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WongLee
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 Can anyone give me a rough schematic on how these games were booked? Was every "spot" choreographed ahead of time? Were the scores pre-determined? Were the standings set up before the season even started? Funny how the Roller Derby packed 50,000 into Comiskey Park but the league was completely dead a couple of years later in favor of Roller Games.

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I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.

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srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?

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I am also unaware of how Roller Derby was booked, but think that if you put the question to Dave Meltzer on Twitter, he might be able to shed some light on it. He's from the Bay Area which was long one of the absolute Roller Derby strongholds and he was a fan who's written a fair amount about it, and to a lesser extent Roller Games, in the Observer.

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tamalie wrote: I am also unaware of how Roller Derby was booked, but think that if you put the question to Dave Meltzer on Twitter, he might be able to shed some light on it. He's from the Bay Area which was long one of the absolute Roller Derby strongholds and he was a fan who's written a fair amount about it, and to a lesser extent Roller Games, in the Observer.Tamalie I am totally serious when I say that you were the one guy on here who I thought would have the answer :tongue:

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The 1970's Roller Derby was more a form of sports entertainment and was choreographed but no idea to what extent.
During thst timeframe I don't think the outcomes of the matches mattered as much as the showmanship of the combatants.
I don't think anywhere is available a list of yearly records and champions. 
Today's Roller Derby is far more on the up and up.

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Angelic Assassin wrote: The 1970's Roller Derby was more a form of sports entertainment and was choreographed but no idea to what extent.
During thst timeframe I don't think the outcomes of the matches mattered as much as the showmanship of the combatants.
I don't think anywhere is available a list of yearly records and champions. 
Today's Roller Derby is far more on the up and up.
It was actually the Roller Games that were more like sports entertainment. They had a Figure 8 track to increase the mayhem. I think you're right about stats and standings being saved. I can't find any on the interwebs.

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WongLee wrote: srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?
Charlie O Connell, Anne Cuvello and Joanie Weston were the Lou Thez of Roller Derby.
They still have roller Derby schools and leagues in San Francisco though its not like what you use to see on TV.

Last edited on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 10:29 pm by Benlen

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Benlen wrote: WongLee wrote: srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?
Charlie O Connell, Anne Cuvello and Joanie Weston were the Lou Thez of Roller Derby.
They still have roller Derby schools and leagues in San Francisco though its not like what you use to see on TV.
Which actually leads to another question. In the 60's and 70's where did they recruit skaters from? There were a couple of wrestling schools in that time frame most notably Mae Young's out the Olympic Auditorium and Tony Santos on the East Coast in New England. But where did the Roller stars pop out from? It's funny that there was not one single crossover star who did both pro wrestling and the Derby/Games.

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WongLee wrote: Benlen wrote: WongLee wrote: srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?
Charlie O Connell, Anne Cuvello and Joanie Weston were the Lou Thez of Roller Derby.
They still have roller Derby schools and leagues in San Francisco though its not like what you use to see on TV.
Which actually leads to another question. In the 60's and 70's where did they recruit skaters from? There were a couple of wrestling schools in that time frame most notably Mae Young's out the Olympic Auditorium and Tony Santos on the East Coast in New England. But where did the Roller stars pop out from? It's funny that there was not one single crossover star who did both pro wrestling and the Derby/Games.

The obvious answer is they popped out of their mother's vaginas.

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WongLee wrote: Benlen wrote: WongLee wrote: srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?
Charlie O Connell, Anne Cuvello and Joanie Weston were the Lou Thez of Roller Derby.
They still have roller Derby schools and leagues in San Francisco though its not like what you use to see on TV.
Which actually leads to another question. In the 60's and 70's where did they recruit skaters from? There were a couple of wrestling schools in that time frame most notably Mae Young's out the Olympic Auditorium and Tony Santos on the East Coast in New England. But where did the Roller stars pop out from? It's funny that there was not one single crossover star who did both pro wrestling and the Derby/Games.

The obvious answer is they popped out of their mother's vaginas.

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"Roller Games" was with the T-Birds and Ms. Georgia Haas, right?


There's a Roller Derby league in Houston. A friend of a friend is on one of the teams, she swears it's a shoot. Sure.

Last edited on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 02:45 am by BuddyPSHayes

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BuddyPSHayes wrote: "Roller Games" was with the T-Birds and Ms. Georgia Haas, right?


There's a Roller Derby league in Houston. A friend of a friend is on one of the teams, she swears it's a shoot. Sure.

I’m pretty sure there are some shoot leagues now. 

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BuddyPSHayes wrote: "Roller Games" was with the T-Birds and Ms. Georgia Haas, right?


There's a Roller Derby league in Houston. A friend of a friend is on one of the teams, she swears it's a shoot. Sure.

I hink so. I recall the TBirds on Roller Games along with Wally George hosting the halftime show with a musical act. First time. I everI heard Bust A Move by Young MC.

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DJP wrote: BuddyPSHayes wrote: "Roller Games" was with the T-Birds and Ms. Georgia Haas, right?


There's a Roller Derby league in Houston. A friend of a friend is on one of the teams, she swears it's a shoot. Sure.

I think so. I recall the TBirds on Roller Games along with Wally George hosting the halftime show with a musical act. First time. I everI heard Bust A Move by Young MC.
If I remember correctly, I think that ESPN aired roller derby weekly either before or after AWA wrestling. This series featured a main storyline where Ms. Georgia Haas somehow got the contract of Randi Whitman from the LA T-Birds and forced her to skate for her team against her will. By the end of the season, somehow Whitman was reunited with her T-Birds team and the team won the championship.
I believe that RollerGames evolved a couple of years later that was syndicated and featured many of the same teams/players. However, the teams no longer had cities associated with them. For example, the Los Angeles Thunderbirds were now referred to as just the T-Birds. Again, Ms Georgia Haas was the featured villain and the storylines featured Ms. Haas capturing the contracts of "The T-Bird Twins" and the forced retirement/hall of fame induction of Ralphie Valedaris.
I enjoyed the ESPN version much better than the syndicated RollerGames version. While both shows were obviously "sports entertainment", the RollerGames version seemed too hokey and cartoonish to me (much like 80s WWF wrestling).

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Fucking Ralphie V having to retire that was some bullshit.

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When I was a kid this movie was out.  

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gwlee7 wrote: When I was a kid this movie was out.  IMHO far superior to Kansas City Bomber was Unholy Rollers with the late Claudia Jennings. It was made the same year and you smell the cigar smoke in the arenas.

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WongLee wrote: gwlee7 wrote: When I was a kid this movie was out.  IMHO far superior to Kansas City Bomber was Unholy Rollers with the late Claudia Jennings. It was made the same year and you smell the cigar smoke in the arenas.
Man....if skaters looked like Raquel Welch and Claudia Jennings I would need Tommy John surgery from whacking off so much.

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TNN's "RollerJam" in 1999-2001 seemed to be more choreographed than the other variations. It aired either right before, or right after, ECW.

I only tried watching the late 80's "RollerGames" once or twice. I thought it was odd that they had an alligator pit for overtime games. Like a kiddie pool in the middle of the track, with a small alligator in it. The wrestling bears have nothing on the RolerGames Alligator.

I have a friend who currently competes in the local Roller Derby league. It's straight forward competition, not a lot of violence, and is about as risque as a softball game. The only thing wacky about it, is that the skaters all have funny/punny names.

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In the early to mid 1980s or so, I saw some Roller Games from the Olympic Auditorium with the Los Angeles Thunderbirds in the green and yellow uniforms on TV. The T-Birds were the big babyface team. Several other teams all had very generic geographic names like the Western Outlaws and such. I was a wrestling fan, but despite how campy that was, Roller Games seemed even more so. Plus, I was a team sports fan and while it was easier to accept that win-loss records weren't kept in pro wrestling because at the time it was hard to follow those categories in individual sports like tennis and golf, while in boxing the records were kept but fighters often went a while between fights which didn't make TV, I could make no sense of any sort of league standings in Roller Games. Plus, despite how easy it now seems, in my youth I found the rules hard to follow. It just looked like people skating around and around.

They brought in matches to the Twin Cities on two occasions during that era that I can document. On Friday November 12, 1982, the T-Birds faced the Detrot Devils. On Thursday October 25, 1984, the T-Birds faced the New York Bombers. Both events were at Met Center, then the home of the Minnesota North Stars which had a capacity of 15,000 plus for NHL games. For the 1982 show, a good natured newspaper preview said 11,000 to 12,000 fans were expected and the hope was for a sellout. I seem to remember them coming back again around 1986, but can't find any evidence that this actually happened so far.

Last edited on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 04:29 pm by tamalie

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I remember Roller Game or Roller Derby from then, but the face team was in white, maroon, gold/yellow uniforms. The top face on the team was a short black guy. The end of the TV programs ended sort of like wrestling in which a skirmish would begin and they would cut away making viewers wonder what happened. I remember the top black guy doing a wrestling dropkick to another guy during an interview segment. There was also an evil manager who would take bumps in civilian clothes.

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tamalie wrote:

They brought in matches to the Twin Cities on two occasions during that era that I can document. On Friday November 12, 1982, the T-Birds faced the Detrot Devils. On Thursday October 25, 1984, the T-Birds faced the New York Bombers. Both events were at Met Center, then the home of the Minnesota North Stars which had a capacity of 15,000 plus for NHL games. For the 1982 show, a good natured newspaper preview said 11,000 to 12,000 fans were expected and the hope was for a sellout. I seem to remember them coming back again around 1986, but can't find any evidence that this actually happened so far.
That's amazing that they drew that big a house in the early 80's. I had thought that the sport was stone cold dead by the mid 70's.

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WongLee wrote: Angelic Assassin wrote: The 1970's Roller Derby was more a form of sports entertainment and was choreographed but no idea to what extent.
During thst timeframe I don't think the outcomes of the matches mattered as much as the showmanship of the combatants.
I don't think anywhere is available a list of yearly records and champions. 
Today's Roller Derby is far more on the up and up.
It was actually the Roller Games that were more like sports entertainment. They had a Figure 8 track to increase the mayhem. I think you're right about stats and standings being saved. I can't find any on the interwebs.
That was the late 80's version.  The version from 67 to 75 had the same track but more of the face and heel element.  Where I live the Warriors were always the good guys.  I have long thought that they must have had different tapings for the other media market and switched roles. 

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tamalie wrote: In the early to mid 1980s or so, I saw some Roller Games from the Olympic Auditorium with the Los Angeles Thunderbirds in the green and yellow uniforms on TV. The T-Birds were the big babyface team. Several other teams all had very generic geographic names like the Western Outlaws and such. I was a wrestling fan, but despite how campy that was, Roller Games seemed even more so. Plus, I was a team sports fan and while it was easier to accept that win-loss records weren't kept in pro wrestling because at the time it was hard to follow those categories in individual sports like tennis and golf, while in boxing the records were kept but fighters often went a while between fights which didn't make TV, I could make no sense of any sort of league standings in Roller Games. Plus, despite how easy it now seems, in my youth I found the rules hard to follow. It just looked like people skating around and around.

They brought in matches to the Twin Cities on two occasions during that era that I can document. On Friday November 12, 1982, the T-Birds faced the Detrot Devils. On Thursday October 25, 1984, the T-Birds faced the New York Bombers. Both events were at Met Center, then the home of the Minnesota North Stars which had a capacity of 15,000 plus for NHL games. For the 1982 show, a good natured newspaper preview said 11,000 to 12,000 fans were expected and the hope was for a sellout. I seem to remember them coming back again around 1986, but can't find any evidence that this actually happened so far.
In our market the T-Birds were the bad guys in 74/75.  The heel team.  Same with the NY Chiefs.  They actually had a segment where their announcers invaded the space of the Philadelphia Warriors announcers and took over the broadcast.  As you can see the invasion angle was hardly new. 

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Papa Voo wrote: I remember Roller Game or Roller Derby from then, but the face team was in white, maroon, gold/yellow uniforms. The top face on the team was a short black guy. The end of the TV programs ended sort of like wrestling in which a skirmish would begin and they would cut away making viewers wonder what happened. I remember the top black guy doing a wrestling dropkick to another guy during an interview segment. There was also an evil manager who would take bumps in civilian clothes.
Regarding the black roller derby star, does the name Ronnie Robinson ring a bell?

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Jim Trotter and Little Richard Brown.

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tamalie wrote: Papa Voo wrote: I remember Roller Game or Roller Derby from then, but the face team was in white, maroon, gold/yellow uniforms. The top face on the team was a short black guy. The end of the TV programs ended sort of like wrestling in which a skirmish would begin and they would cut away making viewers wonder what happened. I remember the top black guy doing a wrestling dropkick to another guy during an interview segment. There was also an evil manager who would take bumps in civilian clothes.
Regarding the black roller derby star, does the name Ronnie Robinson ring a bell?


