Challenge War of the Worlds Veterans Preseason Power Ranking

I ranked the rookies a few weeks ago, and now here are the preseason rankings for the veterans.

Men

8th Leroy Garrett

I love Leroy. He is one of my all-time favorite cast members, but he is never winning a Challenge unless it is a big team season. Leroy does not train for these shows much anymore and it shows. He did not win a single daily challenge on Vendettas despite making it through the whole season and his loss to Hunter on Dirty 30 showed you can now go toe to toe with him physically. Leroy could totally make the final, but he is not coming close to winning this season.

7th Zach Nichols

If this were an individual season, one could probably rank Zach as high as second, maybe even first for this season. He is decently intelligent, a great athlete, and an all-around beast in daily challenges. However, this is a paired season where Zach has to work with a female partner, and he is incapable of treating women well. Whether it be a sweetheart like Jonna or a cutthroat vixen like Amanda or Laurel, Zach’s inability to build healthy relationships with his partners will be his downfall. Zach also lacks a true ally, Tony was his guy and now he is gone.

6th Paulie Calafiore

Paulie is great at daily challenges, fearless when it comes to anything involving heights and danger. Paulie’s elimination against Tony on Final Reckoning, showed that he is hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to win. What will hold Paulie back is his massive ego and his desire to go one on one with Kyle. Unless you can win five eliminations in a season like Wes, Paulie cannot continue to play the way he did on Final Reckoning. There is no Redemption House this time around.

5th Kyle Christie

When ranking competitors physically, Kyle is probably the worst veteran male. He is solid at daily challenges, not great. His biggest asset is that, besides Cara Maria and Paulie, everyone loves him. Now, Cara and Paulie are strong players who can win challenges and go after him. However, he is good at laying low and will likely work well with whatever partner he gets. Kyle’s dick also knows how to navigate a Challenge house. He needs to put it to good use in order to create alliances to further himself in the game. I have more faith in Kyle being able to separate himself socially and politically than I do Zach and Paulie just muscling their way through.

4th Johnny Bananas

If you look at Johnny Bananas’ track record with female partners, he won Exes 1, finished 4th on Exes 2, and then won Rivals 3. He should be way higher on this list… It just feels like he has lost his luster since then. Bananas has now lost eliminations to an out-of-shape Wes on Champs vs Pros, Devin, Sylvia/Joss and Natalie/Paulie. While there is some context in all those losses, at this point it is just becoming excuses. Bananas in his prime would have been able to pull out those wins and make the final because he is the greatest player in Challenge history. He needs to get his groove back this season, and it honestly doesn’t matter if he wins daily challenges, Bananas sole focus should be making the final. There will be some roadblocks with Hunter and Wes going after him this season.

3rd Wes Bergmann

One of the weirdest things about Bananas’ challenge career is that as it dwindles, it seems like Wes has had a second wind that started after his appearance on Champs vs Pros 1. Wes was at an all-time low on CvP as he had a dad bod without the kid. He has trimmed down since and has now put some muscle back on his body. After learning how to compete at a top level on Rivals 2 and Exes 2 without his former physique, Wes now has some muscle to lean on. Also, not being on the show (excluding the spin-offs) has gained Wes friends and given him few enemies. The only person who HATES Wes on this cast is Bananas, and maybe Cara Maria. There is so much fire in Wes’ heart when it comes to the competition, whereas it feels as though Bananas is getting too caught up in the drama for the camera time.

2nd Chris Tamburello

I had him third for a while, I just can’t in good conscience put CT any lower than second. He made the final on Invasion, Dirty 30, and both Champs vs Stars series. The man was on a hot streak until Veronica got him purged on Final Reckoning and the double cross didn’t give them a chance at Redemption. No matter what shape CT is in, he has a great shot at making the final. In my interview with CT during Champs vs Stars 2, he hinted that his retirement will likely come sooner rather than later. CT is playing to retire at this point, he wants to win and put a cap on a great Challenge career.

