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American Ninja ... Avengers?

How would these heroes do on the Ninja course?

Eddy Chen/NBC

There’s plenty of hype right now surrounding the release of the Avengers: Infinity War film. It’s set to answer questions the franchise has been building toward for years like “How will the heroes fit together?” or “How can they stop Thanos from getting all the Infinity Stones?”. But I’d guess the biggest question on everyone’s mind is “How would the Avengers do on American Ninja Warrior?”

Well you are in luck, Ninja Nation. I just so happen to have been pondering this question for … well, longer than I should probably admit. So I’ve created this breakdown of some of the most notable heroes and their chances of hitting the buzzer. But first: some ground rules.

No Flying

If you fall off an obstacle, you can’t use the power of flight to keep yourself out of the water. Sure, it’s not explicitly against the rules, but I don’t think the ANW producers could have anticipated a Norse god toeing the starting line. This includes all forms of jets packs, wings, hammer wielding and, yes, web slinging. You’re not getting off that easy, Spidy.

Complete All Obstacles

And when I say complete all obstacles, I mean as intended. Just because you have super powers doesn’t mean you can just jump over the rolling log and go to the next obstacle. And I certainly don’t want to see anyone blowing up the wedge so they can skip it. Which actually brings me to my last rule …

No Weapons

That’s no hammers, swords, shields or guns. If you have claws, we will allow it. Yes, we know this was a controversial decision, but we decided, while advantageous, these were not unfair prop-like weapons. Despite protests, super-suits will also be allowed. What fun is it to have Ant Man compete without his complete outfit?

Now, we understand that the Avengers may be unfamiliar with the obstacles they’ll have to battle (it’s a little different than a villain who is literally a planet) so we’ve decided to lend a hand by providing some mentors to show them way – just like on NBC’s Red Nose Day special.

The Hulk

Mentor – Jody Avila

There’s no doubt about it, the Hulk is one of the strongest competitors on the course. We’ve seen the guy matched up against literal armies of opposition and come out on top. But I’m nervous that size is going to be an issue. The dude is estimated to be about 1,400 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to carry out there on the course. And while the Hulk himself may be able to handle it, I’m not sure something like the Floating Monkey Bars could say the same.

Jody Avila is tasked with the difficult job of keeping the Hulk out of the water. Avila’s nickname is the “Big Dog Ninja” so he knows a thing or two about being one of the shows large competitors. And the Big Dog has been a big success. He made it all the way to Stage Two in Vegas last year.

Myron Luzniak/NBC


Mentor – Jessie Graff

Although he may not have web slinging on his side, Peter Parker will still have some sticky fingers. In terms of grip strength, I’m not sure there’s anyone who can match him. He also has practice throwing his body through the air, controlling his path and landing safely. It seems like he has all the tools needed to conquer a Ninja course. But Spiderman’s biggest weakness may be experience. If he completes the course, he’d be the youngest finisher in ANW history. So we’ve paired him with Jessie Graff, another high flyer who is used to making history. Plus, we already know she can sport a matching costume on the sidelines.

Iron Man

Mentor – Charlie Andrews

Most people know Tony Stark for his super suit, but out on the Ninja course many of his fancy gadgets will be of no help. Instead Iron Man is going to rely on his strongest muscle: his mind. Tony’s a super genius who can take a cerebral approach to the course as he goes after the buzzer. We think he’d pair nicely with MIT’s Charlie Andrews who could speak to him brainiac to brainiac. Charlie has finished every course he’s faced thus far on American Ninja Warrior so he would be a coveted coach.

Duane Prokop/NBC

Captain America

Mentor – Jamie Rahn

Captain America may be the best Ninja-Hero available to us. He has incredible strength, but his fighting spirit is truly unrivaled. Even before he received his super-serum, the Captain was stepping fearless into challenges that his body seemed unlikely to defeat. Plus, his name is Captain America and this is American Ninja Warrior. I’m sure Akbar could come up with some great Akbar-isms while he’s competing and that is something we need to see.

To mentor a captain like this, ANW would have to send forth their very own captain – Captain NBC. Jamie Rahn has been a hero to Ninja fans for years and he’s coming off perhaps his best season in the show’s history. As we know from the Avengers franchise, if you team up multiple heroes, you are sure to get big results.