Challenge Retrospective: Rivals 2 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 now done the Duel 1,Inferno 3, Gauntlet 3, the Island, the Duel 2, the Ruins, Fresh Meat 2, Cutthroat, Rivals 1, Exes 1, Battle of the Seasons, and Rivals 2. If you want links to them, they’ll be at the bottom of this article.

Rivals 2 is one of the best seasons of the Modern era, and is to me, the best Rivals season and cast. It was good merge between the old guard of the Challenge, and the new one. The final on the male side displayed this as it was half old gen in the final (Wes, CT, Bananas), and half new gen (Frank, Jordan, Marlon). There were great hookups (Marlon and Derek), good fights, great eliminations (Ty/LeRoy v Jordan/Marlon), and fun challenges.

In the end, the two best teams won, the two runner ups were the second best teams, and rookies made incredible splashes. Emily and Paula dominated the game, while Wes and CT went on to become the greatest male pairing in Challenge history.

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:

Some Vids From the Season For Y’all

The Trailer

One of the great verbal fights in Challenge history


Male: Chris CT Tamburello Female: Emily Schromm
Rivals 2 was a strong season that made the decisions for MVP so difficult. There were four guys in contention for Male MVP: CT, Wes, Frank, and Jordan. The reason I chose CT, was that he was putting in work all throughout the game. He and Wes took it easy until the end, where they won 3 out of the last 5 daily missions, including the final 2. CT’s dick game was strong as fuck on Rivals 2, he hooked up with Anastasia, is rumored to have hooked up with Cooke, had an unseen hookup with Nany that was teased in the season trailer, and of course was also chapter 9000 of his saga with Diem. Jesus, CT.

Ultimately, he deserves the MVP for finally winning his first Challenge after a decade on screen and 9 Challenges. One of the greatest players in Challenge history was finally a Champion.

Choosing between Emily and Cooke for female MVP was the toughest decision. Cooke had a rookie season where she won 2 eliminations, won the final daily mission to get them to the final, and led in the final until the food portion where they tanked it, while Paula basically became Joey Chesnut.

In the end, I had to give the award to Emily. The first season where Emily was given a half-decent partner, she won 6/10 daily missions, dominating everything physical, and had wins ranging from super physical stuff in Rampage, to the trivia challenge, and the weird beach sex obstacle where you partner was connected in a baby Bjorn looking device.

Rookie of the Year

Male: Jordan Wiseley Female: Heather Cooke
Male model and one handed wonder, Jordan, came into the Challenge piping hot. Had Nia not been on the season, Jordan would have easily been viewed as the villain of Real World Portland. Instead, he came in the good looking pretentious guy. His ability to insert himself into the game as a rookie and assimilate a group of veterans is staggering. They should have seen 5 eliminations, instead they saw 2, winning both, winning a daily mission, performing highly in all competitions, and getting a 3rd place finish in the final. I still believe that had the final been reformatted to how it was in past seasons, Jordan & Marlon would have finished in 2nd, with Frank & Johnny getting 3rd. He also had 2 killer hookups, Sarah Rice and Jonna Mannion, both beautiful girls.

Cooke was an alpha as mentioned above. Cooke and Cara Maria had the whole house against them, and they fought every week to stay in the house, and almost put up one of the greatest upsets in final history. Had they won that, it would have been shocking, not like Gauntlet 3 or Inferno 2, where single members of the team died out costing the win, but an actual physical upset by an underdog team outperforming the favorite.

First Team All Challenge

Chris CT Tamburello, Emily Schromm, Heather Cooke, Jordan Wiseley, Wes Bergmann
I’ve mentioned most of these people already, CT and Emily as Champs and MVP’s get the slots. Jordan and Cooke had two of the greatest rookie seasons ever, making the final, and proving to be two of the most fit competitors in the history of the show. Rookies usually don’t come in as hot as those two.

For the final slot, it was between Wes and Frank. Frank had a more dramatic season, Wes played a more strategic game, and in the end, Wes becoming a 2x Challenge Champion was what decided it in the end. After not winning since the Duel 1 in 2006, Wes had gone on a real downturn in his Challenge performances. His prior two seasons, he lasted 3 episodes, was in 3 eliminations, and was looking like a flop. Wes came back this season, created an adorable relationship with his Rival, CT, and led their way politically to a final win where they lapped Johnny and Frank.

Second Team All Challenge

Frank Sweeney, Paula Meronek, Camila Nakagawa, Cara Maria Sorbello, Johnny Bananas
Coming in, hot off his rookie season win on Battle of the Seasons, Frank Sweeney entered a game filled with veterans, and was partnered with 4x Champion, Johnny Bananas. Frank’s temper and emotions sometimes got in the way, as he fought with CT and Knight, but he also was able to make friends with some of the more powerful teams, especially Emily/Paula, who adored him. Frank was in killer shape and they had a strong second place finish for the season.

Paula becoming a two time Champion, and the Rivals Queen (winning both same sex Rivals), felt good for a girl who only a couple years earlier was the person who couldn’t win a Challenge. Camila’s Rivals 2 season is heavily underrated. She had one of the worst partners that you could ever get in a Challenge, Jemmye, and they still managed a spot in the final, winning a physical daily mission, and two eliminations. Good job, Camila.

Cara Maria entered the season during the second episode as a replacement for Naomi, Cooke’s partner. Even with Cooke berating her daily, and her flailing in the water, Cara showed flashes of upper level talent with her upper body and endurance skills. This was her third final appearance, and third second place finish.

Considering how big of a part that Johnny was to this season, and that he finished second, he deserves to be on this list. This is the only final that Johnny has lost besides his first one, the Inferno 3. Johnny went into Rivals 2 in the worst shape he had been in for a Challenge in a while, this season forced him to revamp his training, creating a better athletic version of himself for the future.

Best Physical Players

Male: Chris CT Tamburello Female: Emily Schromm
Have you ever looked at Emily’s body? She’s turned herself into an impressive physical specimen. Winning 6/10 challenges and the final showed incredible dominance.

Frank and Jordan were impressive athletes on Rivals 2, while CT took a backseat til later in the game. Once we got to the end game, especially the final, CT took the whole cake. He was the second best swimmer, the strongest male, best speed, best eater, and had a hunger during the final that nobody else had in their body. CT pushed himself and Wes to the finish line.

Most Disappointing Players

Male: Zach Nichols Female: Trishelle Cannatella
Not many female competitors were disappointing for Rivals 2. Trishelle gets the award for being a quitter.

Zach’s tantrum and outburst where he cheats in a elimination that they already would have won is one of the more embarrassing moments in Challenge history. The Hulk had just won Battle of the Seasons and come in with a massive ego, this move proved he was a massive douche-bag.



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