Ranking all the Challenge Elimination Settings from worst to first

Allan Aguirre
7 min readAug 4, 2017


With the Challenge Dirty 30 we have been introduced to a new elimination setting. I’ve decided to take the past 21 elimination settings and rank them from worst to first.

21 The Jungle — Rivals 3

An uninspiring season is made worse by an uninspiring elimination venue. Picking skulls seemed a bit cheap and gimmicky. There were a few cool eliminations like Blind Soccer and the Ice Bath Puzzle. Still a bad season and bad elimination vaue.

20 The Pit — Bloodlines

If your season is lesser in total quality, it gives the eliminations a worse feel. The best elimination all season was the Pole Wrestle between Aneesa and Cara Maria. That elimination was in Germany, not in the pit.

19 The Jungle — Rivals 2

The only type of actual “jungle” vibes is the draw bridge that the players watching the elimination stand on. There were some solid eliminations this season, and overall was a great season — bad venue for eliminations and none of the girls were given physical games.

18 Exile — Fresh Meat 1

This one was harder to place as there were three different venues that made up this elimination. As eliminations, exiles are pretty cool, just when it comes to creativity and production, it was not much.

17 The Duel — Duel 2

There was something deeply flawed with the Duel 2 eliminations. They decided to only let the competitors play a few games and they all seemed to have loopholes. For example, when Landon got DQ’d against Brad in the hook elimination where Brad tossed Landon’s hook. Whether or not player could stand up while playing Ascender.

16 The Arena — Battle of the Seasons

It was a neutral and bland aesthetic in terms of the venue. The concept of 4 different eliminations was great and it introduced two famous games: Hall Brawl and Knot So Fast. The weakness is the name of the elimination venue. The Arena is a weak, uninspiring name.

15 The Inferno — Inferno 3

Inferno’s have always been super cool with background like an actual Inferno, blazed with fire and dark lighting. On the Inferno 3 they put them in what looked like a high school gymnasium. Not cool.

14 The Dome — Exes 1

They kept reusing the same eliminations on Exes. While Pole Wrestle is a great elimination, three times in one season felt a little much. They also played the elimination where there’s a windmill with jousting sticks that players have to step over and duck while remaining on their platform twice!! That elimination is not fun to watch. The Dome totally limited what they could play.

13 Exile — Fresh Meat 2

All of the problems from the original Fresh Meat exile was solved during Fresh Meat 2. The coolest moment was during the final two exiles of the season where Landon/Carley vs Evelyn/Luke and Ryan/Theresa vs Jenn/Noor had to compete at night. That was epic.

12 The Gauntlet — Gauntlet 3

Another great elimination venue. We got games like Beach Brawl and Sliders that added extra twists to the game. Some games where more speed based, some size, and other testing intelligence. It was a lesser Gauntlet 2.

11 The Gauntlet — Gauntlet 1

There is nothing too special about the original Gauntlet eliminations. They are actually pretty corny. You have to give props to originality and the season that began the elimination era of the show.

10 The Jungle — Rivals 1

Rivals 1 was an amplified season with marketing, cast, and editing. The jungle added to dirtiness of the game and the rivalries. One of my favorite moments on Rivals 1 is Evan yelling “which way to the jungle?” to throw a Challenge in order to take on CT in elimination.

9 The Dome — Exes 2

In comparison to Exes 1, the Challenge executed a good amount of creativity in their eliminations. They re-used old Challenges like Pole Wrestle and Hall Brawl, while also putting new twists on old games like I Can, Back Off, and Spool. Creativity gets you bonus points.

8 The Duel — Duel 1

The actual arena for the Duel was super tiny. However, this season represented a dramatic shift in physicality. With Pole Wrestle, they got the most fair and physical elimination in Challenge history. The Wes/Derrick elimination is still talked about today as possibly the greatest elimination ever.

7 The Draw — Free Agents

There was no official name for the elimination arena for Free Agents, so it is referred to as the draw. This venue was awesome. Watching people get physical in the sand where a giant Free Agents sign illuminated with fire in the background gave the season an edge. The introduction of the kill card was an excellent twist and resulted in unforeseen eliminations.

6 The Fortress — Invasion of the Champions

The structural design of the fortress with the stone lion statues was beautiful. There was a colossal feel to the elimination arena on Invasion. When Sylvia beat Kailah in Tuk Tuk Bang Bang they added flames to shoot for when the game was over. Watching Kailah and Tony fly into the air with fire behind them was magnificent scene.

5 The Gulag — Cutthroat

Not completely sure that was it culturally appropriate to have the elimination arena be called the Gulag in Czech Republic while Gulags were used by the Russian/Soviet army to imprison Czechs into labor camps. Maybe I’m overthinking it for MTV.

Regardless, the Gulag was one of the coolest elimination arenas despit ebeing so basic. Many of the eliminations were about flat out physicality, and we got the most famous elimination ever in the CT backpack. An added factor that made this season good was the spectators were on a perched platform where they looked down at the players competing.

4. The Inferno — Inferno 1

The Gauntlet was the first arena we had for eliminations. The Inferno took it to another level. What made the original Inferno so good was how close the spectators were. They would be right up next to the competitors at times. My favorite is the fire in the background of the high stakes elimination between Shane and CT where they are eating cookies.

3 The Gauntlet — Gauntlet 2

Pirates are not sexy, and pirate themed things generally are not cool. The treasure and “captain” theme of Gauntlet worked because of a great male cast. What made the Gauntlet 2 especially memorable was the male eliminations that were headlined by Derrick K and Alton. On the Veterans side, Derrick took advantage of the beach setting and use his legs like none other when beating great competitors: Syrus, Brad, and Adam L.

2 The Ruins — The Ruins

In what was a mostly lackluster season, the one thing that rocked about the Ruins were the actual Ruins. They used a high degree of creativity when it came to design and creativity in terms of the eliminations. Games like Shadowfighter and Spool were super innovative. They played Rag Doll which was Pole Wrestle with a rope instead. This game led to awkward angles of leverage and a lot more bloodiness.

The tunnel that competitors would run or walk out of the Ruins after losing was the best, it was almost like a dramatic movie.

1 The Inferno — Inferno 2

The second Inferno took the best of the original two Infernos. The way this is built where the spectators watch from above like it is a gladiator battle is what makes this Inferno perfect. The Brad/Abram Balls In match-up defined it. This was the first elimination where fans could walk away in amazement.

I found the exact time where the Inferno between Abram and Brad begins (I think).



Allan Aguirre

27 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.