The Challenge World Championship Power Rankings — Week 2

Brian Batty
15 min readMar 14, 2023

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Welcome to the first batch of Power Rankings of the season! Since I got these to you so late, let’s not waste any time and jump right in, shall we? Inside this edition: Ayanna makes two appearances, Yes forces me to tell the truth, Sarah skirts the rules, and much much more…

30) Nathan

The Nathan section of this article has been medically separated from the game.

29) Claudia

Does anyone else think she was suspiciously happy to be leaving? She must have hated it there. Just imagine if Josh were on this cast. She’d be so sick of us she’d somehow get Argentina to invade our shores if that were the case.

It’s also entirely possible that she’s just a good sport and a good person and my personal scumbag ethics simply do not apply.

Either way. Either way is fine.

28) Jujuy

Can someone get me in contact with Jujuy so that on behalf of American’s I can let her know that Nelson isn’t exactly speaking the same language as the rest of us.

It’s actually ‘audacity’, for example.

Actually, fuck it, I don’t care. Jujuy can think whatever she wants. And if Nelson is sent out to represent the red, white, and blue, than so be it. Hell, let’s go even further. Nelson should be our Argentinian Ambassador.

27) Tristan

If he and Kellyanne do go home this week, one thing I’ll always remember him for is his plethora of patterned, blousey button-ups. My mans had ’em by the dozen.

26) Benja

Plus, on top of Claudia being gone, Captain Jack Sparrow commandeered with your ship on your way here and you need to buy it back from him before it’s too late and your crew is lost to the curse forever.

25) Rodrigo

Honestly, great question.

24) Troy

Towards the end of Episode One, Troy made mention of how strange it was to actually be playing a game with all of the people he watched play this game on TV for so long. And I totally get it. That would be really weird if all of a sudden I was watching Johnny Bananas take the last cup of coffee in the morning and walk away without making a fresh pot.

It’s always super cool to watch people say how big of Challenge fans they were actually get to play the game. I suppose it’s some subconscious feeling of hope for all of us out of shape regular schmegular people out here in the world.

And so finally, after years of waiting, Troy finally gets to live out every long-time Challenge fans dream of being in a slow motion TYR commercial.

23) Emily

Trivia Question: What do Emily, Lebron James, and me all have in common….

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not that all of us are former Olympic athletes….

Okay, fine I’ll just give you the answer. We’re all nail biters!

22) Kaz

There isn’t anybody in a better spot with their partner right now than Kaz. Because after what Jordan went through last season, I’m sure she looks like Wonder Woman to him right now.

21) Zara

It’s crazy to me that’s she’s such a big Zaza Pachulia fan that she got a necklace adorned with his name. I didn’t think basketball was very popular in the UK. Especially that popular. Maybe she just hates Kawhi Leonard. It’s impossible to tell this early on.

On the other hand, maybe she’s not an NBA fan at all. My sister’s name is Sara (the way less cool version of Zara) and when I was a young lad I used to call her Ra-ra. So maybe the Zaza is just the cool version of that.

I don’t know what that necklace is about. But I do know one thing for sure, its that I spent way too much time on this section. I apologize. I’m grieving, what do ya want from me?

20) Ben

I am delighted that one of the most unintentionally funny people I’ve seen in a long time is partnered with one of the most unintentionally nothing people I’ve seen in a long time.

Anything can happen with these two. Including fading into oblivion and never being seen or heard from again. Except now that I think about it, there’s no chance Ben ever fades into oblivion. That’s because looking back, one of the hardest I’ve ever laughed at my television was when during The Challenge: USA, there was an unprompted cut to Ben and Sarah on the treadmills. Sarah’s running her ass off, while Ben is leisurely strolling along while wearing his cowboy hat.

19) Justine

I’m sure Justine’s going to have a great time this season if her reaction to just the surface layer of Johnny’s stupid jokes is laughter and mild flirtation.

Last season he dealt with reactions such as…

…and…

Bananas you’re making me hot, those pictures are not.

18) Danny

Look, I know that Kiki exists and that Danny is actually married and everything….BUT…does anyone else get the vibe that it’s possible Kiki is just a figment of Danny’s imagination? Like this is a “oh you don’t know her, she goes to another school” type of deal? I remember I dated a girl named Brooke who went to another school for awhile. Then I turned 28 and realized the jig was up.

