The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 15 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
19 min readJan 19, 2023

Welcome to Winners & Losers for The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 15!!! A few pairs went home this week, and the legend of one competitor grew even greater. We’re on the brink of the Final, and things are as tense as ever, so let’s get right into it. Inside this edition: Amber takes public transportation, Paula does a body shot, CT is full of bologna, and much much more…

Loser: Outdated Magazines

Let’s kick this recap off with a real hard-hitting question…

How effing long did they have to stand around and wait between the tear down of last week’s barrels and the ramps elimination and the set up of this round of Knot So Fast?

Thirty minutes? An hour? More?

I bet that people like Nany and Johnny and Aneesa and anyone who’s done this a million times has the patience of a eunuch bartending at a brothel. There is no doctors office waiting room in the world slow enough to make Aneesa lose her cool at any point. Or when her local coffee spot is busier than usual and her normal three minute in and out routine balloons into ten minutes of standing around watching the barista’s scramble, Nany ain’t gonna be tappin’ her toe and dramatically checking her phone.

Maybe being on the Challenge is a key to living a patient existence in the hustle and bustle, go-go 90’s we’re caught up in every single day. If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs.

Winner: Knowing Exactly How To Feel At Any Given Moment

One of the beauties of reality television, especially a show like this one, is that at any given moment, the show itself is telling you exactly how you should feel.

Through music cues, selective conversational editing, the way things are shot (for example, whether there’s coitus in progress or not, if you see the bedroom security cam shot while two people share a bed, the implication is clear), each slice of the final pie is your emotional compass for the duration of the evening.

But if Kaycee and Kenny lose, as she so eloquently explained, then idk what the hell we’re gonna do the rest of the season. How am I ever going to know the rules to any daily challenge? Or the general idea of an elimination round? Or if Kenny is her brother or not?

If I wanted nuanced entertainment that thrives in the grey area I’d go see a Mamet play. I’m wearing sweatpants stained with sauce from last Friday’s pizza for crying out loud. Gimme a break.

Loser: The Confused Among Us

Hey, so, asking for a friend, totally not me I’m a genius I totally get it, but a buddy of mine wants to know what the hell Jordan is talking about.

I’d explain it to my friend myself, but I took a vow of silence recently, so if any readers out there want to explain what Jordan meant by using it as two ropes to make it confusing, hit me up. Not that I was confused. My friend was. But I’ll show him he notification.

No, but seriously, I don’t understand what Jordan means by that. I thought CT nerfed this entire game on Invasion. Although, his strategy would be more difficult with two people. Either way, I’m a moron and don’t get it. Please send help to Idiot Island.

Winner: Horacio

I’ll tell you what, I give Horacio a lot of credit here. Almost everyone else on this cast would have said “because that’s literally a jungle”.

I need to get a life.

Winner: Freedom

lolololololololol

Winner: Maturity

All season long I’ve been waiting for Jordan’s competitive drive to collide head-on with Aneesa’s athleticism. Just to see how Jordan handles it more than anything else.

We finally got it last night during Knot So Fast. How did Jordan handle it? Pretty well, actually. He kept his cool and stayed positive. How fun for us.

I’m happy that Jordan has matured and stuff and blah blah blah (insert whatever I’m supposed to say here), but I’d pay at least $4.99 to see how Young Jordan would’ve handled this exact same scenario.

Loser: America’s Youth

You know what Jordan should be doing instead of being on reality television, winning a bunch of money, hooking up with IG baddies, playing bit parts on hit network TV shows, doing humanitarian work in a war zone, and all that other silly bullshit?

He should be coaching youth sports.

Except for, now that I think about it, d that would only last so long before some parent complained to the board that, in fact, her sweet Jeremy can’t. And that it’s discriminatory to tell him that he can. Then Jordan would get fired in disgrace and his life would fall to pieces.

Yeah, you’re right, he’s doing fine with what he’s got.

Winner: The Heart

There’s so much consternation around this show about who’s the best, who would win, this person sucks, who’s a champ…and honestly, even though I participate in it and am as guilty as any one else, that’s all just kind of fluff.

What this show can accomplish in it’s smallest moments is beautiful.

Nobody gets more shit than Aneesa. She knows better than anyone else that she’s out of shape. She knows better than you or me that she cannot win this Final. It would have been so easy for her to quit that Knot So Fast. To say to herself, I had a good run, time to bow out, and give it a half-assed effort.