1st Hunter Barfield

Hunter is a racehorse. He is a completely flawed competitor who is weak mentally when it comes to puzzles and problem solving. But what he can do is dominate the challenges physically. Hunter was often better than most of the Champions on Invasion, he won multiple eliminations and dailies on Dirty 30 (even with a broken hand), and won his third season. Of the past four seasons, Hunter might be the scariest male on the Challenge, physically. CT, Wes, and Bananas are legends, but they are past their prime, meanwhile Hunter is better now than he’ll ever be again. Hunter is nowhere near as good CT or Landon were in their primes — but he is 90% of what they were, and that is still DAMN GOOD.

Women

8th Da’Vonne Rogers

I still do not know what Da’Vonne is good at. She spent a good amount of her time in the Redemption House last season, and then spent even more time bickering with Shane all season. It is also difficult to tell if she was good at anything because her elimination wins came against a crumbling Natalie and her losses came with Jozea as a partner. Da’Vonne is essentially still a rookie.

7th Jenna Compono

The foot injury has dramatically affected Jenna even if she is healed. If you haven’t noticed, she is quite a bit thinner than she was on Invasion and Dirty 30. Jenna worked out and trained well before. She was tall and had some good muscle/size to her that she could use when facing smaller girls. If Jenna had been her current size against Amanda on Dirty 30, she would have lost. Acting as a partner and a veteran, Jenna might not take the reins when she should and is no help in food eating challenges or puzzles. Jenna’s one strength at this point is heights challenges. She is likely to make the halfway point, but she is definitely not winning, and it would be a rough path to the final with this stacked female cast.

6th Natalie Negrotti

Natalie could be the best veteran female in daily challenges. Unfortunately for Natalie, everyone knows she sucks at eliminations, and everyone knows she is a snake. If people do not fear facing you in elimination, you’re a big target to go in. Paulie and Cara are strong allies, though they will always look out for each other before they ever look out for Natalie. Being the only Big Brother player made Natalie a bit unique in the past, now it makes her one in a crowd where she might be an easy target as people know she is bad at eliminations.

5th Ashley Mitchell

Even though she is coming off a massive million dollar win, Ashley is ranked low because she has the biggest target in Challenge history on her back. When you win a million dollars, nobody wants to see you win again, or at least not for a long while. Bananas, Hunter, Paulie, Cara, and many others will be gunning for her this season, and to make matters worse, it’s not like Ashley is the most emotionally stable either.

4th Amanda Garcia

In theory, Amanda is the perfect partner on a co-ed team. She is fearless and cutthroat, great at puzzles, and has the upperbody strength to hold her own body weight, along with solid endurance. Her issue is she gets into the biggest fights in the house, often with the strongest players. We watched her and Zach dominate the season while hating one another. They are the ultimate what-could-have-been team ever had one of them decided to put their stubborn attitude aside.

3rd Nany Gonzalez

Ranking Nany this high feels weird. Except Nany might be coming into this season with the best social standing out of any competing. By not competing for four seasons, Nany has not created any rivalries and only has friendships. Nany is close friends with Jenna, Zach, Wes, Leroy, and Bananas. Literally, a third of the veterans are linked to Nany in some way. She is also entering the house single with an entire crop of new guys to hook up with. Nany should crush this season socially. My only worry is that she looks significantly skinnier than she did on Free Agents and Exes 2. Her size was always a major advantage for her.

2nd Cara Maria Sorbello

This is going to sound weird as she made the final the past two seasons and won one of them, but Cara Maria has kinda sucked her last two seasons overall. Cara only made the Troika once on Vendettas and did not win a single daily challenge on Final Reckoning. Her final performance on Vendettas was impressive though. Cara Maria is still a beast whose reputation precedes her, however, if she finds herself too caught up in playing Paulie’s game and dealing with Kyle and Paulie drama, she will not win the season. We need to get a fully engaged Cara, she just does not seem to have the same hunger to win anymore.

1st Kam Williams

If you want to talk about the embodiment of leadership, it is Kam leading Kayleigh and coaching her up on Final Reckoning. Kayleigh was one of the worst competitors on Vendettas, probably the worst overall, yet Kam got a really good performance out of her by dealing with her anxiousness and fears with positive vibes. She still is not great at daily challenges, but if given the right partner, we could see her string together some wins. We saw last season that when given political power, Kam is not afraid to make moves and flex her brain. The way the Challenge is going, Kam has all the momentum and is becoming one of the franchises true stars.

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