Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Challenge: Double Agents episode 3, "Enemy of the State."
It was the elimination upset heard 'round the world on The Challenge: Double Agents this week as two-time champion Wes Bergmann was defeated by his friend and ally Devin Walker-Molaghan in a true David vs. Goliath battle of strength and endurance. But Wes tells EW that even though the odds were stacked in his favor for this particular elimination challenge, he never stood a chance because he "broke" before the fight even began.
In Wednesday's episode 3, "Enemy of the State" (check out our full recap here), Wes was blindsided by one of his longtime Challenge friends/allies Leroy Garrett and thrown into an elimination against one of the only allies he had in the game who hadn't turned on him. After Devin lost his partner Nicole Zanatta to an injury in the daily challenge, he was a rogue agent. And then the house secretly voted him into elimination anyways, even though this week was expected to be a female elimination after rookie Joseph Allen was sent home last week. Then after Leroy, who had won the daily challenge with Kaycee Clark, shocked everyone by sending Wes and Natalie into The Crater against Devin who was alone, host TJ Lavin announced it didn't matter that he didn't have a female partner because it was a male elimination week again.
Wes was visibly upset throughout it all even though he's historically been stronger and had more endurance than Devin. "I was broken the second that Leroy said my name," Wes tells EW. "And then seeing Devin [as my opponent] definitely added to it. I think I would have lost in almost anything at that point. It doesn't mean I don't have a fire, it just means that I'm human, sometimes I break."
As one of the longtime veterans of the franchise, Wes is "proud" to see what The Challenge has become throughout his 14 seasons of competing. "I wish I was 20 again, because that's how old I was when I did my first Challenge," he says. "I wish I was 20 starting now. And as proud as I am of the last 15 years or whatever, that would have been an even cooler 15-year ride to play this game. It's pretty special what they've built."
Below, Wes dives deep on his shocking early exit, how he really feels about Leroy's betrayal, if this is enough to make him hang up his Under Armour to quit The Challenge altogether, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I did not expect to be talking with you for an exit interview so soon this season. What happened out there?
WES BERGMANN: You know, I broke. I've only broke a couple of times but when you break, it felt like the amount of effort that it would have taken to get into the mental headspace required to beat that man was impossible for me to do. I had no incentive to keep fighting, I knew I was just going to keep getting thrown in, I knew people were going to keep coming at me, and they don't really have a rhyme or reason why. They're gaslighting me, so the real reasons why they're throwing me in they're not saying, so they're just going to keep lying to me about why they're doing it. So not only are they doing it, they're hurting my feelings, and they're trying to make me feel crazy because they don't want to fess up to why they're doing it. It was a very frustrating situation, very de-motivational, but I lost to the better man on that day and my hat's off to that guy. He deserved it.
Usually those kinds of strength and endurance eliminations last quite a while, so how long were you and Devin going before he won? Was it as close as it looked?
I'm not really sure. I think it was like 20 or 30 minutes. But as you alluded to, those games are supposed to last like two hours. A 20-minuter, which is my best guess because there's a little bit of blacking out in there so it's kind of hard to gauge time especially when you add in three months or however long it's been, but yeah it's supposed to go much longer. So he beat me. That wasn't close. He had the sauce that day.
What was going through your mind when Leroy voted you in? Did you get any vibes that he was going to do it after your conversation with him earlier that day?
Oh, it was a complete surprise. And the weird thing is I went into that conversation because I had uneasy feelings that he — okay, so one, we had the impression that Devin was not voted in and that Cory [Wharton] was the house vote. So when I was talking to him I would've bet my life that Cory was the house vote. Basically I was trying to beg him not to throw Devin in and to instead throw somebody else in. That's what the conversation was. And Leroy called me like two months before the show and definitely, definitively asked to be my main guy. So all the things that he's saying like, "I don't trust this man," it's really, really ironic — and I know that someone's going to have to define that for him. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of he's the one that's being disloyal by calling and making promises to be an ally of mine and then so early in the game making a move like that. He's the one that becomes a piece of s---. And here I am, still with a clean slate of never having gone after my friends. He had to do what he had to do. Somebody — and the episode is going to make it look like it's Kam [Williams] so there's a damn good chance it was Kam — was basically puppeting how he felt about his game, and I think that she's using him. His argument was, "Why is it that I've been on 11 seasons and I haven't won? Is it because I'm a good guy? That's the common denominator so therefore I'm going to be a bad guy and then all of a sudden I'm going to win." And it's like, no, you haven't won because you haven't been in good enough shape and you're not smart enough to solve puzzles. That has nothing to do with being a good or bad man. So changing your morals isn't going to make you win a game but that's the mindset that he's in right now, which is, "I'm going to be a bad guy and therefore I'm going to win." And it's a shame to watch.
