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

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

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

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

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

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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 18/3/2019


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

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

10. Alas, Poor Jonny

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

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

9. Reilly’s Return

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

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

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

8. Double Trouble

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

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

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

7. Under the Radar

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

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

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

6. Levine Wins

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

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

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

5. Bibbiani’s First Stand

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

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

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

4. From Desk to Table

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

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

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

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

3. The Marvelous Miss Movies

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

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

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

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

2. A Dastardly Entrance

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

Then the music began…

The unmistakeable Jaws theme…

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

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

Andrew Ghai.

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

1. XX5XX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free 4 All II and Beyond…

Free 4 All II and Beyond…

The Schmoedown had its first PPV-style event of the 2018 season recently and the world went nuts. Fans arranged gatherings from Arizona to London and everyone came together for the joy of watching 48 competitors battle it to win Free 4 All II and earn a title shot. Last year, “The Inglorious One” Samm Levine came out late in the event and after clearing the table won a 1v1 against Tom Dagnino to earn a title shot that he cashed in at Collider Collision against Dan Murrell. This year, as well as the main prize, there was also a prize announced for the competitor who lasted the most rounds: a Number 1 Contender match.

There was so much to take in from the 2 videos I would be here forever if I tried to discuss everything, so I have decided to stick to the points that have stuck with me most. Obviously it goes without saying, there will be spoilers for the Free 4 All and also references to scenes in Scream Queens v Gardenhosers and Marc Andreyko v Ben Bateman as some storylines have been continued in these matches.

And your winner…!

Congratulations to “Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler on her victory. Coming out at number 44 is always going to give you a good shot but with William Bibbiani and Ethan Erwin at the table it will still take something special to win. In the 4 rounds she competed in, she averaged 4.75/5, the highest average of any competitor at the event. We have always known Brianne was a strong competitor and she proved it in this event.

f4awinHaving taken a step back from competing following her loss to Mike Kalinowski in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, it was great to see Brianne back at the table (and coming in with another great entrance), even if it was just for an exhibition match and not regular competition. She has been doing a great job looking after the Schmoedown’s Patreon and doing the interviews for the Patreon matches, so I am hoping this will lead to more time back in front of the camera. Even if she isn’t ready to compete regularly get her on the desk!

Now thoughts turn to what Brianne will do with the title shot. I would love to see her go for it if she feels comfortable, as I think she really could challenge for the Singles title. Or, following her split from the Missfits, she could create a new team (Kalinowski, anyone?) and go for the Teams title, though I don’t know if they would be able to take down The Patriots. Another option open to her would be to give the title shot to someone else. Ahead of Scream Queens v Gardenhosers, we saw Kalinowski suggesting using it for him to get a shot at the Innergeekdom belt. We’ve since seen Ken Napzok trying to convince Brianne to give him the title shot as insurance if he fails to win his live match against Joseph Scrimshaw and Alex Damon and regain the title he (wrongly) feels he was cheated out of. Perhaps these are the start of a series of competitors pushing their cases and trying to join up with Brianne to start a new faction or get her to join theirs. Who else will we see trying to get Brianne to pick them over the next couple of weeks? Top 10? Team Action? Drew McWeeny? I’ll be interested to see what happens with this title shot.

Beasting it

William “The Beast” Bibbiani has had an up-and-down ride in the Schmoedown. He is clearly a knowledgeable competitor but has had some awful luck in Rounds 2 & 3, leaving him with a 3-4 singles record. Since leaving the 4 Horsemen to create the Growling Commandos, he has joined up with Witney “The Beauty” Seibold to compete in the team league as Critically Acclaimed, however their results have also been mixed as they beat Only Stupid Answers on their debut but lost in the first round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown to Late to the Party (2017’s Upset of the Year) to leave them with a 1-1 record. If anyone needed a good showing in the Free 4 All it was Bibbs, and boy did he have a good showing!

beast
Growl Growl!

Coming in at number 20 was always going to make it hard for the Beast to win the event, but he put in an MVP performance that will be difficult to beat in future events. His 21 rounds competed in smashed Dan Murrell’s record from 2017 and he wasn’t just scraping through these rounds. His average score per round of 4.14 was bettered by only Marc Andreyko (4.40 from 5 rounds) and the winner Brianne Chandler (4.75 from 4 rounds), while his tally of 9 perfect rounds smashed Andreyko and Murrell’s joint record of 3 in 2017. Speaking on the Schmoedown Rundown, Bibbs discussed how for his Baby Driver-themed entrance he picked up a pair of non-prescription sunglasses which made it difficult to see the audience or the score, so he was just focusing on the questions. That, compared with a format more reminiscent of Round 1 (where Bibbs generally has more fortune) definitely seemed to benefit The Beast and I think he should have a word with Commissioner Thadd Williams about making his future matches into Iron Man matches.

And now to the future: by lasting the most rounds of any competitor, Bibbiani has earned a Number 1 Contender match. I’m not quite sure of the full conditions (whether he gets to choose his opponent) but he can decide which league he uses it in. So will he go singles or teams? Witney had a good showing in the Free 4 All but is still relatively inexperienced in the Schmoedown, so a Number 1 Contender’s match may be too early for Critically Acclaimed. A 3-4 record leaves The Beast a long way from a naturally earning a chance to compete for the singles title so I can see him cashing in for a chance to make it to a singles title match. Would he win? If he finally gets some luck in Rounds 2&3, he could certainly find himself with a belt around his waist.

While on the subject of Bibbiani, I just want to state how much I am enjoying him this season. Though he is clearly competitive, it was his lightheartedness that initially stood out to me when watching the match (until I realised just how long he was lasting). I have also really enjoyed his interviews with the Schmoedown Rundown and his appearances on the announcer desk, while his Patreon newsletter talking about how he plans his entrances was a great read – almost as good as his actual entrances! Coming into the Schmoedown midway through the 2017 season I was not a real fan of him, but his appearances this year have left me wanting more.

finstock“Poof!”

Looks like things are about to get interesting in the Schmoedown. After last year coming out as the final competitor in the 2017 Free 4 All, Tom Dagnino was not so lucky this year. The manager of the Lion’s Den was the second competitor out and, though he lasted longer than expected, he was still out relatively quickly in the event. That wasn’t it for Tricky Tom though as competitor number 39 was revealed to be his alter-ego Finstock, ironically coming out right after his former Mega Powers teammate Josh Macuga. Again, he didn’t last long at the table, but the possibilities of what Dagnino and his multiple personalities will get up to moving forward – Finstock stated that he is not part of the Lion’s Den – is frightening!

But that wasn’t all for the Dagnino news at the Free 4 All as Brianne was seen to trick Thadd into signing a contract with a clause stating that at 2100 patrons, Dagnino will be named Commissioner for a week. With it only being a week I can’t imagine that he will be able to get up to much trouble in that time, but it will certainly be an interesting shakeup to the league. One of the benefits of the delay to posting this is that I have seen Kristian tweet a screenshot of a text from Dagnino:

“You better hope these numbskulls don’t make me commissioner for that week cos I’m looking to start a civil war. At 2500 patrons, you’re playing ya buddy Ellis. Deal with it.”

I can hear the masses signing up already…

Though I am very much aligned against the Lion’s Den, I can’t help but agree that Dagnino makes things interesting. I look forward to seeing what happens with Dagnino and Finstock over the coming months.

Prison does strange things to you

“And their next opponent…” I wonder who’s next, there’s so many veterans we haven’t seen yet. *Jaws music begins* No way! “Representing… Screen Junkies…” YES! “Ladies and gentlemen… “Dangerous” Dan Murrell!” OH MY GOD!! *Andrew Ghai walks out* Oh for **** sake!

I’m sure my mind wasn’t the only one with similar thoughts as we witnessed the biggest shock of the 2018 Free 4 All. I do enjoy watching Team Action on the Schmoedown even though I would consider myself more of a Top 10 fan, but this entrance from Andrew Ghai on his return to the league following his ban for The Tackle was immense. In his absence, we have heard his teammate Ben “The Boss” Bateman saying that he’s been in prison, something Ghai confirmed in the post-match interviews when discussing his early exit:

“There’s no movies in jail, OK, so I couldn’t study. I just drank and shanked people”

Whether it was his time in jail or losing to his ‘dad’ John Rocha before that, something in Ghai’s mind has snapped. Coming out at the Free 4 All, Ghai claimed that he had killed Dan Murrell and hidden the body 6 feet under. Since then, we have seen him have a number of shirts released, including “I’m the Ghai that beat the GOAT” – a claim Ghai has been making loudly since the Free All – and a mockery of the new Murrell order nMo design. We’ve also seen him drinking heavily and being even louder and more foul-mouthed than usual, as well as using Bateman’s post-match interview as a chance to invite Clarke Wolfe out for something that sounded nothing like a match.

ghai4wolfeRight now, Ghai is the biggest heel in the league by a mile and it will be very interesting to see where things go from here. Will his antics get too much for “The Boss” as he starts pushing for a singles belt, forming a rift within the team? Will his claims of beating Murrell bring the GOAT out of his retirement, even for just a one-off match to put him back in place? Or will he just get himself banned and thrown back in jail again?

As an aside: going back to Ghai’s entrance and it is interesting that Thadd appeared to go behind Kristian’s back and pull a fast one on him by putting Murrell’s name in the order rather than Ghai’s. Team Action have certainly had some help from the Commissioner and I wonder if he is trying to get them onside for a possible power battle with Kristian Harloff.

What’s up with K.O.?

Mike Kalinowski currently seems to be at a crossroads as to his future in the Schmoedown. He has not been seen with The League this season following a disappointing loss for DC Movie News against Top That at the end of last season. We haven’t seen much of K.O. this season – his only match so far was the Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match where he was thoroughly outplayed by JTE and Rachel Cushing – but when we have, it has generally been on his own. It looked like his time with The League was over and his future was down one of 3 paths:

thornbush
If The League does disband, it looks like Roxy has her next faction

I was shocked then to see Kalinowski introduced as representing The League at the Free 4 All. Is he sticking with the guys who supported him during his rise up the rankings last season? I get the feeling we’ll get some answers following his match with Wolfe.

If he does walk away from The League, what is next for his old faction? Other than Kalinowski, they have not been that active in the competition. Jonny Loquasto is a great mouthpiece, but his competitive debut at the Free 4 All resulted in 3 points over 2 rounds, though it must be remembered that he came to the table during a period where we were seeing some of the strongest tables of the entire event. The only other member of The League to compete has been K.O.’s DC Movie News teammate Adam Gertler, who has so far stuck to the teams league. Losing Kalinowski could see the end of The League as a faction.

New faces and welcome returns

It is a real measure of the growth of the Schmoedown that the Free 4 All was able to expand from 35 competitors in 2017 to 48 in 2018. Not only were we treated to the regular contenders, but we also had a couple of players making their debut (such as Wendy Lee Szany), plenty of competitors who have debuted this season and so far made just a couple of appearances (ranging from Dale the Dude and Taylor Robinson to Ethan Erwin). Looking at the more established names, we had a number of competitors making only their first or second appearance of the season, but were also treated to a number of players who were making grand returns to the Schmoedown table after extended absences, like Brianne and Mark “Yodi” Reilly, which made Ghai’s Murrell tease even more believable. It was great seeing them competing again, even if it was just for an exhibition match.

Yodi back
Yodi’s return to the table was one of the best surprises in the match

What really shows the strength of the Schmoedown in the list of players who did not feature at this year’s event. Current Champions Jeff Sneider, Jason Inman and Sam Witwer, former Champions Matt Knost and Hector Navarro and other veterans like Clarke Wolfe and Scott Mantz were all absent from the competition, while former Commissioner Kristian Harloff was at the desk and current Commissioner Thadd Williams appeared only in the scenes before and after the event.

With so many competitors, it allows such a great variety of matches. With the live shows and the Patreon, we are already seeing more matches that will have no bearing on the title picture this year and it is making the league even more enjoyable.

And while we’re on the subject of new faces, how good was it to finally see Jenn Sterger announcing a match?! Fans have been begging for it for so long and she proved us right by doing a great job. The Schmoedown is doing a great job of rotating the announcers this season, hopefully this will mean we are not left waiting too long before we see Jenn at the desk again.

 

What were your thoughts on Free 4 All II? Who impressed you the most? Who was your favourite competitor? What are you looking forward to moving forward? Did you attend one of the viewing parties? Let me know in the comments.