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I have a friend who announces for a bunch of the local roller derby teams. I could ask him this, but I ain't gonna, 'cause he's kind of a buttmunch about his roller derby announcing. Some people take that shit SERIOUSLY. So I'll ask here:

 

Do today's roller derby people embrace the history of the sport - even though old roller derby is a worked sport - or do they shy away from it because it's worked?

 

Meltzer doesn't care for soccer. He's like a worked sport/MMA Rain Man.

He used to cover soccer and i think worked for the original NASL Earthquakes.

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Roller Derby people will beat the crap out of you if you even MENTION it was a worked sport.

But they're semi-theatrical with those silly worked names like "Buck Nasty" or "Thrashzilla" or whatever. They're trying to have their cake and eat it, too. If they were trying to get through as a serious sport, everyone should compete using their real names. Pro athletes have nicknames, but usually get referred to by their names. It's hard to take anyone named "Slot Ma Sheen" seriously as an athlete.

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Roller Derby people will beat the crap out of you if you even MENTION it was a worked sport.

 

A now-deceased friend of my parents worked Roller Derby in the 60's and 70's.  He was very dismissive of pro wrestling, which always annoyed me.

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Man, I remember that hot minute when my friends and I were convinced ROLLERGAMES was going to bring down SNL because it was just that amazing.  According to Wikkety is was averaging a 4.7 Nationally and a 9.3 in New York City against SNL and AMERICAN GLADIATORS.

 

IT WAS BIGGER THAN RAW is right now BABY!!!!  THAT'S NASCAR MONEY TERRITORY!!!

 

 

Makes me wonder if Dave Batista has this:

 

rollergames_lunch_box.jpg

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I have a family friend who was on a local roller derby team. This league was real but they had gimmicky names and clear heel/face teams (all the rough looking or fat chicks were on heel teams, the hot girls were the faces). She had no idea that roller derby used to be worked. I'd imagine most of them were in the same boat. She was recruited when a friend of a friend approached her and said "hey you got a nice body, can you skate? Wanna make a little money?"

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 "hey you got a nice body, can you skate? Wanna make a little money?"

 

I had this same experience except the guy saying it was Dick Button and I did not make any money. 

 

Just precious precious memories.

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In California, roller derby and pro wrestling kind of go together. A lot of the wrestling fans from the '70s early '80s will talk about roller derby as well. You'll see some of the fans attend roller derby whenever it happens and I've even seen a few ex-wrestlers join roller derby teams.  I think that's why you get Meltzer, Kurt Brown, etc. always bringing it up and news about it randomly showing up on WON site. Dave has roller derby and Bryan has his thing for ghosts and Big Foot.

 

I've been to a few roller derby games and find it hard to believe anyone wouldn't think its a work. Its pretty obvious. I would guess skaters would probably misunderstand that someone is suggesting the games are worked and not necessarily what they do during the game like getting thrown over the barricade or skating fast, that sort of thing.

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Modern roller derby, in my experience, is not worked. They take it very easy on each other for a contact sport - if an amateur or semi-pro hockey team was as tentative and "light" as they are, they would get laughed off the ice. The ladies enjoy the theatricality but have no concept of working or heat. Many are not aware that 90% of historical roller derby was worked. It's a very grrl power environment, and a small niche market. Most are run as a co-op, but the frequent fund-raisers show that they don't make to much money. In many leagues the players pay dues to play and practice, so somebody carny enough may be making money off of it. Like an indy wrestling promotion, most of the non-tesm members are volunteers.

Dave really liked classic derby and I like his coverage (usually an obit) of the sport, I don't think he is too aware of any of it's modern incarnations. It's too punk rawk for him.

Disclaimer: I have more first hand knowledge of Midwest and East Coast RD. The California and PNW versions seem more serious and may actually make a profit.

I miss Ms. Georgia Hase and Skinny Minnie,

RAF

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I am friends with a lot of roller girls. The modern thing is definitely real and the girls are very competitive about it -- especially the travel teams. Like Axl said -- it's very much a riot grrrl DIY thing. They all have those names just for the silliness factor and because of the punk influence. A bunch are vegans and were in bands and stuff like that.

The roller girls I know are all really good athletes. Most of them actually stopped because getting banged around like that adds up on a body pretty quickly.

The games were always a blast. In most cities, there is a local league with really silly names -- like the Liberty Belles or Broad Street Bitches here. Then there is an All-Star team that plays around the country. They have big tournaments and the like. I was at some events that had a few thousand in attendance.

It's seriously a great time and a lot of fun.

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I know a couple of roller girls too.  On the local level, at least, it's all real.  Overstuffed with gimmicks and very heavy on hype and pageantry, but it's still legit competition.  And I dunno if it's done differently in the Reverend's part of the world or what, but these girls around here beat the living SHIT out of each other.  They all wear full protective gear, pads everywhere and big helmets, and they still get shelved with nasty injuries with frightening frequency.  One good friend of mine was out for months with a gimpy ankle (which you'd think would be nearly impossible to suffer during one of these games, considering how stiff and protective your average skating-boot must be).  And she's this Sigourney Weaver-sized mohawked lesbian asskicker, hardly a brittle victim-in-waiting.  

 

And yeah, on the locals at least it's mostly done on a volunteer basis.  I doubt they get much more than the handshake-and-free-concessions that most young indy guys do.  For every travelling pro team, there's at least half-a-dozen smaller groups.  It may be different on some levels; I'm told the Nashville group is ridiculously popular, selling out the Fairgrounds arena (you know, the old TNA Asylum) on a regular basis as if this was 1983 and every main event was Lawler/Dundee.  (A lot of the local Nashville indy guys are said to nurse quite the sour-grapes grudge against the rollergals for drawing much better than today's wrestling in this built-explicitly-for-wrestling arena.)  SOMEONE'S making some money there, although of course it might not be the performers.  

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Meta World Peace

I was actually gonna mention (besides Ocho Cinco) in my post. Y'all know what I mean, if everybody in the league had names like Metta World Peace or Ocho Cinco, it'd be silly.

 

And from everything I've been able to gather, modern, flat-track roller derby is a shoot. But to cherry pick what it wants to take out of the days when it used to be a work hardly seems fair to me. Either take it all or take nothing. Either treat it completely like a serious sport or don't. Don't say "well, we're serious about this, but not that." Naming the women "Babezilla" or whatever is like inviting your audience not to take you seriously as a sport, broken ankles and all.

 

I'm pretty sure there are at least some teams or leagues that are throwbacks to banked-track, worked roller derby. And I'm totally with the Right Rev. Axl Future here - I miss evil coaches and match races and Ralphie F'n Valladares. I went to see one match, and when the home team's star player was announced as leaving to move to another town and they didn't have a loser-leave-town match race to write her out, I'm like "roller derby this is not" and left at halftime.

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What I went to wasn't the roller girl type of modern roller derby, but something that had a mix of old-timers with younger skaters. They did the similar thing of having men/women on teams. Here's a video. Danny Wolf is calling the action and he'll usually get a skater tossed onto his table or on him for his bump.

 

 

Megan Martinez  is the granddaughter of Ralphie Valladares.

 

I've gone a few times when they've been in Pomona. Dr. Lucha went to a roller derby match as well a few years ago.  I think jstout hit it with why I said it was worked. I went to the sort of roller derby he's referring to.  They had evil coaches and I believe they did a gimmick match at one point.  Last show I went to was a joint event with wrestling. The wrestling was pretty bad.

 

Its a fun time. Always pretty good crowds.

 

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I can't say this with 1,000 percent certainty, but generally if it's banked-track with the big poles, it's worked. It's a throwback to the good old days of roller derby. If it's flat-track, it's a shoot.

 

There are starting to be some men's teams and co-ed teams, but generally, flat-track shoot roller derby is a women's sport. Worked roller derby was men and women.

 

I grew up and live in the sticks of East Tennessee. When I was a kid, one of the local TV stations would play the Los Angeles' T-Birds' one-hour TV show after Saturday Night Live, and the storylines were always awesome. I have no idea why a TV station in the heart of BFE would play California roller derby, but I thank them for it.

 

Used to piss me off that I could never see whatever match race they were pimping for the next show, but I was used to that, seeing all the talk of wrestling cards I would never see at places like the Omni when I watched wrestling as a kid. 

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