Did you know you were going to give that speech as you walked out of the Crater from the beginning or was it a spontaneous moment?
It was completely spontaneous because I didn't even know I was going down. I was wearing 20 layers of clothes to sit back and watch a game that night. That was just the feeling I had. There is no one that's played a cleaner game than me and I'm going to also choose to add in the words, "because of sample size, I win any tie." There's ties for great people that have been on the show for a season or two, but no one that's been on the show for 15 years and never once crossed a friend or an alliance member. Not once. So to have the sheer resume and the sheer breadth of work that I've got where I have no need and never have and never will cross someone that I've made a promise to? There's just too many people in the game, why would you cross the people that you're friends with? They've been misled through their own propaganda against me to think that if they act the way that they do, that all of a sudden they get to take my spot and take my brand and take my role. That's not how it works. Like, if I stopped going on The Challenges tomorrow, it's not like someone is immediately going to take my crown and run with it. They're going to have to work for it little by little and be on the show as long as I have and make the moves that I have and be patient, work hard, and also have a little bit of luck along the way. And I don't think that they understand that this isn't a zero-sum game.
How are you feeling about how everything went down now that you’ve had some distance from it?
The only thing that I can do at this point is I've got to take it on the chin. If there was one person that crossed me and was really mean and said bulls--- in their interviews and hurt my feelings, then I would come back for vengeance and I would make their life a living hell. But there's like nine people that I'm just equally as mad at and all have reason to feel my wrath. But no matter how much I'm at my peak athleticism and in shape and at my peak political prowess and my peak of everything, I couldn't take down nine people. So the only thing I can do is give every one of them a mulligan. That's all I can do. As much as I would win against every single one of them in a debate about who's a bigger piece of s---, it's always going to be them because they just left a huge paper trail and they acted a fool, I also have to take some responsibility because math says that I'm responsible for some of it. Because the common denominator, they're all being pieces of s---, they're all crossing me, there's still something that I'm doing that's got to be my responsibility. And unfortunately, that common denominator could also be success. They want the attention that I've got, they want the extracurricular opportunities that I've got, they want the life that I've got. It's not like I'm the common denominator, "I guess it's my fault, I need to be nicer." It also could be, "Yes it's my fault, but it's also my fault because my success makes them jealous and insecure." I hate to be crying about success, turning into a victim, but I really don't know what else it could be.
They do all keep saying they want to get rid of all the champions first this season so there can be a new champion.
There's a line in this episode where Kam's like, "You ain't the master manipulator, you've been outsmarted," all this stuff. [Laughs] So basically, you're acknowledging you puppet mastered your own boyfriend into getting rid of me because you want that role. You want that brand. And my message to her is, "You can f---ing have it! Go ahead. You're going to earn it the wrong way. Mine is all propaganda and branding but you are going to be a bad person, and you will get that brand, and it is not an easy cross to bear." So she can have it. I don’t want the responsibility that comes with that ill branding. Like we discussed, I’m the cleanest person in the history of the game, sample size being the tiebreaker. And she’s not. What sucks is I've never crossed her. I've never insulted her. I've never said anything bad about her. There's not one reason in a million years why I would ever go after her, there's not one reason in a million years why she would say the things that she's saying on this episode, with the exception of the common denominator is she cares so badly about taking my brand. Here's the deal: I'm literally just going to give it to you. You have it, congratulations my friend.
Something I’ve been really curious about this season is that even though TJ announced there would only be 10 skulls available, no one is trying to go into eliminations. Everyone seems to be doing everything in their power to stay out even though the game has changed in that regard. Why do you think the cast still hasn't adapted how they feel about eliminations?
I think that they have adapted, because the first time that we saw the experiment, there was a very equal spread where one-third of the people wanted to get it out of the way because going in early would cut to the chase: If you're going to lose, you got to leave, or if you're going to win, you got your skull and you could kind of relax. And then one-third of the people wanted to go middle to further down the line, and then one-third of the people were going wait 'til the last minute and hope there was some sort of a purge and they were going to reevaluate later. But now after we've all had so much time to process how that first [skull] season went down, the middle path is the statistically correct one. If you go in early, you have to defend your skull. Everyone kind of smartened up. That's why no one wants to go in early. I'm assuming that's going to change, now that we all know I won't be there so I'm talking just from the perspective of a fan. They all think that they're outsmarting each other. And here in a couple of weeks when we get into that sweet spot window when it is the statistically most correct time to go in, that's when they're all going to be fighting to go in, and the dynamic will change. It will be very entertaining to watch that.
But this time there’s only 10 skulls, assuming that five are for males and five for females, so there’s a lot less opportunity to go in this time.
Yeah, here's the answer to your question: Who went in early last time and it benefited them?
Well ... yeah, I guess nobody.
[Laughs] Nobody. And then who went in three-fourths of the way and it benefited them? Bananas! This is where the miscommunication lay between him and I's battle, we were friendly and in an alliance but that didn't mean that we were going to discuss our strategy of when we wanted to go in. So was it a coincidence that the two smartest players in the game both secretly wanted to go in at the exact right time? Because that was the right time, and that's why it kind of went down that way. So now that everyone has seen our formula, everyone's going to be fighting to go into those spots.
You were partnered with one of the best females this season, and therefore had an even bigger target on your back from the start. Did you regret partnering with Natalie Anderson because of that?
It's hard to say I regret it. She's an amazing person and I really learned a lot, even in the short amount of time that I was with her, and the respect that I have for her oozes out of every syllable that I talk about her because she really is the best and I hope she continues to do these things because she's got a really good path here. There is no doubt about it though, that my already big target was made bigger by having a really good girl. If I could go back, I still don't think I would have any courage to say, "I'm going to purposely team up with a worse girl than her just to lessen the target," like that would take some incredibly serious courage that I don't think I have. It’s hard to say no to that, especially given the information we had at that point. We didn't know it was going to be every man for themselves in the actual sand, because really what it boils down to is you don't need at all the best partner in the eliminations or the dailies, what you need is the best partner politically. In that situation there is seldom a rookie that wields any political power. Natalie wielded a lot of physical power, and she made a lot of the girls jealous and insecure and scared but all that did was hurt her politically. It’s hard to say if I wasn’t partnered with her, would I have been picked on so much? I think it just made it easier for everyone to justify their decisions.
Do you have any regrets about how you played this season?
No, not really. There wasn't a whole lot I could do. I'm confident that in the reunion, they're going to say, "He's made too many deals," and I might put them through the exercise where I'm like, "Okay, everyone I made a deal with raise your hand," and then there'll be five or six people that raise their hand. And then I'll ask the question, "How many guys make it to the final," and someone will say five, and I'll be like, "Okay, so where's the f---ing problem, you idiots?" I wasn't making any more deals or any more friends than anyone else. It's just they wanted to use that as their excuse to justify their decisions, and they hid behind those numbers. Game move, I don't agree with it but I've got to take this season on the chin. I have to, or it'll be too difficult to digest. It was a very frustrating season.
I'm sure I know the answer to this but I'll ask anyways: Are you interested in coming back to The Challenge after what happened this season?
I'm leaning towards no at this exact moment. But I think that that's a little bit of the stages of grieving. I'll probably change my mind. I'm very well aware that I'm an addict to this game. And I'm mad right now with the circumstances … those things aren’t different now. It's just the true definition of insanity if I go back, because nothing will be different. I went in last game with just a bunch of friends that I'd never crossed, how could you go in any cleaner? And [laughs] I still haven't crossed them. So right now, I'm saying no. But this isn't like some retirement speech, it's just me being a bitter, bitter crybaby and I'm mad at the world and I don't know who to blame. And I would be lying if I said I wasn't being a little crybaby but I will get over it. I might feel better in a couple of weeks but right now at this exact moment, f--- that!
The Challenge: Double Agents airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on MTV.
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