Ranking Every UK Cast Member To Appear on MTV’s the Challenge
A few weeks ago, I posted an article where I ranked the 13 Big Brother US players to appear on the Challenge since they entered the casting pool on Vendettas. I got a few requests to post a ranking of the UK cast members, and thus I did it. I will note that the UK cast members were far more difficult to rank as so many have made significant impacts to the franchise compared to Big Brother players.
Ranking Every Big Brother Player to Appear on MTV’s The Challenge
In the fall/winter of 2017, Season 31 of the Challenge (Vendettas) began filming, and upon departure day, rumors that…
In the fall/winter of 2017, Season 31 of the Challenge (Vendettas) began filming, and upon departure day, rumors that later became facts came out that UK Reality Personalities would be appearing on the Challenge for the first time. Since then, 16 players from the UK have competed on the Challenge, and here I am to rank them on an aggregate of importance, overall impact towards the franchise, and best competitor.
16 Sean Lineker
I feel bad for Sean. He’s been the only gay man cast on the last three seasons of the show. In his one appearance (War of the Worlds 2), he got thrown into the first elimination. Sean got eliminated by losing 2–0 in a Pole Wrestle to Idris. While he put up a good fight, it was a bit of a bad loss considering how Idris would perform throughout the season.
15 Nicole Bass
Nicole had one of the most human moments in recent Challenge history. In one of the daily challenges, players had to jump off a cliff, zip-line into the water, and swim. Right before the jump, Nicole stops and gives a full “nope.” You get so used to watching people do crazy stuff on the Challenge, it makes Nicole’s perfectly natural response feel authentic and endearing. She is most known for being Georgia’s best friend. Nicole lost an elimination to Jenny early-ish in the season, where she’d have to prop herself up and down a giant glass tower and memorize a pattern at the top. She was afraid of the heights and got claustrophobic. Apparently, Jenny went up and down like 20 times, whereas Nicole went up and down twice. We likely won’t see her again.
14 Zahida Allen
In her first season, Zahida was a victim of limited episode time as her and Ashley Cain’s relationship on the show got mostly edited out. She also had to play with a partner who had one foot out the door. Zach wanted to get eliminated as he was the Best Man in a friend’s wedding that was going to occur during filming. Nonetheless, they still beat Bananas and Morgan in an elimination! Two episodes later, they got taken out by Wes and Dee, but I believe Zach called them out to guarantee Wes an extra week of safety with the relic. She left her second season due to a family emergency after the first daily challenge. Zahida has mostly been wallpaper during her time on the show, sadly.
13 Idris Virgo
During his rookie season, Idris was a pawn in the UK/US hybrid alliance run by Paulie, Cara, and Kam. Idris was not fully aware of this. Once the UK side of that alliance had taken out most of their opposition, they threw him into elimination against Theo, and he got trounced both physically and mentally. He made no progress on his puzzle, even with the crowd directing him on what moves to make. Idris struggled in most of the daily challenges while having the confidence of a 7x Champion.
What put the cherry on top for Idris is his behavior on social media throughout the season. He commented and replied on almost every post from Challenge MTV on Twitter and Instagram to hype himself up. I remember there was a pic of Darrell, Derrick, and Brad with the caption, “what trio is better than this?” Idris replied himself, Paulie, and Turbo. He had an ongoing Twitter feud with Theo, where Theo would consistently dunk on him.
12 Esther Falana
She was a last-minute replacement for Georgia Steele on War of the Worlds 2 and did not disappoint. Like Idris, Esther was in a position where she was a bit of a pawn, except more aware of her spot. Esther brought great energy to the show, was a tremendous confessional, and performed exceptionally well in her elimination against an elite player in Georgia. I don’t think Esther had a high-ceiling potential on this show, so her performance as a whole massively exceeded expectations and will leave a good taste in the mouth of Challenge fans who do remember her.
11 Ashley Cain
After watching Ex on the Beach UK, I had the highest of expectations for Ashley Cain. He seemed like a British CT. The guy was in fantastic shape, hooked up with tons of chicks, was always ready to fight, and had an athletic pedigree as a former professional soccer player. Even his debut on the Challenge was exciting as he was first place among rookies in the opening purge challenge, which allowed him to pick Kam as his partner. On paper, they seemed like they would dominate. Instead, they only made one Tribunal. When Amanda/Josh called them out for elimination, they commented on their opponents as weaker players taking a shot at the big dogs. In reality, they were the team with the least amount of Tribunal wins eligible. They did defeat Amanda and Josh, but the elimination itself is controversial, as Kam and Ash were able to complete the elimination in a style that Amanda and Josh (and players in the crowd allege) got told was against the rules.
