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Ninja vs Ninja recap: Fresh faces drove some of the fastest heats yet

In a field that was stacked with talent, some relative newcomers were the show stoppers.

Eddy Chen/USA Network

American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja’s seventh episode was the first in its new time slot of 11 pm EST on Monday nights. If you stayed up to catch the action, you were treated to one of the most exciting episodes to date! Let’s dive in.

TL:DR: This episode was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Lizard Kings didn’t let their status as newbies stop them from beating out Kevin Bull’s team. Daniel Gil’s Iron Grip won over the InvincAbels in four heats. The Lizard Kings And Iron Grip both possessed incredible speed, creating some staggeringly dramatic heats. In the end, Iron Grip moved to the playoffs.

The match-ups:

  • Expendabulls vs Lizard Kings
  • Iron Grip vs InvincAbels

The obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Tick Tock
  • Criss Cross Ring Toss
  • Floating Tiles
  • Flying Shelf Grab
  • Warped Wall
  • Salmon Ladder
  • Rumbling Dice
  • Zig Zag Climb

You can find more information on the rules of Ninja vs Ninja here. It follows a best-of-five, single elimination format. The last team standing moves on to the playoffs.



#theexpendaBULLS are back on Ninja vs Ninja Premiering tonight on USA!

A post shared by Kevin Bull (@kevin_the_bull) on

  • Kevin Bull
  • Maggi Thorne
  • Thaddeus Robeck

Lizard Kings

  • Hunter Guerard
  • Sarah Schoback
  • Kyle Soderman

Heat one:

  • Kevin Bull vs Kyle Soderman

We started things off with an interesting match-up. Kevin Bull has had years of success on Ninja Warrior. Kyle as only tested the Ninja Warrior course before, he’s never competed on it. But that didn’t really matter. These Ninjas were an even match. After a brief fight on the Criss Cross Ring Toss, Kevin had the lead and took off. On the Shelf Grab, Kyle caught up and managed to pass. They both ended up in the same lane on the Warped Wall and Kyle hit the buzzer with Kevin literally on his heels.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat two:

  • Maggi Thorne vs Sarah Schoback

Things were very close at the start. Maggi led through the Tick Tock. But they were both on the Ring Toss together. The middle of the obstacle encourages contact and that’s exactly what we got. Maggi was in the front, with Sarah right behind her, stumping her momentum and making a dismount difficult. Sarah went to pass and Maggi bumped her back, finally getting free. Maggi was on the Shelf Grab when Sarah finished the rings. Sarah had a rough ride on the Floating Tiles and was out there. Maggi completed the entire course.

Point = Expendabulls

Heat three:

  • Thaddeus Robeck vs Hunter Guerard

This one was just FAST. Thaddeus slipped a little after the Sonic Swing, recovering quickly. They were close together on the Ring Toss, with Hunter dismounting first. After that, Hunter was on a roll. He was through the Shelf Grab and up the Warped Wall in a flash.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat four - Relay:

The Lizard Kings were up a point over the favored Expendabulls heading into the relay. Maggi and Sarah took the first position. Kevin and Hunter were in the middle. Thaddeus and Kyle were in the last slots.

Maggi was ahead through Tick Tock and tagged in Kevin. Hunter was just moments behind. It was all about the Ring Toss again, with Hunter getting the important first dismount. Suddenly, Kevin was out on the Floating Tiles! This triggered a five-second delay for Thaddeus. Kyle was already ahead when Thaddeus fell on the Shelf Grab.

Point = Lizard Kings

  • Lizard Kings WIN.
  • Expendabulls are OUT!


Iron Grip

  • Daniel Gil
  • Tiana Webberley
  • Mathis Owhadi


  • Abel Gonzalez
  • Mary Beth Wang
  • Victor Juarez

Heat one:

  • Mathis Owhadi vs Victor Juarez

Mathis has not competed on American Ninja Warrior before, but his speed and skills are well known within the community. We thought we had seen speed before tonight, but this was jaw-dropping. Both raced to the Ring Toss and dismounted almost at the same time. Mathis crossed the Floating Tiles first. They were together again on the Shelf Grab, but Mathis tore off and up the Warped Wall. It was one of the fastest finishes of the season.

Point = Iron Grip

Heat two:

  • Tiana Webberley vs Mary Beth Wang

This was an abbreviated run. Tiana was in the lead until she fell on the Ring Toss. Mary Beth claimed the win.

Point = InvincAbels

Heat three:

  • Daniel Gil vs Abel Gonzalez

This was a close one, and once again the Rings were the point of separation. Daniel was out of the obstacle first. He went on to lead the rest of the way down the course. On the Shelf Grab, he put his skills on full display, barely touching one before leaping to the next.

