ALL ABOUT OUTLAW: The Schmoedown History of John Rocha!

ALL ABOUT OUTLAW: The Schmoedown History of John Rocha!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 11/4/2019


Even if you’re new to the Schmoedown, you’ll probably recognize John Rocha. With his trademark Guy Fawkes mask and cowboy hat, “The Outlaw” has been a regular competitor in the Schmoedown since Season 2, trying to make his goal of “All the belts, all the records” a reality.

Rocha’s career in the Schmoedown has been a story of highs and lows, so as he approaches a Triple Threat match that could earn him another shot at the Singles Title, let’s look back through The Outlaw’s journey through the Schmoedown!

Top 10

Rocha arrived as part of the 2015 Ultimate Schmoedown. Unlike its debut year, the 2015 season was a team tournament, so Rocha’s debut came alongside Matt Knost as one half of the team Top 10. Taking on Screen Junkies (Hal Rudnick and Nick Mundy), Rocha went 2/3 to help the team to an early 5-3 lead. Rocha stepped up in Round 2 in the category of Mob Movies, going 4/4 for 6 points, while Mundy’s struggles in 80s Movies allowed Rocha and Knost to steal 3 answers for 4 points, ending the match after just 2 rounds with a 15-5 scoreline – the first time that season a match didn’t go to Round 3!

Next up for Top 10 was a quarterfinal against Team Champs (Movie Fights Champion Dan Murrell and Schmoedown Singles Champion Mark Reilly). Team Champs took an early 6-4 lead but 3 points from 2 steals and 5 points in the category of DiCaprio put Rocha and Knost ahead. In Round 3, Team Champs bet all of their 9 points and got the answer right, some quick mental maths from Matt Knost worked out that betting 7 points was enough to secure the win if both teams had the same answer and the pair were also correct, securing a 19-18 victory – the closest winning margin of the season.

This set up a semifinal against B.O.B. with a final against either the Schmoes or Rotten Tomatoes on the line. The first 2 rounds saw Top 10 take an 18-15 lead, which left Knost doing some more clever maths to give them a chance of winning in the Jeopardy round. B.O.B had turned up to the match dressed as priests and perhaps there was some divine influence at play as they hit the correct answer, while Top 10 missed to give B.O.B a 2-30 victory.

Enter the Singles Division

During Top 10’s run in 2015, “The Mantzman” Scott Mantz had called out Rocha for a 1v1 match after they developed a rivalry on Movie Fights. The Schmoedown’s move to a league format for Season 3 saw Mantz vs. Rocha scheduled for the second match of the season.

After plenty of very vocal trash talk, Mantz took a 2-3 lead in Round 1 but a perfect Round 2 and a 1-point steal in Round 2 gave Rocha an 11-9 lead heading into the final round. Mantz hit his 3- and 5-pointers and Rocha his 1- and 3-pointers, leaving him needing to hit his 5-pointer to win. With the category of his final question being Star Wars, it looked like victory for Rocha – who hosted a Star Wars podcast – would win.

Asked to name the 3 planet settings in The Empire Strikes Back, Rocha managed to name “Hoth” and “Dagobah” but was unable to remember “Bespin” and as a result fell to a 15-17 loss. That moment of infamy is still remembered years later as you hear other competitors talk about their “Bespin moment” when they blank and miss an answer in their wheelhouse that they should have known.

Rocha was soon back to avenge his loss, taking on Josh Macuga, who he defeated 17-16. This led to a rematch against Mantz and from the moment he entered, it was clear that this was a more focused, serious Rocha who was going to do anything to win. The pair could not be separated over the opening 2 rounds, entering Round 3 with a 9-9 score, but Rocha was able to pull away in the final round and win 13-10, earning himself a place in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament.

The Rise of the Four Horsemen

In his post-match interview following his victory over Mantz, Rocha teased that there was something coming, showing a 4-fingered symbol but saying nothing further.

Rocha took on Kristian Harloff in the first round of the tournament and – using a blindfold to cut out the Commissioner’s distracting antics – he defeated the creator of the league 21-19, the highest scoring Singles match in the history of the Schmoedown at the time.

Next up for Rocha was a return to the Teams Division with a #1 Contender Match against Rotten Tomatoes. In a close match, Top 10 came away with the 23-21 victory to set up a title shot against The Schmoes.

Before taking on The Schmoes, Rocha had the rest of the Singles Tournament to focus on. Taking on Mark “Yodi” Reilly in the semifinal, Rocha took the lead in Round 1 and steadily extended his advantage in Rounds 2 and 3 to emerge victorious 18-14. This set up a final against Mark Ellis that would also work as a #1 Contender Match to face Dan Murrell at Spectacular. In Rocha’s first match in the 5-round format, there was little between them over the first 2 rounds. The betting round saw Ellis open up a lead as Rocha lost 2 points and Ellis gained 2, while he extended this lead to 9-13 by the end of Round 4. Rocha fought hard in the final round but could not overcome the deficit and “Baby Carrots” came away with a 13-18 victory.

Rocha only had to wait a couple of days before he could try to get revenge on Ellis. Taking on The Schmoes in his first Championship Match, Rocha and Knost took an early 14-9 lead over the first 2 rounds. A correct answer for Top 10 and a wrong answer for The Schmoes saw the lead stretch to 17-6 and the buzzer round saw each competitor answer a question right for Top 10 to take an unassailable 19-8 lead and earn a KO victory. The Outlaw had won his first title and was in a strong position to compete for the Singles Title too.

Following an impressive debut against Marc Andreyko, William “The Beast” Bibbiani had his post-match interview interrupted by Rocha, who announced that he was forming a faction, the Four Horsemen. He and Knost were the first 2 Horsemen and The Beast was brought on as the 3rd member. Schmoedown Spectacular kicked off with Robert Meyer Burnett winning the inaugural Innergeekdom Title match and following his victory, “The Captain” was invited to become the 4th member. As a counter to the Horsemen, Top 10’s opponents The Patriots combined with Tom Dagnino and Marc Andreyko to form their own faction, The Lion’s Den.

The third match of Spectacular saw Top 10 look to defend their title against The Patriots. The challengers opened a 2-point lead over the first 3 rounds and the buzzer round extended this to 11-13. 6 points for Top 10 in the final round and misses for Sneider and JTE left The Patriots having to hit their 5-pointer for victory, which they managed to do, leading to them taking the titles and beginning the longest title run in Schmoedown history (so far).

Rocha did not have much time to focus on this loss as he was involved in the very next match, a Singles #1 Contender Match against Mark Reilly. “Yodi” led through the first 2 rounds but Rocha got the maximum 9 points in Round 3 and Reilly was unable to hit his 5-pointer, earning Rocha his first shot at the Singles Title.

This Championship match came early in Season 4. Dan Murrell came into this match with a 5-0 record in Singles and 2 title defences under his belt, but he had a challenge on his hands in the form of the Outlaw. The pair could not be separated in Round 1 and while Murrell managed to open a 1-point lead during the wheel round, Rocha had brought things back level going into the final round. Rocha missed his 1-pointer and Murrell hit his, Rocha missed his 3-pointer but hit his 5-pointer to reach 21 points.

Murrell hit his 3-pointer but missed his final question and with a scream of delight, The Outlaw celebrated winning the Singles Title and becoming the first competitor to have held belts in multiple divisions.

The Fall of the Horsemen

By the time Rocha won the Singles Title, Burnett had lost his Innergeekdom title to Hector Navarro and Bibbiani had lost to JTE – his first Singles victory since 2014. It was up to the Outlaw and Top 10 at this point to lead the Horsemen. Top 10 took on the Schmoes for a second time and came out with a 26-24 victory, which marked the last time to date that the Schmoes competed together outside of exhibition matches.

The first Free 4 All saw Rocha emerge as the 16th competitor out of 35 and last 8 rounds (the 3rd highest of everyone involved) and score 28 points (joint-2nd with John Humphrey) before being eliminated as part of the famous XX5XX moment.

Rocha’s next match was his first title defence and 3rd Singles match against Mark Reilly, who had defeated teammate Clarke Wolfe to earn a shot at winning back his title. After an opening round that saw the pair matched at 7-7, Reilly spun Opponent’s Choice and was surprisingly given Scores & Soundtracks, in which he earned 5 points and gave away a 1-point steal. Rocha spun Spinner’s Choice and picked Westerns, earning 7 points to take a 15-12 lead. Both lost 2 points in the betting round and the scores were still the same following a buzzer round that saw Reilly have what he would probably consider one of the biggest misses of his career (blanking on “Scream” and instead saying “The Sandlot”). Rocha could only hit his 3-point question in Round 5 and Reilly hit his 3- and 5-pointers to take his title back with a 16-18 victory and become the first 2-time Champion.

