American Ninja Warrior Recap – Tough as Steel in Pittsburgh: Season 7 Episode 5 “Pittsburgh Qualifying”

American Ninja Warrior Recap - Tough as Steel in Pittsburgh: Season 7 Episode 5 "Pittsburgh Qualifying"

American Ninja Warrior, NBC’s obstacle course competition airs tonight with an all new Monday, June 29 season 7 episode 5 called “Pittsburgh Qualifying,” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, a qualifying round in Pittsburgh features the Snake Crossing and Wind Chimes obstacles.

On the last episode American Ninja Warrior” traveled to Orlando, Florida for competitors to give it their all on the “American Ninja Warrior” obstacle course, this time from the grounds of the Universal Orlando Resort. There faced several new obstacles, including the Paddle Boards and Tire Swing. Veteran competitors, including pro-wakeboarder Sean Murray, William “Spartan” Brown and rivals Flip Rodriguez & Drew Dreschel, returned. Competitors vied for a chance to win a cash prize of $1,000,000 and the title “American Ninja Warrior. Did you watch last week’s episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.

On tonight’s episode per the NBC synopsis, “Pittsburgh, PA’s historic Carrie Furnace will host the fifth qualifying round where competitors tackle two new obstacles including, the Snake Crossing and the Wind Chimes. Ninjas will compete to qualify for the finals in Las Vegas and a shot at winning the grand prize of $1,000,000. “American Ninja Warrior” veterans Michelle Warnky and “Captain NBC” Jamie Rahn return, while Olympian and Pittsburgh local Brianne McLaughlin and Harlem Globetrotter Flip White will take a shot at the course, along with University of Pittsburgh “vampire” professor Joel Brady and Team USA members Joe Moravsky and Elet Hall. Competitors in this rigorous obstacle course competition series will vie for the title “American Ninja Warrior.”

Tonight’s episode looks like it is going to be great and you won’t want to miss it, so be sure to tune in for our coverage of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior at 9:00 PM EST! While you wait for our recap hit the comments and let us know how excited you are about the show so far.



#AmericanNinjaWarrior is in Pittsburgh outside a steel mill. Akbar and Matt talk about Joe Moravsky who’s doing a run this year and who’s a favorite to win it all. Elet Hall will also compete tonight and is a strong contender. Kristine goes over the course. There are the five angled steps, the log grip, the snake crossing (a new obstacle), wind chimes (also new) then the devil steps and on to the warped wall to hit the buzzer to get a stop in the Pittsburgh finals.

First up is Matt Scoletti, a local financial advisor. He says he’s the proudest Pittsburgh native. The guy has huge biceps. He hopes the steps easily. Then it’s the log grip where you wrap your arms around and it slides 25 feet and it hits two drops. He loses it and falls off and hits the platform face first. Next up is female contender Brianne McLaughlin who’s an Olympics ice hockey goalie with two silver medals and an NCAA record holder.

Brianne easily clears the steps and then clears the log grip as well. Now it’s the snake crossing where the beams are twisting and tilt. She almost makes it off but the tilt throws of her footing to the platform. She jumped to try and save it but fell. She says it’s harder than it looks. Next is 56 year old gymnastics coach Miles Avery from Asheville, North Carolina. He clears the first two obstacles neatly and barely makes the snake crossing but does it.

Next is the wind chimes – he’s the first to hit it. You have to use your arms and legs to traverse these hanging obstacles. He’s on the last and just has to dismount. He makes that too and he’s on to the devil steps. These are steps high above his head where you work over them with your hands. Some steps pivot and one has a huge gap. He makes it to the top and makes the transition to the opposite steps. Akbar is cheering for the senior to clear the course.

He makes it through the steps and now it’s just the wall. He’s the oldest man ever to face the warped wall. The crowd cheers – beat that wall. He runs and can’t grab it. On the second run, he almost gets it. He has one attempt left. He barely misses again. But he still has a shot to move on the Pittsburgh finals. He’s never practiced on a wall like this and Akbar says the lack of experience did him in. Over the break, Shannon Mullholand fell off the log.

Anthony Cohen bought it on the snake crossing. David Hunt also fell prey to the snakes. Chris Wilczewski is next. He runs a huge ninja training gym and is a big contender. His training partners are running tonight too. This is his sixth year competing. He clears the steps then the log. He also takes a fall on the snake crossing. That obstacle is taking people out left and right tonight. He moved too slow and just lost his balance.

Next up is Amber Holbrook, a stay at home mom from Ohio. Her daughter has severe autism and says it’s been a journey. She says she was never athletic but she signed up for an autism 5k then says she started working out more. She’s dedicating her run to her daughter. On her run, she clears the steps then the log. She’s thrilled. She heads onto the snake crossing. She clears the first snake then moves to the next one and takes an experimental step to see how the beam tilts.

She almost falls but then recovers and clears it. Matt and Akbar go nuts. #CailynCan is her hashtag for her daughter. Now it’s the wind chimes which require upper body strength. She’s moving fast across them. She makes it halfway then gets stuck on a longer transition since she’s short. She can’t hang on and has to drop and that ends her run. Back from the break, Mike Needham made it to Vegas the past two years but fell on the snakes.

Six season veteran Dan Galiczynski bought it on the snake crossing too and hit hard then fell on the dismount. #NinjaBaby Matt Zacharkow bought it on the last wind chime and wet his diaper. Next is 44 year old New Yorker Jeff Kraebel who is a blue collar millyard worker. He clears the steps with a bit of struggle. He moves on to the log and he clears that too. Next is snake crossing, the big troublemaker of the night. He clears the first snake then moves cautiously to the second. He makes it!

He moves on to the wind chimes after pulling his shirt off and giving a roar. He’s a little low but then corrects. Now he’s at the four foot gap that has given people a hard time tonight. He makes the transition then moves on – he’s struggling as he grabs the last one which is shorter than the others. He makes it but is low and has to dismount. He clears it! Now it’s the devil steps. He may not have enough energy left for this obstacle. This one is all upper body strength. The gap kills him and he falls.

Boston’s Alexi Matousek got knocked on the head with the log and went down. NJ welder Aaron Himelwright fell off the devil steps and then Scott Maxson competed in a onesie but then took a fall off the devil steps too. Next up is PJ Granger who camped out for 10 days. The Indiana native is a recovering alcoholic who has turned his life around. He clears the steps and logs in good time. He moves on to the snake crossing. He clears the snake and the wind chimes.

Now he’s got the devil steps to go. He goes through these super fast. He clears the devil steps and now it’s just PJ versus the warped wall. The walk on gets ready for his run and he’s never tried a wall like this before. He barely misses on his first try. He gestures for cheers and the crowd rewards him. He grabs the wall on his second try and pulls himself up then slaps the buzzer. He’s the first finisher in Pittsburgh. He’s thrilled and his wife is stunned and crying.

Swim coach BJ Reynoso is from the Bronx. He clears the steps, almost falls off the log then moves on to the snake crossing. He has to take a dive because of balance problems. Zamira Doar is a graphic artist who’s running in honor of her dad she lost to Alzheimer’s. The log takes her out since she’s too short to get a good grip. Jamie Rahn is next and he’s got a bet with Matt and Akbar that will involve the two hosts getting silly dye jobs if Jamie is a finisher tonight.

MMA star Felice Herrig is known as the Little Bulldog and fights in the UFC now as a top 10 fighter. She says it’s brutal. Let’s see if the brutal Philadelphia course hits her hard. She takes a shocking fall off the quintuple steps. She tried to go too fast and took a bounce and hit the water. Next is Captain NBC Jamie Rahn. He runs a parkour academy for kids where he teaches them to overcome literal obstacles. A bunch of kids came to see him run tonight.

