‘The Challenge: USA’: Leo Explains What Really Happened After Hall Brawl Elimination

Enzo Palumbo and Leo Temory in The Challenge: USA
Q&A
Jonne Roriz, courtesy of Paramount

The Challenge: USA never felt more like The Challenge than it did in the August 24 episode when the elimination turned out to be a good ol’ fashioned Hall Brawl.

After nearly winning the daily, The Amazing Race‘s Leo Temory was the one sent in, by Big Brother‘s Angela Rummans and Survivor‘s Ben Driebergen, to face off against the daily’s loser, Big Brother‘s Enzo Palumbo. Palumbo won the first two rounds, and Temory was eliminated, then he was shown sitting down, refusing to step back out to say goodbye.

Here, Temory opens up about that elimination and what we didn’t see that led to him not returning to the arena.

It seemed like everyone breathed a sigh of relief when TJ said it was an individual game.

Temory: Definitely yes, for the most part, but then no, because The Amazing Race only had two people so we didn’t have that safety cushion of having numbers anymore. It would’ve been 100 percent sigh of relief if we had more Amazing Racers there, but there was only two of us at this time, so that sucked. But it was great because now I can showcase all my talent and bring everything I have to the table and not have to rely on someone else and prove to everyone that I got what it takes.

You came so close to winning the daily.

Correction: I won the daily, OK? 100 percent, I won. l was sprinting. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I swear, I won that challenge. Hands down, I won it. Ask anybody that was there. You know what, go ahead and ask them for the tapes. You’re TV insider. Hopefully they give it to you, but they won’t. There was a big storyline that made more sense for TV, but it happened at the cost of me being sent to the hospital. So that’s why I’m not scared to say it.

Enzo Palumbo and Leo Temory in The Challenge: USA

Jonne Roriz, courtesy of Paramount

Wait, sent to the hospital?

Yeah. If I would’ve won, then I would’ve chosen who went into elimination. But because I lost because of a certain storyline, they had to make someone else win. Spineless Ben put me in there. And then I did a Hall Brawl against someone that’s 60 pounds heavier than me, which I shouldn’t have, because we were told there wouldn’t be any Hall Brawls. And I put my heart out. I did that. Then the medics made me sit down and called the ambulance because they wanted me to go to the hospital and get checked out because I was not able to stand. That’s why I was sitting. And that’s why I say there’s no point of going inside because the ambulance had just got there. I had to go get myself checked out, and I got a concussion.

Because they showed you refusing to go out to say goodbye and then you said that everyone was snakes…

No, exactly. And if you notice, I had four different outfits in those interviews because I didn’t get to do my exit interview. So that clip of me calling everyone a snake was when me and Sarah were blindsided on Episode 5, they put that in there and made it seem like that. TV magic. I would’ve loved to have gone back out there and shook, if not anyone, TJ’s hand because he’s such a great guy. I would’ve not done that to him. That was the real inside scoop.

Leo Temory in The Challenge: USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Danny said he had no idea who you would’ve targeted if you won. Who would you have targeted?

That’s very true. I wouldn’t have known. I would’ve seen what everyone would’ve said. Of course there’s one target in mind who threw me in there, but I don’t know if I would’ve done that. If I would’ve seen that it was a Hall Brawl, I might have because at that time it’s weight class. MMA has weight classes for a reason. So anyone in that weight class would’ve taken out anyone else under that weight class. It would’ve been really hard with that short runway to do any better than what I did. It’s straight physics, simple science. But yeah, I would’ve definitely put in someone in a bigger alliance to make it fair for everyone else.

There was all that talk about alliances and Survivor and Big Brother between the daily and elimination, and you did try to talk to Angela and offer to name your fourth cat after her. But is there anything you think you could’ve done differently to keep from being thrown in?

Of course they show the cats because that’s my storyline, so they love those cat comments. That was at the end. We had talked for almost 10 minutes at that table, and she said she was going to fight for me and she didn’t want me to go in. She wanted someone else to go in, but there’s bigger, bigger influences in the house. A lot of people are scared to make moves because they’re scared to go in. I went in there twice. I would’ve thrown it anyone at that time because after seeing it, for Ben to throw me in there, it’s just pathetic.

Enzo Palumbo and Leo Temory in The Challenge: USA

Jonne Roriz, courtesy of Paramount

People were scared of him, not game-wise, but they said he was a loose cannon and people were moving beds, people calling security, because they didn’t want to be near him. He’s punching walls. It didn’t make sense for him to throw me in because I always had his back. I never did any of that stuff. So that’s the one sucky thing. That’s the thing that hurts. I’m a business man. I don’t cut corners. I always do right and that’s why I’ve been successful. So I know it’s a game, but if you can’t see how clear as day it is when people don’t have your back throughout the season and then all of a sudden, you have their back just like that, just so you don’t go in, it makes no sense. These people, I swear, they’re ruthless. They’ll sell their kids if they have to.

You said that they’d said that you wouldn’t have a Hall Brawl, but it’s TJ’s favorite and it’s so iconic. And just seeing that setup, you know exactly what’s going on. So from your perspective, talk about that elimination a bit more because it is so intense just to watch it.

Hall Brawl is one of the most iconic [eliminations]. Before going there, I watched so many YouTube videos to refresh my memory, see what kind of tactics we could do. And then all my friends, were like, “You’re insane if you even do it, this makes no sense for you to do it. You’re in a bicycle helmet and you’re going to go like full speed against another man?” I joked around, “I’ll throw sand in their eyes, and just slip past them.” None of that I did because the runway was so short.

And I was so shocked to see it. I didn’t even have time to gather what it was. And then Alyssa was standing next to me and said, “oh s**t, that’s a Hall Brawl.” I’m like, “Oh s**t, you’re right.” Because I was so shocked because I was already under the impression that it wasn’t going to be there. So I was clocked out. So then when I see it, I’m like, ah, crap. And I knew I’m going home if I was going to go in because there’s no chance in hell I’m going to go pass Enzo. Enzo has 60 pounds on me and it was a lot shorter, so at that point, it’s the heavier person that goes against each other. It sucked, it was intense. I can say that I did a Hall Brawl, but at the cost of me going to the hospital.

Is there anything else that we didn’t see that you think viewers should know about?

Yeah, so many conversations, so many promises, so many good times and bad times. I wish they would have shown more of the phone call with my girlfriend to show what really happened.

When you were going to go home?

Yeah. I wish they would’ve shown more of that and exactly what happened because it’s not at all how it seems, and it’s unfair to her because she didn’t sign up for that. I have four solid managers that do everything, but I couldn’t have four releases and four phone calls with four different managers. So they would reach out to her and then she would relay all the messages to me, but it makes it seem like she couldn’t handle it. So that was one thing that I wish they would’ve clarified because nothing was going on. It’s just that they took my phone calls away. That was the big problem. That’s what I was upset about, when they wouldn’t let me call one of my managers.

Would you come back for another season?

That’s a tough question. If they paid me $1 million an episode and they gave me my business calls, then we will talk about it. [Laughs]

The Challenge: USA, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS