The Challenge War of the Worlds 1: What If They Never Split Up The Pairs?

Allan Aguirre
11 min readFeb 21, 2021


One of the all-time modern Challenge What Ifs is “Who would have won War of the Worlds 1 if the game didn’t split up the partnerships?” If you have ever wondered this, it is your lucky day because I decided to go into detail and breakdown how the last three daily challenges, eliminations, politics, and the Final itself, would have gone down. In doing so, I had to rewatch the season’s final episodes in detail and go through some competitors’ history to project performances in events they did not compete in. When no obvious result was apparent, I’d spit fire different questions and scenarios at various Challenge experts and fans whose opinions I respect. The final product might not be what you want or even what I want, but I hope you enjoy this simulation.

Also, if you don’t want to read, I also decided to do the simulation in a video breakdown as well.

Basic Rules:

#1 No More Tribunals

There will be no more Tribunals. Tribunals make sense when you have 16 teams; if you are down to 7, not as much. There will only be a single power team that wins immunity and gains the ability to vote one team directly into elimination. Mathematically, tribunals become a bit hairy once down to five teams and a tad harder to project for some of the challenges.

#2 Man In The Sand Picks Their Opponent

Similar to the previous eliminations, the team voted into elimination will get to rogue call-out any team Duel style as their opponent, except the Power Team.

#3 No More Relic.

In Survivor, there is a limit on Immunity idols, and the final 7 seems like the perfect spot to end the relic.

Final 7 Daily Challenge: Fandemonium

Players had to transfer giant exercise balls from one location to another in five minutes while a massive fan blasted them backward with air. Originally, the individuals with the most balls in the fastest amount of time won. As partners, we will use the same metric, except take their combined/average total.


Georgia 0 Hunter 6
Nany 4 Turbo 7
Cara 6 Theo 7
Ninja 5 Paulie 7
Da’Vonne 1 Bear 6
Dee 0 Wes 6
Mattie 7 Kyle 7

With 14 Balls Total, Mattie and Kyle are the Power Team, which is funny because neither made it into the Tribunal in the original daily challenge. Theo/Cara and Paulie/Ninja come up short with 13 and 12, respectively. Wes/Dee and Georgia/Hunter perform abysmally with 6 total balls for their teams.


Kyle and Mattie choose to throw in Paulie and Ninja since they have been feuding all season.

Paulie and Ninja won’t pick for Cara/Theo for obvious reasons. Ninja keeps them from picking Wes/Dee as Dee is her best friend in the game. Paulie made a promise never to call out Da’Vonne. Meanwhile, Paulie had a mini alliance going on with Turbo, and before Ninja blowing up on him during a daily challenge a week later, Ninja and Turbo had a great friendship. That leaves Hunter and Georgia.

Elimination — King of the World (Trivia Balls In): Hunter & Georgia vs. Paulie & Ninja

King of the World: TJ will ask a series of questions that the players must answer. There will be five balls with answers hanging above the Killing Floor, with only one ball having the correct answer. When the balls drop, players must find the correct answer to the question and deposit it into their goal. The first team to win three points wins.

If this were standard Balls In, I would take Hunter and Georgia. Hunter has a great mix of speed and strength and would bulldoze Paulie. Georgia might have less muscle than Ninja, but she’s also more willing to scrap up and fight and has half a foot on her. However, with the added trivia element, Hunter and Georgia are idiots, whereas Paulie and Ninja have some brain cells. I could envision Paulie running after the wrong ball to get Hunter to take it, only for him to sprint after the right ball.

There isn’t a massive drop-off between Hunter/Georgia and Paulie/Ninja in terms of speed and athleticism, either. When you compare intelligence, it is a huge drop-off, and because of that, Paulie and Ninja get the win. I conferred with multiple people to be safe, and about 60–65% went with Paulie and Ninja.

Final 6 Daily Challenge: Highway to Hell (Mad Max Puzzle Challenge)

The daily challenge where players have to solve a slider puzzle as fast as possible while on top of a car driving erratically. As a partner challenge, we will take the average time of both players.


