In essence, competitors must traverse through a series of narrow ledges which are 3 cm wide, only long enough to support the fingertips. Since its introduction in SASUKE 4, it has had eight different versions, with Takahashi Kenji attempting the most versions of it, with five.
First and Second Versions
The first version of Cliffhanger was known formally as Choku Senkei Cliffhanger (直線型クリフハンガー), literally Cliffhanger Straight Version, appearing only in SASUKE 4. In this version, all three ledges were placed at the same height and each ledge was 1.2 metres long. There were gaps present between the ledges to provide challenge, with each gap being 50 cm-long.
It proved to be a very brutal addition to the stage, as it eliminated five out of ten competitors that attemped this version. Among the five competitors that failed this version were Kane Kosugi and Yamada Katsumi, the two favourites to achieve Kanzenseiha during the tournament.
Due to Akiyama Kazuhiko's Kanzenseiha in that tournament, as part of making the course harder in the following tournament, the second version of Cliffhanger, known formally as Cliffhanger Dansa (クリフハンガー段差) or Dansagata Cliffhanger (段差型クリフハンガー), literally Cliffhanger with Dropout Section, was introduced, appearing from SASUKE 5 to SASUKE 8. The only modification from the previous version was the third ledge being raised by 30 cm, creating a step to be crossed by (Dansa means "Step" in Japanese). The horizontal length of the gaps remained at 50 cm.
Interestingly, the obstacle was initially named in SASUKE 5 as Cliffhanger (Kai) [クリフハンガー (改)], but for unknown reasons, it was reverted to the original naming in the next tournament. The successor version adopted the name afterwards.
Yamamoto Shingo was the only competitor to attempt this version more than once in SASUKE 5 and 7 (both times clearing it). This version claimed at least one victim in SASUKE 6 and 7. However, in both SASUKE 5 and 8, the obstacle had a 100% clear rate (and in the former it was only attempted by Yamamoto Shingo) , making it the first Cliffhanger version to have multiple tournaments with a 100% clear rate.
This version was notable for being the first version to have been replaced without the impetus of a Kanzenseiha (until the introduction of Cliffhanger Dimension), as it was replaced by Cliffhanger Kai in SASUKE 9. This was likely because only three out of nine competitors failed this version despite the producers wishing it would be a harder version of the original Cliffhanger.
The third version of Cliffhanger is Cliffhanger Kai (クリフハンガー改), literally Altered Cliffhanger, appearing from SASUKE 9 to SASUKE 17. The modifications compared to the previous version were that the first ledge was doubled in length to 2.4 metres (despite it being 1.2 metres in blueprint), the second ledge raised by 30 cm, and the third ledge lowered by 45 cm. The horizontal length of the gaps still remained at 50 cm.
So far, this version of the Cliffhanger has lasted the longest of all versions without any modification. From SASUKE 14 onwards, the obstacle marked the halfway point and clearing it was a major accomplishment.
Like Lamp Grasper which introduced in the same tournament, the distance of the obstacle to the finish platform varied from one tournament to another:
- In SASUKE 9, the platform was placed very far from the third ledge, so competitors were forced to traverse the entire length of the third ledge.
- In SASUKE 10, 11, and 13 to 17, the platform was placed slightly underneath the third ledge, so competitors could dismount after traversing around three-quarters of the third ledge's length.
- In SASUKE 12, the platform was placed slightly after the second gap, so competitors could dismount after touching the third ledge.
This version was more deadly compared to the previous version, as it took out at least one competitor in eight out of nine tournaments in which it was used, with SASUKE 9 being the only tournament to have a 100% clear rate (and in that tournament, it was only attempted by Nagano Makoto).
The fourth version of Cliffhanger is Shin-Cliffhanger (新クリフハンガー), literally New Cliffhanger, appearing from SASUKE 18 to SASUKE 24. The modifications compared to the previous version were that the second ledge was shortened to 77 cm with an incline of twelve degrees (causing the length of the second gap changed for the first time from 50 cm to around 1 metre), the width for the third ledge's first part was increased to 6 cm, and all ledges were beveled to increase difficulty.
Due to the large gap between the second and third ledges, in SASUKE 18, Nagano Makoto disqualified himself when he accidentally grabbed the top part of the obstacle while attempting the jump to the third ledge. Although he was granted a second chance due to him being the first to attempt this version, he refused to take the offer. A metal sheet was placed above the first and third ledges starting from SASUKE 19 to prevent such a case from occurring again.
Seeing Nagano's failure before him, Nagasaki Shunsuke tried to cross the gap without jumping. However, he was unable overcome the gap and it seemed impossible for the competitors to clear the gap without jumping. However, in SASUKE 23 and 24, Takahashi Kenji was able to cross the gap without jumping, being the only competitor to do so.
This remained the version with the longest tournament wait for a clear, as the first clear happened in SASUKE 21 by Takeda Toshihiro (who went on to beat this version again in SASUKE 23 and 24, making him the only competitor to clear this version more than twice), a wait of four tournaments. However, in SASUKE 23 and 24, it surprisingly became much easier as competitors began to understand how to approach the obstacle, with only Levi Meeuwenberg failing it (doing so in SASUKE 23, making him the only competitor to fail this version twice after doing so previously in SASUKE 20). Also, with a 100% clear rate achieved in SASUKE 21 and 24, this version became the second Cliffhanger version to have multiple tournaments with a 100% clear rate.
The fifth version of Cliffhanger is Ultimate Cliffhanger (アルティメットクリフハンガー), appearing from SASUKE 25 to SASUKE 27. A major overhaul was conducted compared to the previous version, with this version having six ledges instead of three, making it the biggest version of Cliffhanger in terms of length, size, and number of ledges. The length of the ledges and the gaps are as follows:
- First ledge's length is 2 metres and angled at twenty-four degrees, requiring competitors to climb diagonally to their right.
- Second ledge's length is 2 metres and angled at twelve degrees, requiring competitors to climb diagonally to their left.
- Third ledge's length is 3.2 metres but being put without an incline, requiring competitors to traverse to their right.
- Fourth ledge's length is 1.2 metres but being put without an incline, requiring competitors to traverse to their right.
- Fifth ledge's length is 15 cm, the smallest from all six, requiring competitors to jump from the fourth ledge to grab it.
- Sixth ledge's length is 2 metres but being put without an incline, requiring competitors to jump from the fifth ledge to grab it, before the competitors traverse to their right.
- First gap's length is 20 cm vertically.
- Second gap's length is 60 cm vertically.
- Third gap's length is 90 cm horizontally.
- Fourth and fifth gap's length is unknown.
In its debut, this version was proven to be unbelievably difficult, as all four competitors who attempted it failed before any could even reach the third ledge, though Hashimoto Kouji and Lee En-Chih got close. It was speculated that both of their failures were results of not trying to reach the end of the second ledge, as a tester was shown able to clear the gap after traversing the entire length of the second ledge(In fact, this is because the ledge decreased to about 2cm wide in that tournament).
In SASUKE 26, to make the transition to the third ledge easier, the third ledge was lowered to make the transition from the angled ledges easier, but this resulted in making the transition to the fourth ledge much harder. To compensate for what would have been a 1.2-metre gap between the third and fourth ledges, the third ledge was also lengthened slightly to make it a gap more similar to the gap between the second and third ledges of the modified Cliffhanger. Also, a large sheet of metal was placed at the base of the obstacle in order to hide the metal supports that were visible in SASUKE 25.
Lee En-Chih and Okuyama Yoshiyuki, in their second attempts, made it to the end of the fourth ledge, but failed while building momentum to swing to the small fifth ledge. Two American competitors, Brent Steffensen and David Campbell, also able to attempt this, however, both of them failed while trying to make a transition to the fourth ledge.
In SASUKE 27, the obstacle was relocated to the third obstacle. This change proved to be essential, as it was finally conquered by Hashimoto Kouji (in his second attempt), eventual finalist Matachi Ryo, and eventual two-time Champion Urushihara Yuuji (both having their first attempts at this version, the former impressively doing so on his first Third Stage's appearance). It was nearly cleared by David Campbell as well, but his grip gave way on the final ledge, just before he could reach the finish platform. This make him one of five victims in this tournament, with the other four being James McGrath, Ryan Stratis, Paul Kasemir, and Nagano Makoto (the only member of SASUKE All-Stars to attempt Ultimate Cliffhanger).
As Ultimate Cliffhanger had eliminated every American competitor who attempted it in SASUKE 26 and SASUKE 27, it had earned its status as one of the most brutal obstacles for the American competitors.
The sixth version of Cliffhanger is Crazy Cliffhanger (クレイジークリフハンガー), appearing from SASUKE 28 to SASUKE 31. Another major overhaul was done compared to the previous version, with this version now having four ledges instead of the six previously used. The first three ledges were almost similar to Cliffhanger Kai, with the only difference being that the third ledge was at the same height as the first ledge as opposed to being 15 cm lower. However, the third ledge had been shortened to a point where the competitors couldn't reach the landing platform from it. Opposite the third ledge was another wall with a fourth ledge that was 1.2 metres-long. Furthermore, this version was originally placed as the third obstacle, however, due to the introduction of Drum Hopper in SASUKE 30, it was relocated to the fourth obstacle.
Competitors must generate enough momentum and jump from the third to the fourth ledge (similar to Spider Flip) and only then they could transfer to the finish platform. Though mentioned since SASUKE 28, in SASUKE 31, the distance of the third to the opposing fourth ledge was shown on-screen to be 1.8 metres. However, unlike Shin-Cliffhanger and Ultimate Cliffhanger, the ledge that must be jumped onto was not wider than the other ledges, making the transition more difficult.
While grip and upper body strength played an important role in every Cliffhanger version, this version seemed to be based more on the weight of the competitors (rather than technique or stamina), due to the style of the last ledge transition. Also, unlike previous versions of Cliffhanger, in which competitors would eventually master the techniques required to clear the jump (most notably Shin-Cliffhanger), the jump on Crazy Cliffhanger was never truly mastered. This was largely due to the difficulty of landing the jump, as competitors would succeed in doing the transition but would lack enough grip to hold on to the ledge. Even in its fourth and final appearance in SASUKE 31, only two out of eight competitors cleared it.
In SASUKE 31, Drew Drechsel attempted the obstacle using an unconventional jump method in which he turned to face the fourth ledge before attempting the jump. While he succeeded, he was told that he was disqualified. After some arguments with the producers, he was granted a second chance, where he would attempt the jump using the conventional jump method that ended in failure. This tournament also saw Asa Kazuma's fourth consecutive failure at this version (the longest streak of failure on a Cliffhanger version, eventually tied by Satō Jun in SASUKE 36), Kanno Hitoshi finally clearing it at his fourth consecutive attempt (and being just the fifth competitor to clear), and Morimoto Yūsuke being the only competitor to clear this version twice (after previously doing so in SASUKE 29).
This version was failed eighteen times, which is the largest number of failures on any Cliffhanger version in SASUKE to date, even beating Cliffhanger Kai that appeared in more tournaments (it was only failed seventeen times).
The seventh version of Cliffhanger is Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger (ウルトラクレイジークリフハンガー), appearing from SASUKE 32 to SASUKE 36. It was first revealed via the Director of SASUKE Inui Masato’s Twitter account, then in the Navi of SASUKE 32. Compared to the previous version, there are major differences, with the number of ledges being reduced to three. However, competitors now have to make two 1.8 metres transitions similar to Crazy Cliffhanger. In addition, the second ledge was curved inwards to increase the difficulty, and the third ledge was a moving ledge (first occurrence of a moving ledge in any version of Cliffhanger) that moves up and down by 90 cm. It was also tied together with Vertical Limit Kai without any break originally (before being changed in SASUKE 35) to make the second half of Third Stage more difficult as a whole.
Similar to Crazy Cliffhanger, this version was also based more on the weight of the competitor rather than technique or stamina due to the style of the ledge transitions. The timing was also crucial due to the transition to the moving ledge, making it very unpredictable. However, unlike the past three versions of Cliffhanger, this obstacle was successfully cleared in its introductory tournament, with Drew Drechsel managing to become the first competitor to clear it (although he failed Vertical Limit Kai almost immediately due to lack of the break mentioned).
Unfortunately, no one managed to clear it in the next tournament, as Drew Drechsel, the only competitor to attempt it in that tournament, performed the transition to the moving ledge one second too late (with the moving ledge starting to move up as he tried to make the transition), thus falling to the water. The number of attempts during the first two tournaments were also noticeably smaller than the previous versions due to the lethality of Flying Bar in the first half of Third Stage.
However, a larger number of competitors took on the obstacle in SASUKE 34 and it proved a force to be reckoned with, eliminating a whopping six competitors out of seven, including Kawaguchi Tomohiro, Drew Drechsel (who failed the second transition yet again, this time one second too early), and Jessie Graff (who was the first woman to attempt Third Stage in SASUKE history). Only Morimoto Yūsuke was able to clear it in that tournament and again due to the lack of the break mentioned, he failed Vertical Limit Kai shortly after starting.
However, in SASUKE 35, three competitors were able to clear the obstacle, namely Drew Drechsel (who became the first competitor to clear this version twice), Kawaguchi Tomohiro (who became the second competitor to clear Crazy Cliffhanger and Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger), and Morimoto Yūsuke (who became the only competitor to clear both Crazy Cliffhanger and Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger twice). Due to the green resting bar that was provided starting from this tournament, Morimoto would later clear Third Stage.
In SASUKE 36, another three competitors were able to clear the obstacle on their first attempts, namely Tada Tatsuya (who became the fourth competitor to clear this version, impressively doing so in his first Third Stage's appearance), Matachi Ryo (who became the third competitor to clear Crazy Cliffhanger and Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger, doing so in a very memorable attempt as he made a one-hand save when attempting the jump), and Urushihara Yuuji (who become the oldest competitor to clear any Cliffhanger version at age of 40 years old). Morimoto once again cleared it in this tournament, becoming the only competitor to clear Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger three times in a row. Similar to the previous tournament, Morimoto would become the only competitor to clear Third Stage.
While the focus in this version was usually the second transition, some competitors also failed to clear the first transition, namely Satō Jun (SASUKE 32, 34, and 35), Hioki Masashi, Jessie Graff (both SASUKE 34), and Kawaguchi Tomohiro (SASUKE 36). In addition, Ragivaru Anastase (in SASUKE 34) was notable for being the only competitor to attempt this version but not attempting any transition due to him losing his grip on the first ledge.
Possibly due to this version gradually having more successes as the tournaments progressed, Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger was replaced by Cliffhanger Dimension in SASUKE 37, making this the second Cliffhanger version to have been replaced without the impetus of a Kanzenseiha.
The eighth and current version of Cliffhanger is Cliffhanger Dimension (クリフハンガーディメンション), being introduced in SASUKE 37. It again received major modifications compared to the previous version, with the second ledge now moving up and down and the third ledge was embedded on a Plexiglas board moved horizontally by 90cm. However, in SASUKE 38, the second ledge moved by 1 metre, an increment of 10 cm from its debut tournament.
This version of the Cliffhanger, similar to Crazy Cliffhanger and Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger, is also based more on the weight of the competitor rather than technique or stamina due to the style of the ledge transitions. The timing is also crucial due to the transition to the moving ledge, making it very unpredictable. Competitors would sometimes glance at the moving ledge prior to transition to time the transition.
Likewise with Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger, this version was successfully cleared in its introductory tournament, this time by Tada Tatsuya. This was due to the fact that in SASUKE 37, poor weather resulted in the motors of the ledges malfunctioning. As a result, the ledges were stopped and adjusted to its respective height and distance around 1.8 metres, rendering the obstacle less difficult and brutal. This also eliminated the need to glance prior to transition to the moving ledge. However, based on Rene Kaselowsky's testimonial, he mentioned in a post-tournament interview that the ledges were halted due to the fact that the production team wanted at least one clear on Third Stage so that the live Final Stage could go ahead. Despite that, it was still proven to be a threat, as only three of the eight competitors could clear it, with the third competitor being Urushihara Yuuji, who beat his own record as the oldest competitor to clear any Cliffhanger version at the age of 41 years old.
In SASUKE 38, however, the motors of the obstacle were finally fully functional, showing its true lethality. Both ledges move at different speed, making the transition even more difficult than it was before. This was proven by Tada Tatsuya, who failed the second transition despite clearing the obstacle in the previous tournament. However, controversy arose prior to Tada's run, as Yamamoto Yoshiyuki, who was the first to attempt Cliffhanger Dimension in this tournament, actually cleared both transitions, but, possibly due to some liquid that was not wiped cleanly, he slipped at the third ledge. Despite that, Morimoto Yūsuke would later be the fourth competitor to clear this version. He would go on to not just clear Third Stage, but also achieve his second Kanzenseiha.
In SASUKE 39, the obstacle returned with its original specifications, becoming the first Cliffhanger variant not to be replaced with an impetus of an Kanzenseiha. During the tournament, due to the modifications in the previous obstacles, fewer competitors attempted the obstacle compared to the previous two tournaments, not unlike its predecessor version. Tada Tatsuya became the only competitor to clear the obstacle in the tournament while Kajihara Hayate and Hioki Masashi both failed the first transition of the obstacle.
Cliffhanger (クリフハンガー) will then appeared in KUNOICHI 2017 Spring, originally used as the sixth obstacle of BLUE Stage (Second Stage), however, it was relocated in KUNOICHI 2017 Summer as the fourth obstacle of BLACK Stage (Third Stage).
It was a toned-down version of the original Cliffhanger, featuring only two ledges (as it seemed like the first gap was removed to merge the first two ledges as one, making it being longer compared to the other ledge) and both ledges were increased to 4.5 cm in thickness. To compensate the toned-down difficulty, the gap between the ledges was increased to 60 cm. Also, the current logo of KUNOICHI was being visible below the first ledge.
For unknown reasons, it was modified in the next tournament, decreasing the thickness of the ledges to 4 cm. Also, the second ledge was raised about 7 cm, making it seemed like a toned-down version of the modified Cliffhanger.
It was attempted by three competitors, with AYA being the only one who failed, while Watanabe Kana and Izumi Hikari (making her the only competitor to attempt both versions of Cliffhanger used in KUNOICHI) easily cleared it and went to Pipe Slider.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found.
|Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger|
Australian Ninja Warrior
A variation of this version of the Cliffhanger, called the Swinging Cliff Hanger, appeared as the fourth obstacle in Stage One on Australian Ninja Warrior 3.
The obstacle featured two ledges, each was attached to a swinging board (similar to the one used on the Swinging Peg Board). Therefore, after traversing the first ledge, competitors must build enough swing and momentum to make the transition to the second ledge, and then build enough swing and momentum from the second ledge to make the dismount to the landing platform.
This version of Cliffhanger appeared on Ninja Warrior Israel 2 as the fourth obstacle in Stage One. This obstacle only contained one swinging ledge and next to it a climbing wall, similar to the one used in Hang Climbing, except that it was tilted at an angle of approximately 100°.
American Ninja Warrior
This version appeared as the ninth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 5 during Venice Beach finals, eliminating 6 out of 12 competitors who attempted it (likely due to fatigue after completing the previous obstacle, the Rope Maze), including Brian Kretsch, Dan Mast, Lance Pekus, Jesse La Flair, and Justin Walker.
Treo Người Trên Vách or Đu Người Trên Vách (SASUKE Vietnam's official name for the Cliffhanger Kai) appeared as the fifth obstacle in Stage 3 on SASUKE Vietnam 1 and SASUKE Vietnam 2. However, unlike in SASUKE, after reaching the end of the third ledge, competitors must grab a resting bar, as an intermediary to the next obstacle (the Pipe Slider).
On SASUKE Vietnam 1, the obstacle eliminated 4 out of 5 competitors who attempted it (including Nguyễn Phước Huynh, Đỗ Văn Quang, Nguyễn Đức Thọ and Lê Văn Đại). Lê Văn Thực was the first competitor to beat the obstacle.
With the total victories of Lê Văn Thực, Nguyễn Phước Huynh, and David Campbell on SASUKE Vietnam 2, the Cliffhanger Kai was replaced by the Crazy Cliffhanger the next season, following the tradition in which the course would be modified after a total victory was achieved.
Ninja Warrior Poland
The Wspinaczka (Ninja Warrior Poland's official name for the Cliffhanger) appeared in Ninja Warrior Poland 4 as the sixth obstacle of Stage Two. Compared to its previous iteration in the past three seasons where it is similar in vein with the Ultimate Cliffhanger, this obstacle involved four hanging ledges all with varying heights and lengths. The second ledge is higher compared to the previous ledge, while the fourth ledge, while lower in height than the second ledge is farther in reach compared to previous ledges. During this season, out of the three competitors who attempted the obstacle, only Igor Fojcik cleared the obstacle.
Then on Ninja Warrior Poland 5, the Cliffhanger appeared in the same place as in the previous season. Of the two competitors who made it to this stage, only Igor Fojcik finished the obstacle again in the same way as last season.
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia
On SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia the Shin-Cliffhanger appeared as the fourth obstacle during Final Stage (although it was simply called as the Cliffhanger). Among the 10 competitors who attempted it, six of them could complete it, while the other four competitors failed to make the transition to the third ledge.
American Ninja Warrior
On American Ninja Warrior 4, the Ultimate Cliffhanger appeared as the fourth obstacle in Stage Three, with the same specification from SASUKE 26-27. Brent Steffensen, who himself failed there in SASUKE 26, became the first American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger.
During USA vs. Japan, Paul Kasemir (who failed on this obstacle in SASUKE 27) from Team USA became the third American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger, also nearly beating Stage Three. On the other hand, Kanno Hitoshi from Team Japan failed to make the transition to the fifth ledge.
On American Ninja Warrior 6, the ledges were made much thicker. Instead of being 1.18 inches (3cm) as they had been in SASUKE and two previous American Ninja Warrior seasons, they were increased to 2.25 inches (5.7cm) in thickness (later seasons were decreased to 2 inches (5.08cm)), making the obstacle much easier. Also, the fourth ledge was made longer, making the gap between the third and fourth ledge smaller. As a result, Joe Moravsky became the fourth American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger and just the third to complete it on American Ninja Warrior's regular season.
During USA vs. The World, all seven competitors who attempted the obstacle were able to complete it.
On American Ninja Warrior 7, the obstacle was heavily modified:
- The first three ledges were positioned identically from the previous season, but now had gaps in between them.
- The fourth and fifth ledges remained the same, with the fourth ledge placed much higher.
- After the fifth ledge, there were two ledges, which were placed equally high as the fifth ledge, and it was now impossible to reach the landing mat from the seventh ledge.
- Instead, similar to the Crazy Cliffhanger, competitors would have to jump 6 feet from the seventh ledge to the final ledge at the hanging board, facing opposite to the main wall, which was 2 inches wide as opposed to only 1 inch. And from there, they were able to reach the landing platform.
However, unlike the Crazy Cliffhanger, competitors were allowed to face the final ledge when making the transition (as the controversial rule was not established). Even so, the obstacle caused havoc, as half of the remaining competitors in Stage Three were eliminated on this obstacle, including Joe Moravsky (who had completed the obstacle on the previous season), who chose the Crazy Cliffhanger technique for leap transition to the final ledge. Despite that, 4 competitors were able to complete this obstacle, which was the largest number of the Ultimate Cliffhanger's completion during American Ninja Warrior's regular season until American Ninja Warrior 11, where a large amount of competitors attempted it due to the sheer amount of Stage Two clears on that season. As a result, Ian Dory, Isaac Caldiero, Drew Drechsel, and Geoff Britten became the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth Americans to beat it, with seven Americans completed it on American Ninja Warrior's regular season.
During USA vs. The World 2, the obstacle took out two competitors: Alexander Mars from Team Europe and Joe Moravsky from Team USA (who fell on this version for the second time). On the other hand, Ian Dory, Matachi Ryo, Stefano Ghisolfi, Morimoto Yūsuke, Sean McColl, and Isaac Caldiero could complete it.
- The first four ledges were the same as the Ultimate Cliffhanger from American Ninja Warrior 7, with the fourth ledge placed slightly higher.
- Under the fourth ledge, there was a small ledge as a foothold, in order to ease the ledge transition to the first hanging board, making this transition similar to the Spider Flip.
- After that, competitors must make a transition to the next ledge (second hanging board).
- And finally, they must transit back to the final ledge opposite to the hanging board, and dismount to the landing platform.
This version of Ultimate Cliffhanger was similar to the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger and Cliffhanger Dimension, with two ledge transitions across the water. Also, the design of the wall in the obstacle was similar to the wall used in the Half Pipe Attack on American Ninja Warrior 6, albeit the color and location of the design. Only Drew Drechsel completed the obstacle, while Daniel Gil failed the transition to the second hanging board.
During USA vs. The World 3, the obstacle shockingly took out 3 highly-skilled rock climbers (Stefano Ghisolfi from Team Europe, David Saikin from Team Latin America, and Brian Arnold from Team USA), and all of them competed on the same heat of Stage Three, in which:
- Stefano Ghisolfi failed to make the transition to the fourth ledge,
- David Saikin failed to make the transition to the second hanging board, and
- Brian Arnold completed all the ledges, but failed to make the dismount to the landing platform.
However, since Stefano Ghisolfi completed the previous obstacle (the Floating Boards) faster than David Saikin and Brian Arnold, he won the 3 points for Team Europe.
On the other hand, Josh Levin from Team USA became the ninth American to beat the obstacle. Also, Santiago de Alba, Alexander Mars (who failed on this obstacle during the previous tournament), Diego Gonzalez, Sean McColl, and Drew Drechsel could complete it as well.
On American Ninja Warrior 9, the same version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger from the previous season appeared, with a minor modification for the ledges at the two hanging boards. Only Joe Moravsky could complete the obstacle, even using the Crazy Cliffhanger technique on the transition to the final ledge (which he failed to complete on American Ninja Warrior 7), while Sean Bryan and Najee Richardson failed on the transition to the fourth ledge and the second hanging board respectively.
During USA vs. The World 4, the Ultimate Cliffhanger became much brutal than ever, as the obstacle eliminated every competitor who attempted it. Among the 5 competitors who attempted the obstacle, 3 of them failed to make the transition to the second hanging board (Drew Drechsel, Sergio Verdasco, and Alexander Mars), while the other 2 competitors failed to make the transition to the fourth ledge (Sebastian Prieto and Joe Moravsky).
On American Ninja Warrior 10, several changes were made to the Ultimate Cliffhanger:
- the obstacle's wall was now composed by Plexiglas walls, so the audience can see the competitor,
- there were more ledges and some minor changes for the ledges' placement, and
- the two hanging boards were now much closer to each other, compared to the past two American Ninja Warrior seasons.
This time, the obstacle became more brutal once again, as among the two competitors who attempted the obstacle, both of them failed to complete it: Sean Bryan and Drew Drechsel. Those two were also the only competitors who advanced to Stage Three. Because of this, the decision of who became the Last Man Standing of the season was determined by the competitor who completed the previous obstacle (the Crazy Clocks) in the fastest time. Since Drew Drechsel was the competitor to do so, he was then declared as the Last Man Standing of the season and won the $100,000 cash prize. This is noted to be the only version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger that was not completed in the regular season since the inception of the National Finals in Las Vegas on American Ninja Warrior 4.
On American Ninja Warrior 11, the modification of the Ultimate Cliffhanger used on American Ninja Warrior 7 returned, with competitors having to do one ledge transition instead of two. The Plexiglas remained from the previous season, albeit with a visual design which made some parts of the glass opaque. Compared with the previous season:
- The foothold was removed.
- Some minor changes for the ledges' placement, albeit some of them were retained.
- Instead of transiting to another set of Plexiglas, competitors must transit to the first hanging board, possibly due to an erroneous in design.
- All of the hanging boards were placed lower and shortened, each only had one ledge.
- Once competitors were in the first hanging board, they would do the ledge transition to the second hanging board which is opposite the first.
- The length of the second hanging board was very short, with the ledge being similar to the fifth ledge on the original Ultimate Cliffhanger.
- Competitors had to make the dismount from the third hanging board.
A total of 17 competitors attempted this version, and due to these changes, only six competitors failed on it. A unique way to fail on the obstacle was presented when three competitors (Hunter Guerard, Michael Torres, Ethan Swanson), both were running out of stamina and couldn't make a successful dismount from the third hanging board (somewhat similar to what happened with Brian Arnold during USA vs. The World 3). The three others, two failed on the jump to the second hanging board (Chris DiGangi, Casey Suchocki, and Mathis Owhadi) failed on the transition to the third hanging board. With that in mind, 11 competitors completed the obstacle, which broke the record of the most completion during American Ninja Warrior's regular season on American Ninja Warrior 7 (at four competitors). As the result, Lucas Reale, Tyler Gillett, Karsten Williams, Tyler Smith, Seth Rogers, Kevin Carbone, Karson Voiles, Adam Rayl, and Daniel Gil (who failed on this obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 8) became the tenth to the eighteen Americans respectively to beat it, with the fact that sixteen Americans complete it on American Ninja Warrior's regular season.
During USA vs. The World 6, all three competitors who attempted the obstacle were able to complete it.
On American Ninja Warrior 13, the same version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger from its previous recent appearance appeared, with minor modifications on the Plexiglas design being similar to American Ninja Warrior 10. Only Kyle Soderman would fail on the obstacle, while Vance Walker, Austin Gray, and Kaden Lebsack would become the nineteenth to twenty-first Americans respectively to beat it.
Ninja Warrior UK
The Ultimate Cliffhanger appeared as the seventh obstacle of Stage 2 in Ninja Warrior UK. There were still 6 ledges, and some details like the small ledge was kept. However, compared to the SASUKE version, there was no vertically-angled ledge, and all the ledges had been rearranged to focus more on long transitions both up and down. No one could attempt this version.
Then, this obstacle returned at second obstacle of Stage 3 in Ninja Warrior UK 2. Since no one could complete Stage 2, like many other obstacles of Stage 3, there was no introduction for Ultimate Cliffhanger shown. However, parts of the Ultimate Cliffhanger could be seen during the introduction of Stage 2, and while retaining the strategy of large up and down transition, there were new horizontally-angled ledges from Shin-Cliffhanger, as well as modifications of ledges' placement.
Ninja Warrior Sweden
The Ultimate Cliffhanger (unofficially called as Miska Cliffhanger) appeared as the sixth and final obstacle of Stage 2 in Ninja Warrior Sweden, making it as the first version to be placed at the end of the stage. It was very similar to the Ninja Warrior UK version, however the fourth ledge was removed, and the final ledge was made downward. Only Alexander Mars could attempt this version, but he failed the large drop transition.
Then, this obstacle returned as the sixth obstacle of Stage 2, but no more as the final obstacle, due to the Flying Bar place afterward. This time, the placement of the ledges was changed to be similar to Ninja Warrior UK 2 version. Two competitors, David Johansson and André Sihm, attempted this version, but no one could complete it.
