| | 2016 Superhero Smackdown

Author / John

Ladies and gentleman I’m excited to present to you the 2016 Superhero Smackdown. Inspired by the CrossFit Games, this relentless test of superhero stamina will put your favorite action stars to the test. Best of all, you can get involved in the action. You have a chance to win some sick prizes from Power Athlete; read on to find out how!


Since the 2016 CrossFit Games is only weeks away, we have decided to celebrate this year’s competition by “hosting” our own version of The Games. Here’s how it works:

Sixteen of cinema’s baddest beefcakes are stepping onto the battlegrounds of Carson, California to compete for Power Athlete’s Fittest Hero. For each star, we have selected two archetypal characters. Each character will represent either Team Field Strong or Team Grindstone.

Your competitors are:


The competitors will be competing one round of workouts in the days leading up to The 2016 CrossFit Games culminating in a 1 on 1 showdown! They will undergo the same grueling tests that CrossFit’s elite were tested with at the 2015 CrossFit Games. The Superhero Smackdown workouts will be overseen by none other than head judge, Nicholas Cage.

After each match up, only the top HALF will advance to the next round. Keep your eyes posted each week for a write up on how each competitor performed, and workout highlights.

How To Get Involved

The Grand Prize

You want to earn yourself a care package full of bad ass Power Athlete swag?

You need to head to this post and comment with your pick to click; you need to comment with the actor’s character name listed above! If after the final event you chose the winner of the Superhero Smackdown, you could be selected to win the grand prize!

Other Prizes

Before we announce the results of each round on PowerAthleteHQ.com, we’ll announce a Superhero Showdown on our Instagram feed, and tag it with #2016SuperheroShowdown.

Post your pick in the comments and a winner will be selected at random!

*Prizes will vary between showdowns*

Team Field Strong – Athlete Bios

Agent Luke Hobbs
Little is known about Luke Hobbs. He’s a field agent of the Diplomatic Security Service, his boss is Kurt Russell, and makes his bones by hunting down the world’s most wanted criminals. He keeps in peak shape, durability, endurance, and steadfast stamina is his game. Hobbs needs to be ready at a moment’s notice to be thrown through walls, hit in the shoulders with wrenches, or tossed from moving cars and still have the ability to land accurate pistol shots within a 6 inch grouping in mid air at distances of 10 – 50 yards. Hobbs is battle hardened from the many confrontations with the world’s most brutal criminals, but does he have what it takes to track down the title of Power Athlete’s Fittest Hero?

John Rambo
The word “Hero” doesn’t even begin to describe John Rambo. He is a Green Beret who served in Vietnam and trained at Fort Bragg under Col. Trautman. Internationally known as Rambo, Johnnie to his friends, this man has competed against fierce individuals ranging from surly small town Washingtonians to Soviet special forces in Afghanistan. Rambo has proven that he can endure an ungodly amount of suffering for his fellow soldiers, and commanders; he’s been captured and tortured on multiple occasions and has never succumbed to the pain. But can he survive the onslaught of the Superhero Smackdown?

The man simply known as Hancock is said to be approximately 3,000 years old, and ranks as this year’s oldest competitor. He’s opted out of the Master’s group so he can compete with the younger competitors. Coincidentally, Hancock’s decision has left the Master’s Podium WIDE OPEN for the taking for Power Athlete’s favorite Superhero, Freddy Camacho, who is a sure thing now that Hancock is no longer in that class.

Even Though Hancock has been around for millennia, a head injury endured in Miami in the early 1900s left him with amnesia, so we don’t know too much about his past or any formal training. What we do know is he has publicly exhibited tremendous strength, power, and regenerative abilities. He’s stopped a speeding freight train in it’s tracks, thrown a full grown blue whale a great distance, and can even fly. One ability that would have been an absolute game changer for him is his ability to change the weather. Unfortunately for Hancock, head judge Nic Cage has clearly stated that competitors can not intentionally alter global climates the 6 months leading up to, or during the Superhero Smackdown. Because of his invulnerability Hancock is a clear contender; however, he displays a lack of responsibility, arrogance and a lack of awareness of the possible tragic consequences of his neglectful actions. Could this keep him from taking this year’s competition?

Xander “xXx” Cage
xXx is a law breaking extreme sports enthusiast with a propensity for rebellious behavior. Not much is known about his background, but somewhere along his way, this man sought out a need for adrenaline. By no means do we expect xXx to back down from the challenges of the CFGs. He’s endured many death defying stunts, both planned and unplanned. But does he have the resolve to live up to the stringent movement standards that will be upheld by head judge, Nicholas Cage?

Steamin Willie Beamen
“Steamin” Willie Beamen emerges as the first true “specialist” in the Superhero Smackdown. Willie, an amazing athlete who played American Football for the Miami Sharks, leading them to victory of the 1999 Pantheon Cup. He’s played Defensive Back as well as Quarterback, which shows his abilities are unmatched at the highest level. Willie has a history drama that has triggered distrust from past coaches, and tension among former staff and teammates. He’s the type of guy that will ignore coach’s calls and call his own. While he has all the athletic ability in the world, he lacks the intangibles of a true competitor. Can he keep his cool during the grueling tests of our Smack Down?

