Challenge Season 35 Way Too Early Male Power Rankings

Allan Aguirre
13 min readOct 23, 2019


Before I start this article, I would like to thank the Vevmo Spoiler team for all the work they do year-round to gather spoilers and tea for Challenge fans. If PinkRose messages me, I would love to paypal them for all their work (seriously).

We do not have all the cast members yet, but we have a majority of them. I decided to power rank the thirteen known male cast members based on their chance of winning S35. You can see the women’s list in the link above.

Here we go:

13 Chris “Swaggy C” Williams — ROOKIE, Origin Show: Big Brother 20

According to his Saint Peter College athletics profile, Swaggy C is 6'4 and 200 lbs. Based on Big Brother, I’d say he is 6'2 and 180 lbs. He is a very slender and he was agile in the few Big Brother competitions he participated in. Likewise, even though he never played in college, his high school basketball stats were not bad, and he was even All-Conference in the sport.

Derrick Henry was a significantly better basketball player than Swaggy C and he did not fare well on this show to say the least. Sadly, I think Swaggy C will be a victim of his ego. I think the hate he gets is unwarranted considering many other competitors have similar egos and carry themselves in the same way. That doesn’t help him though. Hopefully he can perform socially and in competition, or else it will be an early exit.

12 Josh Martinez — 2 Seasons, Highest Finish: Still in contention of War of the Worlds 2, 0–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

There is a real possibility that Josh becomes the first person to win Big Brother and the Challenge. He is on a dominant US team for War of the Worlds 2 and could float to a win. We really have no idea if Josh has improved from WOTW 1 to WOTW 2. On WOTW 1, he was a mess when paired with Amanda. Josh was nervous in heights challenges, trailed the other males physically, and his anxiety killed him in the opening puzzle purge. He got eliminated twice in a season without a redemption house.

Josh has proved to be a strong swimmer this past season at least. The biggest flaw in Josh’s game is he creates enemies without creating strong allies. I don’t feel like anyone on his side of the alliance on WOTW 2 regards him highly. Making yourself a target is not a bad thing if there is a point to it. It’s hard for me to see the point with Josh right now. He has been great television though as fans are very divided on him.

11 Jay Starrett — ROOKIE, Origin Show: Survivor Millennials vs Gen X

The last time a guy named Jay was on the Challenge, it did not end well. I do think Jay has an outside shot to have a Kyle like run on this season. He is an incredibly articulate and charismatic guy who’s personality can carry him if he hits the right notes when talking to other competitors. Likewise, I could see his personality not translating, people see his 5'10 and 160 lb frame and attempt to run him over in Hall Brawl.

I have high hopes for Jay, he was entertaining as hell on Survivor.

10 Cory Wharton — 6 seasons, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Bloodlines, 5–3 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S32 Final Reckoning

My brain contains a vast amount of Challenge knowledge, but it keeps forgetting Cory was on Final Reckoning and Vendettas. His disastrous stints on those two seasons were so short and the seasons themselves were so long that you sometimes forget that MTV put Cory on billboards and used him as a “mercenary”. The reason Cory is so low on this despite making it to two finals and winning five eliminations is because he is a known commodity. Cory does well at simple physical challenges. He’s like NFL Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins. He’s fast and can run a straight line, but if you ask him to run any other type of route, he has no chance.

Cory struggles with puzzles, swimming, eating, and strategy. His social and political game sucks as he always finds himself on the opposite side of whoever has power or where the numbers are. Cory is one of the luckiest Challenge competitors ever. He has never had a bad partner, gotten favorable eliminations, and has had a bit of help from production when he needed it. Cory still has not won, and even lost an elimination to Matt Rife. Honestly, I wanted to rank Cory 12th, because I know he’s not going to win. He is someone who fails, yet always has weak excuses and never blames himself.

9 Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat — ROOKIE, Origin Show: Big Brother 20

Fessy made one of the dumbest moves in Big Brother history; in the final 9 of Big Brother 20, he won a critical HOH competition in which his minority alliance would be able to take out a member of the majority alliance that Kaycee was in. Instead, he was tricked by the other side and nominated one of only two people on his alliance, which resulted in his alliance going from 3 people to 2. The next week, he and his only alliance member were nominated for eviction, and he was out the door.

So why do I have him above multiple people and even want to rank him higher? Fessy is a GREAT athlete. In college, he was a three time All Conference tight-end, is fourth in his school’s history for receiving touchdowns, and measures in at 6'5 and 245 lbs. The HOH win where he made his fatal blunder, Fessy dominated the other competitors in a competition that was about endurance and balance as they run back and forth between a slippery floor and carry liquid from one container to another. Fessy won in record time. A man that big should not be that agile. On top of that Fessy is book smart. He was very good in the mental challenges on Big Brother, was on the Dean’s List in college, honor roll in High School, and finished his degree before his football career was over. Fessy might be a gullible guy, but he might be pretty good in the puzzles and strategy part of the game.

His size might hamper him and he might be a flop, but if there is a dark horse to make the final and win, don’t be surprised if that dark horse is Fessy.

8 Stephen Bear — 2 Seasons, Highest Finish: 7th Place Male War of the Worlds 1, 3–2 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

I think Bear has been incredibly lucky as a Challenge competitor. There are many fans who believe Bear is a good competitor, when really he is average at best. His first elimination was really a Day v Shaleen battle, his elimination with Gus was a stalemate, and then his win against Wes was kind of impressive, but Wes was sick, and he’s already lost physical eliminations to Big Easy and Dario. Bear got walloped by Kyle in their Balls In style elimination. He made Kyle look like CT. Bear is quite quick, a bit fearless, and relies on his athleticism. The problem with it is that many of the guys can run him over.

