A course so brutal and intense that, of
the thousands that have attempted it, only three have completed it. Last
year, with the course now firmly on American soil, one
man - Brent Steffensen - came drastically close only to
fail in the Third Stage.
But that was then, and this year, a new
group of athletes, specially trained and battle ready, have come from
all across the nation to attempt to make the field of 100 who will take
on Mt. Midoriyama's killer American course with $500,000 on the line to
whoever can finish it in the fastest time.
This year comes with a new twist in the
competition. Three words: "Win and in." If you finish the qualifier
course, you move to the final course, where only the fastest 100 will
earn their spot on the group that will take on this year's ANW
tournament. If we do not get 30 finishers, we will round out the field
with whoever went the furthest the fastest.
Last night, six competitors got an
automatic spot in the next round. Now it's up to the final 65 to see if
they can join them.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
This course is markedly different from
courses past. In fact, of the six obstacles, FOUR have not been seen on
- QUINTUPLE STEPS: five steps, seven feet
between each one.
- FRAME SLIDER: brace yourself inside a giant frame and slide your way
down two jolts.
- DOMINO HILL: balance across a set of unstable vertical planks.
- FLOATING CHAINS: find your way across five chains.
- FLYING NUNCHUK: leap to grab the first set, then swing to the second.
- WARPED WALL: Fourteen feet, three tries.
As a reminder, anyone who finishes the
qualifier moves on to the regional final and move one step closer to the
American Sasuke course in Las Vegas.
- Michael Mark (37; San Diego; motivator
& life coach) - here to make a dedication to his father, who will be
turning 93 soon - FAIL Floating Chains
- Natalie Duran (21; Moreno Valley, CA; neuroscience
graduate/professional vlogger on YouTube) - FAIL Frame Slider
- Matthew Razore (27; Medina, WA; high-school football coach) - FAIL
Quintuple Steps... in spectacular fashion.
Another 10 came, another 10 gone.
- Spencer Hurtt (36; Tustin, CA;
operations manager) - FAIL Flying Nunchuk
- Desmond Odom (26; Newark, NJ; retail manager) - FAIL Domino Hill
Another 10 gone, another 10 gone, another
10 bite the dust, including "Frosti" Zernow.
Did you know that ANW invites players AND
welcomes walk-ons? It's true. Here's one now.
- Mario Mendoza (40; San Francisco;
general contractor) - FAIL Flying Nunchuk
- Alan Connealy (35; Moraga, CA; chiropractor) - FAIL Frame Slider...
and with a dislocated shoulder.
A fellow competitor who was next on the
course treated him on site. His run later.
- Justin Walcker (23; Seattle; systems
manager) - Remember, he lives with Tourette's Syndrome. - COMPLETE!
- Kelvin "Grandpa Ninja" Antoine (54; Trinidad & Tobago; forklift
operator) - FAIL Frame Slider
- Jesse La Flair (28; Los Angeles; parkour instructor) - COMPLETE!
ANW All-Star Paul Darnell and his wife
Melanie are one of five married couples waiting to compete. Their run
- Jessie Graff (29; Santa Monica, CA;
stuntwoman) - dressed as Big Bird. FAIL Flying Nunchuk. As God is my
witness, I thought chickens could fly!
- Lance Pekus (26; Salmon, ID; rancher) - COMPLETE!
Eight more are done before they begin.
Two more - classical pianist Yen Chen and Forest Chang-Turpen - advance.
Next, the wife of an ANW All-Star.
- Melanie Darnell (27; North Hollywood,
CA; CPA) - FAIL Quintuple Steps
- Paul Darnell (30; North Hollywood, CA; stuntman) - FAIL Flying Nunchuk
The couple that fails together...
- Aaron Cook (32; Kirkland, WA; sales
trainer) - Before that, he was a ballet dancer. After that, he was the
father of an autistic child. FAIL Flying Nunchuk
Married couple the Heltons fail on the
Quint-Steps. The Queens.. also failed. Hope Rocho... failed the Quint-Steps.
- Dustin Rocho (34; Las Vegas; CPR
instructor) - Last year, he ruptured his eardrum in the Finals.
Another eight got dumped by the course,
but Andrew Douglas moves on.
- Noah Kaufman (38; North Lake Tahoe, NV; emergency room physician) - If
you remember, he readjusted Alan Connealy's shoulder tonight. COMPLETE!
There are five players left. Jessie Graff
is currently in 28th place on the leaderboard. She could be the first
woman EVER to make a final. Or....
- Kacy Catanzaro (23; Belleville, NJ;
obstacle course trainer) - The girlfriend of one Brent Steffensen. FAIL
Flying Nunchuk. Her time could still hold up.
Shane Daniels joins the finishers...
- Kyle Cochran (24; San Diego; cheer
instructor) - If you remember, he is a type 1 diabetic. FAIL Flying
Jessie's still holding on in 29th. With
only Brent Steffensen left to complete, Jessie has just made history as
the VERY FIRST WOMAN to compete in a City Final.
And speaking of which...
- Brent Steffensen (32; stuntman; Sandy,
UT) - COMPLETE!
And that's it. Let's see who's moving on.
1) JESSE LA FLAIR
2) SHANE DANIELS
3) DAVID CAMPBELL
4) LANCE PEKUS
5) JAMES McGRATH
6) JONATHAN ROBERSON
7) BRIAN KRETSCH
8) DUSTIN ROCHO
9) ANDREW DOUGLAS
10) NOAH KAUFMAN
11) BRENT STEFFENSEN
12) JUSTIN WALCKER
13) JAMES SCLAR
14) JAMES EGGIMAN
15) TRAVIS BREWER
16) FOREST CHANG-TURPIN
17) YEN CHEN
18) Tony Reddick (Flying Nunchuk)
19) Joseph Wilson (Flying Nunchuk)
20) Paul Darnell (Flying Nunchuk)
21) JB Douglas (Flying Nunchuk)
22) Mario Bravo Mendoza (Flying Nunchuk)
23) Daniel Dick (Flying Nunchuk)
24) Ryan Thompson (Flying Nunchuk)
25) Levi Keller (Flying Nunchuk)
26) Dan Mast (Flying Nunchuk)
27) Luke Carson (Flying Nunchuk)
28) John Sanders (Flying Nunchuk)
29) Will Roberts (Flying Nunchuk)
30) Jessica Graff (Flying Nunchuk)
The downside of making history for Jessie
Graff... Her run is FIRST in the Venice Final. See you on G4.
For more information on the contestants,
including never-before-seen footage, go to
g4tv.com/anw or nbc.com/anw