Challenge Retrospective: Inferno 3 Awards

While we have the objective history of the Challenge in the wikias, and the show intact to look back on to see how great the olden days were, we are missing some big things: AWARDS. As a major basketball fan, my friends and I spend hours on discussing who the league MVP is, who the rookie of the year is, and who are the top players per position are. I began with Fresh Meat 1, and have done the Duel 1, but her I am today to talk about the Inferno 3.

The Inferno is a famous Challenge format which splits the teams into two, and starting with Inferno 2, it became Good Guys vs Bad Asses. The Good Guys won Inferno with a stacked team of Darrell, Landon, the Miz, and Jamie Chung. Although the Bad Asses were the better team, the Good Guys had trimmed all their fat by the time it got to the final. For Inferno 3, my main complaint was the lack of eliminations(only 4 male and female eliminations all season), and the size of the cast(20 people). While the Duel was only 20 people, that was individual format where we had 8 male and female eliminations. Inferno 3 was a chill season nonetheless with standout performers.

The Rules: I will be giving out an MVP award for both male and female competitors on the season. MVP does not just go out to the pair that won the season, but the individual competitor who brought the most to the show: physically, socially, mentally, entertainment wise, hook ups, arguments, circumstances, etc. I will be naming First Team All Challenge, and Second Team All Challenge. These will be 5 person lineups consisting of the best/most important competitors from that season using the MVP criteria, and it can be 5 guys and 0 girls, or 5 girls and 0 guys, or just 3 guys and 2 girls. It will consist of 5 competitors regardless of gender.

Rookie of the Year awards will be given to both genders, and I will also be giving awards out for Most Disappointing Players of the Season(both genders), Top Physical Competitors, and Underdog of the Season. Here we go:


Male: None Female: Tonya Cooley & Susie Meister
It seems a bit crazy to not name a Male MVP when this is arguably one of Abram’s best seasons as a competitor, and prime Alton was there, but it just did not seem right to name them MVP when the two girls brought way more to the show. Alton did not quite bring it like he did on Gauntlet 2, and he also brought no drama to the franchise, as he purely was a “good guy”. Abram is known for being a whole lot of crazy, but was mostly toned down on this season, but I just cannot accept him as the MVP when he technically got eliminated by Timmy in an Inferno, if not for that extra pane of glass just falling off and not cracking.

The girls brought the drama for Inferno 3. Susie hated Tonya, and constantly liked to make fun of her, behind her back with others, and made passive aggressive comments when around her. There was even an episode when she created the game “I hate Tony because…”, where she, Cara Z., and Colie took turns just trashing on Tonya. Susie is one of the biggest mean girls and bullies in Challenge history, but she often plays it off with her clean silky white skin, near platinum blonde hair, and charming wit. Susie is the outer stereotype for a “good girl”, a basic Sears stock photo, but she fed most of the drama on the season. She was selected to go into 4/4 Infernos, and avoided 3 of them by winning the life shields. In her 1 Inferno, she took out Jenn who had won the two Inferno’s prior.

Tonya on the other hand, had a marvelous season even with the hate on her. She came into the Challenge in the best shape of her life, performed well in all of the Challenges, and was the best female player on the Bad Ass team. Even though Evelyn was the best competitor and athlete, she often pushed herself too far and went too fast, resulting in DQ’s for her team, while Tonya pushed through every Challenge successfully, and even won a couple life-shields. She was focused on being a good competitor, but never to hurt her team. Tonya also held a witch hunt on Susie, trying to send her home every week. I truly believe in a 1 on 1, that Tonya would have won, but we will never know. It’s easy to forget that she was an incredible physical competitor with all the crazy that came with her over the years, but at one point in time, Tonya truly was a top female athlete on the Challenge.

Rookies of the Year

Male: Davis Mallory Female: Jenn Grijalva
For the guys, it was simple, it was Davis or Tyrie, and Tyrie got eliminated first out of anyone on the cast. Davis also won an elimination on the season, beating Danny Jamieson in a game of tag. He also took a punch from CT, which most seasons would put you in the running for MVP.

I picked Jenn over Janelle due to Jenn winning two eliminations on the season, and only losing once she faced Susie. The Denver beauty came on the season and proved herself to be a solid competitor.

First Team All Challenge

Tonya Cooley, Susie Meister, Abram Boise, Alton Williams, Evelyn Smith
We discussed Tonya and Susie already, so let’s talk about the third best girl on the season, Evelyn. It was a major surprise to see Evelyn back on for the Inferno 3, she was the first Fresh Meat partner eliminated on that season, so we got very little airtime of this girl selected first in the Fresh Meat draft. The Duel included a lot of Fresh Meat: Evan, Kenny, Big Easy, Casey, and Diem. However, all of those people made it to at least midway in the season, where Ev left immediately. It was a smart move by Bunim-Murray to bring her back, as she proved to be the best female athlete for an entire generation of Challenges. Her weakness on Inferno 3 was that she often tried too hard to be the best, and had an occasional DQ. Then again, she had moments where she was even beating Alton and Abram.

Abram came to Inferno 3 with one thing in his mind, beating Alton. He did in a few challenges, and Alton was clearly the better athlete, but just did not have the gear in him to push harder to win. Alton played too nice, while Abram was truly ready to be Bad Ass.

Second Team All Challenge

Kenny Santucci, Derrick Kosinski, Paula Meronek, Cara Zavaleta, Johnny Bananas
Mr. Beautiful became a true personality and a winner on the Inferno 3. He was cast for this third straight Challenge when appearing for Inferno 3, and he showed that when push came to shove, he was an actual good competitor. The one time he was put into the Inferno, he won a life-shield, and proceeded to win another life-shield before the final male elimination. Derrick was brought in to replace CT after he punched out Davis, and finally got his long overdue Challenge win. He didn’t do much, but Derrick finally got his win.

Paula returned for her second Challenge, and was in much better shape than the Duel, and very healthy compared to her Anorexic days on Key West. She was a top female athlete, behind Tonya, Ev, and Susie. Paula validated her spot by beating Aneesa in an elimination that was pure athleticism instead of size. Cara Zavaleta was on her final Challenge, and we miss her beautiful face.

Johnny Bananas was doing his second straight after his quick stint on the Duel, and was hilarious placed on the Good Guys team. He was also called John on that season, which just feels weird. He was the second best male athlete on the Good Guys team. Johnny made a place for himself on the Challenge on Inferno 3.

Best Physical Competitors

Male: Abram Boise Female: Evelyn Smith
I discussed this earlier, while Alton was the better athlete, he just did not quite bring it on the Inferno 3. It’s not disrespecting him, but even the best players have seasons where they kind of didn’t play their best. Abram was the best and pushed himself further.

Evelyn showed to be fast, strong, balanced, and poised to become the “next Jodi”, and this was the beginning of her streak towards being the best female competitor in Challenge history. She got the first out of her three career wins with Inferno 3.

Most Disappointing Players

Male: Timmy Beggy and Christ “CT” Tamburello
This was the last season for Timmy on the Challenge. He retired after his DQ loss to Abram on the glass shattering elimination. Timmy was a Challenge legend, a phenomenal competitor, and a great guy to have around. His age was shown on the Challenge, it also showed that in the Justin Booth era that not working out prior will kill you.

CT gets most disappointing for leaving on the first night after punching out Davis. This was the first time CT got kicked off for fighting, and it was suspected that he was on cocaine during that night. This could have easily been his first win.



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Allan Aguirre

26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.