The Challenge: World Championship Episode 1 recap: Legends and MVPs begin competition

The Challenge World Championship host Tj Lavin
The Challenge: World Championship host TJ Lavin at The Arena. Pic credit: Paramount+

Let the global competition begin! The Challenge: World Championship brought 16 MVPs and 14 Legends to the show who are competing to win the first-ever world championship.

The MVPs come from the four international spinoffs featuring reality TV stars from Australia, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For the USA MVPs, it’s winners Sarah Lacina and Danny McCray, along with finalists Justine Ndiba and Ben Driebergen. Australia’s MVPs are winners Kiki Morris and Troy Cullen, with competitors Grant Crapp and Emily Seebohn.

The UK’s MVPs include winners Kaz Crossley and Tristan Phipps and finalists Zara Zoffany and Nathan Henry. Heading into the World Championship’s first episode, Argentina’s MVPs were winner Claudia Albertario, along with Benja Alfonso, Rodrigo Gascon, and Sofia “Jujuy” Jimenez. 

The MVPs were introduced first, arriving in Cape Town, South Africa, to start the show. They went to a large arena to meet with the show’s four hosts: TJ Lavin (USA), Alejandro “Marley” Wiebe (Argentina), Brihony Dawson (Australia), and Mark Wright (UK).

The hosts introduced The Challenge Legends, who include the following champions: Johnny Bananas, Jordan Wiseley, Darrell Taylor, Wes Bergmann, Jonna Mannion, Yes Duffy, Tori Deal, Amber Borzotra, Kaycee Clark, and Jodi Weatherton.

The remaining Legends included finalists Nia Moore, Nelson Thomas, Theo Campbell, and KellyAnne Judd.

MVPs compete in a Qualifier event to start the game

TJ revealed that the MVPs would compete in a qualifier while the Legends sat out. It was a race with several checkpoints to test strength, stamina, and intelligence. The two losing players would go straight to elimination.

The first checkpoint involved eating and drinking disgusting foods. The hosts were cracking up, watching as competitors puked.

They used a sledgehammer to hit a weighted tire down a lane past a red line for the second checkpoint. Ben got their first with an early lead as Legends cheered him on.

At the third checkpoint, they had to get on top of a cement cylinder to roll themselves from one end of a track to the other.

The fourth checkpoint had them arrange objects from lightest to heaviest, revealing an alphanumeric code. They had to recreate the code at a solving station to move.

In one confessional scene, Theo revealed he and UK’s Kaz were in a relationship for about a year, but it ended quickly. He said they haven’t gotten along or spoken since.

Justine shared that she grew up in Congo and hadn’t returned to the area until now. 

The final checkpoint involved transporting a weighted pole from one end of a field to another. They had to raise their country’s flag to complete the qualifier.

Australia’s Grant won for the men, with Ben coming in second, Nathan in third, and Danny in fourth. For the women, UK’s Zara won, with Kaz in second. Justine was third, and Kiki in fourth.

Winners Zara and Grant were safe from elimination. The two losing players, UK’s Tristan and Argentina’s Claudia, were automatically going into elimination. TJ revealed all other MVPs were at risk of going into elimination. He also said the Legends were there to compete with the MVPs in pairs.

Competitors mingle, and alliances form at The Challenge house

Everyone went to The Challenge house to get to know each other. Bananas hosted a champagne toast. Theo joked with everyone to ensure they pop their bottles upwards, or he’ll sue them for millions. In confessional, Theo said he’s finally glad to be back on The Challenge. He’s now got a beautiful baby boy and is there competing for him.

As the cast chatted, some of the USA Legends women talked to a few other MVP women about the credentials of the various Legends men and advised them on who to partner with.

KellyAnne said in confessional she’s keeping an eye on those who have screwed her over before. UK’s Nathan talked to Australia’s Troy about an alliance between their spinoffs’ cast members.

Emily seemed to get along with Sarah and felt she would be someone good to work with. Sarah spoke to Justine and Ben. She said she wanted to stay USA strong. They felt Kaz needed to get eliminated because she didn’t really talk game to them.

Deliberation and first elimination results

TJ hosted the first deliberation meeting with only the MVPs to determine who would go into the elimination against Tristan and Claudia. He told Grant and Zara to go upstairs and sit this out. TJ revealed that Nathan was “medically separated from the game,” meaning Tristan didn’t have to go into elimination.

He dismissed Claudia to go to the room with the winners. TJ had the MVPs select two players for possible elimination. Winners Grant and Zara would decide which one faced Claudia.

Votes went to UK’s Kaz and Australia’s Kiki from the group. Argentina also chose the same players. They ended up as the popular votes. As Sarah mentioned in a confessional, the plan was to create a stalemate between the winning players to force them to choose or allow Claudia to pick her opponent.

TJ brought out Claudia, Kaz, and Kiki to The Arena. It was a stalemate vote between the two qualifier winners, so TJ revealed that Zara’s vote was the tiebreaker since it was a female elimination.

It was Argentina’s Kiki vs. Argentina’s Claudia. They competed in the classic Pole Wrestle. Things got dirty early from Kiki, as Danny mentioned in his confessional. Kiki took the first and second rounds to go up 2-0. She won the third round with her aggressive style to get back to the house. Most of the Legends men were impressed by her performance.

tj lavin at the challenge world championship arena for elimination
The Challenge: World Championship host TJ Lavin during a Pole Wrestle elimination. Pic credit: Paramount+

A new full-length trailer arrived after the first episode of the World Championship spinoff, showing some of the daily challenges, eliminations, and drama on the way.

The Challenge: World Championship episodes arrive Wednesdays on Paramount+.

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