Top 10 Worst MTV Challenge Final Performances Ever

This past week, we saw Paulie crumble under the pressure during the War of the Worlds 2 Final. He overexerted himself way too early. Paulie wanted to sprint through a marathon and gassed out before his team was even halfway done. Watching him lie on the ground after telling Leroy he was at his physical peak only thirty minutes earlier in the episode was top tier comedy. It made me want to compile a list of the worst final performances ever. Paulie’s performance is not included because we still have not seen how it ends yet. For all we know, he gets the greatest second wind of all-time and leads his team to victory (I’d bet against that).

I’m also not including performances where players became physically injured during the final or entered the final with ailments. So the ones that missed the list because of this:

Jenn and Mandi (Rivals 1): Jenn had food poisoning and was advised by a doctor not to compete.

Nicole (Vendettas): Sprained ankle.

Marie and Cara (Final Reckoning): Marie had a sprained ankle.

Coral (Gauntlet 1): Spider Bite.

Dishonorable Mentions

Abram and Sarah (Cutthroat): Wasn’t sure how to account for severe dehyrdation.

Georgia, Mattie (WOTW 1): One lap of this final was more than the entirety of other finals.

Jenn and Noor (Fresh Meat 2): In their defense, the three teams who beat them in the final were ridiculously good.

Onto our top 10:

10 Tony Raines — Vendettas

Part of the reason Tony is on this list is that Vendettas was his season. Tony became the star of the show by dominating the daily challenges and ousting his mentor Johnny Bananas. Tony called the shots alongside Zach and thought he was primed to win. Unfortunately, he finished dead last for the males and did not even complete day 1 of the final.

Now, I don’t think Tony’s performance itself was all that bad. He got hampered by the fact that he had to wait for Kailah to complete a checkpoint, which guaranteed he would not finish as a top 2 male for Day 1 and would get purged during the Final. However, it is also Tony’s fault as he actively started to sabotage Leroy during the final with Zach as he had issues with Leroy, although Leroy was the one who should have been mad at Tony. Leroy would then finish the opening portion before Tony, even with two guys trying to ruin his game. Tony Time ran out when it mattered most.

9 Casey Cooper — Fresh Meat 1

During the first portion of the Fresh Meat 1 final, Wes and Casey were in the lead of the final because Wes decided to carry Casey on his back. Then after the first portion, they were required to carry 100 lbs of sandbags.

They lost their lead as Wes could no longer run with Casey on his back as he now had to carry the sand. Casey was not much help carrying weight. She could not run very long, even when not carrying anything, and there was no chance of her solving a puzzle. It’s a good thing third place got guaranteed money.

8 Aneesa Ferreira — Duel 2

Aneesa has been on the Challenge for twelve seasons and has never won. That is the most appearances without winning. In those twelve appearances, she has only made the final TWICE. One time was on the Gauntlet 2, where she was on a losing veterans team. The other was as an individual on the Duel 2. It was apparent immediately that Aneesa was not ready for a mini cross-fit exhibition as she trailed the other women by more than an hour during the final. Sadly, Aneesa didn’t only ruin her fate in the final, but Mark Long’s as well. In this final, players had a checkpoint where they’d have to link up with a female partner. With Mark Long getting to the checkpoint third, he had to wait an hour for Aneesa to catch up, despite the fact he was less than a minute behind first.

It is one thing to have a bad performance; it is another to ruin someone else’s. Then again, that is production’s fault for putting the players in that situation.

7 Devyn Simone — Battle of the Seasons

During Battle of the Seasons, Sarah and Chet were quietly attempting to find a way to get Devyn and JD off their team as they knew Devyn would not be able to run the final. Unfortunately, she made it to the final, and their thoughts came true. Devyn was a flat tire, which they kept pushing to do better, and in response, she moved at Devyn’s pace.

For perspective, they lost to Dustin and Trishelle. The same Dustin who almost quit the game after Trishelle refused to go into elimination with Alton. These two couldn’t even have a normal conversation, and they were still able to not come in last. Dustin, who was a first and second boot in his subsequent appearances, and Trishelle, who was running a final after a massive fourteen season lay-off.

6 Tonya Cooley and Tina Barta — Inferno 2

The Inferno 2 was a mini Triathlon and was pretty hardcore for its era. On the Inferno 2, Tonya would tell the other girls she ran 7–10 miles daily and was ready to destroy the final. Tonya performed well in challenges and eliminations all season, and she could have proven the other girls wrong by killing the final. She decided to drink as much alcohol as she could the night before the final, and it led to a very disastrous result. At one point, the men on the Bad Asses team had to carry her.

Why is Tina on this list? She did just as poorly as Tonya, with none of the drinking. One could argue both players deserve a pass as even at their team’s best; they were running a final against a Dream Team of Landon, Miz, Darrell, and Jamie Chung. They likely wouldn’t have won at full speed regardless, but their performances drew the ire of their teammates. At least it inspired Tonya to kill it on the Inferno 3, and Tina would finish second on Fresh Meat 1.

5 Zach Nichols and Devyn Simone — Free Agents

I feel bad putting Devyn on this list twice. However, she is married, working multiple media gigs, and would admit that finals are not her strong suit. I just couldn’t put Zach on this list with good conscience without also including Devyn.

Zach’s meltdown on the mountain during Free Agents is renown as the Big Zach was crying during a final after he pushed Sam around and verbally berated her only two seasons earlier. What does not get mentioned enough is how drastically he affected Laurel’s performance. Yes, Laurel won the final, but she either won every single portion of the final for the females or at least tied. Except for when partnered with Zach. Zach put her back by 20 minutes, allowing Nany a chance to win the final. Had Laurel not dominated the final, or had she faced a formidable field in the final, she wouldn’t be a champion because of Zach.

What’s even worse is the fact that Devyn set Johnny Reilly back more than Zach did to Laurel! Devyn and Reilly were a whole 33 minutes behind Bananas and Nany, and then 13 minutes behind Zach and Laurel in the mountain climb. Johnny Reilly only lost to the Final to Bananas by 18 minutes! Even if you account for Bananas’s leg with Devyn, where he only lost to Reilly by 14 minutes, then Reilly still beats Bananas by 4 minutes in non-Devyn legs of the final.

4 Cory Wharton — Invasion of the Champions

Cory single-handedly ruined Camila’s chance of winning the final and also did not help Nicole whatsoever in what would end her chances of winning. In the first part of the Invasion final, Cory got partnered with Nicole, where neither player was able to solve a simple math problem. They were set back by more than half an hour in one portion and their chances of winning were done with immediately.

During the second day, Cory was partners with Camila, who, even though she is awful as a person, is one of the greatest players ever. Cory gassed out immediately on her as he had weak cardio, struggled to push their rickshaw holding their puzzle pieces, was unable to lift his body weight on a tightrope, and should have let her do the puzzle by herself as their miscommunication led to them timing out. Cory tried to act as if he was going to become King of the Challenge to start the season, but by the end of the final, he pretended that his goal was to finish and he should get pat on the back for not quitting.

3 Devin Walker & Cheyenne Floyd — Rivals 3

I was very tempted to put this team #2 overall but ultimately decided that because this team finished the final and because they walked away with $25,000, then they can evade the bottom three. Devin and Cheyenne finished last in their three final by a considerable margin. That’s incredibly depressing when you consider that Jenna and Vince were one of the teams who beat them (quite easily as well ). The same Jenna who quit one final; and then finished lower in a final than Cory, the guy who had no ACL in one leg and would go on to run one of the worst finals ever once he had that ACL repaired. Vince also inspired a hashtag known as #VinceFail.

Devin and Cheyenne were a team of two people who lacked athleticism, lacked endurance, and weren’t even smarter than their opponents. Devin was beaten in puzzles by Vince and Jenna for god sake. At least they finished the final.

2 Jenna Compono & Jay Mitchell — Battle of the Exes 2

Nothing is worse than hearing people say Jay quit the final and Jenna did not. In no world does Jenna chug ten glasses of fish juice when she won’t eat a delicious curry. Likewise, up until the eating portion, Jenna was doing poorly in the final. She had to start walking early into the final, allowing Leroy and Theresa to pass them up, despite Jay and Jenna having on massive lead after the swimming and kayak portion of the final.

Jay and Jenna straight up quit without even making it half-way through. It was one of the saddest performances in Challenge history. So many teams played the game so hard only to watch Jay and Jenna make the final and quit. It was the first time in Challenge History where a team quit a final where as long as a team finished the final, they would win prize money. Jay and Jenna left 30 grand on the table because they couldn’t belly some fish juice.

1 Big Easy — The Gauntlet 2

When I started this article, I wanted to see if I could make a unique argument as to why someone else had a worse final than Big Easy. I couldn’t.

I’ve heard different numbers describing the distance of this final. This final was either 3.4 miles or 1.3 miles total based on various interviews I’ve listened to or read. Regardless, that is less than 1 Lap on the final we are watching currently on Part 1 of the War of the Worlds 2 final. CT also noted that the teams were given breaks during the final to keep from exhausting.

So I’m telling you that Big Easy died in a final that in totality was less than a single lap in a modern final. I don’t know what else to say? He kept people like Robin and Diem from ever getting wins. I guess CT, Paula, Evan, and Brad’s eventual wins would make me happier than anti-climatically on Gauntlet 3. But we also live in a world where Rachel Moyal and Johanna Botta have as many titles as Laurel and Emily. The only positive I can take away from this is Adam King did not win.




25 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.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Iceman Gets the Blues in Marjorie Liu’s and Walta’s Astonishing X-Men

The 2020 cord-cutter awards: Best streaming services, devices, and more

Ash vs. Evil Dead episode review — 1.3 — Books from Beyond

And They All Lived Happily Ever After The End

TV Review: This Time with Alan Partridge

The Outer Limits episode review — 1.6 — The Man Who Was Never Born

Freddy’s Nightmares episode review — 2.12 — It’s My Party and You’ll Die If I Want You To

Twilight Zone episode review — 1.1 — Where Is Everybody?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre

25 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.

More from Medium

The Top 10 Most Successful Floater Seasons in MTV Challenge History

Fantasy Cast for The Challenge: Ride or Dies

Top 10 Weakest Casts in MTV Challenge History

The Challenge All Stars 3 Player Preview: Tina Barta