Top 10’s victory over The Schmoes saw them take on The Patriots for the second time, but a perfect Round 1 from Jeff Sneider (who missed the bonus question) saw The Patriots take an early 9-14 lead, which Top 10 were unable to overcome, eventually losing via TKO 20-27.

Dan Murrell was set to face Mark Reilly for the Singles Title at Collision, but Rocha got himself involved and managed to make the match a Triple Threat. In the main event, things were close after Round1, but Reilly fell 5 points behind during the wheel round (Murrell and Rocha remained level on points). Murrell took the lead in the buzzer round and Reilly was eliminated after missing his 2- and 3-pointers. Rocha missed his 2- and 3-pointers too (including the infamous “Fruit of the Loom” incident that appeared to rattle him) but hit his 5-pointer to throw it back to Murrell, who scored 7 points to win back the title.

Following this match, the discontent amongst the Four Horsemen reached a head and William Bibbiani betrayed Rocha, leaving the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold. Burnett quickly followed suit, joining the Lion’s Den. The Horsemen were over, and it was back to just Rocha and Knost, who refused to leave his partner.

New Rivals

It was time for Top 10 to reset and the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown was the perfect chance to do this. Up until now, Rocha had been one of the biggest heels in the league, but he mellowed somewhat, giving his competitors the respect they were due but not being afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone who got in his way.

Top 10’s opening match in the tournament was against the Reel Rejects and a strong performance by Rocha (7/8 in Round 1, 8 points working with Knost in Biopics during Round 2, and successfully answering his Round 3 3-pointer) helped push them towards a 26-25 victory, which set up a quarterfinal against the Lion’s Den’s second team, Blofeld’s Cat (Burnett and Andreyko).

Against Blofeld’s Cat, Rocha earned a perfect round in Round 1 but missed the bonus, which helped set Top 10 up for a 34-29 victory – a new points record in the Division. Following this match, Rocha took a quick break to compete in a Celebrity Match, where he and Brett Davern defeated Jeff Sneider and Beau Mirchoff 27-25.

After that it was back to the tournament and their next opponents were the new heels on the block, Team Action, who had been making a name of themselves with their impressive performances and complete lack of respect. Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai took a 10-12 Round 1 lead and things got even worse for Top 10 in Round 2 as the dreaded Spinner’s Choice & Opponent’s Choice combo went against them, leaving them 13-20 down. Rocha and Knost earned the full 10 points in Round 3, but Ghai hit the 2-pointer and Bateman the 3-pointer to take the victory 23-25 and end Top 10’s run in the tournament.

Rocha was also competing in the Singles Tournament and after taking out 16th seed Jason Inman via TKO 11-10, it was time to take on Samm Levine. At this point, Levine was 4-4 in Singles, but his new partnership with Drew McWeeny was making waves in the Teams Tournament and set to face Action in the final. Levine had made some comments against Rocha in a post-match interview and Rocha kept a recording of this on his phone for motivation.

Rocha was in a strong position in this match, down by just 3 points halfway through Round 2, but a controversial call against John Rocha (saying “Lena Headley” rather than “Lena Headey”) resulted in a 2-point steal for Levine to level the scores going into Round 3, where “The Inglorious One” came out with a 17-19 victory.

With Action losing to Above The Line, Top 10 challenged the young upstarts to a rematch, which they initially refused. New Commissioner Thadd Williams put some stipulations in place that made it impossible for them to resist: A Top 10 victory would win them a #1 Contender Match; an Action victory would win them a Title Match and Top 10 would split for a year. The match took place at Spectacular 2 and a poor Round 2 for Action gave Top 10 a 10-point lead. Ghai missed his 2-point question and Top 10 had the TKO victory 12-22.

Then Things Got Crazy

As Rocha began to celebrate that victory, an enraged Andrew Ghai snapped and tackled the Outlaw to the floor, being pulled away by Bateman and Thadd and earning himself a 3-month ban. Rocha luckily sustained minimal injuries and with the season ending, he had time to recuperate before having to play again.

Ten vs. Den

With The Patriots still holding the Teams Title one year on, Top 10 hoped that they would be the ones to finally end their run of success. Their #1 Contender match was arranged against Top That (Eric Goldman and Jim Vejvoda), who at 3-1 were going to be a dangerous opponent. Round 1 could not have gone any better for Top 10 as both Rocha and Knost hit perfect rounds and the bonus questions to take an 18-13 lead. Top 10 spun Opponent’s Choice but were let off by Top That’s lack of knowledge about the game as they gave Rocha and Knost Biopics, a category that Rocha had never missed a question in. Top 10 earned 10 points on this spin, but Top That scored 10 points after spinning Comic Book Movies, a strength, for 10 points. Both teams scored 7 points in the final round and Top 10 came away with the 35-30 victory and the chance of a third match against The Patriots.

The opening two rounds saw Sneider and JTE take a 19-23 lead before the controversy of Round 3. After spinning Westerns, The Patriots lost 1 point and Top 10 scored 3, to level the scores at 22-22, with Rocha having got the answer in the last second and scribbled the answer – Jane Fonda – on the corner of the board rather than use a JTE rule. Sneider challenged the ruling and it was decided that as the answer was not legibly written on the board the points could not be allowed. Shockingly though, Sneider’s suggestion of a re-spin was also accepted and in the category of Will Smith, The Patriots scored 3 points and Top 10 lost 3. The decision clearly got in the heads of Rocha and Knost and Round 4 ended with Top 10 being KO’d 15-28.

At this point, JTE was able to boast that John Rocha had never beat him, but The Outlaw had the chance to do so mere days later at the first live event at the El Portal Theatre. With the crowd going wild, Things were level going into Round 2, where JTE spun once of his strengths in Sly & Arnie. Things did not go Little Evil’s way though as a couple of bad errors – including one of the more forgotten JTE-isms “Elisha Dooku” – Rocha stole more points (4) than JTE earned (2). Rocha spun Westerns and earned 7 more points, while JTE missed his 2-pointer in Westerns to hand Rocha a 17-10 TKO victory. After this match, Rocha announced that he was coming for the Lion’s Den and hinted that he may be looking for some new support to join him and Knost.

Next up for Rocha was the second Free 4 All, where he was the 33rd competitor out of 48. He lasted 4 rounds, spending time at the table with rivals Bibbiani, Burnett and Bateman, eventually getting eliminated by Bateman after scoring 11 points.

With the chance of a direct title shot gone for another season, it was back to taking on the Lion’s Den and with JTE down, it was time to battle his Patriots teammate Jeff Sneider. Sneider took a lead in Round 1 and while the score remained close throughout, Rocha was unable to pull a 5-pointer in the category Horror/Thriller and he fell to the Insneider 17-20.

The Horsemen Return

While The Outlaw had been focusing on the Lion’s Den, it did not mean his rivalry with Team Action was over. Andrew Ghai returned from his suspension worse than ever, stealing Dan Murrell’s spot in the Free 4 All and going on to brag to everyone that he had beat the GOAT. Following Action’s loss to the Shirewolves at the second EL Portal live event, Ghai pulled a stunt of calling Murrell out only for “Murrell” (Bateman dressed as Murrell) to appear as a target for ridicule. Suddenly music started to cut them off, the lights went out and when they came back up, four hooded figures stood on stage showing the symbol of the Four Horsemen.

One by one the figures revealed themselves: Knost… Rocha… Jason Inman… and Mark Reilly, coming out of retirement! As the crowd went wild, the symbol of the 4 changed to a 5 and the lights went out again, coming back up to reveal a 5th figure. Rocha pulled off the hood of the new figure to reveal a fifth Horseman: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell!

The three great rivals from the early days of the league had joined forces along with former Teams Champion Matt Knost and then-Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman to create what was on paper arguably one of the strongest factions in Schmoedown history. Murrell decided to shut Ghai up by challenging him to a Singles match at Collision.

