After Theresa’s elimination last week on Double Agents, a majority of fans celebrated her return. Some claimed it was the best return in Challenge history, and regardless of whether it is or not, just the fact that people are saying it means she made an impact. Then you look at the remaining cast and there’s still 18 people left in the game. Does that make Theresa’s season less impactful? In my opinion no, there have been many Challenge seasons where someone has either dominated competitively or brought an immense impact to the show itself and left the game with a mediocre placement. I decided to make a list of the best performances with terrible placements because it’s Tuesday.
Melissa — Vendettas
Joss — Vendettas
CJ — Battle of the Seasons
Sylvia — Invasion
Wes — Total Madness
Theresa 4th Female Eliminated on Double Agents*
If you told someone before the season that Theresa would lose the 4th female elimination on Double Agents, you would think it was a bad showing. However, due to 3 medical DQs, the numbers of this season aren’t entirely representative of Theresa’s overall performance. After five years, she came into the game and got put in one of the most difficult political spots where she didn’t have many vet friends and wasn’t a rookie either. While Theresa only won 1 daily challenge, it was the mini-final, easily the hardest daily of the season. She and Jay came in 2nd place in an additional two daily challenges this season.
Theresa brought excitement to the game by making a big move and forcing an Ashley vs. Kam elimination, the two prohibitive favorites to win besides herself. Watching Theresa come back and play with a no fucks given attitude was refreshing considering the gameplay we have seen in more recent seasons. I wish more people played the game like Theresa did this season. Was it successful? Ultimately no, but it made for great television.
Bananas 8th Place Male on Vendettas
Vendettas had 14 men on the cast; thus, Bananas didn’t even finish in the top half. During Bananas “cursed” era of the Challenge, people said he was washed up; I think most underrate how damn good he was on Vendettas. He won 5 out of 8 daily challenges, made it into 4 Troikas (the 2nd most all season), knocked out hit list Cory, and his two most significant threats in a final (Joss and Shane) were already out of the game. His artificiality was also top-notch as he had the stupid note prank going on and a showmance with Natalie Negrotti that felt rehearsed to this day.
Bananas set himself up nicely to win that season. His ultimate downfall was putting Kailah into elimination earlier in the season and calling her a dumb bitch. I know Tony gets credit for the move, but if Kailah weren’t 100% gung-ho about making a big play, Tony wouldn’t have had the confidence to put Bananas in against Devin.
Zach and Amanda Tie for 10/11th Place Final Reckoning.
Zach and Amanda tying for 10th place is hilarious when competitively speaking; they were objectively the best team. They won 4 out 9 daily challenges, which becomes even more impressive when you realize that the team with the second-highest amount all season was 2. Their skill-sets complemented each other so well. Zach’s size and athleticism made up for the fact that Amanda, despite being strong her size was a small girl. Meanwhile, Amanda’s mental game ensured that they would never fall behind in a Final/Race with every puzzle and would often be in first by a country mile. When it came to on the field performance, Zach and Amanda were the much better version of the team that won the season — Hunter and Ashley.
Then Zach stepped off the platform; they went into elimination, weird stuff happens, and they tie for 10th. Pure comedic gold.
Nany Gonzalez 7th Place Female War of the Worlds 1
After a three-year hiatus, some fans were skeptical over how well Nany would do on the Challenge since she was never elite in the first place, and the female cast had gotten significantly better. Legitimately, I think the WOTW 1 female cast is top 3 all-time in terms of overall strength. Nany showed out a bit. She and Turbo made it into 3 out of 7 Tribunals together as a pair and were damn close in those they didn’t win as well. In the tire jumping challenge, which is one of the most demanding daily challenges ever, Nany was not only the top overall performer for the day; she outperformed Turbo as well. Even when the game went individual, Nany still performed at least average in both challenges she participated in.
The chair elimination against Georgia was complete bullshit, all the way down to the fact that Georgia got first dibs on who would tape Nany, which if Nany had first pick (she should have since Georgia called her out), then she’d have picked Turbo and Georgia would have gone home. If Nany wins that, Final 6 plays out the same way with Da’Vonne eliminating Dee and then the final purge, where Nany generally kills obstacle courses and would edge out both Mattie/Day for a spot in the Final. Instead, because of the idiotic chair elimination, Nany is remembered for coming in 7th out of 16, an unremarkable placing for what is, in my opinion, a better performance than when she was the runner-up of Free Agents.
Wes 5th Male Eliminated on the Ruins.
The Ruins was only ten episodes, meaning a player getting eliminated in 5th episode isn’t quite what it is in 2021. Nonetheless, it is still a midway point exit for a character who is synonymous with the season. Production made the two most unbalanced teams in Challenge history, pitting former Champions against players who had never won, which on paper sounds like a good theme. In reality, it led to one team absolutely drubbing the other. The only point of intrigue in the first five episodes is that everyone on the Champions team hated Wes (except Tonya and Evelyn), and thus a not-so-Civil War would go down. Wes won two eliminations, got into fights/arguments with half the cast, Johanna threatened to sell their house and keep all the money, he had his girlfriend thrown into elimination against her best friend as a means to mess with him, and he still kept pushing forward in a way that didn’t even make him a hero because all these things stacking up against him only fed into his ego.
Wes fighting with his team and them trying to get him eliminated was all that mattered that season. When he got eliminated, it was this incredible moment because Cohutta pulled off one of the greatest elimination upsets ever, maybe the best; however, after it happened, there was a collective, “Well, what the fuck do we do now?” Trying to remember what happens after his elimination besides Darrell beating Brad’s ass is exceedingly difficult. The season essentially ended five episodes in and is a testament to the impact Wes made.