The Season 6 finale of “American Ninja Warrior” has finally arrived, with Mount Midoriyama looming above the ninjas. After Stage 1 of the Las Vegas , only 18 ninjas remain in the competition.
One of those is Joe Moravsky, who happens to be a meteorologist, when he’s not conquering the “ANW” course. You can see the beginning of his Stage 2 run above, in a clip that’s exclusive to Zap2it.
Moravsky is the perfect example of just how accessible “American Ninja Warrior” is, allowing pretty much anyone willing to work for it a chance to be great. Zap2it was on the scene for Stage 2 of the finals with another media outlet and was able to speak with hosts Matt Iseman, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila and Jenn Brown about the phenomenon the show has become.
“Of all the people who grew up playing football, less than 1 percent will get the opportunity to play in the NFL,” former NFL defensive end Gbaja-Biamila says. “‘American Ninja Warrior’ is a little different. We have about 150 hopefuls come out in each city.” With 84 of them advancing to the Vegas finals, the odds aren’t bad.
That possibility helps the show to continue to grow in popularity and skill, giving Iseman the confidence that this may be the year someone finishes the course for the first time. “It’s just awesome now having watched how impossible Mount Midoriyama seemed at the beginning,” he says. “Now we’re on the verge of an American doing it for the first time. And not just one, maybe multiple people could do it this year.”
While it’s exciting for the sport itself, of course he views it as a personal goal as well. “Selfishly, as a broadcaster, I want it to be my Al Michaels moment to get to announce the first American ever,” he explains. “I hope I’m not up there just ‘F*** yeah!’ I don’t think they can use that.”
The hosts are also noticing a chance in how the ninjas prepare for the courses, training in many disciplines that could be useful in the challenges, rather than relying on one specific skills to carry them. “I’m blown away of how many videos I get of people building ninja courses,” Brown says. “A lot of these competitors ave been watching ‘Sasuke’ [the original Japanese series] since they were ten years old. They grow up and don’t want to be a football player or basketball player. They want to be a ninja.”
That’s something Gbaja-Biamila has witnessed firsthand, as he says, “When my 13-year-old son tells me [‘ANW’ competitor] Flip Rodriguez is his hero, that’s something special.” His son isn’t the only one, though. The audience at the Vegas finals was made up of a large number of young fans who look up to the ninjas, with the goal to one day compete on the show.
When you see how they move, using the parkour and rock-climbing skills they’ve picked up during their training, it’s easy to see why. “You get a chance to be Spider-Man,” Gbaja-Biamila says with a smile.
You can watch the Season 6 finale of “American Ninja Warrior,” and see for yourself if this is the year a competitor will finally conquer Mount Midoriyama, Monday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. An encore presentation will air Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Esquire Network.