Ahh the Patriots, possibly the greatest team in the history of the league. Every fan has an opinion on them, they are either loved by their fans and considered the greatest of all time or hated and called arrogant, with controversy following them like a bad smell. But regardless of your opinion on them, they are dominating the league and deserved champions.
Obviously I am talking about the Patriots from the Schmoedown, not the New England variety that lost in Super Bowl LII, though as can be seen above, there are certainly some similarities! Despite Jeff “The Insneider” Sneider being “Little Evil” JTE’s fall-back option after being turned down by “Classy” Clarke Wolfe at The Decision, the Patriots have gone on to be the most successful team in the league. Their 8-0 record includes a 17-18 victory over Top 10 to claim the Teams belt and 5 successful title defences against Team Trek, Wolves of Steel (Wolfe & Mark “Yodi” Reilly – who she picked over JTE), Top 10, Modok and Above the Line have seen them hold the belt for over a year now. Though they have not had quite the same success in the singles division, JTE was runner-up in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown to current champion Samm Levine and opened the 2018 season with a 2nd place in a #1 Contender Triple Threat match against Mike Kalinowski and Rachel Cushing. Sneider had his own shot in the singles with a #1 Contender match against the commissioner Kristian Harloff at Collider Collision 2017 and it was a loss to teammate JTE that halted Sneider’s progress in the Ultimate Schmoedown, so who knows how far he could have gone.
But it is as a team that they have been so dangerous. They cover for each other so well in matches, whilst JTE is probably one of the most dangerous competitors in a buzzer round – a staple of Title matches. They have come through JTE’s horror 2016 where he was unable to win a singles match and have also continued to dominate despite issues in both competitors personal lives during 2017 – just look at Sneider’s reaction to beating Above the Line and you can see what it meant to him!
So why do so many people root against them? Well to put it bluntly, they are jerks! As part of Tom Dagnino’s Lions Den they play their heel role to perfection, and their unbeaten record and obvious quality in the Schmoedown give them an arrogance that makes them a clear target for any babyface looking to right the wrongs in the league and triumph over evil.
Aside from their desire to beat such heels, the Patriot’s belts are clearly a target for any team trying to prove their worth and I’m sure many would love to be the team that hands the Patriots their first ever loss. But who is most likely to dethrone the Patriots?
Top 10 – “The Outlaw” John Rocha & “Mighty” Matt Knost
The obvious team to discuss first as their victory over Top That has earned them a shot at a 3rd match against the Patriots. Top 10 are previous Team Champions having defeated Team Schmoes in October 2016, but they lost the belts to the Patriots at Schmoedown Spectacular and when they competed against them again on July 4th 2017 they were blown out the water. The only remaining members of the Four Horsemen have worked their way back since them and after working their way back and slowly turning face, they made it to the semi-finals of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown where they lost to Team Action, only to earn a #1 Contenders match by demolishing Team Action 12-22 in their Stipulation match at Schmoedown Spectacular II.
Rocha is a former Singles Champion having defeated Dan Murrell in 2016 so clearly knows his movie trivia, but as 2017 went on he did appear to lose his focus a little bit as he struggled to figure out if he was a heel or a face. The loss to Team Action appears to have given him a new lease of life to prove himself again and against Top That he was probably the most focused I had ever seen him, going so far as to keep the mask on throughout the match. When I first started watching in 2017, Knost appeared the weak link in the team, but as Rocha began to struggle his performances improved and since the Top 10! Show returned he has been even better, to the point that he and Rocha combined against Top That to have the first ever Perfect Round 1 (including the bonus question) for both team members.
“The second time didn’t happen! The first time was a fluke!” – Matt Knost after defeating Top That
With their focus at an all-time high and the prospect of another meeting against their old enemies, they are out for revenge and I think that it could be third time lucky for Top 10!
Above the Line – “The Godfather” Drew McWeeny & “The Inglorious One” Samm Levine
The first super-team to enter the Schmoedown, the Rookie Team of the Year did not form until after Collider Collision, but ran the gauntlet in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, defeating Nerd’s Watch, DC Movie News, Wolves of Steel and Team Action on their way to setting up a title bout at Schmoedown Spectacular II, where they lost on the final question in Round 3.
Levine is the current Singles Champion and won both Singles & Overall Player of the Year in 2017 and while McWeeny has maybe not gone on to the heights expected in singles competition so far, his partnership with the Inglorious One has been a match made in heaven by Kristian Harloff. Their victory over Wolves of Steel in the semis of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown – just their third ever match as a team – saw them set a new record points haul for a Team match with 35 points – a feat recently matched by Top 10 against Top That. If only they’d Remembered the Titans, they would have the singles belts already.
Where they do lack at the moment in experience in the title matches, as they are not used to the buzzer and betting rounds, however with 1 unsuccessful title match under their belt as a team and (at time of writing) 2 singles title matches to Levine’s name, they will be getting more used to the longer format and the extra rounds. Between the 2 of them, they have already shown that the categories many would wish to avoid – 70s, 80s, Movie Release Dates etc. – are arguably strengths and have also already shown that they are not afraid to go away and work on their weaknesses, with Levine’s decision to watch animated movies highlighting the lengths they will go to.
When they get another title shot – and I’m sure they will soon – I think that they have every chance of taking the belts off the Patriots if they still hold them at this point.
Modok – “The Kahuna” Matt Atchity & Grae “Lights Out” Drake
Before Above the Line can get another shot at the title, they first have to come through a #1 Contender match against the next team on the list: Team Modok. Formerly Team Rotten Tomatoes, Atchity and Drake earned their title shot following a victory over Nerd’s Watch at Collider Collision and actually took the Patriots to Sudden Death Overtime, only for JTE to get the winning answer.
However the game wouldn’t have even gone to Overtime if Atchity had paid more attention to the rules of the buzzer round and less to keeping his Russian spy persona intact! There is clearly a deep movie knowledge there and they are fun to watch, but right now I think there are stronger teams out there and I would be surprised to see them take down Above the Line.
Top That – Eric Goldman & Jim Vejvoda
Their 3-2 record following defeat to Top 10 may not stand out, but the team formerly known as Team IGN have been very impressive in the Schmoedown. The have a KO and 2 TKOs to their name and if not for a controversial call in their match against Rotten Tomatoes, it could have very easily been these guys fighting Nerd’s Watch at Collider Collision.
Jim Vejvoda is a competitor the fans can’t wait to see in the Singles League as he doesn’t appear to have many weaknesses, while Eric Goldman also clearly knows his stuff having worked for IGN but really comes into his own with categories like Comic Book Movies. Their losing score of 30 points against Top 10 would be enough to win them most matches by at least TKO!
However as well as they have done, their recent #1 Contender match against Top 10 probably showed a dangerous weakness: they are not regular viewers of the show. They have a general idea of what most competitors will struggle with but not the idea of what an individual’s strengths and weaknesses are, which came back to bite them on the ass big time when Top 10 spun Opponents Choice but were handed Biopics – a Rocha specialty – and answered every question correctly. They also don’t appear to use their challenges and the JTE rule (3 question repeats) as well as other teams, maybe by not watching they don’t fully understand them? If they were to have a better understanding of the game and their competitors I would feel much more comfortable predicting them as a possible team to take down the Patriots, but I currently feel this, combined with their lack of experience in Title matches – I get the feeling they would struggle in the buzzer round – stops them being the heroes that can take down the Patriots.
The Shirewolves – “Classy” Clarke Wolfe & Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing
The team everyone has been hoping for ever since Yodi stepped away from competing and Ken Napzok lost his smile has finally formed! 2 of the most successful females in the league and the last 2 Rookies of the Year, the Shirewolves have plenty of beef with the Lions Den and will be looking to take them down, starting with Ken and Dagnino and hopefully ending with the Patriots.
Wolfe faced the Patriots as part of the Wolves of Steel in their second title defence, and while she hasn’t yet played a title match, Cushing will have likely faced Samm Levine for the Singles title and may even hold the belt by the time the Shirewolves earn a title shot. Having not seem them in a match together yet it is hard to judge, but I have the feeling they will be a formidable opponent.
It will take at least a few months before they have enough wins to take on the Patriots so it is very possible the Team title will have changed hands by then, but if not I think this would be a great match to watch from both a story and competition perspective.
The Wildberries – Eliot “The Mountain” Dewberry & Josh “The Wildman” Macuga
“0-10 is our goal!” – Josh Macuga at the 2017 Awards
Enough said! If the Patriots ever face the Wildberries then it’s because they have already lost the belt.
Looking to the future?
“But these heels… Don’t make me come out of retirement. Cos I eat heels for breakfast. You saw that.” – Mark Reilly on accepting the Yodi Award at the 2017 Awards
So picture this: Top 10 come up short against the Patriots for the third time in a row. Above the Line dispose of Modok but once again fail in their title match. The Shirewolves demolish Napzok & Dagnino and go on an unbeaten run to a title match, only to fail like everyone before them. On the sidelines, Mark “Yodi” Reilly watches his former teammate Clarke Wolfe miss out on the belt once again and is forced to watch the Lions Den gloat again.
While Dagnino and the Patriots crow at their latest victory in the post-match interview, Yodi crashes the interview and warns them that their time at the top is coming to an end, because he’s coming back with the sole purpose of taking them down. A team match is arranged for Yodi’s return, but nobody seems to know who his teammate will be. The match arrives and Reilly walks out alone, takes the mic and introduces his new teammate – former Singles Champion Dan Murrell. Team Champs are back! These 2 guys were teammates for the 2015 Ultimate Schmoedown and Murrell is a former member of the Lions Den and I’m sure he would relish an opportunity to cut his old faction down to size.
Like the Shirewolves before them, they beat all comers, taking down a few heels on the way to the Patriots. Would they be able to beat the Patriots? I can’t guarantee that but I’m sure it will be a match for the ages!
Do you think any of these teams will beat the Patriots? Do you think there’s another existing team that could beat them? Kristian Harloff has already teased that we will see more super-teams in 2018, so perhaps the team that ends the Patriots’ reign hasn’t even formed yet.