Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new reality television competition, The Titan Games premiered tonight on NBC at 8/7pm CT. The show features 64 competitors from across the country (and a few who live internationally), who Johnson hand-picked and refers to as “DJ’s 64.” Of his chosen competitors, Johnson told USA Today that he was looking for “men and women who have overcome odds and challenges in their life.”
According to USA Today, “Each episode features four female and four male athletes in two rounds of paired battles, with a finale pitting the best of both groups.” In order for a contestant to make it to the finale, he or she must defeat their opponent in the first trial challenge, before becoming the overall male or female winner in their episode by conquering Mount Olympus. If they can do that, they will return to the season’s finale episode and face off against the other remaining contestants of their gender for the title of Titan and a $100,000 prize.
By the end of the show’s series premiere, four competitors had emerged victorious (two men and two women), advancing them toward the finale. The following contains spoilers regarding the series premiere of The Titan Games including the winning contestants.
In the first hour of the premiere, 30-year-old Anthony Furhman, an active duty member of the US Army and professional strongman, faced off against 32-year-old Ben Afuvai, a metal polisher whose Samoan roots made Dwayne Johnson suggest he looked like he could be his cousin. Furhman emerged victorious, slamming through his challenge in 22 seconds. Mike Evans lost to Budweiser truck driver James Jean-Louis. In the Mount Olympus Titan challenge, James Jean-Louis easily defeated Furhman.
To determine the female Titan for this first night of competition, Emily Andzulis competed against Ayonna Procter and won. Tina Rivas, a 26-year-old sheet metal worker, lost to Julie Dudley, who is the oldest in the competition at 50 years old. On Mount Olympus, Emily Andzulis, a massage therapist and MMA fighter, was the winner.
During hour two, the women dominated their intense challenges with close match-ups. Fitness model Nikkie Neal narrowly beat Air Force veteran and volunteer firefighter Marianne Sheehan. Singer/songwriter Mariah Counts narrowly lost to metabolic technician Charity Witt. On Mount Olympus, Nikkie Neal used her height and agility to take an early lead, but Charity Witt‘s upper body strength ultimately led her to victory.
For the men’s preliminary competitions, Quinn Rivera faced off against Thong La in a pole-vaulting challenge that concluded with a pole climb up to the victory bull; Rivera, a medical student, won the challenge. Though the episode only briefly overviewed the match-up between David Reid, a US Army vet who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan, and urban farmer Cole Wadsworth III, Cole easily won that first challenge. When the two remaining men faced the Mount Olympus course, the father of two Wadsworth was neck-and-neck with Rivera until the very end, when Cole Wadsworth III retrieved the relic first and won.
That means that these four contestants (Emily Andzulis and Charity Witt, and James Jean-Louis and Cole Wadsworth III) are one step closer to the “Battle of the Titans,” which will take place in the season finale. Over the next episodes in the season, 12 more contestants (6 women and 6 men) will join them as “Titans,” against whom they will return to compete at the end of the season. In the finale, one female Titan and one male Titan will be crowned, and each victor will win the prize money.
Tune in to watch new episodes of NBC’s The Titan Games on Thursday nights at 8/7c.