In 1998, MTV pitted two of their most popular shows against one another to create a new kind of reality TV – The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. The show has become a soap opera, of sorts. Contestants return season after season, forming relationships, friendships and rivalries that play out over the course of many years. Over the last two decades and 33 seasons, The Challenge has brought a lot of great competitors and compelling characters to our screens. Here are 10 Challenge contestants that we would love to see return!
1. Sarah Patterson
Sarah used to be a Challenge regular. She competed on nine of the eleven Challenges immediately following her Real World season. She was athletic, fearless, likable and utilized her mental strength when competing. Unfortunately, she had a lot of bad luck and was disqualified, through no fault of her own, more than once. This would be enough for her to be a top contestant who should return to the show, but we can’t ignore the biggest reason of all.
Just as she was finally coming into her own, winning two in a row, Sarah was faced with one of the most controversial twists of all time. After winning Rivals 3, Sarah’s partner, Johnny Bananas, was given the chance to share the money they had won or to steal it all for himself. Johnny, in true Bananas form, decided to steal Sarah’s share of the money, and she was left crying on a mountain in Argentina. That was the last we saw of Sarah. Here’s hoping that she makes a triumphant return in order to get her revenge.
2. Darrell Taylor
Darrell has had a very lopsided Challenge career. In his first four Challenges, Darrell not only made it to the finals, but he also won! All. Four. Times. The second half of his career, Darrell has not been quite as lucky. He has been kicked off for fighting, he has been eliminated first, he has been eliminated right before the final, and he has been purged before the season has even really started. Regardless, Darrell is a phenomenal competitor, and even though he is older than most of the current contestants, he is in great shape and could come back to show these new kids how it’s done.
3. Evelyn Smith
Evelyn is one of the very best Challenge contestants ever which makes her an obvious choice to return. She is stronger than anyone, faster than anyone and smarter than anyone. Evelyn debuted on Fresh Meat and quickly became a top competitor. After many years of dominating, winning and calling out Johnny Bananas AND his alliance, Evelyn retired from the show. Her main reason for doing so was to focus on school, but now that she has graduated (FROM HARVARD!), maybe she will be able to fit another season into her schedule. She would be a great addition to the current show — Evelyn is everything you could want in a Challenge contestant, and even with the growing number of competitors on the show, there is no doubt in my mind that the three-time champion would be able to win a couple more if she were to return.
4. Derrick Kosinski
A lot of heart inside a small body, Derrick is the David to everyone else’s Goliath. In his time on the show, Derrick has proven that the disadvantage that he faces due to his size won’t stop him from competing at a top level. He has been able to defeat such Challenge legends as Brad, Darrell, Abram and Johnny Bananas. Derrick is a force to be reckoned with and would be a candidate to win on any season.
5. Emily Schromm
Emily rarely got involved in the drama of the house; she kept a level head, is a natural athlete and is one of the most gifted competitors the show has ever seen. While she hasn’t appeared on a full season since 2013, Emily recently appeared on the spin-off, The Challenge: Champs vs Stars. This gives fans a little bit of hope that she hasn’t lost the desire to return to a regular season and maybe we will see her again in the future.
6. Heather Cooke
A one season wonder, Heather Cooke has only competed on one season of The Challenge but what a season it was! She saw the elimination floor two different times and won both times, only to make the final and come up short with a second place finish. Cooke proved that, like Emily, she is a natural athlete and would give a lot of the female competitors a run for their money.
7. Frank Sweeney
Frank is a lot of things – loud, brash, and always picking a fight. What sets him apart from some of the other more dramatic Challengers is that he is also a great competitor. After winning his rookie season, Frank returned for Rivals 2, where he placed 2nd with Johnny Bananas. On his third season, Frank was disqualified due to injury but not before eliminating two people in the first two episodes. Frank would be an excellent addition to The Challenge’s current crop of contestants and will hopefully return in the near future.
8. Marlon Williams
Another one season wonder! Marlon competed on Rivals 2 with his partner, Jordan. Marlon proved to be a formidable opponent in a cast full of great competitors. In fact, he made it to the final where he competed against Wes, CT, Johnny Bananas and Frank Sweeney — some of the best the show has to offer. Since the show, Marlon has become even stronger and with more experience, could likely be one of the best.
9. Dustin Zito
Dustin was never seen as a top competitor during his short time on The Challenge. He is not nearly as muscular as a lot of the people he has competed against and that has put him at a disadvantage at times. Not to mention the fact that he had a hard time fitting in with a lot of the cast members. Despite this, he was a breakout star during Battle of the Seasons, where he made it to the finale and ultimately placed second. After that, he had a string of bad luck that unfortunately lead to early exits from the show. Now that his former Real World housemate, Nany, has returned to the show, maybe Dustin will too. We can only hope.
10. Averey Tressler
Averey is one of the biggest question marks on this list. Her first season, Battle of the Exes 2, she showed a lot of promise. She and her partner, Johnny Reilly, saw three eliminations and won two of them. When she returned for Rivals 3, she was disqualified due to her partner’s injury. We have not seen Averey since. Even though she is not the legend that some of the people on this list are, Averey has the potential to be a good competitor and a fun addition to the show, if given another chance.
What do you think of our list? Which Challenge contestants do YOU want to see return? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our interview with The Challenge’s own, Jenna Compono!
Who do you think belong to the top 11 best contestants in the Challenge? Do you favorite challengers belong to it? Check out our 11 All Time Best Contestants from MTV’s “The Challenge” to see if they made the cut!
Not a Challenge fan? Not a problem. We’ve got you covered. As with many TV shows, alliances, relationship and ‘bromanship’ are created and destroyed. Curious about the contestants’ lives after the show? Check these out: