Season after season, our favorite contestants return to MTV’s The Challenge in order to prove themselves the best of what Bill Simmons has coined, “America’s fifth major sport.” Sometimes they come up short and we end up disappointed. Other times, we are treated to a satisfying ending with our favorites coming out on top!
Today, we are talking about the good times. The endings that leave you smiling and filled with joy because the person (or people) that TJ has declared the winner is the person (or people) who deserve it the most. Or, at the very least, are the most likable people there. These endings are the ones that keep fans coming back every year. These are the Top 5 Most Satisfying Challenge Endings!
5. Battle of the Exes II
Winners: Sarah Rice & Jordan Wisely
A championship that was a long time coming. Sarah Rice is known as one of the unluckiest cast members of all time. She has been disqualified and sent home on more than one occasion due to the actions of her partners, she has gassed out during a final, and she has had all of her hard work taken away from her by the very person she trusted all season. One can imagine how difficult it was to see her lose, season after season, knowing how solid of a competitor she was. That luck would turn around in Battle of the Exes II when she was paired up with one of the other all time greats, Jordan Wisely. They were an absolute unit of a team. They may not have dominated the game strategically (that was, of course, Wes and Theresa) but they worked very well together.
The two complemented each other’s strengths and picked up the slack when one of them was not performing as well. Although I would have preferred to see Wes/Theresa declared the winners, this is about satisfying endings and sadly, that team was not there at the end to compete in the final. Nonetheless, to have someone as kind and genuine as Sarah finally receive her flowers after eight seasons on the show was amazing. It was everything you could hope for on The Challenge. It is exactly why we keep coming back for more – these characters become friends and family. We want them to succeed and when they do, it feels like we have.
4. Battle of the Bloodlines
Winners: Cara Maria Sorbello & Jamie Banks
Believe it or not, there was one point in the show’s history when Cara Maria was an underdog. After going out first on her rookie season, she came back season after season, continuously improving, a final win still eluding her. During her eighth season, Battle of the Bloodlines, Cara Maria competed alongside her cousin, Jamie Banks. She dominated the season by being a part of the winning team for 7 out of 10 daily challenges, eliminating two Challenge legends in Johnny Bananas and
Vince Aneesa, then going on to compete in the final.
The two ending up beating Cory/Mitch and Jenna/Brianna, giving Cara Maria her first win after five years of chasing the first place title. It was a very exciting moment to see her get her long overdue win and was made even more special by doing so alongside one of her family members.
3. War of the Worlds
Winner: Turabi “Turbo” Çamkıran
On The Challenge: War of the Worlds, TJ brought 16 veterans and 18 prospects to the Mad Max looking part of Namibia. The 18 prospects helped to usher in a new sense of athleticism to the show. Sure, it brought us one of the least coordinated people in Josh Martinez. But it also brought us Theo Campbell, Natalie “Ninja” Duran, and, of course, Turabi “Turbo” Çamkıran.
Despite being physically smaller than a lot of the guys on the season, Turbo intimidated everyone in the house. He was able to avoid elimination despite being a rookie and won several daily challenges. He quickly became a fan favorite for his intense competitive spirit and his straight forward demeanor. Turbo made it all the way to the final in his rookie season, along with seven other competitors. Unlike a lot of finals, every single one of the eight competitors were solid throughout the season and could have reasonably won the whole thing. With Turbo there though, no one was crossing that finish line before him. He became the sole winner of War of the Worlds in extraordinary fashion, to the excitement of many fans, making for a very satisfying ending to the season.
2. Rivals II
Winners: Wes Bergmann/CT Tamburello & Emily Schromm/Paula Meronek
In the second iteration of the show’s most popular season, there was a team so elite that it seemed to be a foregone conclusion they’d win as soon as TJ revealed the teams. They had one thing standing in their way: themselves. Wes and CT are, possibly, the most bitter rivals of the season. Their hatred for one another spans several seasons and working together seemed like it would be a difficult task. Up to this point, CT was on his ninth season without a win and Wes had only won one season, seven years prior. Despite the animosity, they respected each other as competitors and knew that, as a team, they had what it took to get to the end.
The two bonded throughout the season and became a great team. A highlight of their team building experience (and the season) was when the two tag-teamed Johnny Bananas in a fight. Even better though, was when they faced two fantastic teams in the final and beat them handedly. Seeing two of the faces of the franchise come together, mend fences, and come out on top was an incredibly satisfying ending to the season. Should mention that on the women’s side, the pair of Emily/Paula came out on top which was also exciting to see. Emily is another person who had put in the work for a few seasons and was able to finally see it pay off. Paula also got her second win, marking a great ending to her final season on the show.
1. Invasion of the Champions
Winners: CT Tamburello & Ashley Mitchell
Invasion of the Champions is a rebuilding season. Coming off the tail of two poorly received seasons, it had a lot riding on it. Taking the opportunity to make a change, the format was a little wonky but with a purpose. For the first few weeks, the edit focused on the Underdogs. These 18 contestants lived in “the shelter” until they earned their way to the main house – “the oasis,” where they were joined by 8 former champions. This was a great way to build up new players and new characters without the usual suspects getting in the way.
It only made sense then for the ending to feature an Underdog winner for the women in Ashley and a Champion winner for the men in CT. As unpredictable as Ashley is, she is great TV and a fierce competitor. Getting her first win in her second season showed what a force she was. Alongside her, you have CT who made his return to The Challenge after taking a few seasons off following the death of his longtime on/off girlfriend, Diem Brown. Seeing fan favorite CT, now a dad, return and thrive against the competition was satisfying enough. To then have new winner, Ashley, immediately call her mom to break the news that she won was icing on the cake. It was a really humanizing moment for both of them and the most satisfying ending of the whole series.
What do you think of our list? Any endings that stick out to you as more satisfying than these? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out our list of the Top 5 Disappointing Challenge Endings!