"Rumble In The Jungle"-The Challenge: Rivals II Season Premiere (RECAP)

In keeping up with my tradition of recapping MTV's The Challenge, I'm following the latest installment of the series--Rivals II! Real World and Challenge alum come together to duke it for a huge cash prize, but the catch is they are paired up with their WORST ENEMIES for the entire season, and I love it!

Rivals takes the cast to Phuket, Thailand, where T.J. Lavin, host of the show since its eleventh season, gets the teams together. Already, we see ego and dislike among the teams, because these are people that have gotten into arguments or physical fights with! Here are the teams: Wes and CT, Diem and Aneesa, Zach and Trey, Real World Portland rookies Anastasia and Jessica, Derek and Robb, Paula and Emily, Ty and Leroy, Naomi and Cooke, Preston and Knight, Jemmye and Camila, Tyrie and Dunbar, Sarah and Trishelle, Portland rookies Jordan and Marlon , Nany and Jonna, Theresa and Jasmine, and Johnny and Frank who have had some serious beef...on Twitter!

T.J. introduces the teams to the Jungle where all of the eliminations will take place, and breaks down the season for them. Of course, there will be challenges throughout the season, where there will be a winning team and a losing team. The winning team, of course, is safe from elimination. The losing team goes straight to the jungle, and the other team that will face them will be decided by everyone in their villa. $350,000 up for grabs for the winners--$125K for the guys, $125K for the women! $35K will go to the winning teams for second, and $15K for third place. Guys will go against guys, and girls  against girls.

Later, the teams get settled in their beautiful house! It's crazy how amazing these people get to live. I need to apply for a reality show, seriously! CT already plans to flirt with the hot ladies in the house, but we all know that he still loves Diem though! The house proposes a toast, and has a party to celebrate the first night! Trey and Zach also try to talk through their issues, so that they can get this money!

Sometime that night, Marlon falls with a glass in a hand supposedly, and CT gets mad at him, causing them to get in a little rumble in the pool...the first night! Jordan goes to break up the fight since Marlon is his partner. Rookies should show a certain amount of respect according to CT. Later, Diem expresses that she cares for CT still, and they spend time together in the pool. They definitely still have feelings for each other even though they split. Aneesa watches their interaction in her room, but she doesn't want Diem to get caught up in CT again, thinking it may have a negative effect on their team. Diem reveals in her confessional that she overcame her second bout of ovarian cancer. In  the pool, CT asks her to take off her wig and he'll kiss her. When she complies, they kiss. It's just clear that they're meant for each other! Later that night, the house gets a clue from T.J. for the first challenge: "Wear your swimwear and be ready to push yourself that extra inch!"

The next morning, T.J. welcomes the teams to their first challenge, "Game of Inches" It will be a guys' challenge today, meaning that a guy's team will be going home in the Jungle later tonight. The girls go first, with the winner among them winning $1000, as well as deciding the order for the next challenge! At each challenge, the roles will be switched--a guys' challenge one day, a girls' challenge the next. For this challenge, one person will hang feet away from a platform, while the other team member tries to jump in the person's arms and hold on for 15 seconds. Each round, the platform goes back a foot, making it harder for the people jumping!

From the get go, all of the girls grab and hold on to their partners for the fifteen seconds, shocking the guys! The platform moves back for the second round, and five of the girls go down! Aneesa and Diem are eliminated the third round, leaving Jonna and Nany, as well as Emily and Paula. Jonna misses when the platform goes back another foot, leaving Emily and Paula to just hang for 15 seconds to win the first challenge for the girls!

The boys go next, and all of them beast the jump! It's weird to see grown men running and hanging on to each other, but it's for immunity, so they need to hold on to each other for dear life! Dunbar misses the second round, and is the only person to miss, putting himself and Tyrie automatically in the Jungle as the losing team. The fourth round knocks out FIVE of the remaining six teams, except for Trey and Zach who win the challenge! It was a good win, because Trey proved himself to Zach, and maybe now they can build on their communication and trust from here!

The work's not over though, because the teams have to go home and vote publicly to decide who's going up against Dunbar and Tyrie in the Jungle! The drama is definitely getting ready to go down! Back at the house, CT plots to throw Johnny and Frank in, because Johnny's a master manipulator and has won a lot of challenges. Wes thinks it's too early to make a big move like that, and that it will only put a target on his and CT's backs as teammates. Johnny quickly finds out the plan, agreeing that it's dumb. The girls want to vote in the team that they have the least connection with--Robb and Derek. Knight reveals that people are talking about sending in Frank and Johnny, which doesn't sway the girls in the least, because it's a stupid plan! CT isn't thinking strategically; he's thinking emotionally, because he wants Johnny to lose based on the fact that he's won so many times before.

Later, at deliberation, the female vote mainly goes to Derek and Robb. T.J. drops a bomb on them in that moment, that the decision is actually up to the girls only, which is a huge shock! In this challenge, he girls will decide for the guys, and the girls will decide for the guys who goes into the Jungle! Later, Johnny is pissed that CT tried to get him in the Jungle. To ease the tension, Wes makes a fake nightclub in the house and they all have fun! CT flirts with Anastasia, who looks like the emotional type who will get attached quickly. CT is playing the game, trying to sway female votes, and I don't blame him! I just don't think he should play with Diem's heart.

The next day, Naomi calls home and finds out her dad is in the hospital with heart failure. She hasn't had the best relationship with her dad, but they have been trying to work things out. The doctors haven't given him much time, and she chooses her family first, deciding to go home. She talks to Cooke because she doesn't want to take this opportunity away from her, but Naomi exiting the house leaves Cooke without a partner. In the Jungle, however, TJ informs Cooke that she will get a new partner that will show up at the next challenge. (FUN FACT: Cooke went to my alma mater Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, graduating in 2010. I didn't know her, but HOUND NATION STAND UP! Fun fact over.)

Dunbar and Tyrie prepare to face Robb and Derek in the "Last Chance" elimination round. In a narrow hallway, two players will play defense, and the other two offense. As the defense tries to block, the offensive player will run to ring a bell on the other side of the field. The best two out of three wins! Derek is incredibly fast, crushing Dunbar in the first round! Tyrie plays better defense the second time around, and Dunbar flies by, but he misses the bell the first time, giving Derek an opportunity to ring his bell too. However, it's still very close, and TJ reveals that the time came down to 1/10th of a second.  Robb and Derek win the elimination round, sending Tyrie and Dunbar home. Tyrie is pissed off, while Dunbar complains that he had a terrible partner. News flash Dunbar! YOU didn't grab on to Tyrie during the challenge, and YOU missed the bell for this elimination. So who is really the terrible partner here?

Later that night, the house goes out to party and see what Thailand has to offer. Johnny and Theresa watch and talk about how girls are getting played by CT, especially Anastasia. Johnny tries to break it down for her, but it seems like this girl just believes that CT is a sweet person who likes her. HA!

For sure, this Challenge is going  to a GOOD one! A really, really good one! I'm excited for to watch the competition, and the drama that's going to come with it. Check out all new episodes of MTV's The Challenge: Rivals II on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET only on MTV!

What did you think of last night's episode?

Images via MTV

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