Thou doth protest too much, ya know?

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

17) Sarah

Classic police, getting around all the rules, thinking that they don’t have to go through the marriage visa process like everybody else just because they have a walkie-talkie on their shoulder.

16) Kiki

So far, she’s done exactly what she did on The Challenge: Australia. She showed up, looked like one of those AI drawings of a Challenge person, and proceeded to kick everyone’s ass.

The total manifestation of one of the many beautiful aspects of this show. You never really know until you know, ya know? I don’t really know anything about Kiki’s background, but it’s entirely possible that until she participated on The Challenge: Australia she had no idea how much DAWG she had inside of her.

15) Grant

Here’s a little peek behind the curtain for you…I had actually began writing a Pre-Season Power Rankings, but with the recent tumultuous events in my life, I just never had it in me to finish. But I did write for a few of the people, though. So in honor of transparency, here’s what I had down for Grant…

I watched The Challenge: Australia pretty passively. It aired at the same time as Ride or Dies, and technically I even wrote recaps of the episodes, but I gotta be honest here…I do not remember Grant at all. I don’t remember what he looks like. I don’t remember what he sounds like. It was probably awesome because all the Aussies sounded awesome. But Grant? No clue. He might not even have an Australian accent.

His entire run will likely just be me wishing he was Ciarran. The hot guy with the olive oil voice and tattoos on every inch of his body beside his face. He hooked up with a roommate on night one, his girlfriend back home found out through spoiler pages, she then confronted him, and then he promised her every single dollary-doo of prize money would go to her to make up for it. This managed to prove the old adage of “money most definitely buys happiness” entirely true as she agreed to stay with him.

Who knows if they’re still together. I guess I could just download Instagram, create and account, and follow them to find out myself. But that’s a lot of work. And I should organically find out when he inevitably hooks up with Nia or Tori.

But that’s not an option. Because we didn’t get Ciarran. We got Grant.

Cherry Valance had a point. Things really are tough all over.

So I went from writing about how I didn’t even remember him, how I wished he was someone else, and then shoehorned in a reference to The Outsiders.

Then he showed up and won both competitions placed in front of him.

The lesson kids, as always, is that I’m an idiot.

14) Nelly T On Paramount+ TV

Here’s a stupid question…

Are Social Security numbers a thing in other countries?

Don’t look at me like that. I’m a product of the American Public Education system. I don’t know shit about fuck.

13) Kellyanne

Classic young people always needing to Google everything. You’re not retaining it, you know. It’s in one eye out the other.

See? You didn’t even need Google. If only Kellyanne believed in herself, imagine what she could accomplish.

12) Jodi

There is no chance that she’s eating a Greek salad. Right?

She finds herself in a tough spot this time around due to the likelihood of long-term ramifications being thrown completely out the window when it comes to her. Popping in and out of this world/game can be a total death sentence. Especially for someone who is as accomplished during her prime as Jodi is.

If she was partnered with Danny or someone a little less precariously positioned, I could see things playing out differently. But for now, while partnered with someone who’s name pronunciation is still a bit up in the air, she’s gonna have to go on a daily challenge heater if she wants any modicum of safety.

11) Nia

What’s the over-under on how many meaningful conversations Nia and her partner have had up to this point? One? Two? Three? Can’t be more than three. Likely not even more than one.

There is part of me that wonders if there were times in Nia’s life where she considered using Duolingo to learn Spanish like all the rest of us and then never went through with it beyond learning the colors…like all the rest of us.

10) Amber

Do you think that she told Chauncey how much her new partner looks like him, or did she wait until later so he wouldn’t get jealous? Chauncey doesn’t seem like that jealous type, but if I found out some guy new guy at my girlfriend’s job looked exactly like me, I might have a few things to say about it.

And if you’re already sick of this joke, well then strap it on and hope these two lose early, because I have no plans on coming up with anything else.

9) Yes

You know, I had a whole thing lined up where I was going to do a bit about how Yes shaved his hair in the sink and how Tori and Sarah found some of his hair shaving in their stuff and threw a fit and how pordukshin didn’t show it and how it’s just another example of drama being edited out and the downfall of this show and all that other tongue-in-cheek shit.

And then I realized something. That’s not going to work. The best lies are all rooted in the truth, and there is absolutely no truth to that story.

