RollerJam was an American sports entertainment television series depicting roller derby. It was shown on The New TNN from 1999 to 2001. It was derived from the original roller derby, only this particular version used inline roller skates to modernize the sport (although several skaters used the traditional "quads"). The program was taped at Universal Studios Stage 21 in Orlando, Florida for the first and third seasons (1999 and 2000) and the former American Gladiators arena in the show's final season. The first few weeks of the show's second season, which ran from August to October 1999 were taped at MGM Grand Las Vegas.
The producers of the RollerJam series decided to copy the model of World Wrestling Entertainment by introducing actors to play on-screen characters in storylines, keeping with the sports entertainment genre. Two most notable were veteran movie actor Tom Nowicki, who played general manager Kenneth Loge III, and stage actress and former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley, who played Leo Seltzer's "granddaughter" Lisa Seltzer. Other characters included Julie Amazon (a Chyna-like bodybuilding skater in Season 4), The Prophet (A character in Season 4 only who would interrupt games to make speeches... and later managed the Sundogs), Canine and Disable (Minions of the Prophet who skated for the Sundogs, and "captured" Lindsay Francis during the first game of Season 4), and Devo (a convict character who skated for the Hot Dice). This decision by the producers caused great dismay amongst skaters and fans alike, who wanted to see "RollerJam" remain true to the focal point of skating competition. As a result, many skaters dropped out of the WSL and many fans stopped watching the games on TV or attending the games.
The most points ever scored in one jam was 28 in Period 3 of a game between the New York Enforcers and the Illinois Riot. The Riot came back from from a 20+ point deficit to win 46-43 in the highest scoring game in RollerJam history. Roller Derby legend Ann Calvello, best known for her brutal feuds with Dru Atkinson and Joan Weston, skated a match race with Kenneth Loge III in RollerJam's finale... winning, of course.
Former ECW director Ron Buffone believes the show that preceded RollerJam, ECW on TNN, was treated as a lead in for RollerJam, citing RollerJam to be "That stupid roller blading show." Some ECW wrestlers, including Axl Rotten and Tommy Dreamer, made an appearance as "enforcers" for the Florida Sundogs against the New York Enforcers.
Between January 1999 and January 2001, Knoxville, Tennessee television impresarios Ross K. Bagwell Sr. and Stephen Land, under the name Pageboy Entertainment, collaborated with CBS to stage this new televised revival. Bagwell and Land recruited numerous stars from the Roller Derby of yesteryear, as well as newer stars from various athletic backgrounds, including nationally ranked speed skaters, to skate in the six-team World Skating League (WSL). Jerry Seltzer was named RollerJam "commissioner".
RollerJam games were televised out of "RollerJam Arena", (now, the TNA iMPACT! Zone) situated on the grounds of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Initial teams, each consisting of seven men and seven women, were the New York Enforcers, the California Quakes, the Florida Sundogs, the Nevada Hot Dice, the Texas Rustlers and the Illinois Riot (Original names of the latter three teams were the Las Vegas High Rollers, Texas Twisters, and Illinois Inferno. These names were changed prior to the start of the first season). Despite strong funding and four seasons of broadcasts on The Nashville Network (TNN, now known as Spike TV), the venture never became a "live" attraction. Fabricated storylines and uncharismatic characters were being featured more than actual competitive skating, raising the ire of many skaters and fans of "true" roller derby. Two notable veterans from Roller Games, Rockin' Ray Robles and "Latin Spitfire" Patsy Delgato, were featured in the second season of RollerJam.
The rules to the game were almost the same as Roller Derby rules, however a major rule difference involved younger players, who were allowed to use in-line skates, which differentiated the league from others.