But Jordan wouldn’t let her. Nobody embodies the will of the human spirit better than Jordan Wiseley. Watching him impart some of that will power into someone who was ready to doubt herself and take her foot off the gas through sheer force of personality, raising her level of competition beyond what she could have reached alone, was enthralling to watch. Made even more special by the two of them both being savvy enough to recognize it in real time.

A lot of the time, at least for me, hearing someone say some bullshit like “not I can’t, I can” is grounds for activating my internal mute button. But coming from that guy? Who could have very easily said ‘I can’t’ to life a long time ago, and still refuses to say ‘I can’t’ about anything. When that guy says it to you, you listen.

If you wade through the bullshit, get past the ugliness, and search within the margins, this silly little show has the ability to take you somewhere special.

Loser: Incorrect Phrasing

You pronounced “I hope this will be really affecting the Nany and Bananas pair” wrong, Devin.

Loser: TJ Lavin, Plagiarizing The Plagiarizer

Woah dude. That’s kinda my thing. You can’t steal something I stole from somebody else. That’s not cool at all.

To make it up to me you have to give me one ride around the block on your bike pegs. Front pegs too. That’s my final offer.

Winner: Life Experience

You never want to be too successful in life. That’s no way to grow as a person. It’s good to get knocked down every once in awhile.

So finally, after four seasons, eight hundred episodes, nine total confessionals, three Finals, one championship, one pooka shell necklace, and zero interesting moments, Kaycee has been eliminated from The Challenge.

I know it’s technically my job to try and say something interesting. I mean, I started a blog, and I did type this out, and I did post it, and I did promote it, so in a way, nobody asked me to do any of this besides myself. But my hands are clean here. I got nothing to say.

I gotta save the good stuff for when Kaycee inevitably comes back.

Winner: Kenny

WE DID IT!!!! KENNNYYY!!!! WE’RE GOING HOME!!!!! YOU CAN FINALLY LEAVE!!!!

I’m so proud of you, man. You made it, brother. Get on home, kid. Kiss your wife. Play with your children. Take the cable box and throw it in the trash. Change your phone number so that MTV can’t contact you for the reunion. You never have to do any of this ever again. I promise.

Fly free buddy. I’d say I’ll miss you, but I’m positive you don’t want anyone to miss you.

Loser: Revisionist History

Is he mis-remembering and being obtuse on purpose or is he just blatantly lying? She could’ve tied things up, not saved you. What is he talking about?

Fessy seems like a tough hang.

Winner: Knowing What’s Coming

So The Challenge: Australia for the most part used all of the same dailies and eliminations as we’ve seen on Ride or Dies. They even lived in the same house, which was strange to watch at the same time.

But when they did this daily challenge, which was spectacular by the way, I wrote,

“…absolutely hilarious and I cannot wait until they do this on Ride or Dies because watching Nany get tossed around is going to be possibly the pinnacle of my existence.”

I also gave my review of the movie Speed in that article. Let’s just say I’m no Roger Ebert.

Winner: The Pyro Gal/Guy

They have not nearly gotten enough work this season. The lack of explosions has been, quite frankly, appalling. Fire and explosions and mayhem is why we all tune into this program. Production just doesn’t get us anymore. The disconnect is real. I blame covid.

Loser: Hyperbole

Uh….that, uh, looks like a regular sized bus to me.

Winner: Petty Crime

So I had to Google “has anyone ever been arrested for stealing the balls from the ball pit at mcdonalds” because I’m nothing if not thorough around here. And the results were inconclusive. Mostly, I was provided with links filled with articles and Reddit threads from first hand accounts about how disgusting the ball pits are and how the floors are mostly full of child puke residue.

Spoiler Alert: This will not the only time that puke residue and Tori would collide this episode. Stay tuned.

Loser: Amber’s Entertainment Options

Clearly Amber’s never seen The Magic School bus before.

Winner: Chris Farley

Winner: The CTA

I’ll tell you what, if you know, you know, but watching them get tossed around, watching the bus swerve through traffic, go off road, bump into curbs, and generally drive recklessly, it’s really not that different of an experience riding the CTA bus in Chicago.

Other than the stuff rolling around by your feet being soft colored balls instead of empty beer cans and crinkled, greasy McDonald's bags, I don’t see much of a difference. If anything, that looks like an even more comfortable ride.

