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2020 All-Stars special: Skills Competition recap and results

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As usual, the Ninjas went all out to give us a heck of a show!

David Becker/NBC

The long drought is over and we’re loving the fresh American Ninja Warrior action! The new season is enjoying a two-week premiere, starting with the All-Stars special that was filmed after season 11. The Team Competition was thrilling. Now, let’t get into the exhilarating action of the Skills Competition!

This is a recap of the Skills Competition. You can find a recap of the Team Competition here.

Fearsome Ferris Wheel

The jarring Ferris Wheel made its debut in season 11. This version had the Ninjas racing to the buzzer. First up, it was all about mentors vs students.

Round One

  • Dave Cavanaugh vs Lucas Reale
    Not quite yet, grasshopper. Dave soundly whipped this game over his student, Lucas.
    Winner: Dave Cavanaugh

  • Daniel Gil vs Mathis “Kid”Owhadi
    JUST doing the dang challenge would be too easy for these two. So they did it blindfolded. The result was a hilarious onslaught where neither reached the buzzer, but they both tried their darnedest, with Daniel making it slightly closer to the buzzer.
    Winner: Daniel Gil

Round Two

  • Dave Cavanaugh vs Daniel Gil
    With Daniel a bit drained from that previous display, Dave had an advantage and took home the medal.
    Champion: Dave Cavanaugh
David Becker/NBC

Striding Steps

Ninjas charged down nine steps placed five-feet apart. Some of the steps are only six-inches wide. The goal was to run down, swing back, and return to the buzzer without taking the plunge and before the Ninja next to you.

These pairings were all about epic match ups.

Round one

  • Brandon Mears vs Dan Polizzi
    The best buds had a friendly bet on the line. Brandon ended up wearing the special shirt when he couldn’t make the turn and went for a swim. Dan won, but he didn’t make it out dry.
    Winner: Dan Polizzi

  • Barclay Stockett vs Jody Avila
    There was only a SLIGHT difference between these two. Barclay was the night’s shortest competitor at 5’ tall. Jody topped out the competition at 6’6”. Barclay hurried to keep up with Jody’s long stride and it resulted with her taking a bath.
    Winner: Jody Avila
  • Jesse Labreck vs Chris DiGangi
    The engaged (and highly competitive) couple put six months of laundry on the line. Jesse better have a love of folding towels because she took a dive on the way to the finish.
    Winner: Chris DiGangi
  • Chad Flexington vs Grant McCartney
    Who has a bigger personality? Who knows. But who made it back to the buzzer? That would be Chad Flexington.
    Winner: Chad Flexington
David Becker/NBC

Round two

  • Dan Polizzi vs Jody Avila
    The firefighter doused his flames once again in the pool.
    Winner: Jody Avila

  • Chris DiGangi vs Chad Flexington
    This one was so close they had to review the tape. The results showed Chad hitting the buzzer less than a second before Chris.
    Winner: Chad Flexington

Round Three

  • Jody Avila vs Chad Flexington
    This was once again a close race for Mr. Flexington, but he pulled out the championship win!
    Champion: Chad Flexington
David Becker/NBC

Mega Spider Climb

The Mega Spider Climb is a returning challenge, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying or dramatic. The final climb of Stage Four is fitted with two shoots that the Ninjas shimmy up using their hands and feet. For this competition, it was the Chicago-area vs Atlanta.

Round one

  • Ethan Swanson vs Kevin Carbone
    Yikes. Poor Kevin gave it his all, but this was a blow out. Ethan, known as “The Swan”, defined what it means to take flight.
    Winner: Ethan Swanson

  • Michael Torres vs Tyler Gillett
    What?!? While this was a closer match, Michael still managed to put up a faster time than Ethan at 17.43 seconds.
    Winner: Michael Torres

Round two

The Atlanta Ninjas took their defeat with pride and bowed down to the Chicago-area competitors.

  • Ethan Swanson vs Michael Torres
    Okay, HOW? Michael broke his own record and hit the buzzer at 16.37 seconds to take the title.
    Champion: Michael Torres

Big Dipper Freestyle Challenge

This one is just some subjective fun! Akbar, Matt, and Zuri scored each dive on a scale of 1-10. The Ninjas took two dives each, and the highest cumulative score would be the winner.

Round one

Jessie Graff:
Elegance. Agility. And a bit of a belly flop.
Score: 23

Adam Rayl:
He tried to hit the Heisman Hook, but fumbled the ball on the touch down.
Score: 21

Najee Richardson:
He gave a salute to Sean Bryan, last year’s challenge champ before he front flipped his way to a good score.
Score: 25

Grant McCartney:
With his swimming cap and pineapple Speedo, Grant planned to jump through a hoop. It went smooth as butter!
Score: 30

David Becker/NBC

Round two

Adam Rayl:
With a twist and a turn, Adam added a few more points to his board.
Score: 38

Grant McCartney:
Grant aimed for the hoop again, but he just missed by a few inches.
Score: 52

Najee Richardson:
This time he paid homage to Ethan Swanson. Then he pulled off a gorgeous gymnastics-style double-double move.
Score: 51

Jessie Graff:
Jessie ditched her cape to pull of the “super split.” That move is going to go down in Ninja history as one of the coolest things we’ve seen.
Score: 52

David Becker/NBC

Tie-breaker dive-off
With Grant and Jessie tied, they each got one more chance.

Jessie Graff:
She snagged a perfect score by riding backwards into a double flip and dive.
Score: 30

Grant McCartney:
Grant was going to need some help to pull this off. Adam climbed on Grant’s back and they tiptoed to the edge... Then somehow still pulled off a flip and survived to talk about it. Another perfect score tied the competition.
Score: 30

Co-Champions: Jessie Graff and Grant McCartney

You can read more about the Team Competition portion of the episode here. Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior debuts on Monday, September 7 at 8pm EST/PST on NBC.