The contenders faced a pyramid made out of crash mats, and had to avoid two Gladiators in a race to get to the top and within 45 seconds. The premise was similar to The Wall, with the exception being that instead of chasing the contenders up the pyramid, the Gladiators tried to block the contenders from climbing up to the top of the pyramid. Once a contender reached the top, in order to score they were required to either ring a bell (early playings) or press an actuator button. When the actuator was integrated, a hit resulted in strobe lights going off for a few seconds. Each Gladiator had a contender they were assigned to defend against, instead of the two Gladiators chasing both players at one time and being freely able to switch contenders.
For the 2008 revival, contenders are given 60 seconds to go up the Pyramid, with new rules similar to rules from the UK version from 1992–1999 adopted.
- A "scoring zone" was added four tiers down from the top, marked with a white dotted line. Contenders whose feet reach above the white line receive five points, regardless of whether or not they are subsequently knocked down below the scoring zone.
- This is the same location as the UK Gladiators' "red step (safety zone)" which was added to the UK version of the Pyramid in 1997 following the career-ending injury to popular UK series Gladiator Diane "Jet" Youdale. In the UK version, Gladiators could not chase the contender above the "safety step". That rule was not implemented in the U.S. version because it gave a contender an unfair advantage.
- Five more points are given for pressing the buzzer at the top of the pyramid. Points are no longer awarded for second place; the event is stopped if either contender should push the actuator at the top. Should this happen, flamethrowers go off behind the Pyramid.
- The Pyramid is also used in the Eliminator, with the contenders forced to scale it to reach the zipline.