The Greatest Male Players in Challenge History: #6- Wes Bergmann
19 Seasons: Fresh Meat (3rd place), The Duel (Win), The Ruins, Fresh Meat II, Rivals (2nd place), Battle of the Exes, Battle of the Seasons, Rivals II (Win), Battle of the Exes II, Rivals III, Champs vs. Pros (3rd place), Champs vs. Stars, Champs vs. Stars 2 (3rd place), War of the Worlds (3rd place), War of the Worlds 2, Total Madness, Double Agents, All Stars 3 (Win), World Championship
20–10 Elimination Record
41 Challenge Wins
Daily Challenges- 9/10
Nobody in Challenge history has had a more up-and-down career than Wes Bergmann.
While the highs of Wes’ career have been very high, the lows have also been very low, which makes him one of the hardest players to assess in these rankings.
Wes is the elimination king with 20 career victories, including dragging Casey to five exile wins on Fresh Meat, an excruciating victory over Derrick in Pole Wrestle on The Duel (which in my opinion is the greatest elimination of all-time), and a perfect 5–0 record in the Champs vs. series.
But there’s also a reason he was in so many eliminations.
I don’t fault him for going in five times on Fresh Meat because he was an easy scapegoat for being from the Real World: Austin cast, or for being targeted first on Battle of the Seasons in a game full of rookies, but his political games on The Ruins, Fresh Meat II and Exes were downright horrendous.
Although he was never going to be high on the totem pole with JEK and Derrick around on The Ruins, he didn’t make it any easier on himself by not telling anyone he was coming on the show, trying to throw the first mission and constantly blowing up on people in the house.
On Fresh Meat II he and Evelyn had an army of followers, but a series of miscues (including sacrificing Danny and protecting Jenn and Ryan over the people solidly in his alliance) coupled with Kenny and Laurel’s dominance caused his game to implode.
On Exes, he bizarrely declared war on Bananas when he and Camila were the power couple, leading to Wes/Mandi going into the first two eliminations.
And on World Championship, he outsmarted himself by not drinking the smoothie, leading to his and Zara’s elimination.
But at its peak, Wes’ political game has been downright diabolical. His Exes II political game is one of the best in the history of the show, as he had nearly every team thinking he was their tight ally.
He had strong alliances with Sarah, Zach and the rookies, and his move to mindfuck Leroy and convince him to send in Zach was an absolute thing of beauty.
His next best political game came on War of the Worlds, where he was able to get his nemesis Bananas eliminated second, tried (mostly in vain) to break up the UK alliance, and only saw one elimination the entire season.
On The Duel he smartly aligned with the people at the bottom of the totem pole (Nehemiah, Beth, Svetlana and Aneesa) and convinced Evan to agree to face CT, guaranteeing one of the two best competitors would go home. On Rivals II his relationship with the girls helped keep him and CT out of elimination for the entire season.
As a competitor, Wes is clearly the elimination king of The Challenge and is one of the best swimmers of all time, but for the most part he hasn’t been elite in daily challenges and has had some bad cardio performances, most notably in his Fresh Meat II exile and in the Rivals final (although he and Kenny were screwed out of a championship by having their huge lead after the first day get whittled down to just a minute on the second day).
Even some of his best competitive seasons are easy to nitpick. Carrying Casey to five elimination wins on Fresh Meat looks incredibly impressive, until you realize they had by far the least amount of weight to carry in the exiles.
He was the first solo male champion on The Duel, but he was either the third or fourth-best guy that season in dailies behind Evan, CT and arguably Brad.
He only made the Authority once in his All Stars 3 victory and was fortunate not to have to face some the premiere finals threats like Jordan, Darrell and Yes.
Wes has never dominated daily challenges, with the exception of War of the Worlds, where he made six tribunals, making four with Dee and two as an individual (plus he made the tribunal in the final). He also had solid showings on Rivals II and Exes II, where he won three missions apiece with CT and Theresa.