Point = Iron Grip

Heat four - relay:

Mary Beth and Tiana handled the first two obstacles. Victor and Mathis were in the middle, with Abel and Daniel handling the last leg.

Tiana led cleanly through the first two obstacles and tagged in Mathis. Victor was in right behind him. Mathis was off the Ring Toss first and brought in Daniel. Victor was lagging, but Daniel hesitated on the tramp to the Shelf Grab. This allowed Abel to catch up. It wasn’t enough time through. Daniel was off the Shelf Grab and up the Warped Wall once more.

Point = Iron Grip

  • Iron Grip WINS.
  • InvinceAbels are OUT


  • Iron Grip vs Lizard Kings

Round three takes place on the extended course of nine obstacles, adding in the Salmon Ladder, Rumbling Dice, and the Zig Zag Climb.

Heat one:

  • Mathis Owhadi vs Hunter Guerard

This race was so fast and so close. On the Ring Toss, Hunter dismounted first, with Mathis right there behind him. Hunter was just barely ahead on the Shelf Grab. Then it was actually Mathis who headed up the Warped Wall first. They both tore through the Salmon Ladder. Mathis was on the Rumbling Dice leading Hunter, who was just a pace behind. Mathis moved to begin the Zig Zag Climb first climb first but stopped to wipe his feet. At that moment, Hunter lunged ahead. With his slight advantage, he was able to pull out a well-earned win.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat two:

  • Tiana Webberley vs Sarah Schoback

This was another hard fought race with a strong start. Tiana led through the Tick Tock, but Sarah found the lead on the Ring Toss. There was a battle for space on the Rings when Tiana tried to pass. Sarah held her ground and was off first. They were both on the Shelf Grab when suddenly BOTH fell on the transfer to the second shelf. As Sarah was there first, she took the point.

Point = Lizard Kings

Heat three:

  • Daniel Gil vs Kyle Soderman

In a moment that was surprising to fans, the stacked, experienced team Iron Grip was on the verge of being swept. Daniel knew it, as did Kyle. And neither of them were going to back down.

Both immediately went into high gear. Kyle had a slight lead. There was a little bit of turbulence on the Rings and both dismounted at the same time. Kyle maintained a slight lead through the Shelf Grab. It was Daniel who led up the Warped Wall.

On the back portion of the course, they were both blazing. Kyle was behind on the Rumbling Dice but managed a thrilling leap to the landing pad first. The exhilarating final climb saw Daniel turn into an actual jumping spider, bounding up behind Kyle and passing for the win.

Point = Iron Grip

Heat four - relay:

Daniel had kept team Iron Grip alive, but could they hang on through the relays? Sarah and Tiana handled the first three obstacles. Kyle and Mathis were in the middle. Hunter and Daniel would close it out.

Sarah was a little wet on the Sonic Swing, but then she was out on Tick Tock. This handed a five-second delay to Kyle. Mathis was well on his way when Kyle began his run. Suddenly Kyle was out on the Floating Tiles, meaning there was now a five-second delay for Hunter! Daniel was on the Rumbling Dice when Hunter could start. In a jaw-dropping moment, Hunter then fell on the Salmon Ladder!

Point = Iron Grip

Heat five - relay:

The Lizard Kings were shaken up by that total flub and they needed to pull it together for the tie-breaker. Both teams opted for the same running orders.

Sarah stumbled a bit coming off the Sonic Swing again but managed to join Tiana on the Ring Toss, who was looking a little stuck. Sarah ended up falling on the Ring Toss, creating one more five-second delay for Kyle. Mathis was off and running. Kyle planned on making up ground. Mathis brought Daniel in first, but Kyle successfully tagged in Hunter this time. Both were on the Salmon Ladder with Daniel in the lead. Daniel was the first to the final climb, with Hunter still pushing him hard. It was a noble effort from Hunter, but Daniel took the win.

Point = Iron Grip.

  • Iron Grip are going to the playoffs.
  • Lizard Kings are OUT.

The Mitsubishi Drive of the Night went to Daniel Gil’s race with Kyle Soderman. It’s easy to see why. Both Ninjas were masters of their craft. They traded leads, they traded bumps. In the end, the final climb left the crowd screaming with enthusiasm.

Next week:

On Monday, April 16, we’re on to the eighth week of qualifiers. There are only two more spots left in the playoffs before the wildcard rounds!

  • Phoenix Force: Najee Richardson, Cassie Craig, and Michael Torres
  • Think Tank: Dr. Noah Kaufman, Leila Noone, and Matt Wilder
  • Team TNT: Travis Rosen, Emily Durham, and Brett Sims
  • Frostbite: Nick Hanson, Zhanique Lovett, and Jackson Meyer