The Challenge: Ranking the Prizes in Battle of the Sexes 2 from 1–16

Brian Batty
13 min readFeb 24, 2022

Before TJ Lavin, before gratuitous explosions, before Nany, The Challenge was a simple place. Everyone’s favorites from The Real World and Road Rules would gather every once in awhile and make out with each other while doing embarrassing things along the way.

The gain wasn’t that great, but the floor was pretty high too. You got to go vacation for awhile, drink for free, be around hot people, and most importantly of all keep your 15 minutes of fame alive for just a smidge longer.

But on top of all of that, you had the potential to win some pretty cool prizes while doing it. Did you have to pay taxes on these things? Probably. Were some of them not that inticing at all? Most definitely.

But overall, they were pretty dope. And it gave another layer of incentive for these people to try. Some would argue that these days a million dollars is incentive enough to try. I would tell them to take their Mp3 player, turn that sum’bitch sideways and stick it…..

What I was trying to say, is that the prizes that each player had the potential to win at the end of missions was almost as important (sometimes even more) than advancing in the game.

Stoned hall-moniter Johnny Moseley was the host for Battle of the Sexes 2, and through all the half-baked, uni-syllabic words, he guided us through this journey for seventeen episodes and announced all of the prizes along the way with zero charisma and even less gusto.

So to celebrate this particularly peculiar prize pool (Computer Shoes and Greece (new band name I call it)? Yes, I said computer shoes.), we’re going to rank them. From sixteen all the way down to one…

16) Stiletto Bikes ($600)

First thing’s first, that is one ugly vehicle. As ugly as Bananas thinks Wes is. Truly. I’m not really one that considers vanity much in my decision making (I shop almost exclusively in the Kohl’s clearance section), but I don’t think I’d get caught dead riding that thing. Not now, not when I was 22, not even as an awkward young child

According to the website I found that has way too much to say about these things, they were apparently designed to be reminiscent of a Harley Davidson Chopper. Did they nail it? No. No they did not.

If you want to get beat up by the bullies in the neighborhood, laughed and by the cool kids smoking cigarettes, and get absolutely no play at all from the hot girls in your grade, then this bike is for you!!!

15) Viseon Video Phone ($1,100)

You know how you can Facetime anyone from the expensive rectangle you keep in your pocket? Well imagine being able to Facetime only the people who also had the “first broadband video phone” taking up too much space on their counter?

How awesome would that be?

2004 was a weird time for all of us in the technology realm. We were capable of doing things like video-chatting…but not really. To most of us this was a foreign concept that only rich people or nerds would ever be able to truly appreciate.

Not only that, Moseley never mentioned either the cost or value of these things. Which gave them an even more futuristic feeling while watching it. My educated guess is that they were way too expensive for basically any of us back then. But in 2004, I gotta be honest, my jump shot was much more important than any technology outside of the AIM screen name of the cute girls in my grade, so I might not be the right one to ask.

Not only that, but chances are the only people Mark Long was able to call on these things were the rest of the guys he won them with.

“Hey Eric Neis, brosephino, wanna go hit the town tonight?”

“Yeah but only if we ride our regular-ass bikes that people might mistake for Harley motorcycles.”

14) Rhapsody Music Pack ($1000)

This one came with a sick Mp3 player (sick!), a sick wireless speaker system for said Mp3 player (even sicker!!), and one hundred sick-ass free music downloads from Rhapsody (the sickest!!!) to add some sick tunes to that sick Mp3 player to play off of your sick wireless (!) stereo system.

While this may all seem foreign to those youth’s out there, but honest to God we used to have to pay for music. Well, most of us didn’t. But record company’s, and parents who never knew another world, definitely expected us too.

I’m not even talking about having to go out of the house and purchase a compact disc with your hands like a pilgrim. I’m talking about paying $1 per song (or $11.99 per album) to be able to then transfer it to your Mp3 player so you were able to take your songs with you anywhere(!) you wanted. Can you believe it?

Did people actually buy music at a dollar a song? They sure did! Well, most of us reading this right now sure didn’t, but like clock-work every Christmas our aunts or uncles or grandparents (off the recommendation of your parents who couldn’t think of anything else) would gift us with an unoriginal $25 iTunes gift card that we would then use to buy Chamillionaire, Akon, or Sean Paul singles.

What a world.

13) $500 Dollar Gift Card to Pottery Barn ($500)

Upon arrival to this day’s mission, Coral spotted the prize placed upon the table and loudly exclaimed to the entire group, “I LOVE POTTERY BARN!”