Once the relic had no more power, they got taken out by Paulie and Natalie in elimination two episodes later. Like Zahida, Ash’s screen-time exposure got hurt by having his showmance edited out (then again, he had a girlfriend at home). He did get into a fight with Josh and had an alliance/friendship with Bear and Theo. I still think he has potential and deserves a second shot.
10 Big T
It pains me to place Big T at 10th and technically in the bottom half of UK contestants because she is an absolute delight. Big T ranking 10th is also a testament to the strength of UK recruits compared to the Big Brother players. Similar to Esther, on War of the Worlds 2 (Big T’s first season), she was someone who brought great energy and surprised us with her performance in elimination. I was shocked to see her on the cast for Total Madness as she was the first boot on WOTW 2.
Big T trained a ton after WOTW 2 because she found something in herself she didn’t know she had in her elimination. On Total Madness, she impressed from the jump with her attitude in daily challenges. Despite being the smallest player in the game, Big T attacked every challenge with ferocity and vigor. What’s most impressive about her is she truly cares about living the entire Challenge experience. She wants to win eliminations, challenges, get into drama, and play politics. To her, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. It’s an attitude you wish more players had. The only downside for Big T is that sometimes feels like her fellow castmates do not take her seriously.
9 Kayleigh Morris
Similar to Ashley Cain, I was a bit disappointed by Kayleigh on the Challenge in terms of entertainment. She was much wilder on her original UK reality shows. Yet, she has made her mark in Challenge history in her three seasons. On Vendettas, she lasted a long time in the game despite not having the best allies, being a rookie, and not excelling in the challenges. Her most interesting storyline was her relationship with Nelson that imploded when it got revealed that she had kissed Bananas during one of the first few nights in the house. Then, there was the night where Britni, Jemmye, and Kailah threw her suitcase from the house balcony, leading to her leaving the game. The show painted it as them getting revenge for Natalie (Kayleigh kissing Bananas), and people say it was because Kayleigh was creating lies about them, which if true makes Kayleigh a more intriguing player.
The following season, she initially got partnered with Kailah for Final Reckoning, but a night-one fight between Melissa and Kailah led to her getting partnered with Kam, which was a godsend for her Challenge career. They were able to win three eliminations together, taking out Paulie/Natalie, Jozea/DaVonne, and impressively Brad/Kyle. Unfortunately, they also got purged twice. Her relationship with Nelson was also part of this season. She later broke up with him while visiting her in the UK as she saw him sending dick pics to girls in the US. On War of the Worlds 2, she played a crucial part in the success of the Paulie/Cara/Kam cult alliance, as she was a line of communication and politically instilled in Joss and Rogan to never flip to the other side of the house. Kayleigh was able to throw her nemesis Georgia into three eliminations, ultimately succeeding when Tori finally took her out.
One of the funniest recent Challenge moments was her and Joss getting purged on WOTW 2 and her having almost no reaction. Meanwhile, Joss is in tears next to her.
8 Joss Mooney
Fans watched Are You The One cast members flounder on the Challenge when they first came on and never truly took them seriously. Joss winning the intense first daily challenge of Vendettas put the UK cast members on the map from the jump. It is hard to place him on this list because he’s been one of the Challenge’s best players when on the show. At the same time, he is quite dull.
On Vendettas, his time was cut short due to a mercenary elimination where he had an intense battle with Derrick Kosinski that went for hours. Before the season aired, original insider reports were that production viewed Joss as boring and were unlikely to cast again, but his elimination with Derrick and his performance in the first daily challenge got him over with fans, likely leading to him to get cast again. During Final Reckoning, he and Sylvia were the only team to enter the main house on Day 1 and never exit it due to elimination or purge. The pair won key daily challenges in the end-game as well as two eliminations during the season. They finished a very close second place in the final where the results get highly debated, and even Joss/Sylvia have hinted that they might have won, but production maybe wanted a team to win where a player would steal the whole million dollars. In my eyes, Joss and Sylvia are the equivalents of champions with what they accomplished that season. Final Reckoning was his most exciting season. He had a showmance with Amanda Garica, which led to some arguments with Johnny Bananas and Cara Maria.
