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A brief rundown of Ninja Warrior’s ‘pranks’

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Delightful, funny, sometimes confusing, the producers come up with something new each season.

Each season, American Ninja Warrior gives us our annual highlight moments. There’s the first successful Warped Wall run, the first time someone finishes a City Finals course, the last Ninja standing at the National Finals. But there’s another little Ninja Warrior tradition we look forward to: The annual “prank.”

Ninja Warrior has developed a history of creating runs that are based in pure amusement. As we anxiously await the debut of season 10 on May 30, we can only wonder what they’re cooking up for us this season.

Here’s a quick run down of a few of the “fun runs” Ninja Warrior has created. Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

The streaker

Perhaps the OG of American Ninja Warrior pranks was the National Finals streaker. As you can imagine, the set is quite protective of its crew, athletes and fans. So the idea that just anyone could strip down and charge the starting line was a little far-fetched. Never the less, the creative blurring of the “nudity” and Matt and Akbar’s commentary still make this a gem.

T-Rex crashes the course

This was a certifiable viral hit in 2016, garnering millions and millions of views on YouTube and Facebook. First off, it was charming and funny, with the inflatable head bobbing all over the place. Second, it was downright impressive. The course is hard enough under perfect conditions. The T-Rex suit added in impaired vision and restricted mobility. The athlete under all that was Reko Rivera, a frequent competitor and a National Finalist in season nine.

The 81-year-old Ninja

Season nine’s prank caused the most controversy. 81-year-old Arthur Hickenlooper took to the Denver Qualifying course and did not let his age hold him back. But sharp-eyed fans called foul, claiming it was the work of a makeup artist and spotting that Arthur’s “wife” had been introduced to us earlier in the season at Matt Iseman’s mom. Other fans were convinced it was real and the debate took hold online.

The conversation prompted American Ninja Warrior to clear the air. They revealed that Arthur was, in fact, American Ninja Warrior legend Brent Steffensen. That makeup artist needs to include this project in their portfolio. Their work survived the course and stumped thousands of viewers!

Captain Tornado

Okay, this wasn’t an American Ninja Warrior prank, but we wanted to include it anyway because it’s pretty spot-on. With Drake as Akbar Gbajabiamila, Beck Bennett as Matt Iseman, and Bobby Moynihan as Jeff, the show did a hilarious send-up of American Ninja Warrior’s hometown heroes who take to the course with something to prove, no matter their skill level.

What would you want to see as the season 10 viral prank?