Jamie challenged Matt and Akbar that if he makes it up the wall, they’ll put on green wigs to support him. The Vegas veteran clears the steps and log then moves on to the snake crossing. Akbar says Jamie is overthinking it. He hits the mid point of the second snake then leaps to the platform. He clears the chimes neatly then moves through the devil steps fast. He clears those, runs the wall and slaps the buzzer. Matt and Akbar put on their green wigs for #CaptainNBC. He says they look good.

Jamie is the second finisher of the night. Akbar talks about the snake crossing and we see several fails.
Next up is Mike Bernardo, a firefighter from DC and five time veteran of ANW. He clears the steps, log and then the snake in good time. He leaps right onto the wind chimes, clears them then moves on to the devil steps. He makes it past the steps, runs the wall and slaps the buzzer with his elbow. He tells Kristine that says it’s symbolic of struggles we face every day. Bernardo has the second fastest time.

Over the break, Abby Majesky had a good start but the snake took her out. Brian Wilczewski outdid his older brother and finished the course and Ron Schmidt barely made it past the snake crossing then scaled the wall to slap the buzzer. Next up is Ryan Ripley from Missouri who has Cystic Fibrosis. He says his mom was told he wouldn’t live past age five so he grew up a scared kid. He says he took almost 40 pills a day and has to wear a special vest to treat his condition twice a day.

Ryan starts his run and clears the steps. He moves on to the log and clears that. He’s moving fast and also makes it past the snakes. Now it’s the wind chimes which he clears. Next is the devil steps and the crowd is cheering wildly. He gets stuck and can’t move on and falls there but it was amazing. He says he couldn’t keep his grip but did his best.

Over the break, Tim Mitroka cleared the snake but fell off the devil steps. Joe Archambault made the warped wall on try three to slap the buzzer. Veteran Geoff Britten hustled through the course and slapped the buzzer. Now it’s Luciano Acuna Jr. The second year vet is a stunt man who goes by #BrooklynBeast. He’s on the wind chimes and moves through them easily. He moves on to the devil steps, clears it and runs the wall on his first try to slap the buzzer.

Next is Elet Hall, a three year veteran who has made it to Mt Midoriyama each time and is a veteran of Team USA as well. He skips the last step and moves on fasts. He’s known as #TheNatural. He clears the log fast and moves to the snake crossing – he is flying through and clears it then leaps onto the wind chimes. Acuna who ran before him was fastest but Hall is zipping through the course. He scales the steps like he’s walking them. He clears them, runs the wall and stumbles.

He tries again and slaps the buzzer at 1:22 to almost cut in half Acuna’s time. Back from the break, three more contenders have run. Frisbee player Matt Esser fell off the log, Justin Kidd ran a fast run and cleared it. High school teacher Dustin Sanderson ended with the second fastest time of the night when he cleared it. Now it’s Michelle Warnky’s run. She’s a popular ANW veteran. She clears the steps then moves past the log and snake crossing.

She traverses the wind chimes fast. She clears it with style. Matt says she’s one of the greats in history. She takes a break before starting the devil steps. She goes through those fast too. Her rock climbing skills are really showing. She makes it past them but has a misplaced foot on the platform and falls backwards into the water. That’s a crushing blow – she had it done and a little mistake cost her the finish. But since she moved so fast through the course, she will still move on to the city finals.

Joe Moravsky is up next and is the last runner of the night. He went farther than anyone last season. He had the fastest time in the St Louis qualifier last year. He made it to stage three the last two seasons. He starts his run strong easily clearing the steps. The log is no problem at all and he moves on to the snake crossing. He clears that one too with a big leap then moves right on to the wind chimes. He muscles through those fast and he’s on to the devil steps.

Joe powers through the devil steps, scales the wall and slaps the buzzer at 1:34. The last runner of the night is the last qualifier of the night as well. He says he’s coming for Mt Midoriyama. The #Weatherman is back. He tells Kristine his goal is always to go as fast as he can but stay under control. They head out but will be back for the city finals. Elet Hall was fastest and Joe right behind him. 22 athletes finished the course and then 56 year old Miles Avery plus Michelle Warnky will also move on. Next week is an all military qualifier on a Navy ship!