Anarchy Semifinals

Anarchy Semifinals

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams– well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

Rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts from the round instead.

Read my thoughts on previous rounds here:

The semifinal results were:

  • The Harris Brothers beat The Odd Couple 29-26
  • Who’s The Boss beat KOrruption 28-26

“Apes together strong”

It may come as no surprise, but the way a team works together and its chemistry is so important in this tournament. On the whole, I think all 4 of these semifinalists have done a great job of working together.

mtssneidermuppet
The Insneider has been a little different since he left JTE, but his partnership with Andreyko has looked dangerous

Lon and Jonathan were always going to work well together being brothers, and I think that this has gone a long way to helping Jonathan quickly bed into the competition after an unexpected entrance following JTE’s injury. Chance may be new to the league but by being paired with Kalinowski, he is with someone who is so experienced in the Schmoedown and with plenty of experience in the division. Sneider is the most experienced (and most successful) in the teams division of all these competitors and has done a great job of adapting from working with JTE to Andreyko, while Reilly and Bateman are so invested in the league. Being a big fan of the Horsemen but also Team Action, I have listened to a couple of podcasts where Ben and Mark have discussed their team-up and talked tactics and it has been great to see how Reilly has actually modified his game off the back of these tactical discussions.

mtsteamWhen you watch the most successful teams in Round 2 or on the 5-point question in the final round, it is so rare to see a competitor just blurt out an answer these days. Even when one of the competitors clearly knows the answer straight away, you will generally see them take a moment to discuss it with their teammate just to make sure they are definitely correct. With so much talent now in the league, playing as 2 individuals will not get you a win deep in a tournament and it will be important to work together as a team in order to reach the top and win the belt.

On the desk

mtsquastoken

One of my favourite things about this season has been the number of new faces appearing at the announcers desk. While variations of Kristian, Ellis and Ken (with occasional cameos from Campea, Reilly and Macuga) was great, having Jenn Sterger and other competitors like Bibbiani, Rachel Cushing, Jason Inman, Jay Washignton, Sneider or – in the case of this week’s matches – Jonny Loquasto and Marc Andreyko has not just allowed us to see some more of our favourite competitors, but also allowed us to get more of a variety of styles at the desk. Jonny was a great announcer and you could tell he was experienced in this sort of role, while Marc did a great job of bringing his wit and humour to what was already going to be a wonderful match.

mtsandkriAs Season 5 draws to a climax and moving into Season 6, I hope we continue to get competitors appearing at the desk. With Ken and Alex set to battle it out for the Star Wars Title at Schmoedown Spectacular, I would love it if their rival from the last Number 1 Contender match Joseph Scrimshaw were to appear at the desk for their match and I would love an Innergeekdom competitor – Rachel, Jay and Emma all have experience at the desk – to announce Mara Knopic’s title defence against Kalinowski.

Not to be forgotten

“Shut your mouth and spin the Wheel” – Mike Kalinowski

This has arguably been the best season of the Schmoedown so this is a tough call to make, but I honestly think the match between Who’s The Boss and KOrruption could be my favourite match of the year so far!

“He’s like a loser senior that got lucky to take the hot freshman to prom” – Ben Bateman

mtswtbkor4Even taking away the cutscenes at the beginning and end due to not all matches having these, the goings-on throughout this match were just wonderful. From Finstock captaining ships and looking for icebergs in the Caribbean (not a sentence I thought I’d be writing anytime soon) to Bateman and Reilly calling Kalinwoski “a loser” and a “little ninny bitch” respectively while Kalinowski called himself “the boss”, these were some of the most amazing promos we’ve had this season. A cameo from Kal during Who’s The Boss’ entrance, Ben and Reilly refusing to shake Mike’s hand pre-match, Ken and Napzok staring each other down after Round 1, the shit-talk from everyone throughout, Reilly’s celebration throwback to when he won his title back from Rocha (a match I watched mere days before as I try to catch up on all the Schmoedown I missed before getting into the league), Ben getting drunk on winners’ juice post-match and calling Kal’s balls “winners”… this match had everything!

mtswtbpromoRound 2 may have stopped this match from being as close as many of us would have hoped, but I still found myself completely enthralled throughout and think this has just beat out Team Action v DC Movie News as my favourite match from the Team Division this season, which is itself saying something considering we had 2 title matches between Above The Line and The Patriots!

