"Tonight from the First National Memorial Field Colosseum at the Veterans Dome Stadium Complex, it's the fastest, deadliest and most ferocious sport on Earth -- Extreme Dodgeball!" -- Bil Dwyer
Extreme Dodgeball is a show produced by Mindless Entertainment and first aired by GSN (formerly Game Show Network) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004. The show brings the game of dodgeball to a national arena with a league of eight co-ed teams organized by profession. The first tournament has a top prize of $10,000.
Hosts and color commentators Bil Dwyer (Ultimate Fan League, Battlebots) and Zach Selwyn (a finalist on ESPN's reality show Dream Job) provide mocking play-by-play and commentary as each match progresses. Sideline reporter Jerri Manthey (Survivor 2: The Australian Outback, The Surreal Life) interviews players after their matches to get reactions.
Eight five-person teams make up the Extreme Dodgeball league. The only apparent rule is that there must be at least one man and one woman on each team.
Zach Selwyn's take: "Have you ever noticed that Rent-a-Cops have a lot of pent up anger? These guys will make you never want to shoplift from the mall."
Armed Response is a team of security guards who consitute the most physically varied team in Extreme Dodgeball. Although they suffered an early setback in a loss to the Certified Public Assassins, they are commentator Zach Selwyn's choice to go all the way in the first season.
Selwyn: "Men with no necks are men to be feared. BALCO accusations aside, this is a team that lives, breathes and drinks dodgeball, especially when it's mixed into a syringe and disguised as a protein shake."
The Barbell Mafia are the most physically fearsome team out there: a team of three men and two women who are all powerlifters. These players have arms the size of tree trunks that can put a lot of oomph into a dodgeball throw -- but can they move their huge bodies out of harm's way in time?
Certified Public Assassins
Selwyn: "These are the guys who made you wish that you didn't pick on them in junior high because the guy you called a geek just took your ear off with a 55 mile per hour heater!"
The CPAs dress in black and orange uniforms that include shorts, blazers, and neckties. While all accountants by trade, Tobias and Michael are both long-time dodgeballers in their own right. Michael is the head of the Los Angeles Dodgeball Society, while Tobias appears in the feature film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Curves of Steel
Selwyn: "With this team, it's like you're playing the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. You're not really reading about how good they are at this game."
Extreme Dodgeball's obligatory T&A comes in the form of the Curves of Steel. This team is made up of four female, perfectly toned aerobics enthusiasts wearing skimpy pink outfits, and one "lucky stiff" male player. GSN is all too happy to show off this team's assets.
Selwyn: "A dodgeball bruise won't scare anyone who is willing to permanently put a tattoo of a dagger on their body."
Ink Inc. is a team united by the fact that all its players have tattoos. The angle is that an opponent will be scared upon seeing a tattooed freak lunging towards them, but I question whether they'll be more of a distraction than, say, the Curves of Steel or Barbell Mafia.
Silent But Deadly Mimes (SBD)
Selwyn: "Everybody loves to throw things at mimes, but who knew they would fight back with a make-up stained ball?"
This has got to be the strangest team in Extreme Dodgeball: five mimes who wear traditional costume and makeup. They do not speak during games, and all are fairly slender. The angle here: mimes' physical comedy training makes them more limber and therefore more likely to evade a dodgeball throw.
Selwyn: "Be very careful here. You must fear a team whose eyes are directly at crotch level."
A team of professional jockeys, these players make tough targets due to their small size and agility.
Selwyn: "I learned a long time ago to never make fun of grown-ups in diapers. Will they win? Depends!"
Sumo Storm started the season 0-2. Their players are the largest and arguably most out-of-shape of any in the league. In the rubber game against the Stallion Battalion, a sweat-drenched Abesamis actually fell to the ground after being hit with a ball.
Each match is a best-of-3 competition. To win a game, you must eliminate all five of your opponents' team members.
You are out if you get hit by a ball below the head, if an opposing player catches your throw, if you step out of bounds, or if you cross the center line into opposing territory. If a ball hits one player then ricochets and hits a teammate, both players are out.
If you catch a thrown ball and at least one team member is out, one team member may come back in. Team members return in the order in which they were eliminated.
You can hold a ball and deflect incoming shots with it. However, if you lose control of your ball after deflecting a shot, you're out.
If a ball hits a wall or the floor, it is considered dead and you're not out if it hits you afterwards.
At the beginning of the match, players rush to the center circle to grab balls. The first ball must be thrown from outside the center circle.
If one player is left on a team, the regeneration target lights up. Hitting this target, located about eight feet off the ground at the back of the opposing team's territory, brings all your team members back into the game. This target may be used only once per game per team.
Unsportsmanlike conduct such as not leaving the court after being hit earns the player a yellow card. Two yellow cards cause a player to be ejected from the game.
Games 1 and 3 feature two dodgeballs, each comparable in size to a basketball but softer. Game 2 adds a third "big ball" that is roughly twice the diameter of an ordinary dodgeball. The big ball is useful for defense but can be thrown and caught for the same effects as the smaller balls.
In game 3, "Dead Man Walking" rules are in effect. Each team designates one "Dead Man" to wear an orange headband. If this player is hit, the game is immediately over and the the Dead Man's team loses.
In much the same tradition as Battlebots, Extreme Dodgeball is produced as a series of 30-minute digest episodes. Two matches are shown in their entirety, we see a profile of one or two dodgeball players, and there is a highlight reel of other matches that took place over the course of a round of competition.
The players are introduced in a very over-the-top manner befitting professional wrestling. The attire and manners of the teams are closely tied to the "themes"; players must stay in character to the point where mimes have huddles with no audible dialogue.
Like any sporting event, sponsors including Coca-Cola receive lots of product placement time. In a bizarre extension of this, players are shown drinking only Coke between matches -- never Coke's sports drink brand, Powerade. Poor players!
Overall, Extreme Dodgeball is fun to watch if you have fond memories of playing the sport as a child. It premieres at the same time as the fictional feature film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and at a time where several adult dodgeball leagues are gaining momentum throughout the U.S.
GSN Home Page for Extreme Dodgeball: http://www.gsn.com/specific_page_elements.php?link_id=S42
ESPN Page 3 Article: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=turner/040615b
azcentral.com news article: http://www.azcentral.com/ent/tv/articles/0619dodgeballtv.html
Player data is as aired by GSN