TV Recap: American Ninja Warrior USA vs the World 2020

American Ninja Warrior USA vs the World 2020

From Las Vegas…

It’s time for year six of “American Ninja Warrior: USA vs the World.” Miss the episode? You can watch it on NBC here.

Last year, Team USA took the crown back after the “Real Life Ninja,” Drew Dreschel outclimbed Team Australia’s Ashlin Herbert in Stage 4.

And Team USA will sport two Stage 4 qualifiers and the third ninja in history (Dreschel of course) to ever complete all stages of the National Finals.

Will that kind of firepower be too much to overcome for the rest of the world in their attempt to unseat the defending champs? Can Australia build off its runner up debut last season? Or will Team Europe, a two-time winner of this competition, return to the top after a rough outing last season?

Here’s how the competition works:

All three teams will compete and earn points in the first three stages of the Vegas National Finals course.

The winning team for Stage 1 gets two points, the winner of Stage 2 gets three points, and the winner of Stage 3 gets five points.

The two highest scoring teams advance to Stage 4 (Mount Maduro) for a climb off to determine the champion.

Here are the teams:

Team USA: Drew Dreschel, Jesse LaBreck, Karsten Williams, Adam Rayl, Michael Torres, Daniel Gil

Team Europe: Anton Fomenko, Damir Okanovic, Kesu Ahmed, Magnus Midtbo, Steffi Noppinger, Thomas Hubener

Team Australia: Bryson Klein, Olivia Vivian, Cam D’Silva, Daniel Mason, Josh O’Sullivan, Matt Tsang

Stage One:

The Course: Archer Steps, Spin Your Wheels (new obstacle), Double Dipper, Jumping Spider, Tire Run, Warped Wall, Diving Boards, Twist and Fly

Heat 1:

Team Australia: Olivia Vivian

Vivian fell on the first obstacle in USA vs the World last season.

But that would not be a problem this year as Vivian made the first two obstacles look easy.

She stuck the landing with her butt on Double Dipper and was through the first half of the course in 1:04.

Vivian did her trademark backwards lift up the Warped Wall. Just two obstacles remaining!!!

Make that one as Vivian flew over the Diving Boards.

And she caught the cargo net on Twist and Fly, made the climb up the final obstacle, took some time for her nails to dry (no seriously, she really did that!!!) and hit the buzzer.

Olivia Vivian completes Stage One in 2:56.26.

Team Europe: Thomas Hubener

Hubener has done over 2,000 shows with Cirque de Soleil.

Hubener came out with speed, completing the first three obstacles in 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, he slipped and fell on Jumping Spider.

Thomas Hubener completes three obstacles.

Team USA: Michael Torres

Torres ran this course in 2:12 during National Finals. If he does that here, he’ll take the top spot for Team USA.

He was well on pace do that halfway through the course, when he had five obstacles done in a minute.

And when Torres went with no break between Diving Boards and Twist and Fly, it was clear Torres was on his way to picking up two points for Team USA.

Michael Torres completes the course in 1:42.36

So the standings after the first heat are:


Australia 1

Europe 0

Heat 2

Team Europe: Steffi Hoppinger

Hoppinger is a World Class extreme skier.

But she continued Team Europe’s struggles, falling on just the 2nd obstacle.

Steffi Hoppinger completes one obstacle.

Team USA: Adam Rayl

Rayl wanted to compete in the Olympics when he trained as a gymnast. So competing in USA vs the World is extra special for him.

Rayl took 10 seconds to move past obstacle two, ensuring Team USA at least one point.

A near slip on Jumping Spider almost cost him, but Rayl recovered and moved onto obstacle five.

Rayl climbed the Wall at 1:15.

And with no missteps the rest of the way, Rayl hit the buzzer in under two minutes.

Adam Rayl completes the course in 1:52.50.

Team Australia: Josh O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan spent three weeks in a coma when he was 18. Now, he’s a ninja who made Stage 3 of Australia’s ninja warrior competition.

Europe is shut out yet again after O’Sullivan made it past Spin Your Wheels.

Can O’Sullivan make it past Rayl’s tough time to beat?

He had 30 seconds from the Wall to the end to do just that.

It wasn’t likely, but O’Sullivan fell hard trying to do just that at Diving Boards

Josh O’Sullivan completes six obstacles.

Updated Standings:

Team USA: 4

Team Australia: 2

Team Europe: 0

Heat 3:

Team Europe: Kesu Ahmed

Ahmed is a pop star in his home country of Romania. And Ahmed is the first ever USA vs the World competitor out of Romania.

But just like the rest of Team Europe, Ahmed was out early, falling on Catch and Release.

Kesu Ahmed completes two obstacles.

Team Australia: Cam D’Silvia

During the break, D’Silvia fell on Catch and Release.

That guarantees Team Europe’s first point.

Team USA: Jesse LaBreck

LaBreck is 0 for 3 on Stage One in Vegas, where she has missed the net on the last obstacle all three times.

After completing two obstacles, LaBreck guaranteed another first place finish for Team USA.

But she obviously wants more than that.

LaBreck did what she always does on Stage One in Vegas: complete the first seven obstacles.

But this time, she held onto the net!!!

And after the climb up, LaBreck hit the buzzer, completing Stage One for the first time.

Updated standings:

Team USA: 6

Team Australia: 2

Team Europe: 1

Stage Two

The Course: Giant Walk the Plank, Extension Ladder, Snapback, Swing Surfer, Grim Sweeper (New Obstacle), Water Walls

Heat One

Team USA: Daniel Gil

Gil is running for his dad, whose athletic genes passed onto his son.

Gil had a near slip on the landing for Giant Walk the Plank.

From there, Gil was flawless as he powered his way to the final obstacle on the course: the Water Walls.

And for the 2nd time, Gil completed the Stage Two course and setting a difficult standard for the rest of the field to match.

Daniel Gil completes the course in 2:24.47.

Team Europe: Anton Fomenko

The competition’s first Russian competitor has been training in the US and competing in competitions with some of the top ninjas, including Drew Dreschel.

But Europe’s struggles continued as Fomenko’s run ended after the bar slipped on Extension Ladder.

Or as Akbar describe it: “The Russian was rushin!!!”

The pun game is strong with this one.

Anton Fomenko completes one obstacle.

Team Australia: Daniel Mason

A man after my own heart, Mason prefers to go barefoot, even on long hikes.

He’s required to wear them for this competition.

Mason assured Team Australia two points after completing Extension Ladder.

But Mason’s run would end on the next obstacle, Snapback.

Daniel Mason completes two obstacles.

Updated Standings:

Team USA: 9

Team Australia: 4

Team Europe: 2

Heat 2

Team Australia: Bryson Klein

Klein is coming off an exhilarating win last season, beating Najee Richardson on Stage Two.

Klein set a fast pace early, completing the first third of the course in 25 seconds.

And on Snapback, an obstacle none of the non-US competitors have ever tried, Klein completed it with no mistakes.

Klein’s mistake free run continued all the way to Water Walls, where he jumped in wearing no goggles.

And in a follow up to last year’s run, Klein hit the buzzer with a great time.

Bryson Klein completes the course in 2:02.39.

Team Europe: Damir Okanovic

Okanovic represents his home country of Bosnia, a nation he and his family fled due to civil war.

And Damir was looking good, producing Team Europe’s top run of the night so far.

But the bar is pretty low on that one. And Okanovic fell on Swing Surfer.

Okanovic completes three obstacles.

Team USA: Karsten Williams

So far I’ve really enjoyed seeing scenes from the selection process for Team USA. Seeing both Karsten William’s and Michael Torres’s selections was really cool.

And Williams continued his best season, completing Swing Surfer and ensuring Team USA two more points.

That would be all he would get as he fell on Grim Sweeper, the first fall of the night for Team USA.

Updated Standings:

Team USA: 11

Team Australia: 7

Team Europe: 3

Stage 3

The Course: Grip & Tip, Iron Summit, Crazy Clocks, Ultimate Cliffhanger, Pipe Dream (new obstacle), Cane Lane, Flying Bar

Heat One

Team Europe: Magnus Midtbo

Not many options left for Team Europe: they must win Stage 3 and have Australia finish third to have any chance of advancing to the finals.

Midtbo took the measured approached as he methodically worked his way through (and completed) Iron Summit.

On the Ultimate Cliffhanger, Midtbo showed off his viral rock climbing skills, completing the fourth obstacle.

But Midtbo’s impressive run ended suddenly on Pipe Dream.

Magnus Midtbo completed three obstacles.

Team Australia: Matt Tsang

During the break, Tsang fell at Pipe Dream with a slower time than Magnus Midtbo.

So Team Europe is still alive with one competitor to go….

Team USA: Drew Dreschel


Team Europe needs to perform better than the “Real Life Ninja” in order to advance to the Finals?

Good luck with that…

Dreschel kept up his usual quick pace.

And after completing Ultimate Cliffhanger in under 90 seconds…

Team Europe was eliminated.

With the finals set, Dreschel kept moving forward looking for the finish.

He nearly fell on Pipe Dream (more towards the end than the others), but he finished.

Something to keep in mind for Stage 4: “The Real Life Ninja” was heavily favoring his left hand during the 2nd half of the course.

That didn’t stop “The Real Life Ninja” from completing Stage 3. He hit the buzzer, but will Dreschel be able to go on Stage 4?

Final Standings before Mount Maduro:

Team USA: 16

Team Australia: 8

Team Europe: 6

Stage Four

It’s Team USA vs Team Australia (again) for the championship. And who will the two teams choose to climb Mount Maduro?

Adam Rayl vs Bryson Klein

If Dreschel were going here, this would be academic. But that injury really does open things up here.

Rayl got off to a quick start.

But Klein pulled ahead at 20 feet.

He would keep that lead all the way to the top, hitting the buzzer and getting Team Australia their first USA vs the World title!!!

Winner: Team Australia

It only took two years in the competition for Team Australia to claim the championship. Will they defend it next year? Or can Team USA bounce back and take the top prize again? And what about Team Europe? Can they respond after back to back subpar years?

We’ll see you next year.


Leave a comment