“It’s easy to become a star but hard to stay one” – Finstock

Coming to a climax

Cutscenes were back this week with a vengeance and boy were they exciting!

We start off with Finstock finding proof that Bateman really was innocent of stealing Kal and was set up by Kalinowski. Finstock has done a great job of getting Reilly and Bateman working together and if Who’s The Boss win the tournament and then defeat the Shirewolves at Spectacular, I think he could come into consideration for Manager of the Year.

Following The Harris Brothers’ win, Kalinowski paid Thadd a visit and set up Ken Napzok as the contender to face Alex Damon at Spectacular for the Star Wars belt. I’m looking forward to seeing this match (though I still think it is a shame that Sam Witwer has not been available this year, the man has to work and I think the league has done a good job working around this to the best of their ability) and it will be interesting to see how Ken acts considering this will be his first match since he left the Lion’s Den.

mtsthaddno.jpgIt turns out Brianne was outside the room eavesdropping and this was enough for Miss Movies who soon paid Thadd a visit with a list of competitors who will walk unless Thadd either resigns as Commissioner or tells Mike no. Following KOrruption’s loss, Kalinowski came in to arrange Spectacular’s Team Title match as a Triple Threat: the anarchy winners v The Shirewolves v Korruption, however Thadd found his backbone and said no. Kalinowski didn’t stay to argue, but it certainly looks like he isn’t done.

While the Commissioner storyline has not gone anything like what I once predicted, I am absolutely loving the way the KOrruption storyline has tied into this and I can’t wait to see how this continues. Kristian recently confirmed there will be 6 matches at Spectacular and we currently have 4 Title Matches and a Number 1 Contender Match for the Singles Division confirmed, which leaves just 1 match. I was initially thinking this would be another Manager Bowl, but now I am starting to think that this is going to tie into these storylines.

Predicting the final: Who’s The Boss v The Harris Brothers

This is such a hard one to call as I have twice predicted against The Harris Brother and been proved wrong, but I think I’m going to have to do it again. Reilly and Bateman are in great form both individually and as a team and both clearly want to get their hands on the belt. It’s just so hard to predict as we still have so little knowledge of Jonathan’s strengths and weaknesses (which could be an issue for Who’s The Boss should The Harris Brothers spin Opponent’s Choice in Round 2), but when I look at Ben & Reilly I struggle to find many categories I think they would really struggle with.

I would also assume that in line with other tournament finals, this will be a 5-round match. Reilly is the only one here with any experience of the longer format and as I have shown previously, experience does often appear to help in these matches. I’m pretty certain he and Dagnino – who has also competed in the initial Team Title Match against Team Schmoes and managed the Patriots for 8 5-round matches – will have taken some time to talk tactics with Bateman to give them every advantage in the final.


And finally… an exciting announcement

It’s with great pleasure and honour that I can announce that I will be one of the writers for the Schmoedown’s official website!

Though I will be writing on the website, this does not mean my Schmoedown posts on here are coming to an end as there may be some things not quite right for the site that I still want to write about, it may just be that the posts on here are a little less often and I may not be following tournaments round by round as I have with Anarchy and the Innergeekdom Tournament.

There was a time last year when I wanted to start writing about the Schmoedown because I was enjoying it so much and had nobody in my day-to-day life to discuss it with, but wasn’t sure it was right for the blog. Eventually I took the chance and now my Schmoedown posts are some of my favourite to write, so thank you very much to everyone who has not only read these but also interacted with me and given me feedback this year!

Anarchy Quarterfinals

Anarchy Quarterfinals

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams– well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

Rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts from the round instead.

Read my thoughts on previous rounds here:

The quarterfinal results were:

  • The Odd Couple beat The Paddington Two 29-24
  • Who’s The Boss beat Cinemaniacs 27-26
  • The Harris Brothers beat Take The Cannoli 29-25
  • KOrruption beat Founding Fathers in Sudden Death Overtime 32-31

Will they stay?

Much as I hope some of the new managers stick around beyond the tournament, I really hope some of these teams stick!

While The Paddington Two are by no means my favourite team in the tournament, I think they are at least as talented as Modok while also having a better balance between being fun and treating the matches serious. If they were to stick together and become an experienced team, I could see them in a Number 1 Contender match in 2019.

mtsharrisbrosWhile it was a shame JTE had to pull out of the tournament following his accident (get well soon!), I really enjoyed rookie replacement Jonathan Harris’ performance against Take The Cannoli. As well as being a talented competitor, he did a great job playing off “The Professor” and looked comfortable doing so – it’s rare we see a rookie get the trivia/showmanship balance right in their first match! I do agree though with whoever it was online that commented they missed a trick by not calling themselves “The Faculty” or something similar. I hope Jonathan gets the Schmoedown bug and continues beyond the tournament, if so The School of the Elite could quickly become a dangerous faction.

Sneider and Andreyko may be – as their name suggests – an odd couple, but they are playing so well together! Following the win over The Paddington Two, they were both talking positively about the pairing, Sneider saying “The Android” was binging out the best of him and Andreyko calling this his best game technique-wise. It’s hard to argue with that. While they are both highly impressive Singles competitors, they do have their blind spots, but as a pair they complement each other’s blind spots and Sneider has competed in more title matches than petty much anyone in the league! I can’t see Sneider joining the Fyffe Club or Andreyko leaving it currently, but Robert Meyer Burnett’s time with the Four Horsemen showed that it is not necessary for both team members to be in the same faction.

mtsdrewloganI really hope Take The Cannoli stay together beyond the tournament! Drew and Brianne are both wonderful competitors but once again they cover each other’s blind spots so well! More than that, then genuinely look like they are having fun together! I would never have thought we would see Drew coming out dressed as Logan, but Brianne managed to get him to do it! They are both such likeable competitors and Drew seemed very positive about the idea of them sticking together, so I really hope they do!

A “Mighty” fine competitor

As a fan of Top 10 and the Horsemen, it’s no real surprise that I’m a fan of Matt Knost, but the last 2 rounds have reminded me why I love watching him on this show so much. His sarcastic responses to pretty much anything anyone said were hilarious – he broke Kristian Harloff with a simple “good one”! – and his happy dance both as he deflated the beach ball his team were playing with and when he spun the wheel have been immortalised in GIFs that will live on forever.

I do wonder how much more he will continue to compete in the Schmoedown though. He has competed in Singles for 3 seasons but has only played in 6 matches (going 3-3), and it has been as a part of Top 10 that he has really made his mark on the league. Such has been the form of the Founding Fathers over these last few weeks, part of me can see Rocha and Murrell sticking together as the lead team for the Horsemen. Reilly, Rocha and Murrell are clearly the main competitors in the Singles Division and Inman in Innergeekdom. Where would that leave Knost?

I would love to see Knost take on the role of manager for the Horsemen. He is a great mouthpiece and while the managers don’t compete too often, I think it would be great to get him into an annual Manager’s Bowl. Whatever happens though, I hope he continues to feature regularly on the Schmoedown!

KOrruption but no controversy

How could I talk about this round of matches without giving my thoughts on the way KOrruption v Founding Fathers ended? Personally, despite cheering for the Founding Fathers, I fully agree with the judges’ decision that saw KOrruption win on the first question of Sudden Death. Let’s take a quick look through what happened.

  • Rocha uses Founding Fathers’ last JTE rule on their 5-point question before pulling Danny DeVito out his ass (that sounds painful). I’ve seen some people suggest Rocha only used the JTE for dramatic effect, but I disagree with this both from watching the footage and also listening to what Rocha said post-match. They knew DeVito was in the movie but not certain if he was the correct answer, so used the JTE rule to see if they could get a better answer and settled for DeVito as an educated guess.mtschallenge
  • On the first question in Sudden Death, Murrell initially writes the wrong answer, but realises his mistake at the last moment. With no JTE rule remaining he does not have time to write a legible correct answer. He is the first person to answer but as there was no legible correct answer on the whiteboard, the point is not awarded.
  • Chance shows the answer of David O’Russell, Rocha and Kalinowski show David O. Russell. The judges declare KOrruption the winner.
  • Rocha challenges the ruling, from the footage we see, the argument appears to be that as Murrell answers first and says the correct answer, the point should have been awarded.
  • Once we return from the challenge, Mark Ellis announces that the challenge has been overruled and KOrruption have won. During the explanation, Ellis does make mention of Chance’s misspelling.
  • In an emotional post-match interview, Rocha is not happy that Chance’s answer of O’Russell was allowed

The feeling I got from watching all this was that as the initial challenge over Murrell’s answer was going on, it came up that Chance had misspelt and this was added to the challenge – something we do not see in the broadcast footage.

mtsellischallengeI think Ellis does a great job of explaining the reasons behind the ruling. In what could be considered the “Jane Fonda Rule” it is explained that from the rules revision the whiteboard is not intended as a backup to the spoken answer but is used due to multiple competitors having the same question. As such, due to the time limit on the question, the answer must be legibly written on the whiteboard within the allotted time as well as said aloud when prompted. I agree with this, otherwise even the first person to answer would have a few extra seconds to think of the correct answer before they give it. The other rule that Ellis touches on is the “Japeto Rule” that as long as the written answer is legible and spelled phonetically. There was no difference in the way the name was said by Chance compared to Rocha and Kalinowski and personally – as someone who has come to the Schmoedown not as a giant movie fan – if I heard the competitors say the name and was asked to write it, then I probably would have done the same as Chance!

mtsfallout
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house watching Jenn’s interview with the Founding Fathers

Obviously, it’s a horrible way to finish a match and I think Kalinowski’s reaction as before he showed his answer suggests that he knew the controversy coming. This is only Chance’s second match and I hope the reaction doesn’t affect him moving forward in the tournament or as he begins his Singles career. As for the Founding Fathers, it was clearly a low point for them, but these guys are former – and likely future – champions and will both bounce back from this setback.

A fine line between right and wrong

“Should have just put Charlie” – Drew McWeeny

KOrruption’s Sudden Death victory wasn’t the only example of the fine line between right and wrong during this round. Asked who Freddie Highmore played in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, “The Godfather” wrote Charlie Button – a wrong answer as the surname is Bucket – and did not get the point. Jonathan Harris and Brianne both got the point by writing just the first name.

While I again fully agree with the decision, I think that it is a shame for McWeeny to miss out on the point here by trying to give the surname when the first name was sufficient. I would like it if moving forward, the question included a clarification as to how much of the name would be required.

Anarchy in a nutshell

If you ever wondered why the theme of the tournament was called Anarchy, just watch Cinemaniacs v Who’s The Boss!

“This team is anchored by veteran knowledge, homeless vagrants and talent” – Ben Bateman

First of all, let’s look at the teams themselves. Who’s The Boss has one of the biggest heels of the season in Ben Bateman paired with Mark Reilly, a Horseman who has had beef with Team Action this season for their lack of respect, with the moron/enigma (delete as appropriate) that is Finstock spewing nonsense pre- and post-match. The Cinemaniacs have Matt Knost paired with his former stablemate and traitor William Bibbiani, so they were clearly never going to get along, while Emma Fyffe is their manager but more interested in seeing the Shirewolves keep hold of their belts.

mtsgoodoneTo the entrances and Bibbiani and Fyffe come out with a happy upbeat entrance throwing a beach ball between each other. When the ball gets thrown to Matt Knost it looks like he’s joining in… until you realise that the smile and dance is because he’s deflating the beach ball, to the amusement of Ben and Reilly, who even high fives Knost as they sit down.

Throughout the match, Bateman channels his inner Andrew Ghai with his shit talk towards Bibbs, but is shut down by Knost when he tries to put him off.

mtsrochabossTo the Cinemaniacs’ post-match interview and it is crashed by Rocha, who congratulates Knost on his performance before confronting Bibbiani ahead of their title match. Rocha then crashes Who’s The Boss’ interview to congratulate Reilly and soon ends up trading barbs with Bateman (who threatens to run him over with his car) and Finstock.

As if the quality of some teams wasn’t reason enough to declare Anarchy a success, seeing competitors who wouldn’t often share the screen interacting with each other has led to some wonderful moments!

Predicting the Semifinals

Obviously all 4 teams are more than capable of winning now that they have made it to this stage, so it will not surprise me if these matches come down to the spin of the Wheel.

Who’s The Boss v KOrruption: It’s still so hard to judge KOrruption as we only have 2 matches on which to look at Chance’s strengths and weaknesses. My pick goes to Who’s The Boss as Reilly is looking back to his best and is working so well with Bateman as they each have abroad range of knowledge but also different specialities to allow them to cover each other

mtsoddThe Odd Couple v The Harris Brothers: So as I was writing this I was catching up on the last couple of episodes of Action Movie Anatomy and they were discussing the Harris Brothers with Brianne Chandler. They discussed how having grown up together, there is a potential that Lon and Jonathan may have quite a similar range of strengths, which could cause them issues if the questions don’t go there way. I would give the victory to The Odd Couple as Andreyko and Sneider are on such good form and cover each other’s weaknesses so well.

 

What did you think about this round? Who stood out to you and who are you expecting to win the semis? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Anarchy Round 1

Anarchy Round 1

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams – well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

The Round 1 results were:

  • Founding Fathers beat Wait, I Know This! by TKO 20-17
  • The Paddington Two beat War Machine by TKO 23-21
  • The Odd Couple beat Team Seb’s by TKO 20-10
  • Who’s the Boss? beat Crazy Eighty-Greats 28-27
  • Cinemaniacs beat Franchise Force by TKO 26-19
  • KOrruption beat Inky and the Brain 19-18
  • Take the Cannoli beat The Self-Righteous Brothers 35-31
  • Evil Geniuses beat Wildberries by TKO 25-15

Now rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts on the round instead.

Who stole Kal?

Ben Bateman was famously thrown out of Collider Collision II by Commissioner Thadd Williams after evidence suggested he was responsible for the theft of Kal the Schmoe Dog, which left Mark Reilly unable to attend fellow Horseman Dan Murrell’s match against Andrew Ghai.

mtskalgonebenIt became clear ahead of his first match with Ben as part of Who’s the Boss? that Reilly has not forgotten or forgiven “The Boss” for this. But Bateman once again declared his innocence and I’m still inclined to agree with him. It still seems far too convenient to me that Thadd was sent a picture of Kal in Bateman’s car as he was stood with Team Action.

But who would steal Kal and set up Bateman? Well Finstock is one potential culprit and that could play in great later down the line considering he is now managing this team, but I have a sneaky feeling that Kal’s disappearance was part of a greater corruption… or should I say KOrruption. Kalinowski has made it clear that he is not a fan of factions and the Horsemen are the one faction he has not made clear moves against, while it would have been a great chance to put Andrew Ghai off his game against Murrell (if that was the plan, it didn’t work) as revenge for Action’s win over DC Movie News.

Changes to the Viper Squad?

When it was first announced that Ethan Erwin and Jeannine “The Machine” would be on a team together and managed by Jay Washington, this looked like the perfect opportunity for the Viper Squad to recruit him. Unfortunately, plans may have been scuppered slightly by Ethan having to swap partners due to scheduling issues, but “The Urban Gladiator” managed to sweet-talk Thadd into allowing him to manage both teams. Sadly for Jay, neither of his teams could make it past Round 1, but it looks like he may still have a chance of winning over Erwin as he announced that he will remain as his manager for the remainder of the season.

The Viper Squad have done a good job this year considering two of the 3 competitors are rookies and there are some underrated talents in that faction, but if they can convince Ethan Erwin to join the faction, then that will instantly make their rivals sit up and take notice.

mtsmarkeiaBut will all of the other Vipers still be there? It looks like Jay has managed to keep the peace between Jeannine and Stacy Howard after they were put up against each other and Andreyko at Collision, but “Marvelous” Markeia McCarty appeared to be enjoying her time away from the Viper Squad as manager of Take The Cannoli, saying that she felt smothered and not allowed to shine in the Viper Squad. The Viper Squad could really push into the upper echelons of the factions if they can continue to grow together, if they have to keep rebuilding every year, it will be hard for them to dominate the league.

A star is born

As far as debuts go, they don’t go much better than Chance Ellison. “The Cobra” made his debut alongside Mike Kalinowski as part of KOrruption at the tender age of 20 (I feel old!) and looked instantly at home. Having come up from the fan leagues, people already knew that the knowledge was there, it was just a question of whether he could cope in the top flight with the pressure of the lights and the crowds. Well he’s already popped up onstage at the live event, joined Napzok and Kalinowski in a pre-match scene and won his debut team match.

mtschanceAnd in his debut match itself, he was the top scorer in the opening round, missing a perfect round by just 1 point whilst also correctly answering his solo question in the final round and working well with “The Killer” to work through a poor spin in Round 2. 1 match may be a small sample size, but so far he’s proving the crowd’s chants of “overrated” very wrong. The Founding Fathers will be a much sterner test than Inky and the Brain and there will be no easy matches as they work through the bracket, but if they can carry on through the tournament, Chance could add his name to the shortlist for Rookie of the Year.

One other thing that could help him go for Rookie of the Year would be a strong start to his Singles career. He’s been named as one of the 5 competitors in contention for the final 2 places in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. There are some strong names even in that group of 5 so there is no guarantee that he will progress, but if he can continue how he has started, we may have just seen a new tar enter the league.

mtstptRoom for improvement

The Paddington Two may have beat War Machine and impressed me along the way, but they will have sterner tests as the tournament progresses. They clearly have a strong knowledge of movies but I still worry that (despite Matt Atchity having now played 12 matches and both Free 4 Alls) they will struggle with their knowledge of how to play the game.

When Atchity and Duralde were conferring in Round 2 they were making no attempt to cover their mouths, so if they had got the question wrong, their conferring may have helped their opponents get to the right answer for the steal. Atchity also asked on a steal for multiple choice – not possible as War Machine went for a 2-point answer – which is something that I have noticed he does in most of his matches.

The Schmeodown has come on so far from its beginnings, movie trivia will get you so far but you need to be able to play the game if you are going to rise to the top. I can’t see them pulling off a result against The Odd Couple.

mtscoyMore please

One of the best bits of Round 1 has been seeing some other competitors reborn as managers. I’ve been a fan of Coy Jandreau’s happiness and enthusiasm when he is on the Schmoedown and I was so happy to see him named as a manger in this tournament. He didn’t disappoint at all with his Jeff-Goldblum-inspired promo at the live event and while I was happy as a Horsemen fan to see the Founding Fathers win, it was disappointing knowing that Coy’s time as a manger in this tournament would be over.

Jonny Loquasto is another who I have really enjoyed this year as a mouthpiece for his competitors and again it is a shame that his time in the competition was over almost as fast as his time at the announcer’s desk at Collision.

Markeia looked energised managing Take the Cannoli – who can blame her with competitors like Drew and Brianne! – and Ricky Hayberg was a wonderful addition to the Wildberries.

I really hope that the Anarchy tournament leads to some of these guys deciding to stay as managers as they have not all found success competing but all bring something to the league. They don’t all need to start factions, but even just being as mouthpieces for unaligned competitors would bring a new dimension to the league, whilst also ensuring it wasn’t the same 4 or 5 people competing in the Manager Bowl every year at Spectacular.

Predicting the Quarterfinals

I wrote this during the week before the quarterfinals started but due to a combination of work and travel, it is likely that the first match will have aired by the time this goes up.

The Odd Couple v The Paddington Two: Assuming Sneider and Andreyko can continue to work together, I think their better knowledge of the game will give The Odd Couple the victory

mtswtbCinemaniacs v Who’s the Boss?: Plenty of pedigree in this match with the current Singles Champion and former Team Champion facing off against the former 2-time Singles Champ and one of the best prospects in the game. Reilly is getting over his rust and I think the way that he and Bateman are gelling will see them make it to the semis

The Harris Bros v Take the Cannoli: It’s such a shame that JTE has had to step back from the Schmoedown for the rest of the season as he recovers (get well soon JTE!) as it looks like the Evil Geniuses could have been dangerous. I don’t know anything about Lon’s new competitor other than that it is his brother, so I have to lean towards Take the Cannoli

UntitledFounding Fathers v KOrruption: Putting aside all Horsemen bias here, I’ve still got to pick the Founding Fathers as they have experience on their side. That said, if Chance can put in another great performance and the categories fall right for Kalinowski, this could easily go against the former champions

What did you think about the first round of the tournament? Who stood out to you and who are you expecting to win in the Quarters? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Ready for Action

Ready for Action

Let me start this by being very clear, I am a fan of Rocha, Top 10 and The Horsemen. When I first started watching the Schmoedown just before the first Collision, I found myself rooting for Rocha and Knost following Bibbiani and Burnett’s betrayal and have kept my support with them ever since. So I pains me to write this… but I since they joined the league, I have also come to love Team Action.

mtsrochaghaiRight, that’s enough kayfabe for now, let’s be serious here.

WARNING – this will contain spoilers for Rocha v Ghai

Since joining the Schmoedown in March 2017 with a TKO victory over the Nightsisters, Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Drew Ghai have been leaving their mark on the league. Originally acting like a pair of jerks in their early matches (except when their mothers were in attendance), they began to shine in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament, with their antics seriously getting under their opponent’s skin – none more so than against Team Trek and Top 10 – on the way to the final where they lost to super-team Above The Line. Continuing to give disrespect, they faced Top 10 in a rematch at Spectacular 2 with a title shot on the line. The veterans came in strong and defeated their young rivals and then… things went crazy!

mtsthetackleAndrew Ghai, in a fit of madness maybe caused by having his hair ruffled earlier by Dale The Dude, tackled John Rocha and found himself quickly suspended for 3 months. Would a spell away from the league calm these 2 own? No chance!

