So with the New Year I’ve decided to branch out a little bit from just my usual posts about sports. I tried it a little bit with Movember and now I am also going to bring in one of my other great loves: the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.
The Movie Trivia Schmoedown was created by the Schmoes Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis in 2014 on the Schmoes Know YouTube channel. After Schmoes Know merged with Collider Videos, the Schmoedown expanded and turned into the show it is today. As with any trivia show, the important thing is to find the thing that will make you unique – UK viewers may think of shows like Tipping Point or The Chase – well the Schmoedown found theirs by combining movie trivia with WWE style entertainment. Watch a match and you’ll know what I mean, you can’t really miss the trash talk or the wrestling-style entrances complete with nicknames, theme music and in many cases costumes. But watch regularly and you will begin to pick up even more similarities: the factions players join, such as the Four Horsemen (formerly) or the Lions Den; the skits and storylines around some matches, complete with kayfabe – fake personas for real people to create rivalries and storylines. What the Schmoedown does well is that they let the results dictate the storylines, as opposed to wrestling where the entire event is planned out.
I’m still a relatively new fan, as a massive nerd and Star Wars addict, I came across the first themed Schmoedown match – a Star Wars team match between The Council and the Force Bros – and absolutely loved it. When I then heard that they were doing another Star Wars Schmoedown – this time a Fatal Five-Way – at Star Wars Celebration, I made sure I watched as soon as I could. If anything, this match was even better and in May 2017 I decided to give a regular Schmoedown match – Nerd’s Watch v Team Action – a watch. To say I was hooked immediately is an understatement and I am glad that the Schmoedown has been going from strength to strength as the year goes on.
Why am I posting about it on a sports blog? Well A) because it’s my blog and I can do what I want; B) there may be others out there who would enjoy watching this, so hopefully I can get the word out to potential new fans; C) though it may be a trivia show, the WWE style format and the way it has hit off has a lot of similarities to sports.
The league is run by a commissioner – usually Harloff, but currently Thadd Williams – which is a role we see in many American sports. The questions are asked by a pair or trio of hosts, who also act as commentators for the event. With the exception of the odd surprise match, we know the upcoming match schedule ahead of time, including getting brackets for tournaments like the Ultimate Schmoedown, allowing us fans to make sure we can keep track of when our favourite contestants will be competing again. There are currently 3 different divisions – Singles, Teams and InnerGeekdom (think Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel etc) – and competitors have records for each individual division so that it is easy to see who is in contention for a shot at the title – a belt similar to those worn by title holders in many combat sports. Like many combat sports, each Schmoedown match is generally split into a predetermined number of rounds (usually 3, 5 in title matches, each with a different format) and the competitor with the most points at the end wins, though if one competitor is dominant enough in a match it is possible for them to win by knockout (KO) or technical knockout (TKO) – again pulling very much from combat sports. At the start of the season-ending Schmoedown Spectacular II we even got the classic American sporting tradition of the Star Spangled Banner being sung before the event started (bravo Sinead de Vries!), a welcome surprise that I would be happy to see return ahead of big Schmoedown events in the future.
Due to the matches being on YouTube, there is a worldwide following, with many fans having joined the Movie Trivia Schmoedown fan group on Facebook (almost 16.5k members at time of writing), where they can interact with other fans and also the competitors. To go along with this, many of the competitors now have their own fan groups such as the Outlaw Nation, the Wolfe Pack and the Action Army. Fans can also show their support in public with a selection of apparel on TeePublic, the Schmoedown equivalent of replica kit. To say I’ve already bought more than I should is an understatement! The pictures on this page are a selection of my current shirts. Fans also join together to form fantasy leagues, which are becoming ever more common in popular sports. As well as the actual matches themselves (usually 2 a week), Collider also puts out a weekly ‘Inside Schmoedown’ episode to look back over the latest matches and ahead to the next one while usually interviewing a contestant, while the Schmoedown Rundown podcast can also be found on the SK Plus YouTube channel discussing recent events. The Rundown’s very own Frank Janisch is our very own Opta stats and this was incorporated into he end of Schmoedown matches in recent months, while also having its own twitter page @SDRundownStats. There is also a great blog looking at the Schmoedown that has really impressed me since I found it a few months back.
The success of the Schmoedown and its continued growth are also allowing the league and Schmoedown brand to branch out further. 2017 has seen stars of IT and Power Rangers compete in celebrity Schmoedowns and the occasional Star Wars Schmoedown has evolved into its own distinct division (though matches are much less frequent than the other divisions) with many new competitors entering the league due to their specialist knowledge. For those who want to feel a part of the action, the Schmoedown has also created an app (currently just on iOS though there are plans to expand onto Android). If this growth continues, who knows where the Schmoedown will be this time next year!
Hopefully at least a few of you who read this are interested in looking into things further. If so I would recommend watching couple of matches to see if it’s something you enjoy. All the matches since the Collider merger can be found on this playlist, just be aware that it will start you on the most recent video (Part 3 of Schmoedown Spectacular II at time of writing) so you may want to go through a bit to find a match you want to watch. I would personally recommend an event like the Free 4 All, Collider Collision or the aforementioned Spectacular if you want to be introduced to a number of competitors at once, though this will bring you in part way through a number of storylines.
Personally, I can’t wait for the 2018 season to start!
Let’s get ready to Schmoedown!