Just finished watching [the Sept. 14] American Ninja Warrior episode and realized we didn’t get a Power Tower race last week, so I’m wondering if you know—or if you can find out—if that episode would have been the one with Drew Drechsel and whether he or one of his “teammates” participated in the tower and that’s why it was cut. Otherwise, I’m curious as to why no tower in week 1 but the tower in week 2. —Peter
You are exactly correct, Peter. Drew Drechsel and his two teammates were to be featured in the first episode of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior season 12, which has a modified format and filmed in a single location, the Dome in St. Louis this summer.
This season, ANW competitors who’ve been on the show before returned, and each selected two other contestants from their communities to compete, too, though they’re not competing as a team.
The Power Tower, which was introduced last season, returned for season 12 as a competition between the top two finishers. The winner goes to the semi-finals—and takes the two members of their team with them, even if those teammates did not qualify for the semi-finals as a result of their time on the course.
That’s the one non-individual component of this season. While the all-star returning ANW competitors each have two people from their communities with them, they’re competing as individuals, not as teams.
I confirmed with a person with knowledge of the production that Drew Drechsel did advance to the Power Tower on episode one of American Ninja Warrior.
In episode one, the two fastest competitors were Jody Avila and Drew Dreschel, so they faced off on the Power Tower. However, Drew lost to Jody, so Jody’s teammates—Pauline Avila and Roget Maddox—will continue on to the semi-finals.
Contestant Jake Murray, who came in first place during in the second qualifier episode, posted to Facebook, “props to Jody Jehudy Avila for his qualifying performance tonight” and added, “Let it be known that he went on to win the power tower as well like a champ!! It was against Drew and won’t be shown for obvious reasons.”
What happened to Drew’s American Ninja Warrior teammates?
Drew was completely edited out of the episode, following his arrest by federal authorities.
But Drew’s teammates—Taylor Johnson and Julius Ferguson, according to a social media post—were not.
Both of their qualifying runs were shown during the American Ninja Warrior season 12 premiere episode, though they were compressed into a montage, and no attention was paid to the sidelines where Drew would have been standing. Both Taylor and Julius both advanced to the semi-final round, which will begin airing in October.