Sadly, he was a pawn on War of the Worlds 2 and got taken advantage of by Rogan and Kayleigh. He was the only core member of his UK alliance who had to see an elimination and got anticlimactically purged in a swimming challenge.
7 Melissa Reeves
Melissa was the third female boot of her rookie season. Despite this, she made a more significant impact in five episodes than some do in multiple seasons. She accidentally cut her foot during the second episode playing cheerleader with Natalie, which made it so she couldn’t compete in a daily challenge (forcing her into the first elimination). She won said elimination, thrust herself into the game by flirting with many of the boys and hooking up with Nicole Zanatta. Later in the game, she got into a massive fight with Killa Kam and some other girls over her actions. This led to her facing Sylvia in the second female elimination, and the two had a barn-burner physical elimination inside an oil pit. They had one of the most entertaining eliminations in Challenge history where each player was willing to get physical, and at some points, dirty (Melissa more so).
Her second season was Final Reckoning, and she got partnered with Kam. Then she got into a night-one fight with Kailah and got disqualified. We had to wait till Total Madness for her return, and for most of the first half of the season, she was wallpaper, which was shocking compared to her prior two appearances. Once the cast got cut down and she became invested in the game, the real Melissa came out. She and Kyle had a showmance that got edited into a friendship angle. Melissa got into a fight with Nelson, where she dragged him to completion in defense of her man. Later, she eviscerated Josh with words during a voting ceremony. She is a modern-day Katie Doyle when it comes to vicious verbal tirades. Melissa won one of the few individual challenges of the season and a physical elimination against Nany! She made it to the final and completed Day 1, quitting from exhaustion. However, after running Day 1 of the final, she found out that she was four months pregnant.
FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT!!!! This girl was winning challenges and eliminations while fucking pregnant. Sometimes I’ll sprain a finger when playing basketball and will take myself out of the game. Meanwhile, Melissa and her daughter were out there diving into sewers and wrestling in a pit.
6 Stephen Bear
When Stephen Bear is on-screen, the attention is on him. He is a giant ball of energy that goes wherever he pleases. His big positive is that he’s always entertaining. The negative is his energy generally goes toward himself on not the game itself. It’s sometimes difficult to invest in a player you know doesn’t play the game.
War of the Worlds 1 was Bear’s best performance as his partnership with Da’Vonne led to hilarious outcomes. He also had a rivalry going on with Wes, where he got thrown into two eliminations. Bear made it to the final 7, but once the individual phase began, he was the first target for elimination due to perceived weakness. In that elimination, he got trounced by Kyle in the form of a Balls In-type elimination. Regardless, Bear was a highlight throughout the season, and his relationship with Georgia was one of the few that didn’t get edited out. Bear lying to her about his girlfriend at home (calling her his cousin) is an all-time Challenge showmance moment.
On WOTW 2, Bear focused on his game in the bedroom. He hooked up with both Laurel and Georgia; and kissed both Ashley and Kayleigh as well. Luckily for Bear, he did get an elimination win against Wes before going down to Joss in Hall Brawl a few episodes later. Sadly, he was still an early boot. For Total Madness, his goal was to get Kailah to fall in love with him. His dream became achieved as she dumped her shitty boyfriend, jumped in Bear’s arms for some fun, and gave some much-needed entertainment to a boring season. Again, this elimination was early in the season, and Bear’s antics were generally a side-gag. He’s a high-paid side attraction, not a main-event player.
5 Jenny West
If this ranking got solely based on the best physical challengers, Jenny would be higher as she is the first female UK player to win a Challenge Championship and did so in an individual format. Unfortunately for Jenny, this is a more holistic impact ranking, and Jenny hasn’t always been the most entertaining cast member. On War of the Worlds 1, she wasn’t able to stand out much in the daily challenges because they were team-oriented, and you only stood out if you were bringing the team down. Jenny lost the game politically as she was in the UK minority alliance. Instead of angling to join the opposing alliance or turncoat to Team US, she was instead bitter alongside Theo and Georgia. She picked up an elimination win against Nicole early in the game, and later in the season, got trounced by Tori in a Hall Brawl. It was an embarrassing loss that had people referring to Jenny as a bit of a popcorn-muscle athlete.
