The Monster Jam World Finals is a yearly event held at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will begin a new rotating host location schedule in 2019.
World Finals 1
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The first Monster Jam World Finals was held on March 25th, 2000. The event featured 16 trucks even though only 14 trucks came out for freestyle due to Airborne Ranger being damaged from a side wall collision (despite Predator ironically surviving the same type of accident) and King Krunch's motor being blown. Tom Meents in Goldberg won Racing over Scott Hartsock in Gunslinger, and Dennis Anderson won Freestyle with a score of 40.
World Finals 2
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World Finals 2 was held on March 24th, 2001. Tom Meents, driving Goldberg, doubled down, winning in Racing over Blue Thunder and winning Freestyle with a score of 38. This was the first time a competitor had doubled down during the World Finals. Only 13 trucks came out for freestyle due to an issue Gun Slinger, Wolverine's motor being too hot and Blue Thunder crashing in the finals. Although Blacksmith also couldn't return for freestyle as it ended up in the dumpsters and there wasn't enough time to retrieve it between Round 2 and Semi-Finals, this is the only time a truck that was originally not invited, or competing (being Ragin Steel) was inducted into the field of trucks as a substitute competitor.
World Finals 3
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World Finals 3 was held on March 23rd, 2002. Meents doubled down again, this time in Team Meents, winning in Racing over Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter and winning Freestyle with a score of 37. This would be the second, and as of now, last time a truck has doubled down at the World Finals. This also marked the first time a truck won the double down consecutively 2 years in a row, and the first and only time a truck has won a championship 3 times consecutively. All 16 trucks came out for freestyle.
World Finals 4
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World Finals 4 was held on March 22nd, 2003. Two surprise winners were found this year, with Brian Barthel, driving Wolverine, winning Racing over Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter and Jim Koehler winning Freestyle with a 37. This was the first World Finals not to have Dennis Anderson, due to an injury. Only 15 trucks came out for freestyle due to Gun Slinger's engine being blown.
World Finals 5
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World Finals 5 was held on March 20th, 2004. Dennis Anderson, driving Grave Digger, won Racing over Pablo Huffaker in Blacksmith, and three winners were crowned in Freestyle; Lupe Soza in El Toro Loco, Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction, and Debra Miceli in Madusa, all with a 31. All 16 trucks came out for freestyle.
World Finals 6
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World Finals 6 was held on March 19th, 2005. Debra Miceli, driving Madusa, won Racing over Dennis Anderson in Grave Digger, and Jimmy Creten, driving Bounty Hunter, won Freestyle with a 31 in a tiebreaker over Tony Farrell in Blue Thunder. This was the only World Finals to have a 20 truck line up. Only 19 trucks came out to freestyle due to Gun Slinger's engine being blown once again, depsite Scott Hartsock already having a backup Gun Slinger truck, even though it was a Chevrolet instead of a Ford.
World Finals 7
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World Finals 7 was held on March 25th, 2006. Dennis Anderson, driving Grave Digger, won Racing over Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter, and Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction won Freestyle with a 37. This was the first World Finals to have a 24 truck line up. Only 23 trucks came out to freestyle due to mechanical problems with Hot Wheels.
World Finals 8
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World Finals 8 was held on March 24th, 2007. John Seasock, driving Batman, won Racing over Dennis Anderson in Grave Digger, and Pablo Huffaker in Captain's Curse won Freestyle with a 34. This was the debut show of Captain's Curse, and the debut of the Chrome 25th anniversary body for Grave Digger. Only 22 trucks came out to freestyle due to a racing crash TMNT had which couldn't be fixed in time for freestyle, and Hot Wheels had mechanical problems once again.
World Finals 9
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World Finals 9 was held on March 29th, 2008. John Seasock, driving Batman, won Racing over Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter, and Adam Anderson in Taz won Freestyle with a 37. All 24 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 10
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World Finals 10 was held on March 28th, 2009. Tom Meents, driving Maximum Destruction, won Racing over Alex Blackwell in Captain's Curse, and Damon Bradshaw in the Air Force Afterburner won Freestyle with a 36. During freestyle, Maximum Destruction would complete Monster Jam's first backflip. This would also be the debut of the Nitro Circus truck. Only 23 trucks came out to freestyle due to Captain's Curse's violent racing crash caused by brake problems, thus it couldn't be fixed in time for freestyle.
World Finals 11
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World Finals 11 was held on March 27th, 2010. Dennis Anderson, driving Grave Digger, won Racing over Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction, and Charlie Pauken in Monster Mutt won Freestyle with a 39. Only 22 trucks came out to freestyle since both King Krunch and El Toro Loco had racing crashes and they couldn't be fixed in time for freestyle.
World Finals 12
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World Finals 12 was held on March 24th, 2011. Tom Meents, driving Maximum Destruction, won Racing over Jim Creten in Bounty Hunter, and Jim Koehler in Avenger won Freestyle with a 32 in a tiebreaker with Cam McQueen in Nitro Circus. All 24 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 13
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World Finals 13 was held on March 23rd, 2012. Tom Meents, driving Maximum Destruction, won Racing over Damon Bradshaw in Monster Energy, and Cam McQueen in Northern Nightmare won Freestyle with a 38. All 24 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 14
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World Finals 14 was held on March 22nd, 2013. Adam Anderson, driving Grave Digger the Legend, won Racing over Marc McDonald in El Toro Loco, and Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction won Freestyle with a 34. This was the only World Finals to have 28 trucks. Only 27 trucks came out to freestyle due to Bounty Hunter's engine being blown. This is the last time a monster truck gets left out for freestyle because of the new format for the Monster Jam World Finals in 2014 and beyond.
World Finals 15
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World Finals 15 was held on March 20th, 2014. Adam Anderson, driving Grave Digger the Legend, won Racing over Tom Meents in Max-D, and Todd LeDuc in Metal Mulisha won Freestyle with a 37.5. This was the first World Finals to have 32 trucks. All 32 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 16
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World Finals 16 was held on March 26, 2015. Todd LeDuc, driving Metal Mulisha, won Racing over Ryan Anderson in Son-Uva Digger, and Mikey Vaters in Overkill Evolution won Freestyle with a 33.5. All 32 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 17
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World Finals 17 was held on March 17, 2016. Morgan Kane, driving Grave Digger, won Racing over Todd LeDuc in Metal Mulisha, and Adam Anderson in Grave Digger won Freestyle with a 33. All 32 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 18
see main article: Monster Jam World Finals 18
World Finals 18 was held on March 23-25, 2017. This was the first World Finals that does not feature Tom Meents, and the second World Finals not to include Dennis Anderson, as both are out due to injury. Ryan Anderson won racing in Son-Uva Digger over Tyler Menninga in Grave Digger, and Lee O'Donnell won freestyle in VP Racing Fuels Mad Scientist with a score of 9.355. All 32 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 19
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World Finals 19 was held on March 23-24, 2018. Adam Anderson won racing in Grave Digger over Tyler Menninga in Grave Digger, and Ryan Anderson in Son-uva Digger won freestyle with a score of 9.182. All 32 trucks came out to freestyle.
World Finals 20
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World Finals 20 will be held in 2019, beginning the new rotating host location schedule. This marks the first time the World Finals will be held outside of Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Re-location of the World Finals
On March 27th 2017, just days after World Finals 18, The Oakland Raiders were approved by the NFL to move from Oakland to Las Vegas by no later than 2020. The current plan is for the UNLV Rebels, the college football team that currently plays at Sam Boyd Stadium, to join the Raiders in their new stadium currently under the working title "Las Vegas Stadium". When this happens, there is a possibility that Sam Boyd Stadium will be demolished, which would therefore require the World Finals to move to another location However, Sam Boyd Stadium's future is presently unclear, as the Raiders are also considering selling Sam Boyd Stadium or turning it into a Raider's practice facility.
This move has been criticized by the Monster Jam community, primarily because Sam Boyd Stadium is the only stadium in the United States that has dimensions that allow for the "Vegas Style" racing format.
It was announced on February 15, 2018, that beginning with World Finals 20, the host stadium of the World Finals would be a rotating schedule, beginning with MetLife Stadium in May 2019 although, a few months later, the venue and date was removed due to schedule conflicts with MetLife Stadium. Meanwhile, Sam Boyd Stadium will be getting a new event, the Monster Jam All-Star Challenge, "a new event that will be held annually in Las Vegas. Top drivers from across the country will compete in a new format to celebrate the best of the sport."
On September 5th 2018, there was a press release about the Monster Jam World Finals 20 and it confirms that the new location for the World Finals will be held in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
World Finals 1-5 have been fairly well received: they are especially popular among more old-school Monster Jam fans who favor crushing cars over dirt ramps. At the same time, they have been slightly criticized for a lack of major air-time obstacles, although there have been famous instances of large air, such as Gunslinger's 50 foot high jump at the World Finals 3. World Finals 5 was also somewhat controversial due to its large size, particularly a shipping container in the middle of the track that caused three trucks to crash.
World Finals 6-7 have been seen as improvements over 1-5, with improved ramps for great air time, while still keeping relatively the same format. It was also round this time when water fountains came into use for World Finals tracks.
World Finals 8-12 is considered to be the golden age of the Monster Jam World Finals, which many fans consider to be the perfect blend between large, challenging dirt ramp obstacles, as well as its uses of cars/vans either next to them, or even on top of them. Despite this, World Finals 11 was somewhat controversial due to its large size, but the next year's track would be designed by the drivers instead, in response to this.
World Finals 13-15 were a bit less well received. By this point, dirt was becoming the norm, but regardless, crush cars were still not uncommon to see out on these tracks.
World Finals 16-17 have been heavily criticized for their nearly dirt-only setups, which have been seen as boring due to their lack of crush cars as well as a major, challenging obstacle which was essentially a tradition throughout the history of the World Finals.
