THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Weekly Power Rankings – Week 9

If this switch hadn’t already happened before last week’s metaphorical comparative team weigh-in (especially on the men side), the individual slant of these power rankings has become less important.  The final women Jungle elimination is this week and the beginning of The Challenge: Rivals 2 finals are a little over a week away.  It is a team game in which you are only as strong as your ability to successfully minimize your most vulnerable player’s failings.  In the finals you can’t hide Cara Maria’s inability to swim, Johnny’s vomiting after three minutes of heavy cardio (lest Wes let us ever forget), #teamsubtitles communicative shortcomings, or the potential destructive power of Wes’s monster truck (well, actually the last one is entirely irrelevant).  When the final three women teams are set after this week’s Jungle (and the Zapruder Analysis concludes that it may be a disappointing week for a team with player names that rhyme with time after noon and Da Vinci’s most famous painting), the power rankings will explore a more detailed team-by-team analysis.

Despite a depleting individual emphasis, the rankings shakeup on the men side this week does tell a story.  With two straight challenge wins (including the all important choose your own fate ticket in this week’s most difficult challenge that they unabashedly dominated) and a “don’t mess with my partner” burgeoning loyalty among the former foes, CT and Wes are the frontrunners with some distance between the other two teams.  Paula and Emily, locked into the first and second slots in the rankings since Emily moved up to second in week 2, won their sixth (!) challenge this week and are decisively the team to beat on the women side.  They will either win again this week (I predict that it will be Cooke and Cara) or avoid the men vote.

Some additional thoughts on last week…

PRESTON MAGIC! – Although Preston’s New Orleans dysfunctional partnership with Knight came in last in the challenge and the Jungle (forcing their inevitable elimination this week), Preston could not have been more of a star.  Often second guessed by his teammate, his peers, and, admittedly, yours truly, his final performances earned him major “you killed it!” credibility (did you see his initial hit of CT?).  For the second straight season, Preston ends his time in a Challenge on the highest of notes, but this season, with Knight floundering (maybe he was distraught and felt useless now that CT no longer needed a bodyguard, having undertaken full-time Wes protection duty?), Preston may have been given the wrong side of the edit and our subsequent interpretation of it.  Knight, perhaps flippantly, spoke of Preston’s running abilities in his preseason interview, and in this challenge that gassed out Bananas, Marlon, and Knight, Preston strutted his cardio endurance stuff.  In subsequent seasons, I will welcome back Preston with open arms and hope that he can be finally separated from his toxic housemate, Knight.

KNIGHT – His season was a major disappointment on all fronts.  Like Dane Cook’s film career, Dexter, or Donald’s Sterling’s tenure owning the Clippers, his is an act that has gone on far too long.

ROOKIE SUCCESS STORY – I will touch more on this in next week’s finals preview, but the Jordan and Marlon’s road to the finals could not be more impressive.  With two clutch wins in the final two men eliminations, early Jungle avoidance through strong political work, courageous and unpopular decision-making (who can forget Theresa’s charge of betrayal), and some incredible feats of athleticism, Jordan and Marlon are already the most successful rookie team in Challenge history (sorry last year’s Team San Diego who just had easier competition) and they have a legitimate shot to win the finals.  Congratulations to you both.

JENGA discussion – In a desire for objectivity and fairness, I argued that Wes and CT had the overall advantage in their epic battle with Johnny Bananas this week.  However, Frank’s point, while playing Jenga with Paula, was that such a defeat may have provided some much needed motivation for Johnny’s pursuit of a fifth title.  It will be interesting to see how, in challenge this week that has little to no consequence unless TJ throws us for another gameplay bit of sorcery, Johnny bounces back.

Without further hesitation…Here are the individual and team rankings after week 9 heading into the final women elimination…

RIVALS 2 INDIVIDUAL POWER RANKINGS

 NOTE: the rankings will again be based on my un Zach Lowe-like analysis/sabermetrics method known as “My subjective experience and observations watching all 24 seasons of the show.”  Weight will be given to how well teams and individuals do on competitions, on strategy and in the social game, and whether he or she is a “good competitor.” 

THE MEN

1. CT (9th season, last week: 2)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2 (although one was handed to them)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine

2. Johnny Bananas (9th season, last week: 1)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria

3. Wes (8th season, last week: 5)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2 (although one was handed to them)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine

4. Frank (2nd season, last week: 4)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria

5. Jordan (Rookie season, last week: 3)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi/Cara Maria), 1 (Jasmine/Theresa), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 3 (Jemmye/Camila), 2 (Paula/Emily), 2 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine

JUNGLE: Beat Leroy and Ty in Week 7, Beat Preston and Knight in Week 9

6. Marlon (Rookie season, last week: 6)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi/Cara Maria), 1 (Jasmine/Theresa), 2 (Nany/Jonna), 3 (Jemmye/Camila), 2 (Diem/Aneesa), 2 (Paula/Emily)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine

JUNGLE: Beat Leroy and Ty in Week 7, Beat Preston and Knight in Week 9

ELIMINATED

7. Leroy (3rd season, last week: 7)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Theresa/Jasmine), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna, Aneesa and Diem

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 7

JUNGLE: Beat Zach and Trey (DQ) in Week 5, Lost to Jordan and Marlon in Week 7

8. Preston (2nd season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Paula/Emily), 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Jonna and Nany

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 3 (DQ), Week 9

JUNGLE: Beat Derek and Robb Week 3, Lost to Jordan and Marlon Week 9

9. Ty (4th season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Theresa/Jasmine), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna, Aneesa and Diem

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 7

JUNGLE: Beat Zach and Trey (DQ) in Week 5, Lost to Jordan and Marlon in Week 7

10. Knight (2nd season, last week: 7)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Paula/Emily), 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Jonna and Nany

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 3 (DQ), Week 9

JUNGLE: Beat Derek and Robb Week 3, Loss to Jordan and Marlon Week 9

11. Trey (2nd season, last week: 11)

12. Zach (2nd season, last week: 12)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 5

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria

JUNGLE: DQ against Leroy and Ty

13. Derek (3rd season, last week: 13)

14. Robb (2nd season, last week: 14)

VOTES AGAINST: 8 (Emily/Paula [2], Ana/Jess, Camila/Jemmye [2], Sarah/Trishelle, Diem/Aneesa [2])

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

JUNGLE: Beat Tyrie and Dunbar Week 1, Lost to Knight and Preston Week 3

15. Dunbar (6 season, last week: 15)

16. Tyrie (6th season, last week: 16)

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 1

JUNGLE: Lost to Derek and Robb Week 1

THE WOMEN

1. Paula (10th season, last week: 1)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Knight and Preston, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 6

2. Emily (3rd season, last week: 2)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Knight and Preston, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 6

3. Diem (7th season, last week: 3)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

4. Cooke (Rookie season, last week: 4)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Zach/Trey), 3 (Johnny/Frank), 2 (Knight/Preston), 2 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Marlon and Jordan, Johnny and Frank, Knight and Preston, Johnny and Frank

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2, Beat Nany and Jonna in Week 8

5. Jemmye (2nd season, last week: 5)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

JUNGLE: Beat Theresa and Jasmine in Week 6

6. Aneesa (9th season, last week: 6)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

7. Camila (5th season, last week: 7)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

JUNGLE: Beat Theresa and Jasmine in Week 6

8. Cara Maria (6th season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Zach/Trey), 3 (Johnny/Frank), 2 (Knight/Preston), 2 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Marlon and Jordan, Johnny and Frank, Knight and Preston, Johnny and Frank

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2, Beat Nany and Jonna in Week 8

UNFAIRLY SENT HOME

9. Sarah (7th season, last week: 13)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Derek/Robb, CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

FACT: Sarah continues to climb in the power rankings and has not been on the show in over a month.

ELIMINATED

10. Nany (2nd season, last week: 7)

VOTED FOR: Knight and Preston, Marlon and Jordan, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty), 1 Knight/Preston)

11. Jonna (3rd season, last week: 8)

VOTED FOR: Knight and Preston, Marlon and Jordan, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty), 1 Knight/Preston)

12. Jasmine (4th season, last week: 7)

13. Theresa (4th season, last week: 8)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1 (although it was handed to them)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty), 1 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Leroy and Ty, Leroy and Ty

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 4 DQ

JUNGLE: Lost to Jemmye and Camila in Week 6

14. Jessica (Rookie season, last week: 14)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 2

JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2

LEFT THE SHOW

15. Naomi (2nd season, last week: 15)

ELIMINATED

16. Anastasia (Rookie season, last week: 16)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 2

JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2

QUIT

17. Trishelle (4th season, last week: 17)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Derek/Robb, CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

RIVALS 2 TEAM RANKINGS

Note: Team rankings are compiled by averaging the two individual rankings.  Teams with the lowest total average rankings are ranked better than the highest (i.e. you want as few points as possible).  First tiebreaker goes to number of total past wins.  Second tiebreaker goes to years of experience.

1. Paula and Emily – Team Average: 1.5, last week: 1.5

2. CT and Wes – Team Average: 2, last week: 3.5

3. Johnny and Frank – Team Average: 3, last week: 2.5

4. Diem and Aneesa – Team Average: 4.5, last week: 4.5

5. Marlon and Jordan – Team Average: 5.5, last week: 4.5

6. Camila and Jemmye – Team Average: 6, last week: 6

7. Cooke and Cara Maria – Team Average: 6, last week: 6

NO LONGER WITH US…

8. ELIMINATED: Ty and Leroy – Team Average: 8, last week: 7.5

9. ELIMINATED: Knight and Preston – Team Average: 9, last week: 7.5

10. ELIMINATED: Nany and Jonna – Team Average: 10.5, last week: 9.5

11. ELIMINATED: Zach and Trey – Team Average: 11.5, last week: 7.5

12. ELIMINATED: Sarah and Trishelle – Team Average: 13, last week: 15

13. ELIMINATED: Jasmine and Theresa – Team Average: 12.5, last week: 7.5

14. ELIMINATED: Derek and Robb – Team Average: 13.5, last week: 12.5

15. ELIMINATED: Anastasia and Jessica – Team Average: 15, last week: 14.5

16. ELIMINATED: Dunbar and Tyrie – Team Average: 15.5

LEFT THE SHOW: Naomi

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ power rankings will post weekly starting on July 10.

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