Team Destruction Adds Power For Arnhem Showdown vs. Team Marvel

By Scott Douglass
Sep 10, 2013

The first ever Monster Jam® team competition was so popular one year ago in Arnhem that the unique format is back this year for this high profile Monster Jam World Tour stop and Team Destruction is clearly loading up to avenge last year’s defeat to Team Marvel by adding power houses Max-DSM driven by 11-time World Champion Tom Meents and Grave Digger® driven by Charlie Pauken to the Team Destruction roster for the pair of weekend events coming to the Gelredome in a couple of weeks.

With the Monster Jam truck and driver rosters now revealed for the exciting team battles once again there is an interesting theme running through the line-ups featuring Team Marvel’s grouping of some of the top young talent in the sport squaring off against Team Destruction’s veteran laden unit. The youth movement worked for Team Marvel in 2012 but for this second edition of Team Monster Jam competition the Team Destruction addition of 11-time Monster Jam World Champion Meents in Max-D and 2010 World Freestyle Champion Pauken in Grave Digger, at least on paper leading up to the shootout, appears to shift the balance of power toward the more experienced outfit.

Joining Grave Digger and Max-D on Team Destruction are several more heavyweights including another driver with a Monster Jam World Championship on his resume, Damon Bradshaw who will represent Team Destruction for the second straight year in Monster Energy. Rounding out this power packed team: El Toro Loco® driven by Becky McDonough, Disney XD driven by Dan Evans, and Captain's Curse® driven by Alex Blackwell. All three of them have lots of Monster Jam World Tour experience with McDonough coming off of arguably her strongest international performance ever earlier this year rocking the house in Abu Dhabi driving El Toro Loco while Evans has been one of the winningest driver’s in the history of the Monster Jam World Tour, many of those triumphs coming behind the wheel of Disney XD. Then there’s Blackwell who has piloted more different Monster Jam trucks to wins outside of the US than just about any driver in the sport, this time bringing his popular Captain’s Curse to Holland. When you add up the number of Monster Jam World Championships won by the Monster Jam trucks and drivers on this team the sum is an eye popping 19 world titles represented across Team Destruction.

Team Marvel can’t match the World Championship pedigree of Team Destruction but don’t discount the surplus of young talent they bring back to The Netherlands. Start with 2012 Monster Jam World Finals Young Guns Shootout Champion Bari Musawwir in Spider-ManTM who is one of the young superstars in the sport who has shown an ability to rise to the occasion when the spotlights are at their brightest. Add in 2013 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year Dustin Brown driving Wolverine and the immensely talented Morgan Kane behind the wheel of Iron ManTM and you would be hard pressed to find a more impressive trio of rising stars to team up on one side of the Gelredome. Along with the youthful enthusiasm Team Marvel possesses that group balances its line-up with some experience of its own as Thor will be on the team again, this time driven by Frank Krmel, and they have added one of the winningest drivers in the sport during 2013 Monster Jam competition as Team Grave Digger’s Jon Zimmer takes the reins of Hulk for Team Marvel’s upcoming match-up with Team Destruction.

Last year’s debut of the team format was wildly popular with the Dutch fans, who are included in the team concept with the massive domed stadium divided right down the middle, half of it adorned in the Team Marvel colors and the other half supporting Team Destruction. In 2012 the drivers actively inspired the fans on their side of the Gelredome which created even more excitement. The sight of Monster Energy’s Bradshaw leading his teammates running through the Team Destruction side of the grandstands, whipping up support for their group during last year’s razor-tight competition was memorable and you can expect that again this year. When the Monster Jam drivers aren’t strapped into their trucks getting ready to compete they’ll be in the stands, on their side of the Gelredome, helping lead the cheers for their colleagues which will again create lots of special moments for the fans in attendance.

The team camaraderie among competitors who are accustomed to focusing only on their own success throughout the year was impressive a year ago, and is sure to be on display again in this second ever team Monster Jam format. That includes a little more smack talk than fans may be used to which helps draw the lines team versus team. The youth movement on Team Marvel really bonded last year and was vocal about their group before ever roaring on to the track, mocking the more veteran Team Destruction as a group of over the hill drivers. That tactic worked for them a year ago, helping to create the team spirit that was a part of their victory in 2012.

For this year’s team throw down expect a similar theme to be established, but adding the likes of Grave Digger and Max-D to the opposition makes it a more daunting task for Team Marvel in looking to repeat the success of 2012 there. Just guessing here, but it seems likely that Meents will bring his 10th anniversary Max-D to Holland to celebrate “A Decade of Maximum Destruction” by holding down the anchor spot for Team Destruction. So should one or both of the team showdowns in Arnhem come down to the final one-on-one freestyle battle, as it did last year, having the reigning Monster Jam World Freestyle Champion ready to go figures to give Team Destruction an edge, at least on paper.

Still, don’t count out the impact of that youthful enthusiasm on Team Marvel. Last year that team bond seemed a little stronger among the newcomers. Team Destruction’s line-up of veterans who have battled each other for decades in some cases worked together and supported each other, but there was something special about the way the younger talent embraced the uniqueness of the concept of working as a team rather than just competing on their own behalf. It will be thrilling to see if Team Marvel can again create that one-for-all and all-for-one attitude this year that carried them to the first ever team Monster Jam victory a year ago. This unique team format has the fans in Europe buzzing with anticipation as another epic weekend of Monster Jam returns to the “Crown Jewel” on the Monster Jam World Tour schedule September 28th and 29th at the Gelredome in Arnhem, Holland.

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