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S11.E11: Baltimore City Finals


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Baltimore! Introducing the Angry Birds obstacle, which requires transferring from one hanging platform to another while grabbing blindly at a set of handholds. There might not be anyone completing the course tonight.

Edited by Lantern7
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The "shark" jumping in the pool was kind of cute.  The least annoying of all the needless "speshul" background stories and showing offs moves so far. 

16 minutes ago, Lantern7 said:

There might not be anyone completing the course tonight.

True that.  So far everyone has crashed out on the same place on that obstacle.  Hopefully the big names coming up will figure it out, though.

Edited by Hellga
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I wonder how many tries the course tester took to get through the Angry Birds obstacle.

Did James McGrath run this year?

lol at the sign for Jamie Rahn: "Don't forget your shoes" 😄

Edited by ams1001
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23 minutes ago, ams1001 said:

Did James McGrath run this year?

I don't remember him...  maybe he didn't this year?   Didn't he do poorly last couple seasons?  

Edited by Hellga
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Okay so remember how everyone thought Tacoma was a friggin' impossible City Finals course? THIS SHIT IS ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Shrinking steps, unstable grip lache, unstable grip climb, hardest balance obstacle ever, Crank it Up, warped wall, salmon ladder, extremely unstable grip lache, Cane Lane crazy grip/upper body monstrosity. BAM BAM BAM. Honestly I'd like to see a bit more creativity and diversity out there. This wasn't even fun to watch.

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9 minutes ago, Hellga said:

I don't remember him...  maybe he didn't this year?   Didn't he do poorly last couple seasons?  

I only remember him on the sidelines for Alyssa, and even then they hardly showed him.

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35 minutes ago, Hellga said:

They showed the tester beating it to show it can be done... but the tester probably was doing just that obstacle, not already tired from doing everything else...

I know a dude who got to be a tester and sure enough, they only get to test the one obstacle they are assigned!

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It's not like ANW to show a tester clear a tough obstacle. Apparently, you'd have to slowly swing to order to have more control while you're in the air. At 22 failures, Angry Birds is a Certified Ninja Killer. But if it comes back next season, it'll need a non-sponsor name. Any suggestions?

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2 minutes ago, Lantern7 said:

It's not like ANW to show a tester clear a tough obstacle. Apparently, you'd have to slowly swing to order to have more control while you're in the air. At 22 failures, Angry Birds is a Certified Ninja Killer. But if it comes back next season, it'll need a non-sponsor name. Any suggestions?

We should call it Asshole Alley after whoever invented it 😉

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1 hour ago, Hellga said:

They showed the tester beating it to show it can be done... but the tester probably was doing just that obstacle, not already tired from doing everything else...

In agreement that I don't think I've ever seen a tester at work, and labeled as a tester. (I expect we've seen testers when they intro an obstacle in a course, but not "here's a tester to prove this can be done."

First time I heard of testers was Britten after he was #2 up midoriama saying he wasn't competeing any more but doing work as a tester for obstacles.

25 minutes ago, Lantern7 said:

At 22 failures, Angry Birds is a Certified Ninja Killer. But if it comes back next season, it'll need a non-sponsor name. Any suggestions?

Butterfingers candy bars

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This episode became more frustrating and annoying than entertaining.  When a particular obstacle is so hard that it defeats every single ninja including some of the best, they need to remove it or at least modify it in some way.  If that backwards section had had a lip on the edge so they had some purchase, I think some of them would have made it past it.  I didn't get a good look at the ones nobody was able to reach.

I didn't understand why Jamie was wasting so much time waving to his family.  It almost looked like he was stalling.  He's usually a lot more focused than that.

The guy who was pretending to take naps ought to be banned from the competition.  It was obvious that he was wasting time and not taking the competition seriously at all.  I didn't find him a bit amusing.

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What an incredibly boring episode.  Allyssa Beird's run made me happy.  The rest was just DULL.  NO finishers?  Everyone going out on the same place?  That's a sign that the obstacle is just too hard.  And to have Najee Richardson miss out on the Power Tower just made it worse.  

Akbar needs a new wardrobe consultant.  

I hope Flex does manage to finish a City Finals next week - she is one of my favorite ninjas ever and it would be great to end the City Finals on a high note.  It's been really disappointing this year.  

Also, I'm probably being grumpy, but it feels as if both Matt and Akbar, especially Akbar, are trying too hard with all of the cute puns - and, OMG, the shark guy was annoying.  "His parents know not to bother him during Shark Week?"  I hope he makes up for it the rest of the year.

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Stupid Angry Birds.

Two weeks in a row with no finishers.   I am curious what fresh hell Vegas is going to be now.  I mean with the free passes I am thinking the creators aren't going to make it a cake walk.  

I am actually glad the king of walk-ons won the free pass.   He was my favorite of the night.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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Wow, yeah the course designers have had two failures in a row (well not really but sort've). 

And they had the damn cane back; if Angry Birds had been more doable, I suspect the rest of the ninjas would've gone out on the canes.

As for Angry Birds, I think the obstacle is salvageable:

1. Lock either the start or the end of the blind catch part. A little bit of stability would probably have helped make it a lot more doable.

2. Lower the blind catch rock so the pivot axle isn't between the two hand grips to catch. I'm sure Ninjas saw the big metal axle they had to reach around to catch and it would throw them off.

3. Turn the catch spot into a ledge they could grip, not two hand notches. Gives them more to grab onto. 

Other than the threat of the cane coming for #9, this course didn't seem that bad except for that flaw in Angry Birds. Most of the ninjas did make it to that point after all. Sure it has a lot of upper body strength, but Crank It Up is as much momentum/full body as upper body, if you do it right (as we saw towards the end when ninjas were throwing their full body through it).

Last week, Northwest Passage was a killer because it was the 9th after a lot of hard arm obstacles. It had flaws but felt doable if it was earlier. 

Angry Birds, just had a flaw that relied seemingly more on luck than skill, and no one was lucky. After seeing so many ninjas fail, I'm surprised more didn't try for the long jump to the next forward grip. 

They have course testers; they should really make sure the full course is tested and not just individual steps. 

Really happy Allyssa made it; when she wasn't safe when she reached Crank it Up, but then she cleared it and made it to where everyone else did. 

Surprised Captain NBC went out. He (and Joe IIRC) spent a lot of time working the crowd. What was Jaimie's time in the end? I suspect he was probably eliminated by that point even if he hadn't worked the crowd much. (He might have gotten 11th or 12th but the 2 that went after him would've knocked him out). 

BTW, the wiki page does have the times of all the finals. So the show isn't showing the times any more, but they must be showing up somewhere. 

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Thank you for the link to the wiki page.  Lots there to think about. 

One thing that's missing, though, is the mention that the two hour episodes were repeated Friday night in Prime Time on the home network.  Was that viewership added to the first night viewership or is it somewhere giving a higher total viewership?  

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Actually now that I think of it (assuming they didn't mess with the order in post, which is possible). Jamie ran 3rd from the last, but the last runner had the Speed Pass, so his placement doesn't count. (Notice any time the Speed Pass winner places in the Top 12, we have 13 Ninjas progressing; something similar that should be done for the women). 

So Jamie had to come in 11th space to guarantee Vegas. Considering 11,12 and 13 place were all 3:17, 3:17 and 3:18, it seems clear if he hadn't mugged for the crowd so much, he could have gone on.  The ep isn't up on Youtube yet; can anyone recall the time he touched Angry Birds?

As far as the ratings go, I believe each night counts independently. ANW has been dominating both the original show and the repeat show. 4.3M viewers on Monday and 2.6M viewers the Friday before.

