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NNL World Championships Pro Division starts with a shocking Stage One

Only seven competitors advanced to the second stage.

Abel Gonzalez/Instagram

Anyone who watches American Ninja Warrior knows that the course is a fickle, unpredictable opponent. But that doesn’t reduce the shocks of some falls. It looks like that feeling isn’t exclusive to the televised show.

The National Ninja League kicked off its 2019 World Championships in Hartford, CT over the past weekend. One of the highly anticipated parts of the competition was the Pro Division. This division contained the most names viewers would be familiar with. The field was stacked with 327 Ninjas who’d all qualified to take part in the first stage of the NNL championship.

Only seven of them moved on to the second stage.

That’s right. A shocking number of competitors were unable to complete the stage. And a shocking number of Ninjas went out very early on the course.

We knew something was amiss when these posts started circulating on social media this weekend. Jake Murray went out on the first obstacle, the Swivel Steps.

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Inspirational memes! #nnlfinals2019

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Allyssa Beird, who was one of the NNL champions in 2017, went out on the third obstacle.

Joe Moravsky posted this message. Reviewing the NNL standings showed that he went out on the third obstacle as well.

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#NeverGiveUp #AmericanNinjaWarrior

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This clip from Abel Gonzalez slows down the transfer on the third obstacle, showing how difficult it was.

So many big name Ninjas fell on this stage. There’s just not enough time to go over them all here. We’d suggest you review the results for yourself.

Flip Rodriguez was able to complete the course, and he did it in 1:30.92, leaving him in first place heading into the second stage.

A massive number of competitors went out on the first obstacle, the Swivel Steps, or failed while attempting obstacle three, the Monstro Swing.

Here are the seven Ninjas who managed to muscle their way through:

  1. Flip Rodriguez - 01:30.92
  2. Adam Rayl - 01:30.94
  3. Karson Voiles - 01:30.98
  4. Matt Strollo - 01:33.14
  5. Caleb Bergstrom - 01:41.06
  6. Jesse Lucero - 01:43.31
  7. Andrew Horner - 01:46.44

All of the three stages within the NNL pro division World Championships were designed by Drew Drechsel, who’s well known as one of the most elite American Ninja Warriors in the game. Apparently, he did not want this course to be a gimme for anyone. The competition website describes Drew’s “simplistic” approach:

“The Real Life Ninja, Drew Drechsel has designed an incredibly simplistic, yet incredibly innovative and fun course. Simplistic in the sense that you can only touch one color on the course. So the rules for each obstacle will be dependent on touching it with your feet, hands, or both. It will give the ninjas plenty of time to focus on the obstacles instead of how to do the course.”

The second and third stages of the competition are taking place today, February 18. We’re deeply curious if anyone will survive to face Stage Three!

If you’d like to watch the full Stage One Pro Division competition, all five waves were streamed to YouTube.