Ninja Warrior Germany
Ninja Warrior Germany 2 introduced another new set of layout for ledges for the Ultimate Cliffhanger, with the final three ledges were mainly based from the third to the fifth ledge in American Ninja Warrior 8 to 10 version. However, as no foothold was placed below the fifth ledge, competitors would use the wall below or even place their legs on the previous ledge, making the final transition easier. It was attempted for the first time by two competitors in Season 2 but no one could complete it; however, only one of four failed in Season 3. With the Final Stage attempt of Alexander Wurm in Ninja Warrior Germany 3, it would be modified on the next season.
In Ninja Warrior Germany 4, the ledges were rearranged to be a bit easier; however, the final ledge on the first main part was placed much lower, resulting in much harder way to use the legs to support the transition. On the other sides, another ledge was added and placed perpendicular to all previous ledges. Half of four competitors failed this version; however, it still would be removed in the next season.
Ninja Warrior France
In Ninja Warrior France 2, no one failed the Ultimate Cliffhanger.
Then in Ninja Warrior France 3, the Ultimate Cliffhanger was updated, now with another ledge placed opposite was added at the end, making it similar to the version used in Ninja Warrior Germany 2 and Ninja Warrior Germany 3. Jean Tezenas du Montcel and Thomas Hubener were the only two to attempted this version, but only Jean Tezenas du Montcel completed it.
For unknown reason, the Ultiimate Cliffhanger in Ninja Warrior France 4 was reverted back to the one used in Season 2, albeit with a small ledge added between the fifth and sixth ledge. Despite that, it still wiped out 3 out of 7 competitors attempted, including Thomas Dudoué and Charles Poujade.
After 4 years using European format, the Ultimate Cliffhanger from Ninja Warrior France 5 was changed to similar to the American Ninja Warrior 11's Plexiglas layout, except there was less ledges there. In Ninja Warrior France 5, 5 competitors attempted this version, 2 failed at the transition to the first hanging board, including once again Charles Poujade. However, no competitors failed there in Ninja Warrior France 6
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia
On SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia 2, the Ultimate Cliffhanger appeared as the fifth and penultimate obstacle during Final Stage, with the following specification:
- The obstacle's wall was the same as American Ninja Warrior 7 version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger, except there was no leap transition to the final ledge at the hanging board.
- There were seven ledges, with the first five ledges were similar to the first fice ledges from SASUKE 26-27 version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger, and the last two ledges were similar to the last two ledges (excluding the final ledge at the hanging board) from American Ninja Warrior 7 version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger.
- After reaching the end of the seventh ledge, competitors must grab the resting bars, as an intermediary to the sixth and final obstacle, the Flying Bar.
Among the two competitors who attempted the obstacle (Yosua Laskaman Zalukhu and Angga Cahya), both of them could complete it. Also, during SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia: International Competition, no competitor failed on this obstacle.
Ninja Warrior Poland
The Zwis z Klifu, later Wspinaczka (Ninja Warrior Poland's official name for the Ultimate Cliffhanger) has appeared in the first three seasons of the Ninja Warrior Poland, as:
- the seventh obstacle of Stage 2 in Ninja Warrior Poland
- the sixth obstacle of Stage 2 in Ninja Warrior Poland 2 and Ninja Warrior Poland 3.
The layout of ledges there was quite different from the version had been used in Ninja Warrior France and Ninja Warrior Germany. In fact, the layout was brought from the Ninja Warrior Russia 2, except another seventh ledge was added in the end.
American Ninja Warrior
The Crazy Cliffhanger appeared on American Ninja Warrior 6, as the ninth obstacle during St. Louis finals. However, unlike in SASUKE, instead of three ledges going to the right then having to jump to the other side, there was one ledge going to the right and two small ledges to help getting to the other ledge. This version of the Crazy Cliffhanger was proven to be much easier than in SASUKE, as among the 12 competitors who attempted the obstacle, only 3 of them failed to complete it.
Then, the Crazy Cliffhanger returned on American Ninja Warrior 7, as the ninth obstacle during Houston finals. This time, the obstacle was looked almost similar to the Crazy Cliffhanger from SASUKE, but the number of ledges was increased from four to six, with the first five ledges being on one side, and the sixth ledge being on the opposing side.
Competitors could also face the opposing ledge when making the transition (unlike in SASUKE, where competitors were not allowed to do it, as the controversial rule was not established). The distance between the fifth and sixth ledges was 4 feet. Among the 5 competitors who attempted the obstacle, only 2 of them could complete it (Jeremiah Morgan and Sam Sann).
Ninja Warrior UK
The Crazy Cliffhanger appeared as the first obstacle during the finals' Stage 3 on Ninja Warrior UK 3 and Ninja Warrior UK 4, which was very similar to the one used during American Ninja Warrior 7's Houston finals (except there were five ledges instead of six, with the first four ledges being on one side and the fifth ledge being on the opposing side).
On Ninja Warrior UK 3, two competitors (Cain Clarke and Jonny Urszuly) attempted the obstacle, but none of them could complete it. With Jonny Urszuly making the furthest to the obstacle than Cain Clarke, he then earned the title as the "Last Man Standing" on that season.
On Ninja Warrior UK 4, five competitors attempted the obstacle, and Deren Perez and Tim Shieff became the first 2 competitors to complete it. Ninja Warrior UK 5 also saw 2 competitors completed the Crazy Cliffhanger: Ali Hay and Tim Champion (who would later become the first ever competitor in Ninja Warrior UK history to achieve total victory and earn the title of the first "Ninja Warrior UK" on that season).