He is not good with puzzles, puts a massive target on his back, and his only skill is hooking up with girls, but he cannot even stay loyal to one, thus ruining the potential alliance between them.

7 Rogan O’Connor — 2 Seasons, Highest Finish: Still in contention of War of the Worlds 2, 0–0 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

I have no idea what type of competitor Rogan is. The fact that he is ranked seventh is a testament to the lack of depth in this male cast. We have not gotten to see Rogan perform much as an individual. However, he has put on an impressive display of social and political play. Because of the way Rogan went out on Vendettas, he should be the automatic target for elimination every week. Each week, Rogan finagles his way out of it and gets his enemies in there. Now, he is sitting on a UK team with a majority alliance where he has a good relationship with Team USA and he is allowed to call the shots on who goes in while his best friend Joss acts as a meatshield.

While Bear and Cory have shown more as competitors, I know they will not play the social or political game well at all. The concept of Rogan as a competitor is at the very least intriguing.

6 Nelson Thomas — 4 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Invasion of the Champions, 8–2–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S32 Final Reckoning

Nobody has been to more eliminations in their first four seasons than Nelson. That is both a badge of honor for Nelson, and a testament to how awful he is in daily challenges and that he plays a subpar political game. People like Nelson in the house. He is a goofy guy who might buy your shots at the bar and will be a great work-out partner. Nelson too often finds himself in a poor situation because of how he conducts himself when around Cory and Hunter. Nelson desires Cory’s approval like a little brother (even though Nelson is older) and he gets wild when the three are together. They are cocky and make each other their worst selves. The season where Nelson was not directly in Cory’s alliance was Invasion of the Champions, which is Nelson’s best finish to date.

If Nelson remains chill, works hard, and makes the right alliances, he can have an outside shot of winning if the #1 contender is not there. Whereas Cory always has excuses for his losses, Nelson blames himself immensely. Cory gives up to easily, while Nelson is someone who when he hits a wall, he’d rather break his body running into the wall before giving up.

5 Kyle Christie — 4 Seasons, Highest Finish: 3rd Place Vendettas (2nd Male), 2–5 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

Kyle is the 5th best male according to me and I cannot believe it. I’m really trying to explain this to myself here. When I look at this cast, I just think Kyle is better than Bear physically, he tries harder than Cory, fits in better than Josh, knows how to manipulate others unlike Nelson, and most of all, he is not a rookie. Kyle can lay back in this game and bank on the fact that he has positive relationships with the majority of the veteran females. Without Cara and Paulie, we can get Vendettas Kyle back.

If Kyle actively plays the game, he can do what Rogan is doing, except ten times better. And that’s it. The biggest appeal is that he doesn’t suck.

4 Wes Bergmann — 12 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2x Champion: 1st Place The Duel 1, 1st Place, 14–7 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

It pains me to put Wes below Bananas. After that loss on War of the Worlds 2 to Bear, I kind of have to. Wes has done a great job of convincing fans that he’s this incredible physical competitor and rode the wave of his elimination win against Derrick for a long-time. In reality, Wes is not good with physicality, he’s a short, thin, and slow man. He is however a phenomenal finesse competitor. Wes kills challenges which require skill, technique, and ingenuity.

He is the definition of work smarter, not harder. I think Wes’s best move for a season like this is to do less. If Wes just links up with CT, rides their veteran status, works his social game with the veteran females, and then maybe takes a late game shot at his enemies, then he has a realistic shot to pull off a 3rd win. Part of me wishes he had retired after War of the Worlds 1 as he performed so well all season.

3 Johnny Bananas — 19 Seasons, Highest Finish: 6x Champion: 1st Place Rivals 1, 1st Place Exes 1, 1st Place Free Agents, 1st Place Rivals 3, Winning Team The Ruins, Winning Team The Island, 8–13 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

People think Bananas is completely washed up because he has not made a final since his win on Rivals 3. Meanwhile, we champion the occasional or lone final appearances of other competitors. Essentially, we are more interested in the idea of someone becoming better, and are quick to close the book on those we perceive as over the hill. Bananas still kills the majority of the daily challenges. Despite being a historically average swimmer, he posted one of the best times in the swimming challenge this year. Bananas has beat CT in a puzzle, Wes in a swim, and Nelson in elimination.

I fucking hate Bananas, but he is still good. He is not a power hitter who could hit 50 home runs anymore, 30 isn’t a bad amount though. That still puts him in contention with the other all stars.

2 Chris Tamburello — 16 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2x Champion: 1st Place Rivals 2, 1st Place Invasion of the Champions, 5–4 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

I feel as though CT is a lock for the final. He doesn’t bullshit around, the best women in the game trust him, and all the top males besides Jordan do not want to anger him. As long as there is no twist, CT should be in the final. He has a shot to win as long as he is not facing the #1 contender.

1 Jordan Wiseley — 5 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2x Champion: 1st Place Exes 2, 1st Place Dirty 30, 5–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

Something must go down with Jordan on War of the Worlds 2 if he wants to throw himself into the environment on back to back seasons. He is the best all-around competitor in the cast. Wes/Bananas/CT are great all-around competitors, but they are all old and shells of their past selves. They don’t have the gas to go one on one with Jordan who would challenge them in their prime, and now they’re old. Jordan can do puzzles, he is an excellent swimmer, is great with heights and balance, and has maybe the best cardio in Challenge history. With a fractured leg, Jordan outpaced CT and Derrick by over an hour in the Dirty 30 final. MTV tried their hardest to make it look close, when anyone watching knew “oh Jordan is outright winning”.

The only person I can see beating Jordan on this cast is Jordan.



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.