Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 4 of The Challenge: All Stars 3, now streaming on Paramount+.
Well, it finally happened. After nearly two decades of competing on The Challenge, Darrell Taylor quit a heights challenge.
During this week's episode of The Challenge: All Stars 3, Taylor's fear of heights became too much for him and he sent himself into elimination (against Jordan Wiseley, who was voted in). Meanwhile, after getting sabotaged during the challenge, Kendal Darnell was voted into the elimination against replacement Beth Stolarczyk. Both Road Rules: Campus Crawl alums eventually lost, although Taylor's finish was more of a medical disqualification/quit situation after his legs cramped up and he was in too much pain to continue.
Below, Taylor explains what happened during that elimination (and afterward, when he was carted off in an ambulance), and Darnell weighs in on her downfall this season.
Laura Barisonzi/Paramount + 'The Challenge All Stars 3'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Thanks for doing this interview, I'm really eager to break down what happened in this episode.
DARRELL TAYLOR: Thanks for having me so I can tell everybody about the first time that I said no to a challenge. It's one of those weird things. I don't know, my body and my mind say, like, "No, man."
I did not expect to see you lose that elimination either.
TAYLOR: I was shocked too. I thought I was going to win too.
Let's back up. We've never seen you quit anything, even a heights challenge, so what was it about this one that was too much for you?
TAYLOR: Oh man, it all started the day before. They took us one by one into the kitchen, and they put some tape on the ground and they measured our arm length, about how far we could reach. They had these little strings hanging, and everybody was talking about how there's going to be heights tomorrow. And then I got in my own head. I was probably defeated before I even went out there, honestly. I was trying to fight it, but deep down inside I was s----ing bricks because I knew it was going to be something where we're up on the ledge and we have to reach to do something. And I didn't like that. I was like, "Hell no. There's no way I could do this."
How long were you up there until you were officially DQed?
TAYLOR: They had me up there for a while, and I flipped out. I tried to walk, and my legs just don't move. The one on All Stars 2 was different, you went backwards and it wasn't a plank, you were just on the edge, so I didn't have to look out. And it was a big platform, so I couldn't see the ground. This one you see all the way down… Yeah, there's no way my legs will move with me being able to see that.
How much s--- did T.J. give you for quitting?
TAYLOR: He was actually pretty supportive. He was trying to help me out. He's like, "You're safe, man. You're not going to die." The only thing I could think of that possibly I would have been able to do it is if I saw the girls go first and saw the drop. But we went first, so I never saw the drop beforehand. I got so nervous and my legs went stanky. That's just my kryptonite, man, I get stanky legs. They start shaking and trembling.
Kendal, you had to wait a full minute before working on the math problem. If you hadn't gotten sabotaged, do you think you could have won your round?
KENDAL DARNELL: I think I would have won the whole thing for the women. They don't show it, but Veronica and I actually called check at the same time, and I had the minute delay. So if I didn't have that minute — and they gave it to Veronica because she was like a half-second before me, and they reviewed and they said Veronica got it first. And there's another piece too: After my minute delay I heard a little whisper and I thought I heard my name, and then they said a little louder, "Kendal, go." And so thinking back, they were telling me to go. If I didn't wait, if I had just gone, I would have beat Veronica. If I didn't have the sabotage I think I would have won the whole thing. It's so hard not to sit there and play what-if, right? But you do.
I was really hoping they're going to do the right thing, they're going to subtract that extra little time where I couldn't hear them and they're going to give it to me. But I never speak up. I know some people fight things and then things go their way, but I just think that's not my job, that's their job. I just put my faith in the universe and stayed silent. But also, because I am shorter, I was able to see some of the numbers underneath [while I was waiting to go], so I started to just sort of do some process of elimination in my head ahead of time, and that made it easier to flip the numbers around quickly and get it done. But I will say, as upset as I was that they put that sabotage on me, they played smart and they put it on the right person, because I would have won.
Darrell, were you surprised that the Authority was considering only Wes or Jordan as your elimination opponent?
TAYLOR: Oh, no. They definitely asked me, and I told them, go ahead and do whatever they need to do. But in the back of my head I was actually hoping that they would pick Jordan.
TAYLOR: Oh yeah. I have nothing against Jordan, but the whole time I was there, I was thinking, I'm not going to go through hell three times in a row [on All Stars] only to chase him in the final and then get second place again. So I knew I had to send him home eventually. That was in the back of my head.
But wouldn't you want someone else to go against him rather than it falling on you?
TAYLOR: Well, now that I lost because his ass is stubborn as hell… Anybody else would've been like, "F--- it. Go ahead, Darrell. It's over." I was about a foot away. I only had about maybe 12 inches or so to finish the thing. But he was so stubborn and he would not give up. God. My legs were just shot. I don't know if it was a combination of cramping and lactic acid, but I've never had my legs feel like that before. And I felt that within the first 15 minutes, but it was manageable. And then I started realizing every time I moved, these legs were just in so much pain. I couldn't take it no more. I couldn't walk the next day. I would get these spasms where they would shoot through my quads and they would go limp. It was weird. For a minute I thought I had blood clots or something. I didn't know what the hell was going on.
Laura Barisonzi/Paramount + 'The Challenge All Stars 3'
What happened after they took you away on the stretcher and into an ambulance?
TAYLOR: They hit a lot of bumps. [Laughs] I don't know what streets they were taking, but it was the most uncomfortable ride I've ever been in because my legs were on fire. They gave me some IVs, they gave me some shots, and they took me to the hospital. They thought I was dehydrated, and they gave me some other muscle stuff to take down the pain. I was just in so much pain.
DARNELL: It was really scary. They don't even show exactly how bad it was, but it was really awful. I've never seen anyone in pain like that, and I'm a nurse.
TAYLOR: I should've moved. I was pretty much sitting in a wall sit the whole time. My legs were bent, and after exerting all that energy and force on my legs, pushing, and then all of a sudden just keeping them bent at a 90-degree angle and not moving and not getting blood flow, all that lactic acid built up and it just killed them.
Like you said, you were so close to winning for so long but Jordan held you off. Were you trying to change up your strategy, or were you just trying to muscle it through for those last few inches?
TAYLOR: I wasn't trying to give him any real estate back, so every little inch I got, I tried to keep, where I should have just went for broke in the beginning. Because Jordan is, I hate to say it, but he has better lungs than me. I think I'm an endurance athlete, but he's a better endurance athlete than me, and I tried to wait it out thinking that I had a few inches on him. I should have just went for it in the beginning, and I probably would've won instead of just trying to wait it out, so that was my big downfall.
DARNELL: We couldn't tell from where we were standing. You looked like you were just hanging out, having a tea party, but really you were muscling through until you rolled out. And then it was like, "What just happened?" We were all so confused until it was clear how much pain you were in.
TAYLOR: I want to apologize to all the medics that were there, because they wanted to touch my legs and I was like, "Don't f---ing touch my legs." That guy was trying to take the knees braces off, but it was hurting every time they would lift my leg up. I've never been in pain like that before. I was more afraid of, I'm never going to be able to walk again. I was thinking the worst-case scenario. I thought they were going to have to amputate my legs or something. They actually put me in a wheelchair. But for a few days I could barely walk. It was pretty bad.
Wow. I'm glad you're feeling better now. Kendal, for your elimination were you ultimately grateful that Beth had DQed in the challenge because otherwise you would've had to go against KellyAnne?
DARNELL: Oh. Oh wow. That's so funny, I'd never even thought about that! I've just spent the last nine months so angry, feeling like I was set up going into something where I clearly had no shot at winning, but yeah, I hadn't even thought about what it would've been like with KellyAnne. Honestly, I'm such a stats person, because that's a big part of nursing, being data-driven, so it's like, if I'm going to take a hit, if I'm going to have a loss — because I was undefeated going into All Stars, so my record is dwindling — but if I have to have a loss, I would like to give that to somebody I really admire. If I was going to lose to anybody, I would love to lose to KellyAnne.
TAYLOR: And then she could get your stars. That's another thing too, with the heights, I was looking at it like, "You know what? I'm going to go into elimination, and I'm going to get me some stars." That was one of the few times I tried to manipulate the game, and I've never tried to manipulate it before; I just let the cards fall, and I've always been lucky. That was the first time I tried to manipulate the game, and it came back and bit me in the ass.
Kendal, how long did your elimination last? It looked like you got an early lead, but once Beth figured out how to roll the barrel, it was over.
DARNELL: It was pretty quick. It was like minutes. I went through several strategies rather quickly because I knew that any time I could get an inch, it would rock back and she would get two. But I just didn't have enough weight to really keep it there. The one chance I had was right in the beginning, and I just launched forward, and then I was just trying to keep it, and I just couldn't. The weight discrepancy between Jordan and Darrell is not as much as between me and Beth. I was really upset and trying not to be defeated as soon as I saw what it was. I'm never going to not give it 100 percent, so I did. But yeah, it was really disheartening.
Laura Barisonzi/Paramount + 'The Challenge All Stars 3'
Seeing as how you sabotaging M.J. led to your elimination, is there anything that you wanted to explain or reveal for why you chose him as your target? Because we didn't really see your reasoning shown last episode.
DARNELL: There were multiple factors. I had always wanted to put it on a guy. But I knew that the smart thing would be to throw it on Kailah or Sylvia. I felt like that's where the game was heading. But I don't ever want to be somebody that has to cut other people down in order to get ahead. There has to be another option. I went to Kailah and Sylvia and I said, "It would make sense that I would use this on one of you. Probably Sylvia, because she threw it on KellyAnne. But, I have an idea," and we had to pause talking for a moment. Then they were storming around saying I was going to use it on them and everybody was throwing a fit. People are looking at me like, "What did you say to them?" I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm not done." So we sat on the bus and they're just complaining. But we can't talk on the bus, and I'm trying to follow the rules. But I said, "If I can find a way to not use it on you guys, then would you be open to getting to know me and KellyAnne? Because I feel like there's a barrier there, and I want to remove that barrier."
They said, "Yeah, if you don't use it on us, then we won't use it on you." I didn't even ask for that, but I thought that's great. If I could find a way to not use it on the women, I'm going to use it on a man. But who? A lot of these guys are my friends, and I was really banking on these guys coming through for me. First I was going down the line and Mark goes, "Kendal, you better not use it on me." Mark just went into an elimination, so he's exempt. And then I started looking at the line to see who is the next biggest guy. I'm looking at Darrell and Nehemiah, and those are my guys. I can't put it on them. I get to the end of the line and I see M.J., and it's like this beacon of light. Thank you, M.J., for being so big. And then he winks at me and then it was like, oh man, this is going to hurt.
I just felt like a terrible human being. But he was the answer. He's strong. It's a 35-pound weighted vest. Thirty-five pounds on me or KellyAnne or Kailah, any female, that's a lot of weight. But a big man like M.J., it's not going to touch him. Well, I forgot he had an injured leg. And he told me later actually that he was going to lose that one no matter what, so he didn't feel like the vest really impacted him that much. I felt like it was a good plan, but what I failed to do is I should have picked the guy sooner, instead of waiting until that very moment. And I should have talked to people, but that's what I'm not good at, making deals.
After this season, what are the chances we'll see you both back on The Challenge?
TAYLOR: No time soon for me. I just opened my gym, so I've got to focus on that right now. Maybe in a year or so, but at this moment, no. I won't say I'm retired, but just not right now.
DARNELL: This is something I grapple with, because I feel like in order to play, you have to be able to play dirty. And I've been trying to find ways to do well in the game and still be true to who I am, and that's difficult.
TAYLOR: You don't have to play dirty, though. You can still be yourself.
DARNELL: Well, you can be yourself because everybody loves you, but I can't be myself because no matter what I do, people are coming for me. I breathe too heavy and I've got people gunning for me. People have it made up in their minds that I need to go before we even step foot on the plane. It gets frustrating. I don't know. I wouldn't want to be done on this note. I would like to think that I can do better. It would just take some time for me to figure out how can I play and keep up strategically without compromising myself and my integrity.
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