Mattie Solves (1st Place), Kyle DQ
Nany Solves (Unknown Place), Turbo DQ
Cara Solves (Unknown Place), Theo DQ
Wes Solves (2nd Place), Dee Solves (3rd Place)
Paulie Solves (Unknown Place), Ninja Solves (Unknown Place)
DaVonne DQ, Bear (DNC)

With Wes and Dee coming in 2nd and 3rd place individually, they are the Power team as Mattie’s partner (Kyle) DQ’d.


Wes and Dee vote Da’Vonne and Bear into elimination as they’ve already voted them in two previous times during the season.

Da’Vonne and Bear won’t pick Cara/Theo as Theo is Bear’s mate. They won’t choose Paulie/Ninja due to Paulie and Da’Vonne’s Big Brother bond. That leaves Turbo/Nany and Kyle/Mattie. Turbo had nominated Bear/Da’Vonne for elimination earlier in the season, and Nany was the deciding vote that put them into their second elimination of the season. Meanwhile, they were friendly with Kyle and Mattie. Thus, Bear and Da’Vonne call out Nany and Turbo.

Elimination — Knot So Fast (Originally Chair’d Remains): Bear & Da’Vonne vs. Turbo & Nany

The chair elimination is idiotic. Thus, I made a Poll giving people four options to switch this elimination with another classic game, and fans picked Knot So Fast. Nany has won Knot So Fast twice in her Challenge career, and knowing her and Turbo both have solid cardio and have exceptional team-work. Bear and Da’Vonne do not work well as a team, and their cardio compared to their opponents is severely lacking. Turbo and Nany wipe the floor with them.

Even if this was the Chair Elimination, we know Turbo would do an excellent job of taping up Da’Vonne. While the partner swap twist hurt some players, it arguably helped Da’Vonne.

Final 5 Daily Challenge: Day of Wreckoning (Carry Heavy Junk Through The Desert)

This is where things get dicey since people competed with various partners and had different strategies. Likewise, Nany was gone at this point, and players such as Georgia, Hunter, and Da’Vonne were still in the game.

What we do know is Cara and Theo participated in this challenge as a pair and did not come in the Top 3. Thus, we assume with everyone getting the original partners; they probably don’t finish first overall. Both Kyle and Mattie did not finish in the top 3 with Hunter and Dee as their partners in the actual challenge; we assume they don’t jump to #1 together either.

That leaves with three teams. Wes won this challenge with Da’Vonne, and Turbo won with Ninja. Wes and Turbo both had the same strategy focusing on the heaviest items. Nany may not be an elite competitor, but she has the build, size, and cardio to do well in an event like this. Since we already saw Dee lose with Kyle, I am giving Turbo/Nany the edge over Wes/Dee. However, Paulie and Ninja are still running, and technically, they initially won this challenge with different partners. Paulie and Ninja both played with the idea of running the most laps as possible. While Paulie picked Georgia based on her cardio, Ninja proved in the final that her cardio is just as good, if not better.

After polling the opinions of fans and experts, public opinion was split 50–50. It’s between Paulie/Ninja and Turbo/Nany, and it can go either way. It is 1:41 PM as I type this, I will put up a Twitter Poll for 15 minutes; Heads is Paulie/Ninja, Tails is Turbo/Nany.

Tails wins by a single vote. Turbo and Nany win the daily challenge.


Turbo is friendly with Paulie and Cara, keeping them safe. Nany’s #1 at this point is her Rivals 3 partner Wes. This means they call out Mattie and Kyle, which Turbo already did earlier in the season for the 3-way elimination. In the actual season that went individual, Turbo went on to vote Kyle in two additional times.

Mattie and Kyle call out Paulie and Ninja for elimination. The final elimination culminates the feud.

Elimination — Hall Brawl

Ninja puts up a surprisingly decent fight against Mattie. Sadly, the massive difference is too much to overcome, and Mattie wins her round. Paulie versus Kyle would be an epic Hall Brawl because Paulie is super fast and knows how to tackle. The problem is, Kyle excels in headbangers, and we saw him beat a guy who is bigger and faster than Paulie in Theo in 1 of 3 rounds of Hall Brawl. When you account for the 25–35 lbs difference between Kyle and Paulie, I think Kyle takes it easily.

