FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

With the voting closed for the Schmoedown Awards, which will be announced shrtly, it’s time to start looking ahead to season 8 and all-out WAR. Stage 1 of the war will begin 1 week after the Awards show in a Free Agent Special, which will end with each of the 8 factions having secured the services of 3 Schmoedown Pros ahead of the 2021 Draft.

But who will end up where? It’s not just a matter of the manager wanting a certain Schmoedown Pro, that person has to also decide that said manager is the right one for them. My predictions for tournament brackets were woefully off in season 7, so hopefully I can kick off season 8 with a bit more accuracy.

KOrruption

Not really a prediction here as Shannon Barney’s prize for winning the Faction Championship last season was the chance to lock in her 3 before Free Agency even opened for any other manager. In no real shock, Shannon chose to keep hold of Mike Kalinowski, Chance Ellison and Adam Collins, securing herself 2 triple-threats, one of the 3 longest-tenured teams (and arguably one of the elite teams) remaining in the league and the undefeated Singles Champion, who will be a solid lead to a second team.

Stars

I’m making Roxy the first of my actual predictions as I can’t help feel that her trio is pretty obvious. I’m assuming that with big names like Chris Jericho there will be some unspoken agreement that other managers won’t come after them allowing Roxy to not have to use one of her 3 spots on him and being able to pick him up a couple of rounds into the draft. This will allow Roxy to pick up her 3 champions in Jeff Sneider, Marc Andreyko and Alex Damon. While Andreyko may only be featuring in Teams so may be on the bench early in the season, it gives Roxy an elite team once that division gets going, with a strong chance of defending for big points, while Sneider already has a #1 Contender Match scheduled. Similarly, Alex will likely still be the favourite in his upcoming title match, and can also look to push on after a great first season in IG and could also be a solid B player on a team, utilising the IG-specific wheel slices.

Quirky Mercs

Next up is Coy Jandreau, as he is in a relatively similar situation to Roxy. Like Jericho, I am assuming that Coy will be able to pick up Kevin Smith in the draft, allowing him to get quality cover for 3 divisions with his 3 picks. Keeping hold of the Shazam! pairing of William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer appears a no-brainer for all parties involved – Coy gets an elite team and 2 elite Singles competitors (as well as the master of FreeForAlls, while Shazam stick with the manager who got them over the hump and helped them win their first Team Title. For his final pick, I see Coy sticking with his top 3 from last year’s draft by picking Mara Knopic, who has a Title Match early in the season, and I can see Mara showing some loyalty to Coy for keeping her on the faction through season 7 despite being inactive.

S.W.A.G.

This is where things get interesting. Winston Marshall and Chandru Dhandapani look like a solid match so I envision the Innergeekdom Champion sticking with S.W.A.G. Paul Oyama looked revitalised with Winston and is a former champion with solid strategy, so I can see the pair also agreeing to stick together. However, I can see Final Exam coming to an end after twice failing to get the win against the elite teams, with Winston Marshall bringing in Ben Bateman as his third pick. I feel that Bateman will respect the effort that Winston puts into the league and his players, while a pairing with Oyama would cover some of his weaker areas like Classics and family movies, while he knows that Oyama will put in the same effort he will. Don’t be shocked to see Winston looking to secure Ace in the opening round of the draft.

The Den

The Den was hard to call as it feels like there will be big changes here with Kate now having a year of experience under her belt. Ben Goddard impressed over 3 divisions before being left out in the second half of the season, but I think that a fired-up Kate could convince him to stay as one of the leads within the faction. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Paul Preston move on after a disappointing season, but I think that she could convince him to stay by proving she has learned from last season and pairing him with the GOAT Dan Murrell. A shock move for Murrell? Maybe, but the faction feels like it has good quality and was just missing an elite veteran to lead them.

Finstock Exchange

What a difference a year makes. Tom Dagnino kicked off 2020 by drafting all 4 Horsemen and future star “The Barbarian”. Now hehas to start almost from scratch after losing the support of Ben Bateman and then throwing out Dan Murrell. By doing so though, he appears to have secured the services of John Rocha to lead the faction. Early in the offseason, I had thoughts that Ben Bateman may convince The Barbarian to follow him to a new faction where they could pair up, but I now see Dagnino holding onto him by offering him a partnership with Rocha as the lead team. Barbarian’s ability to also cover IG means that Dagnino will look to cover all 4 divisions with his 3 picks by holding onto Andrew Dimalanta, who has a guaranteed title shot early in the season.

Usual Suspects

So much was expected from the Suspects last season, but the early retirement of Drew McWeeny and the impact of COVID seriously hampered their season. One good thing did come of it though: a trade with the Burning Droogs that involved Ethan Erwin joining the Suspects at the cost of their 1ˢᵗ round draft pick. Well the dissolution of the Droogs has allowed Samm to keep his draft pick and I’m sure he will also be keeping Ethan Erwin. However, it looks like he may be getting a new partner as Andrew Ghai has been MIA on the Schmoedown scene since Spectacular, while he has also previously talked about how he is focused on Teams but struggles in the online environment. For that reason, I see Samm looking for a new partner for Erwin, and who better than someone who he already knows well: Liz Shannon Miller, who had a great run in the Singles Tournament. For the final spot, I see Samm also showing faith in someone whose 1-2 record this season does not match up with her quality, Jeannine “The Machine”, who could become a legitimate triple threat if she looks to carry on from her foray into the IG tournament.

The Dungeon

And so that brings us to The Dungeon, who probably have a little more wiggle room here as they own the 1ˢᵗ overall pick in the draft to supplement their 3 picks here. Last season, Kaiser chose to try dominating the IG Division with his early draft picks, picking up Kevin Smets and Robert Parker with his first 2 picks. Well Smets will be inactive this year as he continues to smash cancer, so I see Robert Parker stepping into the role of the team’s IG leader. I expect the IG focus to continue though with the acquisition of Brandon Hanna, who is the 4ᵗʰ most accurate of all time in IG (min 5 matches) and hinted at his quality outside the division with his foray into Teams with Jader Paramo. Hanna is an underrated player and as a triple threat, he could cause some havoc under Kaiser’s tutelage. For his final spot, I can see Kaiser showing loyalty with one of his originals and holding onto Eric Zipper, who is another legitimate triple threat and has improved year on year. Don’t be shocked to see Kaiser looking to pick up the best available Singles/Teams competitor on the board with his opening pick to pair with Zipper/Hanna.

 

So those are my predictions. Who you think each manager will pick up?

And the Award Goes to…

And the Award Goes to…

Happy New Year y’all! It’s time to start putting 2020 behind us, but before we completely forget about it, we need to take one more look at Season 7 in order to pick the winners for the 2020 Schmoedown Awards.

As a Patron of the Schmoedown, I had the honour of being involved in the voting process for this year’s awards, and wanted to take a moment to reflect on a bright point in a poor year and talk through my votes.

So without further ado, my votes went to:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Jeff Sneider (8-3 overall) 4-2 in singles, tournament finals, 4-1 in teams. Teams tournament winner, team champion)
  • Adam Collins (8-1 overall) (7-0 in singles, 1-1 in teams, FreeForAll Horror Winner)
  • Dan Murrell (4-1 in singles, 3-1 in title matches, defended title twice. 1-2 in teams)
  • Chance Ellison: 7-3 overall Won the IG tourney, went 4-0 in the tourney. 2-1 in teams, won teams titles. 1-1 in singles
  • Andres Cabrera 4-2 overall in Star Wars and IG, went 4-0 in Star Wars tourney from play in and won SW tourney

So most of the talk I have heard has been between Sneider and Collins for understandable reasons given their second half of the season. Ace did fantastic in the Star Wars Division, but only played 1 match (a loss) outside of the Division so I can’t give him the award. Murrell doesn’t have the same number of wins, but almost every match he played was for a title and an absolute thriller. Collins’ Singles run was fantastic, but like Ace he barely played outside of that division so misses out on the overall award. Sneider had a fantastic end to the season, finishing with a tournament victory, a Teams Title and another tournament final with an 8-3 record. However my vote goes to someone who I think has been criminally underlooked: Chance Ellison won a Teams title like Sneider (the only difference being Sneider hasn’t had a chance to lose it since) and finished with a similar record (7-3, just one match less) while also winning the IG tournament and fighting for that title, but what he did that nobody else on this list did is compete in 3 Divisions and find a degree of success in each – exactly what I’m looking for with the overall award.

SINGLES PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Adam Collins 7-0, 1 title win, singles tournament winner. 6-0 in tourney
  • Dan Murrell 4-1, one title win, 2 title defenses
  • Jeff Sneider 4-2, tournament finalist
  • Liz Shannon Miller 3-1, tournament semi finalist
  • Ethan Erwin 5-2, semi finalist

Let’s be honest, this is a pretty easy one. Jeff, Ethan and Liz had great campaigns, while Dan Murrell defeated Meyer, Bibbiani, Bateman (twice) and Erwin in stunning fashion. However, it’s hard to give this award to anyone other than Adam Collins, who took the league by storm and went unbeaten in the division, including defeating Murrell at Spectacular!

