The Challenge’s Zach Nichols says Johnny Bananas gets ‘less respect than he deserves’ from fans

the challenge star zach nichols during vendettas
The Challenge alum Zach Nichols talked about the GOAT debate involving castmates CT and Bananas. Pic credit: Paramount+

According to The Challenge and Real World star Zach Nichols, his castmate Johnny Bananas deserves more respect from fans for what he’s accomplished in MTV’s competition series.

Bananas has the most wins of any player on the show, collecting seven championships over his 21 MTV seasons. He recently returned for CBS’ The Challenge: USA Season 2 with fellow show winners Tori Deal, Wes Bergmann, and Jonna Mannion.

The spinoff show debuted last year, featuring only cast members from CBS reality TV shows such as Big Brother, Amazing Race, and Survivor.

A twist arrived for Season 2, with six MTV stars added to the cast. There are also CBS stars who have competed on MTV’s The Challenge or the first season of USA, as well as rookies new to the game.

In the season premiere, three team captains were randomly selected from the CBS stars, and they were able to draft teams, picking from the available players. Unsurprisingly, MTV stars were the first three taken.

In minor spoilers that could surprise fans, Bananas was not the top pick on USA 2 or his other recent spinoff appearance, The Challenge: World Championship.

However, that shouldn’t discredit his impressiveness on MTV’s competition series. Zach recently explained that Bananas “gets less respect than he deserves” from many in the fanbase.

Zach Nichols says Bananas had ‘roughest road’ on The Challenge

During his return appearance on the GOHT Media podcast, Zach was asked to speak about who The Challenge’s greatest player is. He talked about how there’s a “legitimate argument” for Johnny Bananas.

The GOHT podcast host said it seems all the fans immediately say Bananas is Challenge GOAT due to the number of seasons he won, but Zach disagreed.

However, he said in many other GOAT debates, such as the NBA, a player’s number of championships isn’t always what fans give them the nod for.

Zach argued if that was the case, Bill Russell should be basketball’s GOAT instead of players like Michael Jordan or LeBron James since Russell has won the most championships.

Zach also said he thinks Bananas “gets less respect than he deserves” from the fans.

“Especially online,” Zach said, mentioning that he thinks “for some reason, CT [Tamburello] resonates better with a lot of fans” in terms of likability. In addition, there’s that infamous Bananas backpack moment where CT carried Bananas like a backpack during an elimination. It continues to live on social media as a highlight for CT and a nightmare for Bananas.

“Bananas had the roughest road. What was there, like seven people who made their careers by screwing him over?” Zach said of his castmate’s path to winning seasons.

He said Bananas had had a target on his back since well before his infamous money-stealing moment on Rivals III with Sarah Rice. Zach brought up castmates Devin Walker, Tony Raine, and Sarah.

“All these people made their biggest moves by throwing him. I’ve thrown him in a couple times,” he said.

“He’s had the toughest road. He’s been through the most BS,” Zach mentioned, also bringing up how Final Reckoning took an emotional toll on Bananas.

The former Real World: San Diego star added that when he took a season off and returned, he was like a “ghost” in the house and had “no drama” with anyone.

Zach said that also helped Bananas return on Ride or Dies, allowing him and partner Nany Gonzalez to “coast” that season without much drama. The duo reached the final along with Challenge GOAT Jordan Wiseley, who was teamed with Aneesa Ferreira, rookies Olivia Kaiser and Horacio Gutierrez, and the team of Devin Walker with Tori Deal.

Bananas and Nany ended up losing in the final on a puzzle mistake, which allowed Devin and Tori to capture their first winning season.

Zach still feels CT Tamburello is The Challenge GOAT

So who does Zach feel is The Challenge GOAT? At this point, he says he’s sticking with five-time show winner CT Tamburello as his pick.

“In the 20 Challenge skills that you need to be good, I can’t think of one where he’d fall in the bottom 50,” he said of his castmate, bringing up aspects like eating, puzzles, and endurance.

Zach also called CT “the best all-around athlete” out of a small group of Challenge greats, including Wes, Jordan, and Bananas.

He said if CT played basketball or hockey against these other Challenge greats, he would be the best athlete on the hardwood, pavement, or ice. However, he praised Jordan as the best at extreme sports and long-distance running.

Zach also celebrated several of his female castmates for their athletic abilities, including Cara Maria Sorbello, who he said was his pick as female GOAT. He called it “a travesty” that she hadn’t been back on The Challenge since War of the Worlds 2 several years ago and mentioned her impressive elimination record.

His other three choices as female GOATs of the competition series may surprise fans as he picked OG Challengers Evelyn Smith and Paula Meronek, along with show winner Laurel Stucky.

The Challenge: USA 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c and Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.

Episodes of The Challenge are now streaming on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

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