RALEIGH, NC — The 2009 WFTDA regional tournament season kicks off this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina with the Eastern Regional tournament hosted by the Carolina Rollergirls on the concrete of Dorton Arena. After years of a binary East / West structure, WFTDA has split into four regions, meaning it’ll take four tournaments to determine who goes to November’s Nationals this year. 10 teams from each region will go to the tourneys this year, as opposed to the 12 from last year. In another change from previous years, only the top three will advance to Nationals — in 2007 and 2008, the final four from each region went. This has the effect of making the third place bout much more meaningful, as only the winner will get a trip to the final showdown in Philly.
In this ten-team structure, the 7 through 10 seeds will have to play an extra bout at the beginning. The winners of those bouts proceed to the eight-team quarterfinals. Only the teams that win in the quarterfinals and advance to the final four remain alive for a possible Nationals slot — the teams that advance to their regional championship bout are guaranteed to go, while the teams that lose in the final four get one more chance in the third-place game. While there are consolation games for all teams to determine a comprehensive 1-10 by the end of the tournament, any team that loses its first bout is definitely out of Nationals, and the 7-10 seeds must win their first two games to stay in the hunt.
For a visual bracket with start times and consolation games, see the official Wicked Wheels of the East website. All start times in this preview are Eastern.
Inside, a comprehensive look at the matchups, rosters and histories in the mix as WFTDA starts its most ambitious tournament cycle yet.
First Round: #8E Connecticut vs. #9E DC
11:15am Friday, September 11
The Eastern Region tournament picture was scrambled a bit when qualifying leagues Maine (who would have been seeded #9) and Harrisburg (who would have been seeded #7) declined their tournament invitations; DC and Dominion, of Virginia Beach, VA, will be going in their stead. The first bout of the tourney pits #8 Connecticut against #9 DC — both leagues are making their debut appearances in a WFTDA regional tournament. This one kicks off at 11:15am on Friday.
DC has been up and down through 2009, 3-3 on the year — but in their most recent action, they acquitted themselves quite well against Maine, who, if the original tournament seedings had held, would have been ranked over Connecticut. While they lost to Maine by 21 points on August 29, they were in the game from start to finish and seem capable of giving Connecticut a rough time.
Camilla the Hun, X-abitchinest, Free Radical and Dr. Skabs key the DC jammer attack and are supported by Lois Slain and Marion Barrycuda; in the pack, Gun’Her Down, Condoleezza Slice, Hoova Dayum and Hooah!Girl are particularly hard hitters.
Connecticut is also 3-3 through 2009, with WFTDA wins over Dominion (200-72) and Suburbia (128-34) and a non-WFTDA win over Pioneer Valley (88-22, in a bout where they held Pioneer Valley to zero points in the opening 20 minutes.) Pretty much all of CT’s bouts have been lopsided thus far, with losses to Steel City (149-39), Minnesota (123-56) and a particularly stinging rout from Boston (230-14).
One thing that might harm Connecticut in the long run is the fact that they’re bringing the smallest roster to Easterns; they only have 12 players rostered total, while all other teams are bringing at least 14 and most other teams have the full slate of 20. Look for Pearl Jammer and Black Cherry to be relied on heavily at the jam line, along with Milla Lowlife, who impressed many with her speed in the Suburbia bout. Eleanor Bruisevelt and Luciana Pulverotti both live up to their names in the pack.
