The Challenge: 9 Elimination Rounds that Should be Brought Back

Henry L DiMaria
7 min readJun 14, 2021


One of the integral parts of The Challenge that sets it apart from the other major Reality game shows(like Big Brother & Survivor)is the use of challenges to eliminate players from the game. Some of these elimination rounds have become iconic to the show getting used over and over again like Knot so Fast, Pole Wrestle, Balls in and Hall Brawl. However there are a lot of eliminations that were used only one season and never brought back, several of which would be great to see back. Additionally, there are variations on classic elimination rounds that would be great to see more often so that there is at least differences from season to season. By using these alternatives and bringing back eliminations they have not used in a while it keeps the show fresh and prevents the audience from getting burnt out on the classics.

First some direct alternatives for regularly used eliminations that should return:

Bring back Spanish Torture from Vendettas as an alternative for Strung Out (called Operation Fire Escape last season)

Strung out has proven to be a very good and popular elimination round. It has been particularly associated with Leroy in my mind since he had two dominating wins over Johnny Bananas in Exes 2 and Jay on Double Agents. However another elimination that has a similar premise, getting from one side of the arena and back up in the air, is Spanish Torture. It was only used once between Kam and Natalie Negrotti but still was really entertaining to watch. Similar to Strung Out, Spanish Torture is a draining elimination that has a lot to do with core strength and body control. I am shocked that production has not brought it back again since Vendettas, it went well on that season and I think would be good to see come back and used as the elimination in place of Strung Out soon.

Bring back Yankin’ my Chain from Vendettas as an alternative for Banded Together (called Snapping Point on Double Agents)

There have been a number of different ways they have done this kind of elimination where the players are bungeed back to back and need to drag their opponent to their side. One of the best versions of this in my opinion was Yankin’ my Chain from Vendettas which was played against mercenaries Darrell v Nelson, Brad v Frank, Kam v Ashley & Britini v Laurel. This version being on a platform instead of in sand prevents players from being able to dig into the ground which I prefer. Also considering when Cory and Darrell played snapping point this past season Cory kind of broke the elimination by being so quick. Having Yankin’ my Chain be in a circle would hopefully prevent it becoming a straight up foot race again in the future.

Bring back Oppenheimer from Free Agents instead of traditional Hall Brawl.

Hall Brawl is an absolute classic but as of recently it has been overused. There have been 8 hall brawls in the past 4 seasons and there have been a number of other eliminations used that are similar and could be substituted. One of those eliminations was Oppenheimer from Free Agents which was different since the run was much longer and more importantly players ran in a circle not straight. This change allows players the opportunity to make up more time in the run even if they lose the physical portion but still gives the heavy advantage to the person who physically won the collision. The rounds were pretty memorable on Free Agents and I would be glad to see it as the option production goes with instead of normal hall brawl.


Bring back Tunnel Vision from Rivals 3 instead of Hall Brawl

Like Oppenheimer Tunnel Vision is another variation on Hall Brawl this one being only used once for the elimination between Wes & Nany and Dario & Nicole. Instead of having players running through a narrow hallway they instead are in a narrow tunnel similar to army crawl with a collision in the middle. I think this elimination is another one that can be good to use instead of hall brawl on occasion so that the contestants don’t always know exactly how to prepare for a hall brawl but it still maintains an extremely physical elimination round that we get to see.

Next some original eliminations that should be brought back

Wrecking Wall (Free Agents)

I am honestly blown away that they only used wrecking wall during one season of the challenge. They have had a couple variations such as “The Great Escape” from Dirty Thirty XXX and Charge the Wall on Total Madness but in Total Madness it was more about the luck of finding batteries hidden behind the drywall and on Dirty Thirty it was used only once and they used pegs instead of their hands. Climbing is a really physical task that The Challenge normally uses particularly in daily challenges but there are no classic elimination games that is involve testing climbing skills. On Free Agents there were some great moments using this elimination like Bananas knocking out Jordan after Jordan flipped all of the kill cards and CT beating elimination beast Leroy. I feel like this is an elimination that should definitely go into the pantheon with Pole Wrestle, Hall Brawl, Strung Out, Balls In & Knots So Fast to be used often but not every season.

Door Jam (Rivals)

A lot of the times The Challenge likes to have an elimination that has the players use their brains to be strategic but not always use a straight up puzzle. However I think it is better when the elimination is one event that tests strategy and intelligence but also includes some kind of physical component. One of the best elimination rounds that uses strategy but also endurance and speed is Door Jam. It was played just one time with Laurel & CaraMaria beating Camila & Theresa and it was pretty close. In a nonpaired season it would definitely need to be adapted but I would also be thrilled to just see it brought back for the next time there is a pairs season.

Shadow Fighter (The Ruins)

This was an interesting elimination from the Ruins that was again only used one time between Wes & Nick and Evelyn & KellyAnne which Evelyn threw after she went up 2–0 because she was sick of helping Johnny & Kenny win like she did on both the Inferno 3 and the Island. It is similar to a tug of war except all four of the players limbs are attached to their opponents and they have to get them off of their platform. This elimination is great because it tests a number of different attributes, endurance, strength, body control and strategy, making it so that even if you are overmatched in strength you could win by excelling in endurance, body control and strategy. I would be happy to see this one brought back for the future.

Die Hard (Cutthroat)

When people think of the elimination rounds from Cutthroat they tend to either think of the Bananas Backpack moment or the absurd elimination when contestants smacked eachother in the face with flyswatters. The novelty and hilarity of hitting people with flyswatters is best as a one time thing and for Back up off me nothing could top the Bananas Backpack moment. However Die Hard is another game from cutthroat that I have not heard that many people talk about that would be good to see used in a modern season. Players start on top of a large die and need to roll it into a specified area with the correct number facing up. It was pretty close each time it was played and has good tension since there is the constant danger of them falling of the die and having to restart. This elimination tests a number of skills including strength, body control and strategy and I’d be happy to see it return.

Push Me (The Duel)

Unlike most of the other eliminations on this list I do understand why this elimination has not been brought back but I think it should return with one major caveat that production fixes the design flaw the elimination round is best known for. In the three times it was played on the Duel twice the player who should have won was DQed because the players needed to unhook a flag from a carabiner not rip it out and it was much too easy for them to accidentally rip the flag out of the ground. Assuming they are able to fix that problem Push Me is a great Strength and Endurance elimination and seeing the redemption of it being brought back and not only being known for people getting DQed. I would be excited if we got to see today’s competitors go toe to toe in Push Me.



Henry L DiMaria

I blog primarily about The Challenge but occasionally stretch into other reality TV @HenryLDiMaria