The Armchair Ninja Podcast is where American Ninja Warrior super fans Rich and Bijan discuss everything Ninja Warrior both during the season and off-season.
Before season eight hit the airwaves, Rich and Bijan welcomed Geoff Britten to the show as a guest. Geoff, who had previously completed all four stages in season seven, offered his thoughts on a variety of topics.
What the episode really focused on was the predictions of the then upcoming season eight. They recorded the episode before Geoff had his runs in Philadelphia, and before any of the episodes had been released to the public.
Now that the season has wrapped, let’s look back and see how the guys did predicting all the action that went down.
Prediction: Stages Two and Three of the National Finals would be very different and very difficult.
This was pretty darn accurate! Below, we compare the Stage Two and Three obstacles from seasons seven and eight. All told, only two obstacles remained exactly the same, one in each stage.
Considering that no one was able to get past Stage Three in season eight, it’s certainly arguable that these were extremely difficult courses.
Season seven, Stage Two obstacles
- Rope Jungle
- Double Salmon Ladder
- Unstable Bridge
- Butterfly Wall
- Roulette Row
- Wall Lift
Season eight, Stage Two obstacles
- Giant Ring Swing
- Down Up Salmon Ladder
- Wave Runner
- Butterfly Wall
- Double Wedge
- Wall Flip
Only one obstacle, the Butterfly Wall, remained the same, although the emphasis on upper body did not change.
Season seven, Stage Three obstacles
- Psycho Chainsaw
- Doorknob Grasper
- Floating Boards
- Ultimate Cliff Hanger
- Pole Grasper
- Hang Climb
- Area 51
- Flying Bar
Season eight, Stage Three obstacles
- Keylock Hang
- Floating Boards (Altered to have tapered bottoms)
- Ultimate Cliff Hanger (Altered to have two leaps)
- Curved Body Prop
- Hang Climb
- Walking Bar
- Flying Bar
Only one obstacle remained exactly the same, the Flying Bar. One major difference is that season eight’s Stage Three had seven obstacles, while season seven had eight obstacles.
Prediction: Some favorite Ninjas will go out early. Joe Moravsky was mentioned.
This was almost completely accurate. A lot of big name Ninjas did head home early, although Joe Moravsky wasn’t one of them, making it to Stage Two of the National Finals.
For the first time ever, David Campbell did not make the National Finals. In the City Finals courses, we lost quite a few big names: JJ Woods, Michelle Warnkey, Tremayne Dortch, Lorin Ball, Alan Connealy, and Jesse LaFlair just to name a few.
We have to mention Geoff Britten’s name here. Depending on what you think of as an “early” exit from the show, Geoff may or may not qualify. But he did go out on the very first obstacle of Stage One, Snake Run.
This probably isn’t quite what Rich and Bijan were talking about when they predicted some favorites would go out early, but it is interesting they discussed shocking exits with Geoff, who had one of the most shocking exits of all this season.
Prediction: Kacy Catanzaro will have a better performance than in season seven.
Sadly, this prediction didn’t carry through. Kacy fell on the Log Runner during the Oklahoma City Qualifiers.
She did get a wildcard to the National Finals in Las Vegas, but she went out on Stage One, missing the Propellor Bar, mimicking her wildcard performance from the season prior.
Prediction: A female athlete will go far.
This was so delightfully on the money! Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware of all that Jessie Graff accomplished this season.
She was the first woman up the new, six inches taller Warped Wall. She was the first Ninja to complete the Wedge in the LA City Finals, ending with a ranking of second place overall, the highest placing ever for a woman in a City Finals course.
After locking in her spot to Vegas, Jessie became the first female to beat Stage One in a run that almost broke the Internet.
Jessie went out on the Wave Runner of Stage Two, but her epic season has launched her into a new level of Ninja stardom.
Prediction: Women will be a leading story of the season.
Setting Jessie Graff’s accomplishments to the side for a moment, this was still the season of the female Ninja.
Natalie Duran placed in the top 30 at the LA Qualifiers.
Meagan Martin finally made it to the back half of a City Finals course in Indianapolis, ranking in the top 15.
A historic four women, Rachael Goldstein, Jesse Labreck, Michelle Warnkey and Allyssa Beird made it to the Philadelphia City Finals. Jesse Labreck would make it past the Rolling Thunder.
Three women, Jessie Graff, Meagan Martin and Jesse Labreck qualified for the National Finals. The female Ninjas had an incredible season that has set the tone for the accomplishments to come!
Prediction: There will be no winner this season.
As Rich, Bijan and Geoff discussed, this was what they expected. In Sasuke (the Japanese show American Ninja Warrior was inspired by), once someone reaches total victory in all four stages, there is generally a gap before it’s accomplished again.
The courses are redesigned, the difficulty is increased, or at least shifted away from the strengths the Ninjas have developed. This is what keeps the Ninjas on their toes, training year after year for the next surprises.
In season seven, both Geoff Britten and Isaac Caldiero were able to defeat Mount Midoriyama. It was thrilling to witness, but not something to be expected again right away.
Drew Drechsel was able to go the farthest this year, making it to the Hang Climb of Stage Three.
So what do you think? Did season eight match up with your predictions, or were you surprised? Tell us in the comments below.
You can listen to the full Armchair Ninja Podcast with Geoff Britten here.