The Challenge: Ride or Dies Power Rankings — Week 2

Brian Batty
18 min readOct 17, 2022

Welcome back to a fresh batch of Power Rankings!!! We said goodbye to a couple of birds and hello to a couple of Hall of Famers last week. So let’s find out how everything shook out. Inside this edition: Dating Horacio always ends the same, Johnny throws his name in the ring for the New Hot Guy title, we learn that Fessy’s never been to Georgia, and much much more…

34) Kaycee (Last Week: 1)

Welp. Lmao.

33) Kenny

Ya know, when you share a name with a former Challenge person who is one of the most complicated fabrics amongst the plethora of complicated fabrics woven into the Challenge tapestry, an unceremonious exit was really the only way this was ever going to go.

32) Sam

Seven seasons ago, The Challenge started taking some tumbles in the hay with the folks across the pond. When Kayliegh, Melissa, Kyle, and Rogan (kind of) showed up on Vendettas, we Myopic Americans were immediately skeptical.

For me, it stems from the fact that any actor I ever like in anything turns out to be British. Seriously, Google them. They’re all British. Americans clearly cannot act. Every good actor in every good movie is British. Here’s a question, why are they so good at doing American accents? For example, the only Americans involved in Succession are us losers watching at home. The actor who plays Tom is doing the most perfect acting job pretending to be every guy from the Midwest who wanted to be something else so badly I’ve ever met in my entire life. Guess what? British. British as fuck. It drives me crazy. I swear to God, if any of you tell me Timothee Chalamet is from London I’m going to go fart right in my dog’s face.

I’m getting off-topic. The point is, we started this journey with Kayleigh, Melissa, Kyle, and Rogan (kind of). Now the only Brit on the menu is Sam. Sam Bird. Whose personality trait is looking exactly like and being married to Kailah. Which, making that decision is a whole different podcast for a different day, so we’ll let that be. Hail to the Queen.

Families are always rising and falling on The Challenge, am I right?

31) Kailah (LW: 12)

The Challenge is a lot harder when you’re not a decade younger than all the other women in the house, huh?

Did that feel like the last time we’ll ever see Kailah to anyone else?

Error 404 Page Not Found: 30–27) Aneesa, Veronica, Darrell, Jordan

Does MTV pick up the room service bill for them while they patiently wait their turn to enter the game? Or is that money out of their own pocket? Do they get to hang out together and watch PPVs? My guess would be that Aneesa’s room is the hang-out room. Why don’t they film them at the hotel and cut that up in a Youtube exclusive between episodes? Who wouldn’t watch Aneesa, Veronica, Darrell, and Jordan playing gin rummy for money while they drink wine and Argentian music videos play on the TV in the background? Tell me you wouldn’t watch that and I’ll call you a liar.

Seriously though, MTV, call me. I’ll gladly be an unpaid creative consultant intern. I’d almost rather watch that than the actual episodes of The Challenge. Sometimes I feel like the people wearing suits and making these decisions simply underestimate how much Challenge fans care about these people. I’d watch this quartet of people do just about anything.

Anyways, let’s get on with the chlorophyll.

26) Nam (LW: 18)

Nam finally gets his big moment! Gets to do a solo walk-up as the group cheers. Devin coins the nickname “The Naminator” to the public. He quotes Sean Paul.

And then we don’t hear a peep from him again for the rest of the episode. It’s like things are finally right in the world. I wonder what Lolo’s up to?

25) Emmy

It’s unfortunate for her, and I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, that she has to be partnered with Nam. Or maybe she’s a total asshole. I don’t know, and I most likely never will. Soon enough, Gollum Jones will return for her precious, one way or another.

Maybe they cast her to subtly implant the word “Emmy” into the episodes so that when the actual Emmy’s come calling, it’ll be nomination by osmosis. Whatever the reason, it won’t matter much.

Fessy, your thoughts?

24) Tamara

It’s pretty incredible that they’re just broadcasting this real-life hostage situation and pretending everything’s copacetic. Tamara, blink into the camera five times if you’re in danger. There’s someone out there who loves you and wants to get you back.

It’s not me. I don’t care either way. Stay Turbo’s prisoner, escape, do whatever the hell you want.

People can find the time to complain about production issues during the Challenge USA Final, and yet I’ve yet to hear a peep about this woman being held captive on cable television. That really says something about our society, doesn’t it?

23) Moriah

“Dammit, Fessy, you said we were going to a Pearl Jam concert!”

22) Analyse

I kid you not, this is exactly what I did to get my first girlfriend. It was 6th grade, and I turned to the girl I had a crush on and said those words, and so she said “lol k” and then we just stopped speaking and it was awkward for the rest of the school year.

