Laurel Stucky is the Most Dominant Player in MTV Challenge History
Michael Jordan often gets referred to as the greatest basketball player of all-time. However, Shaquille O’Neal is commonly known as the most dominant player all-time. While Shaq did not have the same circumstances or desires as Jordan, Shaq could undeniably impose his will on any player or game at any time. He could dramatically alter any game by stepping on the floor, and the way we discuss his gameplay is almost a disservice to him as we raise our standards to an unfair level. Laurel Stucky is the Shaq of the Challenge.
I think across all genders; Laurel is the most dominant player ever.
Competitors like Landon, Jordan, CT, and Darrell have all had their moments and stretches where they were elite. Yet, they never held the same shadow that Laurel did over the show. Despite CT’s brute strength, he was a victim of his attitude. Darrell had his faults in daily challenges. Jordan is a victim of his ego, like CT. While Landon and Alton were great, they never beat their chest and asserted themselves. They are more like the Tim Duncans of the Challenge, obviously great, just never felt the need to make anyone but themselves know it.
I’ll be honest in noting that I’ve made several jokes in the past week or two at Laurel’s expense. I did not understand her gameplay and thought some of her moves were questionable. However, Laurel is a fucking boss who, at the very least, deserved a replay considering TJ blew the horn denoting time is up. I wanted to write this article because even though Laurel is out early this season, she should be regarded as one of the all-time greats, not just as a female competitor, but as a Challenger regardless of gender.
When Laurel Stucky steps onto the Challenge, she is a tall, athletic monster who strikes fear into her fellow competitors. Men want to get partnered with her, and women rack their brains to figure out how to take her out. Dropping Laurel into the Challenge is like dropping Godzilla into Japan or throwing two extra queens on a chessboard.Fresh Meat 2
Laurel Stucky entered the Challenge universe in 2009 as a Fresh Meat rookie. After excelling in the Fresh Meat combine, Darrell selected her with the first overall pick. And then for some reason, they redid the draft, and Darrell took Cara Maria first instead. Kenny then chose Laurel second overall.
Despite his standing as a 3x Challenge Champion, Kenny’s performance in daily challenges had always left much to be desired. He was great at running finals, but his lack of coordination and elite athleticism always put him in the middle of the pack when it came to daily challenges. With Laurel by his side, they won 5/9 daily challenges, one elimination, and even gave a free win to their top ally in Pete/Jill. For reference, Kenny had only been the top finisher in a pair or individual challenge three times prior. Did Kenny suddenly become a daily challenge expert? Hell no. The following season his poor performance put him, and Wes in multiple last-place finishes on Rivals 1. What was the difference? Laurel Stucky.
The next season, Laurel showed up for Cutthroat and ended up on the misfit Grey Team. Laurel was egregiously not picked first overall. Then again, the people picking were rookie Camila, Shauvon, and Emilee. On a team of people she hated, Laurel managed to help carry her group of misfits to 5 out of 9 daily challenge wins. In the famous riot shield challenge, Laurel tried to throw the challenge to force Cara Maria into eliminating as she perceived her as dead weight. However, a screaming Abram got Laurel pissed off, and she wrecked the remaining female players to get the Grey Team the win. If you didn’t know, Emily Schromm was one of the girls that Laurel knocked off with ease. Emily fucking Schromm. The woman who some people believe to be the greatest female competitor and is the physical specimen whom Paula referred to as an X-Man. She also eliminated Camila, who had been 2–0 in eliminations.
On Rivals 1, Laurel found herself partnered with Cara Maria, the girl she believed was a JV player. While they were not super successful in daily challenges (only won 2 out of 8), they won two eliminations, including one against Theresa and Camila, two players who would go on to forge elite Challenge careers. Laurel eliminated Camila twice, and then Camila went on to win Exes 1. Laurel and Cara finished second place in a close final against a strong team where neither player whimpered while many of the male competitors were literally at breaking apart. The following season with a fantastic partner in Abram, Cara never won a daily challenge and never came remotely close to winning one. The difference-maker? Laurel Stucky
When Laurel finally got to compete as an individual on Free Agents, she won 4/10 daily challenges, more impressively 2 out of the 4 solo/paired challenges. She defined the competition by absolutely obliterating her biggest competitive threats in elimination. Laurel won 4 eliminations, defeating Jasmine, Aneesa, Cara Maria, and Theresa. Of those, they were three physical eliminations and a puzzle. Laurel displayed she could win athletically and mentally. How did her opponents do in their following seasons? Aneesa held her own by finishing fourth on Bloodlines. Theresa went on to dominate daily challenges with Wes on Exes 2 and then finished in 2nd place with Leroy as a replacement. Cara Maria would go on to win the Battle of the Bloodlines.
As you know, Laurel won Free Agents. Although Nany finished within ten minutes after her, people tend to forget that Zach cost her an hour on the mountain. Laurel either tied or finished above Nany in every part of the final besides the round Zach gassed out.
When Laurel faced Cara on Free Agents, Cara had a broken hand in an elimination that required players to punch a wall and climb. After Cara won Bloodlines and committed herself to Cross-Fit, there was a hype train pushing Cara Maria as an all-time top three female competitor and that she could potentially beat Laurel (I was on that train). Then they met in Balls In where both players were fully healthy, and Laurel wiped the floor with Cara. Laurel reminded the world, “oh yeah, I’m Shaq, and I’m going to dunk on your face because I’m Shaq, and you’re not Shaq.” She then lost the first elimination of her career to Camila, but she went 9–0 to start, which is a prominent figure as the previous record, held by Wes, was 8–0. Laurel set the record for most consecutive elimination wins. If you ever get asked who the true elimination Overlord of the Challenge is, it’s Laurel Stucky. Until someone goes 10–0, it is Laurel Stucky.
War of the Worlds 2
Here we are in the present. Laurel has had an incredibly shaky path, yet even without training, she is still the top female competitor. To put her elimination with Ninja into context, Ninja was the unofficial female winner of War of the Worlds. In a 50 mile final, the only people Ninja lost to were Turbo, Theo, and Wes. A two-time Survivor winner and superhero, an actual pro sprinter, and one of the all-time Challenge greats, who were also all men. The elimination itself involved climbing, which is Ninja’s biggest strength as a person who climbs weird shit for a living. Despite having not legitimately trained in years, Laurel beat or, at the very least, tied Ninja in the climbing portion of the elimination.
There are so many strong female competitors in the modern era of the Challenge. Yet, Laurel stands above them as an athlete, as a physical specimen, and as a competitor. She might not always be the best human, but she is an ELITE Challenger who is one of a kind. Throwing Laurel into the Challenge is not just dropping the best player in the game, it’s like dropping an ultimate boss or a cheat code where players either have to get lucky or kill themselves to beat her. Laurel Stucky is the most dominant player in Challenge history.