After Samm Levine stepped away from the Singles and Teams titles after Collider Collision, we knew that we were guaranteed a new singles champion. William “The Beast” Bibbiani, MVP of the Free 4 All won his Number 1 Contender match against Jeff Sneider and was due to face “The Inglorious One” until this announcement, so his challenger instead became Marc “The Android” Andreyko, who defeated Ethan Erwin in a second Contender match. Meanwhile in the Teams Division, The Shirewolves won their Contender match against The World’s Finest and were promptly challenged by Brianne, who announced that her and her mystery partner would be cashing in her title challenge earned by winning Free 4 All 2. Entering this week, we knew that we were going to see a new Singles Champion and also The Schmoedown’s first female Champion. That’s a lot of hype and expectation ahead of these matches, but I’d say they delivered!
Warning: this will contain spoilers for both the Singles and Teams title matches, also Tuesday’s Anarchy Preview Special
William “The Beast” Bibbiani 19-18 Marc “The Android” Andreyko
When Bibbiani and Andreyko debuted in the league, they faced each other in what was arguably one of the best Schmoedown matches up to that point, with Bibbiani setting a new points record on the way to victory. It quickly became clear the accuracy stats wouldn’t be as good for the competitors this time around as both competitors missed within the first 4 questions of Round 1 on their way to an end-of-round score of 5-5.
Going into Round 2, Andreyko was the pre-match favourite and chose to defer his spin, The Beast initially spinning 90s, but spinning away to end up with Musicals. Not a category that he likely wanted, but he was able to come away with 2/4 correct answers for 4 points, but Andreyko was able to steal both incorrect answers for 3 points, including one where Bibbs misheard the start of the question and gave the name of the actor from the original film Annie as opposed to the 2014 remake. The Android was up and he chose to stick with his first spin, Monster Movies, and answered his first 3 questions for 5 points. He looked set to get 4/4 as he clearly knew the answer to his last question, but answered “Bud” when it should have been “Bub”, an answer that Bibbiani knew, stealing 2 points and reduce his losses. Obviously it’s disappointing to have a 4-point swing for the matter of 1 letter, but it clearly alters the answer and I completely agree with the judges’ ruling.
Leading by 2 going into Round 3, Andreyko was able to select the category for the betting round, spinning Classics. Despite Bibbs using one of his repeats, neither competitor was able to guess the correct answer, but Andreyko’s lead grew as he had only bet 1 point compared to The Beast’s 2.
The speed round was a first for both competitors and it looked as if Andreyko had benefitted from the practicing the Fyffe Club did ahead of Clarke’s title shot as he beat Bibbiani to the buzzer on all 5 questions. However, wrong answers on the first and third questions meant that he only increased his lead by 1 point.
And so it came to the final round. Marc had a 4 point lead over Bibbiani, who has a horrible record in Round 3. However this new-look standing Beast of 2018 had no problems, getting the full 10 points from Comic Book Movies, Comedies and Will Smith. Andreyko got his 2- and 3-point questions correct and was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to take victory or Bibbiani would be the new Champion. When the category was announced as Sports, I was pretty certain the title was going to the Beast, but Andreyko came so close, correctly guessing one of the required actors but not the other. I must admit that I was surprised Andreyko didn’t use either of his 2 remaining repeats on the last question, as he answered quite quickly and did not even wait to the 5 second countdown, which makes me think that he knew he would be unable to guess the second actor and did not want to prolong the action. And that was it: Bibbiani, touted as a future champion after his debut victory over Andreyko, took the victory once again to become the 6th different competitor to be crowned Singles Champion.
Bibbiani will have a tough test ahead of him as he will be facing the winner of Rocha/Batemen and Reilly/Ghai. 2 champions and 2 up-and-comers who have shown their quality in past performances. I would expect Bibbs to have better Round 1 performances in the future as this one was poor by his standards and judging by his interview on the Schmoedown Rundown, he knows that he needs to work on taking his time to think through some of his answers. What he does need to work on though is his reaction time in the Round 4. He got lucky this time, but had Andreyko got all 5 answers correct, the extra 4 points would have meant he wouldn’t have needed to answer his 5-pointer. I’m sure that this experience will improve him and I think regardless of who he faces, he has a good chance of defending his title.
As for Andreyko, this was another strong performance from him and I think that he will be kicking himself about his “Bud” answer as that ultimately proved costly. He also probably underperformed in Round 1 and with title match experience under his belt, I can see him performing better next time he finds himself competing for a belt. Next up for him will likely be the Anarchy tournament, where he has been paired as Jeff Sneider. As I said when I initially looked at the teams, that is a dangerous team and if they get the right opposition, they could certainly be dark horses for the title.
The Shirewolves (“Classy” Clarke Wolfe & Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing) 29-18 Sick In The Head (“Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler & ???)
Coming into this one, we knew that we were guaranteed a female champion for the first time ever, but besides who would be the new champion, the biggest question was arguably who Brianne’s mystery partner would be. For a moment I got excited to see Wendy Lee Szany coming out until I realised that this was all part of another classic entrance from Miss Movies, this time based on Miss Congeniality (yes I recognised it, no I’m not ashamed). Once out, the question was finally answered a she was joined on stage by debutante “Bald” Bryan Bishop, forming Sick in the Head.