Unfortunately for the Horsemen, that didn’t go to plan as Murrell was TKO’d on his return to competition. Reilly challenged Ghai next, while Rocha – who by this point had beaten Alex Wolff in a 1v1 Celebrity Match, 19-18 – took on Bateman, with the winners of these matches set to face each other in a #1 Contender match for a chance to take on new Champion William Bibbiani. Reilly fell to Ghai but in a tight match, Bateman missed a tough 5-pointer to hand Rocha the victory 18-16.

Before Rocha could take on Ghai, it was time to enter the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament. Mike Kalinowski’s influence on the league had put a twist in this season’s tournament: Anarchy. Every existing team other than the Champions (The Shirewolves) were split up and new teams were formed for the tournament. Knost was paired with Bibbiani but Rocha and new stablemate Dan Murrell were paired to form the Founding Fathers. Their team debut came at the third El Portal live event, where they took on Wait, I Know This (Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall). Despite a strong performance from Stacy Howard, The Founding Fathers were just too strong and came out with the 20-17 TKO victory. It wasn’t all good news for the Horsemen at the event though, as Jason Inman lost his title to Mara Knopic in the other match.

Rocha took on Ghai for a shot at Bibbiani and Ghai was unable to make it 3 from 3 as Rocha took a 2-point lead in Round 1 and took advantage of spinning Westerns in Round 2 to win via TKO, 13-12. Before taking on Bibbiani, it was a return to Anarchy, where the Founding Fathers were taking on KOrruption (Kalinowski and rookie Chance Ellison). In an incredibly tight match, the scores went 12-12 in Round 1, 23-23 in Round 2 and a last second pull from John Rocha after using the last JTE rule to get the 5-pointer saw the scores level after 3 rounds, 30-30.

The tie went to Sudden Death and on the first question, Dan Murrell fell afoul of what could be considered the “Jane Fonda Rule,” Ellison got the point despite writing “David O’Russell” rather than “David O. Russell,” and Rocha and Kalinowski both got it right, giving KOrruption the 31-32 win. Rocha challenged the call against Dan and in favour of Chance, but this was overruled and the result stood, leading to a highly emotional post-match interview that included Rocha wondering if he would compete in his upcoming Championship Match.

Thankfully, he got himself back on track and took on his old nemesis William Bibbiani for the Singles Title. Bibbiani’s run of success had started with the decision to stand at Free 4 All 2 and he had not sat down for a match ever since. In this match, Rocha decided to take a leaf out of The Beast’s book and stand. In another great contest Bibbiani took a 12-14 lead after 2 rounds, only for the betting round to flip that score. A strong performance on the buzzer put Bibbiani a point ahead, but he could only hit his 2-point question in the final round and Rocha scored his 3- and 5-pointers to win and become the third 2-time Singles Champion.

Changing Times

This title victory meant that Rocha would become the only competitor to have played a match in all the first 3 Spectaculars, as he took on 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament winner Ethan Erwin. Both were level after Round 1, but Erwin took the lead in Round 2, finishing Round 4 with a 15-20 lead, though either competitor could have had an extra point in the buzzer round if they had been brave enough to guess that it was Samm Levine who played PFC Hirschberg in Inglorious Basterds. Rocha hit his 2-pointer but missed his last 2 questions and the Singles title moved to Ethan Erwin, the first rookie to win the title (if you don’t count Reilly in the inaugural year).

With the season coming to an end, Top 10 also came to an end as a team as Matt Knost announced that he would be retiring from the league. Inman also stepped away indefinitely and Reilly’s success as part of Anarchy team Who’s The Boss led to him sticking with Ben Bateman in the Teams Division, which meant that The Founding Fathers would remain as a team going forward.

With Dan Murrell winning his third Singles Title in New York, the next set of competitors to make a run for the title were decided: Rocha would take on Marc Andreyko and William Bibbiani would play Lon Harris. The winners would feature against each other and Ethan Erwin in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match. Against “The Android”, Rocha hit a perfect Round 1 but missed the bonus, taking a 1-point lead. The lead was extended to 2 points by the end of Round 2. Both hit their 2-and 3-point questions in the final round, but Andreyko challenged and for once, Rocha was on the right end of a decision and the points stood. This left Rocha with a 19-17 lead and Andreyko missed his final question to give Rocha the place in the Triple Threat Match.

Rocha’s last competitive appearance to date was this year’s Free 4 All, where he emerged as competitor number 24/40. He scored 12 points in 4 rounds before being eliminated following (you guessed it!) an unsuccessful challenge on the merits of jewels rather than diamonds.

What Next for The Outlaw?

This is an interesting moment for John Rocha. While Bibbiani and Erwin are going to be tough competition, a focused John Rocha has the ability to win this and set up a title shot against his teammate. The Founding Fathers also have 2 matches scheduled, taking on the Wildberries on April 25th and Double Toasted at the Houston live event. 2 wins here would put them close to a #1 Contender Match but with Dan Murrell having won the Free 4 All and now having a title shot to use when he wants, they could easily set up a Championship Match in the Teams Division. There have also been discussions about Rocha moving into the Star Wars Division later in the season, making him the first competitor to have won a belt and then move into this division.

Along with the talk about Rocha’s personal future, the Horsemen’s future must also be considered. Mark Reilly and Dan Murrell have been suggesting Ben Bateman as a potential recruit, but neither he nor Rocha seem sold on the suggestion so far. There are plenty of quality competitors out there that could join the faction, or Rocha could decide to stick to just the 3 original Singles Champions. Only time will tell.

Hall of Fame…?

With his longevity in the league and his success over both Teams and Singles (and potentially also Star Wars in the future), his name may not come up in conversation as often as some competitors, but I think that he is in the mix when discussing who the GOAT is and another title would really help that.

Regardless, Rocha has been one of the key parts of the Schmoedown’s early success. From being the first real heel of the show, it could be argued that he set the foundation that has allowed more recent heels like Team Action to take things to the level they have. His success and drive to keep coming back for more has kept him as a big name in the league even when other big names like Reilly, Murrell, Harloff, Ellis and Levine have stepped away from competing for periods of time. While he has been on the wrong end of several controversial moments, these have also helped improve the league by helping clarify the rules, which will only help the league go.

If the Schmoedown creates a Hall of Fame, my vote is firmly on John Rocha.

“Horsemen! Let’s mount up, it’s time to ride!”

Premiership Rugby 2019/20: 6 to Watch

Premiership Rugby 2019/20: 6 to Watch

While the World Cup is in full flow, fans will be starting to split their focus over multiple competitions as the Premiership begins shortly. The Premiership Rugby Cup is well underway and we have started to get an early idea of how teams may look this season, but this is something at we will not know for certain until the league begins.

As I have done the last couple of years, I have taken a look at the players new to their teams this summer and tried to narrow everything down to 6 players to watch this season. Like with my recent look at the Pro14, I have chosen to limit myself to a maximum of 1 player per club. With a number of players set to arrive after the World Cup, the quality of player coming into the league this season is incredible (before we even begin to look at players moving from other Premiership clubs), so much so that some high quality players like Elliot Daly made the shortlist but found themselves cut when picking my final 6!

Who are you excited to see with a new club this season?

Dave Attwood (Bath – Bristol)

Starting this list off in the pack and to me, Dave Attwood has been the best second row on Bath’s books in recent seasons but has never seemed to get the minutes he deserved since returning from injury, despite an impressive loan spell at Toulon. Now moving to Bristol, he will be looking to form a top-quality partnership with Chris Vui. Attwood is a great all-rounder, dangerous when given too much space but also a highly physical player that will cause you problems at the ruck and maul, while his experience will be invaluable for a team hoping to make it into the Champions Cup.

Stuart Hogg (Glasgow – Exeter)

One of the best 15s in the world is on his way to Sandy Park. Exeter are often talked about as a “boring” team who just pick and go through their forwards repeatedly, but they are so much more than that and a joy to watch attacking. While fans will likely still miss Santiago Cordero, Hogg brings his own great attacking talent, while his style of play will also help control the game as he can come into the line to cause mayhem or work as a second fly half. Add in his monster boot and opponents won’t want to give away a penalty anywhere near their own half.

Dan du Preez (Sharks – Sale)

From one set of Sharks to another, Dan du Preez was initially coming on loan but has now signed perfectly alongside older brother Robert and twin Jean-Luc. Able to cover lock or the back row, Du Preez was a star for the Sharks in this year’s Super Rugby, scoring 7 tries (joint 2nd among forwards, level with Kwagga Smith and behind Folau Fainga’a) and coming 1st among forwards for carries (168) and 3rd among forwards for metres made. With the Du Preez and Curry twins, Jono Ross and Mark Wilson all fighting for 3 starting spots, Sale may have just got themselves one of the strongest back rows in the league.

Matteo Minozzi (Zebre – Wasps)

One of the starts of the Italy squad, Minozzi made my Six Nations Team of the Tournament in 2018 but missed this season’s tournament through injury. At just 23 years old, he is still to reach his prime, but has shown himself to be able to consistently find the try line, which will be helped even more by an increase in the quality of the players around him.

Paddy Jackson (Perpignan – London Irish)

Perhaps the most controversial signing of recent years, I’m not going to get into my thoughts on the morals of signing Jackson but instead look from the rugby perspective. With a raft of internationals arriving (including Allan Dell, Sekope Kepu, Sean O’Brien, Nick Phipps and Waisake Naholo), it looks like Irish are trying to emulate Bristol last season by not just avoiding relegation, but pushing for a Champions Cup position and potentially even a playoff spot. One thing that will be crucial to success is a top quality fly half and Jackson is certainly that. Before off-field issues brought an end to his Ireland career, Jackson was looking to be a high-quality backup for Johnny Sexton and while he didn’t get the chance to shine in the Top 14 for a Perpignan team that were relegated, he will be hoping to show his quality in one of the strongest leagues in the world.

Melani Nanai (Blues – Worcester)

Fans who don’t follow Super Rugby may not be familiar with Melani Nanai, so let me give you some figures. Despite playing for the Blues (5th in New Zealand Conference, 13th overall in 2019), Nanai finished the season with 178 carries (5th), 60 defenders beaten (5th), 1204 metres carried (1st) and 22 offloads (5th). Assuming he can quickly adapt to the change of scenery, if Worcester can get him the ball with a decent amount of space, he is going to be a thrill to watch in the league and potentially one of the signings of the season!


I will be running a fantasy rugby league for the Premiership on The Rugby Magazine, and you are all welcome to join! You can find the league here and using the unique token 429eb544c2c9

The Top 10 Schmoedown Free For All Moments of All Time!

The Top 10 Schmoedown Free For All Moments of All Time!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 18/3/2019


Ahh the Free 4 All… Schmoedown’s very own Royal Rumble. 35+ competitors all looking to win one of the league’s big pay-per-view events. And for good reason: the winner gets the chance to challenge for any belt, while last year’s MVP (the competitor who lasted the most rounds) won a #1 Contender match in the division of their choice.

We have only had 2 Free 4 Alls so far but they have given us so many great moments, so in honour of the upcoming 3rd Free 4 All (and first one to be live!!) I have picked my top 10 moments from the previous iterations.

10. Alas, Poor Jonny

Jonny Loquasto made his competitive Schmoedown debut at the 2nd Free 4 All, coming out at number 25. Going into his first round against Navid McIlhargey and titans of the game Drew McWeeny, Marc Andreyko and William Bibbiani, McIlhargey’s 1/5 saw Locquasto (2/5) scrape through to the next round. McIlhargey’s seat needed filling and the next name drawn out was none other than Rachel Cushing.

McWeeny, Cushing, Andreyko and Bibbiani is a nightmare table for anyone, but especially a first-timer like Loquasto and poor Jonny clearly knew it as he could be seen imitating hanging himself as Rachel took her seat. Jonny managed just 1 point in that round while all of his opponents hit either 3 or 4 points and The League’s mouthpiece was eliminated.

9. Reilly’s Return

With Robert Meyer Burnett eliminated from the seconnd Free 4 All at the end of Round 21, there was a spot at the table. The 35th competitor began to be announced and out walked a really confused-looking Mark Reilly.

While chants of “Yodi” went around the crowd, the former champion, who had not competed since the Wolves of Steel were eliminated from the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, said that the only reason he had walked out was that he had got lost in the new studio when trying to find the toilet. Luckily, he decided to give the competition a go.

Unfortunately, a score of 1/5 saw him eliminated at the end of that round, but the unexpected return of a fan-favourite guarantees this moment makes the list.

8. Double Trouble

After Tom Dagnino was the last person out at the inaugural Free 4 All, seeing him announced as one of the initial 5 competitors out in 2018 was probably one of the funniest moments of the entire event! And let’s give credit where it’s due, he was surely the favourite to go out in Round 1, but he made it into Round 2, although became e the second competitor eliminated with only one point in that second round.

We all thought that was game over for Dagnino until the 39th competitor was announced as… Finstock! This was the first time we had seen Finstock since the infamous match between Josh Macuga and “Findreyko” saw Finstock banned from the league for a whole year, and it was if he had never been away, with him coming out in one of the craziest outfits in Schmoedown history. The only thing to make it any better was that the competitor brought out immediately before him – and sat next to him – was former teammate and later rival Josh Macuga.

Unfortunately for Finstock’s hopes of a title challenge, a score of 2/5 saw him eliminated immediately. Two chances, three rounds… classic Dagnino!

7. Under the Radar

One of the most underrated stories of the first Free 4 All is that of John Humphrey.

Everybody loves the Reel Rejects, but they are unfortunately known more for their fun personalities than their trivia ability (as of now, Humphrey is 0-1 in Singles and the pair together are 1-5).

“The Mad Hatter” was one of the original 5 competitors at the table in 2017 but despite having two Team Champions (Knost and Sneider) at the original table, he outlasted both of them, finally being eliminated after 11 rounds, the 14th competitor eliminated. Only Dan Murrell (12) lasted more rounds that Humphrey that year and Humphrey’s 28 points was bested only by Dan Murrell (47 points) and Marc Andreyko, who also scored 28 points but in only eight rounds.

6. Levine Wins

Looking back now, it’s crazy to think that that at the time of the 2017 Free 4 All, Samm Levine was considered just an average competitor. That year, he got lucky and drew the 34th spot in the order, with only one competitor behind him. Three points in his opening round and just two points apiece for his four competitors saw “The Inglorious One” clear a table that included Marc Andreyko and we all know that he would be going 1 v 1 over five questions against number 35 for the victory. And the 35th competitor turned out to be none other than… Tom Dagnino!

Just the thought that Dagnino might be about to win this seems almost laughable now, but back then it looked like it a legit threat. Fortunately for the league, Dagnino found himself 2-1 down after four questions and he was the first to reveal his answer to the final question. He got it wrong and Samm, already knowing he had won, topped off the victory with a correct answer to win the round 3-1 and earn a title shot of his choice.

While clearing the table in itself is a great moment, this win marked the start of Samm’s rise to Schmoedown stardom as he used his title shot to challenge Dan Murrell at Spectacular. He lost that match but put in a strong performance and that led to him teaming with Drew McWeeny and beginning a run of incredible dominance.

5. Bibbiani’s First Stand

Sticking on the theme of beginning a run to greatness, next up on this list was a mammoth day from William Bibbiani. A competitor who until this point had struggled to reach the heights expected of him following his debut, “The Beast” was the 20th competitor at the table in the 2018 event. Perhaps not expecting to last very long, Bibbiani made the decision to push his chair to one side and stand.

What followed was a marathon as Bibbiani stood all the way through a whopping 21 rounds, scoring 86 points – 30 more than nearest challenger Ethan Erwin. In the end, it was only Miss Movies’ round 3-2 victory that brought an end to Bibbiani’s run, but had the rules been set to continue eliminating players each round rather than best score wins on the final table, then Bibbiani would have made it into Round 33… and potentially gone on to victory.

Despite not winning the event, The Beast got the second prize and was awarded the tournament MVP, which earned him a #1 Contender match, which he used to take on Jeff Sneider and set up his successful run to the Singles Title.

4. From Desk to Table

Since they’re a much longer event than usual matches, The Free 4 Alls have generally had three people at the desk, most likely to help save the voices of the poor announcers! In 2017, the terrific trio at the desk were Ken Napzok, Kristian Harloff and John Campea.

As we came towards the final rounds, Jay Washington’s elimination made space for the 31st entrance. The Game of Thrones theme associated with The Nerd’s Watch began to play… but Rachel Cushing had already taken part. Then “The Pitboss” replaced his jacket with his customary lanyard and made his way to the table.

This is one of those great moments that makes the Free 4 All so worthy of watching back again, as next time you watch, you will notice that – as Kristian points out once Ken has been announced – Ken does not have a computer in front of him and has been there purely for colour commentary, while it is Kristian and Campea who have been asking all the questions.

Unfortunately, The Pitboss was eliminated after 2 rounds – making space for Samm Levine – but you can’t taking anything away from the entrance that caught out so many people.

3. The Marvelous Miss Movies

Coming to the table late in the event is always going to give you some degree of an advantage since you have to go through fewer rounds, but it’s no guarantee of victory – just ask Dagnino!

Miss Movies came out at number 44 in 2018, which meant that there were only four more competitors after her. However coming to a table that contained Bibbiani and Erwin, who were both on fantastic runs, meant that she had to hit her best form straight away.

A Buffy-themed entrance that was arguably one of the best of the event that year, and she carried on from there, missing just one question over four rounds to take the victory, winning it with one question remaining in Round 32, but still hitting that final question for another perfect round.

As someone who had stepped back from competing following the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, it was great to see Miss Movies competing again and to see her have such great success, proving just how good a competitor she is despite a seemingly average Singles record.

2. A Dastardly Entrance

RB3’s elimination in 2018 at the end of Round 31 left a space for the penultimate entrant. With 46 competitors down, everybody was trying to mentally scroll through the Schmoedown roster to figure out who was even left.

Then the music began…

The unmistakeable Jaws theme…

And Kristian announced “Representing Screen Junkies… ladies and gentlemen… DANGEROUS DAN MURRELL!”

The crowd and fans around the world went wild as the curtains opened to reveal…

Andrew Ghai.

The “Dastardly” half of Team Action had been banned from the league following his tackle of John Rocha and this was his grand return to the league. While he was eliminated at the end of the round, to me this was the most memorable moment of the 2018 event and it set in motion a storyline of Ghai calling himself the guy who beat Murrell, leading to Murrell’s ultimate return as a member of the new-look Horsemen.

1. XX5XX

While we have had some amazing moments in this list, many of them have related to an entrance, or something at least partially planned. The top spot though goes to something that was completely organic and thoroughly amazing.

The 2017 event gave us one of the scariest tables ever: Singles Champion and former Teams Champion John Rocha, former Singles Champion Dan Murrell and two of the strongest competitors who hadn’t won a belt at that point, William Bibbiani and Drew McWeeny. Such was the strength of this foursome that the 3rd seat had become something of a revolving door, as nobody could stick with them.

Step forward Marc Andreyko. He came in at number 25.

After four questions, Bibbiani had three points and everyone else had four. The final question of the round was asked, and we went round the competitors.

McWeeny: Wrong. Rocha: Wrong. Murrell: Wrong. Andreyko: Correct. Bibbiani: Correct.

Andreyko’s correct answer guaranteed that he would be the top scorer on the round, but while Bibbiani already knew that he was being eliminated, his correct answer left him on four points, tied with the other four competitors, knocking them all out at once.

The reactions in the crowd and those at the desk were priceless as everybody realised that they had just witnessed the first table clear in Free 4 All history, and while Samm Levine did the same trick in the penultimate round, this is the one that is remembered due to strength of the overall table.
Do you think I missed any great moments? Let me know in the comments!

Premier League: September 2019

Premier League: September 2019

3 became 1 in September as Liverpool were the only team to go through to the end of September still unbeaten, while Manchester City and Leicester both fell to defeats at Norwich and Manchester United respectively. That win was United’s only one in the league during the month as a loss at West Ham and dismal 1-1 draw at home to Arsenal left with just 9 points, well off the pace of their rivals. Liverpool are already beginning to look pretty comfortable at the top of the table, and while you imagine City will still be safe in 2ⁿᵈ place, the rest of the top 4 and European qualification spots look very much up for grabs at the moment. Meanwhile at the bottom, Watford have already changed managers, with Quique Sanchez Flores returning in place of Javi Gracia but they still find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, while Villa and Newcastle closed the month in the bottom 3, 1 point away from safety.


Premier League Round-up


Backup needed

It was a classic tale of David versus Goliath. Defending champions Manchester City came to Carrow Road in Round 5 and it would have been only the most optimistic/deluded Norwich fans that would have thought they could come away with a win. Norwich had Patrick Roberts unavailable as he was on loan from City and an injury list almost long enough to create a starting lineup, to the point that they had 2 keepers on the bench just to fill all the spots – even Tim Krul and Ben Godfrey were playing hurt. The Canaries’ starting XI had been assembled for £6.45m, compared to City’s lineup in excess of £400m. There was only one way this match was going… 2 hours later, City were walking off the pitch with an L beside their name, courtesy of a 3-2 shock victory.

While this was an incredible result, the big feature of this match was the awful play at the back from City. With Aymeric Laporte out injured until 2020, John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi were paired together at the back with disastrous results, as mistake after mistake gifted Norwich chances. Then things got even worse midweek as Stones was ruled out for up to 6 weeks with a muscle injury.

When Vincent Kompany moved on in the summer, I thought it was an odd decision not to bring in a 4ᵗʰ centreback. Stones and Otamendi have often appeared to have costly mistakes in them, but more importantly it was leaving them dangerously short. In their absence, Fernandinho has had to fill in at CB and while Rodri’s introduction has meant he hasn’t been missed so much in the midfield, he is still a midfielder playing out of position, which is going to cause issues.

In my opinion, City need to bring in another centreback in January. I’m not saying they need to break the bank to bring in a superstar, but they need to bring in a specialist at the position so that they have suitable cover when their starters aren’t available. In a title race as close as it looks like this one could be, the decision to not bring in a replacement for Kompany could be the difference.

Play the kid!

Chelsea have had a mixed start to the season, but with the transfer ban, they deserve a lot of praise for their willingness to use young English talent. Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have been key players in the opening months of the season, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi look certain to have key roles on their returns from injury.

By contrast, Phil Foden has made just 1 appearance off the bench in the first 2 months of the league, for just a handful of minutes. Foden has looked an incredible talent, but he is not getting the minutes he requires to take a step forward and is now being overtaken by other players in terms of promotion to the senior national team.

Now, he is surely learning and benefiting from the tutelage of Pep Guardiola and training with so many superstars, but it’s hard to believe that he will trusted to take over from David Silva with very little topflight experience if there are other big names available at the right price. He needs to get minutes under his belt now to prove that he can cut it at the top level. For me, Foden needs to look at a move away from the Etihad and to another Premiership club in January. He needs to sit down with Guardiola and see where he fits in the team’s plans. If they can guarantee him a significant place in the squad for next season, then he needs to look at a loan move to prove he deserves those minutes; if they can’t make any promises then perhaps it is time to look at a more permanent move, as Jadon Sancho did.

Pick one… Manager chopping block

It took just 4 rounds of Premier League football before we got our first managerial casualty of the season: Javi Gracia was sacked at the start of the international break following 1 draw and 3 losses, being replaced by former manager Quique Sanchez Flores. Inspired by this, my “Pick One” for this month is: who will be the next Premier League managerial casualty?

First up is Frank Lampard. This will be pretty short as I don’t see there being any chance of Lampard being removed from the job midway through the season barring an awful series of results. He has been hampered by the transfer ban and loss of Eden Hazard, but is doing a great job of bringing through young English talent to build the team around for the coming seasons.

Another manager in a rebuilding phase at an elite club is Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The Norwegian is overseeing a horrible period at Old Trafford as the team tries to rebuild, with players like Antonio Valencia, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez moving on. While there were a few big money signings in Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the rebuild is going very slowly, with a lack of new faces and a focus on the existing players and youngsters coming through. While United are goig through a bad series of results, they have been missing a number of star players like Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Anthon Martial, but it is clear that there are holes in the squad, such as an experienced striker to lead the line and score 20+ goals per season. For me, the issue goes beyond Solskjær to Ed Woodward and he should be the one to go, but the chances of him falling on his sword are minimal. Woodward is currently saying United will be patient, so I think the former United striker is safe for now, but if pressure continues to build on Woodward, I’m sure the situation will change rapidly.

The best placed manager at risk is probably Unai Emery. Arsenal may be in the top 4 but they are already will off the pace of Liverpool and City and even find themselves behind Leicester City. The Spaniard is in his second season and has just broken Arsenal’s transfer record on Nicolas Pépé, who has struggled to match the performances of 18-year-old academy graduate Bukayo Saka. All the while, the defence that has been the clubs obvious issue for years continues to be a liability. With Chelsea, Spurs and United struggling, this was Arsenal’s chance to shine… and they aren’t doing it.

Staying in London, and if Emery is in trouble then Mauricio Pochettino is definitely in danger. Spurs came into the season the team likeliest to challenge Liverpool and City for the title, but find themselves (at time of writing) in 6ᵗʰ, behind Leicester and West Ham. Too many key players seem miles off their best as their contracts come towards an end, while Pochettino has not seemed satisfied with the way things are being ran, stating a few months ago that he is only the coach and has no say in transfers. Results and performances need to improve soon, otherwise if Pochettino isn’t sacked, he may choose to walk.

While all of these managers are in some degree of danger, the man who I feel is currently on the hottest seat is Marco Silva. The former Watford manager as been at Everton since May 2018 and the club has worked hard to put together a quality side, yet they finished behind newly-promoted Wolves and 7 points from 7 matches leaves them just 2 points above the drop zone with a worse goal difference than Aston Villa. For a club of their stature to be in this position is unacceptable and I honestly can’t see him lasting far beyond the international break.

Who do you think is most at risk?

2 BELTS 2 FURIOUS: Who Will Be The Next Double-Belted Champion?

2 BELTS 2 FURIOUS: Who Will Be The Next Double-Belted Champion?

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 5/3/2019


Congratulations to Rachel Cushing, who became the new Innergeekdom Champion in the main event of the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown! Her victory over Mike Kalinowski in inarguably one of the greatest matches in Schmoedown history makes “The Crusher” the league’s second-ever double champion, following in the footsteps of Samm Levine.

“The Inglorious One” won the Singles title at Spectacular II by defeating Kristian Harloff and later added the Teams title by ending The Patriots’ unbeaten run in May 2018. Levine vacated his titles after Collision II, having defended the Singles title twice (against Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe) and having defended the Teams title once in an Iron Man match against The Patriots. Cushing won her first belt by winning the vacant Teams title along with Clarke Wolfe in August 2018, against Sick In The Head, and successfully defended the title at Spectacular III against Who’s The Boss.

With her Innergeekdom victory, the Crusher earned her second belt and if she wants to compete in the Singles Division again then she has a legitimate chance of becoming the first ever Triple Champion!

In honour of the Crusher’s achievement, let’s at who could be the next competitors who might, realistically, become double-belted.

The Current Champions

The current “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s return to the Schmoedown has already seen him win back his old Singles title. He’s also go himself a great chance of winning the Teams title by pairing up with stablemate and former rival “The Outlaw” John Rocha as one half of the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers are the only team consisting of two competitors who have already won a Singles title, so they will be a threat for the Teams title once they make another run in the division.

Can Murrell hold onto his title until then? Well, a 100% accuracy performance in his title match against Ethan Erwin will have put the league on notice. He’s shown that he’ll be difficult to beat.

Rachel Cushing’s fellow Teams Champion Clarke Wolfe came closer than anyone to dethroning Samm Levine during his time as the Singles Champion, only losing in Sudden Death. As one half of the Shirewolves, she is part of one of the strongest teams in Schmoedown history and has every chance of holding the Teams belt for a considerable time period, which will give her the chance to go on another run in the Singles Division.

Wolfe showed her skill in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown, taking down Ben Bateman and Marc Andreyko, and she was just one word away from beating Ethan Erwin in the final. She lost to Dan Murrell in her contender’s match at Spectacular 3, but it must be remembered that she was not coming into that match fresh, having just gone through a 5-round epic defence of the Teams title earlier that day.

John Rocha

I’ve already talked about the possibility of the Founding Fathers making a run to the Teams title, but what if it was the other half of the team holding the Singles belt at that point? John Rocha will be taking on Marc Andreyko in the coming weeks, and the prize is a Number 1 Contender’s Match against Ethan Erwin and the winner of William Bibbiani vs. Lon Harris.

Assuming he wins both these matches, Rocha will then have a chance to take on his teammate Dan Murrell in a title match. Rocha has a good record against Murrell over all divisions and will have the motivation to wrest the title off his own teammate and then make a run in the Teams Division so that they can both have a belt.

Mike Kalinowski

It’s not going to be easy to get the Innergeekdom belt off of Rachel Cushing, but if anyone can do it, it’s Mike Kalinowski. “The Killer” has become a real force in the Schmoedown and bounced all the way back from a poor start last season. He may have lost his latest title match but that was in Sudden Death, and by just one letter. Had he risked the full 3 points in the betting round then he would have had his victory in 5 rounds.

Like Cushing, the Innergeekdom Division is his home and I’m sure he will be making a run at the belt again soon. While Kalinowski is technically a triple threat (competing in Singles, Teams and Innergeekdom), I think his best chance for a second belt will be in the Teams Division with his KOrruption teammate Chance Ellison. The pair looked strong during the Anarchy tournament and will only improve as Ellison gets more experience in the league. There are a number of impressive teams in the division at the moment, so KOrruption could be easily overlooked, but I would consider them a dark horse in the division. They have the chance to send out a warning when they take on World’s Finest later this month.

Mark Reilly

Mark “Yodi” Reilly was the first two-time Singles Champion but he has never managed to win the Teams title. He allied himself with Clarke Wolfe to form the Wolves of Steel, but they lost to the Patriots and their one last ride in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown ended in the semis against Above The Line.

After coming out of retirement, the Anarchy tournament paired him with Ben Bateman, who really looks to have taken the former champion’s performances to a new level by helping improve his strategic thinking. Their new team, Who’s the Boss, fell just short in their title shot at Spectacular III, but their performance makes me think that they have a good shot of beating the Shirewolves if given a second chance.

As for the Singles Division, a recent win over McWeeny was a hint that Reilly is back to his best and his new strategic mindset could be big in getting him the Singles belt for the third time.

William Bibbiani

After a less-than-stellar 2017, Season 5 saw “The Beast” reaching the heights that we originally expected, with his MVP performance at the Free 4 All II setting up his run to the vacant Singles title. While he went 1-1 in Anarchy, his partnership with Witney Seibold saw them go 2-0 in 2018 and a victory over the Harris Brothers has set them up to take on the Shirewolves.

Even they admit that they are the underdogs in this match, but I would never rule them out. Bibbiani’s knowledge has never been in question since he joined the Schmoedown and he has improved tactically over the years, but his next run to the Singles title – Lon Harris, then Ethan Erwin and either Marc Andreyko/John Rocha (either of whom will add an extra dimension to the match due to his history with them) and then Dan Murrell, in devastating form – will push him to the limit.

Marc Andreyko

“The Android” is the only competitor on this list to have never held a belt, but he’s easily one of the best competitors to have never done. 2019 could finally be the year. He’s partnered with Jeff Sneider as The Odd Couple, and they are set to face Who’s The Boss in Chicago for the chance to take on the Shirewolves/Critically Acclaimed.

While they would probably be considered the underdogs in both matches, they should never be ruled out. His time with Sneider and his year in the Fyffe Club has also seen him improve in his tactical play and he impressed in the Singles Division in Season 5, being one of only two competitors to have defeated Ethan Erwin in Singles, taking Bibbiani the distance in their title match and coming in 4th in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown. He’s set for another run at the Singles title, which would see him take on John Rocha then Ethan Erwin and either Lon Harris or William Bibbiani, with the prize being a match against Murrell. Rule Andreyko out at your peril.

Do you think I missed anyone? Sound off in the comments below!

FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM: The Greatest Rookie Debuts in the History of the Schmoedown!

FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM: The Greatest Rookie Debuts in the History of the Schmoedown!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 25/2/2019


As a new season starts, it’s never long before rookies start appearing to make their debuts. The rookie class of 2019 have been turning up in recent weeks and if anybody was worried about a drop in the quality of competition then I think they will be happy with the early performances.

Debuting in the Schmoedown is no easy feat. I’m sure we’ve all tried to play along at some point and found ourselves getting a respectable score, but to then be under the lights and in front of a crowd, without the questions on a screen in front of us, is a much harder situation. Even the two-time Singles Champion John Rocha – one of the greatest Schmoedown competitors of all time – suffered his “Bespin moment” in his Singles debut and I don’t think any number of titles will let him ever fully live that down!

But how have the rookies been getting on? I’ve decided to look back through the recent rookie debuts and then also look back at some notable debut performances from previous seasons. For this, I will be looking specifically at Schmoedown debuts rather than a specific division as a competitor could have a strong debut in a division having picked up plenty of experience in the league already.