It could have been, but “Little” Richard Brown sounds familiar, because of the “Little” adjective.  😄😄😄😄  I seem to remember the guy having that nickname. 
 

Last edited on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 10:20 pm by Papa Voo

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But, Ronnie Robinson is now sounding familiar.


Was the guy in civvies an evil coach/manager or the evil commissioner?

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Papa Voo wrote: But, Ronnie Robinson is now sounding familiar.


Was the guy in civvies an evil coach/manager or the evil commissioner?
I don't think so.   The evil coach would have definitely been a Roller Games thing though.  The traditional derby, while scripted, didn't play those things up.  For a bit, we had both on TV in our area.  The traditional derby team that seemed to be on TV the most were the San Francisco Bombers (I think). 

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The San Francisco Bay Bombers were one of Roller Derby's flagship teams in its various incarnations and were the main babyface team in the TV era.

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gwlee7 wrote: When I was a kid this movie was out.  Used to be my avatar here.

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WongLee wrote: Benlen wrote: WongLee wrote: srossi wrote: I always wondered this myself. Pretty hard to work if you ask me. I always assumed they just basically created characters and feuds and big spots and couldn't possibly choreograph every spot.Yeah I thought similar. Most of these guys and gals were experienced and like pro wres fighters, they could call the match right on the track. I'd like to know a bit more in-depth though. Did the teams know who was going to win that night before they went to the arena? Plus the bumps seemed brutal. Did they teach bumping in Derby school? Did the Roller Derby have their own Loo Theis?
Charlie O Connell, Anne Cuvello and Joanie Weston were the Lou Thez of Roller Derby.
They still have roller Derby schools and leagues in San Francisco though its not like what you use to see on TV.
Which actually leads to another question. In the 60's and 70's where did they recruit skaters from? There were a couple of wrestling schools in that time frame most notably Mae Young's out the Olympic Auditorium and Tony Santos on the East Coast in New England. But where did the Roller stars pop out from? It's funny that there was not one single crossover star who did both pro wrestling and the Derby/Games.
Sonny Roger's, AWA job guy wrote over at kayfabe memories wrote he initially tried to break into derby before breaking into wrestling. 

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Big Garea Fan wrote: DJP wrote: BuddyPSHayes wrote: "Roller Games" was with the T-Birds and Ms. Georgia Haas, right?


There's a Roller Derby league in Houston. A friend of a friend is on one of the teams, she swears it's a shoot. Sure.

I think so. I recall the TBirds on Roller Games along with Wally George hosting the halftime show with a musical act. First time. I everI heard Bust A Move by Young MC.
If I remember correctly, I think that ESPN aired roller derby weekly either before or after AWA wrestling. This series featured a main storyline where Ms. Georgia Haas somehow got the contract of Randi Whitman from the LA T-Birds and forced her to skate for her team against her will. By the end of the season, somehow Whitman was reunited with her T-Birds team and the team won the championship.

This is exactly what I remember.  It came on after the AWA, so I watched it and got hooked.  
Another name that rings a bell was Bozo Congelton.  I'm not sure on that last name but he had long hair on the sides and was bald on top like Bozo the clown.  He was a heel and would get pissed when they called him Bozo.
I think there was a quick footed T-Bird with the last name Washington.

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Anyone watch RollerJam? Someone mentioned it earlier. It was pretty crappy & overly scripted, but Stacy Blitsch was hot.

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The Ultimate Sin wrote: Anyone watch RollerJam? Someone mentioned it earlier. It was pretty crappy & overly scripted, but Stacy Blitsch was hot.
Was this the TNN one after ECW?  I never watched that.  I watched the syndicated '80s show that was part of a block with WWF Wrestling Superstars and American Gladiators.  That was my whole Saturday morning as a kid. 

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RollerJam aired after ECW on TNN and was taped for a while at the Universal Studios Florida theme park studio once used by WCW and later by TNA. The skaters used inline skates instead of traditional roller skates. Some TV producers came up with and owned the show, but they used Jerry Seltzer of the old Roller Derby as a figurehead commissioner for a while. They tried different gimmicks to get people to watch, but it never found an audience. The rules weren't the same as classic Roller Derby or Roller Games and the booking got caught up too much in the storyline stuff at the expense of the action. Ken Resnick was the announcer for a while. ECW greatly resented this show because it was felt that TNN gave RollerJam more attention and promotion. This was addressed bitterly, among other grievances, in the infamous promo Paul Heyman cut near the end of the line that TNN censored by dropping out the audio and running a crawl that mocked him.

