Wes and Bananas have mended the ship on Total Madness by aligning together after all these years. Watching them come together had me thinking of all the rivalries Wes has had over the years. While most competitors have 0 to 3 big rivalries for their entire career, Wes has enough for not only the 10 on this list, but a whole honorable mentions sections that would rank in most competitors top fives, threes, etc!
What’s so amazing about Wes is that in sixteen years on the show, he is still consistently entertaining and still getting into feuds. Before we get into the main list, here are the Honorable Mentions:
Wes & Louis Hazel: I didn’t know whether a Champs vs Pros rivalry should make it on the list.
Wes & Kyle: It’s hilarious to watch them go back and forth on Social Media, but we haven’t seen them feud much on the show.
Wes & Cohutta: Wes never liked Cohutta for whatever reason (mostly Cohutta being KellyAnne’s ex), but the distaste on the Ruins was fervent, and then Cohutta gave Wes his first elimination loss.
Wes & DaVonne: Almost made the list. Huge fight/social media blow-up from War of the Worlds 1. Ultimately, the feud being for 1 season, is what left it off.
Wes & Evan: Evan hated Wes after he kept lying/tricking him on these shows, but their rivalry was overshadowed heavily by Kenny, Johnny, and even Derrick.
Onto the actual list:
10 Wes vs. Laurel
I don’t think people consider Wes and Laurel a rivalry because it isn’t to most, but it also totally is. On Fresh Meat 2, there was a battle between Wes and Kenny, and Laurel got directly involved as Kenny’s partner. Not to mention, Wes was hooking up with Theresa, who would go on to have problems with Laurel the next 4–5 years. On Fresh Meat 2, there was a scene where Theresa and Mandi (Wes’s partner) are making fun of Laurel in a Hot Tub. Laurel and Mandi would battle over CT on Rivals 1 (Laurel winning), and then Mandi hooked up with Wes for the rest of the season. During the famous Laurel vs. Paula fight (which left Paula in tears), that began because Wes poured cola on Laurel’s partner Cara, to which Laurel was then berating Wes and so on. While defending Cara, Laurel curses Wes out, and calls him “Sneakers, Amazon, and Fire Crotch.” Does she mean the Amazon is on fire, and Wes’s ginger exterior is what she’s referring to, or is she referring to his nether region?
They weren’t on another season together for eight or nine years until War of the Worlds 2. Laurel’s decision to shake the boat by voting Wes into elimination set up a bomb off on Team USA and led to her getting voted in by his padawan Dee Nguyen the next week, to which she lost a controversial elimination. Laurel ended her and Wes’s games early, but at least she got farther than him.
9 Wes vs. Cara Maria
What’s funny is that on paper, Cara and Wes are the more significant rivalry because everyone remembers Wes pouring the Cola on Cara, but when I write it out, maybe Laurel should be in this spot instead? Regardless, let’s start with Wes pouring Cara on Cola? Why did Cara just stand there waiting for an entire 2-liter bottle to unload? Second, Wes is an absolute dickhead for pouring a 2-liter bottle on her head. Third, at what point does Wes go “holy shit, why is she still standing in the same spot, this a whole 2-liter bottle, I was hoping to save a cup for myself.”
On Rivals 2, they mended things because CT and Cara had a Boston Strong alliance where they would all train together. Wes and CT even wore red-shirts to an elimination to support Cooke & Cara. Cara and Wes would then throw small jabs at each other on social media, and Wes did an Instagram Live where he said Cara was not a top 20 female on the Challenge and not an athlete. On WOTW 1, Cara’s partner Theo wanted desperately to get “Wesley” get out of the game. Except he wasn’t able to as Wes won a majority of the challenges and was generally civil towards Cara and Paulie (but you could tell Wes wanted to play with their emotions).
They did align for War of the Worlds 2, except Wes was out early. Since then, Wes has sent a plethora of Tiger King memes/tweets about their relationship.
8 Wes vs. Bear
The best new age Wes rivalry. Bear gets under the skin of Wes like crazy. The guy goes a mile a minute, and while Wes understands Bear is good television; he simply does not have the patience for the type of entertainment that Bear creates. Wes views himself as South Park, and he sees Bear as Family Guy. Yeah, Family Guy can make tons of people laugh, but to Wes, it’s not the right laugh they are getting. When Bear was in an alliance with Ashley Cain and Theo, that on paper, they should have been able to take out Wes with ease. Then Wes kept winning challenges and kept throwing their alliance into elimination. Wes outlasted 2/3 of their alliance and made it the final, a small older Incubator guru boomed three young stallions. Beat did get an edge by eliminating Wes on War of the Worlds 2! More madness will arise between them this season.
