This isn't the American Gladiators that you remember from the '80s. In the very first event one of the contestants was knocked down so hard by a gladiator that her knee buckled. She went down and was down for the competition. A substitute was brought in to finish the show.
Most of the events are the same as you remember them, but souped up a 100%. During joust or the q-tip event as I call it there used to be tons of soft cushioned mats to break a fall and now there's nothing but water when someone falls from that high perch.
On a more interesting note, is it just me or is the official from American Gladiators the same official from the movie "Dodgeball"? His voice sounds very familiar to "Average Joe's Gym, ready?! GloboGym, ready!?" He looks similar too. If this is true is he now typecast as a ref?
A small improvement the show could make is not to allow the contestants to speak. It's very difficult to watch the gung ho high energy contenders talk smack and how their personal life has prepared them for just this moment. I'd prefer to have a bubble pop up like in the TV show Blind Date where funny comments are inserted into the bubble or better yet the Hulkster ask them something and when they respond he just says that's the dumbest thing he's ever heard and they're in for some "Pain" like Mr. T said in Rocky III.