Previously on The Titan Games, reigning Titan of the East Region Will “Country Strong” Sutton defended his place again atop Mount Olympus against Josh Porter, who seemed to be Sutton’s most difficult challenger yet — that’s saying something considering Sutton beat 5-time UFC champion Tyron Woodley in his debut. In the female division, newcomer Courtney Roselle bested incumbent Titan Haley Johnson, who had two successful wins on Mount Olympus on her resume.
This week was the East Region Finals to determine who would venture forth to compete in the Titan Championships against the Titans of the Central and West Regions — Dani Speegle, Matt Chan, Noah Palicia, and Margaux Alvarez.
All those who had previously competed on Mount Olympus and faced the eyes of defeat or had fallen from grace as a previous Titan themselves, returned for a chance to regain their glory and earn a shot to become Titans of Season 2 and the $100,000 prize that comes with it.
In the men’s division, we saw the return of Tyron Woodley, Josh Porter, and Air Force veteran Andrew Hanus. In a turn of events, Hanus was invited back after a narrow defeat to professional golfer Ryan Steenberg. Steenberg was unable to return due to having suffered a bicep injury during his run on Mount Olympus.
In the women’s division, Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Hannah Teter and professional wrestler Dasha Kuret sought a second chance. Haley Johnson also returned to seek redemption.
Both divisions would first compete in the “Hammer Down” challenge to eliminate one athlete. The remaining athletes would go head-to-head for a chance to return to Mount Olympus and challenge for the title of Titan.
Hammer Down — Women’s Division
The goal of the event is to knock down three poles. First, each competitor must acquire a sledge hammer laying beneath three heavy boxes. Once obtained, competitors hammer a pin holding up each pole until they fall. Once a competitor knocks down their third or “Golden” pole, they must climb it and pull their Victory Chain. First two to do so advance.
All three women retrieved their sledge hammers quickly and went on to swing them at their first respective pins. Johnson was the first to topple a pole followed closely by Teter. Kuret struggled to find an effective rhythm and fell behind.
By the time Kuret finally managed to fell her first pole, Johnson and Teter were each already on to their third. Kuret needed to make some big moves or hope for a mistake from her counterparts if she was going to avoid an early elimination.
Johnson was the first to mount her Golden pole, but Teter refused to let that lead grow too large. Both athletes used the “sloth strategy” and crawled up the underside of the poles. In the exact series of events Kuret needed, Teter fell off her pole. Moments later, Johnson, who was inches way from winning the event, lost her grip and fell all the way to the floor as well!
Kuret felled her Golden pole and it suddenly became anyone’s event to win. Johnson fell a second time, giving way to Teter to capitalize. However, it was Kuret’s strategy of sitting on her leg for extra grip to slide up the Golden pole that was the difference maker. In what may have been the largest comeback in the history of The Titan Games, Kuret pulled the Victory Chain first to advance!
Both Johnson and Teter mimicked Kuret’s strategy on the pole and in the end it was Teter who got to the chain first, sending the former Titan home.
- Kuret — Advanced
- Teter — Advanced
- Johnson — Eliminated
Hammer Down — Men’s Division
All three men came out with a blistering pace to retrieve their sledge hammers. It was paratrooper Josh Porter out to an early lead after making fast work of his first pole. Woodley swung hard enough to keep on Porter’s heels with Hanus rounding out the trio.
Right before Hanus was able to fell his first pole, Porter was already cracking at his Golden pole in an event that looked like his to lose. Hanus was not to be discounted, however, as he made super quick work of his second pole to achieve parity with Woodley.
It was Porter and Woodley who ultimately mounted their Golden poles first. They both chose the sloth strategy to climb, and were potentially assuming the failing positions of the women who competed before them. It wasn’t clear if either athlete considered a different approach after being privy to seeing the sloth strategy fail Johnson and Teter earlier.
History did not repeat itself. Both Porter and Woodley successfully pulled their respective Victory Chains nearly simultaneously. There was no need to check a photo finish as both first and second place in the event amount to the same outcome. Hanus, after getting an unlikely second shot, was unable to capitalize and was sent home for a second time.
- Woodley — Advanced
- Porter — Advanced
- Hanus — Eliminated
Resistance — Men’s Division
Each athlete must toss five 75lb barrels out of their portion of the arena. The catch is that both athletes are tied to each other via a thick rope weaved through a large Titan Relic in the center of the arena. This means they effectively pull against each other when moving in opposite directions. First to toss out all five of their barrels (or the most in the 2 minutes) advances to Mount Olympus.
The show’s host, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, shared his thoughts on this match up:
If there were any other man tied to Tyron, they’d be intimidated, but not Josh. He’s jumped out of a plane over a thousand times, he’s not intimidated.