Paul Oyama & Brendan Meyer

Paul Oyama has followed Chance Ellison into the Schmoedown from the fan leagues and on first viewing, these two rivals have a lot in common, including their confident/arrogant personalities, their love of wearing shades indoors and their ability at movie trivia. His opponent, Brendan Meyer was an actor looking to prove that his movie trivia knowledge was anything but an act.

Oyama took an early lead, finishing Round 1 ahead by 6-4, but stretched his lead to 14-7 by the end of Round 2, with Oyama spinning Directors and Meyer Festival Darlings. Meyer made a comeback in Round 3, hitting all three of his questions to force it back to Oyama and setting the new record for the biggest margin overcome to avoid a TKO. But “Primetime” hit his first two questions to earn an impressive 19-17 victory.

David Del Rio

Actor “Diamond” David Del Rio made his debut against Singles Division debutant but Schmoedown veteran Witney “The Beauty” Seibold last week.
Both started strongly, Del Rio going 6/8 in Round 1, while Witney only missed on the final question of the round, denying him a bonus question.

Heading into Round 2, Del Rio hit Spinner’s Choice and chose Famous Actors and Actresses and even though none of the questions were about him, he managed to hit 3/4 for 4/8 points while Witney missed his steal opportunity. Witney stuck with Robin Williams but went 2/4 for 4/8 points, with Del Rio hitting both steal opportunities to pick up an extra two points. In Round 3, Witney missed his two and three-point questions but avoided the TKO by answering his 5-pointer. Del Rio hit his two and three-pointers to take the victory with a question to spare, the final score reading 17-16.

Kevin Smets

Smets originally auditioned through the Patreon but missed the cut and worked his way up through the fan leagues. Making his debut in the Innergeekdom against fellow rookie David Moore, Smets showed that taking the long way around was worth it.

In Round 1, he went perfect including the bonus question to take an 11-7 lead and he continued his dominance in Round 2. Moore spun MCU and went 3/5 for three points in a category that is getting dangerously deep, but Smets took both steal opportunities for two points. If Smets wasn’t already turning heads with his performance, his confidence upon spinning Movie Release Dates gave note to his strength and he began running through the questions for two points.

He looked set for a KO victory and 100% PPE (percentage of points available) match on debut but was caught with the final question in Round 2, checking down to multiple choice and getting it wrong. The steal allowed Moore to avoid the KO and take it into Round 3 where a miss on his two-pointer saw Smets complete the TKO victory with a 21-11 score.

This may have not been the best of debuts for David Moore, but this will have taught him the danger of the MCU category, and his Round 1 performance showed that he has a solid base of knowledge to compete in this division. As for Kevin Smets, he has called out former champion Hector Navarro and has already made it clear that he is coming for the Innergeekdom Title and looking to emulate Ethan Erwin by winning a title and Rookie of the Year all in his first year. Based on this performance, that looks highly possible.

Ethan Erwin

Speaking of “Big Time,” the former champ had an impressive debut himself! Facing Yolanda Machado early in Season 5, Erwin went 7/8 in Round 1 for a two-point lead before taking a heavy lead in Round 2, going 4/4 for 8 points in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and stealing a point in Machado’s category, Tom Cruise, for a 16-8 lead. Machado missed her 3-point question to hand Erwin a 16-10 TKO victory.

This victory put the league on notice and Kristian’s prediction at the start of the season that Erwin was one to watch was proven correct, as he pulled off impressive victories over Lon Harris and Drew McWeeny and looked set to be competing for the vacant Singles Title, only to fall at his 5-point question in a Number 1 Contender Match against Marc Andreyko.

His next run at the Singles Division, however, resulted in him winning the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown and winning the title from John Rocha at Spectacular 3.

Alex Damon & Joseph Scrimshaw

From one champion to another, Alex Damon made his Schmoedown debut during Season 4 in a Fatal Fiveway that doubled as a Number 1 Contender Match, to decide who would face Ken Napzok for the Star Wars Title at Spectacular 2. Joining Damon in that match were Sam Witwer and fellow debutants Joseph Scrimshaw, Steele Saunders and Shana O’Neil. While O’Neil and Saunders put in gutsy performances, they were KO’d and TKO’d respectively, so we’ll focus on the battle between Damon, Scrimshaw and Witwer.

Both Damon and Scrimshaw went 9/10 in Round 1, but found themselves two points behind Witwer, who went perfect and hit the bonus question. In Round 2, Damon was the only competitor to go 3/3, for the maximum six points in The Force Awakens. Scrimshaw and Witwer both went 2/3 for four points in Who Said It? and Revenge Of The Sith, respectively. However, on steal opportunities, Damon went 2/4 for three points, while his rivals went 3/3 for five points, leaving Witwer ahead 20-18-18.

All three hit their two and three-pointers and both Scrimshaw and Damon hit their five-pointers to reach 28 points, leaving Witwer needing to hit his five-pointer to win, or else the rookies would go to Sudden Death. It would appear that the Will of the Force was on Witwer’s side that day, though as his downfall at Celebration returned to give him the 5-pointer and set up his last-second Iron Man Title Match victory over Napzok.

While neither got the victory, these performances marked both Damon and Scrimshaw as top-tier competitors in the division and they both returned in the next Number 1 Contender Match in a Triple Threat at the second Live Event against Ken Napzok, where Damon pulled out a 28-27-20 victory over Scrimshaw and Napzok, respectively. While Scrimshaw did not compete again in Season 5, Damon went on to KO Bruce Greene to win the title at Collision II and successfully defended it against Napzok at Spectacular III, his performances earning him Innergeekdom/Star Wars Player of the Year at the 2018 Schmoedown Awards.

Tim Franco

Sticking in Season 4, Tim “The Tank” Franco was one of the original fans to enter the league. His debut was against Matt Atchity, who was himself making his Singles debut but had by his point competed 6 times as one half of the team Rotten Tomatoes.

Both had strong performances in Round 1, with “The Kahuna” only missing on one question, but Franco went perfect and hit his bonus question to take an early 9-7 lead. Round 2 saw Franco go 3/4 on his own spin (picking Crime after hitting Spinner’s Choice) for 6 points, giving up a 1-point steal, while on Atchity’s spin of Romantic Comedies he was able to hit his sole steal opportunity for 1 point, opening up a 12-16 lead. This lead proved unassailable for Atchity and Franco came away from his debut with a 15-16 TKO victory.

Unfortunately, scheduling issues have stopped Franco from competing again since, but his opponents better take note when he does.

Jared Haibon

What’s better than getting a KO victory on your record on debut? Getting four KOs on your debut! That’s exactly what Jared Haibon did in his Innergeekdom debut when he took part in a Fatal Fiveway against Alana Jordan, Dorian Parks, Taylor Robinson and Jamie Costa early in Season 5.

Haibon went 7/10 in Round 1 while the closest any of his competitors could get was a score of 4. In Round 2, he went 3/3 on his own spin (Marvel Movies) for five of a possible six points, then hit all four of his steal opportunities to amass a score of 17. This was enough to KO Jordan and Costa, while Parks and Robinson were unable to catch up with him, leaving him on the way to a 1-0 record with 2 KOs and 2 TKOs.

Unfortunately, his road in the Innergekdom has been anything but too smooth since, as a bad spin in Round 2 put Mark Donica on track for victory in their Number 1 Contender Match, while his run in the Innergeekdom tournament was over before it had really began as the dreaded Round 2 combo of Spinner’s Choice and Opponent’s Choice saw him KO’d by Mike Kalinowski.

William Bibbiani & Marc Andreyko

Of course this was going to make the list! Season 3 saw both “The Beast” and “The Android” make their Schmoedown debuts in November, against each other no less!

This was back in the days of the old format, where Round 1 saw each competitor given six different questions, but both competitors went 100% in that round. Bibbiani was up first in Round 2, going 4/4 in Comic Book Movies for 7 points. Andreyko spun 80s Movies and had the first miss of the match, going 3/4 for 5 points, while Bibbiani picked up a point on the steal to take a 14-11 lead. Both competitors went perfect in Round 3 to earn the maximum nine points – Question 1 was only worth one point in this era – which saw Bibbiani come away with a perfect game and a 23-20 win that saw him set the new Singles Points Record, while Andreyko’s 20 points was also significantly higher than the average score.

