The Definitive Ranking of Every American Gladiator

This is where the superhuman contestants are now.

Image via HitFix

It wasn't just the patriotic unitards and feathered hair that made American Gladiators so American. The game show itself was a tiny microcosm of the American Dream. Average (OK, slightly above average) Joes were set against bronzed demi-gods in contests of strength. The odds seemed impossible, but sometimes, through grit and determination, the Average Joes won.

And of course, there were strobe lights, big-ass gun turrets, plastic surgery, shabby jokes, and foam weapons. All that stuff is pretty American too. 

A look at the careers of the Gladiators themselves also provides an odd glimpse into the American Dream. Beautiful, muscled young men and women, who by and large counted American Gladiators as their first big break, and attempted to use the show as a spring board. Some of them catapulted to own businesses and built respectable Hollywood careers. Others tasted the crueler side of the capitalist experience, ending up in adult film or on the street.

Combined, the experiences of the former Gladiators are incredibly varied, wildly strange, and wholly American.

It only seems fitting that we do the most American thing possible and pass gleeful, only marginally informed judgment on them. So here goes.

84. Jade

83. Bronco

Name: Robert Bruce Campbell

Years active: 1989

Little is known about Campbell, as he also only lasted one episode on American Gladiators. According to the fan site GladiatorZone, "His performance in Human Cannonball was credible, but Malibu returned shortly afterwards and Bronco bowed out." His only other credit besides Gladiators is a TV movie in which Rory Culkin becomes friends with Santa Claus entitled Off Season. Campbell was an extra.

82.

 

81. Havoc

80. Titan

Name: David Nelson

Years active: 1990

After Gladiators, Nelson achieved the rare '90s black sitcom Triple Crown, appearing in minor roles on Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Sister, Sister, where he was cast simply as "Guy." He also starred in the porno Backfield in Motion directed by Ron Jeremy.

79.

Though Nelson appeared on more than one episode of American Gladiators, he only lasted half a season on the show.

Best available video: We aren't allowed to link to Backfield in Motion so this will have to do

78.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

77. Rebel

Name: Mark Tucker

Years active: 1993-1994

For Mark Tucker, American Gladiators was a blip in a life dominated by football. Tucker played in both the NFL and AFL before turning to coaching. His lowest point may have been that he was once cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars. These days, Tucker is a high school football coach and a member of the Phoenix Fire Department. 

Best available video: Rebel's Powerball debut

76.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

75. Sunny

Name: Cheryl Barldinger

​Years active: 1989

Sunny never appeared in any embarrassing B-movies post-Gladiators, but she also ever appeared in anything post-Gladiators. Her career on American Gladiators and in show business ended with a knee injury during the first season. This is literally her entire IMDB page: 


Best available video: Sadly, when she got injured

74.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

 

73. Gemini

Name: Michael Horton

Years active: 1989-1992

After Gladiators, Horton appeared in A Night at the Roxbury. In 1985, he was a contestant on Press Your Luck. His son plays for the Carolina Panthers, so it seems like Gemini is doing alright. On the other hand, the high bid for one of his show worn costumes was $10.


Best available video: When he responds poorly to taunting from a contestant

72.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

71. Storm

Name: Debbie Clark

Years active: 1991-1993

Hard luck hit Debbie Clark in a way that simply isn't the sort of thing you joke about. After a career-ending injury, Clark tried her hand at a few other jobs, and each time she fell short. After fleeing domestic violence, she found herself and her son on the street. As of the most recent reports, she is still homeless. A detailed look at Debbie's situation can be found here.

Best available video: From happier times

70.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

69. Tank

Name: Ed Radcliffe

Years active: 1994

Former Marine Ed Radcliffe walked away from Gladiators after three episodes on his own terms. GladiatorZone describes Tank: "Although he only had a short Gladiators career, he made his presence known in Gauntlet—where no contender managed to pass him!" (Note: a contender passed him in the video below.)

Best available video: Tank is narrowly beaten in The Gauntlet

68.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

67. Atlas

Name: Philip Dow / Philip Poteat

Years active: 1992-1993

According to IMDb, Atlas is rumored to appear in the upcoming film No Weapon Formed Against Us, a movie about a detective and single father who moves from Alabama to California to reunite with his family.

Atlas is on Twitter, and he uses the platform to show his support for marriage equality.

66.

But he also makes embarrassing dad mistakes on Twitter.

65.

64.

63. Tower

Name: Steve Henneberry

Years active: 1991-1994

Tower was brought in as a replacement Gladiator, and at 6 feet 5 inches, he was the tallest Gladiator. He also played the Stoneman in the 2002 film The Stoneman.