Kyle and Mattie go to the final alongside Nany/Turbo, Wes/Dee, and Cara/Theo.


For starters, we know Mattie quit the final going at her own pace. If Kyle pushed her to go faster, her body dies out quicker, and we assume they quit or, at the very least, end up in 4th place.

That means we have a three-horse race between Wes/Dee, Cara/Theo, and Turbo/Nany. Now, Dee and Nany did not run the final, unlike the other four players remaining. I’m going to make the executive decision by announcing that Wes and Dee come in 3rd place overall. Wes finished 3rd Place in the actual final behind Theo and Turbo, really dying out in Day 2 of the final after a stellar second-place finish on Day 1. He would have to slow down massively to ensure Dee would not medically DQ, and that pace would put them too behind to come in first. It may keep him in better shape overall, but they’d be out of contention of winning. You have to remember WOTW 1 Dee was not in as good of shape as WOTW 2 Dee and was multiple tiers below her Total Madness.

Theo and Cara both ran the final and finished 2nd place within their gender division. On Day 1, Theo set a pace of 5 hrs and 34 minutes; Cara totaled 6 hrs and 43 minutes. Since Cara has a long history of running finals, I think she has the potential to go at a faster pace when partnered with someone like Theo. Theo slowing down his pace will also keep him in better shape for Day 2. Turbo put up a Day 1 time of 5 hrs and 58 minutes, and he would have to slow down his pace to accommodate Nany. In all honesty, that’s a positive since Turbo almost DQ’d on Day 1 from cramping/heat exhaustion. As good as Nany performed in the Free Agents final, there’s a four-five year gap between those seasons. Not to mention, Nany was only within ten minutes of Laurel because Zach died on the mountain. She technically never beat Laurel on any other portion of that final, and even though Laurel is an all-time elite competitor, finals and endurance are somewhat her Achilles heel.

On Day 1, I give Theo and Cara a 10–25 minutes edge on Turbo/Nany. Day 2, we remove the Tic-Tac-Toe game, the random mile advantage, and the ability to give other teams extra food because in a final with three teams left (potentially two if Dee/Wes don’t hang around), it doesn’t make a lick of sense. We will replace them with everyone getting the same basic puzzles and eating portions, which are standard for finals. I’d give Theo and Cara the edge on the first half of Day 2 by about 5–10 minutes, especially considering that both Theo/Cara solid with puzzles and Cara is a great eater. In the ending portion with the math problem/kayaks, Cara and Theo were the last ones of the five remaining players to solve the math, and Turbo was the first. We should then assume that Turbo and Nany gain significant ground.

It ends with a final sprint to the finish line.

4th Place — Kyle Christie and Mattie Lynn Breaux $0

3rd Place — Wes Bergmann and Dee Nguyen $50,000

2nd Place — Turbo Kamkiran and Nany Gonzalez $200,000

1st Place — Theo Campbell and Cara Maria Sorbello $750,000

As much as my heart wants to crown Nany Gonzalez a Challenge champion, my brain cannot project her to win the hardest final ever when she did not participate in it. If Nany had more sample size for finals experience, then maybe I could put her over. Theo and Cara pull out the win. From Day 1, Theo got the biggest steal in the draft, getting the 2x Champion with the #3 overall pick, and now in this alternative universe, she is a 3x Champ. Without a doubt, winning WOTW 1 makes Cara a definitive Top 5 female all-time, potentially finding her way into the #3 spot behind Evelyn and Laurel. Theo is a Champion and gets looked at even better than he does now.

Turbo and Nany coming in second-place would still be a massive win for them as this was Nany’s return season. Maybe the edit glorifies Turbo less. Even then, his country would always love him. Like Nany, Wes coming back in after an absence on main seasons and getting third with someone who would not have been a top draft pick is impressive. The cherry on top is knocking Bananas out early. Dee maybe gets banned from the show a few weeks earlier as the 3rd Place finish would have given her a bigger ego than already existed. Kyle is disappointed in 4th Place, except he is satisfied knowing that it wasn’t his fault, and he got to eliminate Paulie before the final. Mattie’s life stays the same. Landon is safe at home.



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.