Battery Operated 2AA // Bump-Her Kar 39 // Camilla the Hun 33 // Condoleezza Slice 202 // Dr. Skabs 89 // Free Radical 1884 // Guantanamo Babe 1959 // Gun’Her Down 50CAL // Hooah!Girl 1775 // Hoova Daym H20 // Lois Slain 30 // Marion Barrycuda 311 // Memphis Hell B17 // Ovary Action 28 Days // Rage B4 Beauty B4 // ShREDica 76 // X-abitchinest X
Black Cherry 4 // Chelsea Grin 777 // C. Mya Rage 86d // Eleanor Bruisevelt 33 // Ether Bunny 222 // Luciana Pulverotti 110R // Milla Lowlife 40 // Miz Con SepJen 7 // Parker Poison 3 // Pearl Jammer GO // Revengela 1234 // Violet Riot 911
First Round: #7E Steel City vs. #10E Dominion
1pm Friday, September 11th
The other first-round bout in Easterns finds Pittsburgh’s Steel City (now seeded 7th) up against Dominion at #10 in a bout where Steel City has to be considered a favorite. Dominion was down at #14 in the WFTDA Eastern Region rankings, one spot away from the cellar and four spots away from a tournament invite, until Maine, Harrisburg, Dutchland and Montreal all declined invitations or were ineligible to participate. This bout takes place at 1pm on Friday.
Steel City has quietly been developing into a significant Northeast threat. They rattled off 7 wins in a row to start 2009, taking down Naptown, Connecticut, Ohio, Atlanta, Long Island, Fort Wayne and Dutchland — but they’ve been stymied against teams that have appeared in DNN’s top 25 Power Rankings. The win streak came to an end in a chaotic, very high-scoring bout against Harrisburg in June, where SCDD lost 178-175. Most recently, they were almost able to surprise #22 Cincinnati, but fell 127-106 to bring their 2009 record to 7-2.
Dominion has had a rough time of it since their peak in early 2008, when they had a 4 game win streak that included defeats of Sin City, Ohio and Steel City along with a record-setting rout of Long Island, 307-6, which stands as the second biggest derby blowout of all time.
Unfortunately for DDG, serious personnel turnover and shortages in this military area of Virginia Beach forced them to decline their invite to last year’s Eastern Regionals, and they’ve dropped 7 in a row dating back to July 2008. They were on a particularly hard road very recently, losing 4 in a row by over 100 points — to DC, Atlanta, Connecticut and Grand Raggidy — but acquitted themselves honorably in a late-August loss to Dutchland, 114-109.
Both winners of the opening round matches will play a second game on Friday in the quarterfinals. The winner of Connecticut/DC draws #3 Charm City out of Baltimore at 4:30pm Friday, while the winner of Steel City / Dominion gets a quarterfinal date with #2 Philly at 6:15pm on Friday.
A’fric A Nature 19 // AmERICA the Bootyful 1893 // Ate H.D. 12 // Bam Bam McCha-Cha 37 // Big Fun 76 // Duchess America 1776 // Destroyer Pants 66 // Frankendoll 2 // Mayham N Cheese 102 // Pippy Longstalker 36 // Pretty Skate Machine SK8 // Rub-Her Ducky 1983 // SmaX DominO 86 // Texas Thai-Foon 109 // The Ruffian 1979 // Thunder Lips 29 // T.Rex Ya Face 65
Ally McKill 25 // Attaxl Rose 10 // Athena 7 // Betty Bonecrusher 82 // CC DeKill 11 // Cheeseburger 1/4 lbs // The Crippler 58 // Damage Dahl xoxo // Dirty Merdi 86er // Girl Rolla Warfare 412 // Hurricane Heather 5 // Icepick 350 // J Bomb 70 // Kat Von D’Stroya 90 // La Diabla 13 // Madame Abegael 20 // Mel Practice NC17 // Miss Ill F14 // Snot Rocket Science 6 // Tower O Terror 304
Quarterfinal: #3E Charm City vs. either #8E Connecticut or #9E DC
4:30pm Friday, September 11th
#3 Charm City has been the busiest of all WFTDA leagues this year, playing a very ambitious schedule that’s seen them rack up an 12-3 record thus far in 2009, with their only losses being to top-five teams Gotham, Texas and Windy City. This season they’ve already played 5 of the other teams appearing in the tournament (Gotham, Philly, Carolina, Boston, and Providence), and will be hoping that the experience built up this season will translate into a trip to Nationals. In their 2008 trip to Easterns, Charm City got past Cincinnati before being stopped in the quarterfinals by Windy City.
Charm City boasts a diverse and deep jammer lineup and has had success matching the various strengths of their jammers to the weaknesses of their opponents. Duchess of Torque and Bambi’s Revenge excel in away-from-pack speed, Lady Quebeaum and Pistol Whip can shrug off hits that would drop other jammers, Just Carol and Joy Collision have the agility for dramatic bobs and weaves that can occasionally draw spectacular whiffs from blockers, and Flo Shizzle’s remarkable endurance keeps her a threat for a 20 point jam even after absorbing punishment in the pack.
The CCRG pack has established a reputation as one of the best in the nation at speed control and situational defense, very rarely allowing more than a single pass when they find themselves jammerless and often putting up double-digit scores when the power plays are in their favor. Pivot Dolly Rocket’s notorious ability to stop on a dime and play the slow game has frustrated many a jammer who thought she was almost out of the pack; Holly Go Hardly and Quebeaum are often there to scoop up marooned enemy jammers with a hip check. While not as flashy as some of the rest, the quietly effective positional play of Reckless Ndangerment has long been a stabilizer in the Charm City pack.
Mistress May Eye 10 // Bambi’s Revenge 42 // Dolly Rocket 6 // Duchess of Torque 200 // Flo Shizzle 24/7 // Cindy LopHer 911 // Holly Go Hardly 415 // Joy Collision 747 // Just Carol 26 // Lady Quebeaum 34 // Pistol Whip 44 // Reckless Ndangerment 116 // Rosie the Rioter 100% // Allie B. Back T2 // Coach Ballbricker 13 // Federal Kill 2 // O’ShankU 9// Thoroughbled 12 // Minnie Piledriver 125 // Mibbs Breakin’ Ribs 1010
Quarterfinal: #2E Philly vs. either #7E Steel City or #10E Dominion
6:30pm Friday, September 11
#2 Philly hasn’t been quite as busy as Charm City, but has been quite dominant thus far in 2009, holding a 6-1 record. They handled regional rivals Boston and Carolina without too much trouble near the beginning of their season, 121-63 against Boston and 85-46 against Carolina. Out of region, they’ve pounded very talented teams in Kansas City (145-44) and Rat City (123-35.) They also took out Windy City in a heavily defensive 70-69 last-jam classic in late July, becoming the only team to ever best WCR in Chicago. Last season, Philly advanced to Nationals and surprised many with their win in the third-place bout over Texas.
Philly reflects its city’s sports reputation for hard-nosed lock-down defense, which was very much in evidence at the ECE bouts against Kansas City and Rat City; they’re a team that excels at playing a tight pack and giving the opposing jammers few holes to aim for. While positional play may be their forte, they have no shortage of bruisers, most notably including Nina Knockout, Robin Drugstores, Olivia Face and first-year rookie Heavy Flo.
Teflon Donna is one of the best double-threats in the sport, coolly confident with the jam star and very rarely in the penalty box; her game winning 1-0 jam at the Windy City bout was a flawless example of tactical pacing and timing. Mo Pain is deceptively strong for her size and usually leads Philly point-scoring, while Shenita Stretcher’s combination of size, strength and speed has made her a go-to jammer all year. Persephone and Elle Viento round out the Philly first-string jamming threats, though they’ll occasionally throw Ivana Rock, Violet Temper or Gloria Grindem in the mix.
If Charm City and Philly survive their quarterfinal bouts, they’ll meet at 8pm on Saturday night in the semifinals in a classic grudge match. Charm City and Philly have met twice in their history, once in January 2007 in a win for Philly and once just last month in August 2009, in a big 149-74 win for Charm City — but that recent victory was undercut by Philly choosing not to skate many of their first string players, including Teflon Donna, Mo Pain, Violet Temper, Persephone, and Olivia Face. Charm City is itching to prove they can beat Philly’s best, while Philly, set to host the Nationals tournament in November, wants very much to assure themselves of a high seed. The winner of the semifinal bout has a definite ticket to Nationals with a #1 or #2 seed; the loser will have to win the third-place bout to get to Nationals.
