Pipe Slider (パイプスライダー) is the final obstacle of Third Stage from SASUKE 2 (replacing Hariyama) until SASUKE 17, where it was replaced by Gliding Ring after Nagano Makoto's Kanzenseiha. It would eventually return in SASUKE 28, the tournament after Urushihara Yuuji's second Kanzenseiha.
Competitors must hang on to a pipe and slide it along a track 5.3 metres in length. At the end of the track, competitors must gain enough momentum to make the transfer from the pipe to the landing platform. There are four versions of this obstacle.
The obstacle has a wire installed to the bar which is placed to an upper track, so that competitors would not drag the bar down with them if they failed. But in contrast, it could caused the bar to slip off of its tracks before competitors could successfully build up momentum for the dismount.
The obstacle became a staple of the course during its time and even well into its retirement, being used as the final obstacle in many replica courses, including SASUKE's sections of Muscle Park Odaiba (closed in 2010) and Chitose.
This obstacle has proven to be very difficult, as half of the attempts on this obstacle ended in failure. It has also become the only obstacle in history to take down all six SASUKE All-Stars at least once throughout its numerous variations as well as all 4 SASUKE Grand Champions.
Prior to the final version that was used in SASUKE 2, Pipe Slider was supposed to have three tracks with two resting bars in between the tracks, which were meant to be arranged in a square-wave formation, with the second track perpendicular to the first and third tracks, which both pointed in the same direction, with the landing platform thus being parallel to the overall course formation as opposed to being perpendicular to it. This version can be seen in numerous pieces of footage all the way up to the filming of Second Stage.
However, before official runs commenced, for unknown reasons, the producers decided to eliminate the third track, possibly deeming the formation too extremely difficult. The landing platform was thus moved to the end of the second track and this would ultimately serve as the basis of Pipe Slider and all subsequent versions of it, along with its replacements.
The first version of Pipe Slider was used in SASUKE 2 and 3. It featured two tracks with a resting bar in between the tracks. Once competitors got to the end of the track, all the competitor need to do was step down to the landing platform. The landing platform itself was still placed away from the competitor, as proven by Miura Eiichi when he lost his balance on the mat in SASUKE 2.
If the competitors pulled the bar off the track, they would be disqualified, which happened to Ebihara Masakazu in SASUKE 2, when he pulled the bar off the second track and fell into the water.
In SASUKE 2, the plan for the original concept of the obstacle can still be seen due to the presence of an extension on the left side of the water pit relative to the position of the second track. This extension would then be removed the following tournament.
It was proven to be very difficult, as it took out eight competitors in two tournaments, whereas no one failed at any other obstacle in Third Stage during this span. However, due to SASUKE 3 having the highest number of finalists (which would eventually be tied by SASUKE 24 in the future) with five, whereas only one competitor failed the Pipe Slider, the producers decided to modify Pipe Slider in the following tournament to make it harder.
The second version of Pipe Slider was used from SASUKE 4 until SASUKE 13. It featured a minor modification from the first version by shortening the second track, now requiring a jump to the landing platform. As tournaments went on, the landing platform was placed slightly farther away from the end of the track.
The disqualification rule was still enforced, proven by Travis Allen Schroeder in SASUKE 4 when he made a similar mistake to Ebihara's, although he derailed the bar on the first track. However, he managed to hang onto the bar and even managed to clear the obstacle before being told that he was disqualified. To prevent further happenings such as this, the wire was now installed only on the left side of the bar starting from the following tournament in order to drop the competitor straight into the water (as evident by Urushihara Yuuji's failure in SASUKE 37).
In order to clear the obstacle, competitors must completely hold their balance on the landing platform. Yamada Katsumi landed on the landing platform in SASUKE 6, but he tipped off the landing platform to the side, causing him to be disqualified. The water pit was extended to the sides of the landing platform starting in the following tournament to prevent further injuries.
The landing platform itself previously caused havoc in SASUKE 4 as Akiyama Kazuhiko allegedly climbed to the landing platform using metal support below the platform, which was visible from competitor's point of view. While it actually should have been deemed illegal, the producers let him advance, but, in order to avoid such a loophole happening again, the landing platform was fully covered in subsequent tournaments.
As tournament progressed on, more and more competitors ended up clearing Pipe Slider. When Nagano Makoto got his third consecutive Final Stage attempt in SASUKE 13, the producers decided to redesign Third Stage in the following tournament.
The third version of Pipe Slider was used from SASUKE 14 until SASUKE 17. It contained only one track, as the first track was removed due to the introduction of Jumping Bars and Climbing Bars. Also, competitors could not directly attempt the obstacle, as competitors had to first swing from Devil Balanço to reach the obstacle. To add difficulty, the gap to the mat was lengthened, as well as the length of the track being increased to 7 metres.
During SASUKE 14, Devil Balanço was considered part of the obstacle, with announcer Hatsuta Keisuke omitting addressing the obstacle. The official name was verbally announced in the following tournament and until its removal after SASUKE 17, it was regarded as a separate obstacle.
On two occasions, the competitors knocked the pipe away while still on Devil Balanço, rendering Pipe Slider itself close to impossible to attempt. This happened to Kobayashi Shinji in SASUKE 14 and Nagano Makoto in SASUKE 16, and both of them ended up failing to grab the pipe.
The fourth and currently used version of Pipe Slider was brought back in SASUKE 28. Here, it was similar to the third version, with it having only one track. However, unlike the third version, there is no obstacle preceding it with no rest. Also, the track was lowered relative to the previous versions, thus reducing the amount of momentum necessary to dismount.
However, in SASUKE 33, the obstacle preceding it, Vertical Limit Kai, was connected with this obstacle with no resting point, as additional bars and netting were placed above the green resting bars, forcing competitors to directly use the green bars as a medium to transit to Pipe Slider. This change would be undone in the following tournament.
This version has proven to be not as difficult, but the only two competitors that have failed this version so far are those who achieved Kanzenseiha twice (Morimoto Yūsuke in SASUKE 29, when he failed the dismount to the platform and Urushihara Yuuji in SASUKE 37, when the left side of the bar was pushed off the track, forcing the bar to derail and dragging him down).
Pipe Slider (パイプスライダー) would then appear as the fifth and final obstacle in BLACK Stage (Third Stage) from KUNOICHI 2017 Summer onwards. It only consisted of one track with no obstacle preceding it, so like a combination of the second and fourth versions of Pipe Slider in SASUKE.
It was proven to be lethal, as from five competitors that attempted this obstacle across two tournaments, all but one of them failed to clear it. Also, all of the competitors showed struggles while sliding the pipe and locking the pipe at the end of the track.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found.
American Ninja Warrior
Pipe Slider appeared as the fifth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 1 during the qualifying and semifinal rounds. However, unlike in SASUKE, this version required competitors to slide the bar across one track that had three drops in it. This obstacle was proven to be brutal, as several competitors slid the bar off the track or lost their grip, due to the drops from the track. During qualifying, the obstacle eliminated top competitors such as Brett Sims and Luci Romberg, as well as Brian Kretsch during semifinals.
Pipe Slider then returned as the fifth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 4 during Northwest region qualifiers (during Northwest region finals, it was replaced by the Devil Steps). The obstacle consisted of a single track, much like SASUKE 14-17 and SASUKE 28- version of the Pipe Slider, but without a jump at the end. Also, the landing platform was placed slightly away from the end of the track. However, this obstacle was once again proven to be brutal, as several competitors got disqualified for sliding the bar off the track.
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia
On SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia, the Pipe Slider appeared as the sixth and final obstacle in Final Stage, immediately following the Salmon Ladder, and the obstacle was similar to one used from SASUKE 28 onward. Among the 5 competitors who attempted the obstacle, 3 of them (Putra Waluya, Muhammad Luky, and Angga Cahya) could complete it and later advanced to Mount Midoriyama Stage.
SASUKE Ninja Warrior Mongolia
On SASUKE Ninja Warrior Mongolia, the Pipe Slider appeared as the fifth and final obstacle in Stage Three, with the obstacle similar to one used from SASUKE 28 onward. This would eliminate Battur in its first appearance in the competition where the bar would derail as he was preparing to dismount to the landing platform.
During the first two seasons of SASUKE Vietnam, the Pipe Slider (called locally as Trượt Ống) appeared as the sixth and final obstacle in Stage 3, which was similar to one used from SASUKE 28 onward.
On SASUKE Vietnam 2, 14 competitors was able to reach the obstacle, with 12 of them could complete it and later advancing to the Final Stage. Lê Văn Đại and Brian Wilczewski were the only 2 competitors who failed on the obstacle.
On SASUKE Vietnam 3, the obstacle was replaced by the Flying Bar. However, on SASUKE Vietnam 5, the obstacle made its return as the third obstacle in Stage 3. This time, the resting bar was placed lower so that competitors can stand on it and there was a new mechanism that connected the bar onto the track, making the obstacle itself extremely slicker than the original SASUKE version (as many competitors with great momentum at the resting bar had slide the bar very far on the track, even to the end). In addition, a rule was implemented on this obstacle, in which competitors could rest for only ten seconds before attempting the obstacle. As the result, this obstacle became very deadly, as 7 out of 15 competitors failed on it (Le Vi Hua, Ben Polson, Fred Dorrington, David Campbell, Nguyễn Xuân Tứ, Đỗ Văn Quang, and Simon Winge).