The Challenge: Rivals II Preview

rivals II

Last week the cast for The Challenge: Rivals II was released in an US Weekly exclusive.  (Unfortunately for US Weekly the cast list had already been circulating around online, which makes it a pretty standard tabloid exclusive).  Despite the fact that this news wasn’t all that exclusive, and the fact that the show doesn’t debut for over a month, (July 10th) I was still super excited when I found out.  While my love for The Real World has faded over the years, and blogging this season has taught me that I really may just be getting too old to watch a full season, I still f*cking love the challenges.  That being the case, I decided to put together my Rivals 2 season preview a little early.  I’m going to assess each team based on their physical game, political game, and team chemistry, and then rank them in order from weakest to strongest.  I’ll start with the guys teams.

Team #8: Wes and CT


Physical Game: 9

Political Game: 2

Team Chemistry: 1

Evaluation:  Both guys have a history as great physical competitors, even if they did both burn out the last time they had to run a final (Kenny literally carried Wes part way up a mountain on the first season of rivals, and cigarette clogged lungs hampered CT during ex’s).  Unfortunately for this team physical is all they’ve really got in this show.  All signs point to Johnny Banana’s running the show again this season, and he has never hidden his distaste for either of these guys.  I predict they will be picked to go into elimination early and often, and will have to find a way to work together to save themselves.  Also, as we saw during the first season of rivals, the teams that did the best were the one’s without any real animosity left between them.  Unless these guys made up at some point off camera, they definitely still have bad blood, and should have trouble working together.  They are also both chronic DQer’s. who fail to listen to the rules for each game, that fact could prove especially harmful on a show full of people gunning for them.  I can see these two winning a few eliminations and sticking around for a while, but it would take a miracle to get these guys into another final.


Team #7: Dunbar and Tyrie


Physical Game: 5

Political Game: 3

Team Chemistry: 5

Evaluation:  The above picture is the only one I could find with both Tyrie and Dunbar in it, I think that’s a good representation of how strong of a rivalry this is.  I’ve watched every season of The Challenge, (some more than once) and was still forced to look online to figure out what beef Dunbar and Tyrie had ever had with each other.  What I found, (courtesy of Wikipedia) was that the two had a little spat during The Island when Tyrie called out Dunbar for getting the key from Abe instead of earning it.  I think Dunbar and Tyrie both agreed to do the show, but neither one of them really has a male rival, so the producers decided to just stick them together.  I think enough has been said in the past about Tyrie and his prowess on these shows.  He’s almost always one of the first people to go, and seems to just get sh*t on the entire time he does manage to stay on a show, but for reasons that aren’t entirely clear decides to come back time and time again.  I’ve decided Dunbar is the male version of Cara Maria.  On paper both of them look good, but they both chronically under-perform physically, and get overwhelmed mentally/emotionally and end up isolating themselves from the rest of the house.  On a side note, how come they never talk about Dunbar’s porn history. (He was on the Playboy TV’s series Foursome, and had sex on camera.  Fun fact, Pumkin from Flavor of Love was also in this episode, but didn’t get to do the deed with Dunbar).  I guess they may talk about it and just can’t show it on camera, could be why he hates everyone, these are the questions I need answers to.  But anyways, the only way I see this team sticking around is to keep a “weak” team around for later eliminations.  There’s a good chance they will be the first one’s with plane tickets back home.

Team #6: Jordan and Marlon


Physical Game: 9.5

Political Game: 4

Team Chemistry: 3.5

Evaluation:  Physically this seems like a really strong team, which is what will spell trouble for them.  I could see Jordan being a challenge legend with his combined affinity for extreme and endurance sports.  (Apparently he was running 9 miles a day while in Portland).  Marlon is certainly no slouch either with his history as a stand out division one football player.  I think the combination of being viewed as a threat, being rookies, and Jordan’s tendency to get into fights will cause them problems.  With Johnny back running things, the “rookies go home first” method of playing this game should be back in full effect.  This is another team that is going to need to win some elimination rounds if they want to stay in the house for long.

Team #5: Knight and Preston:


Physical Game: 3

Political Game:  3

Team Chemistry: 4

Evaluation:  This team just doesn’t look especially strong in any area.  The only thing that can really keep them around for long is if Knight’s alliance with Frank from Battle of the Season’s somehow continues on this show.  Knight rubbed quite a few people the wrong way during his challenge debut last season, and neither guy is a great physical specimen, (to say the least) so if they don’t get into an alliance quick this team should be toast.  They’re definitely not best friends either, (even though they did take a bath together once) so I’m aiming low with my expectations, probably one of the first teams to go.

Team #4: Derek and Robb


Physical Game: 4.5

Political Game: 6

Team Chemistry: 5

Evaluation:  Both guys are decent when it comes to the competitions.  Robb seems like he should be able to perform better, but we saw him struggle some during Battle of the Seasons as a result of his smoking habit.  These guys have a fairly large group of friends in his game which is why I have them placed as high as I do.  Jonna and Jasmine (from Derek’s season, Real World Cancun) are on The Challenge again this season, and these guys were both part of Frank’s alliance on Battle of the Seasons.  I don’t see these guys having any real issues working together.  Their fight was caused by an extremely drunk Robb defending his teammate Marie (who was treating everyone in the house like sh*t prior to their elimination round).  I think Robb probably realized right around the time that he ripped his shirt off and everyone laughed that this fight was not a good idea.  I don’t see any issues from last season carrying over into Rivals II.

Team #3: Ty and Leroy


Physical Game: 9

Political Game: 7

Team Chemistry: 7

Evaluation:  On paper this looks like a really strong team, and they have quite a few friends in the house, their biggest problem could end up being that they are viewed as too big of a threat.  Also, this team looks really good physically, but Ty is always a wild card.  He seemed to finally have his act together for Battle of the Ex’s, but if the old Ty (who falls and can’t get up during eliminations) showed up to this challenge they could have problems.  Ty could also be their weak link politically, but I think he has, at least somewhat, moved past his need to get under people’s skin.  Ty seemed to have matured by the end of Battle of the Ex’s, and both guys bring strong alliances into the game (Emily and Paula for Ty,  Naomi and Cooke for Leroy). This is another team that I don’t see having any real trouble getting along.  The “fight” between these two was on the first season of Rivals, when Ty antagonized Adam (Leroy’s partner) until he finally punched him and got sent home.  The result of this fight was Leroy getting a new partner, (his friend Mike) and ending up in the finals on his first challenge, so I don’t really see any lingering bad blood between these two.

Team #2: Zach and Trey

trey    zach

(I couldn’t find a picture of these two together, probably a good indication of how much of a “rivalry” they had.  So I decided to just include shirtless pictures of both of them, you’re welcome).

Physical Game: 8.5

Political Game: 8

Team Chemistry: 2

Evaluation:  Physically these guys should be able to hang with pretty much anyone.  Zach is huge, and while we didn’t get to see too much of Trey on his first challenge, I don’t think the physical aspect will be his downfall.  The test for this team will be whether or not these guys can compete together, and not try to kill each other.  Zach seemed to genuinely dislike Trey during their brief interaction on Battle of the Seasons, (even though it’s not entirely clear why) and both guys blood seems to run a little warm, so that could be an issue.  This teams greatest strength should be the fact that Zach was Frank’s right hand man during their last challenge (although the pair struggles to get along sometimes).  As long as Frank doesn’t decide to through Zach under the bus, (which is entirely possible) this team should be able to get to the final based on physical ability and a strong alliance.

Team #1: Johnny and Frank




Physical Game: 9

Political Game: 10

Team Chemistry: 3

Evaluation:  While I would look to see this team get upset I’m predicting a three-peat for Johnny Banana’s (he’s won the last two challenges he was a part of).  This season lines up nicely for Johnny to have control of the house, and make sure his team coasts through to the final.  Both of these guys have plenty of friends here to build a strong alliance, although it will be interesting to see how former Johnny Banana’s groupie Camila feels about him after their somewhat awkward appearance on the Battle of the Ex’s reunion show.  Both guys are strong in all areas of competition as well (both physical and mental).  The only thing that can really throw this team off is if these two big personalities simply can’t find a way to get along.  (There is also always the small chance of an underdog alliance coming up and dethroning Johnny, but that seems unlikely with this cast).  There’s really no way to know how these guys will be once they are put in a room together, since their only interaction thus far has been a Twitter beef after Johnny wasn’t cast on Battle of the Season’s.  The way I see things right now, this team definitely makes it to the final, and probably brings home the victory to add to Johnny’s total as the wealthiest challenge competitor in the shows history.

