Love – and competition – was in the air on Monday American Ninja Warrior held its first ever Couples Championship, with the winning couple considering something a bit of an upset.
After crowning an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy the winner of Season 15 last week, ANW returned with Monday’s competition, featuring 10 couples battling it out relay-style on an extreme obstacle course.
With teams earning one point for each obstacle completed, the first round consisted of a six-obstacle course, with the top five teams advancing to the second round on a 10-obstacle course. The top two couples then raced on the Power Tower to see who would take home the trophy, bragging rights and a $25,000 prize.
Kyle Soderman and Megan Johnson of Austin, Texas advanced to the finals. He’s a stuntman and she’s a doctor in the US Army, and they met on the show a little over three years ago. Much of their relationship had been long-distance before they finally bought a house together in Austin recently.
They competed against Jesse “Flex” Labreck and Chris DiGangi of North Aurora, Illinois, who were considered the favorites to win according to hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila. DiGangi joined in Ninja fighter since 2012, and Labreck started in 2016 and has now reached more buzzers than any other female competitor. They met on the show her freshman year and were engaged two years later.
For the Power Tower finals, the boys started the course by pushing a 100-pound sled on an uphill track, then ran through something called The Switchback before launching themselves onto the Big Rope Swing, then the Climb up the Column and about the Cliffhanger. before tagging their partners.
The ladies then had to climb the Pipe Climb and then fly over the Dropping Shelves to get to the buzzer.
When it was finally time to decide a winner, Soderman leaned on his speed to take an early lead over DiGangi, using the Cliffhanger to really get ahead. By the time it was the women’s turn, Johnson was able to use Soderman’s large lead to her advantage and get to the buzzer a few seconds ahead of Labreck.
“The doctor gave birth. What a performance from these two,” Iseman said, while Gbajabiamila called their win “the big upset.”
Soderman and Johnson picked up the $25,000 prize money, which they said would go to their new home in Texas.
American Ninja Warrior broadcast on NBCand is streamed Peacock.