The Challenge: Ride or Dies Power Rankings — Week 11

Brian Batty
11 min readDec 19, 2022

Welcome to a fresh batch of Ride or Dies Power Rankings!!! After indulging in a weekend of holiday parties, more cookies than necessary, and enough brussel sprout side dishes to last a life time, let’s unbuckle those belts, sit back, and digest some Power Rankings, shall we? Inside this week: Aneesa won’t tell the truth, we determine which condiment Amber most identifies with, Moriah and Nurys host cheerleading try-outs, and much much more…

24) Kim (Eliminated)

23) Colleen (E)

22) Jakk (E)

21) Laurel (E)

20) Veronica (E)

19) Darrell (E)

18) Jay (E)

17) Michele (E)

16) Kenny (LW: 16)

There is no one, anywhere, in any location, in any form of the phrasing, who is more upset about this “stay until your partner loses” twist than Kenny is.

So, what, does he just go fuck off to a hotel room for awhile? Because if history is any indication, Kaycee’s not going anywhere any time soon. Hopefully, at the absolute, rock bottom, bare minimum, his hotel room has HBO.

15) Aneesa (LW: 14)

On a scale of 1-to-Rip My Ears Off My Head, where do you think Aneesa is with hearing about Tori and Jordan?

I’d sat at least a twelve.

I know “she’s my girl and I’m here for her” and all that stuff. I get it. It’s all true. Aneesa’s gonna be a good friend about it, as we all would in that scenario. We all have a friend who has an ex you probably know a little too much about. But, if you gave Aneesa a dose of Veritaserum and asked her how tired she was of hearing Tori talk about Jordan, I think we all know what the answer would be.

14) Chauncey (LW: 13)

From a pure game sense, I see almost no way that Chauncey is able to beat any of Fessy, Nelson, or Johnny in an elimination round. Maybe some sort of physical elimination against Johnny where his youthful exuberance rules the day. That’s about all I can come up with.

Now he’s also currently a member of the team that is the likely favorite in every daily challenge, so his vulnerability is merely a thought exercise at the moment. But when the rubber meets the road (shout out Bananas), Chauncey is going to get lined up for the slaughter.

13) Amber (LW: 12)

She, like her mans, is fish food right now. If and when her team loses in the upcoming daily challenge, there is about a thousand percent chance she is the house vote to go into elimination. I can see it now. Eight hot reality television stars are going to cram into the tiny purple room, someone (probably Johnny) is going to say Amber’s name, Aneesa is going to nod in approval while everyone else silently attempts to disapprove, Chauncey will put up a flaccid defense, then before anyone knows, that seed of an idea will rapidly sprout into a flower resembling a safety blanket vote for everyone else.

Could Amber beat any of Nany, Nurys, or Moriah beat Amber in an elimation?

Maybe.

I know that’s the sort of strong, fiery opinion you press your thumb against the link to this blog for, but at this point in Amber’s Challenge career, my hands are up in the air. I have no idea how she’s going to perform at any given time. We’ve seen her look irrelevant. We’ve seen her look like the worst slot on the roster. We’ve seen her defeat lay-ups in elimination, and we’ve seen her send Hall of Famers home just the same. We’ve seen her crumble under pressure. We’ve seen her win a Final and cash an enormous check.

When it comes to Amber, almost any outcome is in play. Highest level possible? Sure why not. Looking like you don’t even belong? Let’s do that too.

If all possibilities exist, then the stress of the unknown dissolves from the equation. In a world full of Ambers, life boils down to the good jeans on, double chain, wipe down the Chuck Taylors over the bathroom sink before you leave kind of night in perpetuity. The equivalent to throwing your inhibitions to the wind and making out with a rando 6 right before last call just to feel alive. They say don’t meet your heroes. Nobody ever says anything about meeting an unattainable enigma.

Amber is Dijon mustard. Amber is acidic. Amber is whatever the hell you want her to be.

