Netflix to Premiere ‘We Are the Champions,’ Rainn Wilson’s Look at Real, Unusual Competitions (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Schneider
·3 min read

Move over ESPN Ocho, Netflix will launch the doc series “We Are the Champions,” which chronicles some of the most unusual competitions around the world, on Nov. 17.

Rainn Wilson serves as the narrator and is an executive producer on the show, which comes from producers Dirty Robber. Season one features faceoffs including cheese rolling, chili eating, fantasy hair styling, yo-yo, dog dancing and frog jumping.

“’We are the Champions’ celebrates weirdness, finds beauty in idiosyncrasies, and demonstrates what it really takes to rise to the top—heart,” Wilson said. “As a self-proclaimed expert on the unconventional, I’m excited to introduce viewers to these small-world competitors with big-world dreams because, in this time, we could all use a hero—be it a dancing dog or the world Yo-Yo champion.”

Executive producers and directors include Brian Golden Davis, Nick Frew and Martin Desmond Roe, while Chris Uetwiller is executive producer as well.

Here are descriptions of the “We are the Champions” episodes, per Netflix:

Chili Eating: “In his inaugural Pepper Eating Challenge, Smokin’ Ed Currie, inventor of the world’s hottest chili pepper, promises to burn the tongue off of even the most determined pepper eating masochists. We are the Champions joins the brave contestants as they sweat through the heat and drop one-by-one, succumbing to the heat of Ed’s infamous and World Record-holding Carolina Reaper pepper. BYO milk.”

Cheese Rolling: “Each May, in a quiet English village, thousands of people gather to watch runners chase a wheel of cheese down a hill. A very steep hill. We are the Champions follows competitors as they sprint, tumble and crash down the hill at top speed—risking fractured limbs and broken collar bones—to cross the finish line first and be crowned the Cheese Rolling Champion.”

Fantasy Hair Styling: “The Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show is the nation’s largest multicultural beauty show—it’s also home to the Fantasy Hair Competition, the most outrageous and over-the-top display of hair on the planet. We are the Champions is in New Orleans where stylists have 90 minutes to craft elaborate, sculptural hair creations and transform their model into a head-to-toe vision of Mardi Gras.”

Yo-Yo: “Yo-Yos may be old, but their champions are barely out of their teens. We are the Champions is in Cleveland, Ohio at the World Yo-Yo contest, the most prestigious Yo-Yo competition on the planet, where elaborate routines and original moves set to hot music take “walking the dog” to a whole new park.”

Dog Dancing: “‘We are the Champions’ joins the best dog dancers in the world at the Open European Championship (OEC), where the dogs master over 400 commands in a single four-minute routine. Whether it’s heelwork or freestyle, these dogs prove that they’re the perfect dance partner.”

Frog Jumping: “‘We are the Champions’ travels to Angels Camp, California, home of the world championship of Frog Jumping. The annual champion gets a star on the “Hop of Fame,” a beautiful trophy and 500 American dollars! But the real goal is to break Rosie the Ribeter’s record of 21 feet and 5.75 inches—that will get you $5,000 and the title of Frog Jumping World Champion.”

“In a TV landscape that can be rather formulaic at times, ‘We Are The Champions’ represents something refreshing and different,” said Chris Uetwiller, CEO of Dirty Robber. “But ultimately, the show’s secret sauce is the storytelling. The Champions’ enthusiasm and passion is so wonderfully contagious and uplifting that, as a viewer, you can’t help but be moved — and who knew people would ever be moved by cheese rolling.”


More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.