Schmoedown Live 3

Schmoedown Live 3

The 3rd and final live Schmoedown event of the year took place at the El Portal Theatre on September 8th. Living across the pond, I had to wait until last week to see the matches, but boy was it worth the wait! The Horsemen’s presence at every live event continued with John Rocha and Dan Murrell taking part in the first match of the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, while Jason Inman prepared to defend his Innergeekdom title against Mara Knopic – the first live title match! While I would say the 2nd live event was my favourite to watch (I’m a Star Wars nut and the Horsemen reveal was perfect!), I really enjoyed watching this one and wanted to go back through the main bits.

The Matches

Founding Fathers (“The Outlaw” John Rocha & “Dangerous” Dan Murrell) 20-17 Wait, I Know This (“Sassy” Stacy Howard & “Blackman” Winston Marshall)

“Horsemen! Let’s mount up, it’s time to ride.” – John Rocha

If this match is a hint as to the fun we will have during the Anarchy tournament, we are in for a treat. Clearly underdogs against 2 former champions, Wait, I Know This played up to the fact, with a great promo from first-time manager Coy Jandreau, making ladies swoon everywhere with his Jeff Goldblum costume. The team came out flanked by 2 dinosaurs (it’s still to be confirmed if either was a Tricenatauratops) and certainly got a large portion of the crow on their side. And then came the Founding Fathers, escorted out by the other 3 Horsemen and with a great new entrance music. With Murrell having lost his last match to Andrew Ghai, we knew he’d be up for this and as such we were in for a treat.

mtsanarchy1The Founding Fathers took a strong lead in Round 1, with a combined score of 12 (7 for Rocha, 5 for Dan) while Wait, I know This struggled to keep up as often it turned out Winston (1/8) didn’t know this, though Stacy went under the radar and picked up an impressive 6 points to keep her team in the hunt.

The Founding Fathers chose to defer their spin in Round 2 and Winston spun Pixar Movies. Their fortunes were mixed in this round as they correctly answered all of their questions, however they had to check down to multiple choice for 5/6, only just putting them ahead of their opponents. At this point, it must be noted that Stacy Howard continued to show her Macuga-esque knack of being able to get the right answer on a complete guess. When her guessing game is on point, she will always be a danger. Rocha took the spin for the Founding Fathers, but he landed on Opponent’s Choice and after plenty of deliberation, the former Singles Champions were given Movie Release Dates. Watching the round, it looked like Dan Murrell took the lead on this round – something Rocha confirmed in the post-match interview – and they went 6/6 for 8 points, but it did seem that they could have got more 2-point answers had they chosen not to play it safe.

Things looked bad for Wait I Know This going into the final round 6 points down and things didn’t get any better as Winston missed his 2-point question in the category of Tom Cruise. Stacy nailed her 3-pointer in Brad Pitt and Wait, I Know This were left having to answer their 5-point question to avoid the TKO. I’m a big fan of the Middle Earth films and thought the question to name the 2 actors to appear in all 6 Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies was easy, but I made the same mistake as they did, picking Orlando Bloom (who was not in the first Hobbit movie) rather than Cate Blanchett. And so the Founding Fathers got the TKO victory to kick off the Anarchy Tournament and will next face the winner of KOrruption v Inky and the Brain.

mtsffwinI really liked the chemistry between Winston and Stacy in this match and think it is a shame they were facing one of the strongest teams in the tournament in their opener. Unfortunately with The World’s Finest having done so well in their rookie season, I can’t see Wait, I Know This remaining as a team long-term. As for the Founding Fathers, they will have tougher tests, but scoring 20 points in 2 rounds despite spinning Opponent’s Choice will have put the league on notice. Murrell is back and looks set to prove the Ghai loss was nothing more than a blip, while Rocha appears to have new life alongside Murrell and this could help draw out some of his best ever performances.

“It’s my honour to ride alongside the greatest.” – John Rocha

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 21-20 Jason “Justice” Inman

After her victories over Rachel Cushing and Mike Kalinowski, we knew that we were likely going to be in for a treat when Mara Knopic took on the Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman. Both competitors were very complimentary about each other ahead of the match – no real surprise considering she is effectively a sister-in-law to the Horsemen – and while both clearly wanted to win, what was important was that we were treated to a great match. The mutual respect continued as Mara emerged with Dan Murrell and when the rest of the Horsemen led out Inman, there was clearly no animosity towards her.

mtsknoinRound 1 was a close affair as Mara – who has sometimes struggled in the opening round – looked to be on form with a score of 7, but Jason was showing his championship credentials by getting 8/10. Brad Gilmore from the Schmoedown Rundown won’t be happy though as once again both competitors missed on a question about the Back to the Future films!

“I don’t think I’m a rookie anymore.” – Mara Knopic

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The moment the match spun in Mara’s favour (literally)

Like his fellow Horsemen before him, Inman deferred his spin and Mara was up, landing on Movie Release Dates with her first spin and – to the shock of the crowd – accepting it without hesitation. She fired though the round and only had to check down to multiple choice for one question on her way to correctly answering 5/5 for a haul of 9 points. Jason was less lucky with his spins, initially landing on Mixed Bag and then Star Wars on his second attempt. Inman may not have many weaknesses, but this category certainly isn’t one of his strengths. He worked his way through the category well, going 4/5 for 6 points, missing on a Yoda quote that Mara was also unable to get despite multiple choice.

In Round 3, Mara spun Middle Earth and they got a question that I found easy, but as we already know I’m a Tolkien nut and I can imagine it wouldn’t have been as obvious to anyone else. Both competitors chose to risk 2 points but while Mara was able to pull out the correct answer, the defending champion was not able to and he fell 6 points behind.

Inman caught up slightly in Round 4 as he buzzed in for 3 correct answers to Mara’s 1. After 2 matches in the 5-round format, the speed round appears to be her biggest weakness as she is often beaten to the buzzer, but she clearly has the knowledge and if she can improve her speed she will be deadly here. I will also give her some slack as the buzzers did not appear to be the most reliable of things on the night.

Going into Round 5 with a 4-point deficit, things weren’t looking good for Inman, but if anyone could come back to win it would be him. He hit the mark with his 2- and 3-pointers and after Mara hit her 2-point question, he was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to stay in the match. I think it’s fair to say Chris Skalicky will not be in Inman’s good graces right now after the 5 pointer to name the type of wine Bilbo offered Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, but as someone able to quote the entire line I would call this question miles easier than the one that felled Kalinowski, though I still think it was a very worthy 5-pointer.

“This was a knowledge-based game and knowledge won it” – Jason Inman

mtsmkchampAnd so Mara Knopic became the first female to win a solo title in the Schmoedown, following hot on the heels of the Shirewolves becoming the first female champions. With a 5-0 record and a title to her name, it will be difficult to argue against her being named Rookie of the Year unless Ethan Erwin can have some serious success in the Ultimate Schmoedown. She clearly has a good breadth and depth of knowledge and with Movie Release Dates now appearing more regularly as a category she has more than proved herself worthy of the title and is in my opinion one of the top 4 Innergeekdom competitors.

Inman will come back strong. 20 points is a solid score considering he had one of his weaker categories in Round 2 and I am sure we will see him competing in title matches again in 2019.

More KOrruption

mtskalcrashIt was always going to be difficult to beat an ending as good as the Horsemen reveal, but the arrival of KOrruption to interrupt Mara’s post-match interview and announce that Mike will be taking on Mara for the title at Schmoedown Spectacular 3 without having to go though a contender match to earn a spot. As a beaten finalist in the tournament I can understand Kalinowski being in the hunt for the next title shot and with the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams and Singles Tournaments still to go there obviously isn’t much time to fit in Innergeekdom matches between now and Spectacular, but it is still a shock to see Kalinowski get a free pass to another title match. I guess it helps to be friends with the Commissioner.

As for the Commissioner, Thadd is going to be coming under heavy pressure over the next few months. At the start of the show he took credit for the live event, Innergeekdom tournament and Anarchy, which I’m sure won’t have been appreciated by hosts Mark Ellis and the one true Commish Kristian Harloff. While the Innergeekdom tournament took the division to a new level, the lack of a clear bracket will have certainly rubbed some competitors the wrong way, which won’t have been helped by the splitting of teams for the Anarchy Tournament. Jonny Loquasto has not been seen since he was unceremoniously dropped from the announcers desk at Collision but will be managing one of the Anarchy teams and may want to have a word with the Commissioner. The Fyffe Club are likely still seething at Sam Witwer being stripped of his title too. For some competitors, Kalinowski being given a title shot without having to go through a contenders match could be the last straw. Thadd has now been in charge of the league for about a year, I will be shocked if there has not been some serious challenge to his leadership by the end of the season.

Other Thoughts

mtsroghaiThere was a great moment during Inman’s entrance when Rocha and Ghai (in the crowd) fronted up to each other before shaking each other’s hand. This was a great moment as it shows Ghai’s victories over Murrell and Reilly have earned him even the grudging respect of the Outlaw ahead of their contenders match

It wasn’t shown much on the videos, but the Wildberries were at the El Portal to help get the crowd pumped for the show. I’ve seen a few clips online from people who were there (would you believe me if I said I wasn’t jealous? Me neither) and it looks like they did a great job. They may not be the best at trivia but they are so much fun and a role like this is perfect for them!

Sticking with the Wildberries, having Jeopardy as an answer at a live event with Josh Macuga present was just too perfect and it was great to see him rush the stage to celebrate. #JoshMacuga4Jeopardy

It was also great to see Chris Skalicky onstage judging the buzzers during the title match. His is a name many people have heard watching the show but for those who do not watch much other Schmoedown related content (seriously, there’s great stuff out there, you really should!) it must be great to finally see the infamous head writer

After Mara titled herself “Mara, first of her name, Queen of the Innergeekdom, Protector of the Realm, Brown Dwarf Star of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, Mother of kittens, the Undefeated, the Breaker of brackets” on the Schmoedown Rundown, I really want Kristian to have to say all this when announcing her for her next match and see them fit the whole title onto the graphic!

mtscoyHey may not be the best of competitors, but we need so much more of Coy Jandreau as a manager in the league. His charisma and enthusiasm is wonderful and I think he could do a great job as a manager for a competitor who is not so confident with their promos. I think we could see a few other managers along similar lines as the Anarchy tournament goes on

It was great to see the improvements made for this show after the last one. After some issues with having only 1 mic per table during Team Action v The Shirewolves, the production crew did a great job to make sure there was a mic per person at the table

Title Week – August 2018

Title Week – August 2018

After Samm Levine stepped away from the Singles and Teams titles after Collider Collision, we knew that we were guaranteed a new singles champion. William “The Beast” Bibbiani, MVP of the Free 4 All won his Number 1 Contender match against Jeff Sneider and was due to face “The Inglorious One” until this announcement, so his challenger instead became Marc “The Android” Andreyko, who defeated Ethan Erwin in a second Contender match. Meanwhile in the Teams Division, The Shirewolves won their Contender match against The World’s Finest and were promptly challenged by Brianne, who announced that her and her mystery partner would be cashing in her title challenge earned by winning Free 4 All 2. Entering this week, we knew that we were going to see a new Singles Champion and also The Schmoedown’s first female Champion. That’s a lot of hype and expectation ahead of these matches, but I’d say they delivered!

Warning: this will contain spoilers for both the Singles and Teams title matches, also Tuesday’s Anarchy Preview Special

mts bibdreykoWilliam “The Beast” Bibbiani 19-18 Marc “The Android” Andreyko

When Bibbiani and Andreyko debuted in the league, they faced each other in what was arguably one of the best Schmoedown matches up to that point, with Bibbiani setting a new points record on the way to victory. It quickly became clear the accuracy stats wouldn’t be as good for the competitors this time around as both competitors missed within the first 4 questions of Round 1 on their way to an end-of-round score of 5-5.

Going into Round 2, Andreyko was the pre-match favourite and chose to defer his spin, The Beast initially spinning 90s, but spinning away to end up with Musicals. Not a category that he likely wanted, but he was able to come away with 2/4 correct answers for 4 points, but Andreyko was able to steal both incorrect answers for 3 points, including one where Bibbs misheard the start of the question and gave the name of the actor from the original film Annie as opposed to the 2014 remake. The Android was up and he chose to stick with his first spin, Monster Movies, and answered his first 3 questions for 5 points. He looked set to get 4/4 as he clearly knew the answer to his last question, but answered “Bud” when it should have been “Bub”, an answer that Bibbiani knew, stealing 2 points and reduce his losses. Obviously it’s disappointing to have a 4-point swing for the matter of 1 letter, but it clearly alters the answer and I completely agree with the judges’ ruling.

Leading by 2 going into Round 3, Andreyko was able to select the category for the betting round, spinning Classics. Despite Bibbs using one of his repeats, neither competitor was able to guess the correct answer, but Andreyko’s lead grew as he had only bet 1 point compared to The Beast’s 2.

The speed round was a first for both competitors and it looked as if Andreyko had benefitted from the practicing the Fyffe Club did ahead of Clarke’s title shot as he beat Bibbiani to the buzzer on all 5 questions. However, wrong answers on the first and third questions meant that he only increased his lead by 1 point.

mtsbibwinAnd so it came to the final round. Marc had a 4 point lead over Bibbiani, who has a horrible record in Round 3. However this new-look standing Beast of 2018 had no problems, getting the full 10 points from Comic Book Movies, Comedies and Will Smith. Andreyko got his 2- and 3-point questions correct and was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to take victory or Bibbiani would be the new Champion. When the category was announced as Sports, I was pretty certain the title was going to the Beast, but Andreyko came so close, correctly guessing one of the required actors but not the other. I must admit that I was surprised Andreyko didn’t use either of his 2 remaining repeats on the last question, as he answered quite quickly and did not even wait to the 5 second countdown, which makes me think that he knew he would be unable to guess the second actor and did not want to prolong the action. And that was it: Bibbiani, touted as a future champion after his debut victory over Andreyko, took the victory once again to become the 6th different competitor to be crowned Singles Champion.

mtsbibbelt
Bibbs finally has the belt that he has been destined for since his debut

Bibbiani will have a tough test ahead of him as he will be facing the winner of Rocha/Batemen and Reilly/Ghai. 2 champions and 2 up-and-comers who have shown their quality in past performances. I would expect Bibbs to have better Round 1 performances in the future as this one was poor by his standards and judging by his interview on the Schmoedown Rundown, he knows that he needs to work on taking his time to think through some of his answers. What he does need to work on though is his reaction time in the Round 4. He got lucky this time, but had Andreyko got all 5 answers correct, the extra 4 points would have meant he wouldn’t have needed to answer his 5-pointer. I’m sure that this experience will improve him and I think regardless of who he faces, he has a good chance of defending his title.

As for Andreyko, this was another strong performance from him and I think that he will be kicking himself about his “Bud” answer as that ultimately proved costly. He also probably underperformed in Round 1 and with title match experience under his belt, I can see him performing better next time he finds himself competing for a belt. Next up for him will likely be the Anarchy tournament, where he has been paired as Jeff Sneider. As I said when I initially looked at the teams, that is a dangerous team and if they get the right opposition, they could certainly be dark horses for the title.

The Shirewolves (“Classy” Clarke Wolfe & Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing) 29-18 Sick In The Head (“Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler & ???)

Coming into this one, we knew that we were guaranteed a female champion for the first time ever, but besides who would be the new champion, the biggest question was arguably who Brianne’s mystery partner would be. For a moment I got excited to see Wendy Lee Szany coming out until I realised that this was all part of another classic entrance from Miss Movies, this time based on Miss Congeniality (yes I recognised it, no I’m not ashamed). Once out, the question was finally answered a she was joined on stage by debutante “Bald” Bryan Bishop, forming Sick in the Head.

mtsshirsickOnce The Shirewolves joined them onstage – in Marvel-lous fashion (I’ll see myself out) – we were all set to go. Nobody managed a perfect Round 1, but the Shirewolves took an early 4-point lead, Rachel being the top scorer with 7/8, while Clarke got 6 points and Brianne and Bryan got 4 and 5 points respectively.

The Shirewolves deferred their spin in Round 2 and Brianne came to the Wheel for the first time this season and spun Dance Movies, a clear strength of hers. I thought this could be the moment that Sick in the Head’s fortunes improved, but Miss Movies shocked me by spinning again, landing on Directors. While it’s rare to see someone spin away from a strength, I can understand the thinking that she would rather a category that both her and Bryan were comfortable with and they worked their way through Directors to go 5/6 for 8 points, though the Shirewolves did successfully steal a point on their miss. It was Clarke’s turn to spin and the Wheel – so often her nemesis in previous seasons – was on her side, giving her and Rachel Horror. They got off to a good start with 2 points on their 1st question, but initially missed their 2nd (Sick in the Head missing their steal opportunity) but Clarke had by good chance watched the film recently and was confident enough to challenge the answer to show that hers was also correct, earning the 2 points. They finished the round 6/6 for 10 points to extend their lead to 24-17.

mtsclassywheelClarke’s newfound love affair with the Wheel continued in Round 3 as she again spun Horror. Perhaps the only surprise about Clarke and Rachel getting the question right was that they only gambled 2 points, but Sick in the Head were unable to pull the correct answer and lost a point, leaving The Shirewolves with a 10 point lead.

After Clarke’s heroics on the buzzer in her match with Samm Levine, I thought that the Shirewolves may be about to run away with things in Round 4 when she got in first to get the correct answer on the 1st question. But each competitor managed to buzz in first with a correct answer over the first 4 questions. And so it came to the final question of the Round. With the scores at 28-18, Sick in the Head needed to either win the point or hope the Shirewolves got it wrong in order to progress to the final round. But Clarke had other plans and she buzzed in first and correctly answered to win the title by KO, much to The Crusher’s visible shock.

mtsshirewin
Rachel’s reaction to winning a title is up there with Rocha’s win over Murrell as one of my favourites

This was a wonderful victory for the Shirewolves and showed just how strong they are both as individuals and a pair, as they only answered 2 questions incorrectly between them the whole game (Rachel’s wrong answer in Round 1 was also one of Clarke’s wrong answers) and I imagine they knew the answers to the 2 questions where they weren’t quick enough in Round 4 too. Rachel may not be the fastest in that round but there was a clear improvement from her match against Samm Levine, while Clarke is surely building a reputation now as a danger on the buzzer. I’ll be shocked if neither of them finds themselves challenging for the Singles Title again by the end of next season, but as a team, their performances go to another level. Will they be able to go on a Patriots-esque run of defences? I don’t think anyone will be able to do that again, but as they continue to grow as a team it is a definite possibility.

As for Sick in the Head, this was a good showing for a team that has never competed together before, especially considering Bryan was making his Schmoedown debut! I have said before that I think players who have experience of the 5 round match format are at an advantage in title matches, but they have shown enough to make me believe they can be an above average team if they stick together.

Anarchy Impact

When the Anarchy teams were initially announced for the Ultimate Schmoedown, we already knew that there would be changes based on the result of the Team Title match courtesy of Brianne, Rachel and Clarke all being involved in the original teams. The Shirewolves win, combined with scheduling issues for Ethan Erwin have led to a couple of changes:

  • As Drew McWeeny is now unable to partner with Clarke, he now has Brianne as his partner. She must be thrilled at the upgrade from Devon Stewart! Stewart is now being partnered with debutante Rachel Silvestri
  • Ethan Erwin’s schedule meant that he was unable to play with Jeannine, so he will now partner Sabina Graves
  • As he is no longer able to partner Rachel Cushing, Andrew Ghai was to become Jeannine’s new partner, but refused to work with Jay Washington so will no longer take part in the tournament. Jeannine will now pair up with Brian Walton
  • Jay Washington will be managing both Ethan and Jeannine’s teamsmtsanarchybracket

Side thoughts

  • Jay Washington managing 2 teams makes me think he will be making a play to get Ethan Erwin into the Viper Squad, but with her impressive performances so far this season, Sabina Graves could also be a potential target for the Urban Gladiator
  • Andrew Ghai is currently going through a campaign against the Horsemen, while the Viper Squad’s feud with the Fyffe Club appears to be coming to an end. Could Ghai’s refusal to compete under Jay Washington be setting up a new feud for the rest of the season?
  • Brianne was open about her struggles when she too a step back from competing in 2017, so it was lovely to see her and Bryan call their team Sick in the Head and admit that it has been due to their health issues. Tie this with Rachel Cushing’s talking about her nerves and Mark Donica’s Facebook post about his panic attack during the Kalinowski match. It’s great to see so many competitors being open and honest about their mental health issues and hopefully people watching this will be more willing to be open about any of their own mental health issues.

 

What did you think of these matches? Who do you think will hold their title longer? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! Until next time…

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

Hi guys, apologies yet again for the delay in writing this, the last few weeks have been so busy I’m in serious catch-up mode. Thanks everyone for your patience!

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors.

If you want to read my reviews of the previous rounds, they can be found here:

Mike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-25 “Amazing” Mara Knopic

And so it came to this: the showpiece event that I doubt many people were expecting when the Round 1 matches were initially announced. Mike Kalinowski, the puppet master and creator of the tournament against Mara Knopic, who was not even in the original 10 Innergeekom competitors slated to compete for Jason Inman’s title.

schfinalMara was clearly still suffering in the aftermath of her accident, but the Chewbacca onesie seemed to give her strength and she matched her highest Round 1 score of 8/10, running out of time trying to answer the Green Lantern quote and just getting the incorrect age on the Patreon Question. It was the Patreon Question that denied Kalinowski another perfect round and if I’m honest, I would have probably accepted Mike’s answer of a minimum age limit, though the answer required was the specific age.

Going into Round 2, The Killer deferred his spin and Mara got Harry Potter on her first spin, choosing to keep it. She started strong with 4 points from the first 2 questions, before checking down to multiple choice to get a point on the next one, but missed 2-point attempts on both of her remaining questions, Kalinowski unable to steal. Kalinowski was up next and it looked like it would be his day as he landed on Spinner’s Choice on his first spin and chose to go with the DCEU. Though he missed his second question, Mara was unable to steal and he answered his other 4 questions correctly for 7 points, extending his lead to 16-13.

Both players chose to play it safe in Round 3 when Kalinowski spun Star Trek but Mike was perhaps a little too safe, only going for 1 point whereas Mara went for 2. Both gave the same correct answer and Mike’s lead was cut to 2.

His lead soon grew though as he dominated the speed round, buzzing in first on all 5 questions, however a wrong answer on the 2nd question meant that he only came away with 3 points from the round. In my preview of the final, I noted that the buzzer round was new for both competitors, but it appeared that Kalinowski had studied the round better, having his hand already on the buzzer whereas Mara had her hand off to the side, giving her a distinct disadvantage.

schmarawinsAnd so we came to the final round. With the scores at 25-20 in favour of Kalinowski, it would require an Innergeekdom-record comeback in order to win (Navarro’s 4 point comeback against Jeremy Jahns the highest up to this point). She got off to a great start by nailing her 2-point and 3-point questions to throw things over to her rival. Kalinowski missed on his 2-pointer in Scores and Soundtracks but correctly answered his 3-pointer to force Mara to answer her 5-pointer to stay in the game. The category: Indiana Jones. Mara has been coming out to the Indiana Jones theme all tournament and proved she knew her stuff in the category by answering the question with barely any hesitation. And so we were back to Kalinowski, 5 points in the category of MCU. He is generally strong in the comic book movie categories, but I would feel confident in calling this question the hardest ever asked in Innergeekdom! Despite still having all 3 of his JTE rules, Kalinowski could not pull the answer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein remained as she wrote it, with him falling trying to defeat his own creation. Mara Knopic, the rookie who nobody had heard of mere months ago, had won the Innergeekdom tournament and booked her place at the September Live Event to face Jason Inman for the title!

Kalinowski can certainly hold his head high after that performance as both Mara and Rachel Cushing admitted post-match that they didn’t know the final answer either, while he has consistently scored high in all 4 matches within the tournament and does not appear to have any glaring weaknesses. I just wonder how much he regrets playing it safe in Round 3 and not using one of his JTE rules on his 2-point question in Round 5 as he appeared to know the answer but not be able to pull the name.

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Mara needs to spend some time practicing the speed round if she wants to beat Inman

The Final

What chance does Mara Knopic have against Jason Inman? I think she has every chance of winning! She may not have a perfect Round 1 to her name (things have been far from perfect in some matches) but she has shown a wide range of knowledge and has continually found a way to win regardless of who she has playing, going so far as to beat 2 of what I would consider to be the top 3 Innergeekdom competitors in consecutive matches. She will also benefit from the final being in a title format as she can now see what she needs to work on ahead of the final. If she can learn from this match to keep her hand already on the buzzer, she has every chance of getting some points in the speed round (where Inman excelled against Donica) and if she can keep things close, she will have every chance of winning the title.

The fun bit will be seeing how Dan Murrell reacts. The 2-time former Singles Champion will be at the event as he is competing along with Rocha in the Anarchy match against Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall and would have also been expected to cheer on his fellow Horseman in his title match. However now that Mara is there Murrell’s loyalties may be split and Rocha even suggested on Wednesday’s Collider Live that he may be cheering her on for the match. What impact could that have on the Horsemen in Inman were to lose? This could be a tough test of Rocha’s management over the next few weeks!

Brown Dwarf Star to Superstar

Looking beyond Ineergeekdom for a moment and Mara has to come into contention for Rookie of the Year. She is 4-0 this year with some impressive scalps to her name and is set for a title match. Ethan Erwin would currently get my vote due to the combination of Singles (where he lost his Number 1 Contender match to Andreyko to go 3-1) and the Free 4 All, while he also has a chance to improve his standing with a good performance in the Anarchy tournament. Jeannine would be the other name coming into contention, but with a 2-1 record and being on the same team as Erwin, I would give him the advantage. However, if Mara can become the first rookie to win a title, then surely the odds of winning the award will swing her way.

KOrruption

“This is what this tournament was about” – Mike Kalinowski

Since Mike parted ways with The League and started KOrruption, it’s safe to say he has had an impact on the league. The Innergeekdom Division has gone to a new level with the number and quality of the 1v1 matches and the tournament, while competitors like him and Rachel now have records more befitting their quality, while other unknowns (like Mara) have had a chance to come into the league and make a name for themselves.

As well as this tournament, KOrruption has seen The Patriots and the Lion’s Den come to an end, the formation of the Knights of Ken – who appear willing to throw their support behind Kalinowski – and has also led to the (at least temporary) breaking up of most teams for the Anarchy edition of the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament, which is at this stage impossible to call. As he said post-match, KOrruption is not just Innergeekdom and this is just the start… I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

What did you think of the final? Who do you think will win at the El Portal Theatre? Would Mara get your vote for Rookie of the Year? Let me know down below. Thanks for reading and until next time… Baaaaa!

schKOrruptionmain

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

Hey guys! First of all,sorry for the delay in writing this, I’ve been away in Ireland for a wedding so even though I was able to see both semi-finals before I went away I wasn’t able to actually write about them until now. I’m hoping that my write-up of the final will be up within a few days of the match.

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. We were treated to some fantastic matches in Rounds 1 and 2 and while both matches had an overwhelming favourite, we’d seen enough to know that an upset was certainly possible.

 

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 24-23 Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing

Arguably the best match in the Innergeekdom Division, surely one of the matches of the year and perhaps even one of the best Schmoedown matches ever, the match started slow but will live long in the memory. Rachel Cushing was most people’s favourite for the tournament following her demolition of Markeia McCarty and second consecutive perfect Round 1 against Eric Zipper at Collider Collision II, however she was under the weather on the day of the match, which became increasingly clear as the match wore on. The Brown Dwarf Star was also struggling as she was in pain following a recent car accident, so before we even start going into detail on this match, I want to give massive respect to both of them for agreeing to go ahead with the match. If you have read my articles on the previous rounds, you will know that I usually take a look at where the competitors have struggled, but given the circumstances I will not be getting into this so much for this match as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to focus and concentrate when clearly struggling.

mtsrachmarThe Crusher’s run of perfect Round 1s came to an end as she missed question 6, finishing a run of 27 consecutive correct answers in Round 1 during this tournament, eventually finishing with 8 of a possible 10 points. Mara did not have such a good start and found herself 8-5 down going into Round 2, at which point I imagine the Schmoeville bookies were getting ready to pay out on a Cushing victory.

Going into Round 2 and Cushing was up first, initially spinning Mixed Bag but spinning away to Heroes & Villains. She started strongly with 3 consecutive 2-pointers but missed on her last 2 despite checking down to multiple choice, Mara stealing a point on the final question. It was then Knopic’s turn to spin and she also chose to spin away from Mixed Bag, eventually landing on Marvel. She missed on her first question – Rachel missing with the steal opportunity – but improved to 4/5 for 6 points, leaving her just 2 behind going into Round 3.

mtsmarafinalBoth competitors hit their 2-point questions, Mara missed on her 3-pointer but hit her final question, while Rachel landed her 3-pointer. And so it came down to Rachel’s 5 pointer. A correct answer would see her into the final; a wrong answer would give us the first ever Overtime in an Innergeekdom 1v1 match – Coy’s Fatal Fiveway victory (remembered as the “Pudding” match) being the only other match in the division to enter Overtime. The category Who Said It? is always going to be tricky and while many fans have commented that it was obvious, Rachel was unable to pull the answer and the match continued.

Both competitors hit their first 2 answers in Sudden Death before missing the next 3, though it was so nearly over on question 5 as Cushing was off by a letter, going with San Frantokyo rather than San Fransokyo, and at that point I think people realised that we could really be in for a long haul. Both competitors were clearly struggling to keep going at this point, as they both answered question 6 correctly before missing 3 in a row – going so far as to both guess the same wrong answer (Tex) on question 9 before both hitting question 10. And finally, as I was beginning to think Sudden Death may take on a more literal meaning in the match, another Who Said It? question came up. Mara was able to correctly answer but Rachel Cushing then shocked the world by missing, completing a match that by the end had so many of us on the edge of our seats.

MTSmararachelreac
Kristian’s reaction was likely mirrored by many watching come the end of the match

As I mentioned above, I will not go into where competitors struggled in this match as I think both competitors would have done better had they been at full health. And that in itself shows just how strong they both are, as 19 points over 3 rounds is a very respectable score. Rachel Cushing has mentioned that this is the division where she feels most comfortable and though she may not have made the final, a title shot is clearly a matter of when not if! One thing’s for certain: Cushing v Knopic II will be one of the most anticipated matches ever when it happens down the line and if both are at their best it really could be one of the best ever matches.

mtskalfinalMike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-21 Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac

“Win or lose, I’ve changed the game”

With the first spot in the final decided, it was between Kalinowski and Hlavac for the chance to face Mara Knopic. After the last round, I was expecting a Kalinowski victory and it looked like we’d be getting that pretty quickly as Adam struggled to just 3 points in Round 1, while Kalinowski – who just missed a perfect Round 1 against Donica – got the perfect round he’d been craving and the bonus to take a 11-3 lead.

Adam was up first in Round 2 and initially spun Star Trek but took the risk and spun again, landing on DCEU where he went 5/5 for 8 points. Kalinowski spun Harry Potter – a previous weakness that he listed for this match as a strength following a 5/5 Round 2 performance for 8/10 points in his last round – but chose to spin again and landed on MCU, going 4/5 for 7 points while Hlavac was unable to take advantage of his steal opportunity.

mtsadammikeGoing into Round 3 with a 7 point deficit was always going to be difficult for Adam to overcome, but he gave it his best shot by correctly answering all 3 of his questions, forcing The Killer to have to answer in Round 3 for the first time in the tournament. Missing the opportunity of a third consecutive KO/TKO did not phase him though as he correctly answered his 2 and 3-pointers to win the match and book his place in the final.

Though poor categories in Rounds 2 and 3 are often seen as the deciders, this match shows the importance of Round 1. Even if we assume Kalinowski would have correctly answered his 5-pointer, that would have still left him with a point less than Hlavac if we only looked at the final 2 rounds. Though we know from previous matches that Adam has weaknesses (Middle Earth being the most obvious) he generally has a good breadth of knowledge in the Innergeekdom Division, so it was a surprise to see him struggle in this match. He even admitted in his post-match interview that he did know some of the answers but just could not pull it in the moment. From the highs of dominating Keetin Marchi in Round 1 to now being dominated himself, this is a stark reminder of just how easy it is to have a bad day at the table. His later Rounds however are a reminder of just how dangerous he can be and though I probably wouldn’t currently put him in the very top tier of Innergeekdom competitors, I don’t think he is far off and feel that on his day he could beat anyone.

 

The final

And so the final is set: Kalinowski v Knopic. Mara was not even part of the original plan of 5 1v1s and a Fatal Fiveway, but now she is 1 win away from a title match. Kalinowski described this match as Frankenstein v Frankenstein’s monster, which I found interesting considering the monster destroys everything its creator held dear and survived where Dr Frankenstein did not, but Kalinowski clarified this when speaking to Take 3 Productions by saying that KOrruption is changing everything we know.

“I don’t have weaknesses, I have varying degrees of strength”

Who will get the win? Some things to consider:

  • Per Frank Janisch, Mara has 60% accuracy and has averaged 18.3 points per game through the tournament
  • Again per Frank Janisch, Mike has 91% accuracy and has averaged 21 points per game throughout the tournament, despite this being the only time he has had to answer in Round 3
  • The final will be a 5 Round match, neither competitor has played in one of these, so the buzzer and betting rounds will be new to them
  • Depending how soon after the semis the final was taped, Mara may still be struggling following her accident

MTSfinalprevThough I think Mara can certainly win, the work Kalinowski has done to improve himself within the division and the way he studies his competitors makes me give him the edge. He has turned weaknesses into strengths so it is very difficult to know how to react if Mike spins Opponent’s Choice. Mara has not shown herself to be especially weak in any category either, but there has not been the same degree of strength across the board. It would not surprise me if this comes down to the speed round and it will be interesting to see how each competitor does here, as Mike especially frequently takes his time to think though his answer.

So, putting my neck on the line, like a good sheep I predict a Kalinowski v Inman match at the September live event. But it’s safe to say that whoever wins the final will have completely earned their title shot!

 

What did you think of the matches? Who do you think will be facing the champion at the El Portal? Let me know below.

Anarchy Begins

Anarchy Begins

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament took another step towards starting on Friday with the announcement of the teams. Unlike previous years, the influence of Mike Kalinowski’s attempts to remove corruption from the league resulted in the Theme of Anarchy: All the usual teams are being disbanded for the tournament and new teams being drawn out of a hat, along with managers for the majority of the teams.

Now that Commissioner Thadd has picked the teams, I’ve decided to have a quick look at the matchups we have got. This will obviously contain spoilers for the draw, also the match between The Shirewolves and World’s finest that preceded it.

 

Matt Knost & William Bibbiani – managed by Emma Fyffe

2 of the original 4 Horsemen combine under Emma Fyffe in a team that could be a dark horse for victory. “The Beast” is in some of the best form of his Schmoedown career in 2018 while “Mighty” Matt Knost is a former Teams Champion with Top 10 and has played in 4 title matches within the division. Though Knost has run hot and cold at times, his performances have generally been better of late and combined with Bibbiani’s strong Round 1’s and Emma Fyffe’s experience of managing top competitors, they could find themselves in the later stages of the tournament. This could also throw up a great dynamic if they come up against John Rocha as “The Outlaw” has unfinished business with Bibbs, would the thirst to defeat the man who betrayed him overcome his friendship with his usual teammate and fellow Horseman?

mtsyodibossMark Reilly & Ben Bateman – managed by Tom Dagnino

If Knost and Bibbs are a potential dark horse, then these guys must be real contenders. 2-time Singles Champion Mark “Yodi” Reilly has recently returned to the league following a hiatus and has been matched with one of the most impressive competitors of the year in “The Boss”. Bateman is notorious for his studying techniques and excels in categories where others may struggle, like Oscars and Movie Release Dates, while Yodi brings the title match experience and Dagnino, while not having the best of seasons with the Lion’s Den, is the most experienced manager in the league and is good at deflecting attention away from his team. The dynamic within the team will be interesting given Reilly’s upcoming match with Ben’s usual teammate Andrew Ghai, but if this team can work together, they will be difficult to beat.

Devon Stewart & Brianne Chandler – managed by Markeia McCarty*

The Kingsmen have had little success so far in the Team Division but they have been fun to watch. Now Devon is being drawn with Brianne Chandler, who is possibly one of the more underrated competitors in the league. Aside from her Free 4 All victory, she has not competed since the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments so may be a bit rusty, but if she can reach her best this team could pull off an upset. McCarty did not have the best of debuts in the Innergeekdom Tournament, but it is good to see her returning in a manager role here. She will have been learning from an experienced manager in Jay Washington and it will be interesting to see how she and Brianne can work together given Miss Movies’ history with the Viper Squad.

Jeannine “The Machine” & Ethan Erwin – managed by Jay Washington

2 of the forerunners for Rookie of the Year combine under one of the more experienced managers in the league to create a team that could go far in the competition. Erwin is currently my favourite to claim the vacant Singles Title and Jeannine has put up strong showings in her 3 matches so far. This could come down to how well they can work together as a team. Regardless of how well they work, don’t be surprised to see Jay and Jeannine trying to make Erwin a permanent member of the Viper Squad.

mtskillerkobraMike Kalinowski & Chance Ellison – managed by Ken Napzok

Probably not who “The Killer” was hoping to be paired with, rookie Chance Ellison will be lining up alongside Kalinowski with veteran Ken Napzok at the helm. The irony that the 2 competitors who have complained most about the system end up being drawn with an untried contestant is just too good to ignore. Kalinowski is a genuine triple threat in the league but Ellison is very much an unknown. Watching the Schmoedown Rundown and Late to the Party’s reaction suggest that he could be an dangerous competitor, but even if he is good at the trivia, many have shown how difficult it is to perform when under the lights for the first time. This team could be a surprise package and challenge in the later rounds, but they could also conceivably be one and done.

Jeff Sneider & Mark Andreyko – managed by Roxy Striar

On the topic of one and done teams, this partnership has the potential to go the distance, but also combust and cash out in the first round. “The Insneider” has had a generally good singles career but does have holes in his knowledge, which proved costly in his Number 1 Contender match against Bibbiani. Andreyko is a player who looks so strong but can also have horrible games. Luckily for his former Lion’s Den teammate, Andreyko has generally been in better form since joining the Fyffe Club. If Roxy Striar can get these two working together, they will be a force to be reckoned with, something I think Sneider knew judging by his cheers off-camera when the pair were announced.

mtsWildberries&Jen
You just can’t break them up…

Josh Macuga & Eliot Dewberry – managed by Ricky Hayberg

You just can’t break up the Wildberries! After a poor start, they have won 2 in a row and could cause an upset on the day. Throw in Ricky as manager and 2 things can be guaranteed when they play: carnage and loud voices! This may also be the match where Teepublic advertising takes a backseat to the Josh Macuga for Jeopardy campaign… I can’t wait!

Andrew Ghai & Rachel Cushing – managed by Robert Meyer Burnett*

Following a late withdrawal from the Innergeekdom tournament, “The Captain” makes his return to the Schmoedown managing one of the most interesting teams in the tournament. “The Crusher” is probably the strongest triple threat in the league and has been tied with “Dastardly” Drew Ghai who shocked the world with his defeat of Dan Murrell at Collider Collision II. Both study hard and I think their strengths could go together well to make an extremely dangerous team. Their personalities are complete opposites however and how they work together could prove crucial. If they can gel together, I’ll be shocked if they don’t make the semis.

Winston Marshall & Stacy Howard – managed by Coy Jandreau

This could be one of the most fun matches in the tournament. Marshall has really grown on me throughout the season as part of World’s Finest, while Stacy Howard plays the heel but also has some fun in her matches. They are also deceptively strong, with Marshall having just featured in a Number 1 Contenders match with World’s Finest and Stacy being well placed in the singles ranking. Throw in Coy and this is a trio that could have some fun.

Marc Edward Heuck & Witney Seibold – managed by Jonny Loquasto

An unknown quantity. “The Beauty” joins Schmoedown rookie Heuck. The Movie Geek may know his stuff but much like Chance Ellison, how he can cope with the pressure at the table will be key. Seibold is a strong competitor to be paired with and with “The Mouth” managing, they will not need to worry about their promos. If Heuck can perform well, then this team could cause some problems.

Eric Zipper & Haleigh Foutch – managed by Steele Saunders

While I don’t see this team making the latter stages of the tournament, they could definitely cause an upset in the first round. Zipper has performed well this season as part of World’s Finest and could enter the conversation for Rookie of the Year. Foutch has really impressed in her matches for Scream Queens but is likely to come up against stronger opposition than she has faced previously. I’m very interested to see what Steele Saunders brings to the team as he was a fun competitor in his Star Wars Fatal Fiveway. With a favourable draw they can have some success, but this will be a step up for both of them.

Scott Mantz & Sean Gerber

I’ve got to be honest, as good as both these competitors are, I think they will need a favourable draw to make it through the first round. Mantz on his day can be a real danger, but if he’s not focused he’s more dangerous to his own team. Will Gerber be able to keep him calm as Jason Inman has for many of Team Trek’s matches? If any team needed a manager, this was potentially it. Gerber has had a couple of strong showings this year, but is still relatively inexperienced compared to a number of his potential opponents. A match against Reilly & Batemen would not surprise me as it would give The Mantzman a chance for revenge against the man who stole his wheel slice.

Alonso Duralde & Matt Atchity

Duralde makes his return to the league having not competed since the 2017 Free 4 All, which was itself only his second appearance. While he may have good movie knowledge, the league has changed a lot since he last played and he may struggle to adapt. As part of MODOK, “The Kahuna” is by far the more experienced in the league, but at times you would not know it as he is not a regular in the same way that many of his competitors are. If this was a straight-up trivia battle I think they would stand more a chance, but I don’t think they will have the nuances of the how to compete in the Schmoedown that many of these teams possess.

Lon Harris & JTE

Another potential dark horse for the latter stages, “The Professor” has looked good in the Singles Division despite a loss to Ethan Erwin and being paired with one half of the most successful team in Schmoedown history could be just what he needs to make a run in the tournament. As for “Little Evil”, he was so often considered to be carried by Jeff Sneider, this will be a chance to remind everybody how dangerous he is in the Teams format. If things go well for the team, could we see Harris joining the Lion’s Den after the tournament? If nothing else, maybe the Professor can help JTE with his spelling.

mtsanarchyhorsemenDan Murrell & John Rocha

The moment Murrell’s name was drawn, I just had a feeling that his former rival would be partnering him. 2 of the original triumvirate of Singles Champions, both competitors are legends of the Schmoedown and between then will have a good grasp of most categories. Add to that their first match being at the Live Event and I expect them to thrive with the support likely to be largely behind them. The Horsemen have the potential to be the strongest faction in the league, this pairing could be the start of the campaign for all the belts and all the records.

Drew McWeeny & Clarke Wolfe*

“The Godfather” will be making an immediate attempt to reclaim the belt he had to vacate and will be joined by the 2016 Rookie of the Year, forming a deadly partnership. McWeeny has improved so much over the last year and appeared to thrive in the Team Division with Samm Levine, while Clarke has likewise thrived since joining the Shirewolves. I will be shocked if they aren’t pushing for a place in the final, while the chance of competing against Clarke’s former teammate Mark Reilly and Ben Bateman – who has lost to both Drew and Clarke as part of Team Action – will be mouth-watering.

16 wonderful teams that will all be exciting to watch, but there is a chance that changes could still happen. 3 pairings have been marked with a * as they contain a competitor hat we know will be facing off in the Team Title Match ahead of the tournament. The Shirewolves will be taking on Brianne Chandler and her currently unannounced partner (so perhaps 4 teams will actually need the *), with the winners not competing in the Anarchy tournament. If that happens, there are still some quality competitors not accounted for – Jason Inman, Grae Drake and Mara Knopic to name just a few. As much as I like the Shirewolves, I almost find myself hoping that Brianne wins the title match just because of how much I want to see Rachel and Clarke in these new teams!

And just as I was about to post this, Kristian Harloff has announced the matches for the first round. Obviously there will be some changes of personnel dependant on the Team Title match result, but I have predicted my victors as the teams currently stand in bold:

Rocha & Murrell v Marshall & Howard

Sneider & Andreyko v Mantz & Gerber

JTE & Harris v Wildberries

Bibbiani & Knost v Chandler & Stewart

Reilly & Bateman v Zipper & Foutch

McWeeny & Wolfe v Heuck & Seibold

Kalinowski & Ellison v Cushing & Ghai

Erwin & The Machine v Duralde & Atchity

What do you think of the new teams? Who are you looking forward to watching? Who do you see progressing to the next round? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 2

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 2

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. Round 1 gave us some wonderful matches, with a mix of experienced competitors and new fan favourites making their way through to Round 2.

As I did in the last round, I will take a look back over each match and give my thoughts for what’s next for each competitor.

 

Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing 19-14 Eric “Super Zip” Zipper

Anyone wondering if Cushing could put in another dominant performance soon got their answer as she followed up getting the Innergeekdom Division’s first Perfect Round 1 (including the bonus question) against McCarty by doing it again here, while Zipper could only muster a respectable 7 points.

The Crusher spun Marvel in Round 2 and worked her way through the category to go 4/4 for 5 points, while Zipper chose to spin away from Star Wars and landed on Star Trek, which he struggled on for 2 points while giving Cushing 3 points from 2 steals.

19-9 down going into Round 3, Zipper knew he had to go 3/3 in order to avoid the TKO and while he started well, Lord of the Rings proved his undoing on the 5-point question and The Crusher had the victory without having to answer in the final round again.

comingformike
Rachel has her mind set on a match against Kalinowski, could this be the final of the tournament?

It’s hard to imagine someone stopping Rachel winning the tournament right now as she is clearly on a roll, she was 15/15 on her questions and 2/2 on steals today and with consecutive Perfect Round 1s, even Jason Inman must be getting nervous. She has such a breadth of knowledge but also enough depth in her knowledge too. Speaking on the Schmoedown Rundown following Collision, she stated that she is confident she can work her way through any Innergeekdom wheel slice and it’s hard to argue with that, while she also stated that she has been watching all the Innergeekdom matches so she will have picked up on any areas of weakness in her opposition. As for Zipper, he has some work to do in order to join the top echelon of Innergeekdom competitors. His reaction to spinning Star Wars showed he has no confidence in that category, and this match has also exposed Star Trek as a weakness, both of which will be capitalised on should he spin Opponent’s Choice in the future. More than that he needs to improve at the game, having burned 2 repeats in Round 1 and used the final one in Round 2 – all for questions that he still got wrong. His depth in some categories will help him stay competitive against some of the top competitors should he get questions in those categories, but he cannot afford to rely on luck moving forward.

Mike “Killer” Kalinowski 20-7 Mark “The Enforcer” Donica

Anyone who says Kalinowski was giving himself an easy route to the title by avoiding Rachel Cushing in Round 2 is crazy as I would consider Donica a top 5 talent in the Innergeekdom Division and this was the one match that I was not comfortable in predicting ahead of time, though I did give Kalinowski the slight advantage following his impressive defeat of Jared Haibon.

mikevmarkThe Knights of Ken got their first run-out in the league, but things did not go to plan for them as Donica was made to enter first despite being the favourite and things got even worse once the match started. Donica is usually so reliable in Round 1 but could only pull 5/10 in this match, while the spelling of “Frigia” rather than “Frigga” was the only thing that stopped Kalinowski from having a Perfect Round. What must have been even more galling for Donica was that on the final question of the round, he used a JTE rule but was unable to pull the correct answer, while the repeat allowed Kalinowski to realise that he had misheard the question and change his answer to the correct one.

The Killer deferred his spin going into Round 2 and Donica came away with Star Wars, a definite strength, on his first spin. Unfortunately for The Enforcer, he continued to struggle, checking to multiple choice on 4 questions to go 2/5 for 2 points, while Kalinowski came away with 3 points from 2 steals, including one where Donica did not take the time to fully think through his answer and make sure he was right before saying. Things looked like they may finally be looking up for the Knights of Ken though as Kalinowski spun away from Heroes only to land on Opponent’s Choice. Donica had clearly done some homework on his rival and having picked up on some visual tells from the Haibon match, he assigned Kalinowski Harry Potter, a category that he was 2/6 in going into this match (stat courtesy of Frank Janisch!). Kalinowski has clearly been studying though as he backed up his successful Round 1 answer in the category by going 5/5 for 8 points to seal consecutive KO victories.

mikewins
Kalinowski continues to make former weaknesses into unexpected strengths

Much like Rachel Cushing, Kalinowski is putting the Innergeekdom Division on notice with these performances, as his only misses in the match were the “Frigga” question that he clearly knew but couldn’t quite pull and 1 multiple choice steal attempt that was looking for a specific word from a quote. With the studying he has done in all the categories and the research he does on his opponents, I would confidently name The Killer in the Top 3 Innergeekdom competitors and will be shocked if he doesn’t make the final. As for Donica, well something seemed off throughout the match with his performance and once the 24-hour spoiler ban elapsed he posted on the Schmoedown’s Facebook group about how he struggled in his prep the days building up to the match and then during the match itself, before realising that he had been having an extended panic attack. Thankfully, he has since sought help and now has medication to help in the future, so I think while it is a disappointment, this match is one that he can write off as a bad day and look to come back stronger than ever. Massive respect to Donica for being so open about this, the more people that can be open about mental health, the better!

maremm“Amazing” Mara Knopic 17-9 “The Golden Mic” Emma Fyffe

A 1-0 record made Mara Knopic the favourite against Emma Fyffe (2-1) despite the lack of Schmoedown experience, but she didn’t have the best of starts in this match as she found herself up against it in Round 1, using repeats on the first 2 questions on the way to a 5-6 deficit by the end of the round.

Going into Round 2, she got herself back on track, answering 4/5 in the category of MCU for 7 points, while the one steal chance she game Emma was missed. Coming to the Wheel herself, Fyffe originally spun DCEU, but clearly did not feel confident enough in the category and spun again, landing on Marvel. At this point, things went horribly wrong for the manager of the Fyffe Club as she only managed to earn 1 point in the category, while Knopic was able to steal 3 of the 4 opportunities that came her way for 5 points, leaving the score 17-7 in favour of the Brown Dwarf Star.

marawin
The Brown Dwarf Star could become the next superstar

Fyffe went into Round 3 knowing that she needed to hit all 3 of her questions and while she started well by getting 2 points in the category of Weapons, Tech, Vehicles & Magical Objects, she was unable to get her 3 point question in Back to the Future – possibly making an enemy of Schmoedown Rundown host Brad Gilmore in the process – to give Knopic the TKO victory.

Knopic’s Round 2 performance in both Marvel categories will be a good reminder to her rivals that she is a dangerous competitor, but we probably need to wait for her semi-final match to get a more accurate idea of her breadth of knowledge as 5 points this time certainly didn’t match up to her 8 points against Coy Jandreau. If I was to group the Innergeekdom competitors into 3 levels right now she would be in the middle group, but a good showing in her next match could push her into the top category. As for Fyffe, she again showed that while she is strong in a couple of categories, she does not have the breadth of knowledge to compete at the top of the division. In her post-match interview, she was saying about how many of her questions in Round 2 were about films that she chooses not to think about. That is not going to get you wins against the high-level competitors and I think the recent performances of Kalinowski and Cushing in Innergeekdom and other competitors like Ben Batemen and Andrew Ghai in the Singles and Teams Division shows the importance of studying ahead of your matches, especially in the Innergeekdom Division where there is a much shorter list of films to watch and research.

Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac 18-4 Keetin “Magic” Marchi

hlavmarHaving both made their Innergeekdom debuts in the Fatal Fiveway won by Mark Donica, Marchi and Hlavac were up against each other again for the final spot in the semi-finals.

Ahead of the match, I would have picked Adam as the favourite provided he could stay away from questions about Middle Earth and while he did miss on the question in that category, he took the lead on Question 3 and never looked back, building up a 8-1 lead by the end of Round 1.

Going into Round 2 and Keetin initially spun Middle Earth but did not seem sure if she should stick with it or spin again. I was yelling at the screen to stick and in hindsight she also said that she should have stuck when speaking to Jenn Sterger after the match, but she chose to spin again and ended up with DCEU. This category clearly isn’t one of her strengths and despite checking down to multiple choice 4 times, she answered 2/5 correct for 2 points, while giving away 3 points from 2 steals. She did manage to steal 1 point back on Adam’s first question in the category of Villains, but following that he correctly answered his remaining 4 questions for 7 points to confirm the win via KO – the tenth consecutive Innergeekdom match to finish with a KO or TKO!

adwinAdam once again showed that he is a dangerous competitor due to his breadth of knowledge, especially considering Villains again covers any franchise. However he did miss what was a relatively easy Lord of the Rings question which leads me to think Middle Earth remains a danger for him. As for Keetin, this was a bad match and really didn’t do her justice. As she mentioned, she had been prepping to face Emma Fyffe before Kalinowski decided to change things up. While I don’t know how Keetin preps, I imagine that she has focused on categories like Harry Potter that she knows Fyffe will be strong in to ensure she does not give possible steal opportunities. Had she prepped to face Hlavac, I feel that she would have done more studying in comic book categories like DCEU. I think more than this though, she got in her own head early in the match. She appeared to struggle under the lights on her debut but was under less pressure against Knight as she was not playing form behind. Missing on Middle Earth and Harry Potter in the first 4 questions to go 3-1 down against a dangerous competitor possibly flustered her and once that happens it’s very easy to fall apart under the pressure. Sadly, I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments on the video and the number of people saying she has no place in in the league was disgusting. Not everyone can be a title contender, but she brings a lot to the division and much like Coy Jandreau brings a fun personality to matches. I would love to see her make a return soon to get over this disappointment with a match against a competitor like Fyffe or Coy.

 

The semis

After Mara’s victory, KOmmissioner Kalinowski entered her post-match interview to announce that she would be playing Rachel Cushing, which in turn means that he will be facing Hlavac.

These will be 2 good matches and while I think any competitor could win on the day, I’m predicting a Cushing v Kalinowski final as they just don’t seem to have holes in their game at the moment.

 

What did you think of these matches? Who caught your eye this round? Who do you think will make the final? Let me know your thoughts below

Collider Collision II: Beyond the Matches

Collider Collision II: Beyond the Matches

We’ve reached the midpoint of the Schmoedown season and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for Collider Collision. The second annual Collision treated us to 5 matches in total: 2 title matches, A Triple Threat match to set up the next Number 1 Contender match in the Singles Division, the opening match in Round 2 of the ongoing Innergeekdom tournament and the return of the GOAT “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

As with all the big PPV-style events in the Schmoedown, the matches were only half of the story as we also had a number of reveals and storyline progressions over the 2 videos, so much though that if I tried to do it all justice in one article you’d be reading for hours! Therefore I’ve decided to split my report into 2 pieces, 1 looking at the matches and now this piece looking at some of the other events that happened at Collision II and in Tuesday’s special.

Obviously it goes without saying, but this is going to contain spoilers for the event, if you do not want to be spoiled, go watch Part 1 and Part 2 of the event first, also Tuesday’s post-Collision special – you have been warned!

ATLend
This time last year, Above The Line didn’t exist and Samm looked far from being considered by many as the GOAT

Farewell to a legend

We’ll start the look back by talking about Samm Levine’s announcement on Tuesday’s special. Following Above The Line’s title defence against The Patriots, “The Inglorious One” said that he would have an announcement on Tuesday’s show. My immediate thoughts were that we were seeing the end of Samm at least in the Singles Division and my worst fears were confirmed as he announced to Kristian Harloff that he will be vacating both the Singles and Teams titles and walking away from competition.

While it’s sad to see, I can understand his decision. Since losing to Dan Murrell at Collider Collision, Samm has only lost 1 match in Singles and Teams – Above The Line’s first title shot at Schmoedown Spectacular II against The Patriots – and he has achieved pretty much everything possible for him in the League over the last season and a half. He won the inaugural Free 4 All, was the first competitor to 10 wins in the Singles Division, became only the second competitor (after Mark Ellis) to win the Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament in both Singles and Teams (but the first to do it in the same year) and was also only the third competitor to have held both the Singles and Teams title belts (Rocha and Harloff being the others), but again being the first to hold both belts at the same time. He’s been such a big part of the Schmoedown especially over the last 12 months, I think he is fully deserving of the chance to walk away on his own terms and take a break. It does not have to be permanent and I hope that we will see him back in competition next season, while in the meantime, he plans to stay around the Schmoedown similar to how Reilly did during his retirement, so I’m sure we will see him at the desk and also his knowledge of the game will be invaluable in helping the running of the league.

vacant beltsNow we need to look at the belts and what happens to them. William “The Beast” Bibbiani has already earned a title shot, while Marc Andreyko’s win at Collision earned him a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin. Kristian has already announced that the next Singles Title match will be between Bibbiani and the winner of Erwin v Andreyko so – barring any surprises from the KOmmissioner – we are guaranteed a new Singles Champion in the near future. Things are less simple in the Teams Division. Currently, the next Number 1 Contender match is between World’s Finest and The Shirewolves, who are both currently 2-0. The easy decision would be for this match to become a title match, but – and no offence to either team – I am not sure that either of them has done enough to earn a title yet. Granted, the Patriots earned a title match after victories over Megapowers and Heroes, but the Division is so much deeper now and I feel 2-0 is too early for a title match, yet the winner of this match would be deserving of a title shot. The option I’ve seen discussed most over the last couple of days is for the winner of World’s Finest v The Shirewolves to face the winner of the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament (more on that later) for the title, however Thadd has already announced that the winner of the tournament would play their title match at Schmoedown Spectacular III, which seems an awful long time to go without a champion in one of the 2 main divisions. There is one other option available though: Brianne Chandler. Miss Movies still has the option of a title shot in a division of her choosing at any point courtesy of her win at Free 4 All II, and with the Teams Division in such a state this could be the perfect time to use it. If she were to come out and announce that she has given her title shot to a team – or even found a teammate to challenge for it herself, then they could compete against the winners of World’s Finest v The Shirewolves and make the match at Spectacular III their first title defence.

I’ll be interested to see how the league reacts to the opportunities available over the next couple of weeks.

Canine conundrum

The grand return of The Horsemen to competition was dealt a blow as Mark “Yodi” Reilly was forced to miss Collision in order to find his dog Kal, who had gone missing. Now Kal the Schmoe Dog is not just any ordinary dog and certainly wouldn’t just go missing at such a vital time and John Rocha quickly realised that something fishy was going on.

find that dog“Now I don’t know what sort of Mickey Mouse Schmoedown league you’re running with you as the Commissioner, but I’ve been around this league a long time and shit like this doesn’t happen!”

Luckily, Thadd found Kal in Ben Bateman’s car and was quick to ban “The Boss” from the event, leaving Andrew Ghai to take on Dan Murrell without his main supporter present, though Reilly was also unable to return, having to look after Kal.

Kal going missing certainly played into Ghai’s hands with Murrell’s former teammate not able to be there to cheer him on, but I’m not so certain Team Action are guilty. As Ghai said, he may be a “disgusting piece of shit, bad human garbage person” but he and Batemen are generally quick to take credit for their nefarious deeds and also some they haven’t done – such as killing Dan Murrell – so to hear them both deny their involvement makes me think Bateman was set up, a thought reinforced by the coincidence that Thadd received the picture of Kal in Ben’s car as he was with them.

So if not Team Action, who could have stolen Kal? The obvious answer would be Mike Kalinowski, who has certainly been causing waves since he left The League. Given Team Action’s part in his split from The League, anything that would compromise them would certainly make sense, however there appears to be a degree of respect between Kalinowski and the Horsemen so far, so why would he want to jeopardise the Horsemen’s grand return to competing? But there is someone else who has featured fleetingly so far this season but has beef with the Horsemen: Finstock. The masked enigma returned from his year-long ban at Free 4 All II but has not been seen since. As a founding member of The Lion’s Den, the original 4 Horsemen were his main rivals, while Murrell was a former member of his faction but left after losing the Singles belt to Rocha as he got no support from the faction. With everything happening in the league, this could be the perfect time for such an agent of chaos to return.

Lion’s Done?

Kalinowski has certainly been busy since splitting with The League. As well as creating the KOrruption Innergeekdom tournament and arranging for Stacy Howard and Jeannine “The Machine” to face each other and Andreyko at Collision, we have also seen a number of competitors receiving KOrruption letters.

Ken Napzok received one a couple of weeks ago, leading to many – including myself – to think Ken’s time with the Lion’s Den may be coming to an end. With both Mark Donica and Tom Dagnino also receiving KOrruption letters during Collision, it looked like something was set to happen and boy did it happen! Following The Patriots’ loss to Above The Line, “The Pitboss” went on a rant blaming Dagnino for the faction’s recent failings and announcing to the Patriots that Dagnino was trying to trade Jeff Sneider to the Viper Squad and bring in new competitors for the Star Wars and Innergeekdom Divisions.

knights of ken

“I have proof, it’s on video”

“It’s Photoshop”

“It’s on audio”

“It’s Audioshop, then”

“I have a written letter—”

“It’s Everyshop!”

Ken went on to announce that his time in the Den as over and that he was leaving to form his own faction, the Knights of Ken, while Sneider also left to focus on his singles career after telling the assembled group that he had his own sources in the league that had told him the same information Ken had just divulged. As for Donica? He wasn’t even appearing with the rest of the faction during Collision and with Ken having been the one who often accompanied him, I would imagine that “The Enforcer” will be the first to join the Knights of Ken, leaving just Dagnino and his former B.O.B. teammate JTE as part of the Den.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Lion’s Den from here. Sara Stretton was expected to join the Innergeekdom Division this year and Ken even mentioned her by name, so I imagine we will be seeing her join the faction. JTE has the ability to make a play for the Singles Division again, though with his current record he may struggle to make it into this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown. As for the Teams Division, JTE and Dagnino could very easily compete together again either as the Lion’s Den or perhaps even taking on the new Box Office Breakdown to win back the name, or they could take advantage of the shakeup to this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown Team tournament to find a new teammate for JTE. The Den may be down, but they’re far from out.

Vipers v Killer

The Viper Squad’s feud with Mike Kalinowski is leaving them in a dangerous situation. “The Killer” got his puppet Commissioner Thadd to put both their Singles competitors Stacy Howard and Jeannine the Machine against each other and Marc Andreyko for the chance of a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin. This appeared to be a move to cause dissension in the ranks of the Viper Squad and break them up, but the 4 of them appeared to still be together by the end of Collision.

mikeviper
Kalinowski was involved in setting up the Howard v Machine v Andreyko Triple Threat match at Collision

Things may not be wholly rosy though as both Stacy and Jeannine appeared to feel they deserved to be the winner ahead of the match, Stacy calling herself the bigger sister, Jeannine pointing out she is the undefeated one, not Stacy. Curiously, though he and Markeia came out in support of both competitors for their entrances, Jay Washington only appeared alongside Jeannine during the promos. Stacy was also the only member of the faction not getting involved in blaming Emma Fyffe’s magic powers for Andreyko’s win. Add to that Jay receiving a KOrruption letter during Collision and the revelation that Dagnino was trying to trade Sneider to the Vipers – though we don’t know who for – and I can’t help but wonder if Stacy Howard is regretting her decision to not leave along with former teammate Brianne Chandler.

We don’t know if the Vipers are aware of the trade discussions yet and if it turns out that Stacy was the one being discussed for a trade, that could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. She could conceivably leave to join the Den if they were expressing interest in trading Sneider for her, or she could rejoin Miss Movies just in time for 6 Degrees to use Brianne’s title shot in the Teams Division.

featanarchyKOrruption leads to Anarchy

What a way to end the event! After 5 wonderful matches, Thadd interrupted Kristian and Mark’s wrap-up to announce that this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown Teams tournament would feature 16 teams. The catch? This year would have the theme of Anarchy. No current teams would be taking part, with names picked out of a hat to decide the makeup of the teams.

This could be an incredibly fun opportunity to see competitors teamed with people you wouldn’t usually expect to see them with, leading to some teams containing rivals and some teams also being an opportunity for factions to scout new members.

While I am looking forward to it, the competitors at Collision did not seem so impressed, swarming the table to protest Thadd’s announcement. I hope he survived the rush to the table…

Commissioner’s woes

Assuming he did get away from the crush following the Anarchy announcement, things aren’t going to get any easier for Thadd.

It’s clear now that though he is still the Commissioner, many of the competitors now know that it is Kalinowski pulling the strings in the league. On top of that, there are a number of competitors that will now have reason to be disgruntled with Thadd’s running of the league.

Kal going missing clearly left Rocha annoyed with Thadd and the fact that Ghai beat Murrell will have only intensified his anger. On top of that, Thadd had promised Murrell ahead of the event that there would be no shenanigans to affect him at Collision… well that didn’t last! And to top it all off, Jason Inman was there to witness Thadd throwing Jonny Loquasto off the desk for Cushing v Zipper to replace him with Kalinowski and did not look impressed. I don’t think Thadd will be getting much support from the Horsemen in the near future.

killerjonny
Neither the crowd nor his fellow announcers appeared impressed with Thadd replacing Jonny with Kalinowski

Jonny Loquasto must be fuming at the way that he was mistreated by Thadd! The League’s mouthpiece was invited to Collision by the Commissioner to be at the desk for the Innergeekdom match, something that he was clearly excited about and even dressed up for, only to be embarrassingly replaced after a matter of minutes in favour of Mike Kalinowski. To have been replaced by such a bitter rival will have been a huge disappointment for Loquasto and I doubt he will be forgiving Thadd anytime soon.

 

Emma Fyffe won’t have been impressed with the manner that Sam Witwer was stripped of his singles title. After Sam had to pull out of Collision due to getting a new role, Thadd initially said that the title match would be on hold until he could compete, but then changed his mind at Kalinowski’s insistence and told Fyffe that if Witwer couldn’t be there he would lose the title. Add to that, if the Shirewolves fail to beat World’s Finest then their bid for the Teams Title will be over for the season at least as they will be split up as part of the Anarchy tournament. Things have been going so well for the Fyffe Club but some of “Thadd’s” recent decisions will not have been what their manager wanted.

Drew McWeeny has already had some issues with Thadd having to rearrange his matches on his route to the Singles Title and after McWeeny lost to Erwin, he was to be found banging on Thadd’s office window while the Commissioner hid under his desk. “The Godfather” may have been placated somewhat by winning the Teams Title with Samm Levine, but now that he has had to vacate his title it wouldn’t surprise me to see him back on the warpath against Thadd.

AnarchyKiller
What will be the KOmmissioner’s next move?

Who knows who else could join the list of people with beef against Thadd as Kalinowski’s machinations continue? How much longer can Thadd hold onto the title of Commissioner before the outcry from the league is too loud to ignore and Kristian Harloff is able to take back the role he was cheated out of.

 

As I sign off for today, let me just give a big thank you to Kristian and Mark, Jenn and all the competitors, crew and fans for making Collision yet another wonderful event!

What did you think of all the goings on at Collision? What should happen to the Singles and Teams Titles? Who do you think will join the Lion’s Den and the Knights of Ken? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.