And, all things considered, there’s nothing wrong with feeling that exultation. As an establishment, Pottery Barn gets the job done (whatever that job is) I’m sure. Have I ever been to one? I have not. Do I know what they sell there? I do not. Is that a totally personal thing and most likely does not apply across the board for everyone that reads this? It is and it doesn’t.

But here’s the thing, compared to some of the prizes coming up (and I guess compared to anyone who loves soon-to-be outdated technology) this one is pretty whack.

$500 dollars? What does that get you? Ten candles and a couple fake plant decorations to enhance the feng shui of your entry-way?

If it were me? I probably would’ve thrown the mission on purpose so I didn’t have to pay taxes on it.

12) Verb For Shoe Shoes ($Probably too much)

You know that feeling when you go over to someone elses home for the first time, and when you walk in that sudden question of “Uh-oh, do I have to take my shoes off at the door?” hits you? Not only that, but it’s laundry day tomorrow and you have some visible holes in your socks you’re not exactly proud of?

Well imagine just simply not being able to take your shoes off.

These shoes apparently, according to Johnny Moseley, are the first shoes to come equipped with a built in computer chip.

Couple q’s right off the bat…..why does a shoe need a computer chip? Why does anyone want a shoe with a computer chip? What it does is tighten the fabric to your feet, saving you the eight seconds it would’ve taken to tie them. This seems like a classic case of deploying technology simply because the ability to exists. Like having coaches mic’d up on the sideline of NBA games.

“Hey, can you take your shoes off at the door? We just mopped the floors.”

“I can’t”

“I’m sure your feet don’t smell that bad. Come on, be polite.”

“No really, I can’t. The computer in my shoe malfunctioned when I stepped in that puddle getting out of the cab. They’re stuck to my feet.”

What a nightmare.

11) Gibson Les Paul ($600)

This one is entirely subjective. I’d personally love it, because I play guitar (not very well, but Wonderwall sure did crush with the girls in my dorm-hall freshman year). But it’s not for everybody.

I bet most of these beautiful guitars won that day simply existed to collect massive amounts of dust in the corner of living rooms across the country.

10) PlayStation 2 Pack ($400)

What?! A PS2?!?! Sick. What games do I get?

Hmmm…okay. It’s not Madden but maybe my little brother will play it. What other game do I get?

I’m sorry…what is that?

Great question, me. A quick Goog tells me this was a sort of Dance Dance Revolution style game where you connected a “dance pad” to your PS2 that sat on the floor and you had to step on it to dance in rhythm with the game.

Knowing how well 2004 video game technology worked, I’m sure there were never any issues at all and that everyone from Theo Von to Stephen from Real World: Las Vegas got a ton of mileage out of it.

They couldn’t even throw in a Crash Bandicoot or Spyro or something like that? Way to cheap out MTV.

9) PreCore Exercise Equipment ($2,600)

On the surface, this prize seems great. Full-on pulley system exercise machine? Stair-master? Treadmill? That’s one hell of a come-up for broke prospective challengers.

But there’s one giant problem here. Where are they going to store this stuff? Think back to when you first moved out of the house…where did you live? If you’re like most of us, it was a shitty apartment where your TV was three and a half feet from your bed. Nowhere would anyone (at least not me, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I’m speaking for most of us) have a spot to plop down three cumbersome work-out apparatus’s (apparati?). These almost assuredly all ended up sitting unused in their parent’s basement.

Not only that, but if there’s one thing a Challenge person has completely locked down is their work-out routine. Cheapest possible exercise equipment MTV could find be damned.

8) La-Z-Boy Shopping Spree ($3,500)

Now we’re into the “I could get down with this” portion of the prizes. While this amount of money doesn’t get you too far at a place like La-Z-Boy, those shitty apartments I was talking about earlier were never really furnished with anything, how do you say, “new”.

Before Facebook marketplace, the amount of used furniture you had available to you wasn’t exactly in abundance. So you took what you got. And if I got 3,500 dollars to spend on a couch, I might have fallen over at that time in my life.

I once slept on a couch for a summer in college. My room was technically a living room (This was the wildest house ever designed in the history of houses. We’re pretty sure it was supposed to be two houses and somewhere along the line somebody decided to just make one building out of it. We had three kitchens, four living rooms, and three bathrooms. There was also 10 (sometimes even 12) guys living in it at any given time, so it still wasn’t really enough space) so a bed was out of the question for my three month stay. If I got to sleep on 3,500 dollars worth of furniture instead I could possibly have prevented my lower back hurting on the regular a decade later.