Since then, both have gone on to become regulars in the Schmoedown. Bibbiani was immediately invited to join the Four Horsemen but eventually betrayed them and created his own faction, the Growling Commandos, while Andreyko joined the Lion’s Den to get another shot at Bibbiani, which eventually led to him leaving to become Emma Fyffe’s first competitor.

While neither had the success many expected in Season 4, Season 5 saw Bibbiani and Andreyko both go on a run in the Singles Division – including Andreyko handing Ethan Erwin his first ever loss – and they faced each other again in a Championship Match for the vacant Singles Title, where another close match ended with a Bibbiani victory, making him the 6th person to become the Singles Champion.

Are there any other impressive debuts you think deserve a mention? What have you thought about this year’s rookie class so far? Let me know down below in the comments!

Nuclear Fallout: Who Will Manage in Season 7?

Nuclear Fallout: Who Will Manage in Season 7?

Following Mike Kalinowski’s defeat of Jeannine “The Machine” in the latest Schmoedown Throwdown, Chairman Kristian Harloff released the first information of the Nuke. Initially teased and proposed by Robert Meyer Burnett during his run as Commissioner, the original plan was apparently heavily revised by the chairman to become what was announced: Season 7 will begin with a draft, with 10 managers taking turns to pick 10 players each from the Schmoedown roster in a shake-up that suddenly makes Season 5’s Anarchy like child’s play.

Personally, I’m excited to see how this goes. But the first thought I had on hearing this was that we’re going to be getting new managers, as there aren’t currently 10 active managers in the league. So who will we see managing next year?

The current crop

As one of the original managers way back in Season 3, I can’t imagine Tom Dagnino not being one of the managers. The impact he has on his teams can maybe be questioned and his run in the Horsemen has had limited success, but he led one of the most dominant factions in the Lion’s Den and has managed 2 of the best/most successful teams in the history of the league: Who’s The Boss and the Patriots. Able to do a job on a mic, it takes the pressure off a competitor pre-match and you’re bound to have a few fun lines sticking in your mind.

mts Jay-Washington-Brianne-Chandler-Stacy-Howard-Missfits-1024x576Another of the earlier managers still going strong is Jay Washington. Often going under the radar due to limited success at the top level, Jay has done a great job of helping his teams find their feet in the league, going as far as to turn up for Jeannine’s debut just days after having vital surgery! With his comedic and wrestling background, Jay is a pro on the mic and will do whatever he can to take the pressure off his competitors.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Robert-Meyer-BurnettAs the brains behind the first version of the Nuke, it’s hard to imagine Robert Meyer Burnett not being one of the 10. “The Captain” has had a good degree of success since returning to the league with The Family, bringing in former Teams Champion Drew McWeeny and upcoming Innergeekdom star Brandon Hanna. Prepare for some very loud rants as he drafts his competitors.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Grace-Hancock-Ken-Napzok-KOrruption-1024x576Another former member of the Lion’s Den who has gone on to manage another faction is Grace Hancock. Returning to take charge of KOrruption, “The Lioness” has overseen the capture of Stacy Howard and Tim Franco and the rise of Mikey 2 Belts. Expect her to keep working with Ken Napzok who has become the mouthpiece of the faction.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Roxy-Striar-1024x576Though she has had experience managing a faction previously, it has been since she joined up with the Odd Couple that Roxy Striar has really come into her own. You just have to listen to Andreyko and Sneider talk about the impact she has had on them over the last year, so much so that she is one of the frontrunners for Manager of the Year. Though she may not feel able to compete herself, she clearly knows the game well and will always be there to support those on her side.

One of Roxy’s biggest rivals for Manager of the Year, John Kaiser has been one of the big additions to the league this season. Coming in along with Kevin Smets, the pair have looked almost unbeatable, while he has also created an underrated team in the Loose Canons and got a Champion in his first season with Paul Oyama’s victory in the Singles Division. Another who is great on the mic, it will be interesting to see if he drafts Smets… or if someone snatches “The Smasher” before Kaiser has the chance.

mts jonathan harris lon harris harris brothersAnd the final existing manager from this season is Jonathan Harris. Harris had his ups and downs competing but has looked good as a manager when given the mic pre- and post-match. He’s had limited experience managing this year but a strong draft could see him become a key component of the league in Season 7. Now how high does he draft brother Lon…?

So that’s 7 managers (if we count the Grace/Ken partnership as 1 manager), but Kristian said there would be 10 managers. So who else could we see?

A grand return?

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Emma-Fyffe.jpg2018 was the season of the Fyffe Club and Emma Fyffe was a deserved Manager of the Year, however her role as Commissioner of the Teams and Innergeekdom Divisions meant that she had to give up managing a faction to avoid a conflict of interests. Perhaps the pressures of running 2 divisions (3 if you count picking up much of Samm Levine’s work in the Singles Division) will see her choose to step down as Commissioner and go back to managing. Only Marc Andreyko remains of her old faction, but I feel that the work she did to bring the old Fyffe Club together could be replicated on a grander scale in Season 7.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Clarke-Wolfe-1024x576If Emma Fyffe chooses not to step down as Commissioner, perhaps one of her old faction will step into the role. Enter Clarke Wolfe, who has stepped away from competing but has talked about remaining involved with the Schmoedown. We’ve already seen her appearing on the desk, but perhaps she will choose to take on a more active role and pass on her experience as a former champion.

Change of focus

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-John-Rocha-The-Outlaw-LiveCompeting at the top of the Schmoedown is a hard task and requires a lot of time and focus, so it is no surprise that so many former champions have stepped away from competing or had a hiatus from the league. One man who has been competing since Season 2 without a break however is John Rocha. “The Outlaw” and teammate Dan Murrell will be putting their partnership on the line in their Championship Match against KOrruption, who included the stipulation that the Founding Fathers must split up if they lose. Perhaps if this happens, Rocha will take some time out from competing and pass on his experience by becoming a manager. He has the knowledge of the game and the ability on the mic to be a great manager and with the limited success of the Horsemen this year, it could be just what he needs to build a new successful faction.

Going Live

Collider Live has become important viewing for Schmoedown fans in 2019 with a healthy dose of Schmoedown content. From talking about the recent matches and live events, to a number of announcements. Roxy has started and built on a number of her feuds this year on the show, but perhaps it will be the source of the next manager.

mts brett sheridan free4all3Fan favourite Brett Sheridan made his Schmoedown debut at the Free 4 All and may choose to take on a more active (but not competing) role as a manager. Like many of the managers above, his comedic background gives him a great presence on the mic that will be so helpful for a competitor who would rather focus on their performance at the table.

mts cody hall lon harrisCody Hall is arguably the MVP of Collider Live every week but has rarely featured on the Schmoedown since the old fantasy stats segments with Josh Macuga and his match against Lon Harris to kick off Season 5. Though having recently having a child may limit his availability, his quick wit and comedic timing would surely make him a fan favourite manager.

 

Looking even further into recurring members of the Collider Live group, Dorina Arellano and Kate Mulligan have been regulars on the show so would not feel out of place if they transferred over to the Schmoedown as a new manager, while they would also be able to create new characters for themselves due to not being already established in the league.

If you can’t beat them…

mtscoyFollowing on from the suggestion of Clarke Wolfe becoming a manager, there were a few other competitors who came to mind as potential managers. Coy Jandreau’s record as a competitor isn’t great, but he has always been such a great personality in matches and I thought his promo at the LA live event during Anarchy did a great job of highlighting his ability on the mic.

Winston Marshall has also had a limited impact on the league since Eric Zipper brought an end to the World’s Finest, but he always did a great job on the mic. He has made a few appearances on Collider Live and in the early SEN live streams that will surely be adding to his popularity. Another who always seems seconds away from a great line, he is another with great mic skills and I am confident that he would also do a great job switching to a managerial role.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Joseph-ScrimshawThe final name that came to mind was that of Ken’s old rival in the Star Wars Division: Joseph Scrimshaw. With a number of new faces appearing in the Star Wars Division and only a few matches per season, he may decide that management is a good way to take a more active role in the league, while his previous matches have highlighted his ability on the mic that will again alleviate the pressure for a competitor who wants to focus on the trivia rather than the showmanship.

The great unknown

And finally… we could have some new personalities that we don’t yet know about. Kaiser wasn’t even part of the league a year ago and now he has a faction with 3 competitors, including the current Singles Champion. The great news about the Schmoedown is that it is still growing and therefore there is a great chance of us finding not just great new competitors, but also great new managers.

 

Let’s see who comes out on top in the nuclear fallout…