While the computer simulation pitting the two fighters against each other 1,000 times is the show's highlight, Deadliest Warrior wouldn't be nearly so intriguing without its "experts" -- fighters, soldiers, historians and enthusiasts who come in to violently test each fighter's weapons. Some are loud and full of bravado, others are quiet and mildly terrifying; some could very easily kill the shit out of you five times before you realized you were dead. With help from DW's own Max Geiger, computer programmer, insane indie game maker (check out this clip from his game label Giant Sparrow and let your mind be blown) and TR reader (!!!), we took a look at the most badass badasses that the first season of Deadliest Warrior had to offer.
7) Sonny Puzikas, Former Spetznaz Operative
Max Says: This list may as well be over if you're going to start with Sonny. Seriously, we can end it here and come out ahead. Sonny Puzikas is without a doubt the single most hardcore individual I have ever met. Imagine the Doomsday scenario of your choice. Given enough bullets, Sonny will fix it. Sonny is the closest thing to the Goddamn Batman I have met in real life. Also, I guess Sonny is consulting on some stuff for CoD: Black Ops. That game probably gained 10 Metacritic points the moment Sonny set foot inside Treyarch's offices.
6) David Coretti, Army Veteran/Sword Expert
Max Says: Man, where to begin. While we were shooting "Knight vs Pirate," David was giving veganism an earnest shot. But he was also a smoker at the time. I don't know how those two really balance, but I guess that's LA for you. As for the morningstar, well... there are some weapons that you wield, and there are some weapons that wield you.
5) Barry Jacobsen, Spartan Historian and Weapons Expert
Max Says: Barry takes his Spartan combat/re-enactment seriously. He's also the guy I trust to know his history better than the show's research staff. Just how do you pronounce Xyston? It's pronounced "Call Barry." Barry's also got some interesting stories from when he was a Green Beret. Like how he had to take a class on killing. He said (if I'm remembering this correctly), that trainees were given a series of animals that they had to name, care for, and then kill in front of the entire class. While looking those animals in the eyes. I've never had any homework that I had to care for, bond with, and then mercilessly wring its neck in front of a whole class.
4) Thomas Bonanno, Mafia Descendant/Historian
Max Says: I didn't get to know Tommy too well during this ep. Mostly because he struck me as the kind of guy who was nice, but also the kind of guy whose last name is Bonanno, and had seen some things.
3) Kieron Elliott, Highlander Weapons Expert/Resident Scot
Max Says: Kieron's probably going to kill me in the next Aftermath for saying this, but he has a terrible American accent. Terrible. This has nothing to do with his martial prowess, but damn dogg, when you hear him trying to speak like an American, it makes you wonder just what, exactly, Americans sound like to Scots. Probably dogs with peanut butter stuck to the roofs of our mouths.
2) Sala Baker, Maori Weapons Specialist
Max Says: Sala was nice enough, but I failed as a nerd for not knowing he was Sauron during shooting. The dude never mentioned it, but damn, you'd think that's something you'd tell the nerds around you. Actually, on second thought, that's exactly the sort of thing you hope the nerds around you don't know/remember.
1) Snake Blocker, United States Army Combat Instructor (Apache vs. Gladiator)
• His name sounds like a lost Street Fighter character.
• There is a series of combat knives inspired by him.
• He takes everything he does on Deadliest Warrior 100% seriously. • This includes emitting spontaneous war screams and wiping gel torso blood on his face.
• He has, according to the guy from 300, "five black belts".
• Seriously, his name is Snake Blocker.
Sure, S. Blocker's a relatively soft-spoken guy, and his voice is a little higher than you'd expect, but he is sharp, strong, and totally captivating. In "Apache vs. Gladiator," he and his co-expert Alan Tafoya have far and away the most hilarious lines in the show's history. He is, above all, the embodiment of the line between the compelling and the absurd that makes Deadliest Warrior fascinating.
Max Says: When Snake first demoed his knife skills from us, it was about 3 feet away from where we were standing. His moves look okay on camera, but real life, I think Geoff, Armand and I all pretty much dropped a brick by the time he was done. Snake Blocker will cut you. He. Will. Cut. You. I think my all-time favorite highspeed footage we've ever shot is still one we did with Snake busting open the back of a fake skull, and wincing at how much blood was inside, in super slow-mo. Also: I wound up on the Blocker Dojo mailing list. It is everything you would expect from the Blocker Dojo mailing list.