The Challenge World Championship Episode 9 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
17 min readApr 28, 2023

Welcome to a fresh batch of Winners & Losers for The Challenge World Championship Episode 9!!! The back where this entire season has rested since minute one finally gave out. So now I guess the cast will have to transform along with it. Inside this week: How much is too much to pay for the movie Cocktail?, TJ lies to us, I don’t think Tori has ever been to New York before, and much much more…

Loser: The Initial Promise Of Streaming Services Eroding A Little Bit Each And Every Day

Can we talk about something that really bothers me?

I’m old enough to remember having movies on tape. And as a kid, I owned six different VHS tapes. The first three Star Wars movies, Men In Black, Independence Day, and oddly enough, the Brendan Fraser George Of The Jungle (super underrated, or maybe not, maybe I’ve just seen it ten thousand times, don’t think I’ve watched it since the last time I rewound that VHS tape). And I watched the fuck out of them. I’ve seen Independence Day maybe ten million times. I would watch it, rewind the tape, and watch it again until I fell asleep on the couch. I didn’t have video games, my Dad was low key terrified of them, so I just had these random ass movies on VHS.

Now if you told that kid that one day he’d have thousands of movies available for him to watch with merely the click of a mouse, or the press of a thumb, or the scroll of a Fire Stick remote, he’d have lost his shit. “You mean I don’t have to only watch movies loosely about outer space or Brendan Fraser talking to a gorilla?” is something he’d have said.

But now? I don’t feel like that promise has been fulfilled. I have access to like eight different platforms and on each of them are countless hours of movies for me to watch. Like, sometimes I scroll through the lists on Amazon Prime or whatever and wonder how there is enough time in the day to even make this amount of movies.

You know what though? This morass of movie choices has really only taught me one thing.

Variety is overrated.

And whatever movie you actually want to watch, likely isn’t anywhere to be found. Isn’t it strange how that works? The luxuries of modernity have presented us with infinite choice, and yet we still feel like there are unscalable fences surrounding what we really want.

It’s just over the two minute mark of this episode that they show this South African bartender doing that super sweet behind-the-back bottle toss. And I immediately wanted to watch Cocktail. I can’t be the only one. Cocktail slaps. In all the best ways.

Guess what? Nowhere to be found. I can buy it on Amazon Prime for ten bucks. Problem is, I don’t want to watch Cocktail that bad. Not ten dollars bad. Not like that’s even a lot of money, but it’s like, who can justify paying ten dollars for a movie like that?

Isn’t having a movie like Cocktail at our finger tips the very epitome of the idea that streaming services promised to us? But there it is again, that persistent, relentless, daunting fence. Keeping me from watching Tom Cruise be terrible at making drinks but amazing at making me unintentionally laugh.

Variety is overrated.

Winner: Consistency

You gotta give Tori and Danny credit for one thing. They both made a choice on what to wear to deliberation and they stuck to it.

Maybe they’ll switch it up and Danny will wear a plain hoodie and Tori will wear a plain t-shirt this week. Stay tuned.

Winner: Danny’s Dinner

Are those ribs? Or like a glazed steak of some kind? Either way, ideally he finishes what he started. Taking leftovers home on this particular television program has a complicated history.

There’s obviously Pastagate on Final Reckoning when Cory, who was rightfully upset about Tony discarding his leftover pasta, got him and his partner Devin kicked out like ten minutes after they showed up. And then, of course…

Loser: Short Term Memory Loss

See that’s where you’re wrong, Teej. I’m pretty sure this is the sickest challenge on this season…

Winner: Learning New Things

It’s always important to learn something new every day. And today, I learned that they’re still making Transformer movies.

I’ve never been more sad than I was when I walked out of the second Transformer movie. The first one was kinda cool. The idea of Louis Stevens talking to a car was pretty hilarious at the time and then there was the whole Megan Fox slice of the pie.

But I think the second one was one of the first times when I realized how miserable CGI heavy movies can possibly be. It was incomprehensible. It had zero idea what was going on at any given time. It was just giant robots fighting and every once in awhile human had to speak just to remind the audience that there is, in fact, a story somewhere in there. It was the movie equivalent to getting smacked in the face with a frying pan for two and a half hours.

Idk, I guess it was just kinda depressing. I felt as though my senses were assaulted. Like my senses themselves had a mild form of trauma as I walked to my car.

But here we are, a million years later, and these robots are still fighting one another. I don’t get it? Like, how can there be any robots left? What are they so upset about? And if you really take a second to think about it, if you saw on Twitter right now that two enormous, building sized robots were duking it out in the middle of New York City, think of how much the world would actually change. There would be mass looting at all grocery stores. Society would fall apart at the seams. Think of the takes! Alex Jones and all the conspiracy whackos would be having a blast!