UPSET OF THE YEAR

  • Perri beats Kalinowski
  • Cabrera beats Laura Kelly
  • Collins beats Rocha
  • Chance beats Parker
  • Cabrera beats Dimalanta

So this may be a hot take, but I didn’t actually consider Cabrera the underdog against Dimalanta, so I can rule that one out. While Robert Parker’s loss to Chance was a shock, I think that maybe we expected too much too soon from a rookie. Perri beating Kalinowski and Collins beating Rocha were certainly shocks, but I think that both of the higher-ranked competitors were below their best, which is why I go for Kelly v Cabrera, as this was Laura Kelly at her best, missing just 1 question in the entire game, and Ace having to be at his very best to come away with the win.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Odd Couple 4-1, tournament winners, one title win
  • Shazam 3-1 one title win
  • Final Exam 4-2, tournament finalists
  • KOrruption 2-1, 1 title win
  • Founding Fathers 1-2

So this was a pretty interesting one, with 4 teams having held the Teams Title in 2020. The fact that the Founding Fathers made the shortlist with a winning record says it all. When I make the pick here, I feel that you need to look at repeated success (so a high win-loss record), while having also won the title. KOrruption and Shazam both get ruled out due to Final Exam and Odd Couple having more wins, but as Final Exam could not win a belt, they also get ruled out and leaves the Odd Couple as my vote.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

  • Adam Collins 8-1 over two divisions, Horror FreeForAll Winner
  • Barbarian 4-2 over two divisions
  • Goddard 4-2 over three divisions
  • Marisol McKee 2-2 over two divisions
  • Kevin Smith 2-0

Another one that ended up being a clear option. Credit to Marisol McKee, Kevin Smith and all the other rookies who showed their quality in 2020, but there was a clear top 3. Ben Goddard’s early success across 3 divisions had him leading the race and also in contention for Player of the Year, but not competing in the Teams or Singles tournaments cost him. Similarly, Craig “The Barbarian” Gaynier showed early success in Singles and IG, but not being in he Teams tournament hurt him. The clear winner here is Adam Collins. He may have only gone 1-1 in Teams but he still ended up with the same number of wins as Ben and the Barbarian combined with just 1 loss to his name and the Singles Belt around his waist.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Andres Cabrera SW tourney winner
  • Lon Harris Teams division come back and advancing in singles tourney
  • Liz Shannon Miller Semi finals in tourney
  • Jeff Sneider wins teams titles for 3rd time, makes it to singles finals
  • Perri Nemiroff: after long layoff, defeats Mike Kalinowski, pushes Reilly and pulls off biggest 3 round comeback in teams

So this is an interesting one with no clear winner to me. I don’t personally see what Ace’s “comeback” is from, as a loss to Team Champs in season 2 and a mauling in IG against Robert Parker is not enough to me. Likewise, Liz went 3-2 last season, with both losses coming to people on their run to the Singles Title. Sneider held a Teams Title and competed for the Singles Title in 2019, while Perri’s 2-2 record doesn’t seem award-worth to me. Lon Harris, however, limped to a 2-4 overall record last year while playing with 3 different teammates, but this year found success with Paul Oyama and SWAG, while also completely reinventing himself with his switch from Professor to Delinquent, and therefore gets my vote.

FACTION OF THE YEAR

  • KOrruption: Faction champions, singles title, teams title, IG tourney, singles tourney
  • SWAG: Second place, IG title, Star Wars tourney, teams finals
  • Roxstars: Third place, teams championship, Star Wars championship
  • Finstock Exchange: teams title, singles title
  • Quirky Mercs, teams title

For me, this was a 2-horse race between KOrruption and SWAG, who ran away with the Faction championship. While both had success, KOrruption won 2 titles to SWAG’s 1 during the season and also won 2 of the 4 tournaments and the Horror FreeForAll, on the way to winning the Faction Championship, so I have to give my vote to them.

FEUD OF THE YEAR

  • Roxy vs Shannon
  • Shannon vs Winston
  • Dagnino vs Bateman
  • Founding Fathers vs KOrruption
  • Chandru vs Smets

So for me, the feud needs to go on for a while and remain relevant, which gives the advantage to those between managers, so I’m ruling out the bottom two, while I also think that Tom v Ben has been mainly shots for long distance rather than face to face. So that leaves Shannon (shock!) vs either Roxy or Winston. But as I said, relevance is also important and – though it may sound harsh – the Roxstars were never a legitimate threat to KOrruption, whereas SWAG were, which gave the extra edge to Shannon v Winston.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

  • Shannon Barney
  • Winston Marshall
  • Roxy Striar
  • Tom Dagnino
  • Coy Jandreau

Another that was really a two-horse race in my mind, but as Roxy has also got a lot of backing I will go through all 5. Bobby Gucci’s managing style doesn’t work online and he proved unable to adapt effectively to the new format forced upon us, whilst also allowing too much squabbling within the faction. Roxy Striar may be getting some love for her speeches to the Odd Couple and the fact that she had competitors in 3/6 Spectacular matches, but 2 of those matches were basically gifted to her by drafting Alex Damon at a sport where it would have been stupid to pick anyone else and having a connection to a famous name who wanted to play. I would put her above Dagnino, but I also question why such an experienced manager is still having to constantly give speeches to stop 2 experienced Schmoedown Pros from giving up, while I also can’t ignore the missteps with Josh Quevedo and Jim Vejvoda. Coy Jandreau takes third for doing well with his whole factin, with the Reel Rejects getting a win, Greg Alba turning heads in IG and Perri making an impressive return to the league, while he also got Shazam to the title. However, with the Mercs being so far behind in the faction Standings, there is then a big gap between him and the top 2.

And so it comes down to Winston v Shannon. Shannon has 2 titles won, 1 title lost and a missed title. Winston has 1 title won, a successful defence and a missed title. So we’re pretty even there. Shannon brought out the best in Laura Kelly and discovered Marisol and Adam, but also had the benefit of pre-made team in former Team Champions KOrruption. Winston however had to start from scratch and did a great job by pairing Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who were both revitalised with changes to their character, while he also got the best out of Liz Shannon Miller and Andres Cabrera. Shannon may have come away with the Faction Championship, but I feel that she started with a step up by having 2 established and experienced triple threats to fall back on, so Winston Marshall gets my vote.

ENTRANCE OF THE YEAR

  • ZaFlertinFlouse (Vs Smith)
  • Reel Rejects (VS The Pride)
  • Bonnie Somerville (Vs Mckee)
  • Reel Rejects (VS Cuckoos Mess)
  • Shazam (VS Final Exam)

This is difficult, as the move to the online format took away a lot of the possible theatricality that we got in the early months of the season. The Reel Rejects’ entrance against The Pride was fun, but as I didn’t know Red Letter Media, it just didn’t hit as well with me. The Delinquent Kid was a fun bit from Shazam that played well an honoured their opponents. Bonnie’s steamy entrance certainly got pulses racing. After the joy of SEN Live’s descent into madness midway through the pandemic, the return of ZaFlertinFlouse was the true highlight of Spectacular. My vote however goes to the Reel Rejects v Cuckoo’s Mess, as the masks were a fun gimmick (and in hindsight, a premonition of our entire year), but it went to another level as John Rocha stormed out and took Greg’s Guy Fawkes mask – a jab at Rocha beating Greg to the award last year – only for John to remove his Jigsaw mask to reveal a second Guy Fawkes mask, which he removed and gave to Greg, unveiling a second Jigsaw mask! Perfection!

HEEL OF YEAR

  • Shannon Barney
  • Chandru Dhandapani
  • Brandon Hanna
  • Jeff Sneider
  • Eliot Dewberry
  • Laura Kelly

Laura Kelly and Eliot Dewberry’s heel turns this season were great, but unfortunately had limited screen time, while Sneider also doesn’t really stick in my mind for his heel antics this year, other than his rants about Innergeekdom. And so that leaves us with 3 very different heels. Shannon kicked things off with a bang by breaking up the Wildberries, and carried on the season as a highly entertaining villain, who I couldn’t wait to see what she did next. Brandon Hanna’s speeches helped cure my insomnia this season, while Chandru’s arrogance, dancing and disrespect made him someone you couldn’t help loathe. While I think the vote should go to Hanna or Chandru, I’ve always preferred the entertaining heels, so after losing out on Manager of the Year, Shannon Barney gets my vote here.

BABYFACE OF THE YEAR

  • The Kid
  • Kevin Smith
  • Coy Jandreau
  • Andres Cabrera
  • Perri Nemiroff

Coy and Ace both did a great job of playing faces while keeping the competitive edge. The Kid remained a fine young tenderoni even during his delinquent phase, and his heavy breathing in the tight moments was somewhat endearing, if annoying to the Chairman. Kevin Smith added his own brand to the league, but Perri Nemiroff just gets my vote as she looked to enjoy her return to the league and matches against people she knew well.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR

  • Murrell vs Collins Post interview
  • Shannon drafts Dewberry
  • Murrell disbelief says “I won” when beating Bateman after 6 point comeback
  • Bibbs and Andreyko have touching moment in post interview Spectacular
  • Kevin Smith gives Chris Jericho….Kevin Smith movies on Opponents choice

What a great set of moments here and all of them enjoyable for different reasons. For me though, it has to be the bombshell moment during the draft where Shannon Barney drafted Dewberry immediately after Winston drafted Macuga, thereby breaking up the Wildberries. It was so out of nowhere and showed that even as a rookie manager, Shannon was not going to hold back when it came to being a heel, and it is a shame that the move online due to the pandemic meant that much of the progression of this storyline – all from a heat of the moment decision by Shannon – was lost.

HEEL TEAM OF YEAR

  • KOrruption
  • The Pride
  • Deception
  • The Odd Couple
  • Category 9

So for this, I’ve decided to prioritise how they act rather than their success in matches. To be honest, I think this category really took a hit by the move online. Category 9 didn’t even feel like a fully heel team in their one match and needed time to grow. The Pride calling themselves heels was like a child throwing a tantrum because they wanted to be treated like an adult. Deception wasclearly a heel team, but they were focusing on results over dramatics first. Both Odd Couple and KOrruption had their moments where they felt like heels, but also others hat ere much tamer as the emotion of events overcame them, but I think that as part of an entirely heel faction, KOrruption felt the more consistent.

BABYFACE TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Shazam
  • Final Exam
  • Witching Power
  • The Reel Rejects
  • Founding Fathers

This was a hard choice, and as much as I enjoyed the light-heartedness of the Reel Rejects and Witching Power, I felt that Final Exam and Shazam had the harder tasks of remaining faces in much more meaningful matches. While both did this well, I give my vote this year to Final Exam, as Lon Harris and Paul Oyama both looked to make U-turns from their heel personas of last year and did so in a way that felt natural within the story, and continued on through the matches themselves.

NEW TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Final Exam
  • Deep 13
  • The Pride
  • The Witching Power
  • Deception

So for this, I was looking at success in the year, and that meant that there is a clear winner, Deep 13 started well but not competing in the tournament hurt them, as was the case for The Pride, while Deception the Witching Power actually lost out due to only having the tournament, leaving Final Exam, who found success both before and during the tournament.