Middle school is weird.

21) Olivia

Hey! You leave him alone! Nelson’s smarter than you’d ever know. Tell her Nelson!

God dammit. Here we go again.

20) Horacio

He’s definitely super hot but I just can’t move beyond the idea that if you were dating him you’d always be late to dinner reservations because he just needs “another five minutes” to do his hair. So you turn on the TV and Uptown Girls is on TBS and it’s right at the part where Brittany Murphy sells her Dad’s guitars. So you’re pretty much stuck until the Molly’s Smile part. And because life is all about timing, Horacio finally perfected the swoosh in his hair and is ready to go. But you’re already fifteen minutes late for your reservation and homeboy is literally about to start singing and playing her dad’s guitar on stage with all the ballerinas. You ask if can he just wait another five minutes, he huffs and puffs and heads back to the bathroom because that’s where the mirror is. The movie ends, you’re emotional, and now you don’t even really want to go out anymore. You remember Postmates e-mailed you a 15% off promo code a few days ago, so you begin scrolling menus. You shout “how about take-out?” to the bathroom. Horacio shouts back “now you don’t wanna go out?”. You don’t feel like fighting, so you just ignore him and order sushi from that place a few blocks away you really like. Horacio comes out from the bathroom and says he’s just gonna head over to Eric’s place then, maybe hit the bars or watch the game. You don’t care because there are two episodes of Bachelor in Paradise you need to catch up on burning a hole in your Hulu account and Steve will be arriving with your sushi in 28 minutes. He leaves. You eat half your sushi and pass out less than ninety minutes later leaving the rest out to spoil. Meanwhile, Horacio and Eric meet twin sisters in town from San Diego and buy them drinks all night. You wake up in the middle of the night and immediately puke up all of the sushi from the night before. You’re violently ill. That must have been some questionable sushi. Seeing that it’s six in the morning and there’s nothing else to do you begin aimlessly scrolling through your phone. You pull up Horacio’s friend Eric’s Instagram Reels from the night before. He’s singing along side some blonde girl that looks like she’s from San Diego. You notice behind him that Horacio is clearly making out with a blonde girl that looks just like the one in the video. They must be twins. You never hear from him ever again.

Yeah, so like I said, he’s a smoke show, but at what cost?

19) Chauncey B.

It’s unclear whether or not Chauncey B. reciprocated Amber B.’s behind-the-ear tattoo of his initials. But if he did, he’s got a much easier out than she does if/when they eventually break up. He can just keep adding letters to the “AB” and claim he’s just super into the alphabet.

18) Tommy

What are the other four?

17) Nurys

One million points to Gryffindor for Nurys breaking the hook-up seal in the quickest time since Nany and Asaf on Total Madness.

Also, look at those eyes. Do you think she’s into this guy or what? The only time a woman ever looks at me like that is when my dog Willa sees me reaching into the treat jar.

16) Kim

Everything’s coming up Kim right now.

There is a high-budget prestige HBO TV show dedicated to his family’s early history airing on Sundays and he’s making his big Challenge debut on Wednesdays. I wonder if he’s Team Green or Team Black?

15) Colleen

As a product of the American public education system, I spent the majority of my life under the assumption that everyone outside of America lived in huts and had no access to clean water. The only things I ever learned about Germans were from World War 2 (whoops), the scene in Super Troopers where they pull over the German couple, and the movie Beer Fest. Shout out to Broken Lizard. What can I say? American myopia was ingrained in me from a young age.

So when I heard this Nam guy from Double Agents was from Germany, I was psyched. But, despite my obsession with his story in his short time on The Challenge, he didn’t exactly check off all the cartoonish German boxes I wanted him to.

But then I watched Colleen talk to Fessy in that hot tub, and boom, now that’s the Germanic energy I was looking for. I hope Colleen laughs and lies her way through this entire season and walks away as the victor, entirely unaware of what the fuck just happened.

14) Jakk

After posting my recap of last week’s episode, a long-time reader kindly informed me that the tattoo plastered on the side of Jakk with two K’s head is actually a lyric from a Lady Gaga song. Jakk claims he’s a student of life, so in honor of this studious proclamation, I did some studying of my own.

The song that the tattoo is pulled from is a song called Hair. A song about feeling like society, especially your parents, aren’t allowing you to be your true self. They want you to cut your hair and go along to get along. But in true Lady Gaga fashion, the true message of the song is to say fuck it and do whatever the fuck you want. Hair, in this case, being a metaphor for being true to yourself. So the tattoo actually has some deep, I imagine very personal, meaning. So who’s the jackass now?

