Roller derby has been around since the dawn of television. Unfortunately, unlike professional wrestling, it hasn't been able to stick through the decades.
The last televised roller derby program was Rollerjam, which lasted a shade more than a year, encompassing 4 cable TV "seasons", on The Nashville Network (TNN, now Spike TV). The fictional World Skating League had an odd number of teams, stocked with a mix of new players and older pros who'd been around for years. In fact, Jerry Seltzer, son of roller derby founder Leo Seltzer, was the figurehead commissioner of the league for the first season or two, but must've been disgusted with what had happened to his sport, and left, enabling the producers to go further into sports entertainment, with an established character, moral crusader Kenneth Loge III, taking over as commish for the rest of the series.
Rollerjam was coupled with the hardcore wrestling of ECW as TNN's Friday Night Thrill Zone block, with both series launching in August of 1999, but gone by the fall of 2000. In fact, ECW producers weren't all that thrilled that TNN was pushing Rollerjam more than their show, despite wrestlers from the Philadelphia-based promotion appearing on Rollerjam in order to boost ratings. Heel manager Cyrus (Don Callis) would even plug Rollerjam on ECW broadcasts as he was fronting a stable known as--wait for it--The Network, in a storyline concocted by ECW owner Paul Heyman as a means of striking back at TNN.
Two WSL skaters, Brian Gamble & Tim Washington, the latter formerly with American Gladiators, turned to professional wrestling themselves after Rollerjam was cancelled. If my memory serves, Gamble was brought in as a rent-a-jobber by the WWE while they were on Spike. How ironic was that? Even more ironic is the fact that the WSL games were contested on the same stage that is now the home of TNA, a wrestling promotion that is so far behind WWE it ain't funny, but we've talked about that before.
Right now, let's take you back in time and give you a sample of a match between the Florida Sundogs and California Quakes.
The games were fun and intense at the same time, much like traditional roller derby. Unfortunately, in trying to be like wrestling, it lost its audience, which never looked back.
yes you right the game were fun, i love this and thanks for sharing
You're quite welcome.
Was a huge fan
TNN (soon to become the Paramount Channel after ditching the Spike TV tag) could've used a few more fans like you, xuwboss.
Just found this. MAN I would have been a huge fan. Wish someone would bring it back.
Well, it all depends on if someone's interested...
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