Meet the Skullbuster: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge on CMT

American Ninja Warrior, meet your new competition — Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, a 10-episode competition series debuting on CMT Sunday, July 6, at 9pm ET/PT. The show and its “Skullbuster” obstacle course are the brainchild of wrestling legend Steve Austin, who wanted to bring a new level of competition to TV.

“I love doing serious, hardcore competition, so I wanted to come up with an even tougher version of competition [referring to his other CMT series, Redneck Island] — only take out the drama and make it all about the action,” Austin says. “We came up with this concept and through my body of work in the world of professional wrestling — being Stone Cold Steve Austin — I was known for being the toughest SOB in the WWE. We wanted to make this thing tough.”

The contestants make up a diverse group of athletes from the worlds of CrossFit, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, as well as those with backgrounds in MMA, powerlifting and bodybuilding. They come to Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch, where they compete in three rounds of head-to-head, bracket-style competition with the winner getting a shot at the Skullbuster obstacle course.

“The last person standing at the end of the first day goes on to the next day to face my obstacle course, which I named the Skullbuster. The Skullbuster doesn’t care if you’re man or woman; it’s designed to stop you,” Austin says. “It’s a half-mile course with 10 obstacles and if you can beat my Skullbuster, I’ll give you $10,000. Or if someone beats it, you have to beat that benchmark time.”

Steve Austin's Broken Skull ChallengeUnlike American Ninja Warrior, contestants are competing against one another versus competing against a clock. The 10-episode series will feature five episodes with men and five with women; however, all of the competitions are exactly the same.

“I didn’t know how the women were going to fare just because some of the stuff is very tough,” Austin continues. “I was just blown away with everybody — men and women. We brought, truly, the elite athletes out to the ranch and they all performed, they all kicked ass. I was blown away and inspired actually by some of the training these people do.”

And to win this thing, Austin explains, you’re going to need more than just iron will and determination. “You are going to need the physical tools — you are going to need strength, stamina, explosion, quickness, durability and endurance. We test it all. We will test your willpower. How much heart do you have? There were some people who came out here that were clearly seemingly overmatched from a physical standpoint who ended up beating the other person just because of will, determination and heart. There were some real surprises out at the ranch.”


Photo: Credit: Jason Elias/CMT



  1. can you do like a kids chalange i am 13 and i really want to do this and know i can win.but it is only for adults can you do it for kids ime 5 foot 6 weight 130 and i think i have the experience to do this.if you would do it get a hold of me and i will sign up

  2. Hey austin I watched your show and would like to try the skull challenge. I live in tennessee 38 fit and always pushing myself love to get ahead in life a little better 10,000 would help. I no I can complete the challenge.

  3. Hey my name is Tim Mathews I am 37 going 38 I am 5’6″ 165 work out daily I would like to be on the show I have too reasons to be on the show is that I am the baddest SOB so I can show my son that I can do it for him and for my future wife and show my family that I can do it please give me a shot for. Thank you Steve Austin

  4. Mr. Stone Cold Steve Austin I would the opportunity to be on this competition. I played football for 12 years, qualified for the Olympic trails in 2008 and am currently a decoy and trainer of police and Schutzhund dogs here in Green Bay, WI. I also own my a dog training company and would use the money to jump start my passion in helping people understand their misunderstood dogs. I would love the chance to apply.

  5. I’m a 26 year old former mm a fighter I played football from age 6 till 17 I passed the pre qualifications to go into the navy’s seal program I am also a husband and father of four kids I believe I can be a serious competitor send me application info and I’m ready for the challenge

  6. Hello Mr Austin.. I saw your Skull busting show tonight for the first time…the one where a young lady, Heather, won your challenge in just under 9 minutes. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the show! In fact, I think I cracked a tooth as I was clenching my teeth while cheering this young woman. Needless to say, I am hooked on your show now. And thank you for this show ! Instead of producing a phony drama-based show that displays the manipulative, back-stabbing, undermining negative spirit in people, you have given us a great show about the competitive spirit who shows honorable sportsmanship, and winning on one’s own merits, not on the backs of fellow contestors. What a refreshing change from these past several years of “Hollywood” bunk. It’s time to showcase the best of the human spirit!!!! You are an inspiration. I hope your show airs for many seasons to come.
    And, I am inspired to get myself in better shape as well.. Although at 59, it could take awhile before I visit your ranch! 🙂

  7. I’m Charles Williams, and I’m a 43 year old man 5’9″ 197 lbs who is an Navy Vet, and physical fit! I would win The Skull Buster Challenge hands down! Please sent me the information on how to apply? Thank You….

  8. Mr. Austin, our family loves the your show! Have you ever considered having a boys youth Skull Buster for 12 years old and under? Please contact us at the email. Thanks.

  9. I think it’s funny how most of these guys are meat heads, I work with molten lead at an ammunition factory in idaho and work harder everyday than they can emagine, give me a shot, I’ll show you a true white collar hard working guy who will kick all these meat heads asses….merica…nuff said

  10. I’m 29 5’7 Bounce from 165 170 I’ve always been underestimated but I’ve always proving them wrong. I’ve been in the oil field business worked on offshore boats, worked on rigs, and mechanic for a while I’m not the baddest mother f***** but I believe I’m one tough son of a bitch I’ve had my foot smashed eleven hundred pounds of pressure both wrist broken and I’m still in the oil field I might be Tiny Tim to others but I left it in them wrong…. this is one bad ass show stone can i get a Hell yeah

  11. I’m a 25 year old tire technician from flint michigan. I would love to contest on this show how do I sign up?

  12. Hi I am 28 years old, and I want to be on this show and beat the Skull buster challenge please let me know how I can sign up thanks.

  13. Just watched the show and love it as a wounded veteran I would love to have the chance to test myself and my mental capacity to see if I can exceed my expectations I would not try to impress others just myself and on that note Mr Austin still remember the bad. Ass camo wearing beer drinking red blooded american that came out on wrestling which is now WWE loved the motivation! Thanks and have a wonderful day!

  14. my name is Pamela wagers and I was I would love to be abull I was just wont to no how could I get on the show I thaick that I could do it so can you till me how to sine for it I thick that would help me I love Austin show it would do me some justtus place help me thaick you so much I love him so much I name my son after him has name his name Austin so just let me no something I thick that his is a bad ass and that is what I love about him Pamela wagers

  15. As I’m sitting here watching the show I’m continuously saying to myself I know I could do this challenge. I would love to prove to everyone that I do have heart♡ to complete the skull buster. If given the opportunity I wouldn’t disappoint. I’m 22 yes I’m female but girls can do as much as a man. Please let me know how I can apply so I can kick butt in the skull buster challenge!

  16. Stone cold, I am 18 yrs old and i watched you wrestle when i was younger and you were always proven to be the toughest SOB in WWE. Now, from me watching you wrestle and the attitude you had, you inspired me and gave me a strong mentality. I went on to play football and wrestle while i was in school and the only thing that kept in my head, was if im gonna do this then i need to be the toughest SOB here doing it. i pretty much applied that mentality to everything else i did in life. i always wanted a chance to meet you and train with you just to go through some of the things it takes to make a tough SOB. And now that you have the skull buster challenge, i want a shot. I want a shot to show you ill be the toughest SOB and i can complete any challenge you throw at me even the Skullbuster. And if i get a shot, when i complete the Skullbuster, i want a shot to run through it again but i wanna go against you. Because I dont wanna be one of the toughest SOB’s, I wanna be THE TOUGHEST SOB out there. I hope to hear something back Stone Cold.

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