Top 10 Memorable American Ninja Warriors

Written by Garrett Alden These ninjas won’t vanish from our hearts any time soon. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable American Ninja Warriors. For this list, we’re looking at the most memorable, skilled or entertaining competitors to participate in the American version of the Japanese series “SASUKE.” Special thanks to our user Matthew Robinson for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+American+Ninja+Warriors

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These ninjas won’t vanish from our hearts any time soon. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable American Ninja Warriors.

For this list, we’re looking at the most memorable, skilled or entertaining competitors to participate in the American version of the Japanese series “SASUKE.”

#10: Kacy Catanzaro

Let’s get this list started off right with a true trailblazer. Kacy Catanzaro is one of the sport’s top female athletes and arguably its most famous. “Mighty” Kacy became the first woman to complete a city qualifying course in 2014 by making it up the monstrous 14 foot Warped Wall, which is nearly three times her height. Her record breaking didn’t stop there however, as she soon after became the first and, for a long time, the ONLY woman to complete a city finals course. Although she struggled on the first stage of the grueling Vegas Finals course, it’s hard to overstate the impact that Catanzaro has had on the sport and its fans.

#9: Joe Moravsky

This coach and meteorologist has had a meteoric rise in the Ninja world. Joe Moravsky is among the speediest competitors out there, and his runs are often models of efficiency. “The Weatherman” also has an impressively consistent track record, making it to the third stage of Mount Midoriyama, as the Vegas Finals are also known, three out the four times he’s competed. It’s that reliability that probably earned him a spot on Team USA in the USA vs. the World competition more than once. Moravsky is unquestionably one of the fan favorites of the series.

#8: David Campbell

David Campbell is one of only a handful of contestants to have competed in every season of the show. He was also one of the first to create his own backyard course, making it a Mecca of sorts for prospective ninjas and veterans alike. While Campbell has made it as far as stage 3 in the finals in Japan, and won it all competing in Vietnam, he’s had difficulty completing the first stage in the Vegas Finals. Even so, Campbell’s veteran status and role as a mentor to many rookie ninjas has earned him the nickname the Godfather, and we couldn’t refuse him a place on our list.

#7: Jessie Graff

Kacy Catanzaro may’ve broken ground, but Jessie Graff shattered it. The stuntwoman also known as “Tumbleweed” is a true superhero of the sport, and not just because of her outfits! While she is part of the elite group of women to have made it up the Warped Wall, Graff was also the first one to have finished stage 1 of the Vegas Finals. Not only that, she also became the only woman to complete stage 2, while competing on Team USA, in the 2017 “USA vs. the World” competition. Graff isn’t just one of the elite female competitors in ANW; she’s one of its elite competitors period!

#6: Brent Steffensen

This is one ninja who knows how to hang loose. While he may be fond of flashing the shaka sign, Brent Steffensen is a serious competitor and a veteran of American Ninja Warrior. With a few exceptions, Steffensen has regularly made it to Midoriyama, often to the second and third stages. He even became the first American to clear the challenging Ultimate Cliffhanger obstacle on stage 3. On the personal side, the former stuntman now manages a gym, Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds, with his ex-girlfriend and current business partner Kacy Catanzaro.

#5: James McGrath

Just beast it! James McGrath is a powerful veteran ninja athlete and trainer, whose dogged, forceful approach to the course has earned him the nickname, “the Beast.” McGrath has made it to the finals numerous times. Though he has gone as far as stage 3 in the past, he has repeatedly had difficulties getting through the first stage, primarily due to the tricky Jumping Spider obstacle. All the same, there’s no question of the Beast’s skill and fans love to see him attack the course year after year.

#4: David ‘Flip’ Rodriguez

One of the great things about Ninja Warrior is seeing the competitors grow and improve over time, and “Flip” Rodriguez’s transformation has been particularly notable. Famous for the black and white masks he once wore, Rodriguez eventually stopped wearing them, ultimately opening up about the abuse he suffered when he was younger. Along with his appearance, Rodriguez has also changed his approach to the course. Formerly noted for his blistering speed, he began to take a more methodical approach after a costly mistake saw him disqualified. Flip is a stronger ninja for it though, and it’s helped make him one of the best and most memorable in the sport.

#3: Isaac Caldiero

In terms of pure accomplishment, few American ninjas can claim to have gone as far as this man. Isaac Caldiero is the first winner of American Ninja Warrior, having conquered all four stages in Vegas and beating out his competition. A nomadic pro rock climber and former member of the ninja training group “Wolf Pack,” Caldiero is now retired from the sport after only 3 years – but with all that prize money, he can afford to. Why then, if Caldiero is so accomplished, is he not number 1? Well, we felt that the next two entries stood out a little bit more.

#2: Drew Drechsel

Nicknamed the “Real Life Ninja,” Drew Drechsel is a favorite among the fans and the community, as he’s roommates with James McGrath and has a friendly rivalry with Flip Rodriguez. His nickname isn’t for show though, as Drechsel is among the most capable ninjas out there, possessing all the speed, strength, and adaptability needed to be the best of the best. Drechsel’s track record is excellent, having made it to the second and third stages in the finals multiple times in various countries and even captaining Team USA to victory in 2017. With his star on the rise, Drechsel is predicted by many to be the next winner.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Travis Rosen
- Michael Stanger
- Meagan Martin

#1: Geoff Britten

This sports cameraman may not have been the first winner of American Ninja Warrior, since Isaac Caldiero beat his time, but he was the first American to conquer all four stages. Nicknamed “Popeye” for his incredible forearms and upper body strength – like, he can do the salmon ladder one-handed! – Britten holds multiple impressive records: for example, at 36 years of age, he was the oldest competitor to achieve Kanzenseiha, and is the first American to achieve a coveted perfect season. Although Britten may be in semi-retirement now to be with his family, he’s first on our list, and technically the first American Ninja Warrior.

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