This guy. I’m the jackass. I may as well have just started that recap with “MY NAME’S BRIAN BATTY AND WELCOME TO JACKASS!” then ride a shopping cart down a steep hill.

The real consequence of all of this, though, is that I sent myself down a Lady Gaga rabbit hole and, holy shit, when’s the last time you listened to the Telephone joint with Beyonce?! Shit slaps. I listened to it at least six times on repeat.

So Lady Gaga of House Gaga, when you cash that one-and-a-half cent royalty check, you can thank Jakk with two K’s.

13) Johnny

Strong. Strong debut from Johnny.

Let’s start with him forcing me to refer to the other Johnny as Bananas for clarity’s sake. Part of me struggles to seriously refer to a grown-up by their silly moniker. I’d rather just call him Johnny. I’m not dipping into the irony well like Abram and going with John. But Johnny seems like a solid compromise.

So I was hoping this Johnny would have been a total dud and gone home first, saving me the trouble of having to type out Bananas all season. Except the total opposite happened.

Johnny arrived with a partner that he’s keeping on ice, fully aware that if he turned to her and said “wanna go to the prom with me?” she’d book a limo on the spot. This alone is a tough road to navigate, but then he throws a wrench into the equation and makes out with another newbie, apparently starting at the airport where everyone can see, throwing his name firmly into the running for the New Hot Guy Championship Belt.

If I know The Challenge like I think I do, none of this is going to blow up in his face, Ravyn will be totally fine with everything that’s happening, and he and Nurys will go on to live happily ever after.

And then he went and won a daily challenge, broke bread with some powerful vets, and dodged a bullet when Kailah and Sam happily went off to explore Argentina on their own dime, washing the blood clean off his hands.

12) Ravyn

Being named after a football team isn’t necessarily a good look in the Challenge world. The last guy, named after the football team in Chicago, is persona non grata these days and might actually be going to prison.

To be fair to her, though, the football team she’s named after is about a thousand times as successful as the other one. So maybe it won’t end as poorly. Only time can tell though.

10T) Bananas, Nany (LW: 4, 11)

It’s Challenge tradition that anyone who shows up late is the easy vote to go into the next elimination round. As far as Capital R Reasons to find yourself down in the sand go, tardiness is as high up on the list as any of them.

It’s also Bananas and Nany, so maybe they’re the exception to the rule. I have no idea how this is going to go for them. Nany rode her vet status right up to the end on Double Agents, and almost finished the drill on Spies, Lies & Allies. But that doesn’t seem to be the vibe she’s walking into this time.

And then there’s Bananas, someone who every single person on that stage knows, but very few of them have actually played a game with. His return changes just about any and all plans made prior to his arrival.

My guess, just surveying the landscape, is that they’ll hop on the Devin/Tori life raft ASAP. Especially now that they’re coming straight off of an elimination round they never in their wildest dreams thought they’d find themselves in. Those two pairs need each other, which is insane to say, but here we are.

There is a clear power vacuum in the house right now. Watching Johnny and Ravyn stumble around during their turn on the steering wheel last week reinforced that pre-season notion I had in my head. Will they fill that void? Or will their appearance scare the rest of the house enough to galvanize against them?

Fessy, your thoughts?

9) Jay (LW: 13)

8) Michele (LW: 17)

“No we’re totally not flirting *giggle* like totally no way are we flirting *giggle* ugh we hate each other *giggle*”

7) Nelson (LW: 14)

Not even the most talented comedy writers could have come up with that toast that Nelson blessed us with last week. The toast that will live in infamy. Mike Schur on the drug from the movie Limitless couldn’t even dream of writing something that funny. Nelson, truly, is one of a kind.

Also, here's an admission, Nelson and I are the same age and since I turned 33, more than once I’ve referred to myself as 32. I’m not sure what that says. About either of us. But on a personal level, I’m just happy to finally have something in common with Nelson.

The moral of the story is, the world’s a better place with Nelson in it.

6) Fessy (LW: 8)

Fessy’s Fortitude Episode 1 Review:

— No intro music! This is perfect. Quick. Efficient. Right to the point.

— The guest on his first episode is a friend named David(not my Dad) whom he played sports with growing up. This is important considering we all went to high school with Fessy.

— “I’m gonna call it Fessy’s Fortitude for now, we’ll see where it goes.”

— Here’s a list of topics that Fessy claims will be discussed on this brand-new podcast feed:

  • Real-life shit
  • TV
  • Confidence
  • Athletics (unsure if this is referring to the Oakland baseball team, but I guess I’ll have to stay tuned)
  • Working out
  • Relationships
  • Money (!)

The jokes write themselves.

— His guest Dave starts telling a story of how they met, when Dave’s basketball team was beating teams but “a hundred points” they played Fessy’s team and then beat them by “a hundred points” which Fessy quickly corrects him with the actual score, which was 90–13. I’m glad he cleared that up. Here I was thinking they lost by a hundred when it was only seventy-seven, which happens all the time.

— Dave for some reason asks Fessy if he’d ever been to Georgia, to which Fessy responds with “no I went to college in Chatanooga where I played football” which has absolutely nothing to do with visiting Georgia. This podcast rules.

— Fessy’s the Godfather of one of Dave’s kids. Which is actually kind of cool. But also brings up the obvious question…Do we think Fessy has seen the movie The Godfather? My guess would be no, but if so, I’d pay at least three dollars to hear his Marlon Brando. “I made Josh an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

— I missed the context because I was typing out that stupid Godfather joke above, but at some point, he claims this podcast is partly to give the youth out there confidence. Not sure how one would derive confidence from a podcast hosted by somebody who was on Big Brother once. But this show is about “real life shit” so maybe I’m way off the mark. I guess I’ll have to check my confidence levels on my confidence machine after I’m done listening.

— Dave asks Fessy the always easy-to-answer question “Have you ever thought about your purpose in this life?” To which Fessy responds that he’s thought about it a lot and that “this past weekend, I think I figured it out…”

Guess you’ll have to check back next week to find out what Fessy discovered was the purpose of his life while probably getting bottle service at some shitty bar over the weekend when we review the remaining fifteen minutes of Fessy’s Fortitude Episode 1!

5) Amber (LW: 6)

Yeah, I mean, that’s just not true. But I appreciate her pronouncing the word “naked” as “nekkid”. I’ve always wanted to pronounce words in a cool way like that. Like how college football coaches in the south say the word “program” as “progrum”.

4) Turbo (LW: 5)

I always respected Turbo for going with “Generic Dude Haircut #17” for those few years he existed in The Challenge world. But now that he’s back with a thick, muy jugoso man-bun and an even shittier attitude, some of his charm has evaporated.

Idk, maybe it just makes me miss my man-bun, something I know I’ll never have the patience to ever grow out again. I know in my recap I said finally related to Turbo, but now that I’ve had a weekend to think about my purpose in this life, I’ve realized that maybe I’m just a little envious of the lettuce on his noggin.

3) Devin (LW: 10)

It’s the summer of 2016 and you just watched Devin and Cheyenne lose to Johnny Reilly and Jessica in an elimination round. I then turn to you and say the following three fun facts: The Cubs will win the World Series soon. We will have a global pandemic ruining lives, putting the mental health of millions of people across the globe through the paper shredder, and tearing the fabric of society apart at the seams. And, finally, Devin will one day be unironically referred to as the “King of The Challenge”.

Which of those three fun facts would you scoff at the most?

Life comes at you fast.

2) Tori (LW: 9)

Kaycee catching the greatest stroke of good luck in this show’s history when she got to switch her partner to CT on the last leg of the Final last season is the only thing standing between Tori and being a champion.

Going into the first elimination of the season is tough, but maybe that’s the wake-up call she and Devin needed to realize they weren’t just going to walk to the end this time. Also, having her ex-fiance show up at some point is certainly going to be jarring, but maybe that’ll make her focus on winning that much more as a total “fuck you, I don’t need you, this is my game now” move on her part.

Either way, for the first time maybe ever, I’m fascinated to watch Tori navigate her way through this season.

1) Laurel (LW: 2)

Here’s the deal, this ranking is totally irrational. I understand that. But if you just go through the names of the women listed above her, especially now that Kaycee’s gone (I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see the trailer for the rest of the season following the episode. How hard would it have been to just not put Kaycee in it? I’m getting off topic.) we have Tori (this one’s close, but I’d put my money on Tori being unable to get out of her own way if they went head-to-head), Amber (who Laurel probably hasn’t even introduced herself to yet), Nany, and then….a bunch of new people.

Relative to the men’s side, which seems much more competitive, especially with the Bananas/Jordan/Darrell shoe still to drop, Laurel’s the class valedictorian. Even if some of these rookies end up being amazing, and it’s hard to tell this early, it’s still Laurel. And they’re new to this. The intimidation factor is real. Going after the big dog is going to be difficult.

She seems to be playing chill now, and maybe she’s grown up and is half checked-out of the season. But Laurel’s also one of the most competitive human beings to ever live, and that level of fire won’t lay dormant for long.

Thanks for reading!!! See you in a few days for my Episode 2 Recap. And until then, 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. Inquires: WillaMediaManagement@gmail.com -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn