SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.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 23/7/2019


The tale as old as time took a shock turn recently, with the news that “The Beauty” Witney Seibold had left William “The Beast” Bibbiani and brought an end to Critically Acclaimed as a team. Seibold – who lost his Singles debut to David Del Rio – had not taken well to Bibbiani putting his efforts into helping “The Kid” Brendan Meyer so chose to leave Critically Acclaimed and go back to his Anarchy partner Marc Edward Heuck, while Bibbiani has now promoted Meyer from apprentice to partner.

Critically acclaimed were a well-loved team, and as such their split has broken the hearts of many fans. But it is not the first time that we have had to go through the agony of an emotional breakup. Today I will be looking back over the top five emotional breakups that we have had to face. Tissues at the ready? Let’s go!

Before getting into my Top 5, I wanted to give honourable mentions to two teams whose breakups may not have been emotional moments but still provoked a large reaction from the fan base. Having gone on a crazy run of nine consecutive wins (including a title victory and six successful defences), and as some of the biggest heels in the league at the time, the Patriots had a sizeable group of fans. Following their title loss to Above The Line and their loss in their Iron Man rematch at Collision, Jeff Sneider walked away from The Lion’s Den after finding out Tom Dagnino was planning to trade him, but JTE stuck with his manager, bringing an end to a team that is surely destined for the Schmoedown Hall of Fame.

Above The Line’s breakup didn’t even happen on camera, however, as Samm Levine announced in a post-Collision special that he was retiring from competition and vacating both the Singles and Teams Titles in the process. Above The Line were a well-loved team despite not even being active in the league for a full year, while Drew McWeeny and Samm Levine clearly improved each other during their partnership, so many fans mourned the potential this team had to break all the records.

5. Six Degrees

As two of the original leading ladies within the league and with fun theatrical entrances always guaranteed, Brianne Chandler and Stacy Howard quickly became fan favourites. Even with their turn to the dark side under Jay Washington, they were still a team that you couldn’t help root for. After DC Movie News knocked them out of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament and Mike Kalinowski defeated Brianne in the Singles tournament, “Miss Movies” announced that she would be taking a break from competing.

Brianne failed to turn up to support Jay Washington in the Manager Bowl, but appeared to him and Stacy after he lost to announce that she had made a decision and that Jay was dismissed. She asked Stacy to come with her, but Stacy chose to remain loyal to Jay, bringing an end to Six Degrees and transitioning the Missfits into the Viper Sqaud, while Brianne walked away to jump in a car with none other than her former rival Mike Kalinowski.

4. Top 10

One of the original teams from Season 2, “The Outlaw” John Rocha and “Mighty” Matt Knost became the second ever Team Champions but lost to the Patriots on their first defence. For over a year they continued to face whoever they had to in order to win back their titles, only for bad luck and questionable calls to see them lose to the Patriots two more times and leave each of them questioning if they wanted to continue.

With the formation of the Horsemen, it looked like the team would have new life, until Anarchy broke them up, putting Knost with William Bibbiani and Rocha with new Horseman “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. Despite neither of their Anarchy teams making it beyond the quarterfinals, Knost clearly felt that Murrell was the perfect person to replace him as Rocha’s partner, so at Spectacular he made the announcement that Top 10 would not be reforming as he would be stepping away from the league.

The continuation of the Founding Fathers meant that this was not as emotional a break-up as it could have been, but as Knost exited with one last dance, we were still left feeling that this was the end of an era.

3. Nerd’s Watch

The team that brought Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing into the league, her and “The Pitboss” Ken Napzok were a force for good in the league at a time when the Lion’s Den were running amok. A loss to Above The Line in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown left the future of the team in the balance as Ken deliberated whether he wanted to continue competing in the division, while The Missfits were doing everything they could to entice Rachel into their faction.

Rachel chose to turn down the Missfits and wait for Ken, and she was as shocked as anyone to see him revealed as the newest member of the Lion’s Den as the season built towards Spectacular. Appealing to Ken’s good side, she convinced him to come back and take on the Den’s 2nd team Blofeld’s Cat, but he failed to turn up for the match and Rachel was forced to take them on in a 2v1 handicap match. Though she fought hard, she eventually fell to a TKO loss, only for Ken to arrive as the winners were announced… or as he put it as he walked over to the gloating Lion’s Den members: “to congratulate these guys.”