But unfortunately for me I was never on The Challenge. Speaking of lower back problems…

7) Sharper Image iToy 2 Massage Chair ($800)

If space was an issue for superfluous work-out machines, I can promise you that same space would suddenly free up if a massage chair was involved.

Remember going to the mall with your friends and instead of ever shopping for anything (because who the hell had money to shop for anything), you’d just wander around Abercrombie or Hollister because that’s where the girls wanted to be until you eventually budged and bought a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s? Well I was always the guy who snuck off to Brookstone instead and sat in the massage chairs until one of the employees (employi?) kicked me out.

What a treat that was. Large soda in one hand, remote for the chair in the other. In those fleeting moments, I was 13 year old King Joffrey, and the other losers walking around the mall were my subjects eating bowls of brown in Flea Bottom.

6) Temperpedic Deluxe Swedish Sleep System ($2,100)

As someone who hasn’t slept well in years, $2,100 is just a start for whatever the hell deluxe Swedish Sleep System I would need.

5) HP Laptop ($2,000)

Two thousand dollars for a laptop that probably has less functionality than a two hundred dollar Chromebook has a bit of sticker shock on it from a 2022 perspective, but here’s the thing. There’s a good chance that laptop could survive a fall from the top of the Sears Tower.

It also weighed approximately fifty pounds and only held a charge for fifteen minutes, but those bastards were tough as nails. High school football coaches would love them. Early laptops were potential murder weapons at any given time. So even if you had no real reason to send an e-mail to anyone, or even knew the basic rules of solitaire, this prize at the bare minimum could protect you and your loved ones from an intruder. And if you don’t believe in guns, well then this hunk of junk is priceless.

4) Trip For Two to the Radisson Hotel and Golf Resort in the Bahamas

I know nothing about the Bahamas besides that bobsled team they had that one time.

What’s that?

That was Jamaica?

Huh….well then what have the Bahama’s done then?

“Well, the third largest wine cellar in the world is on Nassau island.”

Keep going…

“Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here?”

I’m getting closer…

“Look dude, we have tons of booze, beaches, and women. Just shut the hell up already and come party with Mark Long and Veronica from Road Rules.”

*bolts out the door*

3) Student City Spring Break Trip to Cancun, Mexico ($5,000)

Question, does anyone crush spring break in Cancun like a former Real World-er in 2004

The answer is a resounding no. Nobody crushes Spring Break in Cancun like a former Real World-er in 2004. That lane is now filled with un-talented influencers flexing for Instagram instead of un-talented former Real World-ers flexing for no one in particular.

The world used to be a much simpler place.

2) Vespa Scooter ($3,000)

I once saw a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio riding one of these holding a vape-pen in one hand, mid-calf length white socks, a shirt buttoned up barely even half-way, expensive sunglasses across his eyes, and a smile on his face so sharp is could sink the Titanic.

That’s the vibe we all should be aspiring to. And this Vespa scooter is almost half the battle.

1) Seven Day Trip to Mykonos, Greece ($Probably more than you have to spend on a seven day vacation to fucking Greece. Are you kidding me?)

One time, while I was visiting Brooklyn, my girlfriend and I went to a small family owned Greek establishment for lunch to kill some time before our flight out of town. Picking out a restaurant to eat one last meal at in Brooklyn is a bit overwhelming (this is coming from a someone who lives in Chicago), so when I saw Greek food directly across the corner to my left, I was sold. Choice paralysis can be my bugaboo.

Because I was anxious and bored (a deadly combination if you ask any teacher I’ve ever had) my only outlet, because I’m a psycho, was to mess with the server a bit.

I convinced her, this young Greek girl working at her fathers restaurant, that Tzatziki Sauce (pronounced taa-zee-kee sauce) was actually pronounced like cha-ski sauce. It took a teaspoon of convincing and a pinch of flattery, but I’m at least 95% sure she believed me.

Either way, I eventually had to depart for my flight, and I luckily had the most delicious mixture of lamb meat, olives, and goat cheese lining my belly for the long trip home.

So the question is, what does anything I just wrote have to do with The Challenge?

The moral of the story is, people, that this prize is insane and it’s probably cheaper to just go to that Greek restaurant I can’t remember the name of in Brooklyn and apologize to that poor girl for me.

Viva la Real World!



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions