We have the last two hours of The Challenge USA coming tonight including TJ’s final, I have been sharing my thoughts on each contestant’s win equity going into the final for a number of seasons. It is still a bigger question for this season in particular heading into the final since since we have never seen any of them compete in a final before. Therefore I have based these predictions off what we have seen in the daily challenges this season, their athletic history and how well they did in competitions on their original shows (when applicable). I also used a lot of information from @ChallengeStats twitter page so I wanted to take a moment and thank them for their content and highly suggest that you check out their work because it is top notch. Without further ado here is my thoughts on the contestants win equity going into The Challenge USA final.
Men’s Win Equity
Tyson Apostol 32% Chance to Win
Tyson has shown himself to be one of if not the top male competitor all season, winning three of the daily challenges and performing well in several others. Tyson also has history of winning competitions on Survivor perhaps most impressively winning the Edge of Extinction challenge earning his way back in the game on Winners at War. In that competition he won going against many other strong competitors including Natalie Anderson (who we was on Double Agents), Boston Rob and Parvati . His experience as a former professional cyclist also speaks well to him having the endurance necessary to win a final. The one thing that could hold Tyson back is that he is one of the oldest people on the cast at 43 years old. Regardless I still think that he is my favorite out of the men to win.
Danny McCray 29% Chance to Win
Danny has quietly had a very impressive run in the competitions this season even if he does not have many wins. He had at least four second place finishes (I’m uncertain of just who got second in Code Crossing but he might have also gotten second in that one) and two third place finishes in the daily challenges this season. Danny like Tyson also has a background as a former professional athlete in his case playing five seasons in the NFL. It is clear Danny has strong endurance, but I am uncertain about his level of endurance when compared with Tyson so for that reason I have Danny as just the second most likely to win.
Ben Driebergen 25% Chance to Win
Ben has really proven himself to be a capable physical competitor on this show. I was surprised a bit considering he is on the older side at 39 and that he never won an individual challenge while on survivor. Ben has finished first twice on The Challenge USA with his performance in Code Crossing being a particularly strong one. His military background also speaks to his toughness but I do not think it reaches the same level of physical conditioning that Tyson & Danny have as former professional athletes. Other former military veterans have also done really poorly on The Challenge(anybody else remember Rachel M from The Real World Austin). He definitely has a shot to win this game but I think it is notably lower than both Tyson and Danny.
Domenick Abbate 5% Chance to Win
Domenick was a good but not elite competitor during his time on Survivor unfortunately for him that hasn’t translated into as much success on The Challenge . He has been pretty inconsistent in the daily challenges over the course of this season but at least has stayed out of last place when he would have been sent in automatically. Domenick keeps himself in good shape and does Cross fit but that is not the same kind of physical rigor that a Challenge final takes. Another thing that hurts Domenick, is that he is one of the oldest cast members which makes me hesitant to predict him to do better than people younger. With all of that in mind I think it is really unlikely Domenick can win.
Enzo Palumbo 1% Chance to Win
Enzo being cast on this show in the first place seemed absolutely absurd to me. He is the oldest man in the cast and was a terrible competitor in the competitions on Big Brother (which tend to be significantly easier than what we get on The Challenge). Enzo has also been pretty dreadful in the daily challenges finishing at his best tied for third and as the overall second worst performer of the season according to @ChallengeStats. Enzo has shockingly now pulled out three elimination wins but even those have not felt too impressive. He beat the much smaller guy, Leo, in a Hall Brawl, beat David (another mediocre competitor) in Balls In and barely beat Derek and Shannon while partnered with one of the top women, Justine. Finally Enzo is the only remaining man that isn’t from Survivor and I think that the endurance it takes to play Survivor translates well to how grueling it is to run a challenge final especially compared to living in the Big Brother house. It would take a miracle for the Meow Meow to win this final.
Women’s Win Equity
Angela Rummans 25% Chance to Win
Angela has been by far the most successful in daily challenges this season with four wins and an additional three second place finishes. She has a background as a fitness model, a collegiate Pole Vaulter and gymnast and recreational hiker and climber, which gives her a strong background athletically even if it is not to the same height as Tyson & Danny. Angela’s accomplishments are not limited to this season as she also won four competitions on her Big Brother season which had an unusually large number of strong competitors including Challenge alumni Bayleigh, Swaggy C, Fessy and Kaycee (additionally Brett & Tyler, her now fiancé, were very good at competitions). Angela has been the stand out and she is the presumptive favorite going into this final.
Desi Williams 22% Chance to Win
Desi was fairly quiet for the majority of the season in terms of visibility and confessionals but that doesn’t take away from the level of success she has had in the competitions. Desi has had two wins and four second place finishes in the daily challenges this season. Desi has an athletic background and did really well when she was on Survivor which also point to her being able to succeed in the final. Another factor that makes me think Desi has a good chance is she is really intelligent (working as an assistant professor at a college). Intelligence definitely comes up in finals and if she continues to keep up physically that might be a way she gets ahead. It would not shock me if Desi were the one to take home the win.
Justine Ndiba 19% Chance to Win
Justine has been a big surprise for me this season since the majority of Love Islanders went out of the game very early including her best friend Cely being the first boot. Love Island is also the only show The Challenge USA drew contestants from that doesn’t have a physical component to it. Justine has done really well in a number of the daily challenges (including Containment which she was doing really well in before her partner Enzo quit) and she won two eliminations, with underwhelming partners at her side. Justine has been one of the better female performers this season and I would definitely think she has a solid shot to win.
Sarah Lacina 17% Chance to Win
Sarah has been a major disappointment athletically this season. Sarah came on to the season looking like she was going to be the woman to beat as she works out a ton and is a marathoner. On top of that she had a lot of talk about how she was the best and that she was going to destroy this competition. In reality Sarah has fallen completely flat in the daily challenges this season not winning a single time and only once finishing better than fourth place. Sarah did win two eliminations which is something to show and just because a contestant doesn’t do well in the daily challenges does not mean they can’t go on to win a season (Amber B just did on Double Agents). With her lackluster performance in the dailies this season I am somewhat skeptical but if Sarah can come out and rely on her experience as marathon runner she still has a shot to win.
Cayla Pratt 12% Chance to Win
Cayla came into The Challenge USA at a disadvantage socially being the only female contestant coming from The Amazing Race. She also had a rough start to the season finishing last and second to last in the first two daily challenges. Cayla started turning things around though, winning the Knowledge is Powered elimination and improving in the dailies coming in second place twice and winning the Wreckreational Driving challenge. What makes me think Cayla has a chance to pull off an upset is that she has shown good endurance several times and endurance is traditionally a major factor in Challenge finals. For example Cayla finished second in both the Barreled Treasure and Collect Four dailies and got second place on her season of The Amazing Race. Cayla is definitely one of the underdogs but I can see a world where she wins.
Alyssa Lopez 5% Chance to Win
On Big Brother Alyssa’s game was a lot more about being friendly and flirty not physical with her making strong bonds and getting in a Showmance with Christian. She has done a really good job proving that she is more than a pretty face and bubbly personality on The Challenge USA winning both a daily challenge and an elimination. However Alyssa does not have the same athletic background as the other women in the final so I do not think she will be a threat to win. Maybe if she comes back for more Challenge seasons Alyssa could work her way into being someone that is a winner threat but right now I would be really surprised if she were to beat all of the other women in this final.