Every season of The Challenge is full of highs and lows from the moment TJ introduces the theme to the cast to the moment he blows the final horn. Sometimes the lowest point of the season happens when that final horn is blown. As viewers, we can’t always get what we want. For one reason or another, these 5 moments are the most disappointing Challenge endings of all time.
Winners: Red Team (Brad, Tori, Dunbar, and Tyler)
To begin the season, the cast of Cutthroat was separated into three teams – Blue, Red, and Grey. Throughout the season, the Red team was lead by the unlikable power couple of Tori and Brad. They consistently threw the same people into the Gulag over and over, despite those people proving their worth to the team. Sure, the point of The Challenge is to get to the final and win without being eliminated. But it makes for a boring season to see them run things until the end when they have picked each of their teammates off and they are forced to go in themselves.
To make matters worse, they found themselves against two more likable teams. The Blue team was the smallest, consisting of only Emily & Jenn. With the Grey team being the largest, with Abram, Laurel, Luke, Cara Maria, and Sarah, running the final. Sadly, neither team pulled out the win in this disappointing ending to the season. The Grey team collapsed entirely, while the Blue team was just too small to keep up. It was nice to see Brad finally get his first win and the Red team deserved it, but it was not the most satisfying finale.
4. The Ruins
Winners: Champions (Johnny, Kenny, Evan, Susie, and Derrick)
The theme of The Ruins was Challengers vs Champions. As one might suspect, the Challengers have the advantage right from the start. The story of the season, as it was for many seasons during this time, was the alliance of Kenny-Evan-Johnny Bananas dominating. Made worse by the fact that they are running the final against the ultimate underdogs in a team consisting of just Sarah & KellyAnne. Additionally, the season is just repetitive. In Cutthroat, you had people who don’t normally dominate changing things up. Here, you have some of the most unlikable people of the series coming out on top yet again, making for a disappointing ending.
The whole season, viewers were subjected to scenes of them belittling, mocking, and hurling insults at people, and instead of that group getting their comeuppance, they are crowned the winners. Sarah & KellyAnne put up a great fight and it would have been so satisfying to see them beat the same men who had spent the last nine episodes putting them down. Unfortunately, in the end, they could not stop the inevitable.
3. The Gauntlet III
Winners: Rookies (Frank, Jillian, Johanna, Nehemiah, Rachel, Tori)
The Gauntlet III has a concept quite similar to The Ruins. Instead of Champions vs Challengers, it is simply Vets vs Rookies. Just as what happened in The Ruins, the Vet team dominates, winning 10 out of the 15 daily challenges. On the road to the final, the Vet team only lost 6 of their players, leaving 10 to run the final. Conversely, the Rookie team lost 11 of their players, leaving only 6 to run the final. It looked like it was going to be a blowout until one Big, Easy solution appeared to help out the Rookies.
Before the final starts, TJ says that a team can only win when all of their teammates have crossed the finish line. Unfortunately for the Vets, one of their teammates has to be medically evacuated during the final and taken to the hospital. When Big Easy was taken to the hospital, the Vets team was disqualified then and there but did not find out until they finished the final long before the Rookies did, but TJ didn’t declare a winner until the Rookies finished.
Based on previous entries, it makes reasonable sense to think it would be satisfying to see the underdogs win. Throughout this season, however, the vets were the story. Had the Vets team won, huge names in Challenge history would have won. People like CT, Brad, Evan, Paula would have finally gotten their first win. Kenny and Evelyn would have gotten their second. Most notably, Adam, Diem, Robin, and Big Easy would have gotten their only wins. Of course, it was exciting for the Rookies to win but for a Vet team THAT stacked to lose on a technicality was an incredibly disappointing ending.
2. Battle of the Seasons (2012)
Winners: Team San Diego (Ashley, Frank, Sam, and Zach)
Yet another season of inevitability. Battle of the Seasons pitted eight teams of four against one another. Each team represented a different Real World (or Fresh Meat) season so they had a lot of baggage coming in. One team had to be the most dysfunctional of all. That title went to Team San Diego. Consisting of Ashley, Frank, Sam, and Zach, their team constantly fought with each other, both verbally and physically. Frank & Zach were by far the worst of the team. They were constantly berating and physically pushing Sam during challenges. Their behavior was beyond disgusting. Unfortunately, they were also a really good team.
Somehow they pulled themselves together for the dailies and eliminations. They remained a four person team all the way to the final. Their opponents were the two person Las Vegas team, consisting of Dustin & Trishelle, who did not get along. Plus Team Brooklyn, who were the antithesis of Team San Diego. They had some in-fighting but for the most part respected and supported one another all the way through. Either team would have been satisfying winners when compared to the toxicity of Team San Diego. Despite continuing their trend of bad communication, as well as yelling at and pushing Sam on more than one occasion, Team San Diego pulled out the win. And our hopes of an underdog becoming the champion, yet again, got pushed aside for a disappointing ending, as the bad guys crossed the finish line first.
1. Battle of the Exes
Winners: Johnny Bananas & Camila
Battle of the Exes was practically made for CT & Diem. They were THE Challenge couple. I mean, just watch this video if there is any doubt. Viewers were treated to their on again, off again relationship from the very beginning when they met on The Duel. The could not be more different. Diem was a fun-loving, bubbly person, while CT was the bad boy. Not like rides motorcycles and has tattoos bad boy though. More like rip someone’s head off and eat it bad boy. Despite being polar opposites, the love they shared was apparent but did not work out. Because of this, the two were partnered up on Battle of the Exes.
Fans watched as the two slowly but surely learned to trust one another again throughout the season. They hit some bumps in the road with each other but, as a team, they cruised to the finals. It would have been an incredibly satisfying moment for longtime fans of the show to see CT & Diem complete the final and get their first wins together. The ending was far more disappointing than that fantasy. Unfortunately, during the final, CT had a hard time hiking up the snowy mountain during the last leg. This allowed Johnny Bananas and Camila to take the lead at the last moment and claim the title, ruining what would have been the perfect ending to the season.
What do you think of our list? Were you happy to see these teams cross the finish line first? Were there any other seasons that had you throwing your remote at the TV? Let us know in the comments!