12) Olivia (LW: 10)

She’s about as exposed as it gets. It took a single elimination cycle for her team to already ditch her at the mall and leave her out of the gameplan.

Her team may just not lose, therefore keeping her away from any realistic danger, but if and when they do come up short, there is about a billion percent chance she finds herself playing for her life in the game at the first opportunity. Her partner just bumped his record up to 4–0, can she do the same when her number gets called?

11) Devin (LW: 9)

Obviously any elimination is a bit of a crap shoot. Anybody can hypothetically beat any one else. The games can be slanted to one person or another depending on the whims of the Challenge Gods that particular evening.

If the order of operations remain consistent, then in two weeks, Devin’s going to be staring down the barrel of a guys elimination day. And Fessy’s team seems to have a firm grasp on the gun. This leaves Devin with only a slim chance of avoiding elimination. His potential opponents?

Well there’s the young, athletic, gorgeous, Horacio who is already battle tested and any fear or nervousness of an elimination round have been eroded from his psyche.

Or there’s Jordan. Who is….well, he’s Jordan.

On the other hand, if there’s anybody I’d put my money on to sneak out the back door and avoid elimination all together, it would be Devin. And also, they could get down there and see a tangerine puzzle, or an over sized Lite Bright board. It could be absolutely anything.

Although, this whole stay-until-your-partner-loses twist benefits him as much as anyone else, so in a way, none of this matters. In fact, in a wierd way, it would probably be beneficial for Devin to lose. Take some time off. Hang with Kenny. Watch Fast 9 on your hotel’s PPV on MTV’s tab. Order some vino and call it a night.

We’ve officially reached the point where I can comfortably rename this season from Ride or Dies to The Challenge: Nihilism.

See you all on the other side.

10) Nany (LW: 8)

My theory that this is Nany’s retirement season was buoyed last week when Nany became a buoy herself and got ambulanced out of the daily challenge.

One final hospital visit for old time’s sake, ya know?

9) Nurys (LW: 6)

8) Moriah (LW: 5)

“So, Martha, why do you want to be a cheerleader for this high school?”

“I, um, just think I’d be a great asset to the team.”

“Have you ever lead a cheer before?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean, what do I mean?”

“Um, like, have I ever been a cheerleader?”

“No, I asked if you had ever lead a cheer before?”

“Like, was I the head cheerleader?”

“Moriah, is my question confusing?”

“It is not Nurys.”

“Then why doesn’t Martha seem to understand?”

“I’m not sure Nurys.”

“Martha, I’m only going to ask you one more time. Have you ever lead a cheer before?”

“I’m so sorry, I just don’t understand what you’re asking me.”

“Moriah…what do you think?”

“I think she’s perfect. Let’s kill her.”

7) Horacio (LW: 11)

I can picture it now.

Horacio, breathing heavily, on all fours, sand clumping to the sweat spots on his unform. Behind him Jordan paces aimlessly, similarly out of breath, and begins undoing his elbow pads and helmet.

Horacio stands up slowly and the remainder of the house standing on the podium begins applauding his effort. Jordan runs over to give him a hug. Cut to a confessional from Jordan espousing accolades upon Horacio. Giving him all the credit in the world as a competitor. The Jordan stamp of approval. Cut to confessional of Tori saying that she just witnessed the hardest fought elimination round she’s ever seen. Cut to Johnny using some sort of silly catch phrase and congratulating Horacio on battling like he did. Cut to sad Horacio now standing alone, head down, hair still somehow perfect. Cut to Horacio confessional where he says he was doing it for his family and how hard this season was but how proud of himself he is for pushing himself followed by a promise that he’ll be back. Cut to TJ saying something hyperbolic about how he’s never seen anything like Horacio before.

Except this is real life, and if we did get the Horacio/Jordan match-up we all deserve, it’ll be a cookies and milk eating contest. Because nobody gets in their own way quite like The Challenge does.

