We are closing in on another exciting night of Ninja team competition! After the Young Bloods surprised a week ago, who will be the next team to join them in the playoffs?
Neil Craver, Natalie Duran, Grant McCartney
The Golden Hearts have truly shined the past two season on Team Ninja Warrior. And no, that is not just a reference to their flashy costumes. The Hearts have won a combined 12 matches in 20 tries over two seasons, led by Natalie Duran’s five individual wins. The Golden Hearts truly have no weak link which is perfect for this new style of team ninja competition that puts an emphasis on the relays. Plus, this team has redemption on their mind. Although all three teammates are Vegas alumni, none of these stars made it to the Vegas Finals in ANW9.
JoJo Bynum, Jessica Clayton, Jimmy Bogle
Captain JoJo Bynum has led his JoJos squad in two previous editions of Team Ninja competition and will be back for more in Ninja vs. Ninja. Bynum is a strong, powerful competitor who has reached Stage Two of the Vegas finals in the past. He is bringing back teammate Jimmy Bogle for the third season in a row along with Team Ninja rookie Jessica Clayton. Clayton will look to fill the big shoes of Kirsti Pratt (who competed impressively for the Midwest Muscle in Episode Two) in her debut.
Towers of Power
Nate Burkhalter, Selena Laniel, Dan Polizzi
The Towers of Power have become an iconic duo within the world of Ninja Warrior. Brandon Mears and Dan Polizzi have both qualified for the Vegas finals and the firefighters helped lead their squad to two impressive team ninja performances alongside Selena Laniel. However, this year the Towers of Power will have a different look as Nate Burkhalter will take Mears’ spot. Although things will feel different without Mears, Burkhalter does bring some strong experience to the table. Last year, as a part of team Iron Grip, Nate’s debut included an individual victory and a key leg on the team’s winning relay.
In two seasons on team ninja, Dan Polizzi has been one of the best performers we’ve seen. He’s won an impressive six matches in seven tries. And, oh by the way, in Season One of Team Ninja, Polizzi single-handedly knocked Golden Hearts out of the competition. Could we see a rematch in this episode? If they are going to pull out another victory, Selena Laniel will be key. She was excellent in Season Two, with three victories including a tie-breaker win.
Thomas Stillings, Brittany Hanks, Brian Burkhardt
Three Wishes captain Thomas Stillings is one of the most successful and consistent ninja performers we’ve seen during regular season competition. Stillings has qualified for Stage Two in Vegas each of the past three seasons. Last year, he made it all the way to the final obstacle on the course before falling on Wingnut Alley. His team performances have been strong as well-he helped lead last year’s team (The Wings) to two different relay finals match-ups.
But if Stillings wants to win in Ninja vs. Ninja, he knows those relay match-ups will be the key. That’s where Brian Burkhardt and Brittany Hanks come into play. These team ninja rookies will look to continue the success they had during ANW9 en route to a victory over the Towers of Power. Burkhardt was a Vegas Finalist last year, qualifying out of San Antonio. He had the 4th fastest time in city qualifying, speaking to this Ninja’s potential to speed through obstacles. Brittany Hanks was a City Finals qualifier in the San Antonio region, reaching the difficult Pipefitter obstacle in both the qualifying and finals rounds.
Don’t miss the next episode of Ninja vs. Ninja on Thursday night!