7 Wes vs. Leroy
I think this rivalry does not get anywhere near the credit it deserves. Hell, I originally had it 5th and dropped it to 7th last minute. On Exes 1, Leroy beat Wes in Pole Wrestle, not once, not twice, but thrice! The same game Wes became a legend from; he got his ass handed to him by an up and coming Leroy. When Leroy teamed up with Bananas for future seasons, the rivalry between the two escalated. On Rivals 2, Wes was infuriated when Leroy slept with Theresa (a former Wes flame) on the top bunk, as Wes was trying to sleep on the bottom bed. He then trash-talked both Leroy and Theresa in his confessionals all season long.
Wes then paired with Theresa for Exes 2, and they kicked ass for most of the season. They even pitted Leroy against his best friend Bananas, and the runner-up of Free Agents (Johnny Reilly). Yet, when Leroy won a daily challenge, Wes was able to manipulate Leroy into throwing Zach into elimination, with the idea that if Zach gets eliminated, then Leroy can become Wes’s #1 ally. Wes duped Leroy into becoming a loyal follower, and then sadly, a returning Bananas screwed up Wes’s game, and in the end, Wes lost in Hall Brawl to Leroy. Leroy holds two wins over Wes, but Wes tricked Leroy in what’s known historically as one of the dumbest moves in Challenge history.
I am happy to hear they are in good standing these days. Leroy mentioned on the Challenge Mania Podcast that for years he hated Wes more than anyone, but after getting to know him, he understands how Wes plays the game, and they are cool with one another. Do you know what that’s called? Growth.
6 Wes vs. Jordan
I don’t think either of these players likes to acknowledge how much the other one bothers them as game players/human. Jordan does not respect Wes’s game because he knows that Wes is not stronger, faster, or even smarter than most of the other elite players. It’s true. A lot of what makes Wes is excellent is the little stuff: his ability to come up with ingenious strategies during daily challenges, his ability to leverage small voting power into significant political gains, and the fact he’s a damn good swimmer. To Jordan, it’s an insult people put Wes on the same level as him or even higher than him. Jordan is fucking fantastic at every type of athletic competition despite his disability, and he can’t see through his own Jordan cloud, that even though Wes plays an entirely different game, he can get one over on Jordan from time to time. Likewise, Wes doesn’t like Jordan because Jordan doesn’t give him anywhere near the credit he deserves and is, in general, kind of a kill-buzz. Jordan is the type of player who wants Wes out immediately as he knows the longer you let Wes stay, the more powerful he becomes. He’s like a fungus, or a virus, or Pete Davidson.
On Rivals 2, they competed without any animosity towards each other. Wes and CT won, while Jordan and Marlon finished in third. They reunited on Exes 2, where Wes and Theresa were outperforming Jordan and Sarah all season. Yet, near the end-game, Wes told Leroy and Jordan that if any of their teams were to end up in elimination, they would promise to throw in Jay/Jenna to face them, so they’d all make it to the final together. Leroy was cool with this idea, but Jordan did not want to take orders from Wes, and even took a jab at Wes’s physique, saying he wasn’t the same “roided-up” Wes. The exile twist occurred, the numbers in the game got flipped to Bananas’ side, and Wes got a daily challenge/elimination, which were unwinnable for him. Jordan and Sarah take the overall win for the season with Wes and Theresa out. The fact we didn’t get to see their two teams run the final against each other is a travesty.
During Champs vs. Pros, Jordan threw Wes into the first elimination because he thought Wes was the weak link. Wes beat Bananas, and then beat Jordan! Wes made the final for the season, achieved success during WOTW 1, and then got taken out early on WOTW 2, partially due to Jordan calling out Wes’’s alliance with the UK. These two loathe one another on a game-level, and I can’t wait to see them go toe-to-toe again on Total Madness.