Jenny invalidated those rumblings by winning Total Madness. Her performance included tying for the most Tribunals among females with 4, along with winning two eliminations. Her win against Jenn Lee was one of the most dominant elimination wins ever. Likewise, she imposed her will on Dee in Hall Brawl, which was highly impressive as Dee also had 4 Tribunal wins and had taken out Ashley and Mattie earlier in the season. Jenny even crossed the finish line of the final before the male winner did!
4 Georgia Harrison
It is challenging to rank Georgia. The most recent time she’s been in Challenge fans’ minds was when photos surfaced of her performing black face from when she was 19 years old. As someone who already wasn’t a massive fan of hers, those pictures sealed her fate in my books. However, she was young, a lot more fans are willing to forgive, and down the line, she might return to the franchise. In evaluating the person she was on the show, Georgia has been a significant player undeniably when on the show.
Spoilers always run through the Challenge fandom and affect fan opinions before watching the show. A good amount of fans knew that Georgia made the final for WOTW 1 and finished 8th among 8 finalists. Most figured that Hunter carried her to the final based on that outcome. Then the season aired, and it turned out Georgia was the better half of the pair. She had no fear during heights challenges from the jump, was willing to wrestle in mud pits, and had tons of cardio. Georgia physically eliminated the previous season’s champ (Ashley) in elimination. She also played the political and social game as she had an alliance with Theo, Ash, and Bear. With Bear, she had a hilarious and entertaining showmance that was a part of two seasons. Georgia cried multiple times over people’s elimination losses during her two seasons, even becoming a reaction meme. As a whole, she went 4–1 in eliminations and made it to the final in a season with one of the most stacked female casts ever.
What set Georgia apart more than anything is when she was on the show, they often used her in the narrator role. She had the fifth most total confessionals on WOTW 1 and averaged the most confessionals per episode on WOTW 2. She was filling the important Sarah/Paula role.
3 Rogan O’Connor
After Rogan got purged in the first challenge of Vendettas, it looked like he was going to be the least eventful UK challenger (although, he did have a hookup with Nicole Ramos after getting purged). However, he came back out of nowhere for War of the Worlds 2 and politicked his way through the game and into the final. Rogan used his showmance with Dee and friendships with Joss and Kayleigh to leverage himself into a fixture for the UK/US massive hybrid alliance. He repeatedly dodged elimination in favor of players with more talent and Challenge experience. What’s better is Rogan did so cold-bloodedly, often letting Joss, Dee, and others take all the heat for him whenever push came to shove. In the end, Rogan crushed the final and became 250k dollars richer. While fans did not like Rogan, he had people talking and played the role of villain well. He wasn’t the evil puppet-master villain; he is the chicken-shit heel wrestler who might be capable of winning on his own but always will stack the odds towards himself as much as possible.
In his second season, he and Dee controlled a majority of the screentime early in the game. Rogan and Dee had a love triangle once he became interested in hooking up with Jenn Lee, and then another triangle when Dee showed interest in Jay to make Rogan jealous. Neither guy truly cared for her, but it climaxed in Rogan physically dominating Jay in a Balls in an elimination that left Jay concussed. Rogan did well in many of the challenges and won a second massive elimination, taking out an elimination king in Nelson in Hall Brawl. He was eliminated in the final by Johnny Bananas. Rogan was supposed to be in a prime role for most of Total Madness until Dee got banned and edited out from the show, which edited out his storylines.
2 Theo Campbell
I genuinely believe Theo had the potential to be one of the greatest Challenge competitors ever before his eye injury, maybe even the best. In two seasons, Theo totaled a 4–1 elimination record, multiple daily challenge wins, and a very close second-place in the hardest final ever. Had Theo been slightly better at math in the desert after trekking 35–40 miles, then he’d have gotten all the glory Turbo received.
