After Season 7’s Venice premiere, “American Ninja Warrior” shifted to Kansas City in episode 2 for the next round of city qualifying runs -- and Kansas City did not disappoint! With more than a few returning faces, as well as some inspiring new athletes, the NBC series turned in one of its most entertaining and powerful episodes yet. Who advanced to the city finals?
The road to Mt. Midoriyama would not be easy as contestants in Missouri faced six treacherous obstacles in Season 7’s second qualifying course – the quintuple steps, the big dipper, the floating tiles, the modified ring toss, the bungee road, and, of course, the warped wall.
The most touching moment of the night was walk-on Michael Stranger’s emotional run. Stanger waited in the Kansas City walk-on line for eight days, with no guarantee of making the cut, for the chance to get to compete in front of his dying wife. Stranger’s wife, Enedina, suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a terminal disease that attacks the collagen in the body. He shocked the crowd and inspired tears from his wife, as well as hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, by completing the course.
Watch Stranger’s run below:
Meanwhile, Meagan Martin, a Las Vegas finalist in Season 6, continued to break ground for women on the show. In Season 6, Martin made the Las Vegas round as a wildcard, following Kacy Catanzaro’s historic city finals run. However, at Mt. Midoriyama Martin surpassed Catanzaro, going further on the course than any woman previously had reached. Monday she became the first woman of the season to complete a city qualifying course.
Watch Martin’s run below:
Then, there were the veterans. The Wolfpack, a training group consisting of four former Las Vegas finalists – Noah Kaufman, Ian Dory, Brian Arnold, and Isaac Caldiero – all completed the course with relative ease.
Watch Brian Arnold’s run below:
Plus, Jon Stewart, who became the oldest Las Vegas finalist ever last season, was back Monday at the ripe age of 53. He also completed the course.
Watch Stewart’s run below:
In total, over 30 athletes advanced to the city finals round with veteran Paul Kasemir recording the fastest time of the night at just over 58 seconds. That’s a sharp contrast from Venice, where only seven competitors made it past the warped wall.
Next week the show will move to Houston for the next round of city qualifying runs. “American Ninja Warrior” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC. A replay of the Kansas City episode will air on Esquire Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT.