Culture Art & Media First-Ever 'American Ninja Warrior' Walks Away With Only Pride By Michael d'Estries Writer State University of New York at Geneseo Michael d’Estries has been writing about science, culture, space and sustainability since 2005. His writing has appeared on Business Insider, CNN, and Forbes. our editorial process Michael d'Estries Updated September 30, 2019 Geoff 'Popeye' Britten (left) and Isaac Caldiero both made history by finishing the 'American Ninja Warrior' finals course. Only one walked away with $1M. (Photo: The Today Show/Screen Grab) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community Up until last night's nail-biting finale, no one over the course of seven seasons had ever beaten the grueling Stage 2 of "American Ninja Warrior" in the Las Vegas finals. In a stunning demonstration of physical insanity, two contestants managed to pull off the feat, only to face-off against each other in a 30-second, 75-foot rope climb. Geoff "Popeye" Britten was the first to achieve the honor of becoming a true "American Ninja Warrior," conquering the rope challenge and hitting the red button with less than one second to spare. His solo victory was short-lived, however, after second finalist Isaac Caldiero scampered up the 75 feet in a time three seconds faster than Britten's. Because the rules favor the fastest contestant to complete a given course, Caldiero scored $1 million and Britten was left empty-handed. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, "ANW" executive producer Kent Weed says that they may need to rethink the prize structure for next year's competition. "He got to be one of the first American Ninja Warriors," he said of Britten. "According to the rules, there’s only one winner. We talked to NBC about it, we might make adjustments next season, but we didn’t plan for a second finisher." In an interview on the "Today" show, Britten showed no hard feelings on missing out on the $1 million. "I'm so proud of Isaac; he's an animal," the 36-year-old said. "He was a better man that night. I have nothing but respect for him."