MATCH OF THE YEAR

  • Murrell vs Collins
  • Murrell vs Bateman I
  • Odd Couple vs Final Exam
  • Dimalanta vs Scrimshaw
  • Dimalanta vs Cabrera
  • Korruption vs Founding Fathers
  • Murrell vs Bibbs vs The Kid
  • Murrell vs Bateman II
  • Odd Couple vs Shazam
  • Smith vs Jericho

There are so many great matches here and that is a real testament to the league, that the season could continue at such a high level despite the switch to an online format. For me, I need a relatively close match, with a pretty high level of competition, but I also want something beyond just the competition. As many great matches as we had this season, my mind still always goes back to Atlanta, and Murrell v Bateman I. While it wasn’t 2 competitors going at 100% accuracy, the level of trivia was still super high but allowed for the scoreline and momentum to go back and forth, with Murrell coming from 5 down to win in Sudden Death.

PODCAST OF THE YEAR

  • A Certain Point of View
  • Call To Action
  • Let’s Get Ready
  • Repeat the Question
  • Machine Mondays

It’s not just the quality of the league that is getting better, as more and more podcasts and shows have set up to cover the league and push the standard of reporting up to new heights. A shout-out first of all to those who missed out on the shortlist this time around, it just shows how much quality content is out there. Unfortunately, that sheer amount of content has made it hard for me to keep up, and it has led to many of the podcasts not getting the love they deserve from me this year. While I have loved everything I’ve seen from all of these podcasts, I find myself voting for Call To Action due to their range of shows, from match breakdowns to Chill To Action, which has been a great show to get to know Schmoedown Pros better without the kayfabe, which has certainly helped me grow a greater appreciation for some of the characters in the league.

INNERGEEKDOM PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Chandru Dhandapani
  • Chance Ellison
  • Mike Kalinowski
  • Brandon Hanna
  • Alex Damon

To me, there are only  people who can really be in consideration here: Chance Ellison and Chandru Dhandapani. Chance has more wins, with a 4-0 run to win the IG tournament, but he then has a loss to Chandru, who won all 3 of his matches, including a title shot and a title defence. I hate doing this, but I have to give this award to the belt and Chandru Dhandapani.

STAR WARS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Andres Cabrera
  • Alex Damon
  • Laura Kelly
  • Andrew Dimalanta
  • Mollie Damon

So this one goes along similar lines to IG Player of the Year, with it being a fight between tournament winner Ace Cabrera and Champion Alex Damon. However, where Chandru’s win of the title and defence were enough to overcome Chance’s superior number of wins, Alex only played once in the division this season, and though that was a win over Cabrera, the run from play in match to tournament victory gives Andres Cabrera my vote.

 

How do my votes tally up against yours? Let me know what you think and where your votes went!

Who is behind the Schmoeminati?

Who is behind the Schmoeminati?

If we only learned one thing during Schmoedown Spectacular V, it was this: the Schmoeminati are real. For months we watched Andrew Ghai’s descent into madness as he tried to warn us and prove their existence, and it proved costly for him, as he was kidnapped by unknown assailants led by a masked figure.

But now we know that the Schmoeminati are real, the questions turn to their identity and their motives. Ghai had the information but that’s lost to us now. The only thing we know is that Chairman Kristian Harloff – shadowy leader of the last coup – is not involved but that means that the rest of the league are still potential suspects.

mts scgmoeminati

Let me know who you think is behind the Schmoeminati, but my chief suspects are below:

Suspect #1: Brad Gilmore

mts brad gilmore matt knost john rocha

The BOAT is an up-and-coming talent in the Schmoedown crew. As host of the Schmoedown Rundown and now also Coming Up Next, he has years of experience as a pundit and has also filled in occasionally in post-match interviews and on the desk, and Kristian Harloff has even mentioned the prospect of him being the heir to Harloff’s place on the deskin the long-term.

But does the BOAT want to wait for nature to take its course, or is he taking a leaf out of Harloff’s books and using subterfuge to take control of the league by steadily infiltrating the league and then brainwashing one of the league’s biggest faces? Speculation? Yes, but go back to the Rundown episode immediately following Spectacular (and Andrew Ghai’s capture – and a certain BOAT is mysteriously missing… 

Suspect #2: Grace Hancock

mts grace hancock

I mentioned in my 5 takeaways from Spectacular to watch out for Grace’s revenge following Kate Mulligan’s decision to fire her, and with her being on bad terms with so many of the other managers (not to mention Chairman Kristian Harloff, who is scared of her), she may have decided that the Schmoeminati is the best way to entrench herself in the league so they can’t get rid of her.

You could argue that the Schmoeminati started before Grace was fired, but I have 2 words for you: CONTINGENCY PLAN. This isn’t the first time Grace has been dropped from a team and with the lack of success in the latter half of the season for The Den, she may have sensed that her role as an advisor was anything but a position of power, and made plans to cement herself in the league.

Let’s not forget that she took advantage of Dagnino locking Emma Fyffe in a closet in order to become the post-match interviewer for the inaugural Collision – never rule the Lioness out when it comes to something despicable.

Suspect #3: Mark Ellis

mts mark ellis

“Surely not Baby Carrots!” I hear you all cry out, but how better to avoid suspicion than to be one of the most jovial people in the league? Mark Ellis was one of the founders of the Schmoedown, and yet it is Kristian Harloff who gets the majority of the credit and gets to rule the league, while everybody’s favourite dog stepfather is left to give the rulings of all the challenges and bear the brunt of the competitors and managers who are unhappy with the decision.

It’s just a matter of time before someone would snap under that pressure and maybe that is what Ellis has done here, putting into action a plan that will see him oust his former teammate at the top of the league. Rumours that the Schmoeminati have taken control of all the Coors Light on the Wes Coast are still under investigation.

Suspect #4: Frank Janisch

mts schmoedown rundown frank janisch

First off, just look at the picture above. This guy is worshipping Kylo Ren so can’t be trusted! Let’s not forget that we never heard of the Schmoeminati until after Frankie Numbaz made the move from Chicago to the West Coast. As a longtime host of the Schmoedown Rundown, he has always had access to people and information behind the scenes in the league, but in recent months has seen his Rundown co-host Brad Gilmore getting a second show while he is even facing pressure in the stats department these days.

With his role as the stats guy onscreen now under threat, has West Coast Frank started making moves to grab more power within the Schmoedown and secure his name of “The Truth” once and for all…?

Suspect #5: ZaFlertinflouse

mts zaflertinflouse crossed arms

“The Trending Nightmare” is a mystery wrapped in an enigma and shrouded in conspiracy theories, the most recent of which is that he is behind the Schmoeminati. Did the mask worn by Andrew Ghai’s abductor look familiar? That’s because it has a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in the video for his hit single “Und Und Und”, worn by none other than the Flouse!

The current belief is that the Flouse is looking to take over the league to force the Schmoedown Pros to sing in the chorus for his upcoming album “Spin from the Peg”. Rumours that the planned first release “Sexy Buzzer” will be a duet with Brendan Meyer have been quashed.

Suspect #6: Sabrina Ramirez & Brandon Hanna

We’ve focused on individual suspects for now, but who says that an organisation like the Schmoeminati can only have 1 person at the head. Sabrina Ramirez warned us before Spectacular that she and Brandon Hanna were about to become the league’s new power couple, which is hard to believe when you look and Hanna’s soul-destroying, never-ending promos.

But what if those promos were to lull us into a false sense of security while the Schmoeminati quietly came in and grabbed hold of the league under the overall running of Ramirez, who had a quiet season after being picked up on the Free Agency deadline day with only 1 chance to compete. Ramirez is someone to watch out for in this league, and Hanna could be the perfect underrated sidekick/henchman.

Suspect #7: John Rocha & Finstock

As the resident mask-wearers in the league, of course Rocha and Finstock have to be suspects! It’s been a bad season for both Rocha and Finstock, with a Faction Championship that should have been theirs for the taking ending up falling away from them midway through the season. And yet despite this, the pair joined up to throw the GOAT Dan Murrell out of the faction at the end of the season – a move that boggles the mind!

Why else would they do this if they didn’t have some nefarious plan to take over the league, and with Dagnino’s mysterious contacts, it’s easy to see the Schmoeminati forming. Rumours that the Reel Rejects’ multi-mask entry against Cuckoo’s Mess was a rite of passage to join the Schmoeminati are being investigated.

Suspect #8: Jessica Sterger & PLD

And so we reach the final suspects, with the most interesting motives. PLD is the third leg of Action Industries and has never fully got over the break-up of Team Action, while Jessica Sterger (Jenn’s Action-loving identical twin) has been mooted as the perfect manager for and Action reunion.

There’s just been one problem: both Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai had moved on from Action and become more respectful of the game and their opponents, with Ghai even going so far as to change the name “Dastardly” to “Debonair”. Well Bateman’s struggles this season seem to have pushed him back towards his old self, but it looks like the arrival of the Schmoeminati has been focused on pushing Ghai beyond what he could take and forcing him to snap back to his dastardly self. There is a legitimate chance that the 2021 Draft will see Team Action reunited, and with both the Action Army and Schmoeminati behind them, all hell could be set to break loose…

5 Takeaways from Schmoedown Spectacular V

5 Takeaways from Schmoedown Spectacular V

Merry Christmas you filthy animals! This has been an interesting year to say the least with the COVID-19 pandemic changing everybody’s life to some degree. But through it all, one constant remained: the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. Season 7 was titled “The New Era” and that proved the case even more than we expected, as it adapted to the changing environment by moving to an online format to ensure that we continued to get or weekly entertainment and another fantastic season ended in truly spectacular showpiece event to end the year – the 5ᵗʰ annual Schmoedown Spectacular.

Schmoedown Spectacular V was available to watch live and on demand in the aftermath for those able to purchase it, but for those who are waiting for it to drop on YouTube for free, only 1 match has aired at time of writing. This article will be looking back at the whole event, so be warned there will be spoilers galore beyond this point!

Spectacular V ended up being a 9 hour epic, with betrayals, mystery and 6 fantastic matches:

Alex Damon TKO’d Andres Cabrera 32-24 to retain the Star Wars Title

Britney Young defeated Chris Jericho 16-15

The Odd Couple defeated Shazam! 41-40 to claim the Teams Title

Chandru Dhandapani defeated Chance Ellison to retain the Innergeekdom Title

Kevin Smith TKO’d ZaFlertinflouse 18-9

Adam Collins defeated Dan Murrell in Sudden Death 39-38 to claim the Singles Title

KOrruption win the Faction Title

Rushmore secured

The make-up of  the Schmoedown Mt Rushmore is a constant debate, with so many players in the conversation and Dan Murrell probably one of the only players who would make it onto everybody’s list. I would argue that Jeff Sneider should have also secured his place following this season.

“The Insneider” has become the first Schmoedown Pro to win 10 matches with one team and the Teams Title 3 times – 1 time with The Patriots, twice with The Odd Couple – and while he has had his ups and downs in Singles, he has still accrued a 13-8 record that includes a Championship Match and 2 other #1 Contender Matches.

Having debuted in Season 3, he is one of the longest-tenured Schmoedown Pros and has not taken a break from competing since he entered the league, while always putting on a show in his own unique way. Does he court controversy? Yes, but the league would be much more boring without him, and for his longevity, expertise in the Teams Division and his entertainment value, he has earned his spot on Mt Rushmore.

Stock crash

mts finstock exchange horsemen jenn sterger john rocha dan murrell ben bateman tom dagnino bobby gucci finstock mark reilly barbarian craig gaynier

When season 7 started, it looked like the Finstock Exchange would run away with the Faction Title. Having been manager for the Horsemen in Season 6, with Ben Bateman and the Founding Fathers ending the season as champions – and Who’s The Boss being among the top 5 teams, making them a protected team – Dagnino was able to draft 4 legit superstars of the league with his first 4 picks, while picking up the relatively unknown rookie the Barbarian in the 6ᵗʰ round. However, things didn’t go to plan and the season ended with the Exchange dropping to 4ᵗʰ, behind Roxy Striar’s Roxstars at Spectacular.

It’s going to be all change for them next year too, if the way the season ended is anything to go by. Ben Bateman made clear after his 2ⁿᵈ loss to Dan Murrell that he was done with Finstock’s mismanagement, and the 2-time Manager of the Year then made the critical error of backing John Rocha as he split from Dan Murrell, leaving the GOAT as a Free Agent. So that’s 2 of the big 4 who are gone for good. But the Barbarian has also seemed a little put out at the way 2 greats of the game have been treated and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him turn his back on the faction to partner with either Bateman or Murrell and create a new superteam. Meanwhile Free Agent pick-up Sabrina Ramirez was given little chance to show her quality and if her statement at the beginning of the event is anything to go by, she’s another who will be looking to ply her trade elsewhere in Season 8.

And then we come to Andrew Dimalanta. The Star Wars specialist finally got his first wins in the division under Tom Dagnino and with a guaranteed title shot, you’d think that Bobby Gucci would want to retain his services going into 2021. However, as John Rocha went on a spree of blaming everyone (except himself and Dagnino) for the faction’s failings, even Dimalanta came under fire for his loss to Ace Cabrera. Will Dimalanta stay loyal to a manager that helped him get his first win, or will the shots from the new face of the faction make him look elsewhere for a more supportive faction?

Keep an eye out for my predictions on who each manager signs during Free Agency over the next week.

The Schmoeminati are real!

How can we forget the moment on Schmoedown Backstage when Andrew Ghai turned up to discuss his upcoming match with Mike Kalinowski, but instead spent his time telling us that there was a Schmoeminati controlling the league behind the scenes.

We all thought he was crazy as we watched his descent into madness through the second half of the season and promised to prove to us at Spectacular that the Schmoeminati exists. Well he did that, but not in the way he had planned, as we watched him get kidnapped by a group being led by this masked figure.

mts scgmoeminati

And so we are left with plenty of questions. First of all, is Andrew Ghai OK? If you watched the next couple of shows on the Action Industries channel, then he was unexpectedly absent, with an odd new answer phone message and text responses to “keep smiling :)” Next up, who is the Schmoeminati and what do they want? Ghai made it clear that Kristian Harloff is not involved, but with so many people involved in the League as a competitor/manager/announcer/pundit/crew member, that doesn’t really narrow things down too much.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for my thoughts on the likely culprits.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

mts grace hancock

It’s not just the Finstock Exchange that will likely look very different in 2021, as Kate Mulligan followed up ZaFlertinflouse’s loss to Kevin Smith by firing adviser Grace Hancock.

Will this be the end of Grace? I think it would be foolish to rule “the Lioness” out, but she’s running out of allies in the league. She abandoned the Lion’s Den so won’t be welcome in the Finstock Exchange, was fired by KOrruption to make room for Shannon and has now been fired by the Den. Meanwhile Kaiser an Roxy have both found themselves at odds with her. But with so many feuds, don’t be shocked to see her back at some point – maybe not this year – as a manager for a new faction hell-bent on causing trouble.

Increasing value

It’s hard to imagine that many Star Wars specialists will be picked up in Free Agency due to the limited number of matches they will play in a season, so much so that they may not even be a priority in the opening rounds of the draft as managers look to ensure they have strength in Singles and Innergeekdom with at least 1 top quality team. However, a couple of competitors likely saw a rise in their stock at Spectacular.

Andrew Dimalanta was already promised a title shot against Alex Damon, but Commissioner Clarke Wolfe also announced during Spectacular that Mollie Damon and Laura Kelly will face off in a #1 Contenders Match, with the winner either facing the winner of Damon v Dimalanta or joining them in a Triple Threat (at Alex Damon’s discretion). There are very few competitors with guaranteed matches in 2021 at this point, so to be able to pick up a Star Wars competitor with a guaranteed match very early in the season is a chance for some early points, and Kelly/Damon may even look more attractive options than Dimalanta due to the potential of 2 matches early in the season, while I also feel that both are capable of Dimalanta, who got a number of favourable calls during his tournament run.

mts mara knopic

Similarly, another competitor who may see a rise in their stock is Mara Knopic. The former Innergeekdom Champion may not have played in years, so there may be some questions about her ability to compete at the top straight away, however a guaranteed title shot early in the season will probably see her rise above many of the other IG specialists as there is the chance of an early victory to win the title, and even if she loses then it will not be too long until she is able to make another run for the title.

For more thoughts on Free Agency and the Draft, keep an eye on this site, as I will be posting my Free Agency predictions over the coming weeks, and I’m planning to put together my draft predictions once Free Agency has completed.

 

Credit for the header image goes to Alex from the Let’s Get Ready Network – check them out on Twitter @0M3GAxVID30

Prepare for Something… SPECTACULAR

Prepare for Something… SPECTACULAR

It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the Movie Trivia Schmoedown from going as expected this year, but everyone involved has done a wonderful job of transitioning to a digital format and giving us an fantastic and utterly unpredictable season. And the ultimate reward of that is that we still get the 5ᵗʰ annual Schmoedown Spectacular!

Schmoedown’s very own Wrestlemania, Spectacular V is this Saturday and will see some of the biggest names in the league compete over 6 matches – including 4 Championship Matches – and at the end of the event, we will know the winner of the first ever Faction Championship. But who will be facing off in this mammoth event, and who will win? I’ve not had a great year with my predictions, but let’s see if I can redeem myself on big stage.

Star Wars Championship: Alex Damon v Andres Cabrera

mts schmoedown spectacular v alex damon andres ace cabrera

Will “The Demon” have finally met his match? The man who makes his living explaining Star Wars has looked unbeatable but hasn’t competed in the Star Wars Division since beating Laura Kelly at Spectacular IV. Meanwhile, Ace has ran the gauntlet this year, going on a Cinderella run that saw him go from the Play In Match all the way to winning the tournament, with wins over Josh Quevedo, Ken Napzok, Laura Kelly and Andrew Dimalanta.

Alex has previously mentioned that he didn’t know some of the answers Ace was pulling in the tournament as the questions went deeper than ever, and I think that had this match come hot on the heels of that tournament, we would have a new champion. However, it has been months since then, so you can guarantee that Alex will have dived deeper than ever before, while the momentum that Ace had will have been nullified. I can still see this one going the distance, but I have Alex defending his title.

Chris Jericho v Britney Young

mts schmoedown spectacular v chris jericho britney young

One of the GOATs of pro-wrestling, Jericho’s arrival in the league as a Free Agent pick-up for the Roxstars was a high point of the season and his match against Kevin Smith was an absolute treat! Meanwhile, Britney Young of GLOW fame made her name in the Schmoedown as part of the GLOW celebrity match, putting in an impressive performance and enjoying the game so much, she accepted a place on the active roster this season, being picked up by The Dungeon.

Neither of these competitors have much in the way of game tape, but both have shown themselves to have a decent knowledge base. However, there is a hint that Britney’s knowledge may be slightly broader, whereas Jericho’s more focused. If Jericho can hit a favoured category in Round 2, then I think he can ace it, but I think that Britney will have the breadth of knowledge to take a narrow win. One thing I do feel confident in though is that we will get some killer promos.

Teams Championship: Shazam! v Odd Couple

mts schmoedown spectacular v shazam odd couple william bibbiani brendan meyer marcandreyko jeff sneider

The Teams Championship has bounced around a little this season, with KOrruption taking the belts from the Founding Fathers only to lose them to Shazam! just 2 months later! Meanwhile, former champions the Odd Couple have recovered from their early season loss against Who’s The Boss to run through the recent Teams Tournament, and have arguably looked better than when they won the title.

Sneider has been on something of a revenge tour of late, beating Paul Oyama in both Teams and Singles to avenge his Season 6 Championship loss, while also avenging his loss to Adam Collins in the final of this season’s Singles Tournament by defeating Deception in the Teams Tournament. Could this revenge tour continue against the team who defeated them in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown? We have 4 superstars on display so I expect this to go to the wire, but I think that the online format’s speed round benefits William Bibbiani more than the buzzer round, so I have Shazam! defending their title.

Innergeekdom Championship: Chandru Dhandapani v Chance Ellison

mts schmoedown spectacular v chandru dhandapani chance ellison

Who’d have thought that fans would be cheering for “The Cobra”? Such is the mood against Chandru Dhandapani, who had the gall to talk smack about Rachel Cushing. Dhandapani’s route to the title saw him defeat Brandon Hanna to set up a #1 Contender Match against Mike Kalinowski. However, Kalinowski put his faction before his personal glories and turned down the match in order to compete in the Innergeekdom Tournament – a move which looks to have helped KOrruption secure the Faction Championship, as both Kalinowski and his Padawan Chance each ran through their side of the tournament bracket to reach the final, where Chance came away with the win. Meanwhile Chandru’s match against Kevin Smets certainly didn’t go as expected as the champion struggled to get in the zone playing online and lost the title to Chandru.

This is an interesting one, as Chance has the experience of close Championship matches and has been a regular in he online format this season, but as a triple-threat competitor he won’t have been able to focus on IG subjects in the same depth as Chandru, an IG specialist. While my heart has Chance following in the footsteps of KO, I have to go with my head, which has Chandru becoming the first Schmoedown Pro to defend the Innergeekdom Title since Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica.

Kevin Smith v Brett Sheridan

mts schmoedown spectacular v kevin smith brett sheridan

One of the big announcements from the Free Agency deadline, Kevin Smith proved that he was more than “Good Enough” as he took down Chris Jericho in his Schmoedown debut. Meanwhile Brett Sheridan shocked the world (and arguably even himself) as he defeated Bonnie Somerville at the start of the season.

Now no offence to Brett, but I can’t imagine him pulling out the victory over Kevin Smith, though I can see it going to the final round. Instead, the questions to ask about this match are:

  • What will Kevin Smith do if he spins Kevin Smith on the wheel?
  • Will the big stage of Spectacular V see the grand return of  ZaFlertinFlouse?
  • Will Inappropriate Elmo or Jon Voight from Anaconda make an appearance in an attempt to put Kevin Smith off?

Singles Championship: Dan Murrell v Adam Collins

mts schmoedown spectacular v dan murrell adam collins

While you would never rule out Dan Murrell being in the main event of Spectacular, who would have guessed that his opponent would be Adam Collins, a man who went undrafted and was picked up on the final day of Free Agency. That acquisition arguably won Shannon Barney the Factions Championship, as “The Coyote” went all the way from Play In Match to the Ultimate Schmoedown winner.

Murrell has held on to the belt the hard way after winning it back from Ben Bateman in Atlanta, going into the final round 6 down to “The Boss” in their rematch, while beating Ethan Erwin in Sudden Death, so it’s hard to imagine him struggling for a 4ᵗʰ consecutive Championship Match. Collins however has looked so solid in Singles, but did begin to show some cracks before losing with Deception, and now needs to show that he can recover quickly to take on the GOAT. I see Murrell leading by a point or 2 into the final round, and holding the lead to secure victory.

How do you see these matches playing out? Regardless, I’m certain that this event will be – as its name suggests – spectacular!

feat mts schmoedown spectacular v promo title card

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020

WARNING: This will contain spoilers for the recent Team Championship match and the Singles Tournament Final!

 

 

The new Teams Champions have been crowned (congratulations to Shazam!) and with the Singles Tournament reaching it’s climax, we will soon be turning our attention to the upcoming Teams Tournament. Each faction will be sending 1 team into the tournament and the winners will get the chance to challenge Shazam! for the Teams Title at Spectacular.

Now, it’s safe to say that my other tournament brackets this year have been completely wrong (usually within 1 or 2 matches) so now is my chance to try to salvage some credibility with my predictions for the Teams bracket.

So first of all, with a number of new teams forming, let’s see who will be in the tournament:

  • Final Exam ~ Paul Oyama & Lon Harris ~ 3-1 (2KO)
  • Category 9 ~ Brandon Hanna & Jader Paramo ~ 0-0
  • The Witching Power ~ Haleigh Foutch & Perri Nemiroff ~ 0-0
  • TOM & Paul ~ TOM & Paul Preston ~ 0-1
  • Founding Fathers ~ Dan Murrell & John Rocha ~ 5-3 (4KO)
  • The Misfits ~ Eric Zipper & Adam Witt ~ 0-0
  • Odd Couple ~ Jeff Sneider & Marc Andreyko ~ 6-4 (3KO)
  • Deception ~ Marisol McKee & Adam Collins ~ 0-0
  • The Lethal Weapons ~ Ethan Erwin & Andrew Ghai ~ 0-0

feat MTS Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020 bracket

Play In Match

The Witching Power v The Misfits: 4 veterans of the game join to form 2 rookie teams and give us a very enticing play in match. Haleigh Foutch has not competed yet this year so may be a little rusty, but I would expect that the online format may actually suit her, while Perri caught me out with how competitive she was in the Singles tournament. It hasn’t been a good season for Adam Witt, but perhaps the pairing with Eric Zipper – who has drastically improved under Kaiser’s tutelage – could be just what he needs. The only issue I see here is that Zipper’s IG knowledge (which could have been a weapon against some teams) may be somewhat cancelled out by Foutch and Nemiroff, so I have to give the narrowest of victories to The Witching Power.

Round 1

TOM & Paul v Final Exam: This really hasn’t been the season Paul Preston would have hoped for and I’m afraid I can’t see it getting any better with this match. TOM & Paul were meant to be the elite team for The Den, but an early loss and the success of The Pride saw their chances limited, while Preston also suffered a crushing defeat to Zipper in the Singles tournament. Final Exam meanwhile have played 4 matches together (many of them online) so have the experience of competing in this format. Combine with that a strong tactical link with manager Winston Marshall, while TOM’s match against Jader Paramo suggested there are still communication issues with Kate Mulligan. TOM and Paul are knowledgeable competitors so I expect them to keep it close, but I see Paul and Lon advancing.

Founding Fathers v The Witching Power: There’s no easy way to put this, but I can’t see any situation where the Founding Fathers lose this. Murrell and Rocha are so experienced both in the Schmeodown as a whole and even the online format. It’s fair to imagine that (barring a hideous spin) they could have only dropped a couple of points by the end of Round 2. Perri and Haleigh are great competitors, but I don’t think they have the breadth and depth of knowledge to go near-perfect in this match, and I can see the Founding Fathers winning without having to answer in Round 3.

Odd Couple v Category 9: The Odd Couple are former champions so arguably one of the favourites going into the tournament and find themselves against a rookie and someone who has only played in IG. It’s a strange pairing by manager Ken Napzok but it could be effective, as I imagine that Hanna knows enough to feel confident in the division while also having the potential of the IG slice to use as a weapon in Round 2, while Jader has impressed since winning the Golden Ticket in Orlando last year. I expect Category 9 to put up a fight and make people take notice, but I think that Sneider and Andreyko are to well-rounded as a pair to lose this match.

Deception v The Lethal Weapons: This match is anything but easy to predict. Ethan Erwin is a former Singles Champion and looks back to his best this season, while Andrew Ghai has had some ups and downs but has generally been a high quality B player in teams. Ghai will provide the strategic expertise while Ethan is potentially an upgrade on Drew McWeeny. Rookies Marisol McKee and Adam Collins have both had strong starts to their Schmoedown careers, with “The KOyote Coyote” going on an incredible run in the Singles Tournament and “Lady Justice” coming away with an enhanced reputation despite a loss to Paul Oyama leaving her at 1-1. It’s easy enough to imagine that Deception and KOrruption have been regular sparring partners this season, while Erwin and Ghai have probably not had as much time together due to their work -and it must also be noted that Ghai has been vocal about not liking the online format, which Collins and McKee are used to from their time in the fan leagues. I’ll give the slightest of advantages to Deception, and hope that Ghai and Erwin can stick together as a team into Season 8.

Semifinals

Final Exam v Founding Fathers: This will be an interesting match. Paul Oyama has shown he has the ability to beat Dan Murrell 1v1, so I expect the pair to be close, which means this could come down to a battle between Lon Harris and John Rocha. “The Delinquent” has had his ups and downs this season but Rocha has appeared to miss the extra boost that a crowd gives him. I think the Founding Fathers will have enough to get by, but it will be close.

Odd Couple v Deception: The Odd Couple will be coming up against a much more dangerous opponent in the semis than the opening round. Sneider and Andreyko have the experience of working together, but that also means that Deception have more game tape to work off, while McKee and Collins’ experience in the online format will help them communicate effectively. Collins just ended Sneider’s run in Singles, I think that he and McKee have the depth and breadth of knowledge to do the same to his Teams campaign and defeat the former champions.

Final

Founding Fathers v Deception: And so we come to the climax of the tournament as Deception face off against former Team Champions for the second match running. As a tournament final, this should be a 5-round match, and I think that this could be where the Founding Fathers have the slight advantage as they will have the experience of playing the online speed round – though I’m sure Shannon Barney will do everything she can to get them prepped as KOrruption have experience from their recent title matches. As much as I would love to go for the underdogs, I can see the former champions pulling out a narrow victory to set up a Title Match against Shazam! at Spectacular.

So that’s how I see the tournament panning out; what does your bracket look like?

Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

Ben Bateman’s time in the Finstock Exchange looks to be coming to an end. “The Boss” was the 1ˢᵗ round pick for Tom Dagnino, but following a heartbreaking Championship loss to Dan Murrell, he let his frustrations out and directed them towards his manager. Since then, Bateman has continued to double down on his stance against Bobby Gucci and it looks clear that a partnership that was formed midway through season 5 would be coming to an end.

Following this season, every Schmoedown Pro is set to become a Free Agent, with each manager able to sign 3 Free Agents ahead of the draft. This means that for the elite players like Bateman, the ball is firmly in their court as they have the power to decide if they are willing to stay with their current manager (assuming they are still wanted there) or take up an offer from another manager. As a former Singles Champion and one of the greatest strategic players in the game – arguably, his strategic influence has even improved Dan Murrell’s game – it’s impossible to envision a situation where Bateman is not one of these 3 pre-draft signings, but who will he be representing?

S.W.A.G.

MTS SWAG LogoThe team closest to overthrowing the Exchange at time of writing, S.W.A.G. have some high quality talent in Singles and Teams, but not necessarily someone who would be considered in the elite bracket. Winston Marshall has done a great job of adapting his managerial style to fit each of his players this season and has become a student of the game who is not afraid to throw out a challenge – something that will put him in good stead with Bateman.

However, S.W.A.G have a strong group already and with Chandru Dhandapani and Andres Cabrera both having title matches at Spectacular, there is the possibility that Winston already has to pick 3 out of the pair, Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who have formed an impressive team this year as part of Final Exam. As great an addition as Bateman would be, Winston will surely want to show loyalty to those who have helped him this year, and that may leave him without room for The Boss.

KOrruption

feat mts korruption logo jpShannon Barney is another rookie manager who has done a great job this season, while her rookies Adam Collins and Marisol McKee have impressed when given a chance. Being able to bring Bateman in as one of the top 3, and then picking up either McKee or Collins early in the draft to partner him would make a great pair of teams alongside KOrruption, similar to how the Exchange had Who’s The Boss and the Founding Fathers.

