Challenge Retrospective: The Ruins Awards

While we have the objective history of the Challenge in the wikias, and the show intact to look back on to see how great the olden days were, we are missing some big things: AWARDS. As a major basketball fan, my friends and I spend hours on discussing who the league MVP is, who the rookie of the year is, and who are the top players per position are. I began with Fresh Meat 1, and now done the Duel 1,Inferno 3, Gauntlet 3, the Island, and the Duel 2.

Today, I am here to talk about the Ruins. The Ruins to me was a horrible season due to one major thing, the stark difference in the male talent of the two teams. The Ruins male Champion team was: Evan, Kenny, Darrell, Derrick, Wes, Johnny, and Syrus. When Kenny and Johnny are your 5th and 6th best male athletes, it’s evident your team is stacked. Seriously, minus Syrus, those are 6 of the 10 greatest male competitors in Challenge history, all on one team, all in their physical primes. Syrus wasn’t even a slouch, we are talking about a 6'1 235 lb muscular guy who could crack skulls. The best two males on the Challenger team were Brad and Cohutta; while Brad had proven to be a top competitor in past Challenges, he was facing a whole squad of guys who had consistently kept him from winning. Cohutta was only on his second Challenge, his first real one considering the other was the Island, and he was a tiny dude who would have to face giants in eliminations where eventually raw size would determine the win.

However, the Ruins was somewhat awesome due to the creative and eclectic forms of eliminations that were pretty balanced and well designed. Rag doll, Crunch, Shadow Fighter, Burn Out, Spool, and Hog Tie were all great eliminations that I would love to see return to the show. The most drama of the show and most of the enjoyment was brought by one person, MVP of the season, ginger wunderkind Wes Bergmann. Never before have we seen one person fight his own team so much. The Ruins was you either cheered against Wes, or you cheered for him.

The Rules: I will be giving out an MVP award for both male and female competitors on the season. MVP does not just go out to the pair that won the season, but the individual competitor who brought the most to the show: physically, socially, mentally, entertainment wise, hook ups, arguments, circumstances, etc. I will be naming First Team All Challenge, and Second Team All Challenge. These will be 5 person lineups consisting of the best/most important competitors from that season using the MVP criteria, and it can be 5 guys and 0 girls, or 5 girls and 0 guys, or just 3 guys and 2 girls. It will consist of 5 competitors regardless of gender.

Rookie of the Year awards will be given to both genders, and I will also be giving awards out for Most Disappointing Players of the Season(both genders), Top Physical Competitors, and Underdog of the Season. Here we go:


Male: Wes Bergmann Female: Susie Meister
Wes was only on the Ruins for 5 episodes. Let that sink in. Judge me accordingly for naming someone that was only in 5 episodes of the season as the MVP, and now let’s detail why.

The 5 episodes that Wes was on for, he WAS THE SHOW. The teams were so lopsided, especially in the male grouping, it was not a game of could the Challengers beat the Champs, it was can the Champs find a way to cross the finish line without Wes. Before the season happened, Evan and Kenny were making calls to everyone, trying to find out who would be there in Thailand when they film the next season. Evan called Wes, who was retired from the Challenge at the time, and had not done a show in 3 years. Wes told him he was not going to be on the show.

Then they show up to the airport, and guess who is there? Wes! Evan and Wes had actually been friends, but Evan did not like that Wes lied to him. On top of that, Wes was full of grudge towards his former friend, Kenny. As the last season Kenny was on, the Island, he slept with Wes’s former love, Johanna, pretty recently from their break-up. Bros don’t do that, especially on national television. Thus, there was animosity between the two from there on, and for the Ruins, Kenny had the numbers, his two best friends in Evan and Johnny, a stable ally in Derrick, and someone who hated Wes on Fresh Meat 1 in Darrell. They were all in agreement that they should send Wes into every elimination.

Wes decided to throw daily missions, which he did on the first mission, but it didn’t even matter because the Challengers were still losing. They also decided to not play with Wes, mostly due to… fear of the cool kids who were already beating them? I guess. His relationship with KellyAnne was center stage for drama, as they threw in her best-friend Evelyn against just to mess with Wes. This led to one of the great outbursts all time, he completely got in Johnny Bananas face, and punked him a couple times. It was glorious. For those of you in the Challenge fb group: Shouts to Ray Armenta who cuts a lot of these clips for the FB group.

There was an episode where he almost got into a fight with Darrell. And what made the season even better, is that he won the first two eliminations, they gave him a break for the next two, and then he finally lost on his 9th trip ever to elimination, losing to Cohutta. It was even more ironic considering Cohutta was the ex-boyfriend of his current girlfriend, KellyAnne. The crazy thing is, if he had beat Cohutta in that elimination, I am pretty sure he would have also beat Dunbar and Brad in the following two eliminations, went to the final, an won the season having a career 11–0 elimination record and never being eliminated in three seasons. Seriously, think about it. All the eliminations that followed in the season, Wes was superior than both Brad and Dunbar in all of those events — Crunch, Rag Doll, etc.