Wes’ 20 elimination wins are most for any person in Challenge history. But if you assess them, how many of his victories other than against Derrick are that impressive?
His flagship wins: Danny/Evelyn, Melinda/Ryan, Johanna/Jesse, Tonya/Jonnie, Shane/Linette, Chet, Nick Brown (it’s a movement), Tyrie/Davis, Ty/Brandon, Nate/Priscilla, Jamie/Kelly Anne, Nate/Christina and Zach/Zahida.
He won three eliminations on Champs vs. Pros, but it was in a blindfolded stick fighting match with Bananas, a puzzle against Jordan where he was heavily aided by CT, and a Knot So Fast-style win over Louie Vito. He also beat Lil Romeo on Champs vs. Stars and was barely able to edge Devin in the physical Popping Tags elimination on Champs vs. Stars 2.
You could easily argue that his All Stars 3 win against Yes in Knock Off is his second-best victory, but even that was a somewhat lame elimination.
The only decent teams/competitors out of other victories are Tonya/Jonnie (who had an insane 140 more pounds of weight), Shane/Linette (who had 58 more pounds of weight), Ty/Brandon (Wes beat Brandon in the second rope climb), Jamie/Kelly Anne and Zach/Zahida, and none of those teams were even close to elite.
Meanwhile, his losses are to Cohutta, Ev/Luke, Leroy/Naomi, Big Easy, Leroy/Nia,Dario/Nicole, Bear, Bananas, Devin and Kaycee/Ben.
A lot of his losses are excusable. Leroy is a beast in physical eliminations, Bananas is a legend, he had no chance in the World Championship elimination with Zara against Kaycee, and losing to Big Easy in Hall Brawl is nothing to be embarrassed about.
His loss to Bear was embarrassing, but he was sick and had no idea he was going in. And in his loss to Devin, he might have let his friend win.
He has three truly bad losses — getting beat straight up by Cohutta on The Ruins (although he had his team trying to mess him up), gassing out in the exile against Evelyn/Luke on Fresh Meat II, and getting beat by Dario in the Tunnel Vision elimination on Rivals III.
Wes has a solid track record in finals, having won The Duel (thanks in part to a soccer shootout), Rivals II and All Stars 3.
He could easily have a fourth win from Rivals, as he and Kenny had a big lead after day one that got evaporated down to a minute on day two. And he had a very good showing in the War of the Worlds final, ultimately bested by two mutants in Turbo and Theo.
On Fresh Meat, he was dragged down by dead weight Casey.
The only losses that you can really blame him for are his two third-place finishes on the Champs vs. seasons, where he and Camila lost to Darrell/Cara and Lindsey/Kamerion on Champs vs. Pros and he and Boobie lost to CT/Tony and Casper/Louise on Champs vs. Stars 2.
Going through Wes’ career, in my estimation he has nine above-average/great seasons (Fresh Meat, The Duel, Rivals, Rivals II, Exes II, Champs vs. Pros, Champs vs. Stars 2, War of the Worlds and All Stars 3), four average seasons (The Ruins, Rivals III, Champs vs. Stars and Total Madness) and six duds (Fresh Meat II, Exes, Battle of the Seasons, War of the Worlds 2, Double Agents and World Championship). That’s basically an even split of good versus not-so-good seasons, and nobody in my rankings has as spotty of a track record.
But his highs — seasons like The Duel, Rivals II, Exes II, War of the Worlds and All Stars 3 — are so much higher than everyone else’s, so I’m willing to mostly disregard some of his poor showings and focus more on his achievements.
I don’t know if Wes can ever crack the top five.
I value consistency in a challenger, and that just hasn’t been Wes’ strong suit, especially politically. While he’s a threat to win any season he’s on whether he’s in shape or not, he’s also liable to get himself thrown into the first elimination and go home early.
Wes’ career has been an absolute roller coaster, but there’s no denying it’s been one of the greatest in Challenge history.