Edited by Taeolas
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6 minutes ago, Taeolas said:

Notice any time the Speed Pass winner places in the Top 12, we have 13 Ninjas progressing; something similar that should be done for the women). 

 i would cosign on this with the caveat that the woman must make it to the back half of the course or as far as the 12/13 man

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I didn't understand why Jamie was wasting so much time waving to his family.  It almost looked like he was stalling.  He's usually a lot more focused than that.

SHA NA NA!  Crazy that Rahn is OUT - along with many other staples.  Maybe these usuals will approach the courses differently next year.  I think the guy who tried to skip through the blind grab had the right idea - just didn't execute.  I though Najee would be able to do it because he usually does great at stopping the direction of his body.  

I also agree that that episode wasn't even fun.  Beard was great, however!  

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I felt Jamie was going slower to concentrate more, sort of like back when Flip changed to being more focused than showboat. I was positive he would beat Angry Birds, but then I was positive Najee and Joe would too.

Shows what I know. This whole episode was a downer, I didn't even watch the Tower run off. This course made me not care. Good on Alyssa though. And yeah, what's up with The Beast? Is he not even getting a WWWA?

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On 8/12/2019 at 6:19 PM, ams1001 said:

I wonder how many tries the course tester took to get through the Angry Birds obstacle.

Did James McGrath run this year?

lol at the sign for Jamie Rahn: "Don't forget your shoes" 😄

According to Sasukepedia, James McGrath (The Beast) did not compete this year due to a shoulder injury.  I watched every city qualifying round and kept wondering why they weren't showing McGrath's run.

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Terrible episode. If Najee and Joe Marovsky can’t get to the ninth obstacle, it’s too damn hard. I would’ve liked to have seen if Drew could do it. 

So, we have four Vegas episodes this year. I guess that’s good maybe we won’t get so many fast forwards of Stage 2, although if they all fall on Wing Nut Alley anyway then it will be a lot like this episode.

Please let next week be better, these last two episodes have been a real drag. 

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Well, LA had 2 women finish and 2 more (4 total) in the Top 30 (Which means only 31 ninjas competing in the City Finals), so there is a decent chance we'll have some good finishers. Unless they messed up and have some other ninja killer obstacle in 8 or 9. 

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Ugh.

On 8/12/2019 at 6:13 PM, Lantern7 said:

Maybe a ninja needs lateral thinking? Maybe they're stick feet into the holes and clear the obstacle from there? Skipping it did not work for the last guy.

Yes! Someone needs to Kevin Bull this obstacle.

On 8/12/2019 at 7:15 PM, PhD-Purgatory15 said:

Angry Birds, more like Impossible Birds amiright lol.

When Moravsky, and then Najee can't figure out the move....you know it's beyond (like Vegas Stage 3 beyond)...

Definitely too hard. The show needs to realize that we NEED at least one finisher to keep this enjoyable to watch. Triumph is an integral component to the formula of what makes this show. Without that, its like...blue balls. Sorry, its the only analogy I can think of. 

On 8/12/2019 at 8:35 PM, mlp said:

The guy who was pretending to take naps ought to be banned from the competition.  It was obvious that he was wasting time and not taking the competition seriously at all.  I didn't find him a bit amusing.

I sooooo agree with you. Why did they even show us that? 

Im bummed for Jamie Rahn, you could tell that he didnt expect to hear that he hadnt made it to Vegas. While it absolutely is his own fault for farting around, I still feel bad for him.

Also I fully expected Joe to defeat the Angry Birds, so that sucked. Pretty much the only high point was the King of the Walk On's, he is the standout ninja for me this year, though I could have done without the whole van story.

I miss the Beast. 

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Terrible episode. If Najee and Joe Marovsky can’t get to the ninth obstacle, it’s too damn hard. I would’ve liked to have seen if Drew could do it. 

Even worse!  Wasn't it the EIGHTH obstacle?

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2 hours ago, ams1001 said:

Two people and two dogs living in a van...I can't even imagine it in my 850ish square-foot condo.