Winner: The Office

“Why do they call him The Bus”

“Because he’s afraid to fly”

That exchange will make me laugh no matter how many times I see it until the day that I die. God damn do I miss The Office. Anybody got a Peacock account they wanna share on the low? My DM’s are open.

Winner: The Pay Off

See? I told you. You stick with me and you’ll see some cool shit along the way.

That’s right, cool shit like Billy Bob throwing up in a washing machine.

PUKE AND RALLY!!!

Or not.

Fair enough.

Winner: The Challenge

Nothing says finding yourself like getting violently tossed around inside of a make-shift ball pit built into a refurbished city bus.

I love this show so effing much.

Winner: Remaining On Brand

Easily the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen on this show.

It barely edges out the time Paula took a tequila shot out of Mike Mike’s bellybutton.

Ah, memories…

Loser: Nobility

What’s the only way to guarantee you won’t lose an elimination round?

Don’t be in one.

Amber and Chauncey’s idea of nominating themselves so they can “be ready” is so baffling that I’m not surprised it caused every single other person in the house to create some complicated web of reasons as to why they did it.

I mean, if you want to “be ready”, then just be ready.

While I don’t think that Devin and Aneesa and Johnny’s cynical read on the situation is entirely right, I truly cannot think of another reason for this boneheaded decision. So what the hell, maybe everyone else is right and Amber’s the most calculated human being who’s ever lived.

Winner: Projection

The fascination I have with how Amber’s peers perceive her is relentless.

The amount of strong, cynical opinions the rest of the class has about her is astonishing. It’s not like she’s this huge, dynamic personality. At least she’s not edited that way. Which leaves no doubt in my mind that there is a disconnect between the Amber we see on television and the Amber that lives down the hall from you for a few months.

But that doesn’t absolve the rest of these people from reading the situation wrong. Sometimes our own biases are hurdles much too tall to clear.

So just for funsies, let’s take a look at how a few of these different Challenge folk reacted to the news that Amber and Chauncey had made the whaky decision to volunteer themselves.

One of Johnny’s greatest qualities as a Challenge person is being able to get what he needs out of everyone he plays with. Even if he’s not trying to. So it’s no surprise here that he assumes Amber is using this volunteering move to eventually leverage something from him. Exactly what he would be doing.

If you asked Devin to describe his style of play, what are the chances he would answer with “play chess not checkers”?

Who feels more powerless in this game right now than Aneesa?

She’s coming off an elimination that held the mirror up to her glaring flaws, forcing her to reconcile with them all in the moment. She likely won’t win another daily, but knows that she’ll never be the direct vote considering the lay-up in the Final she presents. And even now, her fate is directly tied to randomly pulling a dull dagger out of a fake rock. Her agency has been evaporated. And no one is an easier target for that frustration than Amber.

These two were a little more difficult to read. Rookies rarely come into these things with baggage, and as much as Horacio has already been in there, what’s one more trip to the cramped room with a restaurant menu of everyone’s names hanging up.

Just listen when people speak. Not to their words, but where those words are coming from. Especially those on The Challenge. They always tell the truth, even when they’re lying.

Who knows though. Maybe it’s all true. Maybe Sith Lord Amber is the most calculated, conniving, sinister person to ever live. And Chauncey is her very own Anakin Skywalker, learning the ways of the dark side of the force one elimination cycle at a time.

I hope Amber comes back every single season. Watching her rile everyone up by just existing is easily my favorite organic, running sub-plot this show has going for it.

Loser: People Who Are Actually Cursed Sitting At Home Offended

No one in the world likes to say they are cursed more than a Challenge person. Just earlier on this very episode, Johnny claimed he had some sort of puzzle curse.

Which is insane to say for a seven time champion. Also insane to say for someone who once beat CT at the one-yard line before the Final in a straight-up puzzle elimination.

And I only bring that up because in that same exact elimination round, CT, WHO HAD JUST WON HIS FIRST EVER CHAMPIONSHIP THE SEASON BEFORE, also claimed that he had some sort of curse.

What is he talking about? What are they talking about? What are any of them talking about? What curse? Who put this curse on you? What’s the curse referring to? What is this curse stopping you from doing? How long is this curse in effect? You know that feeling when you say a word a certain amount of times and then the word stops making sense and starts to sound weird? That’s how I feel about the word curse right now.

