May 14, 2008

American Gladiators Season Two Premiere

Forty new contenders, eight new Gladiators and seven new events! Last night was the season-two premiere of American Gladiators! Eight contenders went at it and we were introduced to three new Gladiators. Season one champions Monica and Evan made their triumphant returns as Jet and Rocket. There was a new arena with a lot more room for the events.

This was a two-hour show. In the first hour, Elena, a Chernobyl survivor and firefighter was up against Melissa, a martial arts instructor; Randee, a carpenter, went against Jay, a SWAT team officer.

This was a low scoring affair. The women only scored four points each in Assault, and Elena beat Jet up the Wall for ten more points. The guys fared a little better. They scored in three events, only being shut out on the Pyramid by Justice and Titan. They got to play a new event called Rocketball. It was a mix of Powerball and Slingshot in which they each scored two points.

They've revamped The Eliminator, and while I thought it was rough before, now it's brutal. They've lengthened the swim, put a rope swing and a tight rope after the cargo net, and then the competitors get to the hand bike portion. After that there was the spinning barrel, pyramid and zip-line, and then a teeter-totter right before the Travelator. Once they arrive at the top of that beast, there are more steps, a banner to break through and finally water to dive into. They must figure the contenders will be exhausted by the time they enter the water because they had frogmen in the pool waiting to help them out.

Randee won the first hour for the men with a time of 2:06, and Melissa won for the women in 9:46. That's right, it took her almost ten minutes to complete the course. The Travelator kicked both those ladies' behinds. They were making decent time until that point.

The second hour had one of the most inspirational contenders on the men's side. John, a Para-Olympian competed against Gerry, a special education teacher. I liked both guys, but John had so much heart. He competed with a prosthetic leg and in some events it definitely hampered him. For the women, Vanessa, an Air Force Major, went against Nikki K., a bartender. Nikki K. was injured in the first event, the Pyramid, though, and was replaced by another Nikki -- Nikki S.

Another new event was introduced: the women got to compete in Vertigo, which was a race on 30-foot tall poles. One of the new Gladiators, Phoenix, went against the women and dominated. She even paused and taunted them, and they couldn't score. Rocket got to play in the second hour, too. He and Wolf were the Gladiators for the Wall. He got up that wall as quickly as I remembered he could and they prevented any score from being made.

The scores were close going into the Eliminator. The Travelator once again determined the women's winner, with Vanessa winning in 3:24. On the men's side, Gerry won in 3:03, but unfortunately for him, he really was an afterthought. All eyes were on John. He had such a hard time on that cargo net. Everyone in the audience was on their feet cheering him on as he labored through the course. And he finished it. What an inspiration. Hulk was right there to help him out of the pool at the end.

Next week on American Gladiators, the four contenders will be police officers. And we'll either meet a new Gladiator or get to see a new event. Catch y'all then.


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