And it's not even an RV, it's a small van!  I can see if someone HAS to resort to it, or chooses it as an option for travel (though I wouldn't myself), but to have that as your full-time living arrangement - that's something else.

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3 hours ago, ams1001 said:

Two people and two dogs living in a van...I can't even imagine it in my 850ish square-foot condo.

Thank you! I was trying to remember where I saw those two people in the van with the dogs, since one of the dogs was a Xoloitzcuintli which I thought was highly unusual.

I'd have no problem taking off in my van with my dogs and living out of it until the end of time. But my house is pretty much like camping out anyway so it'd be no big change for me. I'd especially like it if I were a ninja following ANW courses around the country.

2 hours ago, VartanFan said:

Even worse!  Wasn't it the EIGHTH obstacle?

Did we even get to see the ninth obstacle? Anyone know what it was?

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Allyssa did an AMA on Reddit on Monday.  There were some pretty interesting questions and answers. 

In particular, addressing if the course was wet (which I know came up in the qualifier thread):

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Not at all! The megawall apparently was lightly dusted in tree pollen (they do wipe obstacles, but you couldn't really see it well!), but all was dry! The holds on angry birds felt great, too. Not at all slippery, just super technical! And all the rain held off, so no wetness

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Really interesting AMA. Thanks for posting the link.

I guess while I knew they obviously filmed the episodes at night, it never occurred to me that some competitors were running the courses at like 5 am. Plus the crowds out there all night.

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11 minutes ago, Rickster said:

Really interesting AMA. Thanks for posting the link.

I guess while I knew they obviously filmed the episodes at night, it never occurred to me that some competitors were running the courses at like 5 am. Plus the crowds out there all night.

It’s occurred to me to wonder how late they film into the night. I’ve assumed that they do it so that they can show the runs in any order they want to fit their dramatic formula. I wish they did it as Japan does. Film in the day from morning until done and show the runs in order. They actually wear their placement numbers. Start with the newbies and build to the big names. You can WWWA people but you can’t shuffle them.

If it was done in daylight you could tell the morning runs vs the afternoon ones. I imagine it’s really difficult to be at your best at 3am, both for competitors and spectators. 

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6 minutes ago, Fukui San said:

It’s occurred to me to wonder how late they film into the night. I’ve assumed that they do it so that they can show the runs in any order they want to fit their dramatic formula. I wish they did it as Japan does. Film in the day from morning until done and show the runs in order. They actually wear their placement numbers. Start with the newbies and build to the big names. You can WWWA people but you can’t shuffle them.

If it was done in daylight you could tell the morning runs vs the afternoon ones. I imagine it’s really difficult to be at your best at 3am, both for competitors and spectators. 

I think another aspect of this is that from a TV visuals point of view, the darkness allows them to effectively edit out a lot of extraneous background stuff that would be distracting to the viewer and focuses attention on the course and the crowds. Makes for better TV.

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Is a "shark" jumping in the water the reality TV show competition the equivalent of a scripted TV show jumping the shark? Since no one finished the course, it probably is. Oh well. I still enjoyed the episode even though no one finished. Of course, I'm fast-forwarding through even more than I was. In addition to the sob/background stories and interviews, I now FF through the showboating while on the course (waving, napping, making hearts/googly eyes, etc.).

As I recall, there was a blind catch  on another obstacle in a previous city. A few people got past it if I recall correctly.  I think the one person who tried to skip it this time had the right idea, but just couldn't execute the maneuver correctly.

If they bring it back, there's a couple of simple things they can do to make this obstacle passable. 1) Remove the blind catch entirely. 2) Replace the blind catch with another oddly positioned catch. Regardless, I suggest Crazy Catches for an alternative title.

Finally, I really don't think they should let anyone run the Power Tower if they didn't complete the course. I don't mind awarding the Safety Pass, but they need to earn it by completing the course in the top two, and then beating the other finisher. Simply getting to some point midway through the course the fastest isn't enough.

