Viewers of the Schmoedown were given an absolute treat last week as we reached the first Championship week of the season. In the singles, Rachel Cushing got her first shot at the Singles Championship belt against Samm Levine, while in the Teams League, Top 10 attempted to make it third time lucky against the unbeaten Patriots. After a lot of right answers (these guys are all title matches for a reason) and perhaps even more controversy, both the Patriots and “The Inglorious One” managed to hold onto their titles.
Samm “The Inglorious One” Levine 22 – 21 Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing
What a match this was between the 2017 Player of the Year and 2017 Rookie of the Year. After plenty of compliments and nice talk, they could not be separated in Round 1, going into Round 2 at 6-6. Cushing had the wheel on her side in Round 2, spinning Fantasy/Sci-Fi and getting a perfect Round 2 (watch out Innergeekdom competitors), while Levine matched her with his own perfect round after spinning Scorsese (twice!). Round 3 finally saw Levine open up a 1 point lead as both correctly guessed the right answer, but Cushing only bet 2 points compared to Levine’s 3. 17-6 Levine going into the Round 4, and then everything went crazy. The Crusher clearly knew most – if not all – of the answers in the speed round, but was never given a look-in as Levine beat her to the buzzer on all 5 questions and got all of them right to open up a 22-16 lead. Going into the final round 6 points down is always going to be difficult to overcome and unfortunately The Crusher missed on her 5 point question to hand Samm Levine a TKO victory and his first title defence.
I saw enough in this match to believe that the Crusher will hold the Singles Belt at some point in 2018, unfortunately Levine’s experience in title matches was probably the difference in this game, as he has title matches in Singles (a loss to Dan Murrell and a victory over Kristian Harloff) and in Teams (a loss to the Patriots), whereas this was Rachel’s first title match. I know that many people were not happy with the Speed Round following this match but as Harloff said, this is first and foremost a game, so the person with the best knowledge will not always win. The extra rounds in titles matches probably give a disadvantage to a competitor with no experience of a title match, but I think it helps prove who is the best all-round. Rachel’s knowledge is solid and she just needs to work on her speed round, she will learn from this experience and come back stronger than ever.
Let’s not forget, as a member of the Fyffe Club, there is the possibility of Emma using her Number 1 Contender shot on the Crusher to get her an immediate rematch, or maybe she will take some time to build her experience and aim for a match against the Patriots with her new teammate Clarke Wolfe. I feel confident in predicting that we will not have to wait too long to see the Crusher in another title match.
The Patriots 28 – 15 Top 10
The third meeting of these teams is a match that will not be forgotten in a hurry due to the controversy. I will give my thoughts on the Round 3 controversy shortly, but first let’s take a moment to look at what happened before this.
After the (inevitable) trash talk from both teams The Patriots took an early lead in this game, coming out of Round 1 with an 11-9 lead. In Round 2, The Patriots took maximum points fromMovie Quotes, whereas Top 10 had to check down to multiple choice on 2 questions, leaving them 23-19 down. And then we came to Round 3 and all hell broke loose. Westerns was spun on the wheel and The Patriots bet 1 point while Top 10 went for the maximum 3 points courtesy of this being one of “The Outlaw” John Rocha’s specialties. Sneider & JTE could not get the right answer, losing 1 point, whereas Rocha was correct, but his answer on the whiteboard was horribly illegible. Rocha initially argued that as he was the first person to say the correct answer he could still get the points, a decision that Harloff agreed with, deciding to award the 3 points, only for Sneider to challenge immediately. After a lengthy challenge, the decision was made to restart Round 3 with a new category spun – Will Smith. Both teams bet the maximum points but only The Patriots were able to answer correctly, leaving them 26-16 ahead. Everyone was getting involved in the speed round but The Patriots even managed to increase their lead in this round (scoring to points to Top 10’s -1) and they won by KO 28-15.
So, to my thoughts on the Round 3 controversy. Watching the video, Rocha clearly writes an answer in the middle of the board, but as time is expiring he changes his answer and writes the correct one – Jane Fonda – in the bottom corner. The safe thing to do would be to use Top 10’s last JTE rule, but I can understand that he wanted to keep hold of that with Rounds 4&5 remaining. I can understand Rocha’s argument that other players have had their answers accepted in the past with illegible writing provided that they were the first to give the correct answer, however I also agree that when a whiteboard is involved the answer should be clear on there – even if the spelling is not right *ahem ‘Japeto’*. Kristian Harloff said in an interview with Take 3 Productions that in hindsight he would have disallowed the points and played on (which he has said will be the rule moving forward). I think that this would have been the right answer, or if not, that another question from the same category would have been a better solution than a re-spin.
I am glad though that Kristian and the crew showed more of the challenge process than we usually see and have come out and spoken about it immediately, I can’t even imagine how much controversy there could have been had the creator stayed silent.
It is a shame though that the commissioner Thadd Williams in all his wisdom has decreed that Top 10 cannot challenge for the title again while The Patriots are champions. These 2 teams give you great trivia knowledge and great entertainment, much like Manchester United v Liverpool there is a mutual dislike there that draws you into the event even more. I can’t help but wonder if this could lead to Top 10 helping push for the return of Kristian Harloff as commissioner. Could this be the next stage of the Schmoedown Civil War?