Iketani Naoki (池谷 直樹) is a former competitive gymnast, sports talent, former leader of the now defunct Muscle Musical show, current producer of the Samurai Orchestra show, and holder of the World Record in the Monster Box at 23 boxes. He is from Yodogawa District, Osaka. He married the day before he competed in SASUKE 8.
He made his debut in SASUKE 2, but he shocked many failing the second obstacle of the First Stage, the Burasagari Maruta. He might have competed in SASUKE 3 because the announcer said he timed upon the first stage on his last appearance. This can be shown in SASUKE 4 Stage 1 G4 run of his. However, G4 is known for being incorrect at times.
In SASUKE 4, he passed the First Stage easily, with 14.2 seconds left on the clock. Then he defeated the Second Stage, with a narrow window of 2.8 seconds left remaining. On the Third Stage, he was able to make it all the way to the final obstacle, the Pipe Slider, but he could not hold the bar in order to make a jump and eventually his grip gave way and he fell into the water.
In SASUKE 10, he was one of the only five competitors to clear the First Stage, doing so with just 2.7 seconds left. Then he took his revenge on the Second Stage by passing it with 7.8 seconds left. In the Third Stage, he cleared the first three obstacles with little trouble, but he ultimately failed the Cliffhanger, when his grip gave way on the transition on the second ledge.
In SASUKE 11 he demolished the First Stage with an incredible 19.4 seconds left, the fastest time on the First Stage. In the Second Stage, he lost the balance on the Balance Tank, but he was incredibly able to hold on and to clear the Stage, with 10.8 seconds remaining. On the Third Stage, history repeated itself when he failed again on the Cliffhanger, slipping off near the end of the first ledge.
In SASUKE 12 he started off strong, however he was held up at the Soritatsu Kabe, taking three attempts to clear it. With time running low he attempted to hurry, but ended up timing out on the Rope Climb.
In SASUKE 14 he passed the first two stages without any problem but he fell on the Body Prop again, in a similar fashion of the previous tournament.
In SASUKE 15 he timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe, after struggling on it because of the extreme heat that characterized that day.
After a three competition absence, he returned in SASUKE 20, competing for the first time with the brother, Iketani Yukio. However, he struggled on the Spider Walk portion of the Jumping Spider and he ultimately failed there.
In SASUKE 22, despite he wore his highest number ever, #97, he timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe.
He once again returned in SASUKE 26 and while he had to take an extra swing on the Half-Pipe Attack he cleared the First Stage for the first time since SASUKE 16, doing so with only 4.3 seconds left, being one of only four Japanese competitors to do so. But on the Second Stage he fell early on the Double Salmon Ladder, on the transition between the two ladders when the bar landed lopsided and became uneven, making him unable to transition properly.
In SASUKE 27 he cleared the First Stage again but he failed the Double Salmon Ladder for a second straight time. Only making it about half way up the first ladder.
- Iketani has been one of the most consistent competitors in SASUKE history, making it to the Third Stage 6 times.
- Besides SASUKE, Iketani is most prominent in Monster 9's Pro Sportsman No. 1 series, which pits athletes from different sports against each other to decide who is, "Sportsman No. 1". He has won Genojin (celebrity) tournament 3 times and Pro Sportsman No. 1 once, in 2005. He specializes in the Monster Box event and broadcasts often feature Iketani attempting to break the world record for highest jump in it.
- His older brother, former Olympian Iketani Yukio, has entered four tournaments. Ninja Warrior sometimes says that Naoki is a former Olympian, but this is false.
- From SASUKE 14 until 25, Iketani held the record for the most attempts at the Third Stage out of any non-All-Star, after reaching the Third Stage for the fifth time, beating Kane Kosugi's four, then a subsequent sixth time in SASUKE 16. Takahashi Kenji matched this record in SASUKE 25, and Okuyama Yoshiyuki in SASUKE 27, however this was then surpassed by Takahashi in SASUKE 29 (he now holds the record at 8 attempts).
- Similar to Yamamoto Shingo from SASUKE 11 onwards; every time Iketani reached the Third Stage, he would fail at an earlier position than before:
- In SASUKE 4, he failed at the Pipe Slider, then the first transition of the Cliffhanger in SASUKE 10, and again in 11 but this time still on the first ledge. Then, in his most recent three Third Stage appearances, he failed the Body Prop, each time earlier than before; in his last Third Stage attempt in SASUKE 16, he failed the obstacle within seconds of mounting it.
- He remains the only competitor to attempt the Third Stage three or more times and never surpass/match his previous performance.
|2||90||Failed Burasagari Maruta (First Stage)|
|4||81||Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage)|
|5||81||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|8||61||Failed Rolling Maruta (First Stage)|
|9||81||Failed Wall Lifting (Second Stage)||Time Out. First Wall. His time ran out when he finished the Gyakuso Conveyor.|
|10||961||Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage)|
|11||61||Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage)|
|12||81||Failed Rope Climb (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|13||90||Failed Body Prop (Third Stage)|
|14||81||Failed Body Prop (Third Stage)|
|15||90||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|16||90||Failed Body Prop (Third Stage)|
|20||1983||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|21||93||Failed Flying Chute (First Stage)|
|22||97||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|24||90||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|26||87||Failed Double Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)|
|27||93||Failed Double Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)||Both runs digested.|
|28||76||Failed Rolling Escargot (First Stage)|
|33||41||Failed Rolling Hill (First Stage)||Shown on Navi.|
|37||61||Failed Wing Slider (First Stage)||Digest.|