The Challenge USA Episode 7 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
11 min readAug 18, 2022

Welcome to another edition of Winners & Losers, a true competitor with as good of a chance as winning as anybody went home this week. And so did Kyland. Inside this edition: Cohutta explains the game, I get second hand anxiety from their living situation, Ben flexes on all of us so damn hard, and so much more…

Loser: Deflated Balloons

Sometimes when he does the cat thing it elates me and I can’t help but smile and power through.

Then other times when he does the cat thing, it feels like my soul has left my body and I suddenly lose control of my mind and various basic motor functions, and I sink into my chair and my head becomes too heavy for my neck to keep upright.

This time was the second one.

Loser: Running A Bar

You can accuse these recaps of a lot of things. Some people think they’re funny, others think they’re stupid. Some read these and by the end see the show at least 3% differently, and others scroll through until they get to the part about CT.

But if there is one thing that these recaps could be accused of no matter which side you fall on, is that they’re extremely self-involved. And somehow even more so with this season due to my lack of connection with the cast.

And through that immense self-involvement (simply put, I’ve realized that I communicate my honest thoughts and feelings via recapping episodes of The Challenge better than I do with my own friends and family. In fact, some of you who have been paying attention know me better than the actual people in my life. What a strange way to live and I should probably just get a therapist instead. Look at me, getting even more self-involved. C’est la vie.), the nineteen people who have been paying attention know that I’ve spent some time deep in the weeds of the restaurant industry. And maybe four of those nineteen watched last night’s episode and thought to themselves, “huh, I wonder if that guy will have some thoughts on this scene”.

Well here’s a message for those four people, and to anyone who has yet to scroll to the next section, don’t ever open a bar. Don’t ever open a restaurant. Just don’t do it. Last week, we learned to not speak to cops. This week, we’re learning that running a bar/restaurant is a miserable existence that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

I’ve worked for private owners such like Leo, and I’ve worked for billion-dollar companies where the restaurant division doesn’t even make up a full slice of the pie, more so resembling the flaky crumbs left on the plate that you eventually scrape into the garbage.

This phone call made all the sense in the world to me. I’ve been on both sides of essentially this exact phone call. Minus the whole “filming The Challenge” part of it.

So just remember, even in your drunkest moments with your drunkest friends where you think that opening a bar or a restaurant is any modicum of fun, take it from me, an obsolete Challenge blogger, it is not any fun. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Winner: Naivete

Ya know, it would have been really shitty if Alyssa, who’s been having a solid run so far, would have had to leave because she got paired with a guy who owns a few bars and left in the middle of the night to tend to them, but ya know what? Running real-life businesses is just a lot more important than running your Instagram account. It just is.

But she wouldn’t be the first person to catch shrapnel from real life violently shoehorning its way into The Challenge bubble, and she won’t be the last. I think a man from deep in the mountains of Georgia, one of our great modern orators, named Cohutta Grindstaff once said it best…

Loser: Us

So he just decided to stay? After all that? He decided that keeping some girl he just met (and more than likely will never talk to again outside of the context of The Challenge, or whenever she’s in his town for influencer related functions and wants free drinks at his bar) happy was more important than running his businesses? And they didn’t even show it?

I gotta say, the least interesting part of any episode of The Challenge is the challenge itself. Followed closely by the elimination rounds. This show soars in the margins and the machinations of the macro-game constantly churning 24/7. And yet we’ve been getting none of that stuff.

These episodes have been squeezed so tightly due to more commercial breaks than I truly thought possible in an hour of television, and so neutered by the network television “take no chances” attitude, that all of my favorite parts have been pushed aside. It’s starting to feel personal at this point.

That’s enough bellyaching. If you wanted complaints about the show there are plenty of blogs posts covering that. We’re here to party, let’s get some energy in here…

……Oh God dammit…

So I went to YouTube to fire up the Pursuit Of Happiness scene from Project X to grease the skids on this recap and look what the freaking YouTube ad algorithm decided I was interested in seeing…




Somehow the amount of cat references I’ve been forced to make through Leo osmosis has corrupted the Advertising Overlords Algorithm perfected to sell me shit so much that I’m now subconsciously inclined to buy Honest Kitchen cat food for absolutely no reason at all.

If only YouTube hired Aneesa to do their algorithm like The Challenge USA did. We’d be dancing with high schoolers and generally having a great time.

I gotta say, this recap has gone off the rails much faster than it normally does.

Loser: Justine

If I know one thing for sure, it’s that there is nothing young people love more than bragging about how many movies they haven’t seen.

Winner: Kyra, A Woman Of The People

Girl, tell em bout it.

Loser: Manners

Woah woah woah woah…that’s TJ’s Final to you sir.