The best part is that when Wes left the game, it took away all the scapegoats that existed. The show became a bit more of a bore, but overall he brought so much drama to the beginning of the season. The beginning of seasons is usually terrible as we have to wait for the excess fat to be trimmed from the game, but the conflict between a great player and his own team made the Ruins quite delightful, in a season that when you really think about it, was terrible.

Oh yeah, Susie is female MVP. Ummm….. She won 3 eliminations this season, and the most impressive being her victory against Kim in Rag Doll. After beating Ruthie in an elimination on the Duel 2, as well as Ibis already on the season, Kim had proven to be a tough competitor. In one of the most grueling female eliminations ever, one that included blood, Susie prevailed after over 20 minutes of wrestling a tiny rope from one another. Susie was the only Champion girl to make it to the final, and ended up getting her second Challenge win.

Rookie of the Year

Male: Chet Cannon? Female: Sarah Rice
Chet was the only male rookie on the Ruins. Sarah was one of two rookies, the other being beautiful Brianna from Real World Hollywood. Sarah had a much more lasting impact, winning two eliminations, and making it to the final of her rookie season. She also almost won the final with KellyAnne where it all came down to a final puzzle and sprint. Alas, the two girls who were basically rookies put up an incredible fight against some of the greatest males to ever play the game.

First Team All Challenge

Wes Bergmann, Susie Meister, KellyAnne Judd, Sarah Rice, Evan Starkman
After a surprising performance on the Island, KellyAnne had a great performance on the Ruins, looking as hot as ever, while winning 2 elimination, and almost winning the final with Sarah. Evan led the house alliance, aka the Mob, and everyone who needed something went to him. He never saw an elimination, and made sure Derrick and Kenny also never saw one. It helped with having Wes as public enemy #1, but Evan led his group to their next win, proving the stronghold of the JEK dynasty.

Second Team All Challenge

Cohutta Grindstaff, Kenny Santucci, Johnny Bananas, Darrell Taylor, Derrick Kosinski
None of the Challenger guys won a single elimination against the Champions, except for Cohutta. Little Cohutta tore apart Wes and OG Syrus in the Ruins, beating two men who were fairly bigger than them. He used his speed and out-skilled them. He finally lost after facing Darrell in the Ruins in Crunch where it was a sit-up contest, where one, Darrell can carry more weight, and secondly, he was a boxer who trains by doing hundreds of crunches and sit-ups. Your performance was legendary, Cohutta, you beat a man who was 8–0 in eliminations, and to that point had never been eliminated in a Challenge. Kenny was beautiful, he was an asshole to Sarah, but she was also super into him, so that was confusing. It was also his 3rd Challenge win, as well as the 3rd for Derrick “Diesel” Kosinski, who would have been league MVP if he had kicked Johnny’s ass during their late night skirmish. Johnny got his second win for doing nothing, though watching him also get his ass kicked multiple times was fun. Well he did beat Dunbar in Rag Doll, but that is kinda like doing nothing, closer to negative really. Darrell makes it for two elimination wins against Cohutta and Danny, almost got his 5th win.

Best Physical Players

Male: Derrick Kosinski Female: KellyAnne Judd
For the female competitors, this is usually the Evelyn Smith Award, but for this season she left on the second episode. If Tonya wasn’t off the wagon for the Ruins, I think she probably would have been the favorite for this award with Evelyn out, but she took herself out of the game early as well. Apparently the Champion girls were afraid of KellyAnne as an athlete, so she gets the award for this season, I guess?

For the Champs, there are a ton of able players here, so I’ve decided to give this one to Derrick. He killed the daily missions and was a chill dude. With all the strong players, I’m giving it to a guy who had never won one, and just deserved it for his years of service.

Most Disappointing Players

Male: Brad Fiorenza Female: Veronica Portillo

Honorable mention to Evelyn Smith for quitting on this season. She had some good reasoning, she did not want to beat her friend, and she was tired of contributing to getting Kenny & Johnny money. As she did on two previous Challenges already.

Veronica gets it for overall poor play. She got beat pretty badly by KellyAnne in elimination, and went into the game with a closed mindset that she could play it like she had in past games. Terrible last showing for her, and maybe she can make it up soon.

Brad gets on this list for picking a fight with Darrell when drunk. It was an ugly night, it cost Darrell his 5th title, a possible Brad finals appearance, and hey, maybe the Challengers could have won with Brad on their side. Sad to see the way how the game played out for him.

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