The Challenge: The Best Single Season Challengers of all time.

At times a new contestant comes on to a season of The Challenge and they immediately look like they are going be a staple on the show. They are either a great competitor or extremely entertaining for the tv show or ideally both. For some people like Wes it was obvious that he would be great on the show for years both as a character, antagonist and a as a competitor winning 5 eliminations and making the final on his first season. Another example being Laurel who was physically dominant from the beginning winning 5 daily challenges and also was great tv getting into fights, drama and hook ups. However, there have also been players that have had those types of excellent rookie seasons where you might think they are a going to be back on The Challenge over and over but for one reason or another they never came back. Here is my list of the best cast members who did only one show and than never came back.

Honorable Mentions:

Aviv Melmed (Fresh Meat), Christena Pyle(The Inferno), Pete Connolly (Fresh Meat II) & Noor Jehangir (Fresh Meat II)

Men:

5. Antoine de Bouverie (Battle of the Sexes)

Battle of the Sexes is an exception to the rule that the early Challenges were easier to win, during each daily challenge competitors earned points based on how they performed which were used points to determine who got voted out. Antoine made it all the way to the end of the of the season being the final man voted out before the final. He consistently performed better than most with the only people beating him being three time undefeated champion Jamie Murray, “The Godfather” Mark Long & someone who is coming up later. Antoine was one of my favorites on this season, he worked through the language barrier hilariously trying to pick up on American slang, gave good confessionals and had a really fun friendship with Shane at a point offering to give up his game for Shane to stay in the game. Antoine would have certainly been good to see on at least one more season.

Women:

5. Carley Johnson (Fresh Meat II)

Carley does not look like the person that you would expect to win a season particularly considering that she was against Challenge champions like Laurel, Jillian, Evelyn, Sarah & CaraMaria. She was not particularly great as a tv character but she was also on a cast with a lot of strong personalities so I give her a bit of a pass there. Athletically, Carley was objectively the worst performer in the Fresh Meat combine and was the last woman picked. However after being picked by Landon, Carley won 2 daily challenges, beat Evelyn in an. elimination and went on to win the season which was impressive. I do not think she is the kind of contestant who could replicate that type of performance had she come back but that doesn’t take away from what she did accomplish and for me she barely beats Aviv for the 5th spot.

Men:

4. Michael Ross (Rivals)

To this day it is surprising that Mike was cast, even as a replacement, on a season of The Challenge. He is not the typical party guy but more of an intellectual dorky guy and not particularly athletic (of course by saying that I am not trying to insult him since he is the challenger most similar to myself by far). Yet considering how well Mike did on Rivals maybe taking a chance on a guy like him every now and then is not such a bad idea for the show. Mike, together with is partner Leroy, never finished last in a daily challenge avoiding every elimination round and even winning one daily. He was also a lot of fun on the show giving good confessionals, getting in a huge blow up with JEK, hooking up with Paula and an all time Challenge friendship with Leroy. He finished 3rd behind 4 challenge champions and was a really good guy on Rivals who brought something rare ad different to the show.

Women:

4. Heather Cooke (Rivals II)

Cooke is awesome and someone that to this day fans are still clamoring for production to bring back and compete on another season of The Challenge. After her first partner went home due to a family emergency she got paired with CaraMaria and they were a strong team winning 2 eliminations, one daily challenge and finishing second behind the dominant team of Emily and Paula in the final. Cooke was also a fun character that season particularly since their team was the target for a majority of the season making her play with her back against the wall. Cooke from what I understand was in the mix for a season or two after Rivals but she chose to prioritize her soccer career instead of hoping that production would bring her back on The Challenge. Out of the women on this list she is the most likely to come back though since she was an alternate on this past season of The Challenge: All Stars.

Men:

3. Marlon Williams (Rivals II)

Marlon is one of the biggest question marks to me as to why he never was brought on to another season of The Challenge he has reportedly wanted to return for awhile appeared on a season of ex on the beach and is still advocating to get back on the show. Athletically he is a beast winning 1 daily challenge & 2 eliminations before eventually losing a swim during the first part of the final to two teams of champions in CT & Wes and Frank & Bananas. Over the course of his season, he got involved in the drama on the show fighting with multiple people including CT and most notably Knight after he made fun of Marlon for his sexuality and had two separate hook ups first with Derek and later with Nany over the course of a single season. Similarly to Cooke I could see The Challenge finally giving him another shot since advocating to come back on Instagram worked for Devin and today he is even bigger and stronger than he was on Rivals II so hopefully Marlon will get another shot.

