The 25 Most Awesome Things About ‘American Gladiators’

07.04.14 5 years ago

Gladiators ready! Contenders ready! Are you ready for the 25th anniversary of “American Gladiators”?

The most grueling, Spandex-centric game show of all time debuted September 9, 1989, but because it's the Fourth of July weekend and nothing says “America” like gargantuan human beings who destroy normal folk for sport, we're celebrating the big day now.

As much as “American Gladiators” has a reputation for being a WCW-like exhibition of phony athleticism, it was, in fact, a terribly difficult game that required tons of physical ability. You had to climb. You had to run. You had to beat up people. You had to wield weapons. You had to dodge strangleholds. You had to steer a gigantic metallic ball. And somehow, you had to not get injured. “American Gladiators” was a very real game for a very select portion of the athletic population, and for that reason I'm calling it the “Jeopardy!” of brawn-based game shows.

Let's count down this excellent series' 25 best attributes, from splashy events to kickass contenders to the Gladiators themselves. The #1 will warm your heart. And the #2 will paralyze you with laughter. Careful. 

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