Wild Card Episode 1
S1 episode 10 Aired on April 30, 2018

By Nikki Lee

Welcome to the American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja wildcard round! We saw six teams that were hungry for redemption after being bumped out during the qualifying round. They came back with a vengeance. Every team knew this was the last chance to move on and they went into the races downright hunting for the win.

TL:DR: MidWest Muscle were edged out by the Lizard Kings. Frostbite faced the All-American Ninjas’ new lineup but was able to send them home. In the last match-up of the night, Dark Horse and the NorCal Ninjas went for five heats, with the NorCal Ninjas moving on. None of the rounds were a sweep. Everyone laid it all on the line for their last chance.

The match-ups:

  • MidWest Muscle vs Lizard Kings
  • Frostbite vs All-American Ninjas
  • Dark Horse vs NorCal Ninjas

The obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Tick Tock
  • Ring Swing
  • Floating Tiles
  • Bungee Pipeline
  • Warped Wall

There were a few rules changes for this round. It was still a best-of-five format, but now teams moved straight to playoffs. There was no final round of the episode to make it through. This also meant there was no action on the extended course.

ROUND ONE

MidWest Muscle

  • Tyler Yamauchi
  • Kirsti Pratt
  • Ethan Swanson

Lizard Kings

  • Hunter Guerard
  • Sarah Schoback
  • Kyle Soderman

Heat one: Tyler Yamauchi vs Hunter Guerard

These two Ninjas were sprinting right from the start line! Tyler missed his first hook on the Ring Swing, giving Hunter an advantage. Hunter was off the obstacle first and running down the course. Tyler kept up and was right behind him. Both were on the Bungee Pipeline where Tyler managed to pass Hunter. The obstacle is built to encourage interaction and they were bumping one another. Tyler escaped first and lunged for the Warped Wall. When he missed his first attempt, Hunter bolted passed and got the buzzer.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat two: Kirsti Pratt vs Sarah Schoback

Sarah had a bit of a struggle. She was low on the Sonic Swing rope, and it ended her run right there. Kirsti only had to make it to the Ring Swing to take the win.

Point = MidWest Muscle

Heat three: Ethan Swanson vs Kyle Soderman

Kyle took the lead from start with his incredible speed. He was also off the Ring Swing first. Ethan did his best to keep up. Kyle made it to the Bungee Pipeline first, but Ethan caught up and they both grabbed for the pipe to dismount. Kyle managed to finish first and was up the wall in a split second. The whole race left us with one feeling: Whoa.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat four - relay: Sarah and Kirsti were at the starting line. Hunter and Tyler were in the middle. Kyle and Ethan waited to handle the last two obstacles.

Kirsti took a strong lead at the start and brought in Tyler. Hunter was soon in behind him. Tyler made it through the rings but had a big fall on the Floating Tiles. He was still in it, however now Kyle had the edge. Ethan was close behind and a fight broke out on the Bungee Pipeline to get the first dismount. Kyle prevailed and sailed to the buzzer.

Point = Lizard Kings

  • Lizard Kings are into the playoffs!
  • MidWest Muscle is OUT.

ROUND TWO

Frostbite

  • Nick Hanson
  • Zhanique Lovett
  • Jackson Meyer

All-American Ninjas

Johnathan Horton hurt his foot during the qualifying rounds. The team called in alternate Reko Rivera.

  • Paul Hamm
  • April Steiner Bennett
  • Reko Rivera

Heat one: Jackson Meyer vs Paul Hamm

Jackson put it all on the line as soon as the race started. On the Ring Swing, Paul missed his first and second attempts at hooking the ring. Jackson was off and quickly on to Bungee Pipeline. Paul on his way just as Jackson was leaving the obstacle. He was up the wall with no trouble.

Point = Frostbite

Heat two: Zhanique Lovett vs April Steiner-Bennett

Zhanique led through Tick Tock. Things were very close on the Ring Swing, with Zhanique dismounting first. April was coming up right behind her. Both were on the Bungee Pipeline. Zhanique was able to dismount first once again. However, when she went for the Warped Wall, she missed her first attempt. April raced up behind her, paused for a moment to collect herself, then launched into the wall. She grabbed the ledge and the point.

Point = All-American Ninjas

Heat three: Nick Hanson vs Reko Rivera

Reko is a long-time American Ninja Warrior competitor and was inside the t-rex suit during that viral run. This match was close at the start. On the Ring Swing, Reko missed the first hook. Nick missed on the second hook and Reko was off the obstacle first. However, he was then out on the Floating Tiles. Nick finished the Bungee Pipeline and took the point.

Point = Frostbite

Heat four - relay: Zhanique and April took the first position. Jackson and Paul would handle the middle obstacles. Nick and Reko planned to close it out.

Zhanique and April were well matched. They both tagged their partners at almost the same time. Jackson was off the Ring Swing first and brought in Nick. Nick opened a big lead before Paul could bring in Reko. But it was too late. Nick completed the Bungee Pipeline and was up the wall.

Point = Frostbite

  • Frostbite is into the playoffs!
  • All-American Ninjas are OUT.

ROUND THREE

Dark Horse

  • Lance Pekus
  • Tammy McClure
  • Karson Voiles

NorCal Ninjas

  • David Campbell
  • Anna Shumaker
  • Brian Kretsch

Heat one: Karson Voiles vs David Campbell

David was a little ahead from the start. But it looked about even by the Ring Swing. Karson was just slightly ahead at that point. They lunged for the Floating Tiles. In a moment no one saw coming, they both fell on the Floating Tiles at exactly the same spot! It was determined that Karson stepped on to the obstacle just ahead of David, giving Dark Horse the win.

Point = Dark Horse

Heat two: Tammy McClure vs Anna Shumaker

This run was abbreviated. After a fast start, it ended with Anna falling from the Bungee Pipeline.

Point = Dark Horse

Heat three: Lance Pekus vs Brian Kretsch

There was a lot on the line for the NorCal Ninjas in this race. A loss meant it was all over. Lance was ahead on the Ring Swing. He was also off the obstacle first. Then he shockingly fell on the Floating Tiles. Brian navigated his way across for the win.

Point = NorCal Ninjas

Heat four - relay: Tammy and Anna stood at the starting line. Karson and Brian posted up in the middle. Lance and David would bring it home.

Tammy and Anna provided their teams' good starts, tagging Karson and Brian almost at the same time. Karson missed the first hook on the Ring Swing. Brian missed the dismount swing, but he was able to save himself and move on. Karson was just behind Brian as he tagged in David. Then both Lance and David were on the Bungee Pipeline. It was David who slithered down the pipe first for the dismount. After that, it was a clear path to the buzzer, tying up the points.

Point = NorCal Ninjas

Heat five - relay: The teams chose the same run order for the tie-breaker relay.

It was a close start again, with Tammy tagging in Karson first. Karson was off and running. Brian was sweeping up behind him. Lance was in. Then quickly David was in. Lance and David were locked in a battle for the dismount from the Bungee Pipeline. They both understood that whoever got it would probably win the race. It was David who was able to swing his body around it first, clearing the path to the playoffs.

Point = NorCal Ninjas

  • NorCal Ninja are into the playoffs!
  • Dark Horse is out!

The Mitsubishi Drive of Night went to the final relay. David got scrappy at the end, knowing it all came down to that one last obstacle. Both teams put on gusty performances and played to win.

Next Week:

On May 7, we’ll see the last half of the wildcard round. This time, eight teams will look to revive their chances at the trophy.

  • Beasts from the East
  • Big Dog Ninjas
  • Hashtag Ninjas
  • Hazard Brigade
  • Team Wolfpack
  • The Ballers
  • Three Wishes
  • Wisco Warriors