Joe Moravsky has more motivation than ever before in the American Ninja Warrior National Finals this season. This is the first time in his seven seasons that he moved on to Las Vegas without hitting a buzzer in the Qualifying regions.
This year, Joe was stalled by the Mega Wall in Qualifiers, and faced the Angry Birds in the Baltimore City Finals. The obstacle will go down in history as one of the show’s most hated creations. No one was able to pass the Angry Birds, meaning even the veteran Ninjas like Joe were kept from completing the course.
Joe didn’t have any issues getting himself on the leaderboard and advancing to the National Finals, but missing the buzzers definitely didn’t sit well with him. This was coupled with the fact that last year in Vegas, Joe fell on Stage One, the earliest in his career that he’s ever ended his season.
Put it all together, and you have a driven Joe, focused on revenge. We saw it on Stage One when he slammed the buzzer. We saw it on Stage Two when he fearlessly took down the course. For the fifth time in his career, Joe is heading to Stage Three.
Joe looked back on those frustrating moments in his season and discussed his mission for the National Finals.
On zero course completions in the Baltimore City Finals
“City Finals was not fun. Okay, let me rephrase that. It was fun. I loved it, but to go down without a buzzer -- no fun. Angry Birds was a very tough, difficult obstacle, and nobody made it. That’s just how it is sometimes.
The course designers don’t really know how hard things might be. They don’t know how we all might be feeling that night. There are a lot of things that play into what happens. The obstacle was definitely doable. Everyone got it right in terms of the design. We didn’t have a good night.
Nobody stepped up. It’s kind of on me, being one of the veterans. We should’ve… myself, Najee …and obviously others ... been able to step it up, and show people that we shouldn’t fear this obstacle. It is what it is. We couldn’t do it, couldn’t get it done.”
Returning to the National Finals
“It feels great to be back for my seventh season, Season 11. It’s awesome. This one is different than any other because I’m here without any buzzers under my belt for the first time. Hitting City Qualifier’s buzzer didn’t happen. City Finals, it didn’t happen either. It’s the first time I’ve never hit a buzzer and moved on, let alone not hit a buzzer, but I moved on.
It was a tough course and I’m not upset. Sure, it always hurts not to have a patch, one of those little badges there, but it is what it is. Some years are bad years, some years, good years. But it’s behind me now. I’m focusing on the now, focusing on Vegas, focusing on not the mistakes, but what’s next to come.”
What he hopes the Vegas courses look like
“Hopefully there are a lot of new obstacles because that means we’re all on the same playing field -- veterans, rookies. I feel like I excel when there’s new stuff. Obviously, this season, I haven’t shown that so much, with the Angry Birds and with other things. I have done well, but I fell in at a brand new obstacle, and so it doesn’t always work out like that. But generally speaking, I feel like I really enjoy the new ones because everyone’s on the same page.”
Facing down the Double Dipper once again on Stage One
“I’m excited for the Double Dipper to be back. I heard rumors that it wasn’t, but then we came out and I saw it. It doesn’t bother me at all. At all. I’ve done it twice before, successfully. Season nine, regular season, and then USA vs. The World.
The only difference in season 10 was I changed my technique. Why? Because Travis Rosen got hurt. Well, why did Travis Rosen get hurt? That’s what I had to revisit in the off season. Was it the obstacle? Was it a little different? There were rumors that maybe the angles were off. The angles weren’t off, and if they were, they were as close as they could be to last season.
So what I think it is, Travis just had a different technique than most people. He kept his feet back on the the Double Dipper starting platform, as his arms stretched out. As he fell down the Double Dipper, he kept his feet behind him, and his feet never really got below him until he was kicking to swing. Everyone else kind of stepped off the platform with their feet directly below them, which gave them a lot less power.
So when Travis fell, I didn’t see his approach, I just saw the result and I thought, ‘Alright, well that’s not good. I don’t want to hurt myself too.’ So I, instead of just thinking a little more about what I do, decided to change it based on what Travis did. And it was a wrong call. It was a wrong call on my end.
I’m not nervous, but I’m not overlooking it. I’m excited to give it another shot.”
Joe’s priorities for Vegas
“Well, obviously beating Stage One is priority one, and just hitting my first buzzer of the season, which is so crazy to say because I’ve never really had that issue in the past. I have no buzzers. But that’s goal number one.
Goal number two is get that $100,000. That is more achievable than a million because that is statistically what’s going to happen first. One out of 10 seasons, it’s been a race on the rope. And that is the only season anyone’s ever got to the rope. So the chances of there being another race are very slim. There’s a better chance that people will be fighting for that $100,000 before the million. But we’re more ready than ever, and anything can happen out there.”
Next up for Joe is Stage Three, which we’ll see on Monday, September 16, at 8/7c on NBC.