that ruined potentially great storylines and seasons.
Also, if reading about all these awful choices by production annoys you, watch this video where I break down 5 times they made great choices that elevated and enhanced the show tenfold! If you enjoy it all, drop a Like and Subscribe to my YouTube Channel where there will be tons of Reality TV content this season.
Onto the bad choices!
5 The Opening Purge of Dirty 30
MTV really thought they were doing something cool on Dirty 30 by purging six players (three men and women) in the first daily challenge of its thirtieth season. They thought it was a “dirty game” that would have fans more interested, but if anything, it created an angry fanbase who became disinterested as the game went on. The purge itself was also poorly done where all the challenges consisted only of carrying weight and running. It was not even a marathon-type run; it was more like a 400–800 M race, and then added in that the random team element in part two threw strong players under the bus. We lost Darrell and Amanda in this opening purge. Darrell as a competitor and a name-value for old school fans was important, and in all honesty, considering the season itself was a bit snooze fest, Amanda was maybe a more significant loss. The Dirty 30 female cast was quite underwhelming, and a player like Amanda, who isn’t elite but is a top-tier puzzle person and has a good history in daily challenges, is a few levels better than Britni and Jemmye. It would have at least given the top girls in the game some opposition early on.
Opening purges like this can only hurt the show, and no Redemption House makes up for the fact that they already made the mistake of a purge in the first place. If I order a burger, and I take a bite, and then as a joke, you knock the burger out of my hand and to the floor, you buying me another burger does not make me forget you’re an asshole.
4 Wes and Theresa vs. Leroy and Nia in Hall Brawl
Exes 2 is maybe the best season in Challenge history. The fact that we get a three-contender storyline consisting of Wes, Bananas, and Sarah, where they’re all firing on all cylinders from a political, strategic, and physical standpoint, is fantastic. Add in you have a background storyline of Leroy and Nia killing eliminations, and then some other subplots to go around; it’s a magnificent game and season.
However, you can definitely tell that one of the narratives the season is pulling for is Sarah Rice finally getting a win. Something she deserved as someone who had the worst luck in Challenge history in her seasons prior. Since she and Jordan were an all-time elite pair, it’s fair to say they would have won regardless. Although, the final five daily challenge where players are literally allowed to gang up on Wes and Theresa, followed up with an elimination that was raw physical against the gargantuan duo Leroy and Nia, felt like production nudging the best team (statistically at that point) out of the game. Production makes some clear choices when it comes to these eliminations, and had it been a more cerebral elimination with teamwork involved like some of the other eliminations, there’s a good shot that Wes and Theresa win, and we go into the final four with all three of the major pairs still in the game.
It could have meant that all three would have gone against each other in the final, and then you potentially have the greatest final in Challenge history with three pairs all built to kill a final. Or you end up with a final elimination consisting of Wes/Theresa vs. Bananas/Nany, or Wes/Theresa vs. Jordan/Sarah, or Bananas/Nany vs. Jordan/Sarah in a Pole Wrestle. That’s iconic. As a whole, this is a massive nit-pick and makes me feel like Gordon Ramsay saying that someone’s perfectly cooked dish could have been slightly better by a tiny bit if the plating was better. At the end of the day, I’m happy my boy Leroy got his second final and kicked both Wes and Bananas’ asses en-route.
3 Genderless Troikas on Vendettas
Anyone alive at the end of 2017 (about 12 people) knew that the hottest storyline on the Challenge based on social media was Cara Maria vs. Kailah. My Kailah and Cara articles back then were guaranteed to spit out crazy numbers regardless of what I wrote. MTV needed to pit these two against each other and elevate them the same way they did Kenny and Wes back on Fresh Meat 2/Rivals 1. What did they do instead? They created a game format that allowed men to completely dominate the game on both sides politically, leading to a very dull game on the female side where the best four females players made the final without much resistance. Out of a combined 30 Troika slots, 23 got filled by men, and only 7 by women. Every female elimination had a male-dominant Troika, including one where all three members were men. The only time we got a female-dominated Troika was when all of the female spots in the final had gotten punched.
I understand wanting to put men and women on an “equal standing” from a competitive standpoint. Yet, what they did was take the game out of the hands of their best storyline. Having separate male and female Tribunals/Troikas makes sense; you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
(Plugs Double Agents Episode 1 Podcast Recap)
Caffeine Confessionals: Challenge Double Agents Episode 1 Recap: A Feast of Champions on Apple…
Nikki and Allan break down Episode 1 of the Challenge Double Agents. We talk about the first daily challenge…
2 Not Giving CT Physical Eliminations in Key Moments
CT’s backpacking of Johnny Bananas is probably the most iconic moment in this show’s history. It’s also one of the few times MTV has unleashed this physical in legitimate headbangers. Over this guy’s Challenge career, there have been multiple moments where they could have put CT against another heavyweight in a physical elimination and simply didn’t. Free Agents had four main eliminations: Balls In, a Hall Brawl variant, a more intense reverse tug of war, and Wrecking Wall. Of course, CT had to compete in the elimination with no physical contact (Wrecking Wall) and then competed in the rogue puzzle game. Considering Leroy, Bananas, and Zach were potential opponents for these, it’s ridiculously head-scratching. Nothing burns me up more that we never got a Prime Leroy vs. a Prime CT in a true headbanger/Pole Wrestle.
The most egregious example was the Darrell vs. CT elimination on Invasion. I think Knot So Fast is the best elimination in Challenge history, but I can tell you from the amount of Social Media comments, fans were chomping at the bit to see these two men in something physical and felt robbed by what MTV gave us. With CT back for the first time since Diem’s passing and Darrell back for the first time in seven years and the final on the line, I don’t understand how you don’t make this a Hall Brawl. MTV had their versions of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins and decided to have them compete in a 3 point shootout instead of a dunk contest. Maddening.
1 Fucking Up The Bananas and Wes Elimination TWICE
Good lord. After multiple seasons and years of building up a Bananas and Wes rivalry that never lived up to the scorching hot heat that the Kenny and Wes rivalry did, MTV had the chance to make it all up the first time Wes and Bananas competed against one another in elimination on the spin-off, Champs vs. Pros. What elimination did they give them? Snapper. Also known as “Blind Stick Fighting.” While Snapper is one of my all-time favorite eliminations from an entertainment standpoint, it’s not the elimination you put your faces of the franchise in after eight years of animosity. They made the best of this elimination, and Wes’s performance was as impressive as you can be in Blind Stick Fighting, but still, it got fans more upset than anything. It wasn’t the final season of Game of Thrones bad because at least you can make the argument that Champs vs. Pros is a non-canon season, and with the Pros also competing, the game couldn’t be too physical as the Pros wouldn’t want to risk injury.
The problem is three years later; THEY DID IT AGAIN. When Bananas and Wes finally decided to align after a decade, Wes and Bananas hit an impasse where they each saw it as their time to go in and get a Red Skull. Bananas was the house vote, and with Wes winning the daily challenge, he had the opportunity to throw himself in. Production knew this was likely going to happen, and what did they do? They gave them an elimination where they would break into a giant wall and search for three random batteries located inside. Literally, a luck-based game where the person climbing the wall worse and punching worse could still easily win as there was no rhyme or reason to where the batteries were located. I understand a Hall Brawl or a Pole Wrestle wouldn’t have been a fantastic show at their ages. At least give us a Knot So Fast or an elimination similar to what Jenna and Tori played earlier that season. Just not a game of luck, for god sake. MTV fumbled their bag twice with this match-up.