ByLily Masco, writer at
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." -Walt Disney
Lily Masco

American Ninja Warrior, the spin-off of the Japanese television series Sasuke, is undoubtedly an extremely challenging sports entertainment competition. It is one of the few sports in which men and women compete on the same obstacle course, giving everyone an equal shot at proving themselves.

With thousands of competitors, it can be tricky to remember them all, and that's why we're here to make sure you don't miss out on any of the highlights. Here are the most memorable moments in American Ninja Warrior history.

1. That Time A Streaker Stole Someone Else's Run And Proved Himself To Be A "Hard Competitor"

It wouldn't be HARD to make jokes about this guy all night long, BUTT really, the video says it all FULL-FRONTAL... So we probably shouldn't D*CK around too much. Let's be sensitive. After all, people really EXPOSE themselves on the obstacle course, showing their NAKED souls, and leaving LITTLE TO THE IMAGINATION in regards to what they're really made of, both INSIDE AND OUT. The streaking obstacle course crasher surprisingly lasted a long time. That is, until the handcuffs came out.

2. That Time A T-Rex Decided Extinction Was No Excuse Not To Compete

How could you forget about that time a dinosaur decided extinction wouldn't get in his way? A T-Rex weighs about 5 tons, making it the heaviest competitor in American Ninja Warrior history. "It wasn't a meteor that ended the dinosaurs, it was the spin cycle." The tyrannosaurus got through many of the obstacles, and even when it lost, it kept going, making a run for it on the warped wall without even eating it!

3. That Time A 5-Foot-Tall Woman Set The Standard For All

In 2014, a 24-year-old (at the time) and 5-foot-tall 100 lbs. former NCAA gymnast named Kacy Catanzaro surprised everyone with her impeccable body control when she became the first woman to complete the obstacle course in record time. She was the first female to complete the qualifying course, semi-final course, get her ticket to Las Vegas, or even make it past the warped wall: "She's not human! She's not human!"

4. That Time Kacy's Other Half Of "The Royal Couple Of American Ninja Warrior" Proved Himself And His Country

Brent Steffenson, a stuntman who happens to be Kacy's boyfriend and coach, as well as a four-time veteran of Mount Midoriyama (the finals course for American Ninja Warrior). He was struggling financially as a stuntman which led him to change careers and become an obstacle course trainer instead. He landed a spot on team USA in the "USA vs Japan" special and not only won the match, but raised the bar as the Stage 1 record holder in the history of the show at 1:14:53.

5. That Time Wonder Woman Crashed The Course

Jessie Graff, a stunt woman for shows like DC's Supergirl, has gotten a little lost in reality, assuming the self-proclaimed role of Wonder Woman. The thing is, she's so good she has us convinced too. According to the announcers, Graff likes the outfit because she loves being described as feminine, and to her the word means "strong, athletic, confident." She's definitely taking girl power to a whole other supernatural level.

6. That Time A US Army Veteran Proved His Military Training Despite His Injury

Former Army National Guard Caption and seven-time American Ninja Warrior veteran Ryan Stratis has built a history of competing on the show in spite of injuries. Once in 2011, the soldier managed to complete the course even after hurting his ankle on the jumping bars. At the 2016 Philadelphia Qualifier, he managed to complete every obstacle despite having recently undergone an extensive bone-shaving surgery on his right shoulder. This veteran was trained never to give up and just fight through the pain instead, as real heroes do.

7. That Time Mark Bernardo Proved His Firefighting Abilities By Climbing The Equivalent Of 4 Storeys

Mike Bernardo In American Ninja Warrior All-Stars Skills Competition 2016/NBC
Mike Bernardo In American Ninja Warrior All-Stars Skills Competition 2016/NBC

A Washington D.C. firefighter Mike Bernardo climbed the Super Salmon Ladder with ease at the Season 8 premiere of American Ninja Warrior's All-Stars Skills Competition 2016. He was the heaviest competitor at 175 lbs. — which sounds light compared to the T-Rex. He had to get past 28 rungs to win, but he completed the obstacle without even pausing for a breath with 35, the equivalent of four-storeys high.

8. That Time The Youngest Competitor Alive Killed It

Okay, so three-year-old Yoshi may not have actually appeared on NBC's American Ninja Warrior, but this is basically the better spin-off. The boy appeared on the network's other show Little Big Shots starring Steve Harvey. Since Yoshi is a major ANW fan, the show presented him with a makeshift kid-sized obstacle course, and even brought on one of the real announcers, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila.

9. That Time Ellen DeGeneres Showed ANW Competitors It Can't Be That Hard

Ellen DeGeneres is such a big fan of American Ninja Warrior that she had them build her an obstacle course in the parking lot of her show's studio. She didn't just do it for the looks, she gave it her best try. To everyone's surprise, her best try actually completed each obstacle, allowing her to finish the course with remarkable success. The thought she could dance and proved it on So You Think You Can Dance. What can't she do? Go Ellen!

10. That Time Anna Faris and Allison Janney Completely Re-Invented The Rules

If you're looking for a laugh, this video will certainly do the trick. The rules are there are no rules on Ellen's American Ninja Warrior obstacle. Anna Faris and Allison Janney teamed up to complete the course together, even holding hands throughout. Faris relies on her unbeatable tactic of wearing tight black clothes while Janney relies on her training (dating back to the day of).

11. That Time Someone Finally Achieved Total Victory

Geoff Britten Becomes First American Ninja Warrior/NBC
Geoff Britten Becomes First American Ninja Warrior/NBC

Geoff Britten's entire family climbs and does obstacles together. In other words, his life is the plot of Spy Kids (2001). He called the obstacles a "total cakewalk" assuming one knows what they're doing (i.e. everyone?) He wasn't kidding, as he was the first person ever to win the course and achieve Total Victory. Unfortunately for him, the second — and only other person — to ever win it did so during the same season at the 2015 Las Vegas Finals, taking the $1 million prize with him.

12. That Time Isaac Caldiero Not Only Achieved Total Victory, But Also Won $1 Million

Caldiero was a busboy who happens to be "one of the greatest rock-climbers in the world." He marked his debut on the show while wearing a Jesus costume, as if we needed yet another reason to remember him. He is the first American to complete Stage 3 in the first seven seasons of American Ninja Warrior. He also is one of two competitors to ever win the course and achieve Total Victory, beating Geoff Britten's time and winning the $1 million prize. Maybe he wasn't far off by assuming the identity of Jesus.

What was your favorite ninja moment on American Ninja Warrior?


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