‘Muscles & Mayhem’: Netflix Tells the Brutal Truth About ‘American Gladiators’

American Gladiators
© 2023 Netflix, Inc.

“From Universal Studios Hollwood, this is AMERICAN GLADIATORS!”

The original sports competition series American Gladiators aired in syndication from 1989-96, and featured average people competing against well-trained and superbly fit pro athletes and bodybuilders called Gladiators. Through a series of unusual contests, games, obstacle courses and feats of strength, an ordinary Contender could become a folk hero by making it through the Eliminator.

The five-episode Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators “chronicles the meteoric rise, dramatic fall, and gripping behind-the-scenes stories” of the show and “reveals untold stories of the iconic American Gladiators’ triumph, turmoil, and ultimate price of fame,” Netflix says.

As the show’s popularity grew and the Gladiators became celebrities, the cast became absorbed in the sex and drugs of Hollywood, and fractured relationships and interpersonal rivalries were as common as fractured bones and torn ligaments.

Gladiators who participated in the documentary include Dan “Nitro” Clark, Debbie “Storm” Clark, Erika “Diamond” Andersch Bunker, Jim “Laser” Kalafat, Lori “Ice” Fetrick, Michael “Gemini” Horton, Raye “Zap” Olson, Shari E “Blaze” Pendleton Mitchell, Shirley “Sky” Eson-Korito and Steve “Tower” Hennebery.

Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators premieres Wednesday, June 28, on Netflix.

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