Ninja’s impossible run stuns hosts
It's official: Australian Ninja Warrior is back and even bigger than before.
With a fresh crop of hopefuls going up against old favourites and a chance at a cool $5000 in the heats, the premiere of Channel 9's hit show started things out with a bang.
Here were the episode's highlights:
NIGHT'S UNLIKELY NINJA
At 19-years-old, budding poet Alex Cusack was perhaps the heat's most unlikely competitor.
But the skinny teen quickly became the crowd favourite as he became the first ninja to complete the course in full - something he had been doubtful about.
"I think on paper I don't really have much of a chance because I'm not very large and I don't weigh much, and I spend a lot of my time writing poetry," he said.
"To get up the wall would be nuts, absolutely nuts. I've seen that image over and over and over again in my head just smashing the buzzer and rejoicing, and I want to be able to do that."
Before he began the course, hosts Ben Fordham and Rebecca Maddern seemed doubtful about a "nervous" Cusack's chances of completing the course.
"I'm not sure how poetry can help him - he's got the build," Fordham remarked.
But their doubts soon turned to disbelief as Cusack breezed - albeit not very gracefully - through obstacle after obstacle.
"There's something going on with this kid," Maddern observed. "He doesn't look like much of a ninja but I think he's pretty lean and muscly under there."
"He's got no fear Alex Cusack!" Fordham said.
Incredibly, Cusack became the first contestant to make it to the warped wall, opting to forgo the chance for $5000 on the taller version, scaling the original obstacle in his second attempt.
As the crowd erupted, Ninja's hosts could barely contain themselves either, with Maddern summing up Cusack's run as "simply sensational".
'OH MY GOODNESS ME!'
Bodybuilder Kwame Duah might not have made it far on the course but he certainly caused a stir thanks to his incredibly ripped physique.
The 25-year-old's thighs were a whopping 76 centimetres in circumference, with Duah revealing he had earned a reputation because of them.
"People always talk about my quads, I've had (nicknames) Quadzilla, you name it," he said.
Commentator Freddy Flintoff likened Duah's legs to "tree trunks" and they helped him cling to the swing surfer for several seconds before he fell into the water below.
"They call him Kwame the tsunami because when those thighs hit the water they make waves," Fordham quipped as Duah made his way out of the water.
"Hang on, we're just having a moment here," Maddern said as Duah ripped off his shirt to the delighted cheers of the audience.
"Oh my goodness me!"
NRL STAR'S COMEBACK
Former NRL star Eloni Vunakece threw his hat in the ring for the first heat of Ninja Warrior after bowing out of his footy career on medical advice.
"Across the career I probably had 15 total concussions and in the last 12 months I had about 10. I was advised by a doctor to stop playing," the former Roosters player explained.
To make ends meet and provide for his wife and four young children Vunakece had taken up manual work.
"You've got to keep the money coming in. I needed a job after footy finished, so I'm a garbage man," he said.
"People say how do you do it, well I just took it on board as a challenge, I enjoy hard work so it's all good."
Competing in Ninja in order to get his "competitive edge" back, the 31-year-old was just one obstacle short of the warped wall when he plunged from the spinball wizard into the water.
STAR NINJAS RETURN
It wouldn't be Australian Ninja Warrior without Rob Patterson and Ashlin Herbert, who both emerged top of the leaderboard in the first heat.
Patterson, who was last season's fastest on the course, breezed through the obstacles without breaking a sweat.
When faced with both walls he opted to play it safe, scaling the original warped wall in just one go.
"I've got to be back here for semis, if I fall off that thing and injure myself then there's no chance at semis," he said.
He also issued a challenge to his rival Herbert during his post obstacle interview with Flintoff.
"Ashlin come at me, let's have a bit of a race, hey?" Patterson quipped. "I'll see you in semis."
But despite Patterson's best efforts it was Herbert who came out on top, managing to go the fastest and the furthest on the obstacle.
The carpenter was the only competitor who successfully climbed to the top of the mega warped wall and claim $5000.
Australian Ninja Warrior continues Tuesday 7.30pm on Nine