Sometimes I wonder if these movies even consider the consequences of what is actually happening during them. The thin fabric currently holding society together was stretched to it’s absolute limits by a relatively mild global pandemic. That could have been so much worse, and yet we all collectively lost our shit when scientists were like “hey this things bad”. You think there would be any cohesion between our fellow humans if fucking thirty foot tall robots were punching each other in the middle of Times Square?

Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe we would be able to come together and persist through the idea that any semi truck at any given moment could start fighting a yellow mustang. What do the robots want, anyway? Why are they on earth? Why are they fighting each other? Is it just a Capulets and the Montegues type thing? Like, what’s the actual deal? They’re robots, how mad can they possibly be about anything? They don’t got bills. They don’t got responsibilities. They’re machines. Honestly, must be nice.

It’s entirely possible that the one and a half Transformer movies I watched answered at least some of those questions and I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on in front of me. Maybe I’ll find the answers by watching The Menace Yes Duffy jumping from semi-truck to semi-truck while the Australian Olympian he just met a few weeks ago patiently waits for him to finish so she can crash a dune buggy.

You’re right, probably not. But if anyone does know the answers to those questions, please tweet us @fessyfitness

Winner: This Guy

No clue who this guy is. But I guess now I do. Will I forget him as soon as I’m done typing out this section? Absolutely. Adios, Tony Ramos.

Ya know, at least for Puss In Boots they got Anthony Banderas. They couldn’t have sprung for Optimus Prime this time around?

Winner: Outlandish Claims

Are you though? Is that how that works? Does that make Kenny and Moriah part of the Puss In Boots franchise?

Winner: Total Nonsense

Lmao, what the hell is Jordan talking about?

Loser: Comparisons For Comparisoning Sake

I guess she would know better than me, but last time I was in New York, it looked nothing like a completely dirt road with zero obstacles.

Honestly, what is she talking about? There is no traffic on this Challenge. At no point driving in New York will you be driving as fast and as straight as she’s going to be driving on this challenge.

Fuck yeah you did.

Winner: First Impressions

Where were you the first time you heard Nicki Minaj?

Is it weird that I know where I was? Is it weird that I remember the exact line that made me sit up from the passenger seat of my friend’s car while we were driving around the suburbs smoking weed and ask “yo, who is that?”

On Drake’s Up All Night, when Nicki Minaj said “on a diet but I’m doin’ donuts in a six speed” I made the stinkiest of stink faces. It was like somebody squeezed lemon juice in my eye and aimed a fart directly at my nostrils at the same exact time. My body likely could have qualified for rigor mortis for a brief moment.

And then she sold out, started doing pop music, Pink Friday dropped and that was that. But for that singular moment inside of my friends black Buick Skylark, on Central Avenue in Tinley Park, Illinois, I thought Nicki Minaj was the best rapper on the entire planet.

What? What is it this time Fessy? You want me to talk about the daily challenge? What’s there to say? No seriously, what is there to say? Okay fine…

Loser: The Bare Minimum Effort

You were not.

Look, don’t get it twisted. Anyone out there who’s complaining about the blatant corporate sponsorship during this daily challenge must have missed the T-Mobile Sidekick commercials they used to do every single week. Or maybe they missed the first handful of seasons when seemingly every single aspect of the show was sponsored by Chili’s. That’s not really the issue here.

The issue here is conflating spectacle with entertainment. Did this daily challenge look cool? Sure, I guess so. Was this daily challenge difficult and time consuming to set up from conception to reality? Yes, I’m sure it was more complicated than we even realize. Was this daily challenge fun for the cast to participate in? Outside of Emily, yeah, I’d guess they all had a good ass time.

But was it interesting to watch? Not really.

And since this is a television show, shouldn’t that really be all that matters?

The actual “doing” of stuff during this was insanely simple. Almost to the point where I feel like I either missed something or an entire section was edited out. There was almost nothing to this at all.

Wait for the other semi to catch up, leap a few yards to the other truck, leap right back, and slam on a button. No puzzle? No combination to solve? No anything? I couldn’t/wouldn’t do most, if not all, of the crazy shit that they get to do on this show. Adrenaline’s not necessarily my jam. But this? Sure. Why not. The difficulty level was about as low as it gets.

Just be a little creative. Think outside the box. It’s like they spent 95% of their time trying to track down two semi-trucks and a dune buggy that they totally forgot to even try and think up rules. I might be the wrong crowd, considering daily challenges are my least favorite part of any episode of this show, but what the fuck?

I guess, technically, he didn’t. At least not to them. This was probably sick for every single person involved. Except for those on the other side of the TV.

Women lie, men lie, TJ Lavin lies to us all the time.

Winner: Chicken Soup For The Conspiracy Theorists Soul

I’m not saying that Jordan and Kaz didn’t win this daily challenge. And maybe I’m too dim to understand, but it doesn’t really seem like there would be a valid reason to say that Jordan and Kaz won even if they didn’t. So in all likelihood, they did win.

But, I mean, ya know, what are we really talking about here? Did Jordan really jump from one semi to the other a little faster than anybody else? Did Kaz press the gas pedal on her dune buggy a little harder than anybody else?

