Wes is a Villain, a Star, and a Challenge Icon. Can he end it all with one big win?
Wes won his first season in 2006 at the age of twenty-one. He won the Duel, the FIRST INDIVIDUAL season of the Challenge. He overcame the odds to win a game that would host 9 future champions out of the 10 male cast members. To put it in perspective, Wes beat Brad, Derrick, Kenny, Evan, Bananas, Tyler, and C-to-the-motherf’ing-T in an individual game where players could call each other out. Thirteen years later, we have seen multiple Wes iterations, from frat boy with a mohawk to entrepreneur with his own company with multiple locations. At the end of the day, Wes Bergmann is still kicking ass on the Challenge and playing the character we like to hate and like to love.
On Fresh Meat 1, Wes came into the Challenge world with quite the ego, coming off an iconic Real World season. RW Austin is likely the last “All Time” seasons of the franchise as later seasons dwindled in quality, and later in viewers. Wes entered the season with three of his Austin cast members, one of his best friends (Danny), and his girlfriend (Johanna), who he was finally able to woo after a season-long conquest on RW. However, Wes was partnered with Casey Cooper, one of the worst competitors in Challenge history. To make matters worse, the veterans in the game aligned together and threw in the rookies (Austin) again and again.
Wes did not play it cool, because he had a mohawk, a hot girlfriend, and an ego, he thought he had clout, but in this way he actually earned respect from fans by winning exile after exile. Wes won five eliminations on Fresh Meat 1 and finished in 3rd place on his rookie season. His placementgot Casey Cooper some new boobs which we could all appreciate, and we knew Wes wasn’t just an ego, he was an actual competitor and hard-worker. Now, he did have a bit of temper and treated both Casey and Johanna poorly, but he greaty changed his rhetoric when working with females in future seasons.
Wes came in with an extra 10–15 lbs of muscle from Fresh Meat 1 to the Duel. He did not have to go into a ton of eliminations on the Duel as he earned himself a bit of respect from FM1 and was no longer a rookie. An underrated aspect of Wes’ season, was his political play, he created an alliance with the outsiders of the game (Aneesa, Nehemiah, Beth, Svetlana), and guaranteed he would get called out in the line-up by one of the girls in return for a call out from him. He cut a deal with Evan where Evan would call CT into elimination if Wes took out Brad and Derrick. Imagine if he did that today by telling Paulie if he took out Turbo, that he’d go for Kyle and Bear.
Bulky Wes (Ruins, Fresh Meat 2, Rivals 1)
This is probably my least favorite version of Wes. Similar to Hunter, Wes bulked up way too much and his cardio suffered. Before, his biggest strength was he was a small guy who could keep up with the big guys. He tried too hard to match up with the heavyweights and lost his overall edge. Wes was able to bully Nick on the Ruins in Shadowfighter and had impressive eliminations on Rivals 1. Unfortunately, his loss to Cohutta on the Ruins, elimination performance on FM2, and then finals loss on Rivals 1 where he gassed out each time had fans doubting his validity as a top player.
Deflated Wes (Exes 1, Battle of the Seasons)
In favor of his company BetaBlox, Wes simply stopped working out because he had a real life job. He still had quite a bit of muscle on Exes 1 and a decent amount on Battle of the Seasons. However, we did not get to see him compete as he went into early eliminations on both seasons,losing physical eliminations to heavyweights. These losses were key to Wes finding a new identity.
Skinny Wes (Rivals 2, Exes 2, Rivals 3)
At the lowest point of his Challenge career, Wes got a major boost by being paired with CT. Together they became a gruesome twosome and arguably the greatest male duo in Challenge history. Their mix of athleticism, strength, endurance, ingenuity, and general sense of confidence and teamwork allowed them to dominate a final against some of the best players in Challenge history.
Wes had always been a great athlete, but he began to win the game with his mind and play it in a way nobody has. On Exes 2, Wes made deals with rookies when others would throw them in, he cut deals with “enemies”, and made power moves because he played to win. He had a great partner (Theresa) and they made it to the final four with one lay-up team, one team who couldn’t swim, and then Jordan/Sarah who he had a deal with from the beginning. Unfortunately, the exile twist messed up his game, production essentially gave him little chance to win with a daily challenge where other teams ganged up on him and then a physical elimination against Leroy. His Rivals 3 run was mostly depressing, yes he won two eliminations, but it was just sad watching him consistently lose to Bananas and Sarah.
At this point, it looked like Wes’ window as a Champion might be over.
Champs vs Pros/Stars Wes
Due to BetaBlox’s expansion, Wes was not able to do a full season of the Challenge for a few years. Instead, we got an appetizer in Champs vs Stars spin-offs.
Wes in Champs vs Pros is one of my favorite performances. He is OUT OF SHAPE on CvP, and had a bit of a Dad Bod, or as he would like to call, a Dog Bod. Nonetheless, Wes proved himself by doing what he does best — winning eliminations. He took out Bananas, Jordan, and Silver Medal Olympian Louie Vito. Yes, he sucked in the final, however, making it to the end of a game with athletes and champions showed his passion, craftiness, and heart.
He then got back into shape and had a few stellar runs on Champs vs Stars 2 and 3. Wes had the cutest friendship/rivalry with Louise Hazel and proceeded to become friends with Boobie Gibson.
War of the Worlds
Ashley, Bananas, CT, and Zach got eliminated in consecutively this season. Wes was the biggest name in the game for its duration and he won challenges and eliminations to keep himself in the game. He made moves in the Tribunal and often took shots when others were using burn votes. In my opinion, he’s in his best shape since winning the Duel.
It is has been thirteen years since he won the Duel, and six years since he won Rivals 2. The show was still called the Real World/Road Rules Challenge when he started. He could potentially become the first player to win his Challenge seasons during three different Presidential runs (Bush term 2, Obama term 1, Trump term 1). Now he will compete in a final against a 2x Survivor Turkey winner, a Ninja Warrior, a Pro Sprinter from Britain, a 6 ft tall country woman, and a petite British model.
A win for Wes would be a win for his legacy and a win for Challenge fans. Despite his evolution, Wes is an OG. He’s been a major part of this show, and has found a way to get people to either cheer for or root against him. This challenge could be Wes’ last chance to win and what a win it would be. If you hate Wes, you could have one last time to watch him lose, so you can cherish that too. Good Luck, Wes.