The Challenge (formerly, and forever in our hearts, The Real World/Road Rules Challenge) returns for it's 25th (!!) season on Thursday, once again pitting members of MTV's repertory company of professional fighting boozebags against each other in a series of physical challenges and interpersonal betrayals. The show is trash, of course, but it can be incredibly compelling trash, and since the cast members for each season are pulled from the same slowly-replenishing pool of contestants, The Challenge can often feature some of the more compelling long-form storylines on television.
But foremost, The Challenge is about competition. Random tests of brute strength, agility, and (far more rarely) quick-thinking that, when combined with the right bullying social strategy can score you some cash prize once or twice a year. Stripping away the fights and hookups, which contestants have been the most successful at actually winning on The Challenge? That's what we set out to discover.
The methodology is pretty simple. We tallied all the competitions from every season of The Challenge since the first Battle of the Seasons. (All seasons previous to this one didn't operate as elimination competitions and thus would skew our results.) Each individual win in a competition was worth one point. In this case, an "individual" win can sometimes come while competing as a pair (as in the Rivals and Battle of the Exes seasons) or as a season-specific small team. Competitions won as part of a larger team do not count for our purposes, since it's too easy for weak players to be pulled along. (Also, winning elimination face-offs also don't count, since those are generally competitions between players chosen for their weaknesses, either interpersonally or athletically.) Additionally, winning the grand prize of a given season was worth five points. Total points were tallied up.