5 Wes vs. CT
Every time I think the Wes and CT rivalry is completely overrated, I remember the video of CT cursing out all night during Rivals 1. Their “rivalry” began on the Duel 1. After CT got disqualified during the final elimination of the Duel, Wes called CT out for being a baby, and then even took a shot at his relationship with Diem, calling it “fake.” CT wanted to murder We and TJ Lavin but to no avail. What’s even crazier is they weren’t on another show together for like five-six years because Wes retired for three years, and then CT got banned right before Wes came back. When they did, Wes somewhat cheaply fed into the MOB kool-aid while partnered with Kenny, and was doing the most to annoy CT. CT did not take kindly to it, and one drunken, bombarded with Wes with a litany of curse words and verbal assaults. CT saying, “DIE. DIE. DIE. MOTHERFUCKING I’M COMING AND KEEP RUNNING” is something infused into my brain.
Ironically, these two played the same roles where they took on the entire JEK Mob solo, often losing, but looking like megastars in the process. Wes and CT were both like Minnesota Kevin Garnett, and when they teamed up together, they were ultimate Suicide Squad on Rivals 2, putting together one of the most feel-good wins in Challenge history. I wanted to compare one of them to Ray Allen or Paul Pierce, but they’re both too good. This is how I win.
4 Wes vs. Bananas
I think Wes is probably Johnny’s second-biggest rival (after CT). If you look at the seasons, Wes and Bananas have had a long-standing rivalry that on paper should put it #1.
- Bananas voted Wes in twice on Exes 1 (Wes eliminated)
- Wes won Rivals 2 against Johnny in the final
- Wes voted Bananas in on Exes 2 (Bananas eliminated), Bananas came back and helped Wes get eliminated on Exes 2
- Bananas threw in Wes twice on Rivals 3 (Wes eliminated), Bananas wins the season
- Wes eliminates Bananas on Champs vs. Pros, makes final
- Wes voted Bananas in on WOTW 1 (Bananas eliminated), Wes makes final
- Wes and Bananas both suck on WOTW 2, now aligned for Total Madness
When you really think about it, why do Johnny and Wes dislike each other? Yes, they have thrown harsh jabs at one another many times, they don’t share the same social fancies, and they may just hate each other’s faces. Yet, you can say the same thing about Wes and a plethora of other challengers, and over time, he has gotten in good standing with them (and even is with Bananas this current season).
The reason why Bananas vs. Wes ranks so low is that it’s a watered-down knock-off version of the Kenny vs. Wes rivalry. Whereas the Wes vs. Kenny rivalry had legitimate animosity and history between two people who redefined what the modern era of Challenges would become, Wes vs. Bananas was always a step-down. They didn’t need ten years of squabbling to get on the same page. Them fighting makes for good television, but as reality TV fans, we will always like something real better.
3 Wes vs. Darrell
A money feud. If this were a wrestling feud, Wes would be the Heel wrestler who loses every time to Darrell, but each week he can cut a promo that enrages Darrell and can get the best of him from time to time. On Fresh Meat 1, Darrell played a part in throwing Wes into five eliminations. They both made the final, they both did well, and in the end, Darrell had a much better partner and a little more fuel in the tank.
Darrell then reappeared on the Ruins (Wes also hadn’t been on in a while). Wes was quick to isolate himself from the rest of his team by telling them that he was going to throw all the challenges unless they cede power to him. Darrell took jabs at Wes via KellyAnne by slut-shaming her and saying he shouldn’t be excited about hooking up with a girl who had sex with the entire house. KellyAnne had hooked up with Wes (current BF), Cohutta (ex-BF), and Adam King (took advantage of her while heavily intoxicated). Wes and Darrell got into each other’s faces and tried to take a “fight” outside. This fight was never going to happen, mainly because production wasn’t going to let the star of their season leave episode 1, and also, as much as I love Wes, he would have gotten murdered by the Golden Gloves Boxer. Darrell told the other men on the Ruins that he doesn’t care about what the overall gameplan was, all that he cares about is that Wes gets taken out.
Wes got what seemed like the last laugh when he got Darrell voted into the first elimination of Fresh Meat 2 (a plan that Kenny got on board for). Then fast forward eight years, and they appear on Champs vs. Pros together. Both players make the final, Darrell coasting and Wes winning a ton of eliminations, just like on Fresh Meat 1. In the end, they both make the final, Darrell wins, and Wes finishes in third, again like Fresh Meat 1. What’s amazing is they are so cool with each other now that they had a fake Twitter beef during Final Reckoning to poke fun at modern-day challengers.
