Former show winner Zach Nichols recently named his all-time five-person team for competing in The Challenge.
Zach, 35, has been to several finals during his career, with the one win on his resume coming during his rookie season.
That was alongside his Real World castmates on Battle of the Seasons in 2012, including Frank Sweeney, Sam McGinn, and Ashley Kelsey.
Through his eight seasons on the show, he’s developed plenty of friends in the game and even gotten married to one, who is a fellow finalist.
He’s also remained a fan of the competition series, admitting he’s watched the show from afar to see how his castmates and the newcomers perform.
That gives him some expertise when selecting five individuals to compete on an “all-time” team of players in their prime.
Zach Nichols reveals his all-time ‘starting five’ for The Challenge
During an appearance on the GOHT Media podcast, Zach talked about his career in reality television, which started with MTV’s The Real World: San Diego and continued onto The Challenge.
As mentioned, he won BOTS in 2012 and returned to three other finals: Free Agents, Vendettas, and War of the Worlds 2.
WOTW 2 was his last appearance in many years, prompting a question about whether he’ll ever return to The Challenge. Based on his reply, he and Jenna will likely return to The Challenge at some point, although it’s unclear when and whether it will be on a spinoff version of the show or the main version on MTV.
Another question arose regarding who Zach would choose from The Challenge in their prime as part of his all-time “starting five” to compete on the show.
He immediately said he’d include himself on that five-person team before revealing two men and two women to join him.
For the men on his team, Zach named five-time show winner Chris “CT” Tamburello and three-time winner Jordan Wiseley.
Regarding the women on his squad, he chose Laurel Stucky, who many fans would agree is a beast on the show. However, his final answer was his wife, Jenna Compono.
“I’m gonna take my wife because even though she can’t eat, besides that, she’s fearless. You’ll be like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna jump off this cliff in the middle of the night,’ and she’ll just be like, ‘Okay,'” Zach said.
“If you get her to a final, there’s no one better in the final unless there’s a ton of eating,” he said, adding, “She won’t stop…and she won’t complain and will never quit.”
Zach named several of his most underrated Challengers
He admitted that his third choice for a woman on his team would be another beast from the show, two-time winner Cara Maria Sorbello. However, fans probably realize there’s a standing rivalry between Cara and Laurel from their time on and off the show, which might make it hard for them to work together on the same team.
He revealed several castmates he feels are underrated in The Challenge world: former finalist Hunter Barfield, who is a “freak athlete,” and recent show winner Devin Walker. Those were in addition to his castmate Frank, whom he puts on a similar level as Jordan in the competition.
Zach also had high praise for Nany Gonzalez, who he said has grown considerably as a Challenger over her time on the show. Nany is also one of Jenna’s good friends, alongside Kailah Casillas, as the three women are part of the famous “Holy Trinity” group on The Challenge.
He mentioned that Nany used to “freak out” when it came to puzzles but now seems to be able to handle them just fine, saying that as cast members appear on the show more, they gain experience in their abilities.
Zach revealed castmate he can’t stand on The Challenge but gets along with off the show
Interestingly, Zach’s conversation on the GOHT Media podcast also discussed other castmates he’s worked with on the show, including one he says can be difficult during The Challenge.
Unsurprisingly for many fans, that castmate is two-time finalist Paulie Calafiore. He said most people watching him on the show probably think, “Dude, you’re a lunatic. Something’s wrong with you.”
“Off the show, me and him have always gotten along. He played pro soccer, so I respected him for that aspect. Me and Cara we have like a checkered past, but I still have love for her. She’s one of my good friends,” Zach shared.
“I get it, dude. You wanted to run the show, but you ran our team like into the ground,” he said.
Zach appeared with him during that infamous War of the Worlds 2 season, where Paulie and his girlfriend Cara orchestrated an alliance with others in the cast, including several individuals on Team UK.
Zach said that during that season, he told Paulie he was just there to collect the check to appear on the show and wouldn’t get involved in politics. Due to that, Paulie didn’t go after Zach and vice versa.
They reached the final with other Team USA castmates, including Kam Williams, Leroy Garrett, Ashley Mitchell, and “Ninja” Natalie Duran. That final included Paulie collapsing on the ground due to lacking endurance.
The USA team ultimately came up short of winning the final, losing to Team UK, which unsurprisingly had two of Zach’s “all-time” competitors, Jordan and CT.
The Challenge: World Championship episodes arrive Wednesdays on Paramount Plus.