Similar to how the Tampa Bay Women’s Derby Invitational went down, Tampa Bay Men’s Roller Derby also had their own Invitational. Bringing together quad-loving men from all over the state to celebrate the one thing: the Karate Kid. Yes, there was a Karate Kid theme with the Cobra Kai Dojo squaring off against Team Miyagi. One interesting fact gleamed from this match-up is that many of FL derby’s refs split their time between refereeing and men’s derby. With Sgt. Airborne, Kilt Trip, and Tampa’s Marco the Beast all switching out of their zebra strips for rampant abuse. Unfortunately, having half of the state’s ref staff skating on the track led to some questionable calls (or lack thereof) late in the bout, leading to a rather tempestuous ending with Cobra Kai finishing with a crazy comeback win: 135-126.
While Team Miyagi led throughout 90% of the bout, they surely didn’t dominate. Their leads came from opportune playing off of Cobra Kai’s weaknesses (read: power jams). The first happening when (the Hitmen of Manatee County’s) Punisher had a power jam after teammates Derek Calkims (Magic City Misfits) and (Tampa’s own) Patron forced Dragon Azz (Tampa) into cutting. This left Punisher with two minutes to do damage; damage to the tune of five grand slams (8-29).
When their jammer wasn’t in the box, Kai could compete. Pimp Squeak (Hitmen) stuffing (Space Coast’s) On Point (12-29), Marco the Beast (Tampa), Beastie (Space Coast), and Tim Kugler (Magic City) working that same defensive magic on Kilt Trip (12-33). Chris Harrell (Magic City) and [#21] causing (Thunder City’s) Pop a Lot to call his jam off early (20-37). These strong defensive showings buying the Cobra Kai Dojo just enough time to score 4-6 points a jam before they ended.
it wouldn’t be until Miyagi’s Huge Hefner (Tampa) focused on a jamming Tim Kugler that Kai’s strategy would fail. (Kugler’s comeuppance probably arriving when he spun his way through the pack in a prior jam (28-41).) Unable to either help Kugler, or slow Derek Calkins, Miyagi enjoyed their second big jam of the bout (34-50). Soon followed by a Kilt Trip power jam feeding off of Cobra Kai keeping the penalty box filled to capacity with their blockers (36-69).
Miyagi doing their best to contain the hyper-energetic Dragon Azz with a nice Pop a Lot hit. One which sent Azz out of bounds while Pop skated back a quarter of the track. Undeterred, Dragon still managed to score two grand slams (55-80); allowing Kai to close the gap to 20 points before the half ended: 60-80.
The second half opening with Kugler again stealing the spotlight. From recognizing an unwinnable jam early (63-82), to helping fight the mid-bout doldrums by leaping the apex when he wasn’t even the lead. Refusing to lose even when his team was 30-points down, and he’s pinned by Huge Hefner; who’s simultaneously providing teammate On Point ample opportunity to score (67-100).
Sadly, all this action would not end well.
The bout’s first questionable jam involved largely the same group of skaters as before. Only this time On Point was lead, but he fouled out with four minors. Miyai’s Hefner and Calkins started pounding on the power jamming Kugler, who then cut. A cut seen by all, including ref Big Sexy; who promptly called it. Numerous times. Unfortunately this call never made it past Sexy blowing her whistle, calling it out, waiting, announcing it louder, until finally… play carried on. Leaving everyone within earshot scratching their heads wondering what happened (104-115).
Dragon Azz shrank the deficit further with some expert hit-and-runs (112-119) that leveled the divide between the teams. It was now anyone’s game, with time for one more (questionable) jam.
Another Kugler power jam over On Point. The contention here arising after an apex jump by Kugler left him colliding with Team Miyagi’s blockers; a mishap that’s normally a major; if it’s called. It wasn’t. Causing the fired up On Point to then stage his own botched on purpose jump, which, naturally, was called.
Long (ref) time-out short, Kugler started the next final final jam in the box, but he was allowed to hold onto all the points he had scored prior. Giving Team Miyagi a small lead (126-123), going into the last jam. Derek Calkins fouled out (four minors), thus losing his power jam, and giving Kugler an unopposed free skate around the track until the jam ended. Cobra Kai taking the win: 135-126; in one of the most confusing (call-wise) second halfs in recent memory.