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I had a ticket to the finals filming that started at midnight. On a Wednesday or Thursday. I didn't end up going because I was dead tired and I knew I wouldn't get home until like 4am, and then I'd still have to get up and go to work in the morning. I'll try again next year. By the time I get to it, the 7pm slots are always gone. 

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14 hours ago, Richness said:

If they bring it back, there's a couple of simple things they can do to make this obstacle passable. 1) Remove the blind catch entirely. 2) Replace the blind catch with another oddly positioned catch. Regardless, I suggest Crazy Catches for an alternative title.

Finally, I really don't think they should let anyone run the Power Tower if they didn't complete the course. I don't mind awarding the Safety Pass, but they need to earn it by completing the course in the top two, and then beating the other finisher. Simply getting to some point midway through the course the fastest isn't enough.

I’d go with choice number one- remove the blind catch! I think it was utter bullshit that they showed the tester doing it to justify it being there. If it’s true the tester only tests one obstacle, then that is not an accurate assessment of the difficulty of that obstacle. I would argue that when 100% of the people who have reached that obstacle after passing 7 other obstacles first ALL fail, it’s not the ninjas, it’s the obstacle that is a failure. I was more annoyed by the footage of the tester than if they had said nothing. I don’t ever want to see that stupid blind catch again.

I completely agree that you should have to complete the course to do the PT. It’s kind of like, you don’t get to try the Mega Wall unless you actually get to the mega wall. This should be no different!

I am relieved Joe made it. That was all I cared about by the time they got to the power tower.

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On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 7:53 PM, ClareWalks said:

I know a dude who got to be a tester and sure enough, they only get to test the one obstacle they are assigned!

How many tries do they get?

On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 7:56 PM, Lantern7 said:

It's not like ANW to show a tester clear a tough obstacle. Apparently, you'd have to slowly swing to order to have more control while you're in the air. At 22 failures, Angry Birds is a Certified Ninja Killer. But if it comes back next season, it'll need a non-sponsor name. Any suggestions?

Everyone seemed to get their hands in the right spot. They just couldn't hold on.

Seriously, what did it have to do with Angry Birds to begin with?

Edited by eel21788
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On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 11:03 PM, SophiaD said:

OMG, the shark guy was annoying.  "His parents know not to bother him during Shark Week?"  I hope he makes up for it the rest of the year.

I really wish they would explain who gets invited back each year. I can't figure out what this guy did last year that was so spectacular to deserve an invite. What did Michael Stanger do to not warrant an invite? I'm assuming that's why he didn't run this year. Did Mutant Ninja Warrior officials finally decide that they had milked his sob story dry, because in my opinion that happened at least four years ago?

Edited by eel21788
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On 8/15/2019 at 6:51 AM, Rickster said:

I think another aspect of this is that from a TV visuals point of view, the darkness allows them to effectively edit out a lot of extraneous background stuff that would be distracting to the viewer and focuses attention on the course and the crowds. Makes for better TV. 

A year or so ago, one of my channels reran ANW from the very first season, when Jamie Rahn was Captain G4, not NBC, and wore body paint for his costume. No Matt or Akbar. And the course was run in the daylight on a California beach. I spend most of the time watching what was going on in the background, not watching the ninja, so the "focus" point is a valid one. It makes every run look the same. BTW, no one made it up the Warped Wall in those days, whether they were a mom, cowboy or a childless man.

17 hours ago, eel21788 said:

How many tries to they get?

I watched the rerun the other night, and they showed the tester going through Angry Birds all easy peasy. I, too, wondered how many tries it took him. But the most interesting part was, after the first backward catch that everyone failed on, there was another one. So even if a ninja got the first one, it would be pretty certain he/she would fail on the next one.

I wonder how the sponsor of that obstacle liked how many people failed on it and hated it. I hope the movie tanks just for that obstacle alone.

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