TV Recap: American Ninja Warrior: USA vs the World 2018

American Ninja Warrior: USA vs the World

Live from Las Vegas…

It’s time for year four of “USA vs the World,” and the US is the two time defending champs.

But they will have three teams aiming to knock the US off the throne.

Here’s how the competition works:

Each team will run two heats on stage one and two. The fastest time gets 3 points, second fastest gets two points, and third fastest gets a point for their teams.

The top 3 teams will compete on stage 3. The top two teams on stage 3 advance to stage 4, where a climb off will determine the champion.

Here are the teams:

Team USA: Joe Moravsky, Sean Bryan, Najee Richardson, Drew Drechsel

(A stacked team for sure, but I’m a little disappointed this season features no female competitors. I mean, if you had to pick four, these are the four you’d pick, but just saying.)

Team Europe: Ossur Eiriksfoss, Sergio Verdasco, Sean McCall, Alexander Mars

Team Asia: Thuc Le, Tomohiro Kawaguchi, Yusuke Morimoto,  Yosua Zalukhu

Team Latin America: Karl Fow, Danee Marmolejo, Sebastian Prieto, Marco Jubes

Stage One:

Here’s the course: Stage Run, Propeller Bar, Double Dipper, Jumping Spider, Parkour Run, Warped Wall, Domino Pipes, and Flying Squirrel.

Heat One

Team USA: Joe Moravsky

“The Weatherman,” coming off his best season ever (and best of any competitor) on ANW, runs for Team USA to lead things off (And he’s got a baby on the way, by the way!!!)

In his pre-race video package, Moravsky thinks the other teams will go “500%.” “The Weatherman needs a lesson in percentages after he finishes his run.

Moravsky moved quickly but almost fell on the Jumping Spider.

Other than that, things were moving quickly until “the Weatherman” shockingly fell on Domino Pipes.

Moravsky completes Warped Wall in :42 seconds

Team Europe: Ossur Eiriksfoss

Ossur comes from the isolated (but absolutely gorgeous) Faroe Islands (a territory of Denmark).

Unfortunately for the Faroe Islander, The Danish champ fell at the Jumping Spider.

Eiriksfoss completes Propeller Bar in :24 seconds.

Team Asia: Thuc Le

The Grand Champion from Vietnam completed all four stages and has an adorable family.

But Le came up well short of expectations as he shockingly fell on the second obstacle.

Le completes Stage Run in :21 seconds.

Team Latin America: Karl Fow

Fow’s video package highlights the issues in his home country of Venezuela. In order to get the proper training and nutrition (and get away from the issues of his homeland), Fow and his wife moved to Spain (her home country).

Can Fow take advantage of the opening Joe Moravsky gave all the competitors in the first heat?

Fow really took his time through the obstacles, banking on his ability to complete them instead of trying to outrun Moravsky’s time.

Fow guaranteed his team at least two points after completing the Jumping Spider.

And Fow earned the three points after making it across the Domino Pipes.

But Fow didn’t stop there, hitting the buzzer and becoming the first Latin American competitor to do so in this competition.

Karl Fow completes Stage One.

So the standings after the first heat are:

Latin America 3


Europe 1

Asia 0

Heat Two

Drew Drechsel is up for Team USA in Heat Two, and he’s batting cleanup.

Team Asia: Tomohiro Kawaguchi

The oldest competitor in the competition (at 35 years old, so ancient ANW), Kawaguchi is a legend in Japan.

And with that 0 in the first stage, Kawaguchi has a lot of pressure to perform here.

Kawaguchi really took a measured approach on the obstacles. Unfortunately, he fell on Domino Pipes, leaving a slow time that may struggle to hold up.

Kawaguchi completes Warped Wall in 1:47.

Team Latin America: Danee Marmolejo

The only competitor to earn a point for Team Latin America last year did a backflip and dab before starting his run.

And Marmolejo fist bumped the crowd between obstacles as he passed Kawaguchi when he completed the Domino Pipes.

With a point in hand (and a guaranteed four after two heats for Latin America), Marmolejo went ahead and completed the course.

Marmolejo completes Stage 2 in 2:53.16.

Team Europe: Sergio Verdasco

The Champion from “Ninja Warrior: Spain” can guarantee two points if he completes the course in under 2:53.

Verdaco overcome a bad initial jump to get through the Jumping Spider.

The rope on Parkour Run has been ignored all night. And Verdasco continued that trend on his way through Domino Pipes.

With Marmolejo’s time firmly in his sights, Verdasco went straight into the Flying Squirrel and hit the buzzer with a new top time.

Verdasco completes Stage 2 in 2:02.21

Team USA: Drew Drechsel

Two men completing the course on this heat have put a lot of pressure on Drechsel to perform.

And adding to that pressure for Drechsel is a disappointing finish to Season 9.

Drechel’s style is to go fast, and Drechsel stayed true to form getting through Parkour Run in less than a minute.

Then, he catches the cargo net and nails the buzzer, giving team USA three points for the heat.

Drechsel completes Stage 1 in 1:48.44

Here are the standings after the second heat:


Latin America 4

Europe 3

Asia 0

Stage Two

Here’s the course: Giant Ring Swing, Criss Cross Salmon Ladder, Wave Runner, Swing Surfer, and Wingnut Alley, and Wall Flip.

Heat One

Team Europe: Alexander Mars

The last man standing on the Swedish competition this year is looking to make up for numerous disappointing finishes in his previous appearances on “USA vs the World.”

And the string of disappointing results continued for the Swedish champ as Mars fell on Wave Runner.

Mars completes the Salmon Ladder in :37.88 seconds.

Team USA: Sean Bryan

“The Papal Ninja” walks up the ramp backwards before starting his run.

And after passing the Wave Runner, Bryan guarantees the US a point in this round.

But Bryan really took his time with this course, leaving things open for another competitor.

And after falling hard at the end of Wingnuts, the door is left wide open for Japan and Latin America.

Good news for Team USA: Bryan was OK after a scary fall.

Bryan completes the Swing Surfer in 2:28.21

Team Japan: Yusuke Morimoto

Bryan’s fall means a great opportunity for Team Asia.

And Asia has the right guy going with Morimoto taking the course.

The grand champion completed Wave Runner, putting Team Asia on the scoreboard for sure.

Unfortunately for Team Asia, Morimoto fell on Swing Surfer, meaning Asia, at most, can only get two points this round.

Morimoto completes Wave Runner at 1:02.

Team Latin America: Marco Jubes

Jubes is another Venezuelan ninja living in Spain. His reasons for living there are so his father can receive better medical care than he was receiving in Venezuela.

Jubes made it through Wave Runner, guaranteeing Team Latin America a point.

But just like Morimoto, he fell at Swing Surfer, meaning Latin America will only receive one point from this heat.

Jubes completes Waver Runner at 1:20 (I think).

So Sean Bryan’s win on that heat guaranteed the US a spot in Stage 3. It also really tightened things up at the bottom with Europe and Asia:


Latin America 5

Europe 3

Asia 2

Heat Two

Team Asia: Yosua Zalukhu

The first time “USA vs the World” competitor was the last man standing at the Indonesian edition of Ninja Warrior. He credits (well, maybe “credit” is the wrong word considering how much he hates it), the traffic of Jakarta for preparing him for the competition.

Yosua got off to a very rough start, taking 46 seconds to complete the first obstacle.

Keep in mind, Yosua is running for Team Asia, who is currently sitting at the bottom of the standings and needs every point.

The struggles continued through the entire run as a tired Yosua slipped and fell at Wave Runner. That time might spell the end for Team Asia in this competition.

Yosua completed Salmon Ladder at 1:52.40

Team Latin America: Sebastian Prieto

Prieto is a graphic designer and a world champion rock climber.

Much like Yosua, Prieto really struggled on the Ring Swing taking even longer than Yosua did.

And those struggles continued as Prieto fell before completing Salmon Ladder, keeping Team Asia alive in this competition.

Prieto, bloody hands and all, completed Ring Swing at 1:11.

Team USA: Najee Richardson

“The Phoenix” takes the course knowing Team USA already has the top spot following Stage 2.

But no one sits out a course on American Ninja Warrior. And Richardson showed the previous two rookie competitors how the Ring Swing is done.

“The Phoenix” completion of Wave Runner guaranteed both a spot for Team USA and Team Latin America in Stage 3.

And with flair, “the Phoenix” becomes the first man on the night to complete Stage 2.

Richardson completes Stage 2 in 3:59.03

Team Europe: Sean McColl

Here are the scenarios for Team Europe:

If McColl fails at Salmon Ladder, Asia moves on

If McColl can get past the Salmon Ladder in under 1:52, Team Europe moves on.

But Europe saved their best for last, with the World Champion Rock Climber (and hopeful Olympian with Rock Climbing appearing at the Olympic Games for the first time in Tokyo, 2020).

And McColl made it look easy, finishing the Salmon Ladder in :48 seconds, ending Asia’s competition.

Our announcer recommends that McCall fall here and save his energy for Stage 3.

But Matt should know this is not Week 17 of the NFL season. No one rests on American Ninja Warrior.

McColl not only keeps going. He completes the course and takes first place in the heat.

McColl completes the course at 3:22.80

The standings after Stage 2:

USA 10

Europe 6

Latin America 5

Asia 3 (eliminated)

With the competition moving on to Stage 3, the scoreboard resets to 0.

Stage 3

Scoring is similar in Stage 3, except 2 points go to the fastest time and 1 point to the second fastest.

Here’s the course: The Floating Board, Key Lock Hang, Nail Clipper, Ultimate Cliffhanger, Curved Body Prop, Peg Cloud, Time Bomb, and Flying Bar.

Three competitors made it to Stage 3 this past season on American Ninja Warrior. They all compete for Team USA. None of them completed it.

Two of the men competing tonight, Drew Drechsel and Sean McColl, have completed Stage 3 before.

Heat One

Team Latin America: Marco Jubes

Jubes shockingly falls on the first obstacle. It looks like Team Latin America will have to overcome a goose egg in the second heat.

Team USA: Drew Drechsel

“The Real-Life Ninja” won his heat on Stage one.

And he completes the Floating Board, guaranteeing a point for Team USA.

Drechsel struggled, but survived Key Lock Hang.

And after making it easily through Nail Clipper, “the Real Life Ninja” fell for the first time on Ultimate Cliffhanger.

Drechsel completes Nail Clipper in 1:58.44

Team Europe: Sergio Verdasco

The door is open for the European rookie to take 2 points in this first heat.

Verdasco completed the Floating Board, guaranteeing a point for Team Europe.

Then, the 21 year old finished the Floating Board in 1:20.

And Verdasco hits the platform on Nail Clipper at 1:48, giving Europe 2 points for the heat.

Unfortunately, Verdasco fell at the same spot Drechsel did on Ultimate Cliffhanger.

Verdasco completes Cliffhanger at 1:48.

And your standings through heat one:

Europe 2


Latin America 0

Heat Two

Team Europe: Alexander Mars

Mars failed to get a point for his team on his heat in stage 2. But his has a ton of experience attempting the Stage 3 course.

Mars overcome a twisted dismount to make it through Floating Board.

And with no pressure, Mars easily completes Nail Clipper.

Can Mars become the first ninja tonight to make it through Ultimate Cliffhanger?

He could not, falling at the same spot Drechsel and Verdasco fell at.

Mars completed Nail Clipper at 1:53.60.

Team Latin America: Sebastian Prieto

Much like Mars, Prieto failed to get points in his Stage 2 heat.

But he has significantly more pressure to come through here than Mars did.

Prieto’s hand is noticeably taped up from his fall on Salmon Ladder.

Prieto moved slowly through Floating Board, meaning he needs to complete Ultimate Cliffhanger to pass Mars. He did not, meaning the best Latin America can hope for is a tie with the US.

And Team Europe is moving on to Stage 4!!!

Prieto completes Nail Clipper in 2:16.

Team USA: Joe Moravsky

If Moravsky gets past the Nail Clipper in 2:16, Team USA advances.

He can also advance Team USA by becoming the first man to complete the Ultimate Cliffhanger tonight.

The dismounts were not clean on the first two obstacles, but “the Weatherman” completed them.

And Moravsky didn’t just make a clean landing on Nail Clipper, his time clinched first place in the heat, advancing Team USA.

Team Latin America is out.

It’s time for Team USA vs Team Europe for the trophy at Stage Four.

Stage Four

And your Stage Four matchup….

Sean Bryan (USA) vs Sean McColl (Europe)

Both men won their Stage 2 heats. But McColl won his by completing the course, while “The Papal Ninja” took a hard fall that nearly pulled him out of the competition.

McColl weighs 33 pounds less, but Bryan has the reach advantage of 3 inches.

Bryan took an early lead.

But MColl evened things up at 40 feet.

The two men were neck and neck, but Sean McColl hit the buzzer less than a second before “the Papal Ninja” did.

The championship is back with Team Europe for 2018!!!

Team Europe was nearly out of the competition after Stage 2.

But they survived and, riding the back of Sean McColl, are back on top of the World ninja competition.

So in four “USA vs the World” competitions, Team Europe has 2, Team USA has 2.

See you for the rubber match next year!!!

Photo Credit: David Becker/NBC | 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Leave a comment