Annie Christ 7 // Dara Licks 67 // Dotti Horror 77 // Elle Viento 22 // Eurothrash AK47 // Gefilte Fists 18 // Ginger Vitis 933 // Gloria Grindem 1972 // Heavy Flo 527 // Ivana Rock 11 // Leggs Benedict 04EZ // Mo Pain 8 // Nina Knockout 911 // Olivia Face 668 // Persephone 15 // Robin Drugstores 714 // Shenita Stretcher 305 // Teflon Donna 85 // Violet Temper 06 // Wendy Whiplash 13
Quarterfinal: #1E Gotham vs. #6E Providence
2:45pm Friday, September 11
On the other side of the bracket, heavily favored Gotham rolls into the tournament with the #1 seed and an unprecedented 16-game winning streak stretching back to November 2007; #6 seed Providence holds a 3 game winning streak, having defeated Maine, Harrisburg and Montreal earlier this year, but they’ll have their hands full with the 2008 WFTDA champions. Their bout is the third of the tournament, taking place at 2:45pm on Friday.
Gotham is aiming to repeat their championship run from the 2008 cycle, and they’re 4-0 thus far in 2009. Only Texas and Philly, ranked #2 and #3 respectively nationally by DNN, have been able to give Gotham any serious trouble in the last two years — Philly lost to Gotham by 5 points in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Eastern Regionals, while Texas lost by 8 in a back-and-forth thriller in June 2009. Even with those two narrow bouts in the mix, Gotham has won their last 16 bouts by an average of 86 points; remove those two and Gotham’s average margin of victory scrapes triple digits at 97.
A few of Gotham’s standout players from the 2008 season are gone, as Cheap Skate retired last year and notorious jammer-destroyer Beyonslay hasn’t skated for the all-stars since Gotham’s March season opener against Boston. On the other hand, they have regained the services of Beatrix Slaughter, who missed all of Gotham’s tournament bouts last year with an unfortunately timed injury. Rookies who have stepped up for Gotham this year include hard-hitting powderkeg Polly Gone, Papierschnitt and Barbara Ambush; also on the 20 skater roster are Aunti Christ, Luna Impact, Em Dash and Miss American Thighs.
Mostly, though, the Gotham crew relies on an a very experienced core of skaters, many of whom have been all-stars for over three years. Bonnie Thunders and Suzy Hotrod key the jammer attack with support from Fisti Cuffs, Beatrix Slaughter and Barbara Ambush; in the pack, veteran blockers Ginger Snap and Donna Matrix handle the buffeting duties while Kandy Kakes and Sweet Sherry Pie usually hold down the pivot position. While Beyonslay’s massive-impact hits got a lot of attention in the 2008 season, her absence here may provide more spotlight time for blocker Surly Temple, also very capable of sending a jammer flying spectacularly.
Providence is actually one of the few teams to have defeated Gotham (Gotham is 22-5 all time in WFTDA bouts), but that bout happened in the ancient days of late 2006. Last year’s Eastern Regionals didn’t go so hot for Providence, who backed into the tournament when Dominion had to drop out; Providence was the only team to go winless at Easterns with a 0-3 run.
This year, Providence is 4-2 with wins over Philly home team Heavy Metal Hookers, Montreal, Maine and Harrisburg, but they haven’t been able to touch the teams in DNN’s Power Rankings, with a 171-76 loss against #7 Charm City (in February) and a 149-69 loss to #10 Detroit (in August).
Longtime vets Hysterica and Craisy Dukes shoulder most of Providence’s jamming duties with help from Jetta Von Diesel and Baby Fighterfly — major elements in the Riveters’ pack play are Hot Sauce, Bleeding Rainbow, Trophy Knife and F’Shizzy Borden.