We sat there in shock watching on as Rachel had to deal with losing not just the match, but also her partner and suddenly the world looked a little bit darker.

2. Team Action

Another team whose end began with Anarchy, Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai were the bad boys of the league, with Andrew already getting served a ban for tackling John Rocha at Spectacular. Anarchy saw the pair broke up, with Ben being paired with Mark “Yodi” Reilly, but Drew sat out the tournament after refusing to work under Jay Washington.

As part of Who’s The Boss, Ben won the Anarchy Tournament but he and Reilly fell just short against the Shirewolves at Spectacular. Following the match, Ben and Drew discussed the idea of Who’s The Boss staying together, something that Drew agreed to, suggesting the pair stat their own faction with Reilly. Members of the Action Army began to get excited at the thought of their boys leading their own faction, then found themselves watching on in horror as Drew tackled Ben through a coffee table.

Ghai went on to tell Bateman that he was nothing without him, before spitting on him and walking off to begin finding support for the upcoming Action Civil War. The shock of Ghai’s actions and seeing the best of friends become fierce enemies in a matter of seconds, not to mention the impact it has had on this season gets this one high on the list.

1. DC Movie News

Action’s breakup wasn’t the only one to impact the way the last year went, as by that point the league had already been shaken by my number 1 pick: Mike Kalinowski walking away from DC Movie News and The League to create KOrruption and take control of the league. Kalinowski did not feel that he was getting the support he needed from his faction in early 2018 and things reached a head when DC Movie News took on Team Action. Following an agonising loss, he was clearly simmering throughout the post-match interview and eventually broke, going on a tirade against Roxy Striar, Jonny Loquasto and teammate Adam Gertler before announcing that he was done with the faction and walking out of the interview. The silence was deafening as nobody could believe what they were seeing, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Gertler as his response to what happened was a confused “I feel like I just broke Mike Kalinowski” before having to be led away in tears. It was so emotional, even Team Action were in tears watching… though admittedly theirs were from laughing so hard at their opponents’ misfortune.

Did I miss any? Let me know what you think the most emotional breakup has been.

The RWC2019 Debrief: England

The RWC2019 Debrief: England

Welcome to the RWC2019 Debriefs. The World Cup is now over and a new 4 year cycle begins, but the first stage of any cycle should be looking back at how things went – what went wrong and what went right – before looking on to how things go for the next cycle to ensure qualification to RWC2023 (if they haven’t automatically qualified) and to make sure they enter that tournament in peak form.

I will be going through these debriefs alphabetically, so today I will be casting my eye over England.

RWC2019 Qualification

Though they failed to make it out of the pools in 2015, England still qualified for the tournament by finishing 3rd in their pool.

2019 Form

After a pretty awful 2018, England finished 2nd in the Six Nations with a loss away to Wales and a draw against Scotland (in a match that they had led 31-7 at half time. In their warm-up matches, England lost narrowly in Wales, but won comfortably at home against Wales, Ireland and Italy, holding the Azzurri scoreless.

The Debrief

  • Pool Stages (1st in Pool C)
    • England 35-3 Tonga
    • England 45-7 USA
    • England 39-10 Argentina
    • England C-C France
  • Quarterfinal
    • England 40-16 Australia
  • Semifinal
    • England 19-7 New Zealand
  • Final
    • England 12-32 South Africa

It was a bit of an odd tournament for England, as the challenge they faced in the pools was very limited, leaving a number of questions as to how prepared they were for the knockouts. Tonga provided a physical opposition, but the challenge that they and the USA could present was always going to struggle against an improved England defence that conceded just 1 try in 3 matches (against Italy, Tonga and the USA). Then against Argentina, the challenge was over when Tomás Lavanini got himself red carded early in the first half, leaving England to pick off 14 men. While England showed some dominance in these games, especially in the scrums and mauls, they were far from inspiring and struggled to get regular cohesiveness in their attacking play. Typhoon Hagibis led to the cancellation of their match against France which would have been an interesting challenge and decided the pool standings.