There is no doubt in my mind that when Yes trims his dome, giving himself the same haircut he’s had since he was on Road Rules in 1999, he cleans up every single morsel of hair from the bathroom. His roommates can forrage for follicles all they want. They ain’t finding shit.

And yet Yes is gonna show up to whatever wacky competition TJ throws at them next and blind you with the stunning glare of the sun’s reflection off his perfectly clean, perfectly round, perfectly shorn head.

8) Theo

No, Cory has a kid. Not you. Lemme guess, next season you’re gonna be calling yourself Theo Bananas. Or claim you’re into horses and rebrand yourself into Theo Maria. Come up with something original, sheesh.

7) Johnny

Are we just stuck with this boring guitar-bro version of Johnny now?

How exciting.

6) Kenny’s Sister

Here’s how I see things shaking out. The Nelson/Nia/Jodi group, the ones hooked up with the Argentinians, will be the vanguard of cannon fodder. Maybe they win an elimination, maybe they don’t. But it’s very clear where these votes are going to shake out early.

After that? It could go one of two ways. The Kaycee/Amber/Yes conglomerate might be next, leaving the Big Dogs to settle their shit at the end.

I could also see them being completely ignored if the wrong players come in last towards the middle of the game and certain moves are forced to be made. There’s certainly a world where two of the teams in the Final will be Kaycee/Ben and Amber/Troy simply due to them being totally forgotten about.

Also, Kaycee, I miss your girlfriend.

Oh yeah. Now we’re talkin.

5) Darrell

So I thought about it some more, and yeah, as sad as it is to admit, Darrell probably does prefer a Cab.

4) Jordan

Mr. Thiccness this season, huh? I see you Jordan. If anybody ever wants to bulk up, clearly one of the best options is to spend an entire season of The Challenge dragging Aneesa all the way to the end.

3) Tori

I don’t care what anyone says. Not Tori. Not Tori’s therapist. Not Aneesa. Nobody.

Deep down Tori is soooooo pissed that Kaycee got chosen ahead of her.

2) Wes

I’m telling you all, Wes’s (Wei?) second life on this show needs to be as an in-house consultant. Or a Challenge coach of some sort. He should be available for Facetime-a-Friend chats for anyone who wants them on every season he doesn’t participate on.

Or there should be an opening episode where he genuinely does teach a class to rookies. Make a Youtube exclusive. Put him in an actual lecture hall, sit all the fresh rookies down, and film a 22 minute “episode” where he gets in front of a white board and goes through skills, workouts, the strengths and weaknesses of the vets who are also on the cast.

Tell me you wouldn’t watch that, and I’ll tell you you’re lying to me.

1) Jonna

It has become increasingly clear that this current iteration of The Challenge is simply much too easy for Jonna. And as far as I know, there is no higher league she can ascend to that would match her talents a little better.

When I was in my early 20’s, one of my friends in the neighborhood lived in a cul-de-sac and had a beautiful basketball hoop in his driveway. We’d play there for hours, we even had special house rules like anyone else such as anything-goes in the grass, no out of bounds, and we also lowered the rim to nine and a half feet. I say all this to say that there was one kid my age who lived across the street from where all this basketball was being played and fun was being had. And we didn’t let him play with us.

We didn’t turn him into Boo Radley for any reason beside the fact that he was 6'8". And because he was 6'8", he sort of broke the game. I’m fairly tall myself, but 6'8" is a different level of tall. His lengthy body just threw any fairness or competitiveness out the window.

Now while the rules dictate we can’t exactly shun Jonna from the neighborhood. But there has to be a way to make things a little more fair…

— Force her to compete in daily challenges while on fire.

— Make her room with Beth, and only Beth.

— Partner her with Zach

These are all bad ideas, but simply put, there’s no bad ideas in a brain storm. Desperation breeds innovation, and we really need to come up with something. Her relentless domination is beginning to turn merely seeing her name on a cast list into a fait accompli.

If you have any other suggestions on how to level the playing field, go ahead and tweet us @fessyfitness.

What, you thought that just because he wasn’t around that he was exempt? Please. You got me fucked up on that one. Tell ’em bout it Fess…

And don’t you forget it!

VIVA LA DAVID!!!

Thanks for reading! See you back here soon! 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