First-ever international competition features head-to-head battles between top players from both countries
NBC's heart-racing obstacle course competition show "American Ninja Warrior" will present the first international competition in a two-hour network special, "American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. Japan," airing Monday, Jan. 13 (8 p.m.).
Five top athletes from "American Ninja Warrior" will do battle against five of the most accomplished competitors from "Sasuke," the program that inspired "American Ninja Warrior" and has run for 28 seasons in Japan.
Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja Biamila will host and Jenn Brown will co-host.
Representing Team USA are competitors Brian Arnold, Paul Kasemir, James McGrath, Travis Rosen and Brent Steffensen. Arnold wowed audiences in the season finale of "American Ninja Warrior" in September with his breathtaking runs on the punishing finals course, "Mt. Midoriyama." Arnold very nearly completed the course in Las Vegas before a heart-breaking fall on stage three.
Team Japan will be represented by Kazuma Asa, Hitoshi Kanno, Ryo Matachi, Shingo Yamamoto and two-time "Sasuke" grand champion Yuji Urushihara. These athletes have traveled across the Pacific Ocean to take on their fellow American ninjas.
Contestants will tackle all four stages of the Las Vegas finals course in a new, head-to-head format that pits members from each team against one another. In the end, the championship trophy and international bragging rights will go to the victors in this inaugural USA vs. Japan contest.