Best available video: Just a video of Tower flexing for 20 seconds (there's not a lot of video of Tower)

62.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

 

61. Thunder

Name: Billy Smith

Years active: 1990-1992


Thunder became a fitness guru, and he uses his Gladiator name in his LinkedIn.


 

Best available video: Billy pitching his nutrition business Intrafit

60.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

59. Viper

Name: Scott Berlinger

Years active: 1992-1993

Producers tried to sell Viper as the "bad boy" of the show. According to Gladiatorzone, he was "best known for running into the audience and ripping up a banner saying 'Viper needs a Diaper.'" He also a bit of a real life bad boy. He allegedly ran over a woman with his bicycle while training for a triathalon. He's also contributed to Salon.

58.


Best available video: Scott coaching triathetles a few years back

57.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

56. Gold

Name: Tanya Knight

Years active: 1900-1992

Not only was she the winner of the Ms. International bodybuilding contest, but she also appeared in the most '80s picture ever.

55.


An asterisk will forever sit next to Gold's bodybuilding achievements, however, as she became embroiled in a doping scandal (hard to believe she wasn't the only Gladiator on the juice though). She currently resides in Kansas.

Best available video: At the 1989 Michigan Bodybuilding Championships

54.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

53. Cyclone

Name: Barry Turner

Years active: 1992-1993

After his career was shortened by an injury, which is why he appeared in only eight episodes, Cyclone became the co-founder of Lenny & Larry's, makers of protein rich cookies, brownies, and muffins. His favorite cookie flavor is pumpkin.

Best available video: Due to Cyclone's short career, there isn't much video of his Gladiators days, but you can watch him talk about his baked goods business if you want

52.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

51. Sabre

Name: Lynn Williams

Years active: 1992-1996

After a short acting career highlighted by his turn as Jax in Mortal Kombat: Annhilation, Williams dedicated himself to giving back to his community as a volunteer and organizer. Currently he also a motivational speaker.

Best available video: A promo reel including footage of Sabre playing dominoes and rapping

50.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

49. Turbo

Name: Galen Tomlinson

Years active: 1990-1996

After one of the most impressive careers in Gladiators history, where he was known for his hot temper on set, Tomlinson became a family man. He is currently a high school girls volleyball coach

Best Available Video: Turbo punching a contestant

48.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

47. Lace (the Second)

Name: Natalie Lennox

Years active: 1992-1993

Despite her short, two-episode stint on Gladiators, Lennox enjoyed a career as a model for adult magazines including Penthouse and Playboy.

Best video available: The best one we found is definitely not appropriate, but here's a video of her auditioning to be spokesmodel on StarSearch

46.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com


 

45. Dallas

Name: Shannon Hall

Years active: 1993-1995

Before appearing on Gladiators, Hall was a Delta Zeta sorority member at Arkansas State. It turns out that the show was one of her many martial arts endeavors. She has been a professional boxer, professional wrestler, and Tough Woman world champion. Apparently, you can also pay her to come to your house and beat your ass (as long as you live in the L.A. area). 

Best available video: Dallas pummelling a contestant for a minute straight

44.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

43. Diamond

Name: Erika Andersch

Years active: 1990-1993

Andersch appeared on Lois and Clark and in Batman Returns. She also played a character named "Thong" in one episode of the TV show Night Stand. True to her name, Diamond is prone to awkwardly comparing herself to a diamond in promos.

Best available video: She picks off a contestant in three seconds

42.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

41. Blaze

Name: Sha-ri Pendleton

Years active: 1990-1992

Blaze was reportedly fired from Gladiators for marrying the Warrior known as "Knightmare" from the copycat show Knights And Warriors. Born in Iceland, Sha-ri Pendleton was also bodybuilding champion and once posed for a photo shoot on a tiny Roman column.

She also appeared in a TV Movie entitled The Alien Within. Here's the IMDb summary:

40.

Best available video: When she goes for some unnecessary roughness at :49

39.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

38. Laser

Name: Jim Starr

Years active: 1990-1996

Laser was the only Gladiator to appear in all seven seasons of the original series. He's now a fitness guru (check out his rather impressive LinkedIn).

Best available video:  An interview that includes a terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and Laser's explanation of "the difference between a father and a dad"

37.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com


 

36. Lace (the Original)

Name: Marisa Pare

Years active: 1989-1992

For some reason, there were two competitors named Lace on Gladiators. Both Laces posed nude for Playboy, but the original Lace had a more varied post-Gladiators career. She was in a band called Ivy League and the Climbers and enjoyed success as an interior designer.