Aunti Christ 666 // Barbara Ambush 1600 // Beatrix Slaughter 42 // Bonnie Thunders 340 // Brigitte Barhot 60 // Donna Matrix 2 // Em Dash 9 // Fisti Cuffs 241 // Ginger Snap 80 // Hard Anya i4i // Hela Skelter 31 //Hyper Lynx 404 // Kandy Kakes 10 // Luna Impact 295 // Miss American Thighs 76 // Papierschnitt 500 // Polly Gone 13 // Surly Temple 99 // Suzy Hotrod 55 // Sweet Sherry Pie 201
Baby Fighterfly 1000 // Bleeding Rainbow 00 // Bunnicula 300 // Burnin Helen 73 // Craisy Dukes 5 // DaSilva Bullet 47 // F’Shizzy Borden 40 // Hot Apple Cry 350 // Hot Sauce 101 // Hysterica! 42 // Jetta von Diesel VR6 // Kid Ace 225 // Lotta Pain 64 // Rhoda Perdition 72 // Rhode Kill 90 // Rumbledore 9 // Sass E. McNasty 8 // Shelby Bruisin 2 // Trophy Knife 401 // Vicious Stylz F34R
Quarterfinal: #4E Carolina vs. #5E Boston
8pm Friday, September 11
The marquee quarterfinal matchup will be the hosting Carolina Rollergirls, seeded #4 in the region, taking on #5 seed Boston Massacre. These teams are arguably two of the most closely matched in all of flat-track derby. At the 2008 Eastern Regionals, Carolina denied Boston an upset win and what would have been a trip to Nationals with a literally last-minute comeback, winning 77-75. In this year’s rematch at ECE, Boston battled back from an early deficit and took the lead late, only to lose by a single point, 82-81. This third meeting closes the opening-day action at 8pm on Friday.
With the exception of that dramatic win over Boston, longtime powerhouse Carolina has had an uncharacteristically rough campaign in 2009, suffering from the loss of Roxy Rockett (out for the year with a pregnancy) and Zella Lugosi (to retirement) from 2008. They’re 1-5 in regulation WFTDA bouts, losing to Charm City, Gotham, Detroit, Rose City and Rat City by solid margins.
One bright spot for Carolina has been the evolution of Holly Wanna Crackya into their ace jammer; in the Boston game, they went to her three times in a row in the endgame to grab the lead and ice the win. Ms. Anthrope the Mordant has also stepped up this season to gain a reputation as one of the most troublesome one-on-one blockers in the sport. DVS and Kitty Crowbar function as both jammers and critical pack elements, while Kelly Clocks’Em is a standout with the pivot cap on.
Visiting Boston has been one of the busiest teams this year, with a 6-7 record over 13 games against fairly tough competition. They’ll be trying to erase the memories of some dramatic disappointments in the last two Eastern Regionals; in 2007, they lost in overtime to Detroit in the first round, and in 2008 they were mere minutes from upsetting Carolina and advancing to Nationals, but lost the lead in the last two jams and fell 77-75.
Boston relies primarily on Claire D. Way and Krushpuppy with the jammer star; Sugar Hits and Triple Deck-Her support the scoring. Mrs. Dash, playing in her first season with the all-stars, hasn’t seen much playing time but is also a potential weapon on the jam line. The Massacre’s defense can be one of the most effective when it’s clicking and features a couple of standouts in pivot Shellby Shattered and blocker Harley Quinn, like Carolina’s Mordant an ace at one-on-one blocking. More trouble for opposing jammers comes in the forms of canny positional blocker Anna Wrecks’Ya and pounding hitter Etta Maims.
