The world-famous bodybuilder, actor and former California governor selected Matt, host of American Ninja Warrior, as the champion after he raised over $500,000 for his charity, The Arthritis Foundation, and blew everyone away with his efforts as the season's "least well-known person" and official underdog in the competition.
"It's very clear why you won," Arnold told Matt in the boardroom, "because you kicked some serious butt task after task after task, and that's what makes a winner -- consistency."
"This has been more fun than I possibly could have imagined. The things that we got to do -- to have the run of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, to get to put makeup on for Tyra Banks, to get to record a song with Boy George and Vince Neil, to get to raise over half a million dollars for my charity, it's been awesome! And I got to do it with my idol, Arnold Schwarzenegger, so pretty much a dream come true," Matt told the cameras following his victory announcement.
Matt argued in the boardroom that he deserved to win the season because no one worked harder than him week in and week out, he was a leader and organizer, brought the best out of people around him, and beat a fundraising goal he initially deemed "impossible."
Boy George, a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, finished in second place but also did an "unbelievable job," according to Arnold. He came onto the show as one of the biggest stars, and although he struggled a little bit in the middle of the competition, he shifted gears and came back with a bang.
Boy George raised almost $446,000 for his Safe Kids Worldwide charity, which helps protect kids from injuries and accidental death. He learned he is quite business savvy after all and there are more sides to him than just the creative one. Boy George went out of his comfort zone in this season's tasks and discovered he can be a team player.
Carnival Luxury Cruises CEO and president Arnold Donald had previously instructed the two finalists to share the value of a cruise experience with people. Each contestant was required to produce an ad campaign, host a party and produce a 15-minute variety show.
The ad campaign needed to highlight the following cruise lines: Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn. It's purpose was to dispel common myths about cruises.
Boy George and Matt only needed to feature two cruise lines at their parties and variety shows. The finalists would be judged on overall brand integration, guest experience and the amount of money raised for charity from ticket sales.
At his party, Matt gave each guest a passport and had them walk around to different stations that represented a variety of destinations around the world. He even had live animals, including a baby kangaroo and toucan, to create the different environments. Matt's theme was, "The one destination that takes you everywhere." For the variety show, he had Carnie sing "Hold On."
Boy George created a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. It was wonderful, but even Carson admitted he was envious of Matt's animal display. Boy George, however, wrote two excellent songs about someone's cruising experience. He also invited Natasha Bedingfield to sing a song as well as a couple of dancers to perform to the music. At one point, his friend Caitlyn Jenner arrived with a check for $90,000 for his charity.
Once in the boardroom with advisers Tyra and Arnold's nephew Patrick Schwarzenegger, Arnold revealed the results of the final task were "very, very close."
Tyra explained to Boy George that he had an impressive presentation, the party was on-point, the photos were phenomenal, and the executives loved that his variety show stayed on the theme of cruising. His "amazing" performance was also appreciated. As for fundraising, Boy George brought in a total of $445,925.
Patrick then told Matt that sharing his personal struggle with arthritis was "super engaging" for the audience and the cruise executives loved his party, including the cute animals. His passport idea was also a special touch, and he -- like Boy George -- stayed on the theme of cruising.
Considering Matt called himself "the least famous person" on the show, it was jaw-dropping that he was able to raise a total of $573,329 for his charity. Matt could barely hold back his tears when Arnold was getting ready to declare him the winner.