Tonight’s premiere of The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros puts 10 Challenge Champions up against 10 professional athletes, basically to see who is more bada**.
Lots of fan favorites are back – Johnny Bananas, CT, Veronica, Wes, Camila, Cara Maria, Darrell, Jordan, Ashley K. and Ashley M, who won the challenge last season – and they’ll have to leverage their experience in the game against their competitors’ professional advantage.
But the Champs aren’t daunted.
“Just tell me I can’t do something, and then watch me do it!” Jordan brags.
“I’ve been doing these challenges for over a decade,” CT says.
Dude, I’m not sure that’s really something to brag about. But the good news is that you can, apparently, truly make a career out of reality contest TV.
“We put together a team that thinks that they can beat you at your own game,” says host Victor Cruz, a former NFL wide receiver.
The Pros lineup is pretty intense. Not only are they physical threats, but a lot of them bring serious attitude.
Quite a few of them have hefty reality TV competition resumes themselves, even if they haven’t done The Challenge. They’re not exactly rookies going into the first heat.
Louise Hazel, a British reality TV star who has done several athletic competitions, bumps heads almost immediately with Lolo Jones, a world-champion hurdler and Olympic bobsledder, who just finished Dancing with the Stars.
Louise made it to the semifinals in Ninja Warrior UK, and won a bunch of other reality contest showe that we’ve never heard of.
I’m not sure there’s room on this team for both of their egos.
Louie Vito is a record-breaking Olympic snowboarder, and another alum of Dancing with the Stars.
Gus Kenworthy is an Olympic medalist and one of the first in professional skiing to come out of the closet.
Kamerion Wimbley is a former NFL linebacker.
Lindsey Jacobellis is a three-time medalist in Olympic snowboard cross. I don’t even know WTF that is.
Tia Blanco is a world-ranked amateur surfer.
Candice Wiggins is a retired WNBA player whose father was a pro baseball player.
Shawne Merriman is a retired, three-time Pro Bowl NFL linebacker.
CM Punk is a UFC fighter, and WWE champion.
Bahahaha! This should be interesting.
“The pros are all really scary. The pros are all twice as big,” Ashley M. says as the competition arrives.
To start, each team must elect a captain to lead the first challenge. The winning team captain wins $5k for their charity.
The losing captain heads into the elimination challenge.
“They better pack a lunch, it’s going to be a long day at the office,” Johnny Bananas says that if the pros think this is going to be easy, they have something else coming.
Lolo immediately starts talking smack to the Champs team.
The first challenge – “Against the Ropes” – requires them to cross a frame over water, by climbing on their own teammates, who are standing on tiny discs on ropes.
This week, a woman is going home.
Louise volunteers to be team captain.
“They may think I’m the polite one from England. But this is a challenge and I am a challenger,” Louise says.
I didn’t get the impression she’s polite.
Ashley M. steps up to lead the Champs.
“I’ve done this challenge before but the ropes were a little thicker, the platform was little bigger at the bottom,” Cara Maria says.
The Champs don’t like Lolo.
“She has a bigger mouth than Johnny Bananas, and that’s hard to do,” Ashley M. says.
Lolo doesn’t think much of the Champs, either. Specifically, CT.
“He has a dad bod,” Lolo says. #Ouch
In the second heat, four Champs must make it across to win, but they can’t even get enough across to tie.
Pros win their first challenge of the game.
“Maybe they were drinking before they got here,” Lindsey jokes.
“They’re like the recess champs,” Louise says.
“I’ll tip my hat, for the first time being out there and doing it,” Johnny Bananas attempts to compliment the competition, but they just laugh at him.
“They seem to be sore winners on the Pros teams,” Ashley M. says she’s not worried about the elimination challenge.
“Now is when this game gets really interesting,” host Victor says.
“Each week in this competition, there will be a double elimination,” he says.
The winning captain gets to choose somebody from her own team to go into elimination, and the team gets to choose a second person. They have an hour to decide who is doing what.
For the Pros, Candice nominates herself since she was the only one who fell, but the guys want to put names in a hat for the second choice.
Lolo immediately starts pitching a fit. She says she’s playing for HER OWN charity, like that makes it more important than everybody else’s charities.
Several of the Pros are playing for their own foundations.
“I don’t want to go against the fastest American hurdler in the world,” Lolo says.
The Champs watch them argue and have a laugh.
Louise draws Lolo’s name (on a lime) out of a hat.
She may have lied about whose name she drew, but nobody will ever know.
And now both Candice and Lolo have to compete.
Losing team captain Ashley M. has to compete. The rest of the team picks Veronica to go in with her.
“I’m the easy vote,” Veronica says, because she’s been out of the game for awhile and she doesn’t have the same relationships as the other.
“I’m basically like a born again rookie,” Veronica says.
“You got two of the strongest people on your team going head to head. Whatttt?” CT asks, questioning the Pros strategy (hint: there isn’t one).
They all go out bowling together.
Jordan is flirting with Lolo and she’s all excited about it. Apparently, she usually scares men away. I wonder why…
Johnny Bananas is giving Lolo game advice.
“You just gotta know whose feelings you’re willing to hurt more than somebody else’s,” Johnny says.
The elimination challenge is “Pull No Punches,” and the Champs have done it before.
They have to smash holes in the walls to make handholds and footholds to climb with. First to the top to ring the bell wins.
Ashley M. starts out much faster up the wall than Veronica, but then she falls off the wall and has to start over.
But Ashley M. still beats Veronica, a three-time champion, to ring the bell first and stay in the game.
Then the Pros are up.
“I think Candice is gonna get her. She’s got more hood in her,” Darrell says.
But Lolo kicks Candice’s butt. By a lot.
Then she boohoos about beating Candice. I’m thinking she’s cray-cray.
Candice and Veronica are both eliminated, but both losers leave with $1,000 for their charities.
“Yeah, Lolo’s scary as f**k,” Gus says.
“I have a feeling she’s going to come for me, because we kinda butted heads,” Gus says.
Next week, it’s going to get aggressive and physical, and Lolo will be in Louise’s crosshairs.
Things we’re left wondering
When the Champs play this game for charity, are they getting a talent fee to do the show? Because some of them can’t afford not to get paid to do reality TV.
How will professional athletes handle the typical bullying that comes with The Challenge?
Anybody want to place a bet on Lolo being the biggest drama queen on the Pros team, and possibly for the whole season?
The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on MTV.
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