Are ‘The Challenge’ Superstars CT Tamburello and Johnny Bananas Friends?
The Challenge has produced two absolute legends during its 36 seasons – CT Tamburello and Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio. Many consider Bananas to be the GOAT, as he has appeared in 20 seasons and won the show seven times.
But CT’s stats are just as impressive. He’s made 21 appearances and won four times. Are CT and Bananas rivals? Or, are these two Challenge superstars actually friends?
CT and Bananas had a surprise faceoff on ‘The Challenge’
By the 20th season of The Challenge — 2010’s Cutthroat — CT had been out of the game for a while. He had been disqualified in previous seasons for punching a fellow contestant. And despite being one of the show’s most physically imposing figures, he still didn’t have any wins under his belt.
The show had branded CT a loser, and it wasn’t even a sure thing that MTV would allow him to return. During CT’s hiatus, Bananas emerged as the game’s best and smartest player. He won the game twice thanks to his strategy and intelligence.
In the Cutthroat season, Bananas appeared to be well on his way to a third title when host TJ Lavin threw him a curveball with just one elimination to go before the final. Lavin brought a ringer in to face Bananas. To everyone’s surprise, it was CT.
Both Johnny Bananas and CT Tamburello talked trash
At that time, CT hadn’t appeared on The Challenge in years and had never won a title. But, he was still known as the most fearsome figure on the MTV reality series.
Meanwhile, Bananas had won twice without really putting himself at risk physically. The drama had been set for these two polar opposites to face off.
“CT’s reputation in this game is…being an a**hole,” Bananas told MTV cameras in the episode. Looking absolutely jacked and extremely determined, CT fired back.
“They finally just let me out of my cage and I haven’t eaten yet … Johnny’s got a mouth on him for a little guy, and it’s time to put it to rest. I’m looking forward to putting him in the dirt,” CT said.
1 of the best moments from ‘The Challenge’ lasted just 19 seconds
CT and Bananas faced off in the Bananas Backpack challenge. This was a competition where the two contestants were attached back-to-back by a harness.
The goal was to pull their opponent to their designated end of the court by any means necessary. It was a game of pure brute force, and this one lasted 19 seconds.
Almost immediately, CT was able to get Bananas off the ground and on his back. While Bananas flails about and struggles to get leverage, CT literally stands up and does his best Terminator impression as he walks to the finish line with a grown man on his back.
CT then proceeded to throw Bananas into a metal barrel. This shocking display of strength left everyone speechless.
“I will tell my grandchildren about this,” Paula says in a confessional after the Bananas Backpack scene.
CT invited Bananas to his wedding
More than a decade later, Bananas says that the Backpack moment is still the one he gets asked most about. He told The Chicago Sun Times that fan reaction hasn’t changed at all over the years. It’s always been “Oh my God.”
Despite CT absolutely smoking him during that challenge, Bananas and CT are actually on good terms and are friends.
CT revealed on his Instagram Live that he had invited Bananas to his wedding in 2018. But, the wedding date ended up changing and Bananas wasn’t able to make it.
Johnny Bananas is also friends with another rival from ‘The Challenge’
Another Challenge vet who’s been at odds with Bananas over the years is Wes Bergmann. Their rivalry has been a big storyline in the past, but Bananas says he really likes Wes outside of reality TV.
“I actually really like him outside of television,” he told Distractify. “The problem is I don’t like the persona he is on television and he doesn’t like the persona I am on television. Me and Wes, our true selves get along. Our reality television personas have never gotten along.”
The Challenge is available for streaming on Paramount+.