The Challenge: USA’s Tyson Apostol talks to Johnny Bananas about losing TJ’s final on Sudoku puzzle

the challenge usa star tyson apostol in a promo video
Survivor star Tyson Apostol appeared on Johnny Bananas’ podcast to discuss The Challenge: USA final. Pic credit: MTV’s The Challenge/YouTube

In The Challenge: USA, viewers saw multiple competitors struggle to advance through the various checkpoints in host TJ Lavin’s final in Patagonia.

Several individuals were out due to injuries or a teammate quitting, which are events they didn’t have much control over.

However, multiple competitors quit by their own decision, including one of the spinoff season’s favorites to win, Tyson Apostol.

The Survivor star outdid the competition through various daily challenges, had a strong alliance, and made strategic game moves all season to stay away from eliminations. However, the game’s top player was defeated by a numbers puzzle when it came to the final.

Sudoku ended up being the vicious last checkpoint before the finish line in TJ’s final, and the puzzle game forced four competitors to quit.

During a recent chat with seven-time Challenge champion Johnny Bananas, Tyson shared why he had to quit during that part of the final.

Tyson discusses how Sudoku caused him to quit the final

CBS’ spinoff, The Challenge: USA, recently wrapped up its 11-episode season with the presentation of the final. Two winners ultimately outlasted their castmates, and they were Survivor stars, Danny McCray and Sarah Lacina.

Several other contenders looked like they might make a serious push to the finish line, including Cayla Platt, Justine Ndiba, Domenick Abbate, and Tyson.

Unfortunately, all four finalists found themselves stuck on Sudoku, the final checkpoint they had to get past before advancing to reach the mountaintop finish line.

In his second appearance on Bananas’ Death, Taxes, and Bananas podcast, Tyson spoke more about his season of The Challenge: USA, including quitting when he did in the final.

Bananas brought up how it was Sudoku that stopped Tyson and others from getting the win for the season.

“Sodoku is something that you can only understand if you’ve done it, which is hard,” Tyson said, adding, “With other puzzles, you don’t necessarily have to have had practice on them to figure them out. With Sodoku, without instruction and without knowing what it is, you’re completely lost.”

“I knew what Sudoku was. I’d never played it, but I know the premise of the game. Dom and Justine had never played. So they were lost. They weren’t getting anything. They weren’t going to get anywhere,” Tyson shared.

He said that once he got to the final, he figured he only had to beat his castmate Danny in the race to the top of the mountain. Since it was an endurance-based task, Tyson said he was basically spending the prize money in his head as they were moving along the path towards the mountaintop.

“The only person I saw all day was Dom at the first puzzle, and then 20 or 30 minutes after at Sudoku, Danny rolls in…The second he’s like, ‘I know how to do Sudoku,’ I was like, ‘I’m done. I’m cooked. Like he knows how. I don’t know how,'” Tyson said regarding the final.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Tyson also commented about how messy the final was. He indicated that some checkpoints allowed competitors to time out without completing a puzzle. On Sudoku, Tyson said production told him and his fellow competitors at the checkpoint they needed to complete the puzzle to move on.

Bananas said he’s working on his puzzle skills for The Challenge

Ahead of Tyson mentioning his struggles with Sudoku and losing the final, Bananas gave his thoughts about The Challenge: USA final. He said he’s seen more “physically demanding” finals during his seasons, but the puzzles really stood out.

“I’ve seen more Physically demanding challenges, obviously. But dude, the amount of puzzles. It’s like, guys can we can we dial it back a bit? Or if we’re gonna do the puzzles, can we make them like a little bit easier?”

During the podcast, Bananas also mentioned that puzzles are something he plans to work on more and that Tyson even told him where to get some on Amazon.

Viewers will see the reality TV legend attempting puzzles, feats of strength, and other grueling tasks when he makes his official return on MTV’s The Challenge: Ride or Dies. Bananas will be going for his eighth championship to add to his record number of Challenge season wins, although it’s currently unknown if Sudoku is involved.

The Challenge: USA episodes are available on Paramount Plus. The Challenge: Ride or Dies premieres Wednesday, October 12, at 8/7c on MTV.

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