American Gladiators
  AG 2008 - Season 1 - Episode 1

Hosted by Hulk Hogan & Laila Ali

Note: This is my first attempt at this sort of thing, so if it sucks don't say I didn't warn ya. And just to let you know where I'm coming from; while it might seem that I complain about the show a lot, I'm a still a huge fan and have watched it from the very beginning and I still catch the odd replay when I get the chance too.

WOMEN’S MATCH: "Mommy needs money but has a injured knee" Jessie Adams/"I'd be known as the worst athlete this season if it wasn't for Jessie" Venus Ramos vs. "I take 5 minutes to run up a treadmill" Koya Webb

MEN’S MATCH: "I Have Tatoos" Chad Knight vs. "I Fight Fires" Anthony Abbatemarco

I really liked how they paid homage to the original show during the opening credits.

Women’s Event #1 – Powerball
Gladiators: Venom, Siren & Stealth
Scores: Koya 6 - Jessie 2

Jessie claims she works out 6 days a week. She's probably lying because she's still as big as a house and gets exposed as the fraud that she is by getting injured 30 SECONDS IN! BWAHAHAHAHA, Rest in shit, bitch! Even the producers didn't care about her well-being as they didn't even stop the game. Anyway, the scoring cylinders in this were just too big... I mean, when a person can make a hook shot from 10 feet away and score no problem, you know you have to redesign it.

Men’s Event #1 – Powerball
Gladiators: Titan, Toa & Wolf
Scores: Anthony 12 - Chad 2

In a backstage interview, we learn that Anthony the fireman loves his momma (”If I ever meet a girl with half of her qualities, I’ll marry her on the spot”…atta boy Oedipus). Before the men's event, Hogan buries the women's division ONE SEGMENT IN by saying "now it is time to get serious because the guys are up!" BWAHAHAHAHA, good ole' Hulk! Nice to see some things never change. Hogan also has the balls to stand next to a FIREFIGHTER and say that his opponent is cooler because he has tatoos.

Fun Fact: According to previous precedents set by wrestling, Toa is not only Somoan, but the the cousin of The Rock. Seriously though, are all Somoans related or something?

Another Fun Fact: You might remember Titan as Micheal O'Dell from Battle Dome.

Jessie does a interview saying she can't continue, but says she'll be back in season 2. Oh no you won't!

Women’s Event #2 – Joust
Gladiator: Crush
Scores: Koya 5 - Venus 0

I'm very happy that they didn't mess with this classic formula too much. Crush completely squashes Venus 5 seconds in, but then gets dominated by Koya, but just about manages to stay on for the 30 seconds.

Despite having a name that would be more suitable for a male gladiator, Crush is the most beautiful female glad they've got. Not to mention she has an almost-normal body compared to the other female glads who are totally ripped.

Men’s Event #2 – Hang Tough
Gladiator: Militia/Wolf
Scores: Anthony 10 – Chad 0

What did they do to Hang Tough? After 2 swings the gladiator is already at arm's reach to the contestant. What made HT special was the whole cat and mouse chase, which felt like I was watching a strategic chess match.

Militia looks like an immobile roid freak and not only makes a terrible showing but injures himself within the first 60 seconds! He's like the AG version of Ahmed Johnson! Wolf, however makes a great showing and pulls Chad off with relative ease.

Fun Fact: Given the way he acts and plays to the crowd, Wolf was indeed a pro wrestler in a previous life under the name of The Navajo Warrior. He worked in OVW for a good while.

Another Fun Fact: Militia was a gay porn star. Gives a new meaning to the 24 inch pythons...

Women’s Event #3 – Earthquake
Gladiator: Fury
Scores: Koya 0 - Venus 5

Definitely glad they added this one, but they couldn't have put it over the water? Koya was dominated in like 5 seconds, but Ramos makes a good showing for herself.

Men’s Event #3 – Hit & Run
Gladiators: Toa, Titan, Justice & Wolf
Scores: Anthony 10 - Chad 2

Anthony plays it slow and safe by crawling and gets a good score. Chad, however wasn't blessed with the same intelligence and gets knocked off quickly after making it across only once.

Fun Fact: This game was imported by UK version, with the only difference being that crawling wasn't allowed in the UK one.

Women’s Event #4 – Pyramid
Gladiators: Crush & Venom
Scores: Koya 0 - Venus 5

Venus reached the five-point scoring zone to get her points.

Fun Fact: The UK version of this was cut because of the amount of injuries.

Men’s Event #4 – Pyramid
Gladiators: Toa & Mayhem
Scores: Anthony 5 - Chad 0

Toa's pre-game outburst was silly, I know he's Samoan, but this wasn't explained by the announcers. While wrestling fans could watch it and not blink an eye when it comes to Samoans acting weird, but for the new viewers they must've been like 'WTF?!' Anyways, Anthony also made it to the five-point scoring zone. Don't dig the new scoring zone system.

Women’s Event #5 - Eliminator
Winner: Venus - 3:37

Man, 15 years later and the women contestants still suck! This was embaressing to watch. Koya reached the travelator almost two minutes ahead of Venus, but still lost. They both fell off the hand bike and took 3 hours to climb the cargo net. Neither of them ran any part of the course.

I also think the handbike is overkill, especially for the women. They should've made them into monkey bars like the original.

Men’s Event #5 – Eliminator
Winner: Anthony – 2:10

Despite the 16.5 second headstart, Chad manages to catch Anthony up early on, which shows a big flaw in the eliminator already: The head-start means practically nothing, rendering the previous events useless. Pretty anti-climactic finish here as neither contestant couldn't make it up the treadmill and they both stood around catching their breath for like 20 seconds before Anthony finally crawled his way up. How exciting!

Another con about the eliminator: There needs to be some sort of penalties for falling off the rolling log or the handbike. It take so long to complete both of these that it would be smarter for the contender to just fall off immediately. It would be faster and would save them some energy. Either that or they need to put water pits under these obstacles so that contestants have an incentive not to fall in.

Other post-show notes: I'm not sure whether it's because I've grown up now, but the gladiators are seriously lacking in the intimidation depth when compared to the 90s version. Plus these new Glads don't seem to get upset if they fail, like they don't care if they get defeated. I guess it was because I was young, but the original Gladiators did seem like the immovable objects. It also seems that the producers went out of their way to choose small contestants so that the gladiators don't feel embarassed when matching up against them.

I still don't like the way they waste time with the lengthy interview segments in order to build sympathy for the contestants, because not only does it eat up time (which could be used for another event), but it fails at even building sympathy heat for them. The events alone, if done properly, should provide enough drama and action for the show.

Another con about the show is the heavy editing/post-production work. I mean, it is so clearly edited in post-production that it takes away some of the believability. Plus the camera is constantly cutting during the events, making it difficult to tell what’s going on — I mean, Christ, does NBC think our attention spans are so low that a single overhead shot of a 30 second event is going to make us change the channel?

The commentary is also pretty awful (I miss Mike & Larry!). And Hogan needs to learn that this is not wrestling and to stop saying "brother" every 10 seconds.

Final Thoughts: Like I said the women's portion was terrible and it didn't matter who won because even if they make it to the next round they should lose there. Anthony, however was a great competitor that scored a lot of points, but he needs to work on his eliminator time if he's serious about winning the whole thing.

Copyright © 2008 TVizion.