What is with these kids?

Winner: Flexin

Holy shit!!! Meridian Speedway?!?! THE Maridien Speedway?!?!

Ben should pick up that name he just dropped before the paparazzi gets word.

Winner: Danny’s Wife Kiki

Kiki Kount: 10

Loser: Domestic Bliss

We’re at 1.42857143 KPE (Kiki’s Per Episode) right now.

It’s like when the first guy asks a girl to prom senior year and he does it in an elaborate fashion decorating her locker and in front of everyone and yada yada. He’s setting the bar too high.

Now every Challenger’s wife is gonna be all like “why isn’t your KPE at 1.42857143, huh??” and it’s just gonna cause big fights. What a mess.

Winner: Kelsey, The Former Bottle Service Attendant at Bottled Blonde

Finally, Kelsey got to live her dreams.

Viva La Real World!

Winner: Kyra’s Tattoo Parlor

Ya know I have five tattoos and not once did I get offered a commemorative T-Shirt.

Must be nice.

Loser: That Little Ass Coffee Maker

What is this? A coffee machine for ants?

Please do not tell me the only coffee maker in the house (that once had almost thirty people in it) was that baby one on the counter right there. I’m getting second-hand anxiety having to imagine being like ninth in line to brew coffee in the morning.

Loser: Kyland, Social Butterfly

Is Cayla implying that Kyland and her have not had a single conversation? I feel like that would be insane. I mean there’s nothing to do. Just go say hi. Right? Am I reading this one wrong? Yes? No?

I know how I’ll get out of this one.

Loser: When Your Friend Shows Up Late To The Bar And Buys A Round Of Well Whiskey Shots After You’ve Already Been There For Five Hours

Loser: Kicking The Can Down The Road

“I mean, I’d much rather get dusted by Tyson, ya know?”

Loser: Pop Culture References

Couple things here…

Number one, quality pity laugh from Leo. And believe me, if anybody knows what a pity laugh sounds like, it’s me. And secondly, I don’t think Alyssa knows who Dr. Phil is.

Loser: The Closed Caption Person

I believe that should say (Leo meows).

This section was sponsored by Honest Kitchen. Healthy food for cats with high standards. Use the code WINNERSNLOSERS at checkout for a coupon for 10% off (only applicable on purchases under three dollars being delivered within a five mile radius our home factory in Ames, Iowa.).

Loser: Me

Winner: Inside Jokes

Between the cat thing and the Kiki thing nobody is having more fun this season than The Challenge Gods themselves.

Loser: The Fact Checkers

Um, am I missing something? There are six senses. They made a whole ass movie about it.

And seeing dead people?

What’s going on? Am I missing something here?

If you have any explanation for this blatant oversight, go ahead and tweet us @fessyfitness because, to be frank, Fess and I are stumped.

Ain’t that right Fess?

That’s right you are buddy. And don’t let those bullies tell you anything different.

Loser: Alyssa’s Logic

Lmao, what?

Winner: Lmao, What? (Part 2)

What the hell is going on? What is he talking about? Am I concussed?

Winner: Mystery Stories

The evening breeze began to swirl relentlessly as Detective Wes and his partner, Detective Yes scoped the scene of their latest caper.

With a keen eye and a full heart, this duo had solved every case ever laid in front of them. But now that they were in Argentina, a land of mystery no detective duo had been able to truly understand over centuries of trying, Yes began to worry they were in over their heads.

Until suddenly, he came upon a clue. A single black glove hung from the top of this oversize trivia board in the middle of the shipyard.

“Wes, come over here, I think I’ve found something.”

Slowly, Wes turned and sauntered towards his partner. They exchanged solemn glances.

“See it, Wes? It’s a glove?”

“Yes, Yes, but where’s the hand?”

Winner: Kyra

It could not have worked out better for her. She doesn’t have to run the Final, but she didn’t go home first, and now her biggest worry is how many cocktails is too many cocktails at the airport bar.

Winner: Kyland

Played a great game, had friends in all the right places, and then suddenly he went home because he didn’t know the answers to some pop culture trivia questions that were relevant in like 2009.

Welcome to The Challenge. Maybe we’ll see you back here one day.

Winner: Cats and Dr. Phil

It’s gotta be weird to watch this season back for Leo hearing about how much the woman thought he sucked basically the entire season, with the knowledge that he’s now saved the ass of two of those exact women.

He’s beaten me into submission. I’m tapping out. I’m officially a Leo guy. Meow.

As for Alyssa, her legecy of….well I’m not really sure. I kinda got nothing here again. But regardless of my inability to conjure something clever to say, her legacy continues.

Viva la Real World!

Thanks for reading! See ya soon! And, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. Inquires: -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn