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Team Ninja Warrior recap: Qualifying week 3

This week’s relay race is a shocking must-watch.

Brandon Hickman/USA Network

We’ve reached week three of the Team Ninja Warrior qualifiers and this episode was intense. In many runs, the Warped Wall was the deciding factor as teams pushed each other to their limits. Jessie Graff returned to Ninja Warrior competition, but it wouldn’t be an easy path for her team G-Force.

TL:DR: Jessie Graff’s team was eliminated in a dramatic face off with the Superhero Squad. Kirsti Pratt made a name for herself as a female Ninja to watch. Matt Wilder and Jamie Rahn both put up insanely fast runs. After a shocking relay race, Think Tank moved on to the finals.

The match ups:

  • G-Force vs Average JoJo’s
  • Think Tank vs Superhero Squad

A refresher on the Team Ninja Warrior rules is at the bottom of this article.

The Obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Ring of Fire
  • Swing Jump
  • Floating Tiles
  • Bar Hop
  • Warped Wall

The Teams:


  • Jessie Graff
  • Nicholas Coolridge
  • Jesse La Flair

Average JoJo’s

  • JoJo Bynum
  • Jimmy Bogle Jr
  • Kirsti Pratt

Heat One:

  • G-Force’s Jesse vs Average JoJo’s Jimmy

The first run was a quick one. When Jimmy fell from the Ring of Fire, Jesse took the first point.

Point= G-Force

Heat Two:

  • G-Force’s Jessie vs Average JoJo’s Kirsti

When Jessie got her feet wet on the Swing Jump, Kirsti was able to put together a decent lead. On the Bar Hop, Jessie caught up and performed a huge dismount to force the race down to the Warped Wall. But Kirsti landed her attempt to get up the Wall, while Jessie’s wet shoes proved too slippery.

Point= Average JoJo’s

Heat Three:

  • G-Force’s Nicholas vs Average JoJo’s JoJo

Nicholas was first off the Ring, but took a huge dunk on the Swing Jump. He didn’t lose his grip, but the whole lower half of his body was submerged. JoJo kept charging ahead but fell from the Bar Hop, which, in an surprising turn of events, meant Nicholas could still win the heat.

Nicholas managed to save himself on the Swing Jump and just had to complete the Bar Hop to win. The Average JoJo’s could only watch as Nicholas did that, and completed the Warped Wall.

Points= G-Force

Winner of Round One: G-Force

Next up, Think Tank would battle Superhero Squad

The Teams:

Think Tank

  • Noah Kaufman
  • Matt Wilder
  • Asya Grechka

Superhero Squad

  • Jamie Rahn
  • Sean Darling Hammond
  • Rachael Goldstein

Heat One:

  • Think Tank’s Noah vs Superhero Squad’s Sean

Noah had a slight lead after the Ring of Fire, but things were very close by the time they reached the Bar Hop. Noah missed his first attempt at the Warped Wall, while Sean flew up it.

Point= Superhero Squad

Heat Two:

  • Think Tank’s Asya vs Superhero Squad’s Rachael

Both Ninjas spent a lot of time hung up on the Ring of Fire. Rachael finally landed the dismount and created a strong lead. When Asya freed herself from the obstacle, she had a lot of catching up to do. But once she fell from the Floating Tiles, the win went to Rachael.

Point= Superhero Squad

Heat Three:

  • Think Tank’s Matt vs Superhero Squad’s Jamie

These Ninjas were in a dead heat on the Ring, but Matt generated a lead on the Floating Tiles. He managed to complete the Bar Hop and whip up the Warped Wall with ease, forcing a sudden death round.

Points= Think Tank

Sudden Death:

  • Think Tank’s Matt vs Superhero Squad’s Sean

Matt would take to the course once again right after a breathless run, but it did not slow him down. He was fast and efficient the entire way, creating and keeping the lead.

Point= Think Tank

Winner of Round Two: Think Tank

Knockout One:

G-Force vs Superhero Squad

Heat One:

  • G-Force’s Jesse vs Superhero Squad’s Sean

Jesse got the early dismount off Ring of Fire, and Sean got his feet wet on the Swing Jump. But by the time Bar Hop came around, they were tied up. Both reached the Wall at the same time. Sean, with those darn wet shoes, missed his first attempt, allowing Jesse to claim the win.

Point= G-Force

Heat Two:

  • G-Force’s Jessie vs Superhero Squad’s Rachael

Rachael had a bit of a shaky run, starting out with dipping her feet in the water on the Sonic Swing. As Jessie worked her way down the course, Rachael miscalculated her dismount from Ring of Fire and accidentally tossed herself off the course entirely.

Point= G-Force

Heat Three:

  • G-Force’s Nicholas vs Superhero Squad’s Jamie

These Ninjas were both moving FAST and keeping the race tight. They were in a dead heat on the Bar Hop and both dismounted at the same time. After tearing up the Warped Wall, Jamie hit the buzzer less than one second before Nicholas, claiming the win in the close finish.

Points= Superhero Squad

Sudden Death:

  • G-Force’s Jesse vs Superhero Squad’s Jamie

This match up was going to be another run for speed. In the fastest run of the episode, Jamie completed the course in less than 37 seconds. Jesse had kept up with him the whole time, but in the end, his team would be going home.

Point= Superhero Squad

G-Force is OUT.

Knockout Two

Think Tank vs Average JoJo’s

Heat One:

  • Think Tank’s Noah vs Average JoJo’s Jimmy

Noah dismounted from the Ring first, and took a cautious approach to the Floating Tiles. Jimmy tried to close the gap, but misjudged his footing on the Tiles and was eliminated there.

Point= Think Tank

Heat Two:

  • Think Tank’s Asya vs Average JoJo’s Kirsti

Kirsti was off the Ring of Fire first and worked on building a strong lead. It did look like Asya would have a chance to pass her on the Bar Hop, but Kirsti found the opportunity to dismount. She got up the Warped Wall again while Asya ended up falling from Bar Hop.

Point= Average JoJo’s

Heat Three:

  • Think Tank’s Matt vs Average JoJo’s JoJo

It looked like JoJo would have the advantage when he got off the Ring first, but Matt was moments behind him. He ended up passing JoJo and was across the Floating Tiles and up the Warped Wall in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

Points= Think Tank

Average JoJo’s are OUT.

Think Tank vs Superhero Squad in the Relay Race

In the relay, all three team members will be on the course at the same time. Each will complete three obstacles, meaning the course is extended. It’s up to each team to decide which member runs when.

Think Tank’s Asya and Superhero Squad’s Rachael took the first leg.

After the Swing Jump, they would tag in Think Tank’s Noah and Superhero Squad’s Sean.

Once they completed the Warped Wall, Think Tank would bring in Matt and Superhero Squad would bring in Jamie. They would face the final, extended leg of the course.

  • Dueling Salmon Ladders
  • Globe Graspers
  • 40 foot Invisible Ladder

Relay Race

The women started out the race in a solid tie. Asya grabbed the first tag, but just by a second.

In the second leg, things got interesting. Sean dropped one of the bars in Bar Hop, making him unable to complete the obstacle. Normally, this would mean Superhero Squad would incur a 10 second delay once Think Tank tagged in Matt.

But Noah fell from Bar Hop, meaning he was also unable to complete the leg.

This meant that Matt and Jamie would have a “re-start” at the top of the Warped Wall. After a 5 second countdown, they were both allowed to begin with no one having an advantage.

Once they reached the Globe Graspers, Matt’s rock climbing background kicked into gear and he began to pull away. He reached the Invisible Ladder first and claimed a solid win for Think Tank.

Superhero Squad is heading home while Think Tank advances to the finals.

On May 9, four more teams will try to join Think Tank, Team TNT and the Golden Hearts in the pursuit of the trophy.

  • Lab Rats
  • Team Grit
  • Iron Grip
  • Phoenix Force