The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion features cast members who have yet to win a season trying to win their first.
However, as TJ Lavin revealed in a twist: “To be the best, you have to beat the best.”
With that, champions have arrived at The Arena for one episode to battle a cast member in an elimination.
A win for the champion eliminates the Season 39 cast member, and the champ leaves with $10,000 of the cast’s prize money.
A cast member win keeps them in the game, saves that $10,000, and gives some bragging rights that they beat a champ.
While several cast members have defeated champions, critics have argued that it happened in non-physical events that didn’t show the champs’ strengths.
Among those critics is former show winner Zach Nichols, which prompted Season 39’s Ravyn Rochelle to respond about the eliminations.
Zach Nichols calls out Season 39 eliminations
During the Zach Nichols Podcast, Zach spoke about Michele Fitzgerald’s recent win in a Season 39 elimination over two-time champ Cara Maria Sorbello.
Zach called it a “great win” for Michele but also added, “She did have all the help in the world,” referring to cast members from the stands helping her out.
“People are excited because these last two elimination rounds give this season credibility that they want…’Oh, Laurel and Cara lost.’ Well, look at the elimination rounds, and anyone could have won or lost those, but there was crowd help, right? So Season 39 cast won these last two elimination rounds,” Zach said.
“Did Michele beat Cara 100 percent? No, Season 39 cast did. Same thing with Laurel [Stucky],” he said, referring to Episodes 11 and 12.
“You wasted the money to fly them there. You housed them. You fed them while they were there. Give them something that we’re gonna remember,” Zach said about the champs.
Zach explained he doesn’t necessarily care who wins the eliminations in Season 39, although he’s rooting for the champs.
He mentioned that he felt the cast members were being “cheated” in a sense, saying, “If I’m gonna beat Darrell, I want to beat him in something bada**.”
In Episode 10, Darrell went against Kyland Young in Fire Walker, a mostly non-physical event involving balancing on hanging platforms. Zach previously called out Darrell’s elimination appearance on the show, suggesting production should’ve given him a more physical event.
Ravyn reacts to Zach’s comments and suggests elimination was switched
As Zach’s podcast remarks surfaced online, it brought Season 39’s Ravyn to comment on the situation. Viewers saw her go against Laurel in Episode 11, and the two battled in an event featuring colored chain links and arranging colored pegs in the correct order.
Ravyn had help from several castmates watching from the stands, while Laurel did not. Ultimately, it helped Ravyn ensure she got the correct sequence for her pegs first. Laurel acknowledged there were cast members helping Ravyn but said she didn’t care.
She was also gracious in her loss, praising Ravyn for defeating her. If Laurel had any complaints about the cast helping out, they weren’t shown during The Arena footage.
Ravyn suggested in her tweet that Season 39 isn’t about showcasing the champions but rather the main cast members, which is why the eliminations weren’t all physical.
A fan asked why returning champ Kaycee Clark received a Pole Wrestle for her elimination event rather than a puzzle. Ravyn said there was speculation that it was originally supposed to be Darrell’s event.
“Tbh, we think Darrel was supposed to get pole wrestle & kaycee was supposed to have the fire challenge but they switched it last minute on kaycees day bc it was raining,” Ravyn speculated.
If that’s true, it might have meant Big T Fazakerley would defeat Kaycee in a puzzle, while Darrell might’ve eliminated Kyland in a much more physical event.
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.