‘The Challenge’ Champ Talks Having Face ‘Slammed Into a Wall’ By Another Player

TJ Lavin

CBS TJ Lavin

It was a rough go on “The Challenge: USA” season 2 for Jonna Mannion as she was sent packing after a hard-fought elimination round.

Mannion, an alum of “The Real World: Cancun,” was one of six MTV veterans who joined the CBS and Paramount Plus spin-off show. And although the cast was mostly made up of reality competition contestants from three CBS staples — “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race” — Mannion found herself fighting for her life in the game against another “Challenge” champion, Tori Deal .

In episode 2, which aired on August 13, Mannion and Deal wrestled in “The Arena” after Deal was nominated for elimination and Mannion was randomly selected by “The Hopper.”

The elimination match was called “Drop the Ball,” and it forced the two “Challenge” queens to get physical as they caught and scored balls.

In the end, Deal walked away with the win and Mannion was sent packing after the “Ride or Dies” champion continuously clobbered her. But, in an interview with Us Weekly, Mannion said she had no ill will for Deal.

“Right before, you know, we’re getting ready, we’re putting our helmets on, … [Tori] looks at me and I could just see pure, like, sorrow in her face,” Mannion recounted. “She’s like, ‘What do we do?’”

Mannion Wanted Deal to Go All Out to Put on a ‘Show’

According to Mannion, she asked Deal to not hold back while knowing she was outmatched.

As a two-time champion, Mannion is known for her strategic and puzzle prowess, which has helped her win two of three “All Stars” seasons. That being said, physical match-ups, and specifically full-contact games, have never been the mother-of-two’s forte.

Mannion told the outlet she wanted to put on “a show” for her fellow competitors even though she’s “terrible at physical things.”

“[I told Tori,] ‘This is what they want,” Mannion continued. “They want vet versus vet. I’m gonna try as hard as I can, so you better try as hard as you can, too.’ So, I was not surprised when my face got slammed into a wall and on the ground and stuff.”

Mannion Was ‘Very Impressed’ With the CBS Stars’ Ability to Navigate ‘USA 2’

A common theme with “The Challenge” is that the veterans can usually make it deep into a season without having to face elimination. Or, at the very least, they’ll control most of the social and political happenings of the house.

But, “USA 2” was different; the MTV veterans were heavily outnumbered. And considering most of the other contestants were strategic players from other staple competition shows, the “Challenge” veterans were instantly in the hot seat.

And Mannion relayed to Us Weekly how “impressed” she was with the CBS stars’ gameplay.

“There’s never been a group of rookies that come in and that are this organized,” Mannion said. “When you go into a game, there’s usually maybe a handful of people [who are] able to handle all the complicated layers of this game, and they’re the strategic players that are playing chess and everybody else just kind of falls in line.

“In this game, 24 of the people were strategic players.”

Mannion was taken out because of the CBS stars’ will to eliminate the MTV staples. With four episodes in the books — episode 4 aired last Sunday — only four contestants carrying the MTV flag remain: John “Johnny Bananas” Devenanzio, Wes Bergmann, Cory Wharton and Deal.

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