American Gladiators

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nitrogladiatorslogo.jpg

I am about to talk about what was perhaps the greatest game show on television in the history of mankind.

On September 16, 1989 the theme music was heard for the first time by the American public as the TV show known as American Gladiators came to life. The show was so great because it wasn’t just a game show, sure, there would be four contestants every episode, sure there would be challenges and sure there was a prize at the end of the season for the winner, but that is where all the similarities end. The competitors were in a tournament so just winning once wasn’t enough, they had to beat out all the other competitors for their shot at glory, so the contest lasted an entire season and at the end the people would win a new car, between $10,000 and $25,000 and the chance to become a Gladiator. What really made the show so amzing though were in fact the Gladiators.

The gladiators were the finest representations of man kind as a species.

Nitro (Dan Clark)
Malibu (Deron McBee)
Gemini (Michael Horton)
Sunny (Cheryl Barldinger)
Zap (Raye Hollitt)
Lace (Marisa Pare)
Bronco
Jade
Titan(David Nelson):
Laser (Jim Starr):
Blaze (Sha-Ri Pendleton)
Gold (Tonya Knight)
Turbo (Galen Tomlinson)
Thunder (Billy Smith)
Diamond (Erika Andersch)
Ice (Lori Fetrick)
Storm (Debbie Clark):
Tower (Steve Henneberry)
Viper (Chuck Berlinger):
Sabre (Lynn “Red” Williams)
Cyclone (Barry Turner):
Havoc
Atlas (Philip Poteat)
Elektra (Salina Bartunek)
Siren (Shelley Beattie)
Sky (Shirley Eson):
Lace #2 (Natalie Lennox)
Hawk (Lee Reherman):
Rebel (Mark Tucker)
Jazz (Victoria Gay)
Dallas (Shannon Hall)
Tank (Ed Radcliffe)
Thor (Michael O’Hearn)

These were the men and woman that dawned the costumes and went out to put a hurting and the people that came to challenge them in the mighty halls at the Gladiator Arena. I am fairly certain that there was no drug testing on the Gladiators because most of the male Gladiators would go in to at least one complete roid rage every episode. One of my all time favorite roid rages though was during the first season when Malibu (the most homo erotic of all Gladiators) picked up a contestant during the Powerball and dropped his ass into one of the barrels causing it to shatter.

The events themselves were mind blowing as well because at the time they were unlike anything any one had seen on American television. Keep in mind, this is all long before Battledome, MXC, Ninja Warrior, Capture Ft. Boyard or Takeshi’s Castle reruns began airing. The only thing remotely close to American Gladiators at that time was professional wrestling, but Gladiators wasn’t scripted and had actual events that people would compete in.

Sure there were a ton of events that were used through out the various seasons, but I am only going to talk about the ones that really stick out in my mind.

Breakthrough & Conquer
This was half fottball and half wrestling. Contenders would have to run a ball 15 yards past a Gladiator and into an endzone, and then step into a 15 foot circle and wrestle a different Gladiator with the goal being to get any part of the Gladiator out of the cricle.

Joust
The contender competed against the Gladiator in a stick battle. The two fighters would be on opposite platforms and would try and knock each other off. Sure a lot of Gladiators took part in this event over the years, but the only one that really mattered was Gemini. The guy had 38 wins, and was a monster to face. The joust was so cool, my cousin and I used to take broom handles wrapped in sweaters and try and knock each other of recliners in my parent’s living room. The sad part is that we were both in our 20’s the last time we did this.

Powerball
The two contenders competed against three Gladiators. The contenders would grab a colored ball from a bin, and try to deposit it into one of five scoring cylinders on the floor.

The Wall
Contenders would have to scale a rock climbing wall before being pulled off by the Gladiator chasing them.

Atlasphere
Contenders climbed into large metal cage-like spheres, rolling them from within, and maneuvering them toward scoring pods on the playing field for points. Two Gladiators used their own spheres to obstruct the contenders from scoring. This was one of my favorite events to watch. It reminded me of the Wonderwheel scene from “The Toy”. Damn I wish I had one of those.

Then of course there is the most famous of the Gladiator events…
The Assault
The Assault is the event everyone remembers when they think of the Gladiators, and with good reason. This particular challenged the competitor to run between multiple stations and fire a weapon at a target. If they hit the target they finished the event and got the points. However…there was a Gladiator with a big ass cannon firing tennis balls at them at 60 mph with very little coverage for the target…er competitor. If all that wasn’t enough, they only had one minute to complete the course.

American Gladiators spawned a video game, a board game, a kids show, 10 different international versions and an appearance on the Simpsons.

I know it might sound a little odd, but I could watch this show all day.

Check out what these guys are doing for Halloween!!!

Click here for the new Gladiators

6 responses to “American Gladiators

  1. They have been starting to run reruns on late at night, i loved that show, i still think i could of kicked ass on that show.

  2. Well if you liked this article, wait till you see what’s in store!!!

  3. Actually American Gladiators didn’t start out the way that you say they did. It started out like this “This is Malibu. The cool, laid back surfer at home on the beach. You’re looking at Lace. Feminum, sexy but always a lady. You’re looking at Gemini. A split personality. Calm one minute, violent the next. This is Zap. Strong, silent, the Terminator. You’re looking at Nitro. Cocky, explosive and always agressive. And this is Sunny. The All American Woman. These are the American Gladiators.”
    Remember that.

  4. JOhn Poteat and PHil POteat twins shared the role of Atlas

  5. JO JO, The role of ATLAS was played ONLY by Phillip Dow Poteat. Your confusion stems from the fact that Phillip’s twin brother John Poteat was married to Tonya Knight who played GOLD

  6. NO, Only Phillip Poteat played “Atlas”. His twin John was married to “Gold”

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