The first season of The Challenge: USA reached its grand finale in Episode 11, where winners were crowned as champions of the CBS spinoff.
Viewers saw cast members from CBS shows Amazing Race, Big Brother, Love Island, and Survivor amongst those vying for their share of $500,000 in prize money and a trip to the world championship tournament.
At the start of the spinoff’s finale, it was down to 11 competitors, including Tyson Apostol, Ben Driebergen, Enzo Palumbo, Domenick Abbate, and Danny McCray for the men.
For the women, the remaining competitors were Desi Williams, Sarah Lacina, Justine Ndiba, Angela Rummans, Alyssa Lopez, and Cayla Platt.
There would be another daily challenge and women’s elimination, followed by some shocking events before and during TJ Lavin’s final. It ultimately yielded two remaining competitors who completed the final and became the first-ever Challenge: USA winners.
This report will contain spoilers from Episode 11 of The Challenge: USA, which aired Wednesday, September 14, on CBS and live-streamed on Paramount Plus.
Final daily challenge and women’s elimination
Ahead of the competitors even setting foot into TJ’s final, there would be one final daily challenge. However, it took place at night to prepare everyone for the final.
The event was called Tired Out and involved a swim through cold water to get to an abandoned town, where competitors had to solve puzzles to retrieve tires and tokens worth points. The objective was to accumulate the most points at the end of a two-hour time limit.
Ultimately, Angela spent way too long on a 20-point puzzle, which she eventually solved, but other women had more points. Sarah was named the winner, along with co-winners Dom and Tyson for the men. Angela was the worst-performing competitor and went straight into the season’s final elimination.
Due to loyalties and alliances, the winners were divided about who to send in against Angela. Tyson did his best to lobby to send Cayla in, but Sarah convinced Dom they should take control and put Alyssa against Angela.
That ended up happening, as the two Big Brother allies and friends had to face off at The Arena in a classic Pole Wrestle. Unfortunately for Alyssa, she was outmatched by the more athletic Angela, who won the event in two rounds, sending her friend home.
It was a bittersweet moment for Angela, who got emotional for the first time of the season, crying due to eliminating her friend.
Competitors ousted before and during TJ’s final
The competitors arrived in Patagonia, where TJ greeted them for the start of the final. Unfortunately, he had bad news for one competitor. Ben hurt his shoulder during the Tired Out challenge. After getting checked out at the hospital, he was deemed unable to compete, so TJ and the cast bid him farewell.
Ben’s departure changed how things went in the final, which involved a series of checkpoints worth points and a race to become the first to get to the top of a mountain.
TJ revealed The Algorithm was back to assign random man and woman pairs for each checkpoint in the final. Since there was one more woman than men in the final, each round would feature one woman competing individually.
The winning team or person for a checkpoint got five points, second place got four points, and so forth. Ultimately, whoever had the most points for the men and women became the winners.
The first checkpoint brought a chilly swim through water 500 meters to reach the shore and then solve a puzzle first. Desi drew the most unfortunate partner she could for that, with Enzo not a fan of swimming.
As they attempted that task, he started yelling for help and ultimately chose to quit, getting pulled out of the water onto a rescue boat. Since he quit, Desi was automatically out of the final, and she was devastated by that.
The competitors moved through other checkpoints involving puzzle stations, such as memorizing numbers and cracking a code with a decoder wheel to solve a word puzzle.
Later, the competitors were involved in a nighttime checkpoint. One teammate could rest in a tent while the other worked to move dirt from a large pile via wheelbarrow to a square box they had to fill.
Angela was by herself for this one and eventually decided it was straining her back too much, choosing to get rest and save her energy.
However, that strategy hurt her as TJ greeted the competitors the next day. He told her since she had given up on it, she was out of the final.
Who won The Challenge: USA final?
It was down to Tyson, Dom, Danny, Sarah, Cayla, and Justine competing in the final. Things got cold and rainy, making things miserable for them.
TJ revealed their last leg of the final was a 10-mile hike up a mountain, with various checkpoints along the way. They’d need to complete each one and reach the top of the mountain to win.
A Sudoku puzzle station ended up causing Tyson, Dom, Justine, and Cayla to quit, as they were too cold and their bodies were shutting down. All four individuals gave up and lost their bank account money.
Meanwhile, Danny had already completed the puzzle and was the first to reach the top of the mountain. Sarah thought she was in last place after seeing other women complete a hexagon shape puzzle before her and take off. However, she didn’t realize that none of them did the Sudoku, which she completed.
In the end, Sarah also reached the top of the mountain. TJ informed both her and Danny that they were the two winners of The Challenge: USA and the only two individuals to complete the final. Not only do they split $500,000 in prize money, but they will now move on to compete in The Challenge World Championship tournament.
The Challenge: USA episodes are available on Paramount Plus.