If you are of a certain age, you very likely remember coming home from school and finding a rerun of American Gladiators on your TV. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, go find some American Gladiators videos on YouTube and then come back. The show mixed the gaudiness of professional wrestling with legit athletic competition. The result was a testosterone-filled extravaganza of spandex and foam crash mats. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about what can only be described as a classic pop-culture phenomena that was American Gladiators.
10. The Original Set Was Based on the Coliseum
You may remember the red, white, and blue themed American Gladiators, but that wasn’t the original concept. The first season of the show was designed like an ancient Roman gladiator arena. The stands were elevated so spectators could look down on the combatants. Hooded figures were used instead of referees, representing the executioner. It all lasted exactly half a season. The set was redesigned so that the stands started on the same level as the playing area, and the mysterious hooded referees were replaced by veteran NFL referee Bob McElwee, complete with stripped uniform.