World Finals 18, surprisingly, exploded with approval, as it brought back the fountain, more cars, a bus, and a much less challenging course, allowing for more drivers to freestyle longer. On top of that, many drivers attempted new stunts like the Corkscrew, and succeeded in creating new stunts, like the Reverse Backflip, and Front Flip.
World Finals 19 was met with both positive and negative reviews, with some fans saying that it was one of the better events of 2018, while others thought it was near the worst for being the last World Finals in Sam Boyd Stadium. Some of the complaints included many of the trucks breaking down, or crashing early, while the converse argument pointing out that the trucks who managed to stay driving, had spectacular runs that more than helped to make up for some of it. Another complaint was for the Rampage and Max-D encores being sub-par, with the Max-D encore not going to plan, and the Rampage encore being an advertisement for the movie of the same name. But the converse argument made by the other half argues that the stunts that managed to be accomplished for both encores made it incredible.
Following the World Finals peak of success in 2011, The World Finals tracks, particularly since 2015, have become criticized for lack of crush cars or vans in the freestyle tracks: instead, these tracks have used near-sole usage of dirt ramps. These tracks have been seen as boring, compared to older tracks that used more cars. The tracks have also been disdained for their large sizes and complexity, causing many trucks to break or crash early in freestyle. This was especially disdained in World Finals 17, as only 5 of the 32 trucks completed bonus time, as the other had broken or crashed before they could do so. This began taking place since the World Finals switched to a two day format beginning with World Finals 15 in 2014, with racing on day one and freestyle on day two: therefore, the freestyle tracks do not need to take racing lanes into account.
The World Finals' use of fan judges has also been sharply criticized. Many fans argue that, because the event is considered to be the "Superbowl" of Monster Jam, such an event should therefore be judged by officials, rather than randomly selected fans. This controversy reached its peak at World Finals 16 and 17, when the winners, Mike Vaters II/Overkill Evolution and Adam Anderson/Grave Digger respectively, were seen as relatively mediocre freestyles (Anderson more than Vaters), despite winning.
The following is a list of winners, sorted by amount of titles.
- Brian Barthel was the first driver to retire after winning a world championship. He won the World Racing Championship in 2003 and his retirement from the sport came in 2005. Other retired World Champions include:
- Lupe Soza (won in 2004, retired in 2017)
- Madusa (won in 2004 & 2005, retired in 2016, injuries)
- Damon Bradshaw (won in 2009, retired in 2017, contract issues)
- Dennis Anderson (won in 2000, 2004, 2006 & 2010, retired in 2017, injuries)
- John Seasock (won in 2007 & 2008, retired in 2016)
- Pablo Huffaker (won in 2007, retired in 2018)
- Lee O'Donnell (won in 2017, retired in 2018)
- World Finals 2 currently has the least amount of competitors to actually compete in freestyle as only 13 out of 16 monster trucks freestyled due to others breaking down or crashing in racing.
- Avenger is the only truck to compete in every single World Finals while being driven by the same driver.
- Bounty Hunter has appeared in 5 World Finals Championship Races, and still hasn't won it to this date.
- As of today, only 4 World Finals Championship Titles have been won by independent teams.
- Avenger (Team Scream) - 2003 & 2011 Freestyle
- Bounty Hunter (2Xtreme Racing) - 2005 Freestyle
- Overkill Evolution (Vaters Motorsports) - 2015 Freestyle
- Jim Koehler is also the only independent monster truck driver to win more than one world title.
- Avenger has won the "Extreme Air of the Year" at the World Finals 6 years in a row from 2012-2017. The streak would be ended by Rosalee Ramer (Wild Flower) in 2018.
- To date, no independent trucks have won a world racing title.
- In the week leading up to the World Finals there is a special day held exclusively for the Wounded Warriors and Make a Wish Foundation's. All the competing drivers the display drivers who have arrived are on hand to spend the day with these special fans, as well as the wheelchair accessible ride truck Wheels of Freedom.
- Only six drivers have won both a world racing championship and a world freestyle championship at least once:
- Tom Meents (Won racing six times; won freestyle five times)
- Dennis Anderson (Won racing three times; won freestyle once)
- Adam Anderson (Won racing three times; won freestyle twice)
- Ryan Anderson (Won racing and freestyle once)
- Debra Miceli (Madusa) (Won racing and freestyle once)
- Todd LeDuc (Won racing and freestyle once)
- Despite not being put into effect until 2014, the idea of a 32 Truck Line Up with individual days dedicated to Racing and Freestyle was announced a decade earlier in 2004. The idea was for 2004 to have 16 trucks, 2005 to have 20 trucks, 2006 to have 24 trucks, and then 2007 to be the first year that had 32 trucks, and individual days of Racing and Freestyle. For inexplicable reasons, the idea was postponed for 7 years.
- World Finals 6 and 9 are the only World Finals in Las Vegas to not have a racing crash. World Finals 6 is questionable. In Round 1 of racing, Pastrana 199 won, but it hit a semi trailer and broke a wheel off. It is questionable if this counts as a racing crash or not.