These people are the best. I tell you what. I love them with all of my heart.

Winner: Incredulity

You know you made a questionable decision when even Woke TJ gives his take.

Loser: Lying On International Television

No you’re not.

Loser: The Rockies

Winner: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Okay wait, one more…

If you clicked the link to the article and expected pop culture references that aren’t almost thirty years old, well then you came to the wrong place.

Winner: Dessert

She just ate Amber’s skinny ass up. Extra BBQ sauce. Amber wanted the smoke, and she got the smoke. She received what she was owed and got what she deserved.

Fuck a hater. Fuck a curse. Aneesa’s a legend.

Loser: Listening To Anything I Have To Say

It was right about here while watching last night that I said out loud, “well Chauncey’s just gonna toss Jordan’s little ass around too”.

Uh….whoops…

Winner: Shoehorning In a Second Star Wars Reference For Some Reason

If you’re at home saying to yourself “not your best, my man”, just understand that I completely agree with you.

Loser: Narcolepsy

I know I makes jokes a lot around here. But this time I am dead ass serious. Did Chauncey fall asleep in the middle of this elimination? Not like, gas out and get tired. I’m talking eyes closed, REM cycles, dreaming about Amber type falling asleep.

If there’s a doctor out there who can properly diagnose this, go ahead and tweet us @fessyfitness with the details.

Winner: Jordan

In a way, this result wasn’t surprising in the slightest. Not only that, but the truth is, this was always going to be the result.

Jordan winning an elimination that is glaringly tilted towards whichever person weighs more through pure guile, ingenuity, and self assuredness is the most obvious thing in the entire world. We’ve seen him do incredible things on this show time and time again.

And yet I’m equally as thrilled every single time.

He reminds me of Devin Hester sometimes. Where no matter how many times I saw him return a punt for a touchdown, or turn nothing into something, it never failed to amaze me.

This sort of comparison sounds kind of insane on the surface. And I am self-admittedly totally in the bag for this dude. Jordan is just a guy who plays a reality television show, really. That’s all the up until he’s strapped to the back of a 23 year old influencer in a pit of sand under the bright lights with a million dollars on the line. It goes beyond just the ability. It goes beyond the showmanship. It goes beyond anything you’re seeing with your eyes.

With Jordan, when he’s in his bag and levitating above his competition like he was last night, watching him is knowing inherently that you’re witnessing a one-of-one. You’re watching a performance only Jordan could have given. He will never be replicated on this show.

Any time the Challenge Gods allow him to take the stage, it’s as electric to watch as it always has been.

Winner: Chauncey

If you’re gonna lose, losing to Jordan is just about the best way to go out.

After a fifteen episode run in his first season, where are we at with Chauncey? He seems nice, but if the first thing you have to say about someone is that they seem nice, then that means you don’t have a ton to say.

We found out that he’s from Boston, that he’s not super up to date on women’s tennis, that he’s afraid of heights, that he looks exactly like Texas State Championship winning quarterback Vince Howard, and that he loves his girlfriend Amber.

Otherwise? I mean, I’m not even too sure how good he is at anything. But I also made a pact to myself that I’m done judging rookies until at least their second go around. It’s just so difficult to stand out your first time around. Even someone that lasts as longs as he did.

Maybe, hopefully, he got to at least watch King Richard on the flight home.

Loser: Everyone Else Left

At one point in my life my bosses boss was this sorta mean guy who was kind of hard to deal with. He made everyone’s lives selectively harder, and he had no friends on the staff at all. In fact, he was the person that everyone put all of their problems on. He existed as an absorbent sponge to soak in all of our issues that usually had more to do with us than him.

Then one day he got fired.

And suddenly, we had no where else to turn when problems arose. And guess what? It totally effected everything! The gossip got worse, the in-fighting grew astronomically. It was a total mess until they found some other asshole to fill his old position

That’s when things got back to normal, and instead of facing our issues and fixing anything, we were back to outsourcing our bullshit to the dude sitting in the high tower at corporate.

If only it weren’t so late in the game. Now that Amber’s gone, everyone else is gonna have to find somebody to be mad at and blame for everything. It’s unfortunate this didn’t happen a few weeks ago.

Thanks for reading! See you back here Friday for a special bonus article this week!!! Enjoy the rest of your week, and as always, Happy Challenge Watching

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective.