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Twenty-four men and women have come to Hollywood with one goal: to take on the next generation of American Gladiators for a shot at $100,000.

Recaps by Joe Mello, GSNN

Hosts: Hulk Hogan & Laila Ali
Gladiators: Justice (Justice Smith), Toa (Tanoai Reed), Titan (Mike O'Hearn), Militia (Alex Castro), Wolf (Don "Hollywood" Yates), Mayhem (Romeo Williams), Crush (Gina Carano), Siren (Valerie Waugaman), Venom (Beth Horn), Fury (Jamie Kovac), Stealth (Tanji Johnson),  Hellga (Robin Coleman)
Referee: Al Kaplon
Creators: Johnny Ferraro & Dan Carr
EP: Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops, Johnny C. Ferraro, J. Rupert Thompson
Origin: Gladiator Arena, Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, CA
Packager: Reveille, Room 403 Productions, MGM


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Preliminaries 1
January 6

In 1989, the Samuel Goldwyn Company presented us with the first American Gladiators.  After seven years of confrontations, most excellent hits, and champions abound, it went off the air……until now.  Forget Gladiators 2000, this is AG for the new millennium.

Out of thousands of potentials, only 12 men and 12 women made the final cut.  At stake: $100,000, a new Toyota Sequoia, and the honor of becoming the next American Gladiator.  Let’s meet our first four contenders.

Koya Webb
5’10” 145 lbs.
Life Coach

Jesse Adams
5’5” 140 lbs.
Sales Representative

Anthony Abbatemarco
5’5” 190 lbs.
NY Firefighter

Chad Knight
5’10” 180 lbs
Pro Skateboarder

First up is Powerball.  It’s just as you remember it, but it’s now 60 seconds and there’s a padded border surrounding the playing field.  The women are up first and are going against Venom, Siren, and Stealth.  Koya gets 3 goals thanks to the wider buckets for 6 points.  Jesse only gets two before knee buckles half-way through, preventing her from doing anything but lay in pain for the final part.

The men start with Powerball, too, and are up against Titan, Toa, and Wolf.  Chad only gets 2, but Tony gets 6 goals for 12 points.

Round 2 for the women will be the Joust, but not for Jesse.  Her twisted knee prevents her from continuing and will be replaced with rehab physician Venus Ramos.  She faces Crush on a closer platform than before and not to mention the water below.  Speaking of water, that’s where Venus ends up after about 10 seconds.  Koya, however, knocks Crush down, but not over, and 30 seconds later, the red contender leads 11-2 at the half-way point.

Round 2 for the men is Hang Tough.  Five rows of rings above, water below, and Militia across.  It only takes 17 seconds for Tony to sprint across the way to get 10 points.  Adding injury to insult, Militia hurt his arm and gets replaced by Wolf just in time for Chad.  The two meet on the rings, and that’s the end for Chad.  The firefighter leads 22-2 after two.

Women’s round 3 is Earthquake, a 30-second wrestling match on a moving, shaking, above-ground ring.  Venus leads off and goes against Fury.  Fury gets off a good body slam, but it doesn’t get Venus off, earning the contender 5 points.  Koya manages to get Fury to the edge, but the Glad grabs the rope suspending the floor, tossing Koya to the mat and zero points.  Venus gets within 4.

Men’s round 3 is the UK import Hit and Run.  Just think of it as the shuttle run on a suspension bridge over water and with giant 100-lb medicine balls being hurled by Toa, Titan, Justice, and Wolf.  Anthony leads off and is able to make 5 passes within the 60 seconds for 10 big points.  Chad……not so much.  He gets two points before getting KO’d into the drink.  He now trails 32-4.

The final event is Pyramid.  Same as always, but now 5 points is awarded for making it past the dotted line.  Koya faces Crush, and Venus is against Venom.  Venus is able to pass the line for 5, and Koya almost does the same, but her leg is still on the level below as time expired so no points.  Heading into the Eliminator, Venus takes her first lead of the game, 12-11.

On the men’s side, Anthony is against Toa, while Chad faces Mayhem.  The skateboarder does zip, but Anthony is able to slip his shadow for a breakaway.  However, the clock hits zero before he can hit the button.  He does get 5, though and takes the 37-4 lead heading into the biggest, baddest, Eliminator ever.

- Eight-foot wall
- Swim under a wall of fire
- 30-foot cargo net
- Barrel roll
- Handbike
- Balance beam
- Pyramid climb
- Zip line
- Travelator
- Wall climb

As in days of old, every point of lead means a ˝ second of head-start time.  Koya is able to clear the wall first, but Venus is able to catch up on the cargo net.  Koya gains the lead again, but falls off the handbike.  However, Venus falls as well, allowing the gap to lengthen.   Koya approaches the Travelator at the 1’40 mark but falls and continues to fail while Venus inches her way through and is able to get up the Travelator on her first try, winning in 3’37.6.

On the other side, Anthony has a 16.5 second head start over Chad.  Anthony’s unconventional swimming style and lack of expedience on the cargo net allows Chad to make up a lot of time, but the firefighter is just too far ahead and clocks in victory at 2’10.3.

Now since this is a network game show premiere, it has to be dragged out longer than necessary, but luckily, there is an undercard, and here it is.

Jeff Keller
5’11” 208 lbs
Ad Sales/Former AG contestant

Molivann Duy
5’7” 155 lbs
Day Care Provider

Bonnie Blanco
5’7” 138 lbs
Retired U.S. Marine

Shanay Novell
5’5” 141 lbs
Youth Counselor

Up first is the Gauntlet.  2 points per Gladiator passed, 10 over all by breaking the wall in 30 seconds.  The men lead off, going against Wolf, Toa, Titan, and Justice.  Moli starts out well, but Justice ends his run at 6 points.  Jeff (who missed his 60 minutes of fame in ’94 due to traffic) gets off to a less favorable start.  Not only does he jump the gun, he starts messing around with Wolf and trying to smack Toa around.  On the restart, Toa gives Jeff the business, but the former contender is able to eke past all 4 in the half-minute for 8 points and the early lead.

For the women, Venom, Siren, Fury, and the infamous Hellga block the path.  However, both Shanay and Bonnie get the full 10 points. 

Event #2 for the men is the Joust.  Mayhem is the opponent, but he had this funny problem of stepping over to the other platform.  Just like before, that’s an automatic DQ and both Moli and Jeff get 10 points, making it 18-16 Jeff at the half.

Round 2 for the women is the Wall.  After 7 seconds, Venom will chase Shanay and Stealth will go after Bonnie.  Both Glads make a good effort, but it just isn’t enough.  Bonnie clears in 38 seconds for 10 points, and Shanay gets up in 59 for 5.  The ex-marine leads at the half 20-15.

The men start the 2nd half with a more complex Assault.  Justice will simply fire off the 100 mph tennis balls.  Jeff gets off the slingshot and turret, but a butt shot stops his run at 2 points.  Moli gets farther but has problems with the Sand Pit objective, and time expires with only 2 points, so he still trails by two.

Game 3 for the gals is Hang Tough and Fury will be the Glad.  The two meet, but Bonnie is too strong.  Fury is shaken off with 12 seconds left, but Bonnie has no momentum, so she gets 5 for the draw.  Shanay tries some aerial dodging and pulls it off for the full 10, and it’s a tie game once more.

Final round for the men is Pyramid.  Jeff gets and old friend in Wolf and Moli gets Titan.  The two go nowhere but down, resulting in the first shutout, and the score remains 20-18 in favor of Jeff.

It’s Hit and Run for the women. Stealth, Crush, Siren, and Fury will be doing the Hitting.  Shanay only gets one pass for 2 points, but Bonnie doesn’t even get that far.  Shanay leads 27-25 going into the Eliminator.

1-second leads are the order of the day, and the men will lead us off.  Moli gets the early lead, but Jeff closes in and overtakes on the cargo net.  Jeff falls off the hand bike, which allows Moli to take the big lead and takes the win at 2’13.4.

On the women’s side, Bonnie hits her nose on a metal bar protecting the contenders from the above-water firewall.  She never is able to fully recover and Shanay wins in 2’22.4.

That’s it for now.  Four more contenders square off tomorrow night against the American Gladiators.