However, KOrruption has the same issue as S.W.A.G in that McKee, Collins and Laura Kelly will likely be on other factions’ radars and it may be that Shannon needs to use her 3ʳᵈ pick to secure one of them, while it’s hard to imagine Bateman going to a faction with an already established team like KOrruption as it will likely end similar to this season, with issues over Bateman’s standing in the faction.

The Quirky Mercs

mts s7 The Quirky Mercs logoCoy Jandreau is another rookie manager who has impressed this season and with the potential that he and Bateman may be working on a show together soon, it may be that they find a good chemistry together. Under Coy’s leadership, the Mercs have done well and it is easy enough to imagine that many of this season’s roster would be available via the draft rather than requiring Coy to sign them in the opening round of Free Agency.

But the issue with The Mercs will be that Bateman would again find himself competing for top spot in the faction with Shazam! As incredible as that trifecta would be, I just can’t imagine Bateman willing to defer big matches or spots in tournaments to Bibbiani and Meyer.

The Den

mts s7 The Den Logo 2This is where things get interesting, as The Den have 4 high level competitors in TOM, Paul Preston, Ben Goddard and James White, but nobody that would necessarily be considered proven as an elite competitor. With White’s chances limited this year and Paul Preston having a down year, it is possible that Bateman could be picked up along with Ben Goddard and TOM, with at least one of the other 2 picked up in the draft, allowing Bateman to create a strong team with one of these competitors.

I do wonder however if Bateman would consider Kate Mulligan the right kind of manager for him. While Kate has been entertaining this season, there have been questions over her management style with some debatable strategic decisions. It may be that Bateman will take it as a chance to help mould her into the manager he wants, but he may also decide that there are more attractive managerial options out there that will allow him to focus on the trivia and his own game.

Roxstars

feat mts roxstars logo jpNow here is an interesting situation. Roxy Striar knows Ben well so will know how to work with him. She may not be quick to challenge at the moment – being more a cheerleader for her players – but it’s easy to imagine that she could change her style a little for the right person. Meanwhile, if you listen to Jeff Sneider, there is every chance that season 7 will see the end of The Odd Couple, which could then allow Bateman to join the Roxstars and partner with either Sneider or Marc Andreyko – either one would be a dangerous team!

However, it feels like Bateman’s chances of joining the Roxstars hinge on the fate of The Odd Couple. Roxy is loyal to her players – arguably too much so – and its hard to imagine her breaking up The Odd Couple unless Sneider or Andreyko decides to end it. Throw in Alex Damon, who has kept Roxy’s 2020 season alive, and there would be no space in the top 3 should The Odd Couple stay together, while Roxy may even still try to keep them both and find new teammates for them.

The Dungeon

MTS The Dungeon Logo JPKaiser took a risk this year by trying to monopolise the Innergeekdom Division, but losses for Smets and Robert Parker, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of matches, has meant that this strategy backfired massively. Kaiser will know that he needs to bring in an elite Singles competitor, and Bateman would be the perfect fit. It’s hard to imagine Kaiser using 2 of his 3 picks on IG specialists, so I can see him keeping his Dungeon regulars Smets and Eric Zipper, then bringing in Bateman as the marquee signing. Zipper would be a good partner for Bateman – especially as the Individual IG slices become available in Teams from 2021 – while it’s possible that Kaiser could pick up another possible partner like Vinnie Mancuso or Liz Shannon Miller in the first round of the draft.

Probably the biggest worry here for Bateman is again the manager. Kaiser can talk the talk, but he’s never really proved himself as a great trivia mind. Bateman was vocal about the downside of having Dagnino as a manager compared to a knowledgeable manager like John Rocha, so could it be that this counts against Kaiser, who actually lost to Dagnino in Orlando last year?

The Usual Suspects

mts s7 The Usual Suspects logo 2The last couple of managers have had question marks beside their names but Samm Levine could arguably be the perfect manager for Ben Bateman. Levine was one of the original strategists in the game and is never shy to throw a challenge, while he also has the trivia knowledge that could make the difference at a crucial moment. Add to this that if the partnership between Andrew Ghai and Ethan Erwin doesn’t work out, Bateman has the chance of a Team Action reunion or forming a superteam with Erwin.

As for a downside, probably the biggest one right now is that if Ghai and Erwin work well together it will be hard to separate them next season, while the Usual Suspects won’t draft until the 2ⁿᵈ round following their blockbuster trade to get hold of Erwin. If that’s the case, it’s going to be much harder to get Bateman a partner that will be strong enough for them to push for the title while also picking up a proven IG competitor.

The Burning Droogs

MTS The Burning Droogs LogoThe team that at time of writing are propping up the table, it’s not been a great year for the Droogs, who no longer have their top 2 draft picks and have also undergone a change of manager. There are some strong competitors here but Bateman could come in as the alpha dog that would be expected to make a run in Singles, while Jader Paramo, Witney Seibold or Alonso Duralde would all be strong partners for Bateman. With Brandon Hanna about to enter the Teams Division and the IG slices entering the division next season, it may even be time for the Boss to team up with his former intern. The big thing here is that they have the chance to create a super strong faction with their 3 picks in the first round of Free Agency, while they then have 2 picks in the 1ˢᵗ round of the draft following the Erwin trade – there are plenty of chances to create a strong team (or 2) and have a strong IG representation by round 2 of the draft!

The big question with the Droogs will be the management, as it is not yet clear whether Ken Napzok will continue in his role next season or hand over to someone else. I can imagine Bateman would prefer a manager with some experience, however a manager willing to learn from him may also prove attractive.

 

The Verdict: Right now I’d have to give the advantage to The Dungeon, but if the right person is in charge of The Burning Droogs, the chance to build a strong team quickly with the extra draft pick could be an enticing enough offer.

Where do you think The Boss will end up?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 (Part 2)

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 (Part 2)

I’m a sucker for a Schmoedown tournament bracket, so welcome back to my attempt at predicting the 2020 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. As it is a bumper 36-competitor tournament this year, I know you don’t want to read a mini novel so I’ve split my bracket into 2 articles. This will be covering from the quarterfinals onwards, so make sure you have checked out my predictions for the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2 here.

feat MTS Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 bracket

Quarterfinals

mts brendan meyerJohn Rocha v Brendan Meyer: “The Outlaw” is never shy to take a jab at old rival William Bibbiani, but in order to face him, he will have to go through Bibbiani’s teammate Brendan Meyer. This will be Rocha’s biggest test so far in the tournament and I have it being one challenge too many, as “The Kid” will look to build on his narrow loss to Dan Murrell in February and 2 hugely challenging matches in the earlier rounds to make the semis.

Chance Ellison v William Bibbiani: William Bibbiani has the chance to set up an all-Shazam! semifinal, but finds a Cobra in his way. While Bibbiani is a great competitor, Chance took him close in his debit season and is now in the form of his life, so I have Chance continuing on in the tournament.

mts paul preston blenderPaul Preston v Tim Franco: Tim Franco is the lowest draft pick to make it into the quarterfinals but after taking out TOM in Round 1, he now faces the other half of TOM and Paul in Paul Preston. I can see this being a close match but Franco’s fairy tale run coming to an end here against a resurgent Paul Preston, bringing and end to the Quirky Mercs’ hopes of replicating the Innergeekdom tournament’s all-KOrruption final.

Mike Kalinowski v Paul Oyama: Were it not for KO’s “Flash” blunder against Jeff Sneider, he would have faced Oyama in New York and believes that he would have won on the day, giving the world “Mikey Three-Belts”, the first triple-belted Champion. Unfortnately for him though, he now faces a resurgent Paul Oyama and barring a favourable pair of wheel spins, I see Kalinowski’s run coming to an end, along with the chances of another KOrruption v KOrruption final.

Semifinals

mts chance ellison throwdownBrendan Meyer v Chance Ellison: And so we reach the semis. When I started planning my bracket, I had “The Kid” winning here, but having watched Chance’s run through the Innergeekdom tournament, it is clear that the IG slice can now be a dangerous weapon for him and I see him using that to make his second tournament final of the season.

mts paul oyama winston marshallPaul Preston v Paul Oyama: Paul will win. There you go. Oh, I have to be more specific? Fine. This is going to be a close match, but Oyama has shown his age to not be a weakness when it comes to older movies but potentially a weapons for genres like YA movies, so I have him making it to the final.

Final

 

Chance Ellison v Paul Oyama: Maybe I’m too much of a sucker for storylines, but what a final this would be. The first 2 Schmoedown Pros to come from the fan leagues, there has always been that rivalry in the Schmoedown between Chance and Paul. Paul got the win on the way to the Singles Title, but Chance got revenge in the opening round of the Innergeekdom tournament on the way to the final. This could easily go either way but Chance is in the form of his life right now and I can’t go against him winning his tournament of the season and all-but securing Player of the Year.

 

So there you have it, from an incredibly deep field of 36, Chance Ellison will emerge victorious to earn a shot at the Singles Title at Spectacular. what do think of my bracket? How does it compare to yours?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 (Part 1)

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 (Part 1)

The Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament is coming back! Following the success of the online tournaments in the Star Wars and Innergeekdom Divisions, the Singles Division will be getting a supersized tournament with a whopping 36 players!

My attempts to correctly predict the brackets for the Star Wars and Innergeekdom tournaments failed miserably, but that has not put me off trying again for this tournament. Of course, this tournament is so big, I don’t want to leave you with a novel to read, so I will be breaking this prediction down into 2 articles: this one covering the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2, while the second will cover from the Quarterfinals through to the end of the tournament.

feat MTS Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament 2020 bracket

Now before I start, I need to address a couple of assumptions that I have made for this prediction. Some of the players taking part in this tournament are currently unconfirmed as we await the outcome of the #1 Contender Match between John Rocha and Ethan Erwin, and the winner’s subsequent Championship Match against Dan Murrell. The Champion following these 2 matches will understandably not feature in the tournament, while all 3 have been confirmed as entering if they are not the champion. Should Ethan Erwin become Singles Champion, Jen Kempe will instead represent the Usual Suspects, while Sabrina Ramirez will take the final spot for the Finstock Exchange if either Rocha or Murrell holds the title.