Girls Teams:

Team #8: Anastasia and Jessica



Physical Game: 3

Political Game: 3

Team Chemistry: 2

Evaluation:  Just want to start off by saying it would have been a lot more fun seeing Nia and Averey in this spot, but oh well.  I see these two being weak in basically all aspects of the game, and being the sacrificial rookies who go home first.  Neither girl seems particularly athletic, but Jessica does have a background in extreme sports, (dirt bike racing, sky diving) that could help them some.  According to the roommates Jessica got on people’s nerves in the Portland house incredibly quickly, and unless she’s gone through a major personality overhaul that could happen again on this show.  Being annoying and a weak competitor is never a good way to stick around on these shows long, add to that the fact that these two really don’t like each other and I think we’re looking at the perfect storm for an early exit.

Team #7: Jasmine and Theresa



Physical Game: 4

Political Game: 5

Team Chemistry: 4

Evaluation:  Apparently Jasmine predicted this partnership on a potential Rivals II after their fight during the first Rivals season, so good job Jasmine.  Honestly there are a lot of average to below average girls teams on this season that I could have put here.  I mostly selected this team first because Theresa annoys me, but I could see them going home anywhere from first to mid-season.  Both girls are pretty average to slightly below average in competition, and neither really has tons of friends in the house to help them build an alliance.  (I guess Jonna and Jasmine are friends, it’s not always clear, and Theresa doesn’t really have any friends to speak off on the show).  I don’t see these two really having that much trouble getting along, even though their fight was a challenge classic that involved Jasmine punching a mirror while in full Rashida mode.  Their fight started out as a fight between their partners, Jonna and Camila, on Rivals I, which was started when Camila couldn’t remember Jonna’s name. (I love Camila, she’s the best).  Overall not too excited about this team, on to the next one.

Team #6: Cooke and Naomi



Physical Game: 5

Political Game: 4

Team Chemistry: 3

Evaluation: And another team I’m not too excited about.  Ok, truth time, I didn’t watch the second Las Vegas season that both these girls were on, and they only have one challenge between the two of them, so it’s hard for me to really give an accurate evaluation.  I know next to nothing about Cooke, but after reading up some, apparently she was a very accomplished collegiate soccer player, so she may be able to make up for some of Naomi’s weakness in competition.  The advantage for these girls is they have a lot of people from their season on the show with them (Leroy and Nany are here too, so half of their cast).  The problem is I’m not sure they have a great relationship with their former cast members, (Naomi and Leroy’s relationship is complicated at best) so I don’t know if having them around will help much.  Finally, these two seem to have some pretty genuine bad feelings towards each other from their season (apparently Naomi tried to band the house against Cooke, after she arrived as a replacement for Adam Royer).  This is another team I see going home anywhere from the first one’s out, to managing to stay under the radar, and ride Cooke’s athletic ability to a mid-season  exit.

Team #5: Nany and Jonna




Physical Game: 5

Political Game: 6.5

Team Chemistry: 5

Evaluation: These girls are both small, but they’re fighters.  If things line up right I could see this team getting into the final, if they don’t, I could see them going home in the first couple of episodes.  Jonna used Zach to “sleep her way into the final,” on Battle of the Season’s according to Nany, but that relationship could benefit them both this time around so I wouldn’t be so quick to put it down.  The “rivalry” between these two essentially consisted of off camera trash talk by Nany, so I don’t see them having too much  trouble working together.  Overall a decent team, we’re working our way into the better competitors now.

Team #4: Diem and Aneesa



Physical Game: 6

Political Game: 7

Team Chemistry: 6

Evaluation:  Another spot where there were a couple of teams to choose from, ultimately ended up going this way because I’m not sure where Diem will be physically following her second bout with ovarian cancer.  When she’s healthy Diem is one of the best female competitors there is.  Aneesa, on the other hand, well hey, she tries hard.  Alliance wise this team should be in good shape, they’ve both been around for a long time, and Diem has been a sentimental favorite for years.  It will be interesting to see if Diem is willing to immediately side against CT, and work with Johnny and the strong house alliance.  They had to go all the way back to the first season of The Duel to come up with this rivalry, (Diem lost to Aneesa in a game of “I can” after Aneesa said she wouldn’t call her into the duel.  On a side note, Diem is a horrible estimator) so I don’t see a ton of bad blood remaining between these two.  I’d love to see this team win, it would be great for Aneesa to finally get a victory, and it would be nice for Diem to win one too, after coming so close during Battle of the Ex’s.  Ultimately, I just don’t see this team being able to pull off a win physically.  Aneesa has always struggled in finals, and she’s certainly not getting any younger, and Diem’s second round of cancer can’t have helped her physical conditioning any either.  I see this team doing well, but probably falling just short of the final.

