The Proving Ground’s been closed for the season, the teams have made their necessary cuts and the final War of the Worlds 2 mission is just around the corner. But, if you ask any longtime Challenge fan, there’s a bit of an anomaly where Season 34’s final roster is concerned: Nearly all of the series’ typically powerhouse players are gone.
Yep, thanks to the unstoppable pull of Paulie and Cara’s cult, only Zach on Team U.S. and Jordan and Tori on Team U.K. have managed to survive the game as outliers of the season’s ironclad alliance (and that’s only because Tori and Jordan managed to stave off elimination a total of four times). In the first few episodes alone, Wes, Laurel and Johnny Bananas were eliminated and, more recently, Jenny and Georgia, two of the game’s strongest women, have been kicked to the curb, leaving a collection of players that Zach has affectionately referred to as “The Layups.”
“Team U.S.A. had the tools to be one of the best Challenge teams ever assembled, but because of politics, egos, it got broken down into what I don’t think is a very strong team,” he said as he watched his team struggle through the latest mission. “We might be in for a little bit of a fight.”
So was this season’s unique method of politicking fair? Was it just? It’s not for us to say, but there’s no denying that it worked, and now, there’s no going back: Zach, Paulie, Leroy, Ashley, Cara, Kam and Ninja comprise the final American team, and Rogan, Jordan, Tori, Dee and CT are the final Brit team.
And see that cast above? Only Ashley on Team U.S. and Jordan and Tori on Team U.K. have even had to step foot into an elimination round (and Ashley’s nomination, was, at that, a considerable fluke).
But let's say you had the power to bend space and time and change the trajectory of the game: Who do you think deserved a second chance, and who would you draft back into the War of the Worlds 2 final?
First, Wes, the only American to win money in the War of the Worlds final, was bounced because of an argument in which his words were twisted and his points were exaggerated (the Americans’ Episode 3 Tribunal set a dangerous precedent by voting Wes, their own, to the Proving Ground). Laurel and Johnny were subsequently (and vengefully) thrown to the wolves by The Americans for plotting Wes’ demise, and though both were decorated champions that typically assume captains’ roles on their respective teams, the elimination games they played got the better of them.
And just like that, before Episode 6’s premiere, the game had become something completely unprecedented.
But Team U.K.’s strongest players didn’t avoid untimely elimination either. Theo, who won three elimination rounds, and Georgia, who won two, were both eliminated on their subsequent Proving Ground appearances. Both were outstanding competitors — and finalists — on War of the Worlds, and both racked up multiple elimination round wins before their respective oustings from the game.
And let’s not forget Jenny — the Challenge rookie showed tremendous potential mission after mission and sent teammate Nicole packing without breaking a sweat. And though she was favored to take out Tori in her final appearance on The Proving Ground, she simply couldn’t hang, and Tori plowed over Jenny in Hall Brawl.
Finally, Joss wouldn’t be Joss if an eleventh-hour switchup didn’t him packing. Defeated by an unforeseen mercenary on Vendettas (Joss would have likely taken out any other cast member) and forced to swallow a second-place finish on Final Reckoning because of a last-minute handicap, Joss was eliminated from War of the Worlds 2 after playing a nearly perfect game because his partner, Kayleigh, was the slowest swimmer in the game’s most recent Purge. Instantly, both were bounced.
So, like we said, there’s no going back, but if you could, who would you resurrect from the Challenge graveyard? Take the poll below, share your thoughts and be sure to catch the final mission’s kickoff Wednesday at 9/8c!