It’s 2018 and we are starting off the New Year right, by verbally abusing the ones we love. Tonight features some battles with crowd favorites, a few disaster artists, and ends with the beginning of the single-elimination roast battle tournament. We here at Verbal Violence know how to start the year.
Our only confirmed judge tonight is crowd and battler favorite Mike Lawrence. We all know his credits and that he’s amazing, tough, witty. Moving on.
Our first undercard of the night has Nate Banditelli returning to the ring to take on Dakota Freeman. Nate is coming off an epic failure of a debut battle, where the losers were both battlers – and everyone in the room. Dakota is coming off a string of underwhelming losses. His return to the ring after these is admirable, most wouldn’t show their faces after three such disappointing losses. This is anyone’s battle, as neither roaster has proven themselves in the ring. Hopefully they’ve learned from their losses and have put in the work to surprise us all.
In our second undercard of the night we see untested battler Brandi Denise face the ever-entertaining Jasmin Leigh. Jasmin has been consistently battling every few months, although the battles have been anything but consistent. She is always entertaining, but her lackluster writing has led her to a string of losses. Brandi has never battled before, but has more standup experience than Jasmin, so I wouldn’t write her off completely. If Brandi has studied the roast joke format and put in the work, she has a chance. If not, my money is on Jasmin, who’s high energy and willingness to have fun on stage makes her a crowd pleaser every time.
The last undercard pits Victor Martinez Jr. against Scott Kidd. Martinez somehow looks like an 11-year-old boy and his stepdad that beats him. Martinez has had some good battles and some bad. That sounds boring, because it is. He’s coming off a string of losses, but he’s fought some great battlers, so he’s not to be discounted. He’s battling Sid from Ice Age. I mean Scott Kidd. Kidd is also an experienced battler with an inconsistent record. Both of these guys have some epic duds, and some almost respectable battles, it’s anyone’s fight tonight.
Our first main event marks the start of the Roast Battle tournament, thanks to the tireless efforts of Pat Barker and Jay Light. If you aren’t familiar with the tournament, read Pat’s write-up in the report before this one, it’s worth it. Jacob Trimmer takes on Movses Shakarian in the first round of the single-elimination tournament. Trimmer’s record is 6-3 and he’s the more experienced battler, but damn if he’s not an easy target. His ridiculous beard and gargantuan size make him a huge target. Trimmer is a consistently good battler, and has more time in the ring than Movses, giving him a slight edge. Movses (3-2) is the newest battler in the tournament, but he’s come out swinging. He is likable, which against Trimmer’s scary biker man look, could give him an advantage with the audience. Luckily for Trimmer, this battle will be based on the judge’s decisions, who tend to favor solid joke writing and consistency. If Trimmer can win the audience over and get the reactions his jokes deserve, he can take this.
The final main event pits John-Michael Bond against Jonathan Rowell in another round of the tournament.Bond is 5-2, an impressive record, considering one of those wins was against roast battle royalty Keith Carey. Bond is a solid writer and likable on stage, a great combination. Rowell’s record is less impressive at 1-4-1, however, don’t think that means he’s a dud. He’s only battled all-stars, so while he has more losses than wins, they’ve been great battles. He’s a solid battler, and he’s got to be hungry for a W, making him a formidable opponent. This could go either way, but we are in for some solid writing and good performances.
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