American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja – Season 1: Episode 5 Recap
(If you just want to see who won what round, the points, and obstacle list, check out our Stats & Database about the episode)
Live from Los Angeles, California…
The format, again:
-The field is 36 teams, 3 ninjas each.
-For each matchup, everyone runs head to head.
-The first team to win 3 races will be victorious
-If neither team can get to three races after everybody’s run, relays races will decide the winner.
-Each episode will feature two opening matchups. The winners will face in the night’s final matchup for a shot at the playoffs later in the season.
Tonight’s Course Includes: Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Pole Grasper, Floating Tiles, Spin Cycle, Warped Wall
Matchup 1: Golden Hearts (Neil Craver, Natalie Duran, Grant McCartney) vs Average JoJo’s (JoJo Bynum, Jessica Clayton, Jimmy Bogle Jr.)
In this “Captain vs Captain” match, McCartney jumped out to a slight advantage.
Then, “the Island Ninja” pulled away on Pole Grasper and didn’t let go, giving the Golden Hearts an early lead.
Golden Hearts 1 Average Jojo’s 0
Clayton raced out to the early lead.
Trying to make up ground, Duran took a huge leap that nearly cost her as she clipped the water with her feet on Pole Grasper.
Duran officially fell on Spin Cycle, leaving Clayton free to climb the Warped Wall, hit the buzzer, and complete the upset.
Golden Hearts 1 Average Jojo’s 1
This race took no time at all as Bogle fell in the water at Tic Toc.
Of course, “Crazy Craver” wasn’t going to stop. In his first run in a year (he sat out last year so a shoulder injury could heal), Craver hit the buzzer and gave his team the lead going into the relays.
Golden Hearts 2 Average Jojo’s 1
The ladies start first, and Jessica Clayton beat out Duran again, tagging Bogle.
But both Bogle and Craver fell on Floating Tiles, meaning it came down to the Captain’s in a dead run to decide who would win.
And in a mad sprint, the “Island Ninja” beat Bynum to the buzzer.
Golden Hearts win 3-1!!!
Matchup 2: Towers of Power (Nate Burkhalter, Selena Laniel, Dan Polizzi) vs Three Wishes (Thomas Stillings, Brittany Hanks, Brian Burkhardt)
Stillings speed gave him an early lead.
Though Polizzi looked like he was gaining ground on each obstacle, Stillings always ended up completing each obstacle first, a lead he would maintain all the way to the buzzer.
Three Wishes 1 Towers of Power 0
Laniel almost fell on the cargo net at the end of Sonic Swing, giving Hanks an early lead.
Both ladies struggled with energy during the course, and it showed on Spin Cycle as Laniel nearly caught up.
But a scary fall by Laniel ended the race for her. Hanks hit her first buzzer and gave her team a commanding lead.
Three Wishes 2 Towers of Power 0
Brandon Mears was supposed to join his buddy Polizzi on the Towers of Power. But emergency surgery for his infant son forced Mears to pull out. Burkhalter flew all the way from Norway to be his replacement.
Unfortunately, Burkhalter lost his grip on Sonic Swing and fell, ending the tournament for the Towers of Power.
Three Wishes win 3-0!!!
Next Round Matchup: Golden Hearts (Neil Craver, Natalie Duran, Grant McCartney) vs Three Wishes (Thomas Stillings, Brittany Hanks, Brian Burkhardt)
The Course: Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Pole Grasper, Floating Tiles, Spin Cycle, Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder, Rumbling Dice, ZigZag Climb
The two men were even at the start, but McCartney seemed to pull ahead heading into the Warped Wall.
But Stillings flew past McCartney on the second half of the course.
The two men were running tight on ZigZag climb, where Stillings hit the buzzer a step ahead of McCartney.
Three Wishes 1 Golden Hearts 0
Duran reached the Warped Wall with a lead. But her three attempts to make it up failed. Hanks made it up, putting her team up by 2.
Three Wishes 2 Golden Hearts 0
Craver grabbed the early lead going into Pole Grasper.
But Burkhardt passed Craver and went up the Warped Wall first.
Burkhardt paused to catch his breath, allowing Craver to catch up
Burkhardt added to his lead on Rumbling Dice until the dice slipped on his dismount.
The mistake allowed Craver to pass, hit the buzzer, and send this matchup to the relays.
Three Wishes 2 Golden Hearts 1
The ladies start and were neck and neck until Duran passed for the lead on Pole Grasper.
McCartney kept the lead, climbing up the Warped Wall and tagged Craver with a big advantage.
Burkhardt nearly made the comeback before falling on the Rumbling Dice. Craver hit the buzzer, forcing a do or die final relay.
Three Wishes 2 Golden Hearts 2
The fall by Burkhardt injured his shoulder enough that he had to be pulled from the competition.
Final Relay Race
Geoff Lancaster, an alternate on standby, will have to run the final relay for Three Wishes. He will run the middle leg, moving Thomas Stillings to anchor.
Once again, Duran gave her team the lead going into Pole Grapser.
Hanks got hung up on Pole Grasper, allowing the Golden Hearts to build a big lead.
Stillings really pushed the pace to try and catch up, but Craver climbed up the Rumbling Dice to complete the comeback for Golden Hearts
Golden Hearts move on 3-2!!!
The great comeback by Golden Hearts moves Grant McCartney and company onto the playoffs.
Next week, Brett Steffenson and Lorin Ball take the course!!! See you then.
Photo Credit: USA Network