"The likelihood that I'll find myself on some version of a Challenge in the future is very high," the three-time champion tells EW.
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It took almost a decade, but longtime The Challenge veteran Wes Bergmann finally got his third championship.

After winning The Challenge: Rivals II in 2013 with his partner CT Tamburello for his second title, The Real World: Austin alum returned to the franchise six more times to go for the three-peat. And while it took a whole new spin-off for Bergmann to finally add another win to his résumé, he proved that good things come to those who wait, because he absolutely dominated the game in every aspect all season long on The Challenge: All Stars 3. And in last week's finale, he came in first place in almost every single leg of the final and ultimately crossed the finish line as a three-time Challenge champion.

Below, Bergmann breaks down what led to him finally getting that third win, what it means for his future on The Challenge, and more.

THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS
'The Challenge' host TJ Lavin with winners Wes Bergmann and Jonna Mannion.
| Credit: Paul Castillero/Paramount+

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congrats on getting your third win! It's been a while since you got your second win on Rivals II, so to what do you attribute finally getting that third title?

WES BERGMANN: I mean, I played a flawless game. Let's start with that. It is what it is. I'm normally pretty cocky, but let's be real, I played a very great game. In the times where I lose first, I just kind of get picked on more than the average person. I walk into every single game I play several steps behind, just because of what I've built and people thinking that if they get rid of me, they'll get that in return. On All Stars, I thought that that was going to be different, but quite frankly, it wasn't all that different. I came in with my guard down and then I found out real quickly that there was going to be a lot of people gunning for me for the same reasons as the flagship show. So I just dealt with it accordingly.

How has this win affected your outlook on your future on The Challenge moving forward?

It doesn't change my outlook at all. It's a game that I love and always have and probably always will. The likelihood that I'll find myself on some version of a Challenge in the future is very high. Having won, I'm aware that my target is always big, but a fresh win means that it's just going to be a fresher target. It's like they just repainted my target with fresh red paint. That might mean I have to adjust my style a little bit, but it also might mean I just lean into it because I'm playing with house money at this point.

Could we ever see you return to the flagship franchise or are you just focused on All Stars and spin-offs at this point?

I've been invited to every single thing The Challenge has ever done — every spin-off, every flagship, everything, and I probably always will. If you don't see me on something, it's a scheduling thing and it's not any deeper than that. I have a day job that I love and it's very fulfilling and it's something that I can do until I'm 80 years old, whereas The Challenge just isn't, so I have to take my version of a day job, my business, more seriously than I do The Challenge. Sometimes there's just things that I can't get out of in my real life due to scheduling. So the next thing I can do, whether that's CBS [spin-off The Challenge: USA], whether that's flagship, whether that's All Stars, or whether it's some other random brainchild concoction of TJ Lavin, if I've got time in my schedule, I'm going to do it. I'm not picking and choosing like, "It'd be better for my brand if I moved over to CBS, so let me just hold out, not go on 'fill in the blank something' in hopes that I can do that." I don't think like that. If there's a shot, I take it.

Like you said, you're always cocky when it comes to your abilities, but this season, from the start, it felt like you were on another level with saying you were there to win and no one could beat you. Did you really know from the beginning this was your season to lose or did you doubt yourself along the way?

I don't want to say that I doubted it. It's just that I very much was reminded early on that all the other players were very good. When I signed up for All Stars, I thought that more layups were going to be there, at least on the guy's side. But it just wasn't. It was one killer after another and it doesn't matter what game or what channel or whatever we're playing, if I'm looking around at Brad and Nehemiah and Jordan and Mark Long and Laterrian, the list goes on, but if I'm not taking those guys seriously, I don't deserve to win. Those are men that on any given day could beat me at anything. It's not that I doubted myself as much as I took my competition very seriously because they deserve it. They're good.

THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS
'The Challenge: All Stars' competitors
| Credit: Paul Castillero/Paramount+

All Stars also really gave you an opportunity to show a new side of your Challenge persona, with not being censored and giving fans a deeper, unfiltered look into your strategizing and gameplay. Did you go into this season intending on using this new version of The Challenge to show yourself in a new light?

The only thing that's different about this is it lets me cuss. I'm already the funniest guy on The Challenge in the history of the show, so then you arm me with that extra gun of I'm allowed to cuss, and it's like, whoa! It blew the roof off. There's a reason why I dominated the confessional count this season: It's because the cussing is just so freeing. There's a reason why it's such an important tool of comedians. But on the showcasing your game thing, I've been doing that forever. I didn't do anything different there. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I show up, I play hard, and I narrate what I do in the interviews, and I make sure that there's cameras there for important moves that I make, because we're filming a freakin' documentary. If you're not there to help the producers document what you're doing, you're not doing your job. On that side, I didn't really change anything. But I'm telling you, back to that cussing, it's very, very helpful.

It's wild just how big of a difference that makes on All Stars.

Yeah, I was watching the CBS one last night and they had to bleep something out. I'm like, "That sucks. I remember that." And there's obviously a really good chance I'll be going back to that in some capacity, but it was nice having one season where I could pull that out of my arsenal.

How did this season and win compare to your past seasons and wins?

Each of the three wins that I've had means something different to me. To be the first sole [male] winner of The Challenge ever on the Brazil Duel was a big deal for the game in general and also my first win. That one still, a decade and a half later, feels surreal. Also helping CT get his first win [on Rivals II] that had eluded him for almost 10 years really meant a lot because he's an important figure in my life. To be able to help him do that, he kind of went on a win streak from there on out so I like to think that I was a small part [in that]. Obviously, he's incredibly talented, but I like to think I helped start that momentum that he really hasn't stopped running through people with.

And this one is a big deal because not only did I win, but I was instrumental in bringing my No. 1 and No. 2 friends in real life [with me]. We got first, second, and third place. People can sit around and be like, "Wes is this, Wes is that," but I've once again not only [gone] to the final but brought my people with me. People should be clamoring to be one of my people. You can't win without loyalty. There is no such thing as a winner, especially a multi-time winner, that's disloyal. You cannot do it. It's impossible. I always find it funny when people throw the word "snake" and stuff out there because my success is based on doing the complete opposite. They see what they want to see, but that's why they don't win.

Obviously, nothing will ever come close to the War of the Worlds final, but how did this final compare to the others you've run in the past? 

It was very challenging, but yeah, if you're throwing out the words War of the Worlds 1 final, they're two completely different things that you can't compare. One was a marathon and one was an ultra-marathon. But this one on All Stars was very challenging. It was probably top 15 most difficult finals ever across the 40-ish some odd seasons. It's not like it was easy by any stretch of the imagination. It just wasn't on the same level as the hardest one of all time.

Getting seasick when you had to sleep on the yacht during the overnight portion of the final is like worst case scenario — how did that affect you on day two?

I had to keep my head on a swivel. I was upset just because I had the rest of the guys dead to rights. I'd won every single leg essentially, just absolutely demolished it and I'm sitting there, and their eyes are rolling back into the back of their head and their feet were falling off and they're asking questions in a way that alludes to the fact that they're over it and they're ready to give me the trophy. Then all of a sudden, TJ gives everyone a little pit stop and I get seasick immediately. They all get hoards of food, they get a good night's rest, they hydrate, and I'm up all night throwing up so I got no food, I was just super tired. What I was really hoping for was that they were going to make us stand on a log for 10 hours because, quite frankly, if they did that, the likelihood was so high that there would have been one if not three drops on that night, and if it continued with running immediately after standing on a log, it would have been lights out. That's what I wanted.

THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS
Wes Bergmann on 'The Challenge: All Stars.'
| Credit: Paul Castillero/Paramount+

Regardless of that night, you really did demolish the competition by coming in first in almost every single leg of the final and you never lost that lead on the second day. At what point did you realize you were going to win?

After the eating, I got into celebration mode. The other guys did very, very well, it's just I freakin' brought it. So it's less of comparing myself to them and more just like, "Yo, I absolutely crushed it." I was ready. I was focused. I didn't lose sight of the fact that every single checkpoint mattered, every single point mattered. I think it almost helped that Nehemiah got that five point lead because of his stars because it meant that from the first second, I had to take every point seriously. That just really focused me and I didn't get unfocused until I was sitting on top of that chest of money, at which point, it was over.

We have to talk about that eating challenge because that looked absolutely disgusting. How on earth did you go into "zombie mode" to smash that checkpoint?

Do you know how bad it would be to quit or to go super slow because you're mad at yourself and then still end up finishing it but lose because you were slow? You just have to get to a place where you're like, no matter what, I'm going to finish this. And if I don't do it and do it as fast as possible, then I am going to lose, I'm going to get made fun of, I'm going to feel horrible forever versus I just have to rip the Band-Aid off as best as possible because there is no way out of this. My back is up against the wall and the bully that's coming at me is this big pile of food. TJ was in the background because he loves the game and he wanted to make fun of us, but he was not there to host so you couldn't even in a joking manner negotiate with him. There was no one to negotiate with. Not that he would ever negotiate. But that was just a lot of food, and it was gross but also volume-based, it was a lot. Even if it's my favorite restaurant in the world, I'm going to have a hard time eating that quantity of food.

Yeah, I still can't believe how much you had to eat. How long did it take you?

It was traumatic. I have nightmares about it. I want to say like 45 minutes, maybe?

Wow. Was there any part of the final that we didn't see in the episodes that you wish had been shown? 

No. Sometimes they edit out certain checkpoints if it was irrelevant, like if everyone did well and it just doesn't really add to the story. But they kind of had to show each one of these checkpoints because they were for points. If anything, I would have loved for them to have cut a checkpoint to show more in depth about some of them, like that star memory game, I did that in like four minutes and we had people that took 40. I was particularly proud of that one because that was a very, very difficult memory game that for some reason I just crushed.

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