With the Challenge All-Stars 3 Final right around the corner, I’ve decided to take a look at our 9 remaining players and break down what winning this season would mean for each player’s legacy. The Challenge is America’s 5th Major Sport, and Sports are a rings-based culture. At the end of the day, the person who has stacked the most or best-looking chips at the table will look the most impressive. While there are no official Challenge player rankings, there’s a general consensus of players, and I say this as someone who has been covering the Challenge for a long time where I’ve seen play rise and fall down fan rankings as the years have gone by. Let’s get into it.
What if JONNA wins?
The last female player to win back-to-back Challenge appearances is Sarah Rice winning Exes 2 and Rivals 3, though most forget the second Championship for some reason. Meanwhile, the last time a female player won consecutively airing seasons was Veronica Portillo back in 2004 with the Gauntlet/Inferno 1. For reference, the #1 song in the world when Veronica won the Inferno was Burn by Usher.
While I do think there might be an argument that the overall female casts of All-Stars have been a bit weaker than the main show, the statistical chance of winning two seasons in a row in a primarily individual/paired games is incredibly difficult — right now, we are talking about 1 in 144 chance (less than 1 percent). There’s a stat called Win Ratio where your total amount of wins gets divided by the expected amount of wins. For example, your expected wins on the Duel would be 0.1 since there can only be 1 winner out of 10 players. If you played three Duel seasons, your expected wins would be 0.3, and if you won one, then 1/.3 = 333.3% Win Ratio. If you add up Jonna’s 8 career seasons, her expected Championship total is 0.728. Which means Jonna’s already won (1) more than expected.
In a world where Jonna pulls out All-Stars 3, her Win Ratio becomes 274.4%, putting her second All-Time among women who have played four seasons or more. I’m not saying Jonna is the second-best female competitor ever. What I’m trying to put into the universe is that with a second Championship, we need to begin talking about her as one of the Top 10 Female competitors in Challenge History. If you consider Jonna’s All-Stars 1 season as a Championship (which I wouldn’t argue crazily against), she’s already in the conversation, and three straight wins would be something no female has ever done. 14 months ago, Jonna was a player lost to time, called a lay-up because she never made a Final and had a 2–5 elimination record — fast forward to now, and she’s the face of Challenge All-Stars. That’s pretty fucking rad.
What if NIA wins?
If Nia won after everything, it would feel so random. She did not have a single Top 3 daily challenge finish all season (even when it was down to 4 females), and her sole elimination win was a weird maze/mini-golf putt against Sylvia. Before the season, I had Nia ranked as one of the top players as she was a former collegiate athlete who had good cardio and memory skills when we saw her on Exes 2. The Nia we’ve gotten this season has not been that player. It will be hilarious if she becomes that person when the light shines brightest on her.
A Nia win would be a super what the fuck moment, and the shock factor would be off the charts.
What if KAILAH wins?
Kailah is in a peculiar situation where if she wins, people will claim it was unfair from the beginning to have someone still in their athletic prime competing against a cast of OGs. If Kailah loses, she will get clowned for losing against the OGs, while also getting looked at as an formidable foe for whoever wins the Championship overcame en-route to victory.
While I do believe Kailah has an athletic edge being younger, she’s been a much sharper mental, political, and strategic player this season, and it’s why she has got to this point in the game. A Kailah win would be well-deserved based on performance, and it would vault her somewhere between 15th and 20th All-Time for female players. Right now, I’d guesstimate she’s in the late 20s/low 30s.
What if KELLYANNE wins?
Since Day 1 of her Challenge career, KellyAnne has been a damn good player. From beating Rachel Robinson in a face-off on the Island, to knocking out Veronica on the Ruins and almost pulling off a Final win with Sarah Rice, to tying for 1st among females on the All-Stars 1 Final. KellyAnne is a Championship caliber competitor; the only thing missing is the official title.
A loss for KellyAnne at this point would be brutal because cardio-wise, she stacks up well against this cast, and at this stage in her career, I’m not sure if she will ever get a better opportunity to win. She probably ranks in the low 20s All-Time currently; a win would put her in the Top 15 for sure.
What if WES wins?
The Duel 1, War of the Worlds 1, and Challenge All Stars 3 are three of the strongest male casts in Challenge history. Wes won the first, came in 3rd on the second, and has a great shot at winning this season. To be a top contender when playing with the best is something special. In terms of accolades, Challenge All-Stars 3 is the strongest male cast ever, with 11 out of 12 men being Champions and 8 out of 12 being multi-time champs.
People who are fans of Wes know that while Wes doesn’t have the best stats in terms of total Wins & Finals, he has some of the most impressive wins and individual seasons. In this game, Wes had a steep mountain to climb as there were three colossal Finals threats in Jordan, Yes, and Darrell. Wes has never come close to beating Darrell in a Final, Yes beat Darrell straight up in a Final, and as Wes admitted, nobody could keep up with Jordan in one. Taking out one big threat isn’t easy, as seen with CT in recent seasons; to take all three out before the Final knowing you’ll have a big target on your back for making such massive moves (and for being Wes) is madness. Not only that, Wes has a chance to stack the deck where he could be running the Final alongside his besties, Brad and Nehemiah.
In terms of All-Time rankings, Wes is on many people’s Top 10 Male Competitors lists, but he isn’t a staple in people’s Top 5. A win here would vault him back into the conversation for being a Top 5 guy for many people because the absolute flair he wins with is undeniable.
What if MARK wins?
Mark is someone who gets forgotten about in All-Time rankings because the Godfather lives in his own realm where even before All-Stars, he felt like a pseudo-producer. Hell, Mark was the host of the original Battle of the Seasons in 2002. When you look at his resume, Mark’s Challenge run is quite flawless. Mark won his first two seasons, then bowed out of the Battle of the Sexes 2 in which he cut a deal with the other three finalists where he’d still get his share of the winning purse, made the final of both of the Gauntlet 2/Duel 2, followed that up by cutting a winnings deal with Bananas during the final elimination of Exes 1, and has now gone to the Final of both All-Stars seasons. That’s a remarkable run-on of a Challenge resume. Mark has never gotten eliminated on a show unless it was by his own volition or if he was walking away with some money.
A win from Mark would force people to reconsider where he ranks All-Time. Resume alone, we are talking about a guy who won 3 out of 8 seasons, made 7 Finals, and holds a 3–1 elimination record. That’s a Top 5 guy on paper.
What if BRAD wins?
Like Wes, Brad is a top competitor who lacks the total Championships to get regarded among the best. Against a stacked cast, Brad’s looked like the best athlete all season, and a win here would elevate him into getting looked at as a Top 10 Male Competitor All-Time. A loss for Brad would be one among a giant pile of heartbreaking defeats. There isn’t much more to say about Brad other than a win would feel deserved, and I think most fans would like to see him pull off the big one after his performance this season.
What if NEHEMIAH wins?
Similar to Nia, Nehemiah hasn’t done much of anything this season. There is a bit of difference between them where Nehemiah is coming off All-Stars where he won 2 eliminations, was consistently a top performer in dailies alongside Melinda, and the two won Part 1 of the Final (which was about 90% of the Final). Nehemiah’s gone from an underrated player to a guy who gets looked at as a threat/stud. The only person underrating him at this point is Derrick Kosinski and based on what we’ve seen of their Pole Wrestle, it might be a gross miscalculation.
If Nehemiah wins this season, he goes from being seen as an All-Star level player to getting a certified Hall of Fame Legend label on him. I don’t think he’d be in people’s Top 10; Nehemiah would have the respect of a lot of people, which he should deserve already.
What if DERRICK wins?
Nobody needs a win more than Derrick right now. His performance the previous two All-Star seasons has had people clamoring that his stats might be inflated because all 3 of his Championships came in team seasons. Prior to All-Stars, Derrick was a guy on most people’s Top 10 lists and would sneak into some Top 5’s. Nowadays, Derrick’s barely hanging on as a Top 10 guy where people are trying to poke holes at him with each loss. Derrick is a phenomenal athlete with so much grit and heart; a win here would shut up the haters. Likewise, a loss here would vindicate many as he called out Nehemiah for this Pole Wrestle, claiming he wanted the easier route to the Final. It’s not a good look if you lose a headbanger to the “easiest opponent.”