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tamalie wrote: RollerJam aired after ECW on TNN and was taped for a while at the Universal Studios Florida theme park studio once used by WCW and later by TNA. The skaters used inline skates instead of traditional roller skates. Some TV producers came up with and owned the show, but they used Jerry Seltzer of the old Roller Derby as a figurehead commissioner for a while. They tried different gimmicks to get people to watch, but it never found an audience. The rules weren't the same as classic Roller Derby or Roller Games and the booking got caught up too much in the storyline stuff at the expense of the action. Ken Resnick was the announcer for a while. ECW greatly resented this show because it was felt that TNN gave RollerJam more attention and promotion. This was addressed bitterly, among other grievances, in the infamous promo Paul Heyman cut near the end of the line that TNN censored by dropping out the audio and running a crawl that mocked him.I remember that.  Heyman was correct.  The rollerjam product was pure crap.  They brought back a couple of the big deals from the early to mid 70's Rollergames.  It still sucked.  They had some strange story lines going. 

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tamalie wrote: RollerJam aired after ECW on TNN and was taped for a while at the Universal Studios Florida theme park studio once used by WCW and later by TNA. The skaters used inline skates instead of traditional roller skates. Some TV producers came up with and owned the show, but they used Jerry Seltzer of the old Roller Derby as a figurehead commissioner for a while. They tried different gimmicks to get people to watch, but it never found an audience. The rules weren't the same as classic Roller Derby or Roller Games and the booking got caught up too much in the storyline stuff at the expense of the action. Ken Resnick was the announcer for a while. ECW greatly resented this show because it was felt that TNN gave RollerJam more attention and promotion. This was addressed bitterly, among other grievances, in the infamous promo Paul Heyman cut near the end of the line that TNN censored by dropping out the audio and running a crawl that mocked him.
ECW trashed the show, but they were forced to do some cross-over stuff.  A few ECW stars appeared on at least 1 episode IIRC. 

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This is from a former Bay Bomber Jim Fitzpatrick




"Roller Games was very scripted according to Bill Griffith’s plans but for Roller Derby Jerry Seltzer stayed pretty much out of the games... Playoffs and the championships were really skated games with few to no fights. A completely legitimate season took place in ‘58 and destroyed things in Madison Square Garden for years... O’Connell’s Bombers were way too dominant and the scores were blow outs."

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Benlen wrote: This is from a former Bay Bomber Jim Fitzpatrick




"Roller Games was very scripted according to Bill Griffith’s plans but for Roller Derby Jerry Seltzer stayed pretty much out of the games... Playoffs and the championships were really skated games with few to no fights. A completely legitimate season took place in ‘58 and destroyed things in Madison Square Garden for years... O’Connell’s Bombers were way too dominant and the scores were blow outs."
This reminds me of the "The title matches are real, everything else is fake" line you used to hear about pro wres from rasslers and marks back in the day. I can see the story about the 58 season being kind of true though, like if the pro wrestlers decided to have legit contests...would totally kill a territory and the shooters would dominate I am sure.

srossi

 

Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
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khawk wrote: Benlen wrote: This is from a former Bay Bomber Jim Fitzpatrick




"Roller Games was very scripted according to Bill Griffith’s plans but for Roller Derby Jerry Seltzer stayed pretty much out of the games... Playoffs and the championships were really skated games with few to no fights. A completely legitimate season took place in ‘58 and destroyed things in Madison Square Garden for years... O’Connell’s Bombers were way too dominant and the scores were blow outs."
This reminds me of the "The title matches are real, everything else is fake" line you used to hear about pro wres from rasslers and marks back in the day. I can see the story about the 58 season being kind of true though, like if the pro wrestlers decided to have legit contests...would totally kill a territory and the shooters would dominate I am sure.

The shooters would dominate but as UFC shows it can also go the other way if there’s too much parity. No one successfully defends a title more than twice in a row and the company has trouble creating stars that the fans can get excited about. No one can ever get the rub from a win if everyone loses too frequently. Ironically, this is WWE’s booking strategy too, and last time I checked they were still fake so it shows how dumb they are. 



Last edited on Sun Aug 18th, 2019 04:29 pm by srossi



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