Long live the most iconic obstacle!
Is there any obstacle more iconic on American Ninja Warrior than the Warped Wall? It used to be a massive roadblock for so many competitors. Today, it’s almost standard operating procedure in the Ninja manual.
We just wanted to take a second to pay some respect and show some love for the Warped Wall, the obstacle that has always been there for us.
In case you need this explained, the Warped Wall is the halfpipe-looking obstacle that has been around since day one on American Ninja Warrior. Over the seasons, it has changed dimensions, run-up distance, curvature, and height. In its current iteration, the Warped Wall sits at 14.5 feet tall (we are not discussing the Mega Wall here).
But the Warped Wall’s lineage goes far beyond American Ninja Warrior. It first made its debut in season five of Sasuke, the Japanese predecessor to the US show. There, it’s known as Soritatsu Kabe.
On American Ninja Warrior, the Warped Wall has built its reputation as a landmark for competitors’ success. In the Qualifying round, it sits in the sixth position, standing between the Ninja and the buzzer. In the later rounds, the Warped Wall generally marks the transition between the front and “back half” of the 10-obstacle course. If a Ninja wants to advance into even later stages, there’s a very strong chance they’ll need to put the Wall behind them.
As we previously mentioned, Ninjas in the early years were easily confounded by the Warped Wall. It was a new skill, and it wasn’t exactly easy to train. Before the proliferation of Ninja Warrior-style gyms across the country, finding a wall to hurl your body at wasn’t exactly commonplace. The Warped Wall embodies the idea of “simple, but not easy.”
But as the years went on, that changed. More and more Ninjas had easier access to gyms, or the blueprints to build their own Warped Walls. The result was that it became less common to see competitors in a stalemate with the wall on the course. Now, we definitely do still see a few Ninjas each year who run into trouble with the obstacle. Honestly, we think that’s only right. We should never forget the humble obstacle who helped launch the popularity of the show.
Fans will never forget the first time a woman defeated the Warped Wall. That’s a moment in history that belongs to Kacy Catanzaro back in season six.
Now, 20 women have completed the challenge and that number will only grow exponentially as time goes on.
As the competitors’ comfort level with the Warped Wall has increased, we’ve seen some flair added to the accomplishment. Ninja Sandy Zimmerman always pauses to flex for the crowd before she pulls herself over the edge. In season 12, Donovan Metoyer landed a 360 twist that left us gasping.
In historical context though, the first 360 twist we saw took place in season 11 when Kevin Carbone did the deed in Atlanta.
Kevin Carbone found his path building obstacles, then breezing through them! City Finals are heading to Atlanta MONDAY 8/7c on NBC.
Posted by Ninja Warrior on Friday, July 19, 2019
However, the title of Queen of the Warped Wall arguably belongs to Australian Ninja Olivia Vivian. She’s pulled so many stunts on the obstacle in her own country’s competition, that it earned its own compilation video.
The Warped Wall has changed in many ways over the many seasons of competition. But it will always have its place of revered importance in the sport of Ninja Warrior.
Long live the Warped Wall!