Whichever team loses this opening round bout will be unable to advance to Nationals, while the winner will advance to play the winner of Gotham vs. Providence in the semifinals. Should Gotham advance to the semifinals as expected, they will be prohibitive favorites over either Carolina or Boston; they shut down both teams earlier this season, defeating Boston 188-44 in March and Carolina 185-31 in June.
Bianca O’Blivion 83 // Billy the Kid ACE // Daisy Rage 66 // Deviled Legs 8 // DVS 131 // Elka Meano 454 // Holly Wanna Crackya 999 // Kama Suture 30 // Kelly Clocks’em 212 // Kitty Crowbar 110 // Lucy Lastkiss 5 // Maddat U 256 // Minnie Mauser 763 // Ms Anthrope the Mordant 17 // Penelope Bruz 36 // PinkSlip 224 // Princess America 1492 // Roxxy Slide 1.618 // Trudy Struction 22 // Tuffy Twofists 42
Anna Wrecks’Ya 101 // Claire D. Way 1984 // Etta Maims B52 // Harley Quinn 9669 // Harlot Fevah 99 // Kitty Twister 138 // Krushpuppy (843) // Lois Carmen Dominator 011 // Maude Forbid 7:1 // Maura Buse 34B // Mrs. Dash 360 // Pina Collidah 77 // Pussy Venom 28 // Quick Sandy 24 // Rocky 5 // Shellby Shattered -0 // Sugar Hits 1001 // Triple Deck-Her 3D
Men’s Expo Bout: Dirty Homicide vs. Death Shock
4:30pm Sunday, September 13
Finally, Sunday’s action will see a first in WFTDA tournament play, as Carolina hosts a full-length men’s expo bout between the 4 teams of the Northeastern-based Men’s Derby Coalition, representing some of the most experienced men’s players in the relatively new field of men’s flat track. 7 players from Baltimore’s Harm City Homicide and 7 from Northhampton, Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley Dirty Dozen join forces as the Dirty Homicide to take on equal numbers from the New York Shock Exchange and Connecticut Death Quads, playing as the Death Shock.
On paper this bout would appear to be quite well matched. Both Homicide and Pioneer Valley have repeatedly lost to the New York Shock Exchange, a team undefeated in the two years of their existence (New York is 7-0 in games against HCH and PVRD), while Homicide and Pioneer Valley have been victorious in most of their bouts against Connecticut (CTDQ is 1-4 in games against HCH and PVRD, having beaten Pioneer Valley once.)
The Dirty Homicide brings a deep stable of jammers, notably PVRD’s Dr. Spankenstein, Jurasskick Park and Davy Jones and Homicide’s Justice Feelgood Marshall, Virginia Slim and Gearhead. Sin Diesel (of HCH) and the Rev (of PVRD) are poised to be standouts with the pivot star.
The Death Shock’s roster looks a little more blocker-heavy with Vader, Filthy McNasty and very effective pivot Abe Drinkin’ (the bench coach for Gotham’s powerhouse) representing for New York along with Skatebreed and Cirkle Jerk for Connecticut in the pack. They’re not hurting for jammers, though, featuring Jonathan R and Teenwolf for NYSE and Pastor of Muppets for CTDQ as the likely heart of their offensive attack.
Gearhead 88 // President Groper Cleavage ? // Hung Solo YT-1300 // Jack of Hurtz 21 // Justice Feelgood Marshall 1954 // Sin Diesel 1* // Virginia Slim 523 // Bazooka Joe 49 // Davy Jones 78 // Dr Spankenstein 113V // Jurasskick Park 1993 // The Rev 71 // Rollin’ Redshirt 1955 // Will Jettison 84-VF
Abe Drinkin 4&7 // Filthy McNasty 61 // Jonathan R 6 // Maulin Brando 14 // T-Stop Tornado 517 // Teenwolf 111 // Vader 4CE // Cirkle Jerk 19 // Fro Serious 1819 // Pastor of Muppets 42 // Resident Masochist 13 // Skatebreed 121 // Super Dave 665 // Zakk Sabbath 4