Australian Ninja Warrior
The Crazy Cliffhanger appeared on the first three seasons, as the sixth obstacle in Stage Two on Australian Ninja Warrior, and the third obstacle in Stage Three on Australian Ninja Warrior 2 and Australian Ninja Warrior 3, with the structure was similar to the Ninja Warrior UK version.
During the first two seasons, the obstacle was unattempted. On Australian Ninja Warrior 3, the obstacle was attempted for the first time ever by four competitors (Josh O'Sullivan, Bryson Klein, Daniel Mason, and Charlie Robbins) and all of them could complete it.
On Australian Ninja Warrior 4, several changes were made to the Crazy Cliffhanger, which now still being the third obstacle of Stage Three. The obstacle still featured five ledges. But this time, the third and fourth ledges were placed on the other side of the obstacles, making it similar to the Ultimate Cliffhanger used from American Ninja Warrior 8 onwards, the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger, and the Cliffhanger Dimension (all versions of the Cliffhanger featured two transitions across the water). Despite those changes, no competitor fell on the obstacle once again. In that season, only Matthew Bowles was to fail in obstacles after that, failing on the very last obstacle, like Adam Rayl, before Mount Midoriyama. Only Ben Polson, Charlie Robbins, and Zak Stols were successful to finish Stage three and go up Mount Midoriyama.
On Australian Ninja Warrior 5, the obstacle received minor changes. The position of the obstacle is now the sixth and final obstacle of Stage Two, making it as the second version to be placed at the end of the stage. It still featured five ledges but the first, fourth and fifth ledges were placed on the other side of the obstacle. The first ledge placed on an angle in a way that competitors can reach the second ledge without requiring the transition, however the second ledge itself was near the starting platform enough that some competitors like Charlie Robbins made a standing jump and skipped the first ledge entirely. A pole was added at the starting platform, and after reaching the final ledge, competitors must climb up a rope to reach for the buzzer. This addition renamed the obstacle to Crazy Cliffhanger to Rope. The time limit of the stage and the placement caused half of 4 competitors failed, which were Rob Patterson and Mike Snow. In Mike Snow's second attempt, he actually fell at the Rope Climb part, when he gassed out of both time and stamina.
Ninja Warrior Germany
The Crazy Cliffhanger appeared as the third obstacle of Stage 3 in Ninja Warrior Germany 5. It featured four ledges, with the final two ledges was positioned perpendicular with the first two ledges. Competitors had to make an outward curve from the second ledge to the third ledge, and then jump to the fourth ledge. Only one failure out of four competitors attempted this version.
In Ninja Warrior Germany 6, the final two ledges were now placed parallel to the first two ledges. This time, 3 competitors failed out of 5 attempts.
With the total victories of Lê Văn Thực, Nguyễn Phước Huynh, and David Campbell on SASUKE Vietnam 2, starting on SASUKE Vietnam 3, a new version of the Cliffhanger was introduced in order to replace the Cliffhanger Kai (called locally as Treo Người Trên Vách) from the past two SASUKE Vietnam seasons. It was the Crazy Cliffhanger (called locally as Treo Người Trên Vách Kép or simply called as Vách Kép), which appeared as the fifth obstacle in Stage 3 (later was moved to the sixth obstacle on SASUKE Vietnam 5), However, unlike in SASUKE or American Ninja Warrior, after reaching the end of fourth ledge, competitors had to grab a resting bar, as an intermediate to reach the next obstacle (the Flying Bar). The concept of the numbering for the Wall Lifting was applied, with the ledges being labeled in number 1 to 4. Also, the third ledge was made longer than the Crazy Cliffhanger used in SASUKE.
On SASUKE Vietnam 4, the obstacle was modified. Due to the third ledge was made longer than the one used in SASUKE, there was a red sticker at the end of the third ledge, in which competitors were allowed to make the leap transition to the fourth ledge if they had reached the red sticker. Three competitors (Đỗ Văn Quang, Nguyễn Doãn Thọ, and Mat Redho) attempted the obstacle, but all of them failed while making the leap transition to the fourth ledge, making the Flying Bar once again was left unattempted.
On SASUKE Vietnam 5, due to the difficulties from the returning obstacles Pipe Slider and Hang Climbing, no competitor could reach this obstacle. This marked the first time that no one could attempt a version of the Cliffhanger in SASUKE Vietnam history.
Despite no competitor completed the Crazy Cliffhanger during the regular season so far, some competitors had completed the Crazy Cliffhanger on SASUKE Vietnam's international competition like SASUKE Vietnam: International Competition 2018 or SASUKE Vietnam: All-Stars Competition 2019.
Competitors' Success Rate
American Ninja Warrior
- All results based on the NBC broadcast and external information found.
|USA vs. Japan||4||5||80%|
|USA vs. The World||7||7||100%|
|USA vs. The World 2||6||8||75%|
|USA vs. The World 3||6||9||66.67%|
|USA vs. The World 4||0||5||0%|
|USA vs. The World 5||1||2||50%|
|USA vs. The World 6||3||3||100%|
Ninja Warrior UK
Australian Ninja Warrior
Ninja Warrior France
Ninja Warrior Poland
Ninja Warrior Germany