Ayanna, your thoughts?

I bet it was.

Loser: Unexpected Bills

So I’m guessing this premiere is in Los Angeles. Which is great for Jordan, but if I’m Kaz, I’d be kinda pissed. They’re basically handing her a fairly sizeable bill.

Maybe it’s just my inner George Costanza coming out, but to use these tickets, she’d have to pay for a plane to America and a hotel just to come see a nonsense CGI casserole of a movie?

Maybe I’m just scarred by the last few years of friends getting married and destination weddings and bleeding a few thousand dollars every six months so that I can drink as much free tequila as possible while I celebrate somebody else’s true love.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

Winner: Me, Before I Sit Down To Write These Recaps

Winner: Peanut Butter And Jelly

Sometimes in life two things unexpectedly mesh together and fit so snugly that you cannot help but smile. I wonder how many of these interactions during their dual confessionals got left on the cutting room floor? Can’t they just splice them all up and put them out as a YouTube video? Why have we not gotten basically all Kiki and Darrell. I don’t want anyone else to give confessionals. Just the two of them. Even if they had nothing to do with whatever’s being discussed. I just want their take. On everything.

Loser: Kaycee’s Go-To Move

Kaycee tried so hard sneaking out of the back door of this conversation. Playing dumb is an incredible card to play, and one I’m sure Kaycee has used to get out of decision making for season after season. It’s honestly a spectacular move. She’s always had enough friends or possessed the ability to make them quickly, so she’s likely been able to pretend not to understand what’s going on at any given time.

But she tried playing it with the wrooonnngggg one on this day. Kellyanne hit her with the Lee Corso and said “not so fast, Nany’s girlfriend, sit your ass back down.”

Look at her face again. Look at how mad she is that Kellyanne didn’t let her just do the thing she always does when these conversations spring up.

These days it’s been difficult to see the light in my perpetual state of darkness, but Kellyanne being an asteroid colliding with a distant star and brightening up the sky on a season billed as a global tournament of champions with the best Challenge players of all time is providing me with all the hope and joy I need right now.

Loser: The Real Victim

To quote the great Neil McCauley, there’s a flip side to that coin.

As much as me or anyone else is enjoying Kellyanne doing cartwheels around the house, pissing in everyone’s Wheaties, and causing a general ruckus, Tristan is the one who’s gotta ride the bull. He’s the cowboy who’s eventually going to get tossed off, possibly break his back, develop a pill habit, and die broke, drunk and alone.

I’m surprised he’s stayed on the ride as long as he has, to be honest. Tristan is one patient dude.

Winner: Seeing People For Who They Are

That’s wild Sarah says that, because I get Emily and Danny confused all the time they look exactly alike.

Winner: Shower, Not A Grower

Okay, if you say so. Boys?

The Dudley Boyz were fucking lit and I will hear nothing to the contrary.

Winner: Society’s Vanity

Yeah, right, like two people as hot as Jordan and Kaz are would ever fall victim to budget cuts. Please. That’s not how the world works.

Loser: Doing Things Halfway

Aright, who fucked up? Which one was supposed to wear a hoodie?

I figured that they’d want to go opposite this round considering they actually knew what they were doing, but that means Danny either forgot to change or didn’t get the memo. On the other hand, it’s possible that I’m the only one in the world, including them, who cares about this and Tori just didn’t grab a hoodie this time.

Either way, I’m the idiot for wasting both my time and yours. So for that I apologize. Lemme get this thing back on track…

You got ten forks sticking out of your hands, yaknowwhatimean?

Loser: Making It Known You’re Willing To Clean

This one’s on Kiki. She only has herself to blame for being upset. Expectation management is the key to happiness, and if you’re going to make it known that you’re the one willing to clean the house, then you’re gonna be stuck being the only one cleaning the house. Why hire a maid when there’s an Australian Energizer Bunny who gets up before everyone else and does it for you?

Also, Kiki, as happy as I’m sure many of us out there were about your outfit choice while watching this scene, white pants after Labor Day? That’s a bit gauche, imo.

Winner: Janey Briggs

“Hey, Jordan, you got some stains on your denim jacket.”

“No I don’t.”

“Yeah, no, right, for sure. My bad.”

Winner: Kellyanne, Or Better Yet, Challenge Fans Everywhere

The saying “they don’t make em like they used to” has never been more properly applied then when you’re using it to refer to Kellyanne.

I’ve joked about it a lot in this season’s recaps, but I think we really are underestimating how much of this global tournament was being carried on Kellyanne’s back. Just like we all thought. And just like they drew it up before the season.

My guess is, for the remainder of the time there, everyone’s going to act right and things will be smooth sailing. The best team will win. How boring.

Variety may be overrated, but Kellyanne’s je ne sais quoi certainly is not.


Thanks for reading! See you back here soon! And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!



Brian Batty

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