Love — and competitiveness — were in the air Monday as American Ninja Warrior held its first-ever couples championship, with the winning couple pulling off an upset.
After crowning an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy as season 15’s champion last week, ANW returned with Monday’s tournament, which included 10 couples competing relay-style on an intense obstacle course.
The first round consisted of a six-obstacle course, with teams gaining one point for each obstacle accomplished, with the top five teams progressing to round two for a 10-obstacle course. The top two couples then competed on the Power Tower for the trophy, bragging rights, and a $25,000 award.
Kyle Soderman and Megan Johnson from Austin, TX advanced to the finals. He’s a stuntman, and she’s a doctor in the United States Army, and they met on the program a little more than three years ago. Before they just bought a house together in Austin, they had spent much of their relationship long distance.
Jesse “Flex” Labreck and Chris DiGangi from North Aurora, IL, were considered the favorites to win by hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila. DiGangi has been competing on Ninja Warrior since 2012, while Labreck joined in 2016 and has now surpassed every other female contestant in terms of buzzers. They met on the show while she was in her first year and got engaged two years later.
The boys started the course by dragging a 100-pound sled uphill, then ran through The Switchback before propelling themselves onto the Big Rope Swing, then the Climb up the Column and across the Cliffhanger, before tagging their companions.
To get to the buzzer, the ladies had to climb the Pipe Climb and then fly across the Dropping Shelves.