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Ninja vs Ninja recap: A champion has been crowned

Find out how Labreckfast Club chewed up the finals course

Eddy Chen/USA Network

Tonight, we saw the culmination of weeks of playoffs, months of racing and years of training as Ninja vs. Ninja’s Final Four competed for the chance to hoist the championship trophy. Each of these teams left everything they had on the course, but only one could be crowned kings of the relay.

TL;DR: Labreckfast Club knocked out Party Time with three straight victories, including a come from behind victory in the relays. Then, Team Ronin a thrilling five heat battle against Iron Grip that was back and forth the entire match-up. This set up a star-studded final round where Labreckfast Club was able to earn the championship trophy, with Jesse Labreck anchoring to the victory in an awesome battle with Meagan Martin.

The match-ups:

  • Labreckfast Club vs Party Time
  • Iron Grip vs. Team Ronin

The obstacles:

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

The rules are the same that were used during qualifiers. Each match-up is a best of five format. If there is no winner after three individual heats, we move to relay races. The winning teams face each other in a final round on the extended course. The first team to three points moves into the finals.


Labreckfast Club

  • Jon Alexis
  • Jesse Labreck
  • Chris DiGangi

Party Time

  • Brian Arnold
  • Barclay Stockett
  • Jake Murray

Heat one:

  • Chris DiGangi vs Jake Murray

In the first race of the night, the difficulty of the course’s newest obstacle was on full display. Jake and Chris sprinted side by side through the beginning of the course before jumping up to take on the Wingnuts. After transitioning past the first Wingnut, they both took off for the bar, but only Murray built up enough momentum to get both hands on it cleanly. DiGangi splashed down into the water in the first fall of the night while Party Time took an early lead.

Point = Party Time

Heat two:

  • Jesse Labreck vs Barclay Stockett

Heat Two was a battle between two undefeated Ninja all-stars. Barclay took control of the race early, smoothly dismounting the Wingnuts and building up a commanding lead. That really put the pressure on Labreck, whose team was already trailing 1-0 in the match. However, Jesse kept a cool head and, after Barclay lost her rhythm in the early stages of the Criss Cross Ring Toss, she cruised ahead and never looked back. Labreck sprinted up the wall and hit the buzzer to tie the score.

Point = Labreckfast Club

Heat three:

  • Brian Arnold vs Jon Alexis

With the score tied, a pair of Ninja All-Stars took the course. Alexis had an eight inch height advantage and used it early on the Wingnuts to reach out and grab the next Wingnut, allowing him to swing ahead while Arnold had to use time building momentum. But Arnold continued to fight, dismounting even with the Giant as they raced to the Criss Cross Ring Toss. Yet here Alexis’s height was a factor again. He ate up ground in a hurry and attempted a long dismount, powering up the warped wall a few moments before Arnold followed him.

Point = Labreckfast Club

Heat four - relay:

After three awesome individual match ups, we got our first relay. With their backs against the wall, Party Time put Barclay in the lead off spot with Jake to follow her and Brian to anchor. On the other side, Labreckfast Club put Jesse Labreck first, with Chris DiGangi and Jon Alexis in charge of bringing things home.

At the first exchange, Stockett gave Party Time a small lead and Murray kept that advantage with smooth transitions on the wingnuts and floating tiles. But on the Criss Cross Ring Toss the Giant was too much for Arnold to handle. He only needed a few moves on the final obstacle to be in position for the dismount. Alexis kept both feet on the pad, raced the wall and smashed the buzzer to put his team one step closer to the championship.

Point = Labreckfast Club

  • Labreckfast Club WINS
  • Party Time is OUT


Iron Grip

  • Daniel Gil
  • Tiana Webberley
  • Mathis Owhadi

Team Ronin

  • Flip Rodriguez
  • Meagan Martin
  • JJ Woods

Heat one:

  • Mathis Owhadi vs JJ Woods

Owhadi doesn’t have the same wealth of experience that Woods has, but the kid didn’t let the nerves get to him in this race. He used a slightly different approach to the Wingnuts, clearing the obstacle in just two moves. That put him an obstacle ahead and Mathis never looked back. He flew through the Criss Cross Ring Toss and ran uncontested to the buzzer.

Point = Iron Grip

Heat two:

  • Tiana Webberley vs Meagan Martin

Meagan Martin put her undefeated record on the line against Tiana Webberley in a battle of top Ninjas. The pair was dead even through the first two obstacles, but, similar to the heat before, the Wingnuts were a differentiator. Martin built up a big lead here and, despite a strong late surge from Webberley, she was able to tie the match for her team.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat three:

  • Daniel Gil vs Flip Rodriguez

Once again, we reached a pivotal third heat. Gil and Flip have a combined 9 national finals and the superstars were flying through the first part of the course. On the Wingnuts, both Ninjas tried to mirror the hand over hand strategy of Mathis Owhadi, but only Flip was able to cleanly grip the second Wingnut. In a battle this tight, that was all Flip needed to sprint through the remainder of the course and pick up a pivotal victory.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat four - relay:

In the relay, Martin and Webberely were assigned the first part of the course, Flip and Mathis would take over at the Wingnuts and finally JJ and Daniel would be the anchors. Team Ronin entered the match with an undefeated relay record, meaning Iron Grip would need to be close to perfect to earn a victory. They got things started on the right foot as Webberely beat Martin to the first exchange. Owhadi and Rodriguez moved in sync through the first Wingnut, but Flip had a shocking fall during the second exchange. That meant Daniel Gil would have a five second lead on Criss Cross Ring Toss.

But JJ Woods didn’t panic. When Gil got hung up early in the obstacle, Woods surged even and then swung ahead of the Kingdom Ninja heading into the dismount. This race would come down to the Warped Wall. Woods got to the base first, but Gil exploded to the top and dived across the platform to beat JJ to the buzzer by only 6 hundredths of a second!

Point = Iron Grip

Heat five - relay:

After that heart-stopping finish, both teams kept the same order for the knock-out relay. It was another razor thin margin on the first leg, but Martin gave her team the edge. Flip used that advantage to swing out to the dismount bar first, making Owhadi take an extra swing on the Wingnuts. As Mathis raced to get back into contention, he had a fall on the Floating Steps, meaning it was JJ Wood’s turn to get a five second head start. Although Gil put the pressure on, Woods was determined to hold him off this time. He raced to the buzzer first and started the celebration for Team Ronin.

Point = Team Ronin

  • Team Ronin WINS
  • Iron Grip is OUT


We now moved to the extended course for the last match-up of the night. This added in the Salmon Ladder, Rumbling Dice, and Zig Zag Climb.

  • Labreckfast Club vs Team Ronin

Heat one:

  • Chris DiGangi vs JJ Woods

At the start of the championship round, the pressure was turned up to another level! Both Ninjas sprinted out to a fast start before DiGangi had a surprise fall on the cargo net. A small slip up left him falling backwards into the water as JJ Woods eased ahead to steal the first heat.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat two:

  • Jesse Labreck vs Meagan Martin

The second heat was a battle of undefeated Ninjas! These two women had a combined 20-0 record in team competition. Once again, the pressure of the championship was a factor. Labreck navigated the Wing Nuts first and her big swing on the dismount set the bar into motion, making for a tricky target for Meagan. Shockingly, Martin couldn’t grab on and splashed down into the water for her first ever loss.

Point = Labreckfast Club

Heat three:

  • Jon Alexis vs Flip Rodriguez

Considering how strong these two relays have been all season, both teams really wanted to win this match and get an edge. Flip took an early lead on the Wingnuts, but Alexis used that signature length to retake the lead on the Criss Cross Ring Toss. Jon held that lead through the Salmon Ladder and the Rumbling Dice, but his large size was a concern on the Zig Zag Climb. Flip put everything he had into the climb, even losing his hat, but Alexis had enough in the tank to hold him off and hit the buzzer first.

Point = Labreckfast Club

Heat four - relay:

Labreckfast Club was just one win away from hoisting the trophy while Team Ronin needed a victory to force a tiebreaker match up. Both teams were looking to get fast starts with Flip and Jon in lead off position. Then JJ and Chris were set to run the middle leg and Meagan and Jesse were in charge of anchoring.

Flip and Jon were even at the start, but Alexis had a well timed dismount on the Wingnuts to steal the lead. However, in the middle leg, JJ Woods showed his prowess on the Criss Cross Ring Toss. He not only overtook DiGangi, but opened up an advantage for Martin on the anchor leg. When Jesse started her run, Meagan was already jumping up to the Salmon Ladder.

But Labreck kept fighting, surging up the Salmon Ladder and overtaking Martin on the Rumbling Dice. Just like she did in the first round of the playoffs, Jesse entered the Zig Zag Climb first and never looked back. She held her advantage despite a great effort from Meagan to close the gap. At the top, Labreck smashed the buzzer and clinched the championship for Labreckfast Club!

Point = Labreckfast Club

  • Labreckfast Club is your American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja Champions!

With the final relay complete, all that was left was the trophy celebration. Congrats not only to Labreckfast Club, but to all the Ninjas who helped make this season incredibly exciting for the fans like us who were watching at home!