Team #3: Camila and Jemmye



Physical Game: 6.5

Political Game: 7

Team Chemistry: 5

Evaluation: I love Camila, I know I mentioned it already, but she is f*cking nuts and always makes every show she’s on more entertaining.  (I feel like we really got cheated by not having an actual season of the Real World with Camila).  In addition to be crazy, Camila is also one of the best female competitors The Challenge has ever seen.  The wild card here is Jemmye.  When Camila has a strong partner (such as Johnny Banana’s during ex’s) she can easily win a final.  When she has a weak team, (like the one for Battle of the Seasons) she can end up going home in the first couple of episodes.  Jemmye actually did better than I expected during her only previous challenge appearance, so I think they could do ok here.  They look like one of the teams that could make it to the finals.  Camila is generally not great at getting along with people, but if she has an alliance with Johnny that should be all this team needs to get far in the game.  Jemmye brings in her own strong alliance, in the form of ex-boyfriend Knight, so politically this team should be in good shape.  The “rivalry” between these two was the result of two drunk chicks involving themselves in a fight that had nothing to do with them (a Camila specialty).  I don’t see these two having a lot of trouble getting along during competition, once the liquor starts flowing things might be different though.

Team #2: Sarah and Trishelle



Physical Game: 8

Political Game: 7.5

Team Chemistry: 7

Evaluation: The mental/political part of the game is definitely this teams strong suit.  Both girls are very good at playing the game, and I’m excited to see Trishelle back again for a second straight challenge after a long absence.  Physically Trishelle let me down a little bit during Battle of the Seasons, but she and Dustin managed to pull out a second place finish in the final, so I think this team might be ok if they can get to the end.  (On a side note, Chet and Sarah would have easily won Battle of the Season’s as a two person team.  I’m sure they are still kicking themselves for not trying harder to get rid of JD and Devyn before the final).  The beef between these two seemed to have been squashed before the end of Battle of the Season’s, so I don’t think working together should be a problem for these two.  They aren’t the strongest team physically, but if puzzles come into play in the final, (which they always do) I could potentially see this team winning the whole thing.

Team #1: Emily and Paula



Physical Game: 10

Political Game: 9

Team Chemistry: 9

Evaluation: Honestly any other female team winning this challenge would come as a shock to me.  The only female team that I have complete confidence in their ability to really run a final, the only thing that could possibly trip them up is a puzzle that costs them a lot of time.  I think Emily may physically be the strongest female competitor in challenge history (Rachel and Evelyn are the only other two I’d really even consider).  In addition to that she’s incredibly likeable, (aside from that regrettable black face incident) and she has strong alliances with other cast members from past seasons.  Paula has proven she can run a final, (something not a ton of female competitors can do) and she is generally good in competition, despite her fear of heights. Paula has also done a ton of these shows, which means she’s built a lot of friendships over the years, most notably with Johnny Banana’s.  This teams beef is supposed to be from Paula sending Emily and Ty into the elimination round during Battle of the Ex’s, and from Paula’s fling with Emily’s ex, Ty, during the same season.  I don’t really see these two still harboring any ill will towards each other, especially when it’s clear that as long as they work together they are the obvious favorites on the women’s side of this challenge.

So there you have it, my rankings of all 16 teams for this upcoming season of The Challenge: Rivals II.  I haven’t looked at any rumors/spoilers, so these predictions could be totally wrong, but generally these shows aren’t that hard to figure out, so I feel pretty good about my selections.  Feel free to let me know any of your predictions, and I’ll see you after the premiere on July 10th to recap the early action.

Thoughts/Questions/Comments?  Feel free to contact me via email – or on Twitter – @NoOneGoesToClev.

One thought on “The Challenge: Rivals II Preview

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Hottest (literally) Season in Challenge History (The Challenge: Rivals II Premiere Recap) | No One Goes To Vacation In Cleveland

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