I see Erwin defeating Rocha but losing to Murrell, meaning that John Rocha will be the Round 1 opponent for the winner of Gallegos v Collins in the top-left corner of the bracket, while in the top-right corner of the bracket Sabrina Ramirez will face Vinnie Mancuso in the Play In, with the winner facing Ethan Erwin in Round 1.

Play In Games

Andres Gallegos v Adam Collins: 2 untested rookies here so there is very little for me to go on. Gallegos has received some hype from legendary editor Nerd Chronic, and while Collins impressed in the fan leagues, he is seen as a 4-division threat, so I will give the advantage to the specialist Gallegos.

Frank Moran v James White: The Free Agent signing for SWAG takes on the man the Burning Droogs traded to the Den to bring in Brandon Hanna. Moran has had good showings in the league with his appearance for B.O.B and in Free 4 All II, however James White will feel at home playing online having been promoted from the fan leagues. Expect the 2ⁿᵈ round draft pick to show why he was picked so high.

Sabrina Ramirez v Vinnie Mancuso: The Free Agent that everyone wanted, Sabrina Ramirez shows the strength in depth of the Finstock Exchange. While she has done well t impress the Horsemen and earn a place in the faction, she has no gametape, while the Dungeon’s Vinnie Mancuso looked strong on his debut for The Butcher Boys and has been talked up by Kaiser as a great talent withing the division. I have Mancuso making it into the tournament.

Marisol McKee v Bonnie Somerville: A look at Bonnie’s Twitter recently suggests that she is up for the chance to go against her former faction, but how will she do in the match? Bonnie has put in decent performances but finds herself up against someone who comes with a strong reputation from the fan leagues and will be keen to make her mark in the pros. I’ve got Marisol McKee advancing.

Round 1

Andres Gallegos v John Rocha: Gallegos may come into this match with momentum, but he will be facing an Outlaw who will be keen to put a loss to Ethan Erwin (or maybe Dan Murrel) behind him and consider losing to an untried rookie the ultimate insult. Rocha will be fired up and as long as he doesn’t burn too hot, he’ll advance to the next round.

mts the delinquent lon harris wiston marshallLon Harris v Sabina Graves: I am so excited to see more of “The Delinquent”! Harris has looked a great talent and the pressure seems off him compared to his tenure as “The Professor”. Sabina is a strong competitor, especially with Samm Levine in her corner, but I think that Harris’ run for Comeback Player of the Year will continue with a win here.

Brendan Meyer v Alonso Duralde: There is going to be a lot of movie trivia know-how on show in this match. “The Kid” looks destined to win a belt in the next couple of seasons but will face a dangerous adversary in Duralde. Duralde’s knowledge covers even some of the more generally avoided categories, but he is not used to playing on his own and I think that Meyer will have the advantage strategically, which will see him through to Round 2.

Marc Andreyko v Matt Atchity: Another incredible Round 1 match-up, when it comes to movie trivia I don’t think there is much between them. However Atchity is notorious for never remembering the rules, while Andreyko has watched a lot of past matches during the lockdown, so I have Andreyko’s better gameplay seeing him advance.

mts chance ellisonChance Ellison v David Del Rio: Chance Ellison will have been so happy to see a larger Singles tournament as it made it more likely that he wold have a chance of advancing, having been eliminated from the last couple of Singles tournaments in the opening round by William Bibbiani and Ethan Erwin. This time he faces David Del Rio, who looked good in his appearances last season, but I think that Chance is a future legend of the league and will come away with the victory here.

Liz Shannon Miller v Rachel Silvestrini: This will be a very interesting match and I’m struggling to call it. Miller has the knowledge but will she be hampered by not having her manager in the room with her? Meanwhile, can Silvestrini improve on a couple of questionable round 1 performances? If Silvestrini can hit Kevin Smith or Disney at the right times then she has a good chance, but I’m giving this one to Liz Shannon Miller.

The Barbarian v Witney Seibold: With Ben Goddard not in the tournament, The Barbarian has a great chance of cementing himself as the Rookie of the Year. Witney Seibold has a great knowledge, but the Barbarian has thrown himself into the sport and has the benefit of learning from 4 former Singles Champions, so not only does he have the knowledge, but he also has the strategy, and will also benefit from a familiarity with the online matches from his time in the recent Innergeekdom tournament. I’ll be shocked if The Barbarian loses this.

William Bibbani v James White: James White could be the next Schmoedown superstar, but William Bibbiani is called “The Beast” for a reason and will be looking to get back to winning ways after his loss in New York at the start of the season.

mts ethan erwinVinnie Mancuso v Ethan Erwin: Mancuso’s prize for winning the Play In is taking on Ethan Erwin, who will be coming in fresh off a title loss to Dan Murrell. Now Mancuso could be one of the next stars of the league, but Erwin knows a lot about a lot and has even been checking out Disney+, so don’t expect him to lose here.

Paul Preston v Eric Zipper: Paul Preston is a fun character, so much so that you forget just how good his movie trivia knowledge is. With just a loss in Teams to his name this season, he will be keep to get back to winning ways against Eric Zipper. Zipper’s improvements have been clear to see, but I think that Preston has the potential to fight for a Singles Title and I think Zipper still has a little may to go before that, so I have Preston the win.

Jader Paramo v Jim Vejvoda: This will be an interesting match. Vejvoda has great movie knowledge but really lacks the understanding of the game and strategy. Jader meanwhile has a good level of knowledge but probably not quite as high, but as a long-time fan he understands the game better and will be benefiting from the strategic advice of Samm Levine and Andrew Ghai (unless the Schmoeminati have got him). I’m picking Vejvoda, but a Paramo win wouldn’t surprise me.

Tim Franco v TOM: This was anything but easy to pick. TOM became an instant fan favourite and hasn’t missed many questions in his Schmoedown career, while Tim Franco’s impact on the league has been limited due to being based in Arizona. Right now, I’m looking at experience of the game and competing without a teammate, and as a long-time fan who TKO’d Matt Atchity on debut, I’m going for Tim Franco.

mts mike kalinowskiMike Kalinowski v Perri Nemiroff: “The Killer” turned down a winnable match with Andrew Ghai and the potential of a #1 Contender match to enter the tournament and earn as many pints as he can for KOrruption. First up is Perri Nemiroff who certainly has some areas of strength, but hasn’t played outside of exhibitions for years. Expect to see KO going on to the next round.

Mark Reilly v VIDEODREW: “Yodi” will be hoping to go further in this tournament that last year, where Stacy Howard knocked him out in the opening round. He goes up against VIDEODREW who certainly has the potential to be a banana skin for him. I was struggling to call this one but eventually let my heart take over and selected Mark Reilly to advance.

Jeff Sneider v Robert Montano: “The Insneider” believes himself to be the best in the game and running through such a large tournament wold be a great way to do it. First up is Robert Montano, formerly of Late to the Party. Montano has shown that he has good knowledge, but Sneider is a great player and as long as he feels driven to win, I have him advancing.

Paul Oyama v Marisol McKee: Another case of a currently untested rookie who has made a good name for themselves in the fan leagues versus a high level veteran. McKee is meant to be be a dangerous adversary, but Paul Oyama showed his quality last year and I have him bouncing back from Singles losses to Bateman and Rocha to advance to the next round.

Round 2

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-John-Rocha-The-Outlaw-LiveJohn Rocha v Lon Harris: Let’s be honest, we all want Lon Harris to g all the way in this tournament, just to see as much of “The Delinquent” as possible. Unfortunately, he’ll find himself up against a John Rocha who is driven after coming so close to fighting for the belt again. Expect an Outlaw near the top of his game to make it to the next round.

Brendan Meyer v Marc Andreyko: These maybe 2 of the best Schmoedown Pros in the game to have never won the Singles title, such is the strength of this season’s bracket. Andreyko can go up against anyone on his day and thanks to this season being so heavily disrupted, he will find that he is not burned out like usual by this stage of the season. However, “The Kid” has looked the real deal and I have him pulling out the victory.

Chance Ellison v Liz Shannon Miller: Speaking of players who look the real deal, Chance Ellison will look to follow up a fantastic Innergeekdom run with an equally strong run in Singles. In his way stands Liz Shannon Miller, who has shown a good level of knowledge but has never faced someone in the form Ellison is in, while Chance’s fan league and Innergeekdom experience also means that he is used to the online setup. The Cobra is continuing on.

mts free 4 all ii william bibbiani
Growl Growl!

The Barbarian v William Bibbiani: This match feels like it could have been a semi-final! Though the Barbarian has a limited number of matches, neither he nor Bibbiani have any glaring weaknesses, and I think that this will come down to who gets a more favourable spin of the wheel. Though I’m loath to write off the Barbarian, I’m going with the more experienced Bibbiani.

Ethan Erwin v Paul Preston: What happens when a hotshot Hollywood producer faces off against a middle-aged frat boy? We get a great match in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown! I can see this being a great match and while I’d never count against Ethan Erwin’s trivia know-how, I think that Paul Preston will have spent the break working on strategy, which will see him through to the next round.

Jim Vejvoda v Tim Franco: After a greater knowledge saw him sneak past the more strategic Jader Paramo, this will be a much harder fight for Jim Vejvoda. Franco has a wide and deep knowledge of movies and the strategy to go with it, so I have him advancing to the quarters.

Mike Kalinowski v Mark Reilly: Having made it past VIDEODREW, things don’t get any easier for Mark Reilly as he takes on Kalinowski. I think that this match could easily go either way so will probably come to the wheel, where I can see either Bond or the Innergeekdom slice giving KO the advantage he needs to progress to the next round.

MTS Paul Oyama Singles BeltJeff Sneider v Paul Oyama: Jeff Sneider will never get as close to winning the Singles Title as he did against Oyama in New York, where manager Roxy Striar convinced him to bet (and lose) a point in the betting round, leading to a loss in Sudden Death. He’ll have his chance for revenge here, but that was Oyama on a bad day, and I think the change in character and familiarity of playing online will see Oyama play better and get the win again.

 

We started with 36, now we’re down to 8. I’ll have my predictions for the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final up early next week. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my bracket so far. How does it compare to yours?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown continues to go strong despite the current pandemic bringing an end to live and studio matches and forcing the league online. Given the unavoidable circumstances, Season 7 is well on its way to being a resounding success.