6) Nelson (LW: 7)

Incredible life advice. Live in the moment. I turned this episode on hoping for an entertaining 90 minute reality television program, not for sage wisdom from the guy with one dangling braid in his face. Who knew?

5) Kaycee (LW: 15)

There is no greater summary for the Kaycee experience than the result of her solo round on last week’s daily challenge.

She calmly clocked in, dispatched her competition, an eager and capable Moriah, quickly and efficiently. Without even breaking a sweat. And, most importantly, did it all without an ounce of charisma or fanfare. Which remains the biggest issue.

Just imagine if someone with Kaycee’s resume was as bombastic as Laurel or Johnny or any of the Hall of Famers her on-paper resume is quietly beginning to stack up against. We’d be talking about a reality television icon at that point.

And yet we’re forced to be witness to droning greatness. If this were an actual sport? Fine. I can find a way to be interested in Tim Duncan’s methodical greatness. But The Challenge, regardless of it’s opinions of itself, is a reality television show. Droning excellence and reality television are a little like eating an unseasoned and undercooked chicken breast.

Yet, here we are. An entire fan base held hostage to on paper amazement. Four seasons and a billion and a half episodes later.

4) Banana (LW: 4)

I was feeling creatively stuck in the mud trying to write on Saturday. My fingers hovered over the keyboard like a nervous teenage boy taking a picture with a cute girl at a house party. The blinking cursor stared back at me mockingly, knowingly, gripping me until my bones turned to dust and I became a lump of skin and organs flattened out upon the hardwood floor of my office.

So I went back and read some of my old articles for inspiration.

A couple of things. My articles are genuinely twice as long as they used to be. Is that a good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know, or care, really. Secondly, if there was a World Cup for recycling old material and repeating jokes, I’d be like if France and Argentina joined up together and were also able to play with four goalies and twenty two players at once.

But what I also learned about myself through this exercise is that many of the criticisms I lob towards my beloved Challenge contestants are simply criticisms I’m apparently not vulnerable enough to lob in my own direction. It’s projection at it’s finest. With two years worth of reflection in this space, it’s sort of comical how I’m only honest with myself when I’m writing about The Challenge and (almost) total strangers that I’ve never met. Who needs therapy anyway?

Does Fessy stop and look in mirrors a lot? Probably. Is Johnny astute with his observation here? Very likely. Is he also falling victim to the same trappings of projection I realized over the weekend I fall for myself? Maybe he should do what the rest of us do and start a Medium page about The Challenge and find out for himself.

3) Tori (LW: 3)

In the same way that we need and deserve a Jordan vs. Horacio physical elimination, we deserve the same for Tori and Kaycee.

There would be no better capstone for this era of the Challenge than the two most accomplished and best women got to battle it out in something worthwhile. The Jordan nonsense is, hopefully, merely fuel for Tori’s fire this season. There’s really no one in her way. I’d make Tori the favorite against anyone on her team outside of Kaycee. Even then, if it were a who wants it more contest, I’d probably take Tori.

And as we all know, Tori is super awesome under pressure. So the pressure to win as the favorite should be no different.

What’s that?

Crumbling under pressure is her most glaring weakness?

Hmm. Big Gulps, huh? Welp, see ya later.

2) Jordan (LW: 2)

Jordan heading into that deliberation room, and arriving to eight influencers sitting on each others shoulders, a canvas of bad tattoos and gaudy jewelry plastered in his face like a Rembrandt exhibit, and somehow managing to intimidate them and ultimately scaring them away from saying his name directly, was a master class.

I’m in the bag for Jordan, and I don’t are who knows it. It’s between him and Justin Fields as far as who is my favorite athlete at the moment is concerned.

1) Faysal (LW: 1)

I almost knocked him down a few notches after he almost lost to Kenny, but I’ll give him a break just this one time. It’s the holidays, after all.

Totally.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Thanks for reading! See you soon for Episode 11 Winners & Losers! And, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

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Brian Batty

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