If Mickey Mantle can decorate the hallways of Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Naismith Memorial can plaster Reggie Miller’s face across its hallowed halls, then it’s about time we at MTV recognize all the greats The Challenge has produced across 33 seasons.
Since the show premiered 21 years ago with a much less intense concept, The Challenge has evolved into something akin to an Olympics qualifier, with contestants routinely drawing blood, risking injury and confronting their greatest fears in the name of glory.
And for many, it’s been worth the slog.
Before the War of the Worlds names the series’ newest champ in the next episode, we’re awarding an inaugural 10 players with placement in The Challenge Hall of Fame. These men and women have each left a legacy that can’t be contested, and we can’t wait to see who joins them in years to come.
Take a look, tell us who you think should eventually join this crew and tune in to the next War of the Worlds episode Wednesday at 9/8c!
If you’ve watched any season of The Challenge in recent years, you know that Johnny Bananas has earned more first-place finishes than anybody else with 6 in 18 tries. A .333 batting average certainly ain’t bad!
Still, there’s one victorious distinction Johnny can’t claim…
While Johnny Bananas and Ashley will both go down in Challenge infamy for taking away prize money from their respective champion partners and keeping it all for themselves, there’s only one solo game winner in the franchise’s 33-season history: Cara Maria. Yup, the Vendettas final found Cara in a photo-finish showdown with Zach, but it was she who ultimately took the big money, carving out a place in the Challenge hall of fame that remains hers alone (for six more days).
Emblem of Elimination Rounds
SARAH. F*CKING. GREYSON. On the seventh season of The Challenge in 2003, the first to EVER feature elimination rounds, the Road Rules: Campus Crawl castoff served as Team Road Rules’ whipping boy and was thrown into The Gauntlet FIVE TIMES (twice against guys). Sarah had the last laugh, though, when she walked away with the game’s grand prize. Even more impressively — 16 years and 26 seasons later — no one has beaten her record of most elimination-round wins in a single season (though Wes and Casey matched it as a duo on Fresh Meat), giving her the distinction of a truly seasoned hall-of-famer.
And on the topic of Wes…
The Enduring Executioner
Real World: Austin export Wes, who’s won more elimination rounds over the course of his Challenge tenure than anyone else with 14, has proven his elimination prowess is totally transcendent. He also holds the title for most consecutive elimination rounds in a season with four, the most consecutive elimination wins with eight and placement in the most elimination rounds overall, with 20.
While Johnny Bananas is your likely guess for ultimate prizewinner, it was actually Ashley’s million-dower power play in Final Reckoning that put her over the edge, giving her a grand total of $1,121,250 to JB’s $680,793. Ash has definitely has the “don’t play hard, play smart” philosophy figured out.
Mr. Beautiful/Mr. September
Maybe Johnny has the distinction of most seasons won, but Kenny has the distinction of most consecutive appearances in a final — he made it six straight seasons without being eliminated. Still, his record isn’t totally spotless — there’s one person who’s bested him…
When it comes to staying alive, Susie Meister has got the rest of the competition beat. She made it through four seasons and multiple elimination rounds without ever getting the boot. Others like Emily, Devyn and Dan (remember Road Rules’ DAN?!) have likewise avoided elimination, but Susie’s sidestepped the guillotine longer. (Note: Coral has technically never been eliminated across six seasons but was sent home once for injuries and quit once after catching wind of her team’s plot to oust her).
When it comes to who’s been playing the game the longest, it’s no contest: Veronica, who appeared on Road Rules 21 years ago, has been playing the game across a stretch of TWENTY-NINE seasons (she started with Season 3 and has most recently competed on Season 32). It’s Johnny Bananas, though, who’s competed on the most seasons with 18.
He’s Heating Up
When it comes to hot streaks, no one’s done more damage than Darrell. The Road Rules: Campus Crawl export won four straight Challenge seasons between The Gauntlet and Fresh Meat (Landon came close to four straight, too, but missed The Duel II final by inches after his fellow players plotted his eleventh-hour ousting). Darrell would have likely won The Ruins, too, if he hadn’t beaten the s--- out of Brad and been ejected.
Never Knocked Down
Aneesa hasn’t been a part of The Challenge quite as long as Veronica, but it’s pretty damn close. Still, she’s competed across the longest stretch — 12 seasons over the course of more than 15 years — without a win. Aneesa’s made it to a few finals and knocked around some heads in epic elimination rounds but has never secured a first-place finish. Still, she’s undeterred and an emblem of resolve: All these years later, she’s still not giving up. Here’s hoping victory is finally around the corner.