The round-robin Tinseltown Showdown, held in Los Angeles April 5-7, saw six bouts over three days, including a last-jam nailbiter between Houston and Tampa. The tournament brought together teams from across the country that seemed closely matched during the planning stages, but there were more big wins than close games.
When this tournament was in the works around the end of last year, the four participants were going to enter looking like this: Angel City (8W); Houston (7SC); Tampa (4SC); Brewcity (7NC), from final quarter 2012 WFTDA-rankings. Though a seemingly even match up at the time, this tournament was the perfect testament to how quickly things change in roller derby.
The three visiting teams met one another, and the Hollywood Scarlets at Angel Cityâ€™s Headquarters (â€œHQâ€), a warehouse the league uses as its primary training space and a venue to host closed bouts. Angel City went undefeated, bookending their weekend with triple-centuries and triple-digit wins; all three of the other teams picked up a single win and two losses apiece.
Day 1: Friday April 5
Bout #1: ACDG (18 WFTDA, #14 DNN) 385, Brewcity (32 WFTDA) 44
The two teams ought to have been fairly matched, if the Q4 2012 rankings from WFTDA held–but actual game play went on to prove not only the strength of the west region, but also that even this yearâ€™s first quarter rankings havenâ€™t quite got the measure of Angel City. They took Brewcity handily without the services of key blocker Krissy Krash, still in recovery following a minor injury.
After a no-point first jam, the second went 6-4 in Brewcityâ€™s favor. But Mickispeedia switched Angel Cityâ€™s fortunes with an unanswered 19 point jam in the third, and set the trend for the rest of the bout. Brewcity jammers Em Fatale, Skittle and Scooter were repeatedly shut down by the Angel City defense, keeping them from putting up points to match ACDG. By halftime, Angel City led 162-28.
Angel Cityâ€™s Rachel Rotten had an injury moment mid- first half, but was quickly cleared and made some key defensive plays by the second.
The second period started with an Angel City power jam and the host team continued to pile on the points. Even a shift to woman-on-woman play by Brewcityâ€™s blockers couldnâ€™t hope to reverse their fortunes against the consistent lines of Scarlets.
The final score was Angel City 385, Brewcity 44. The 341 point differential marked the largest win Angel City have had in a sanctioned game, as well as the highest score theyâ€™ve ever achieved.
Bout #2: Tampa (28 WFTDA) 150, Houston (26 WFTDA) 148
The Tampa Tantrums and Houston All-Stars match-up set the scene for the non-Angel City bouts of the weekend–racing packs, fast plays and plenty of power jams sealing the game. This bout was the closest match of the entire weekend, with several lead changes leading up to a nailbiting final jam–itself containing multiple lead changes.
Tampa took the lead from the first jam as Little A put up 4 unanswered points, and they widened the gap with several more lockout jams in the opening 15 minutes. Houston ran a three-jammer rotation of Death by Chocolate, Freight Train and Big Bad Voodoo Dollie, and it seemed to finally work for them when a 25 point powerjam by DBC brought the teams to a 40-40 tied score.
Tampa fought back as Lil Bit added 15 points to only an 8 point reply, but Freight Train pushed for a big jam in which Houston took the lead, then widened the gap further. The score stood at 79-58 in Houstonâ€™s favour at halftime.
That lead didnâ€™t last long, however, as a 29 point power jam for Little A in the first five minutes back gave Tampa a ten-point lead at 91-81. Tampa held the lead for most of the rest of the half but Houstonâ€™s ability to chip away slowly at that difference couldnâ€™t be underestimated, and a powerjam in the final 5 minutes handed them the lead again. That jam ended with Houston jammer Brandi Brown being attended to by EMTs, but she headed quickly and with little assistance back to her bench, where she was met by a buoyant team.
Houston entered the final jam with a 15 point lead on Tampa. Then a 21 point jam by Little Bit, with only a single scoring pass reply from Houston, left everyone breathlessly staring at the board for final scores to confirm the winner. When that score was posted, it was a 150-148 win for the Tampa Tantrums and a rankings upset.
Day 2: Saturday April 6
Bout #3: Angel City 265, Houston 96
The two top-ranked teams in the tournament met in the second day of action as hosts Angel City took on Houston.
Angel City opened the game with a string of low-scoring jams. Cris Dobbins drew first blood with a 3-0 first jam for Angel City, with Mickispeedia and Chica Go Lightning following those points up to make it 14-2 at the end of the third jam. Houstonâ€™s points were put up in the third jam by Big Bad Voodoo Dollie.
As the scores edged up to 29-2 in ACDGâ€™s favor, Mistilla the Killa required some EMT attention. Her leg injury was tended to off the track and she returned to play towards the end of the half.
A couple of key power jams for Angel City helped the score differential widen. They pushed past the century mark as the penultimate jam of the half saw Death By Chocolate in the box and Angel City put up a 20-0. They finished the half at 111-54 in ACDGâ€™s favor.
