The Challenge All Stars 3 Episode 9 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
11 min readJun 29, 2022


Episode 9 of Challenge All Stars S3 is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the 9th episode

Above and Below is the podcast recap in case you prefer to watch/listen.

10 Nehemiah Lights Derrick Up

There’s no other way to put it — Nehemiah beat the shit out of Derrick in this Pole Wrestle elimination. Not only did Nehemiah manhandle Derrick, but he played the elimination by the book, keeping the Pole as close to his body, using his leverage in the right places, and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. You don’t see many Pole Wrestle wins as clean as that, and it’s massive for Nehemiah as it clinched his spot in the Final and made him the Male player with the most Stars. Nehemiah has won 7 total eliminations across All-Stars and the main series; this was his signature moment where he proved he is not someone to be messed with, and he’s definitely not an easy option.

For Derrick, it’s a brutal loss on all levels because he chickened out by not picking Wes and then got smashed by Nehemiah in Pole Wrestle, a game that Derrick’s been able to ride high on since his match with Joss on Vendettas. Both these men have done all three All-Stars seasons — in them, Nehemiah boosted his stock as a competitor a ton, qualifying for two Finals, barely missing out on a third. Whereas Derrick’s only got one Final appearance where he got Purged out immediately. If you only watched the All-Stars seasons, there would be zero doubt over who the better player is, yet, if you asked someone before All-Stars who was better, they would laugh you out of the building for saying Nehemiah. For better and worse, these Challenge All-Stars seasons have changed how we view certain players.

9 Pump Fake Elimination

A big FUCK YOU to the Producers and Editor for baiting us into thinking this elimination would happen. Last week’s episode was a tad dogshit and ended on a cliffhanger where one of the things to look forward to was this potential elimination, and we didn’t even get that. Kailah was very upset we didn’t get an elimination because she was confident she would beat KellyAnne in a Pole Wrestle, didn’t like her personally, and she doesn’t want to face that big of a cardio threat in the Final.

8 Surprise Challenge

Last season we saw TJ throw them directly into the Final following the Darrell/Janelle & Brad/Jodi elimination, which made the surprise daily challenge not that shocking. I loved that the mission was Challenge Trivia about their fellow cast members, where they had study guides in front of them all season. While there are people who can eat a meal and tune out all their surroundings, I’m someone who remembers all the posters from my elementary school cafeteria. If you didn’t go to a school with a Shaquille O’Neal “READ” poster, did you even get a real education?

Kudos to Wes, Nehemiah, and Jonna for being the most studious, and it makes sense as those three have been thinking about winning the whole thing since Day 1, not just surviving and advancing. I 100% believe Kailah cheated off Nia to get the answers she didn’t have, which was a needed strategy for her. Nia needs to grow up and realize cheating is part of the Challenge, and Kailah should have owned up to the accusations because it was simply smart gameplay. As we saw, this challenge’s placements dictated the first Final pairs checkpoint placements.

7 A Lovely Display of Camaraderie From The Female Finalists

Despite the animosity between Nia & Kailah after the challenge and the general tension going into the Final, the women were able to put their bullshit aside to drink, get topless, and have some fun in the pool before the Final. It was a refreshing scene reminiscent of why people loved All-Stars 1, where players could still have some fun and enjoy the moment even with all the drama and gameplay. Those four women worked hard to get to the Final, so it’s time to celebrate. Also, Superstar by Lupe Fiasco is a banger.

6 A Man on a Mission

In Episode 1, we see Wes wake up early in the morning after the opening house party to run on the treadmill. From Day 1, Wes has been preparing himself for the Final. Wes politically went after the biggest Final threats in Yes & Jordan all season long. He succeeded in getting to the Final with both of them gone, and now this episode, we see Wes heavily carbo-loading and hydrating because of the way his body has gotten ravaged in past Finals. When Kailah and Jonna were laughing at him for snacking on a baguette and an orange Gatorade, part of me was yelling at the screen: “You should start eating the same thing.”

Among an All-Star cast, Wes feels much more prepared than any other player for this Final. The editors have been telling us all season that this is Wes’s game, and either he’s going to put on a total masterclass in this Final, or something catastrophic will make him lose. There’s no in-between at this point.


So production 100% thought they would find a way to incorporate the Stars as advantages/grenades in the Final. Then they created the Final, realized it would be too much to keep track of, and instead, they awarded Nehemiah and Jonna 5 Points off the bat for having the most Stars. While I’m happy players like Brad & Kailah didn’t get penalized for not earning Stars because they were killing daily challenges, 5 Points seems like a lot. I feel like 3 Points would have felt more fair for no reason other than there aren’t many numbers lower than 5 and higher than 2.

