Johnny “Bananas” Devenzanio may have been his biggest doubter going into season 35 of The Challenge, but that just made winning that much better. When the reality star, 35, crossed the finish line during the Wednesday, July 15, finale, he solidified his seventh win — his first since 2016 — and took home the $500,000 prize.
Directly after winning, there was a part of Bananas, 38, that considered hanging up his Challenge helmet for good, he revealed exclusively during the “Watch With Us” podcast.
“There was, I tell you what, after this final was over. But that’s how I feel after every season. That’s why I always like to have some time after to just let it all like sink in and come back to reality,” the 20-time competitor said. “I did out of the gate, just as trying as this one was emotionally, physically and mentally. I think I did have that in my mind that I’d seen my last one.”
After reflecting and watching the season, that has changed.
“If anything, I’ve just proven to myself and everyone else out there that I still have exactly what it takes to compete at an incredibly high level. I still have a lot to offer to the show to the franchise, to the viewers and to myself,” the Real World vet added. “I’m going anywhere anytime soon, just getting warmed up.”
Total Madness marks the first finale that Bananas has seen since Rivals III, when he infamously stole the money from Sarah Rice. Since then, some have said he’s been “cursed” and wouldn’t be able to win again. In fact, he started to believe it.
“I know I said this before when I was standing on a mountain next to Sarah. I said, ‘Hey, I might never see this again. This might be the last time that I ever get this opportunity to have this big of a prize win on the challenge,’ but I think I actually mean it this time,” the First Look host told Us, noting that he knows no one will want to take him to a final again after he proved himself this time around. However, he’s OK with that, as now he’s “playing with house money.”
Before this season, he was admittedly not “optimistic” about making it to the finale.
“Now that I have, I just feel like this immense amount of pressure has been lifted off my shoulders. There’s no curse, the curse is broken. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. You guys have to come up with something new now, with some new conspiracy or some new form of witchcraft to try and discount my abilities and invalidate what I’ve accomplished,” he said. “For anyone out there that was hoping, praying and wishing that this would be my last dance and my swan song, you might want to pack a lunch.”
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