2 Wes vs. Derrick
Two guys who are linked together in history and intertwine so much, yet are so diametrically apart. When Derrick appeared on the Gauntlet 2, he became King of the Gauntlet and was the first male ever to achieve both 3 and 4 elimination wins (all came in one season). The next season, Wes took some of his glory by winning five eliminations in one season. However, Derrick’s wins were of a higher quality as they were in one on one head to head games, and there was no Fresh Meat exile weight bagged non-sense. On the Duel, Derrick tied Wes’s record of 5 elimination wins by defeating Tyler. Later in the season, at final six, Wes called Derrick out for a Duel.
The two men with the most elimination wins in Challenge history were going to face each other (something that will likely never happen again for either gender). Not only that, but they faced each other in the first male pole wrestle in Challenge history. The men battled like wilderbeast, as not only was their stake in the game on the line, but their spots in Challenge history. Wes getting this win removed any potential asterisks from Fresh Meat 1 because he had beaten King of the Gauntlet in a physical game. Derrick had been on the show for 5 seasons, and really felt defeated after losing to someone with Wes’s ego. In two seasons, Wes made two finals, won 150k, and took the elimination record. For someone as hard-working as Derrick, that’s tough to deal with.
Things got better for Derrick as he’d go on a crazy 3-Peat from Inferno 3-The Island-The Ruins. To this day, Derrick has more wins (3) than Wes (2), and the same amount of finals appearances (5). However, things were still chippy between the two over time. If you notice in the Darrell/Wes Ruins fight, Derrick is cursing out Wes. Derrick would throw shots at Wes on his podcast, and Wes would throw shots back on social media. It got pretty dirty between the two. Luckily, some Scott Yager mediation led to Wes appearing on Challenge Mania twice, and the relationship seems to greatly healed. They aren’t friend yet, but definitely a massive step-up for the two.
1 Wes vs Kenny
Former friends turned bitter enemies. Kenny hooking up with Johanna on the Island severed any friendship or good-will between Wes and Kenny, and radically redefined the entire Challenge landscape. Wes came out of retirement for the Ruins and lied to Evan and multiple people over the phone by saying he wasn’t showing up. There is massive beef between Wes and Kenny/Derrick/Bananas/Evan on the Ruins; they made sure he was going into almost every elimination. When Wes got eliminated, they somewhat got bored, and so did we the fans.
On Fresh Meat 2, Wes and Kenny went toe-to-toe with Wes creating a giant alliance to take out Kenny. Wes had the strongest girl in Evelyn as his #1, Jenn Grijalva working as his secret agent, somehow convinced Landon to align with him, had a plethora of underlings, and even manipulated Kenny to throw in Darrell before Kenny saw the bigger picture. At the end of the day, what Wes didn’t account for was Laurel being the most dominant competitor in Challenge history regardless of gender and them winning almost every challenge and elimination. Kenny was able to systematically rip apart Wes’s alliance and Wes, exposing his flaws as a politician.
These men were the basis of the Rivals theme. Yes, there were other big rivalries on the show, but Wes and Kenny were the center-piece. Rivals 1 was my first season, and immediately I was able to tell more than anyone: “OK, these two guys fucking hate each other.” Their dynamic was so great together. Even though Wes and Kenny hated each other and would shit-talk one another to everyone else behind their back (and in front of their face), they had a crazy amount of chemistry on screen together. They were funny as a pair, especially in the moments where they are happy and celebrating together. You could see within Wes and Kenny that they were friends at one point and did they like each other, but also, the lines had been crossed way too far with one another to conceivably. It was like watching two divorced parents derive enjoyment from hearing an awesome song play at a party. It’s not going to last, but there is something there.
What makes this rivalry so special is people still care about it to this day. As a Challenge fan, every day and every week, people argue online about Kenny and Wes’s run on Rivals 1. People on Facebook will create a post to make fun of Kenny carrying Wes up the mountain in the final for like 10–30 seconds. To which everyone in the comments replies, “Yeah, but Wes carried Kenny all season because Kenny sucked in the challenges and eliminations.” And then the fight goes on. Then you have the people posting about how Kenny and Wes were robbed from their win as they had a 45 minute lead on Day 1 of the Final that got reduced to only 2 minutes. Yeah, I’d like to live in a world where Bananas has one less win, but I don’t know if Wes changes who he is as a person and as a player without this loss. The win on Rivals 2 would mean less for sure. Also, considering what would go down with Kenny, a 4th win isn’t needed for him either. Plus, Kenny and Wes fighting on the mountain with a second-place finish is a perfect depiction of their relationship, their rivalry, and the whole Rivals format in general.