Women:

3. Svetlana Shusterman (The Duel)

Svetlana is the player that immediately jumps to mind for me when thinking about this category. She was one of the absolute stars of the duel being an underdog fighting against the strong alliance of Robin, Kina, Jodi & Diem. Svetlana developed a strong friendship with Aneesa before eventually being forced to go against her in a crushing final elimination. She managed to miraculously eliminate the biggest villain of the season Beth after a long battle where she gave it everything she had and Beth recklessly ripped out the flag instead of unclipping DQing and giving Svetlana the win. On the Duel Svetlana won 2 daily challenges, 3 eliminations and finished second to an underrated challenge beast, Jodi. The producers allegedly asked her to come back for every seasons all the way up until Vendettas. She was almost on the gauntlet 3 before leaving at the airport and considering she had the opportunity repeatedly she seems to be happy with her life away from tv. What pushed her ahead of Cooke for me was that she was on an individual season instead of a pairs season, she had more daily challenge & elimination wins and that I personally found her to be the slightly more entertaining of the two.

Men:

2. Mitch Reid (Battle of the Bloodlines)

Mitch came in to Bloodlines as Cory Wharton’s cousin and was a really great partner to balance out Cory.He was able to keep up decently with Cory in the physical aspects but more importantly he was able to balance out Cory’s terrible puzzle ability since they were one of his strengths. Mitch was a relatively relaxed guy in the house but he did provide some pretty good confessionals and competition wise he won an elimination against Raphy and then he and Cory won the two final daily challenges and they finished a strong second place in the final to CaraMaria and her cousin Jamie. To my knowledge they have not asked him back for another season and he has been working as a cameraman and occasionally appearing on episodes of Teen Mom OG with Cory and Taylor.

Women:

2. Brittini Sherrod (The Duel 2)

Brittini came in to the season and looked like she was in pretty good shape but the Duel 2 did have some strong competition including champions like Rachel, Tori & Paula among others. She socially integrated herself in with the power players partnering up with Landon and being friends with Rachel & Aneesa. Even though she was not the most dynamic personality she absolutely rocked the competitions winning 3 daily challenges, 2 eliminations and finished a strong second place only behind Rachel who is one of the top women in the history of The Challenge. Brittini was asked to come back for more seasons but instead she made the decision to focus on her fairly successful acting and modeling career. You cannot really blame her for prioritizing her career even though it would have been good to see her back for at least one more season of The Challenge.

Men:

  1. Colin Mortensen (Battle of the Sexes)

Colin was from The Real World Hawaii and came on to the first Battle of the Sexes and was absolutely dominant. He certainly didn’t come in as someone who was out of shape but he did not have bulging muscles and considering only 3 of the 18 men made it to the final with a number of other really strong competitors. The way he physically dominated the season was incomparable, during the season the top 3 cumulative performers each week became the “inner circle” and got to vote out anyone else of their gender, Colin did well in every daily challenge even winning several with an ankle injury. He was in the “inner circle” for the entire season and went on to take home the money along side Mark Long & Jamie Murray. By the time Colin came on to The Challenge he had already been vocal about his disdain for the Real World and the Challenge saying that production was manipulating things and that the other contestants acted like children but he was releasing a book so decided to come on for the free publicity and managed to kill the competition. Considering that he continued to “expose” the Challenge for uneven editing and gave production a really hard time on the show it makes sense that he never came back to the show. Regardless of his rocky relationship with production Colin was still the best single season male challenger of all time.

Women:

  1. Sarah Greyson (The Gauntlet)

Sarah’s run on The Gauntlet was the most successful underdog story ever on a season of The Challenge. She had been voted off of her Road Rules season after they failed a mission and then was immediately called dead weight and useless by her teammates specifically Adam. She proved her critics wrong by still holding the record for most individual elimination wins in a season with 5 (including beating 2 men) and then she went on to win the final with her team. In addition to over performing physically Sarah brought a good amount of entertainment throughout the season getting in arguments and giving great confessionals.She said on a Reddit AMA that they did ask her back often but that she “wanted to be taken seriously for something just showing up and getting picked on a bunch on national television.” It could have been great to see her back but she also went out on top and is the best underdog story in the history of the show.

@HenryLDiMaria I blog about MTV’s The Challenge & other reality TV