Ben Bateman took it as an opportunity to further his career in the Singles League, following up a loss in the Fatal Fiveway Qualifier for the last Ultimate Schmoedown spot with a TKO victory over Dale The Dude while really growing the persona of “The Boss”. He has continued this since Ghai’s return by beating Scott Mantz – resulting in having his face on the Movie Release Dates wheel slice – in between losses to Andreyko and Rocha – each of whom were on runs to title matches.

mtsghaijawsIt is with Ghai though that we see the real fun. He returned to the league with a shock appearance at Free 4 All II, taking the place meant for the retired Dan Murrell, who he had apparently killed. Following this, we had a couple of months of him strutting around telling everyone who would listen (and everyone who wouldn’t) how he was the Ghai that beat the GOAT, until he took his antics one step too far and drew Murrell out of retirement to join the new-look Horsemen at the 2nd live event.

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The Horsemen’s worst nightmare came true

Murrell immediately challenged him to a match at Collision 2 and everybody was (eagerly in many cases) waiting for the former champion to teach the young upstart a lesson. Well THAT didn’t go to plan at all! Ghai TKO’d Murrell in possibly the biggest shock in Schmoedown history, and followed it up with another TKO over another former champion in Mark “Yodi” Reilly on his return to the league to set up a Number 1 Contender match against his biggest enemy, John Rocha. Unfortunately for Ghai and the Action Army, 3 former champions in a row was one step too far and he fell to The Outlaw, but had done enough to earn his respect and a handshake.

Much in the way that Rocha took the Schmoedown to a new level in Season 3 with his persona of “The Outlaw”, Ben and Drew have raised the bar in what it means to be a heel an the personas of “The Boss” and “Dastardly” are 2 of the best in the league. There probably isn’t anyone else in the league whose persona is so far away from their real-life personalities. Both individually and as a team, these guys are box office and I always find myself wondering what they’ll be getting up to next. Will they steal another pet? Tackle someone else? Actually say Jenn rather than Jessica?

mtsbossThe important thing, though, is that they can back up the heel attitudes with the performances. From watching their matches and their Schmoedown chats on their Patreon, they have good knowledge of movies but are some of the best players of the game itself. They strategise how to beat someone – look at Ghai not giving Murrell Sports Movies as he had likely studied this after getting it in his loss to Harloff – while also knowing when it is worth using a JTE rule and (especially Bateman) using all of the allotted time to answer the question and ensure they are getting it right. They have also proved to have strengths in categories many competitors would prefer to shy away from like OscarsComedies and Movie Release Dates.

mtsactiontrekRecords of 2-3 (Bateman) and 2-1 (Ghai) may not seem amazing for the way I’ve hyped them up, but I can’t think of anyone who has had a tougher opening 3 matches than Ghai’s 3 former champions, while 2nd place in a Fatal Fiveway and losses to 2 competitors on their way to title shots is nothing for Bateman to be disappointed about! Even as a team, their 4 losses have come to Nerd’s Watch (who reached a Number 1 Contender match) and Top 10 and Above the Line, who have both held the Team Belts – these guys don’t lose to just anybody!

This strength allows them to have such an impact on storylines as it means they can appear regularly by continuing to win, while their heel personas would not work anywhere near as well if they were losing every time. They have been involved in some of the best storyline moments of the season: their win over DC Movie News pushed Mike Kalinowski over the edge and seeing him leave The League and establish KOrruption, they brought back fan favourites Reilly and Murrell (that ending to the second live event is still my moment of the year) and gave the Horsemen their first rivalry as they look to establish themselves in the league.

mtsroghaiBut what next for these 2? Bateman is teamed with Reilly in the Anarchy Tournament and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go the distance and challenge the Shirewolves at Spectacular 3. I doubt Bateman’s record will see him in the 8 people contesting the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, but the quality of opposition Ghai has faced could see him just make the cut. Away from the matches themselves, Ghai refusing to work with Jay Washington could potentially see Team Action’s next rivalry be with the Viper Squad and while I don’t expect to see them becoming Horsemen (a faction would probably shackle them) there does appear to be a growing respect between them and they may find themselves as uneasy allies from time to time *braces for the outcry from Action Army and Outlaw Nation*

Where’s the belt? Potentially not that far away!

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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.

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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!

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