Each season, we so many wonderful moments – either story beats moments within a match. Some will live on forever, like the XX5XX moment from the inaugural Free 4 All, the reveal of the 5 Horsemen at the LA Live event and The Tackle, but there will also be many moments that are also worth celebrating and remembering that seem to fade out of conversation after a year or 2 due to the people involved no longer competing or the storyline it was involved in having come to an end. Today I want to give some love to those forgotten moments.

The breaking of the 4 Horsemen

mts collision four horsemen break-up i betray you john rocha matt knost william bibbiani ricky hayberg
“I BETRAY YOU!!”

Season 3 saw the beginning of factions within the Schmoedown, as John Rocha put together the 4 Horsemen: Rocha, Matt Knost, William Bibbiani and Robert Meyer Burnett, while Tom Dagnino put together the Lion’s Den to counter them. It’s safe to say that the Lion’s Den had the greater success, while the 4 Horsemen came to an end at Collision of Season 4.

Despite a starring debut, William Bibbiani was struggling to get over with the fans, but his yell of “I BETRAY YOU!” as he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold was a big step in helping “The Beast” truly come into his own and set up a rivalry with Rocha. Likewise, after being the top heel of the league, this betrayal gave Rocha the chance to turn away from this and become a more respectful character, leaving a space at the top of the heel tree for Team Action to swagger into.

The “perfect” game

When someone talks about playing the perfect game, thoughts immediately go to William Bibbiani, Dan Murrell, Robert Parker and Kevin Smets. One name that is often forgotten, though, is that of Mark Ellis.

mts mark ellis jteWay back in Season 1, Mark Ellis was pitching a perfect game going into the final round of his quarterfinal against JTE. Now back in those days, the final round was a Jeopardy round, similar to the current betting round in title matches but with Schmoedown Pros able to be as many points as they had.

Both Ellis and JTE got the question right, but “Baby Carrots” had taken the risk of expecting JTE to miss and not bet enough points, losing 11-14. While this match does live on in infamy due to it leading to the Trial of JTE, Ellis’ perfect game is a moment that gets forgotten when we look back at the match.

Reilly’s greatest flub

Back in season 3, John Rocha (who hosted a Star Wars podcast) forgot that Bespin was featured in The Empire Strikes Back and has never been allowed to forget it. Over time, many of the top competitors have had their own “Bespin moments” that they have never been able to fully live down: Mike Kalinowski’s “Pudding” and “Flash”, Kevin Smets’ “Don’t tell Peter” and Ben Bateman’s “Giancarlo Stanton”. One man who always seems to get away with it, though, is Mark Reilly.

mts john rocha mark reilly“Then I hit Opponents Choice. I could have let that bad luck beat me. But I kept going and had fun. Then I had the Sandlot moment – and kept going. Who cares. Answer the questions as they come. There were no nerves, just trivia. I kept smiling and knowing that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.” ~ Mark Reilly

During the Speed Round of Reilly’s Championship Match against John Rocha, the pair were asked “Which film features the following characters: Billy, Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Tatum, Cotton, Ghostface?” When horror-buff Reilly buzzed in, everyone was certain the he would be giving the correct answer of Scream, but instead he guessed The Sandlot and lost the point. Reilly’s reaction when the correct answer is revealed is priceless, but somehow (probably because he still managed to win the match) this great flub is often forgotten by all but Reilly.

2 in a row

feat mts collision triple threat singles championship dan murrell mark reilly john rochaEverybody remembers Ben Bateman’s recent feat of winning 2 matches in 1 night at Spectacular, where he TKO’d William Bibbiani in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament final and then later KO’d Paul Oyama to win the title. While Impressive, it is not even the first time a Schmoedown Pro has won 2 5-round matches in a day.

That feat was achieved by “Dangerous” Dan Murrell at Season 4’s Collision. With Mark Reilly holding the Singles title, Murrell defeated both him and John Rocha in a Triple Threat to win the belt back, then had to immediately defend it as Samm Levine crashed his post-match interview to cash in his Free 4 All prize and challenge Murrell for the title.

Now Levine’s logic makes sense, that Murrell would be tired after such a big match and not be able to hit the heights again right after, but the GOAT earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8 question format (though he did miss the bonus question) on his way to a 26-23 defence.

The great JTE-isms

mts japeto jteJTE will always hold a special place in our heart and it is a shame that we do not get to see him compete as much anymore. While he played the heel so well, you could never bring yourself to truly hate him as you were always looking forward to his JTE-isms.

Now some have lived on better than others. His “Jew Bear” from last year’s Free 4 All remains in peoples minds due to the recency and the famous “Tricenatorustops” from the first ever Schmoedown against Cobbster is too good to ever forget! But there were also plenty of others from the littlest of evils over the years, from “The jungle rules the kingdom” to the classic answers of “Gwelmo del Toro” and my personal favourite from his Singles match against teammate Jeff Sneider “Japeto”.

The other table clear

mts free 4 all samm levine hector navarro marc andreyko robert meyer burnett dennis tzengWhen we think of table clears at the inaugural Free 4 All, our minds understandably go to XX5XX, but there was actually another one later in the event that could have massively changed the Schmoedown.

The penultimate entrant was Samm Levine, who came to the table and with a score of 3-2-2-2-2 eliminated Robert Meyer Burnett, Dennis Tzeng, Marc Andreyko and Hector Navarro. This meant that the fight for the prize would be between Levine and none other than Tom Dagnino, Leader of the Lion’s Den. Now thankfully Levine won the final round 3-1, but just imagine an alternate universe where Dagnino had won the Free 4 All and had a title shot guaranteed for one of his faction. The second half of Season 4 could have looked very different.

The Force is with Sam Witwer

As the voice and likeness of Galen Marek/Starkiller in the The Force Unleashed games and the voice of Maul, Emperor Palpatine and The Son in the current Star Wars canon, it looks like Sam Witwer may have picked up some real-life knowledge of using the Force.

When most people think of Witwer competing in the Schmoedown, they think of his last gasp victory over Ken Napzok to win the Star Wars title at Spectacular II, there were some other moments that really shouldn’t be forgotten.

Season 3’s match between The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and the Force Bros (Witwer and Freddie Prinze Jr) is probably best remembered for Freddie getting a point in Round 1 that he shouldn’t leading to the rule now that answers must be spoken and written on the whiteboard, but that led us to Sudden Death and a great moment. Sudden Death was different back then: A question on the buzzer, if the Schmoedown Pro buzzed in and got the answer right, they had the chance to answer the next question for the win. Now by this pin in the match, Witwer has shown that knowledge isn’t really his problem, but he is not fast on the buzzer. So trying to get the win, he jumps in midway through the question, not realising that this would stop the question being completed. With the question standing at “Who is surrounded by droids…” Witwer somehow correctly guesses Obi-Wan Kenobi, before answering the next question correctly to win the game.

mts sam witwer captain needa 2Witwer’s next appearance was at Celebration in a Fatal Fiveway for the first ever Star Wars title. After missing his 3-pointer in the final round (though I would challenge the wording of the question), Sam seemed off his game and when asked “In The Empire Strikes Back” who barked the order “Shields up!” just before the Falcon buzzed the Star Destroyer’s bridge?” he was unable to pull the correct answer of Captain Needa. This miss meant that Napzok and Campea would go to Sudden Death, which Napzok won. Witwer made his return to the Schmoedown in another Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match just ahead of Spectacular and found himself in similar circumstances. If he hit his 5-pointer he would win, a miss would see Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw go t Sudden Death. As the question “In The Empire Strikes Back who said “Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility for losing them and apologise to Lord Vader.” was read out, Sam’s face was shocked as he realised the correct answer was none other than Captain Needa, earning him redemption and a shot at the title (as well as handing Damon his only loss to date).

As George Lucas famously said: “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”

Macuga v Finstock

mts finstock marc andreyko tom dagnino josh macugaThe Wildberries became so beloved, it’s hard to remember that they were not always a team. But before that, Josh Macuga had been teamed with Finstock, a pairing that did not end amicably. This led to a moment in Season 4 where Josh Macuga and Finstock were set to play a match against each other, with the loser being banned from the league.

The day of the match came, Macuga made his way to the table and then the impossible happened: Tom Dagnino walked out alongside “Finstock” – clearly Marc Andreyko in the Finstock attire (still to date the only other person we have seen don the mask). Somehow the idea that Finstock could be anyone meant that the match continued, and in a complete shock, Josh Macuga somehow managed to come away with the victory over “Findreyko”, leading to Dagnino being (briefly) ejected from the league.

Actin v DC Movie News

So this is one that I have to include in its entirety as I absolutely love it. Action were at their heelish best with Andrew Ghai back from suspension and their constant goading of DC Movie News led to a match. Kalinowski had recently found himself without support during his #1 Contender Match against Clarke Wolfe and clearly wasn’t happy in the pre-match promos. The match was hard-fought with DC Movie News running through James Bond in Round 2 but gifting Action a strong category of Sci-Fi/Fantasy after they hit Opponent’s Choice. Action got the win and then in the post-match interviews things went crazy as Mike Kalinowski severed ties with The League and went off on his own after reducing Adam Gertler to tears.

And this then led to…

Thadd Williams v Mike Kalinowski

mts thadd williams tells mike kalinowski no

Following Kalinowski’s break from the league, we were treated to about half a year full of scenes showing Kalinowski taking over control of the Schmoedown by bribing Commissioner Thadd Williams. As well as leading to huge impacts on the league – such as the first ever Innergeekdom Tournament, the debut and rise of Mara Knopic and the Anarchy Tournament – these scenes were also great viewing and deserve remembering as we watch Thadd get further and further out of his depth.

The other Odd Couple

One of the teams to form during Anarchy was that of William Bibbiani and Matt Knost. Not even taking into account their history as former members of the Horsemen, Knost’s focus on the game and Bibbiani’s love of theatrics never felt a good mix and it was no surprise to hear Bibbiani state on the Finstock Exchange Podcast recently that the first thing they managed to agree on was making their team name “The Odd Couple”, only to find that Andreyko and Sneider had beat them to it.

Knost’s humour is something many fans have missed since his retirement and one of the best examples was during one of the Cinemaniacs’ entrances, where Bibbiani and manager Emma Fyffe came out dancing and playing with a beach ball while Knost trudged out sulkily alongside them, only for him to catch the beach ball and stat to smile and dance as he slowly deflated it.

Please come back Knost!

 

What other great moments can you think of that seem to have been forgotten over time?