Houston experienced a string of jammer penalties in the second half and even when their jammers were on the track, Angel Cityâ€™s blockers continued to shut down Houston from scoring, with only six points added between jams 5 and 24. Even a star pass in the final minutes couldnâ€™t find them further points. The final score was 265-96 for Angel City.
One of the highlights of the match was a huge and well-timed jammer assist from Krissy Krash with 10 minutes to go in the second period, which blocked out a three-person Houston back-wall.
Bout #4: Tampa 297, Brewcity 101
Tampa appeared to have been keeping jammer Taz Maniac in reserve during their earlier game. She emerged in the second jam and raced for a quick 2-0, giving Tampa the first lead of the game. However, Latina Heat added 9 points in the very next jam for a lead change. Tampa persistently edged back up, putting up 4-0 in jams 5 through 9 to retake the lead. They carefully widened the gap over the period to wind up with a 112-49 margin at the break.
Tampa clearly wasnâ€™t about to let their lead slide, as they started holding solid front walls from the jam whistle and added in sneaky assists, seeming to not be paying attention to their jammer until a well-placed hit cleared the way for her.
The final quarter saw some hectic in-and-out rebounds from the penalty box as the teams traded jammer penalties and had some high points for Brewcity. Notably, their jammers Skittle and Scooter pulled out a couple of jams so spectacular that they drew spontaneous applause from the watching Angel City team. But the damage had already been done and a couple of power jams let Tampaâ€™s Breezy and Taz add 34 and 35 points respectively. The scores just kept mounting for Tampa and at the final whistle, theyâ€™d secured a 297-101 victory.
Day 3: Sunday April 7
Bout #5: Houston 333, Brewcity 156
In their final bout of the weekend, Brewcity and Houston traded leads over the first few jams as both sides inched forward points-wise. Brewcity held a narrow lead at 13-6 before their jammer, Latina Heat, opened the game up with a 25-0 power jam.
They held that lead through most of the rest of the period and lost it only when Scooter wound up in the box, handing Big Bad Voodoo Dollie a 25-0 power jam in the final 5 minutes of the half. Two jams later, Freight Train added another 19 and Dollie added another 20 of her own to let Houston close out the half with a 141-85 lead.
Death By Chocolate had clearly been paying attention to Scooterâ€™s achievements with the star the day before and focussed on blocking her, consistently denying her the opportunity to score and forcing penalties. As Houston moved past the 200-mark, DBC snuck in a devastating pop-block, pushing a duo of Brewcity defensive blockers out of the way and delivering a key assist to jammer Brandi Brown.
Halfway through the second period with Houston leading 240-95, there were a string of injuries. First Brewcityâ€™s Chazaam needed medical attention and her trip to the EMT corner gave her no chance to get back in the game. Only 10 minutes later, jammer Brandi Brown was downed and landed directly on her wrist, but returned to her bench unassisted.
Brewcity struck back in the final two jams with Skittle adding 15-1 and Em Fatale adding 20-0 points, but the damage had long since been done and Houston skated away with an impressive 333-156 win.
Bout #6: Angel City 309, Tampa 130
Angel City picked up a convincing win over Tampa to close out the tournament. The first jam went in Tampaâ€™s favor when Little A was handed a powerjam by Cris Dobbins and put up 10-4 to take the lead. Chica Go Lightning then jammed a solid 8 points for Angel City, pushing them ahead.
Tampa struck back with a 15-0 followed by a 14-7, pushing into a barely-there lead at 41-39–and there the score stayed. Angel City added just one point in the next three jams, while Tampa sat at 41 until jam 10.
The game turned on an Angel City power jam for Mickispeedia; the host team took the lead and only widened the gap over the remainder of the half. At one point, with 9 minutes left to play, Angel Cityâ€™s blockers held Tampaâ€™s Breezy so firmly that Chica was able to make a natural 25-0. The half ended with Angel City holding a 149-58 lead.
Even starting the next half with two blockers in the box didnâ€™t phase Angel City, though blocker penalties persisted. The final minutes of this game were full of speedy play and big rear walls from Tampa, but even they couldnâ€™t hold Angel City from tipping over the 300 mark. Breezy panted through the final moments of the game, watching Mickispeedia take a further 20 points, to her 1. At the final whistle, Angel City had closed out the game — and the tournament — with a solid 309-130 victory.
Angel City go on to play Rose City in a closed hangover game (there will be a live tweetcast) on April 28, following Roseâ€™s match against the LA Derby Dolls the night before. Brewcityâ€™s All-Stars play away bouts in Bloomington, IN, against Bleeding Heartland and Steel City on May 4, the same day Houston All-Stars play Assassination City Roller Girls in Dallas, TX. Tampa Tantrums play Ohio and Atlanta in Atlanta, GA, on May 17.