Moving into the knockouts, it looked like the extra rest actually helped England find their groove. Their victories against Australia and New Zealand were both built on incredible defensive work and flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill thoroughly outplaying their more experienced rivals, while the attack finally hit its stride in these games.

Unfortunately, England were unable to do it 3 weeks running as they faced a much more physical outfit who there were unable to bully off the ball. Kyle Sinckler had done a great job of establishing himself as one of the best tightheads in the world through this tournament, so to lose him after just 3 minutes and require Dan Cole to play basically an entire game was always going to be hard. England were pushed around almost at will by the Springbok scrums and mauls, while their defence did a great job of shutting down everything England could produce. Meanwhile, England’s own defence conceded 2 late tries to end the game, the first highlighting risk that had been taken all year of playing Elliot Daly (who was caught in no-man’s land for the first try) at 15 in place of more recognised fullbacks Mike Brown and Alex Goode – who weren’t selected for the squad – or Anthony Watson, who was selected on the wing.

Was this a good tournament for England? I didn’t think they had a chance of beating New Zealand to make the final, so yes it was. It’s just ended on a sour note tinged with what-ifs.

Looking Ahead

The good news for this team is that the core of this team are so young. Their 3 biggest stars from this tournament – Tom Cury, Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill – will only be 25, 28 and 27 respectively when the next tournament comes around, while a number of the other big names will be in their early 30s at most. Add to that the way that young English talent continues to come through at club level and the squad will be brimming with stars in 4 years. Personally, I would love to see a return for the England Saxons in order to help the young talent get more international experience, perhaps playing Tier 2 nations like the Pacific Islanders.

The big question for me right now is coaching. While Eddie Jones did a great job of turning around a team at their lowest following the 2015 tournament, I feel that his public attitude is abysmal, while a number of players who arguably could and should have been in contention for the squad (perhaps even the starting XV) were not even considered for a spot on the plane, while some players appeared undroppable regardless of how their form deteriorated. The Elliot Daly at 15 experiment needs to end as he is a defensive liability and struggles to compete in the air, putting the team at risk against teams with a strong kicking game. Right now, Jones is contracted to England until 2021, but I would rather see the RFU thank him for creating the platform for success and move onto someone else, who can then spend the next 4 years building a young team for glory in France.

The RWC2019 Debrief: Canada

The RWC2019 Debrief: Canada

Welcome to the RWC2019 Debriefs. The World Cup is now over and a new 4 year cycle begins, but the first stage of any cycle should be looking back at how things went – what went wrong and what went right – before looking on to how things go for the next cycle to ensure qualification to RWC2023 (if they haven’t automatically qualified) and to make sure they enter that tournament in peak form.

I will be going through these debriefs alphabetically, so today I will be casting my eye over Canada.

RWC2019 Qualification

Canada failed to win a 2-legged playoff against the USA to become Americas 1 for the first time in World Cup history. They then went on to lose the Americas 2 spot by losing both legs of the Americas Repechage playoff to Uruguay, but eventually topped the table in the final repechage tournament to take the 20th spot in Japan.

2019 Form

2019 was not looking good for Canada heading into the tournament. A 56-0 win against Chile was their only victory in the Americas Rugby Championship, where they finished 5th. They came bottom of the Pacific Nations Cup with away losses to the USA, Fiji and Tonga, before losing once more to the USA in a final warm-up match.

The Debrief

  • Pool Stages (5th in Pool B)
    • Italy 48-7 Canada
    • New Zealand 63-0 Canada
    • South Africa 66-7 Canada
    • Namibia C-C Canada

This was always going to be a difficult tournament for Canada with 2 of the favourites for the tournament found in this pool, but the huge loss to Italy showed just how far this team has fallen over the years.

Throughout the tournament, the defence just wasn’t good enough, with players dropping off tackles with regularity and allowing their opponents to build up big unassailable leads before Canada were even able to get into the game. Unfortunately Typhoon Hagibis caused a cancellation of their match against Namibia, which they would have been targeting before the tournament, but their prior performances suggest that they may have struggled to get a result here.

There were some silver linings to the clouds, though. Though they may have found themselves 40-0 within 30 minutes against South Africa, they rallied well to make the remaining 50 minutes a contest, despite substitute lock Josh Larsen being sent off shortly before halftime. Fly half Peter Nelson controlled things as well as possible under the circumstances and the players did manage to create chances – especially against Italy – but just failed to convert them.

Looking Ahead

The next few years are vital for Canada. This was all-but certainly the last World Cup for a number of key players, including star winger DTH van der Merwe, centre Ciaran Hearn and all 3 scrum halves that were in the squad and these roles must be filled. There are some big names still there in Tyler Ardron of the Chiefs, Taylor Paris of Castres, former Newcastle lock Evan Olmstead and Seattle Seawolves’ Jeff Hassler, as well as Nelson, who recently left Ulster.

What they need dearly though is the next generation of stars coming through. Luckily, the introduction of Major League Rugby could be just what they need. A large proportion of the squad are already playing for the Toronto Arrows or other MLR clubs, with a handful of players based in Europe and Ardron in New Zealand. With big name players making their way over to the league, the quality of rugby should just continue to improve and that can only be good news for the national team. Ideally, they also need to make sure that they are getting more talent into the top flight European leagues to make sure that they are used to playing the top quality players in order to compete as strongly as possible against Tier 1 opposition.

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

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 15/7/2019


The Shirewolves made history once again at Collision III when they became the first team to reclaim the Teams title. It’s is a feat that had accomplished before: the Patriots lost their rematch against Above The Line, while Top 10 failed to get revenge on the Patriots twice, including the infamous “Jane Fonda” match.

As of now, nobody has ever regained their belt in the Innergeekdom Division, and in fact Mike Kalinowski will be the first former Champion in the division to even challenge for the belt again, as both Mara Knopic and Jason Inman stepped away from competition following their title losses, and Burnett and Navarro have not yet been able to get back to the top of the rankings.

The only division that has really seen any repetition of champions has been the Singles Division. Dan Murrell is currently enjoying his 3rd title reign, while both John Rocha and Mark Reilly have won the belt on 2 separate occasions.

Seeing the Shirewolves start their second reign as team Champions got me thinking: who (if anyone) will be able to regain their title by the end of the season? Having thought about it, I’ve selected the five players I think are most likely. (For all you fans of the Star Wars Division, Ken Napzok and Sam Witwer would have definitely been in the discussion if they were playing, but a recent comment from Kristian suggested that the next #1 Contender Match will likely involve people who competed at Celebration and that the winner would be in the last Title Match that the division holds this year.)

Mike Kalinowski

As mentioned, Kalinowski is the first former Innergeekdom Champion to earn a second shot at the belt, having just defeated Kevin Smets at Collision. He is without a doubt one of the top three current Innergeekdom competitors and even though he has lost to Rachel both times they faced off in the Division (and also once outside the Division, when she KO’d him in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match), he has more than enough knowledge to go the distance again, just like when he lost the belt to Cushing in Sudden Death. The match is set to be held live in San Diego during Comic-Con, which I think gives “The Killer” a slight advantage, as live events seem to bring the best out of him. Either way, it could be a contender for Match of the Year.

John Rocha

“The Outlaw” is a former Teams Champion and two-time former Singles Champion, but it is in the Teams division where I think he’s more likely to regain a title this year. While he may no longer be part of Top 10, his new partnership with Dan Murrell has created a formidable team. At 3-1, the Founding Fathers aren’t far off from a shot at the title and they certainly have the pedigree to take down the Shirewolves. Even if they find their run halted by a loss, they could take advantage of Murrell’s Free 4 All victory to get themselves an immediate title shot at any time.

William Bibbiani

“The Beast” claimed the vacant Singles Title after Samm Levine walked away from Competition but lost it to John Rocha on his first defence. One of the best in the game in terms of overall knowledge, he can never be ruled out of a match and even won a Triple Threat match earlier this year against Ethan Erwin and John Rocha. Bibbs hasn’t played in the Singles Division since his loss to Dan Murrell at the start of May, but as the Free 4 All MVP, he has the chance to cash in a #1 Contender Match at any time, which means he’s only ever two wins away from reclaiming the belt.

Ethan Erwin

If we’re taking about incredible knowledge, then we need to mention Ethan Erwin, who Kristian Harloff recently stated on Collider Live was unable to feature in the Free 4 All but played along and would have made it to the end, knocking Bibbiani out earlier in the event. Erwin is the only competitor to date to win the Singles Title in his rookie year and though he lost on his first defence, Dan Murrell needed to play a 100% accurate game to earn the victory. Erwin’s partnership with Jeannine may also lead tohim gaining knowledge in areas that he would have previously considered weaknesses, making him even more dangerous. He may not have any fast-track to a title, but don’t bet against him going on a strong tournament run to earn a title shot at Spectacular.

Dan Murrell

The most hypothetical one on the list, since in order to reclaim the belt Murrell would first have to lose it. But imagine for one moment that Murrell has a bad day at the office and loses to Paul Oyama, he still has every chance of becoming a 4-time Singles Champion by the end of the season. First of all, he would have the option of cashing in his Free 4 All victory to earn an immediate title shot, and even if he has to go through the tournament to earn another shot, you should never bet against the GOAT. Murrell has a wide and deep knowledge and has worked on his strategy since coming back from his hiatus, while having some of the best competitors in the game in his faction means that he’ll have plenty of support and advice coming his way if he needs it.

Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments who you think has the best chance of regaining their title.

The RWC2019 Debrief: Australia

The RWC2019 Debrief: Australia

Welcome to the RWC2019 Debriefs. The World Cup is now over and a new 4 year cycle begins, but the first stage of any cycle should be looking back at how things went – what went wrong and what went right – before looking on to how things go for the next cycle to ensure qualification to RWC2023 (if they haven’t automatically qualified) and to make sure they enter that tournament in peak form.

I will be going through these debriefs alphabetically, so today I will be casting my eye over Australia.

RWC2019 Qualification

Australia qualified by finishing in the top 3 of their pool at RWC2015, where they went all the way to the final.

2019 Form

The build-up to this tournament was a mixed one for the Wallabies. Having to move on from Israel Folau following his dismissal for his homophobic social media posts, they finished 2nd in the Rugby Championship, coming back from a loss in South Africa to win at home against Argentina before a shock 47-26 victory over New Zealand in Perth, however they then fell to the All Blacks 36-0 in Auckland a week later. They finished off their preparations for the World Cup with a 34-15 win over Samoa.

The Debrief

  • Pool Stages (2nd in Pool D)
    • Australia 39-21 Fiji
    • Australia 25-29 Wales
    • Australia 45-10 Uruguay
    • Australia 27-8 Georgia
  • Quarterfinal
    • England 40-16 Australia

The mixed results from Australia continued into the World Cup. The early stages of their match against Fiji saw them struggling against the Islanders and they were lucky not to lose Reece Hodge in the first half for a high tackle on Peceli Yato. Yato’s failed HIA and a scrum dominance for the Wallabies helped them take control and a swap from Nic White to Will Genia at scrum half helped secure the victory, though they did lose Hodge for the rest of the pool stages due to a 3-match ban. They again struggled early against Wales, but a swap from Bernard Foley to Matt To’omua helped get the Wallabies back in the game – just too late to get the victory. Two victories in their last 2 games confirmed their place in the quarters, but against Georgia they were heavily penalised and 2 late tries helped tilt the scoreline in their favour. Going into the knockouts, 2 Jonny May tries gave England a lead in the first half and while Marika Koroibete scored soon after the break, Kyle Sinckler’s quick response took the wind out of their sails, while a series of penalties and unnecessary risks killed off the game.

While Michael Cheika did a wonderful job coming in ahead of the last World Cup and taking them from poor performances to finalists, the team for this tournament was nowhere near the level that they arguably should have been. Bernard Foley had been pretty mucht he only fly half used throughout the 4 year cycle, but was suddenly dropped at the last minute, leading to a revolving door at the position between him, To’omua and Christian Lealiifano, with none of them able to get enough time to build any modicum of stability. This wasn’t helped by a similar rotation at scrum half, where Nic White’s return suddenly saw him and Will Genia swapping regularly. The constant chopping and changing in the halfbacks meant that the Wallabies were always going to struggle against a competitive team.

The 2015 tournament is well remembered for the way that Michael Hooper and David Pocock combined in the back row, leading to a trend of teams playing two 7s in their back row. The pair struggled to replicate the performances in 2019 however, and I think that comes down to the selection of an attacking 8 in Isi Naisarani, who did a good job in the tournament but did not do the same job of relentlessly tackling everyone for “Pooper” to jackal over that Scott Fardy did in 2015. While the scrum was often a strength and physical backs like Samu Kerevi and Koroibete did a great job of helping to put the team on the front foot, there was not enough control around them to take advantage of it on a regular basis.

Looking Ahead

First things first is going to be finding a new head coach. It has already been announced that Michael Cheika will not be continuing in the role. I have felt for a while that the coaching has been holding the team back so it will be important to get the right person in that will give the squad stability and get them playing the right way.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with this squad, as the back line may be full of experience, but many of them will likely be past their prime come 2023. Of the backs in the World Cup squad, only Reece Hodge and Jordan Petaia will be under 30 by the time the next tournament comes around. The core of that back line has been together for a long time and with some players like Will Genia set to move on, this is an opportune moment to start cultivating a new young team that has not been heavily impacted by the ups and downs of the current regime.

Things are a little rosier in the pack, where there a plenty of younger talents coming through already despite players like David Pocock, James Slipper and Sekope Kepu reaching the end of their international careers. The scrum has been an area of the game that has vastly improved over the last 5 years and that will be a great weapon to build on over the next 2 years, while Tolu Latu, Jordan Uelese, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Jack Dempsey, Naisarani and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will be seasoned veterans by the time the next tournament comes around.

The next head coach has a big task on their hands, but there is plenty of talent available to create a strong team quickly.

DON’T TELL PETER: The Top 10 Mind-Blowing Moments of Schmoedown Collision III

DON’T TELL PETER: The Top 10 Mind-Blowing Moments of Schmoedown Collision III

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 4/7/2019


Season 6 of the Schmoedown really has been the Magic Season so far and it’s safe to say that Collision III was no exception! After the success of the Schmoedown Throwdown earlier this season, the crew took on the daunting task of live streaming the entire four-match event and pulled it off with great aplomb, so before we get into the main part of this article, let’s take a moment to congratulate everyone involved in putting on such a wonderful event!

Here at TriviaSD.com, we love to break down the big events and look at the highlights of the event. Of course, Collision as a whole was a highlight, so it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just 10 moments and as you will see, I did cheat a little with a few of these selections, so if you think I missed something that deserved a spot on the list, let me know in the comments.

10. Let Him Finish

With Mark Ellis on the desk you can guarantee there will be some fun moments during matches. Having previously idolised Kristian’s golden throat in the earlier seasons, it looks like Baby Carrots has now taken pride in his own voice and wants every chance to use it. So imagine how he felt when competitors were so confident in their knowledge, they were answering before he had the chance to complete his question. Poor Mark looked crestfallen at not being able to show his full range of question-asking skills and kindly asked the competitors to allow him to finish the question… only to be cut off again a few minutes later!

9. Checking Rachel’s Buzzer

One of the joys of the live streams has been getting to see some of the behind the scenes action that would usually get edited out. One example of this is going into the Speed Round of Title Matches and checking that each competitor’s buzzer works so that nobody is at a disadvantage. Rather than just asking each competitor in the Shirewolves vs. The Odd Couple match to test their buzzer one by one, Mark Ellis chose to ask each competitor a question for them to buzz in and answer. Coming finally to Rachel Cushing, he hit her with “Who is the greatest Innergeekdom player of all time?” As Rachel buzzed in, fans were left wondering if she would be modest and give praise to one of her fellow competitors in the division, but to the joy of the crowd, she backed herself and declared that it was her. Extra motivation for Kalinowski at San Diego Comic-Con? Most likely. But I doubt many people would argue with her.

8. Top Promotion

While the quality of the entire Schmoedown product has been on the rise in recent seasons, one thing that has really shot forward in quality this year has been the pre-match promos. Combining the history needed for the upcoming match, the competitors’ smack talk and a clear view of the prize for victory, the promos have done a great job of bringing the hype before the match starts. With two of the most dominant Innergeekdom competitors of the moment facing off for a shot at Rachel Cushing, there was already plenty of hype for Kalinowski vs. Smets, but the pre-match promo took things to another level and gave the competitors the hard task of trying to do it justice by putting on a great match – SPOILER: they did!

7. Facing Off

With the rivalry between KOrruption and The Dungeon and so much at stake in the match between Mike Kalinowski and Kevin Smets, any chance to get the mental edge on their opponent would be huge. Mike Kalinowski got in an early shot by managing to infiltrate the Dungeon and face off with Smets in his own environment. Rumours that “The Smasher” punched a hole in the wall just after the camera cut are still to be confirmed.

As if that wasn’t enough, both competitors chose to come out with the rest of their faction as their representatives for the Manager Bowl made their way to the table. With their match on next, Smets and Kalinowski found themselves nose-to-nose and it didn’t look like either was willing to back down, leading Chairman Kristian Harloff to order them to leave or forfeit their #1 Contender match. Between these two events, it was clear that neither competitor would be giving the other any quarter during their match.

6. Manager Face-Off

It wasn’t just Smets and Kalinowski who were facing off against each other early in the match as managers Tom Dagnino, Kaiser and Jay Washington all faced off, proclaiming that their competitor would win the manager Bowl. Throw in accusations from Tom about what really happens in the dungeon and Jay flipping off the other two while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, and this was a great light-hearted scene between three of the most entertaining mouthpieces in the league.

5. Kaiser’s Top 3 Managers

While on the subject of entertaining mouthpieces, Kaiser came out with an absolute zinger just before the start of the Manager Bowl, announcing “It’s an honour to be here with three of the greatest managers ever to perform: Tom Dagnino, Bobby Gucci and Bob Finstock!” While a fun comment in itself, it also has a great little nod to the craziness that is Tom Dagnino and his many alter-egos over the years.

4. Winning in Primetime

Those of us unfamiliar with the fan leagues likely didn’t know the name Paul Oyama when this season started, but he has been quickly making a name for himself in the Singles Division. Having seen off Brendan Meyer, Josh Macuga and Chance Ellison, “Primetime” faced off against Liz Shannon Miller for the chance to challenge Dan Murrell for the title. Miller came into this league with a recommendation from Ethan Erwin but Oyama saw her off in stunning fashion to earn a title shot. Oyama’s victory makes it this high not just for the way he won, but also for the legitimacy it is giving to the fan leagues as a proving ground, as he becomes the first competitor to come from the fan leagues and earn a shot at a title.

3. Wheel-y Fun Round

The wheel may be old and on its way out, but it still appears to have a mind of its own. Never was this more obvious than in Round 2 of the Manager Bowl, which was probably one of the most fun rounds of competition in a while. From competitors continually deferring their spin to three of the first four competitors landing on Spinner’s Choice (sorry Zipper), to John Rocha continually spinning slices that had already been selected, leading to him accepting a questionable category just to keep the game flowing. The fun with the wheel gave Round 2 a fun undercurrent, while also showing us a high level of movie trivia knowledge.

2. Making History

Success for the Shirewolves is becoming a staple of these big event Top 10 moments articles and this one is no exception. Having lost to The Odd Couple in their last match, the Shirewolves came out victors in this rematch as neither Jeff Sneider nor Marc Andreyko could correctly answer their 5-point question. This victory saw Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe make Schmoedown history once again as the first Team to regain the Title, while it once again showed the strength of The Odd Couple. Don’t be surprised to see Sneider and Andreyko in contention again by the end of the season.

1. An Emotional Finish

I’ve mentioned the build-up to Kalinowski v Smets a couple of times on this list, and now its conclusion takes the top spot. There was hardly anything between the two throughout the match and going into the 5-point questions it was still level. Both competitors were so invested in the match, that when Smets missed his 5-pointer – incorrectly quoting “Don’t tell Peter” instead of “Don’t tell Harry” – Kalinowski’s reaction was a reflection of Smets’. Then when Mike correctly answered his 5-pointer – something he had gone through backstage right before the match – he was clearly overcome with emotion as the rest of his faction rushed to congratulate him. If ever you needed a reminder of how much this means to the competitors, this moment was it!

The RWC2019 Debrief: Argentina

The RWC2019 Debrief: Argentina

Welcome to a new series of articles, the RWC2019 Debriefs. The World Cup is now over and a new 4 year cycle begins, but the first stage of any cycle should be looking back at how things went – what went wrong and what went right – before looking on to how things go for the next cycle to ensure qualification to RWC2023 (if they haven’t automatically qualified) and to make sure they enter that tournament in peak form.

I will be going through these debriefs alphabetically, so today I will be casting my eye over Argentina.

RWC2019 Qualification

The Pumas qualified for the tournament automatically by finishing in the top 3 of their pool in 2015, in fact they went all the way to the semi-finals, eventually finishing 4th overall.

2019 Form

It hadn’t been a good year for the Pumas. They came bottom of the shortened Rugby Championship, losing all 3 games including a 13-46 humbling at home to South Africa. Their losing streak continued in their final warm-up game against South Africa in Pretoria.

The Debrief

  • Pool Stages (3rd in Pool C)
    • France 23-21 Argentina
    • Argentina 28-12 Tonga
    • England 39-10 Argentina
    • Argentina 47-17 USA

The poor form continued into the opening match against France as Les Bleus ran out to an early lead. Though the team fought their way back into the match they fell just short, with a late long range penalty from Emiliano Boffelli just missing. They started strongly against Tonga, scoring 28 points in the opening 28 minutes, but allowed Tonga to get back into the game and can consider themselves lucky that a penalty try was not awarded right before halftime when Tomás Lavanini stopped a try with what appeared to be a clear no-arms tackle. Lavanini was however rightly penalised for a high shot on Owen Farrell early on against England, earning a red card that quickly ended the match as a contest. With the quarterfinals already mathematically beyond their reach, the Pumas made some changes for their final match against the USA and it looked like they played with more freedom. In a performance more akin to what we have come to expect from the Jaguares in Super Rugby, the team put the Americans to the sword to end a disappointing tournament on a positive.

Before the tournament, there was a lot of talk about the exclusion of Santiago Cordero, Juan Imhoff and Facundo Isa as they were based in Europe. It certainly felt like they were missed through this tournament as the pack often struggled to get on the front foot, while the backs often appeared to lack any spark, something that Cordero would have given them. Selection questions continued for me as Bautista Delguy was barely used in the early matches despite having been one of their star players before his injury, while Jerónimo de la Fuente and Matías Orlando looked solid but unspectacular. Nicolás Sánchez looked far from his best until the match against the USA, while Benjamín Urdapilleta struggled heavily against England behind an outnumbered pack.

Even coming into the tournament, I had a feeling that the team was tired. With the majority of the players being part of the Jaguares team that went all the way to the Super Rugby final, there has been very little break for them in 2019 as they went from Super Rugby to the Rugby Championship, then the warm-up game in Pretoria and straight into the World Cup. Travelling frequently between Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and finally Japan will be extremely fatiguing and I think it led to a largely worn out team playing in the key matches.

Looking Ahead

While the tournament will not be one the team looks back on fondly, the final match against the USA was a timely reminder that there are good signs for the future. This squad has a core of stars coming through who are 27 or under, many of whom already have a significant number of caps to their name, while other stars for the future like Mayco Vivas, Delguy and Santiago Carreras have been exposed to the World Cup stage. 2 of their most notable individual performances came from Juan Cruz Mallia (23) and Julián Montoya (25 during the tournament), while captain Pablo Matera is just 26 and star lock Guido Petti is only 24. This is a team that should be building around the young talent over the next few years. The key now is finding a young fly half to build around. Both Sánchez and Urdapilleta are in their 30s and unlikely to still be around come the next tournament, so 23-year-old Domingo Miotti of the Jaguares appears to be the next man up and he needs to become a regular fixture soon in order to cement his place in the squad.

Playing home and away against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia is going to give their place in the rankings a hit, but to regularly play against some of the best will help the team improve. The important thing for them now is to widen the fields for selection. If they continue to select predominantly from in Argentina, they are currently limited to picking form just 1 top tier team: the Jaguares. This will continue to lead to issues of players being overworked and coming into the World Cup fatigued, while also creating a limited pathway for younger players coming through. The team needs to widen their scope to select European-based players if their form deserves it, or find a way to get another Argentinian franchise into Super Rugby, which considering the tournament is about to cut another team seems unlikely any time soon.