35.

She also was a fan of sequin bracers.

34.


Best available video: She waxes philosophical and dances a little

33.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

32. Ice

Name: Lori Fetrick

Years active: 1990-1992, 1993-1996

Ice had an eclectic acting career including guest spots on Space Ghost and The Drew Carey Show. She also appeared on one of the oddest trading cards ever produced.

31.

These days her is life is a bit more tame. She is a professional golfer and real estate agent. Also, she has a really boring Twitter.

30.

Best available video: Slamming people to the ground and pretending to carve an ice sculpture

29.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

28. Jazz

Name: Victoria Gay

Years active: 1993-1996

The Gladiator with the least-threatening Gladiators name, Jazz has gone onto become a successful video game voice actress.

Best available video: Jazz delivers a joust beat down—sponsored by Slim Jim

27.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

26. Zap

Name: Raye Hollitt

Years active: 1989, 1991-1995

Zap's life after Gladiators included bodybuilding, appearing in a film with Patrick Swayze, and guest-starring on Muppets Tonight hammering Gonzo into a railway tire.

25.

She also appeared in Playboy.

24.


And her website is terrible.

23.

She sells her headshots there for $19.99.

22.

Best available video: Owning the ring

21.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

20. Sky

Name: Shirley Eson

Years active: 1992-1996

Eson was the tallest female Gladiator, at 6 feet 3 inches, and represented America in the international edition of the series. She also appeared in the second most '80s photo of all time.

19.

According to her German Yahoo Fan Group, she is interested in astrology. (Never thought I'd type that sentence.)

Best available video: Her demo reel in which she calls herself "the mother of the world"

18.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

17. Hawk

Name: Lee Reherman

​Years active: 1993-1996

Before and after American Gladiators, Reherman found success. Prior to his time in the patriotic unitard, he completed his MBA at UCLA. He was working towards his doctorate when he got the call from American Gladiators (he eventually completed his studies). After the series ended, he focused on acting and hosting. He has had a successful stint as the host of car-focused TV shows, and has amassed 67 professional acting credits, including playing the vice principal in the Bratz movie. He was also the pitchman for a chewing tobacco substitute.

Best available video: ​Hawk owning Dean Cain in a Celebrity Gauntlet

16.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

15. Nitro

Name: Dan Clark

Years active: 1989-1992, 1994-1995

Charity work and acting have kept him busy in the years since he stopped gladiating. Clark has appeared on Walker, Texas Ranger and served as coordinating producer for the recent American Gladiators revival. He now runs a mud run venture similar to Tough Mudder, and he has published a memoir.

14.

Best available video: Standard Nitro beat down

13.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

12. Malibu

Name: Deron McBee

Years active: 1989

Surfer Dude vibe; former LA County Sheriff; former professional racquetball player.

11.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

Also, he was a Time Barbarian.

10.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

And he guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

9.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

He recently sat down for one of those soul-bearing tell-all interviews.

8.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com



Best Available GIF:

7.

6. Elektra

Name: Salina Bartunek

Years active: 1992-1993

Elektra was know as a prankster on Gladiators. She would cover weights in Vaseline and steal other competitors' street clothes when they were in their costumes. Truly a Renaissance woman, Bartunek is a ballerina and gymnast, speaks five languages, works as a yoga instructor, and has been a fitness video host.

5.


If you really want to, you can follow her on Pinterest @antigravitymom.

Best available video: Demo reel with sick guitar solo

4.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

3. Siren

Name: Shelley Beattie

Years active: 1992-1996

Shelley Beattie is the most fascinating American Gladiator, and it's not even close. She suffered extreme hearing loss when she was 2 years old after she climbed a shelf and consumed a bottle of adult Aspirin. After enduring abuse in foster homes as a teenager, she took up bodybuilding, which led to her 44-episode run on American Gladiators. She was also a professional sailor on a U.S. America's Cup team and a trained dancer and choreographer. Somehow, between her many physical pursuits, she managed to volunteer her time with those dealing with disabilities and disadvantaged circumstances.

Beattie struggled substance abuse in her 20s, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Despite getting sober, she continued to suffer from depression, and eventually took her own life in 2008. Her lovely obituary in the Oregonian includes the line, "She had a traditional Lakota memorial service. The rhythmic cadences of the drums that she so loved beat for 24 hours straight in her honor."

Best available video: She may be the best "Whiplash" player in Gladiators history

2.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

 

Latest in Pop Culture