Once The Shirewolves joined them onstage – in Marvel-lous fashion (I’ll see myself out) – we were all set to go. Nobody managed a perfect Round 1, but the Shirewolves took an early 4-point lead, Rachel being the top scorer with 7/8, while Clarke got 6 points and Brianne and Bryan got 4 and 5 points respectively.
The Shirewolves deferred their spin in Round 2 and Brianne came to the Wheel for the first time this season and spun Dance Movies, a clear strength of hers. I thought this could be the moment that Sick in the Head’s fortunes improved, but Miss Movies shocked me by spinning again, landing on Directors. While it’s rare to see someone spin away from a strength, I can understand the thinking that she would rather a category that both her and Bryan were comfortable with and they worked their way through Directors to go 5/6 for 8 points, though the Shirewolves did successfully steal a point on their miss. It was Clarke’s turn to spin and the Wheel – so often her nemesis in previous seasons – was on her side, giving her and Rachel Horror. They got off to a good start with 2 points on their 1st question, but initially missed their 2nd (Sick in the Head missing their steal opportunity) but Clarke had by good chance watched the film recently and was confident enough to challenge the answer to show that hers was also correct, earning the 2 points. They finished the round 6/6 for 10 points to extend their lead to 24-17.
Clarke’s newfound love affair with the Wheel continued in Round 3 as she again spun Horror. Perhaps the only surprise about Clarke and Rachel getting the question right was that they only gambled 2 points, but Sick in the Head were unable to pull the correct answer and lost a point, leaving The Shirewolves with a 10 point lead.
After Clarke’s heroics on the buzzer in her match with Samm Levine, I thought that the Shirewolves may be about to run away with things in Round 4 when she got in first to get the correct answer on the 1st question. But each competitor managed to buzz in first with a correct answer over the first 4 questions. And so it came to the final question of the Round. With the scores at 28-18, Sick in the Head needed to either win the point or hope the Shirewolves got it wrong in order to progress to the final round. But Clarke had other plans and she buzzed in first and correctly answered to win the title by KO, much to The Crusher’s visible shock.
This was a wonderful victory for the Shirewolves and showed just how strong they are both as individuals and a pair, as they only answered 2 questions incorrectly between them the whole game (Rachel’s wrong answer in Round 1 was also one of Clarke’s wrong answers) and I imagine they knew the answers to the 2 questions where they weren’t quick enough in Round 4 too. Rachel may not be the fastest in that round but there was a clear improvement from her match against Samm Levine, while Clarke is surely building a reputation now as a danger on the buzzer. I’ll be shocked if neither of them finds themselves challenging for the Singles Title again by the end of next season, but as a team, their performances go to another level. Will they be able to go on a Patriots-esque run of defences? I don’t think anyone will be able to do that again, but as they continue to grow as a team it is a definite possibility.
As for Sick in the Head, this was a good showing for a team that has never competed together before, especially considering Bryan was making his Schmoedown debut! I have said before that I think players who have experience of the 5 round match format are at an advantage in title matches, but they have shown enough to make me believe they can be an above average team if they stick together.
When the Anarchy teams were initially announced for the Ultimate Schmoedown, we already knew that there would be changes based on the result of the Team Title match courtesy of Brianne, Rachel and Clarke all being involved in the original teams. The Shirewolves win, combined with scheduling issues for Ethan Erwin have led to a couple of changes:
- As Drew McWeeny is now unable to partner with Clarke, he now has Brianne as his partner. She must be thrilled at the upgrade from Devon Stewart! Stewart is now being partnered with debutante Rachel Silvestri
- Ethan Erwin’s schedule meant that he was unable to play with Jeannine, so he will now partner Sabina Graves
- As he is no longer able to partner Rachel Cushing, Andrew Ghai was to become Jeannine’s new partner, but refused to work with Jay Washington so will no longer take part in the tournament. Jeannine will now pair up with Brian Walton
- Jay Washington will be managing both Ethan and Jeannine’s teams
- Jay Washington managing 2 teams makes me think he will be making a play to get Ethan Erwin into the Viper Squad, but with her impressive performances so far this season, Sabina Graves could also be a potential target for the Urban Gladiator
- Andrew Ghai is currently going through a campaign against the Horsemen, while the Viper Squad’s feud with the Fyffe Club appears to be coming to an end. Could Ghai’s refusal to compete under Jay Washington be setting up a new feud for the rest of the season?
- Brianne was open about her struggles when she too a step back from competing in 2017, so it was lovely to see her and Bryan call their team Sick in the Head and admit that it has been due to their health issues. Tie this with Rachel Cushing’s talking about her nerves and Mark Donica’s Facebook post about his panic attack during the Kalinowski match. It’s great to see so many competitors being open and honest about their mental health issues and hopefully people watching this will be more willing to be open about any of their own mental health issues.
What did you think of these matches? Who do you think will hold their title longer? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! Until next time…