During his first season, Theo made a name for himself in the first episode by getting into a fight/argument with Ashley and Amanda before he’d even picked his partner. Theo got the best value in the draft by selecting Cara Maria in the 3rd round. Together, they tied for the most tribunals as a pair with four and never got called out for elimination, partially because they intimidated people. The other half of it was Theo had an alliance with Bear, Ashley C, and Georgia, where looking back, he was the brain of the group. Once the game went individual, he finally had to see an elimination and won a hard-fought Hall Brawl against Kyle. His finals performance was remarkable for a rookie as he won day one and had the entire thing in the bag until stumbling during the math and eating portion. Regardless, Theo’s second-place is more impressive than some 2x winners. For reference, a person who was on Inferno 2 and Inferno has an expected 9% chance of winning both seasons, while finishing Top 2 on WOTW 1 had a 6.25% expected chance.
In his second season, Theo ended up outside the majority alliance and got forced to fight in elimination after elimination. Theo had to take out Kyle, Idris, and Bananas in competitions that were endurance, puzzles, and carnival games. What amazed me was that Theo wasn’t afraid of anyone and even asked Team USA to give him CT in elimination. He finally got taken out by Jordan in Jordan’s game of expertise (sledgehammer swinging). In his two seasons, Theo was a top player who was willing to fight/argue with whoever. During his two seasons, he has potential rivals partners in Wes, CT, Paulie, Rogan, Idris, Ashley, and Amanda. Besides Idris, that’s a stacked bunch. A freak accident where a champagne cork hit him in the eye left him blind in one eye for months. Over time, stitches have gotten taken out, and he has some vision again in the impaired eye, but the injury has kept him off the Challenge for Seasons 35 and 36. I wish him a healthy recovery so he can one day come back and crush it.
1 Kyle Christie
Apologies to all the Kyle haters out there, I wasn’t expecting him #1 either, but at the end of the day, he is the only cast member to appear on every Challenge season since UK players got introduced to the show. Kyle’s journey on the Challenge began with Vendettas, where he had both Marie and Cara vying for his affection from the jump. Pretty soon, he was hot and heavy in a showmance with Cara, and socially became good friends with Zach and Tony early in the game. Kyle played the role of idiot Brit well, and when needed to, made keen political moves. He and Cara cruised through to the final. Kyle shocked many by finishing second place on part one of the final and finishing third-place overall in an individual format. Kyle even spent the holidays with Cara and his family, showing up at the Grunt Challenge Fan Event as her piece of arm candy before people knew who he was.
Then Kyle ghosted Cara, went to Thailand, got some enhancements, and created a whole mess on Final Reckoning. He did not want to be with Cara anymore, but he wanted her under his finger as well. Kyle hooked up with Faith until she got eliminated by Ashley, to which he had sex with Ashley her first night in the house following that elimination. This moment blew up Cara and Ashley’s friendship at the time and was one of the final nails in the coffin that pushed Cara towards jumping into Paulie’s arms and starting the rivalry between Kyle and Paulie. Kyle made his Vendettas performance look like a fluke on Final Reckoning as he lost THREE STRAIGHT ELIMINATIONS. One of the losses was to Paulie/Natalie, who also had a three elimination loss streak to make matters worse.
Kyle made up for it with his War of the Worlds 1 performance. While Kyle had been a B+character his first two seasons, he leaped into the main-event player role on WOTW 1. The billboard of that season might be Cara and Paulie vs. Kyle, as their duo’s main goal was to get him out of the game. Kyle partnered with Mattie, and together, every week was a fight. They won daily challenges when their asses were on the line, and most importantly, a 3-person elimination where Kyle technically beat CT in a Pole Wrestle. Later in the season, he obliterated Bear in a Balls In type elimination and almost took out professional sprinter Theo in Hall Brawl. He displayed an immense amount of heart and that when he cares, he’s a damn good player. His War of the Worlds 2 performance was a tad upsetting compared to WOTW 1 as he simply expected to coast through the game. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of the numbers and got taken out by Theo with no fanfare. Kyle didn’t even have a hookup on War of the Worlds 2.
Total Madness was a mixed bag for him. He lazed through most of the game and got his Red Skull by defeating Josh. Despite not doing much all season, he shocked people by finishing a close second in the final. Kyle did have a showmance with Melissa that got mostly edited out, got hilariously made fun of by Wes on social media week after week, and had a fight with Nelson in a bar. Going forward, I don’t expect Kyle to hold this #1 spot forever, but for right now, he has it.