Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s was a great time for TV. There were all kinds of great cartoons including Smurfs, Snorks, Muppet Babies, Flinstone Kids, etc. There were also other live action shows including The Muppet Show, Double Dare, Wild and Crazy Kids, etc. But- this article isn't about any of those shows. This is an article about brute force and pure athletic talent. Thanks to my new discovery of ESPN Classic, I can once again enjoy one of the best shows of all time!

"This is American Gladiators. Selected from a nationwide search, 22 men and women have come to Hollywood to challenge our force of American Gladiators, for a single honor of being American Gladiator's Champion. Now here are your American Gladiators.........."

Beginning in 1989 was the new and innovated American Gladiators hosted by Joe Theismann and co-hosted by Mike Adamle. The original Gladiators were Nitro, Zap, Gemini, Lace, Sunny, and Malibu. First season events included Power Ball (football/basket ball contact spor), Joust (using pugil sticks trying to know one another off the platform), Human Cannonball (balling up while swinging on a rope trying to knock the Gladiator of the pedestal), Breakthrough and Conquer (football and wresting), Assault (crazy 100 mile/hr tennis balls flying at contestants while trying to shoot a target), and the infamous ELIMINATOR. Well, unfortunately season 1 was pretty lame, and things were changed up for a second season.

Season 2 was hosted by Mike Adamle and co-hosted by Todd Christensen. 4 of the original Gladiators remained- Zap, Lace, Nitro, and Gemini. Thank goodness the two lamest Gladiators, Malibu and Sunny, were replaced by Laser, Titan, Gold, and Blaze. In addition, The Wall (do you really need an explanation here) was a new event, and tackling was no longer allowed in Power Ball. Once again, 2nd season was kind of lame, though better than the first, and a once again AG made some changes.

Beginning in season 3 the greatest co-host of all time was added, former full-back for the Miami Dolphins, Mr. Larry Csonka. Mike Adamle remained host, while once again the Gladiator line-up was changed. Titan was gone while Zap sat the season out. Thunder and Turbo joined the cast as did Ice and Diamond. Power Ball was once again normal- Gladiators could tackle contestants. Also, one more event was added, Atlasphere. I'm sure you all remember it- big metal ball cages landing in scoring pods making smoke go off every time someone scored- Awesome.

After the first 3 seasons the other seasons begin to blur for me. The show continued to get better and better, until the last season. Larry Csonka eventually left and was replaced by the ever annoying Lisa Malowsky, of whom was replaced by Nitro, and Gladiators came and went. The other 'main' Gladiators, excluding the ones listed above include Tower, Sky, Sabre, Siren, Hawk, and Jazz. There were also some others that did not appear on many episodes- these are Diesel, Storm, Elektra, and Viper.

Throughout the years many events changed, as well as came and went. Some additional games include Hang Tough (swing from one platform to the other across gymnastics rings), Swingshot (bungee cord game jumping to a pole w/ balls trying to get them into the bin), the Maze (again, no explanation needed), Sky Track (the upside down race on a Velcro- covered track), Gauntlet (running through a half-pipe chute while trying to push through 5 Gladiators), Pyramid (comparable to king of the mountain, on huge mats), Tug-O-War (duh), Whiplash (own the bone, trying to get this double triangle from one another using one hand), and Snap Back (bungee cord event trying to grab hanging cylinders). Over time- of course- the Eliminator transformed as well. If you really one to know details of all the events and how the Eliminator progressed, check out Wikipedia. Here's the link I found a ton of information in:

In 2008 American Gladiators came back full force hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. Gladiators include Militia, Crush, Helga, Venom, Titan, Toa, Siren, Justice, Wolf, Jet, Rocket, Stealth, Fury, Mayhem, Beast, Phoenix, Zen, Steel, and Hurricane.

Many of the old events were revisited; Assault, Joust, Powerball, The Wall, Atlasphere, Hang Tough, Sky Track, Gauntlet, and Pyramid. There were also new events added; Tilt, Hit & Run, Earthquake, Vertigo, Rocketball, Sideswipe, and Snapback (go back to the wiki site for info). With an entire new cast and many new games, this new rendition of AG only lasted two seasons. Unfortunately I have no clue why, but would love to know. It was one of the few shows from childhood that was redone and done well.

Well, I guess that's a pretty good run-down of one of my favorite shows. If you have ESPN Classic and have never seen the original American Gladiators, I highly recommend checking them out. Word of caution though, the first season was not so hot. Also, as the original run of American Gladiators was coming to an end, they came up with Universal Gladiators; another horrible show. Anyways- check it out. AG is exciting, entertaining, adrenaline pumping show. Plus- the Gladiators really lay into the some of the contestants- making for a great time!

Thanks for reading- hopefully you enjoyed the article! All information was found on
and IMDB. Any discussions, feedback, or criticism is very much appreciated! However- if you didn't like the American Gladiators, don't dog my article, you shouldn't have read it in the first place!