4 The Format of this Final is Fucky (I don’t know if it’s good or bad)

Partnered legs where 1st Place gets 4 Points, 2nd gets 3, 3rd gets 2, and 4th gets 1 makes complete sense and is something that’s gotten used in Finals before. The concept of 1 vs. 1 Face-Offs for 5 Points, take it or lose it, is some hardcore shit where I don’t know whether I love it or hate it. It’s sort of like getting a bunch of mini Duel eliminations in a Final. If you see it’s a mental comp, you’re probably not picking Wes as your opponent. If it’s size-based, you won’t want to face Mark or Nia. There’s a significant strategy element where maybe coming in 1st Place in the partner leg isn’t the best thing because you want to put yourself in the best spot to cash in and win 5 Points in the Face-Off.

The more I think about it…I weirdly like this Final format from what we have seen thus far. It’s super outside the box and forces players to push themselves physically and mentally.


The head starts given by the surprise daily challenge decided the finish of the opening partner leg:

1st Wes & Jonna
2nd Nehemiah & Kailah
3rd Mark & KellyAnne
4th Brad & Nia

Then the Face-Offs went as such:

Wes beat Brad
Nehemiah beat Mark
Nia beat Jonna
Kailah beat KellyAnne

I thought Nehemiah and Wes were bullshitting when they said they were sandbagging in the daily challenges during the season, and I still think they are lying; however, since Nehemiah’s elimination with Derrick, these two have been at the front of the pack. They both seem ready for the Final cardio-wise and mentally. Meanwhile, Brad and Mark felt like they got caught off-guard.

Nia beating Jonna and Kailah beating KA in the Raft competition was not something I expected, and it’s partially why I think these Face-Offs rock. There’s going to be a lot of unexpected outcomes in this Final.

Points Totals After Final Leg 1:
Nehemiah 14 Wes 9 Mark 2 Brad 1
Jonna 9 Kailah 8 Nia 5 KA 2


I’m brave enough to say it: Mark Long is simply too muscular and sexy to ride a bike, and that’s why they keep breaking on him. Tandem biking seems like a nightmare; kudos to those who did well.

Leg 2:

1st Wes & Kailah
2nd Brad & KellyAnne
3rd Nehemiah & Nia
4th Mark & Jonna

Another first-place finish for Wes. A ton of credit goes to Kailah, who seems the most physically ready for this Final on the female side. Shout-out to KellyAnne for massaging Brad’s cramps.

Then the Face-Offs went as such:

Wes beat Mark
Brad beat Nehemiah
Nia beat KellyAnne
Jonna beat Kailah

Wes dominated this mental portion and the fact he took the scoring lead after the second leg even though Nehemiah came into the Final with a 5 Point advantage is crazy impressive.

If not for Jonna’s 5 Point advantage, Nia would be the top scorer with 13, which is a bit wild as Nia’s come in 3rd/4th in the two partner portions. THE CHALLENGE ALL-STARS 3 FINAL IS FUCKY, AND I’M SOMEWHAT HERE FOR IT.

Brad beating Nehemiah in this mental Face-Off was crucial as a loss here would have set him back so far and guaranteed this Final was a two-horse race between Wes/Nehemiah.

Points After Final Leg 2:
Wes 18 Nehemiah 15 Brad 9 Mark 3
Jonna 15 Nia 13 Kailah 12 KA 5


Mark’s chances of winning look dead already. I’ve never seen Mark Long struggle on the Challenge before, and right now, it feels like Father Time is tapping his chock because the Godfather looks worn down. Wes is dominating this Final, kicking off with two 1st Place finishes and two Face-Off wins; you literally can’t start better than that. Nehemiah’s Stars advantage is keeping him close to where he could easily take the lead after Leg 3. Brad’s chances of winning aren’t great; he’s not entirely out of it yet. What it will come down to for Brad are the Face-Offs, which he needs to perfect from here on out to win.

The women’s side is a lot more intriguing. From a scoring perspective, KellyAnne looks out of contention; then again, she opened the All-Stars 1 Final the same way and then rallied back to tie for 1st among females. Nia’s done well to this point, though, I feel like she’s caught a stroke of luck with some of these Face-Offs, and once the Final begins to wear on her more physically/mentally, she won’t hold up as well. Kailah is doing fantastically in the physical aspect and is 3 points out of the lead; I wonder whether she can hold in the puzzle department/mental aspects of some of these face-offs. While Jonna would be 3rd right now without the Stars advantage, she’s still a significant threat because she’s a balanced player and is someone you can see winning any type of Face-Off.

Whatever the outcome, we’ve had a hell of a season, and the winners will be great competitors. It will be interesting to see what path they take to get there.



Allan Aguirre

28 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.