Almost immediately, both men rushed into a standstill on their first barrels. After a lengthy period of finding their footing, it was Porter’s size advantage that enabled him to lift and toss out his first barrel. Porter had an awareness of where Woodley was in relation to the edge and maintained a threshold of resistance while reaching for his second barrel. The UFC fighter struggled to break out as Porter took a two to nothing lead.
Woodley made a huge attempt to toss out his first barrel, but it bounced back off the lip of the arena. Porter capitalized on that brief ease of resistance and threw out a third barrel. Porter raced across the arena and chucked out a fourth barrel!
Down four to nothing, Woodley needed a miracle to overcome the paratrooper. In what didn’t look possible, Porter hurled his final barrel onto the lip of the arena and a fortunate bounce allowed it to fall to the other side. In a stunning five to nothing shutout, Porter earned a second chance to compete on Mount Olympus.
- Porter — Advanced
- Woodley — Eliminated
Resistance — Women’s Division
The commentary team discussed the psychological advantage that Kuret might have on Teter after that gigantic come-from-behind win on Hammer Down. However, that was likely quelled by the concerns of Kuret’s fairly recent Achilles heel injury that could become an influential factor. The latter became more apparent when Teter took an early one barrel lead over the pro wrestler who struggled to get any solid footing.
With under a minute left in the round, the score remained the same. Teter had some close attempts with a second barrel but was unable to secure it over the barrier. Kuret was stuck between maintaining balance and getting a grip on a barrel. It an absolute war of attrition, it was that one barrel that made the difference. Teter earned a long awaited chance at redemption on Mount Olympus.
- Teter — Advanced
- Kuret — Eliminated
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The course on Mount Olympus consists of ten obstacles:
- Starting Gates — weaving over and under thick triangular hurdles.
- Box Flip — flipping a humungous box three times.
- Iron Ascent — using only their hands, athletes pull themselves up using a lever system.
- Log Lift — hauling a large log up a long flight of stairs. Note: entirely different from a strongman log lift.
- Sky Bridge — lifting two 120lb weights on a gear that is then spun to lower a bridge.
- Crank Down — turning a heavy crank to lower a pillar that is then climbed.
- Cage Crawl — a series of narrow crawl spaces built atop each other that must be crawled through.
- Drop Zone — a mounting series of large panels that hinge when the athlete places their weight at the edge.
- Ball & Chain — an spherical stone is dragged via chain across the arena.
- Titan Tomb — competitors smash a stone block to retrieve the Titan Relic (a metal relic shaped into The Titan Games logo).
Josh Porter vs. Will Sutton
Just one episode ago, these two men battled in one of the most exciting runs on Mount Olympus all season. Porter’s inexperience was his fatal flaw that gassed him out by the time he reached the Ball & Chain. With a run now under his belt, the question coming in was whether he would be able to implement that experience to one up Will Sutton who, thus far, was undefeated on the course.
It began just as their first encounter did. Sutton’s size gave him an edge through the Starting Gates to the Box Flip. Last time, Porter flipped his box too aggressively and it was off balance as he climbed over it. This time, he managed to flip his box cleanly, but tripped climbing over it to the Iron Ascent.
Luckily for Porter, the Iron Ascent was one of his faster obstacles and he was able to make up the time to get a slight edge on Sutton in the Log Lift. Both men were neck-and-neck through the Sky Bridge, but it was Sutton’s smaller size that traversed the Cage Crawl a bit faster than Porter. The paratrooper felt fatigue set in.
Heading into the Drop Zone, Sutton had a nearly full obstacle lead. But for the first time ever on the course, he fell on the last panel and toppled to the ground. He had a time advantage over Porter, who had clearly slowed down, but showed signs of heavy fatigue dragging the Ball & Chain.
Both men struggled immensely to get to the Titan Tomb, but ultimately Will Sutton locked in the Titan Relic to remain undefeated on Mount Olympus and represent the East Region in the Titan Championships.
Hannah Teter vs. Courtney Roselle
In Roselle’s first defense on Mount Olympus, she took an edge over Teter on the Iron Ascent. She extended that lead to the Crank Down and picked up speed through the Cage Crawl.
As they head into the Drop Zone, it appeared to be Roselle’s course to lose. Roselle breezed through the Ball & Chain but Teter made it a race. They both bashed into their respective Titan Tombs, but it was not to be for Teter. Roselle retrieved the Relic and locked it in to become the Titan of the East Region in the Titan Championships.
Roselle and Sutton will represent the East Region as they battle against Dani Speegle, Margaux Alvarez, Matt Chan, and Noah Palicia in the Titan Championships.
Featured image from Courtney Roselle’s Instagram page: @courtney_roselle