The Terminator
The Terminator is a cybernetic organism created by tech super giant, Cyberdyne. While there are other known “Terminators”, this year’s contender is model 101 from Cyberdyne’s flagship T-800 series that was actually hacked by a gent that goes by the name of John Connor. The hack deployed new A.I. that shifted the machine’s native murderous ways to a sympathetic, human like being. Don’t be fooled by the human like “intelligence”, skin, hair and fingernails; while all of this is true living tissue, the Terminator is a MACHINE! Literally, and figuratively! Are the Terminators programmed mission objectives in line with what’s need to earn a spot on the podium?

As the field commander of The League of Shadows, Bane is extremely proficient in strategy and hand to hand combat. Most notably recognized as one of the Batman’s most ferocious villains, Bane uses his brute strength and ferocity to gain an advantage over his opponents. He exhibits amazing grip strength by snapping necks and crushing windpipes with ease. His ability to think and act quickly in the moment would certainly work to his advantage competing for the unknown and unknowable. Interestingly, Bane also has a mask that administers anesthetic gas through tubes into his body which holds the pain from a physical injury at bay. Could this mask be a weakness if it’s somehow damaged?

Mark Watney
A Chicago native, Watney attended the University of Chicago for his undergrad before moving on to Northwestern University where he earned a PhD in Plant Biology and Conservation with an emphasis in hydropedalogy and environmental engineering. He spent eleven months working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center before being selected for the Ares III Mission where in a fight for his survival managed to disassemble a spacecraft on Mars, and manhandle extremely heavy equipment. In fact, Watney can be seen here calf raising 550kg! Clearly the fight for survival combined with the rigorous training required to uphold NASA’s physical screening processes exposed his true strength. Can this martian put up an out of this world performance to be launched into the limelight as Power Athlete’s Fittest hero?

Team Grindstone – Athlete Bios

WWE’s The Rock
He has been dubbed The Great One, The People’s Champion and The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment. Mere words fail to capture the essence of the most charismatic Superstar of all time, though the catchphrase “boots to asses” comes awfully close. The People’s Champion is known for warning the jabronis to “Know [their] role and shut [their] mouth” or to “Just bring it!” before delivering his devastating finishing maneuver. The question is, will can he send these other world class competitors to The Rock Bottom on his way to victory?

Rocky Balboa
Robert “Rocky” Balboa is a professional boxer that is no stranger to finding himself as an underdog. He’s faced and beaten world class fighters including Apollo Creed, Bobby Jalali, World Heavyweight Champion, Thunderlips, and Clubber Lang. Rocky has walked away champion from plenty of fights, but he certainly has his work cut out for him. What lies ahead for Rocky is an all out brawl that falls somewhere between that of the Tommy Gun street fight, and the international battle against Ivan Drago. Will Rocky walk away from this contest with gloves raised overhead?

This man is “Hero” only to those seeking violence. Most notably recognized for his deadly disdain for “wasteful violence”, Deadshot is an assassin who is committed to tracking down his targets, and killing them with a single shot. The origin of his hatred and obsession with accuracy is debated. It is said that in an attempt to kill an abusive father, he “missed” his shot and accidentally struck and killed his hero, his older brother. What’s worth pointing out is that Deadshot’s lethality is not just a product of his given and earned skill set, but also from a specialized suit and helmet. These pieces of equipment help heighten his senses. Being that they are of Reebok apparel, Deadshot will not be able to wear them during competition. Will this foil his abilities during the workouts?

Dominic “Dom” Toretto
Dom is an elite street racer, auto mechanic, and fierce street fighter by necessity. He is a man with a strong moral code and family values but interestingly began a career criminal who robbed trucks to support his family. As a street fighter, he uses unorthodox methods to fight his opponents and is not afraid to use blunt weapons, such as wrenches and pipes. While not super skilled fighter, he often resorts to his strength to win. His impulsiveness and aggression are also a driving force in overcoming opposition. Durable doesn’t even begin to describe the man; he’s survived 7 movies worth of catastrophic bus crashes, and vicious head on collisions. There’s no doubt that Dom has the fight in him, but will it be enough to leave the rest of this year’s competitors in the dust?

Django Freeman
Django is a plantation slave turned free man and bounty hunter. The saying, “it can always be worse” holds no weight in the mind of Django; the horrors that he endured in his struggle for survival and escape have set the scene for a man, who when on a mission that stop at no cost. Django’s hand eye coordination, reflexes, and will to win make him a force to be reckoned with.

Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer
Dutch is to Team Grindstone as John Rambo is to Team Field Strong. A former High School Athlete turned military special forces, Dutch served in Vietnam and was also captured by the Viet Cong. It is said that during his prolonged captivity and torture he eventually became resistant to pain. After his service, Dutch set up and lead his own private military team who focused specifically on rescue missions. Dutch has successfully lead his team through various death defying operations in Angola, Cambodia, Lebanon and Afghanistan during times of significant unrest.

While Dutch is a very intelligent, resourceful, gruff and battle-hardened competitor, he seemingly met his match in a Guatemalan Jungle where an alien “Predator” stalked and killed Dutch’s team. But Dutch is an aggressive and inventive soldier, and thanks to his ability to improvise and adapt in the field of battle, he managed to narrowly outsmart his more physically and technically advanced alien adversary. He has incredible prowess, and displays exceptional unilateral strength, able to lift huge weights single-handed. Will this be enough for him to avoid falling prey to the other competitors?

Tommy Conlon
Tommy is a mixed martial artist and former Marine. He grew up wrestling and broke several records and brought home plenty of championship trophies. In addition to his military training, Tommy is formally trained in wrestling and MMA by his father, Paddy. Tommy is a unforgiving and ruthless fighter; he relies solely on anger and hate when he fights, and often knocks out his opponents in a matter of seconds, beating them brutally until he wins. There are rumors about Tommy’s service as a Marine. He is said to have ripped a HUMVEE door off it’s hinges in an attempt to save fellow Marines after being struck by an ambush. Instead of basking in the glory, he apparently chose the path of the silent hero by abandoning his post and trying to maintain anonymity in his community. Tommy is a skilled and fierce warrior, but can he muster up enough hate to push himself through the beat down of the Superhero Smackdown?

Jason Bourne
Not much can be confirmed about Jason Bourne. He is a very skilled and lethal covert operative who was found floating unconscious by a French fisherman in the Mediterranean sea. Bourne suffers from amnesia, showing symptoms upon regaining consciousness aboard the fisherman’s boat. His life’s mission is to learn about his past, and has been doing so at all costs. He is said to be the product of a covert CIA organization, Project Treadstone, who used experimental training techniques to embed an unmatched covert skill set. Bourne is very intelligent, very powerful, and very resourceful. What can be said with certainty about this mysterious man is that he has plenty of dangerous people trying to track him down. His strategy to stay alive? NEVER STOP MOVING! Will Bourne’s survival skills be enough to earn his place as Power Athlete’s Fittest Hero?

The 2016 Superhero Smackdown WORKOUTS


The 2016 Superhero Smackdown Analyst

My name is Luke Summers and I’ll be your analyst for this competition. Each week, I’ll be giving you a summary of events, results, and breaking down athlete performances. We’ll also take a long hard look at how Superhero Smackdown Director, Nic Cage, keeps his athletes and judges in check.


I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to see this whole thing play out. This is a group of extremely fierce competitors with varying backgrounds and skill sets. As I take a look at the athletes I feel like we can see some clear front runners. In this analyst’s opinion, Rambo, Hancock, and my sleeper pick Mark Watney show promise for Team Field Strong. Dutch, Tommy Conlon, and Django lead the charge for Team Grindstone. With the exception of Hancock, all these competitors have displayed an ungodly ability to suffer, and that is a key to success for this competition. Hancock’s regenerative powers, along with his invulnerability clearly put him at a SIGNIFICANT physical advantage over almost every competitor in this competition.

I really think that Deadshot and Bane are going to suffer do to their reliance on their special uniforms and equipment, which is why I have them pulling up the rear for their respective teams. Then Dom Toretto and Steamin Willie Beamen also struggling to compete because of their utter disdain for authority. I see these two regularly arguing, if not downright assaulting Nic Cage’s panel of expert judges.

The question is, how do YOU think The Smack Down is going to pan out? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to get involved on Instagram!

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John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


  1. JZ on July 7, 2016 at 3:23 pm


  2. andrewcfottumwa on July 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    No love for Carl Weathers?? He and Arnold only had the most epic handshake in film history!

    • Luke Summers on July 9, 2016 at 7:21 am

      Carl Weathers gets PLENTY of love. But we stuck to one hero per movie, and, well, Arnold > Carl and Stallone > Carl.

  3. Greener on July 9, 2016 at 5:16 am

    How does a football player qualify as an “action hero”?!?! ?

    • Luke Summers on July 9, 2016 at 7:20 am

      The qualification process was a rigorous one; so complex that if I even began to tell you your head would probably explode!

  4. Ingo "Joey Swole" B on July 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Why no Cap? Or Wolverine?

  5. Luke Summers on July 10, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I don’t know @ingob, why might one *think* (please, think for once) that there is a significant gap in DC and Marvel characters?

  6. sean ploskina on July 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hancock’s drinking may prove an issue. He routinely would throw the bar out of the stadium and have to go get it.

    Bourne would be to busy chasing memories to remember to show up. Or he might mistake Tex for someone from Treadstone’s ‘conditioning program’ and hop the fence.

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