American Gladiators: And Then There Were Eight

Last week, MGM, recognizing the popularity of the series, announced that on January 30th, they will be debuting AmericanGladiators.com, a new broadband website featuring all things American Gladiators classic. They promise various downloads, remastered video clips, exclusive interviews and updates on the original Gladiators. I'm excited! I can't wait for it to go live.

In the meantime, though, we had the last qualifying match-up on Monday night. On the women's side, Toni, a 46-year-old mother took on Kim, a 28-year-old New York Knicks dancer. Toni was on the original show 13 years ago and says that she's in better shape now. For the men, Alex, a 25-year-old high school teacher, competed against Mark, a 35-year-old chiropractor. Alex's story is that he needs the money so that the kids at his high school can keep their wrestling team.

We got to see both the men and the women compete in Powerball. That brings up one of my few gripes about this new edition of American Gladiators. The holes in the scoring pods are much too big this time around. The contenders are able to score points by making jump shots instead of engaging the Gladiators. That kind of defeats the name. That's not Powerball, that's basketball. Most of the men's points were earned this way in this episode. Booo...

For the men, Alex basically stole the show, but Mark had his moment. Alex is the wrestling coach, but Mark showed him something. In Earthquake, Militia was able to fend Alex off and knocked him off the platform. Mark, though, knocked Militia off in six seconds flat!

Alex was like a little monkey. He was able to dodge Wolf in Hang Tough for ten points and was able to fly across that bridge almost at will in Hit and Run for 14 big points. He went into the Eliminator with an eight-point lead over Mark.

Neither woman was particularly spectacular unless you count the fact that the 46-year-old was keeping up with the dancer. Toni was able to knock Siren off during the Joust and hung on for the draw in Hang Tough. Neither woman was able to hit the target in Assault, nor was Hellga able to hit any of them. In the end, Toni went into the Eliminator with a one-point lead over Kim.

The only suspense in the women's Eliminator was whether Venus' time was safe. Toni had a half-second head start over Kim, but it might as well have been twenty minutes. By the time Kim got over the wall, yes, the first obstacle, Toni was already up the Pyramid! Kudos to Kim for her perseverance, but dang! The Travelator claimed another victim, though. Toni beat Kim, but her time of 3:44 was not fast enough to knock Venus out of the final eight.

The men's Eliminator was fun to watch. Both men did great. Alex had that four-second head start and he never looked back. He finished in 1:38, a minute and a half faster than Molivann. Bye bye, Moli. Alex takes the last spot in the final eight.

Next week on American Gladiators, the next round begins and the show has been expanded to 90 minutes. Which contenders will secure a spot in the final four? I'll be watching, will you?