War has been declared in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown as season 8 kicked off with the Free Agency Special! Ahead of the 2021 Draft, each manager had to lock in 3 Schmoedown Pros from season 7 to their faction. Shannon Barney’s Faction Title gave her a 1 week head start and the ability to lock in her trio regardless of their thoughts, while the remaining 7 managers were at the mercy of the Free Agents, who get the final pick of which faction they join.
Well the Free Agency Special gave us some real shocks as Kaiser managed to convince both Dan Murrell and Ben Bateman to join him and Robert Parker in The Dungeon, while Drew McWeeny returned to competition with the Usual Suspects and JTE secured himself as Bobby Gucci’s 3ʳᵈ pick. But perhaps the shock of the night came as “Lady Justice” Marison McKee chose not to risk the raft and signed on with Kate Mulligan and the Den, only for Kate to trade her to KOrruption for Shannon’s 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ round picks!
On Friday, the 2021 Draft will take place, and managers will fill their rosters from the remaining rookies and Free Agents, but who will each manager select? I have put together a mock draft to try and predict how these teams may fill out.
A note on the picks:
Season 7 saw the Usual Suspects trade Ken Napzok, Jader Paramo and the 1ˢᵗ round pick in this year’s draft to the Burning Droogs for Ethan Ewrin. As the Droogs are no longer active, Samm retains his pick.
Season 7 also saw the Roxstars (now called the Stars) trade JTE to the Burning Droogs for Josh Quevedo and a 3ʳᵈ round pick. As the Droogs are no longer active, Roxy will have 2 picks in round 3 – her own pick and also an extra pick at the start of the round, which is where the Droogs would have been picking if still active.
Andrew Ghai is arguably the biggest name missing from the Draft board, and it doesn’t seem that many people have seen him since he went missing during Spectacular.
Other notable veterans who were not on the draft list so appear to be sitting out the season are Matt Atchity, Scott Mantz, Tim Franco, Grae Drake, Hecor Navarro and Adam Hlavac.
Some key notes from this draft:
With Kate’s 2 Free Agent signings and first 2 draft picks covering the 3 main divisions, Kate opens Round 2 by taking a Star Wars competitor. While I imagine she’d want to show loyalty to Sean Sullivan, Laura Kelly’s #1 Contender match is too much of a draw to avoid.
Though she doesn’t get to pick until the end of Round 3, Shannon then has consecutive picks, which she uses to take Marc Edward Heuck and Sean Sullivan. Having made these 2 picks, she immediately offers both Heuck and Sullivan to the Den for Laura Kelly, which Kate accepts. This allows Shannon to get her top 5 back, while Kate still has an underrated Star Wars competitor in Sullivan and a dangerous Singles/Teams competitor in Heuck.
A number of managers show loyalty to promising Schmoedown Pros from last year’s factions
The Dungeon brings back Zipper, Witt and Britney Young
Samm brings back Jeannine and Jen Kempe as potential triple threats, as well as Doug Bensen, who did not get a match last season
Kate brings back Saul, Silvestrini, Brett, Alex Marzoña (who was on the faction but did not get a match) and James White, while also bringing back Sean Sullivan in a trade
The Mercs bring back Mara, Perri and the Reel Rejects
Dagnino holds onto Andrew Dimalanta
Roxy retains Stacy Howard, Jim Vejvoda, David Del Rio and Chris Jericho
Winston brings back Ace, RB3 and Sean Gerber
Shannon retains her top 5 and Eliot Dewberry during the draft. As she would only have 10 picks by the time every other faction is full, she will either have the last 2 picks of the draft or use Free Agency to bring back Claudia Dolph and Klee Wiggins, who both had limited opportunity to show what they could do in 2020
Roxy shows faith in Alex Damon in IG by taking Stacy Howard with her Round 1 pick, while also trusting that he will win his early Star Wars Title defence(s) and bringing in Thomas Harper with the intention of creating a Stars 1-2 at the top of the Star Wars rankings in the same way that Kaiser tried to do with Smets and Parker in IG last year
Roxy also brings in a couple of competitors to show her quality as a manager and further feuds with Dagnino and Shannon by bringing in Emily Rose Jacobson and Bonnie Somerville respectively
Winston picks up Mark Reilly and Haleigh Foutch with early picks, with the intention of making them this year’s Lon Harris and Liz Shannon Miller
Winston and Shannon will both draft second Star Wars competitors in the first half of the draft despite having recently signed a Star Wars specialist due to this second competitor – Zack Burkett and Jacob Wittneben also being a threat in IG
How do you think the draft will work out? Will Shannon get Laura Kelly back to KOrruption? Let me know in the comments.
In the meantime, pick your side and prepare for WAR!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
The 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.
Shannon 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
Coy 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.
This 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.
Now 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.
Kaiser 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
The 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
The 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.
As far as Free Agency deadline days go, the Schmoedown’s first ever Deadline Day was fantastic. Last week’s announcement of the upcoming Innergeekdom and Star Wars tournaments and the set deadlines to cut Schmoedown Pros and pick up Free Agents suddenly stepped up the action with 3 huge trades, before yesterday’s Free Agency special episode saw 14 Free Agents signed. And then just to finish everything off, Chairman Kristian Harloff has now released the brackets for both of the upcoming tournaments.
With the tournaments coming up soon, keep an eye out for my bracket predictions later in the week. But for now, I’m going to be giving my major takeaways from Deadline Day. If you want my thoughts on the trades, I have already covered them in my last article and the recent events have not largely changed my opinions.
Stepping up to a new level
Season 7 has already seen the Schmoedown step up to a new level with the Draft and faction standings adding more of a sports element and drawing in/drawing back fans and making every match matter. This game was already going to a new level, but 3 Free Agency pick-ups in particular could be about to catapult the Schmoedown even further.
Now to give you an idea, I’ve never been deep into wrestling and I wouldn’t consider myself a cinephile by any means, so if I know the names Chris Jericho and Kevin Smith, that shows just how much they are household names! Meanwhile, I’ve already heard a lot of fans talking about how Doug Benson was part of their pathway to finding the Schmoedown in the first place.
These are big names, that automatically generate hype for the league… Just wait until they actually have a match lined up! But it’s not just the hype inside the league, it’s going to go beyond that. The Schmoedown may be huge for us, but the masses still don’t know about it. The upcoming ESPN article will get the name Schmoedown out to people who have never seen it before, but now we will have the name spreading even wider through the social media accounts of big names.
Dan Murrell is widely cited as being peoples entrance into the Schmoedown. At time of writing, he has 73.9k followers on Twitter, while the Schmoedown’s official Twitter account has 66.4k followers and Chairman Kristian Harloff 84.8k followers. In contrast, Doug Benson has 823.3k Twitter followers, Kevin Smith has 3.1m Twitter followers and Chris Jericho 3.6m Twitter followers. The moment these guys mention the Schmoedown on their social media, the will be spreading the league to a far wider audience! Not only that, but they will often be wrestling fans or film fans – 2 of the demographics most likely to be drawn into the league!
The 2020 season has been horribly hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this could be the year that the Schmoedown reaches amazing new heights.
The next Civil War?
We all remember the heartbreak of seeing Team Action break up at Spectacular III, which led to a wonderful Action Civil War last season. Well now we may have a couple more Civil Wars to look forward to.
Shannon Barney breaking up the Wildberries at the Draft had already set up the likelihood of a match between the former teammates once she’d been able to sufficiently KOrrupt Eliot Dewberry. Now we may have another Civil War coming up with breaking up of Late To The Party.
Robert Montano and Vanessa Fitzsimmons were some of the first fans to enter the league and will always be remembered for their upset victory over Critically Acclaimed. But that all came to an end when Robert agreed to join The Usual Suspects, who only had the one free spot. This led to Vanessa contacting Kate Mulligan and offering herself to the Den, which they agreed.
Now with both of them living out of state, it is likely that when they can finally make it to the studio to compete, they will be coming at the same time, so who better to start their Singles careers against than each other?!
Who would you have winning this match?
Free Agency format
Though there were only a few days between the announcement of the deadlines for cutting existing faction members and signing new Free Agents, I really enjoyed the format of Deadline Day.
What I really enjoyed was the suspense of the Free Agents being able to choose their own destiny by picking which of the factions they wanted to join out of any offers given, as it led to shocks like Sabrina joining The Finstock Exchange and the big names mentioned earlier coming into the league with managers who they already had history with.
This is a format that I really hope is kept for next year,perhaps just with a few tweaks: Have a set deadline for cutting players in place by the start of the season, with the Free Agency deadline coming 1-2 weeks later. Both of these deadlines could have heir own shows, with the Free Agency Deadline show actually having some time to analyse the signings announced while any last minute signings are made, so that the deadline actually passes on the show. Free Agents can be approached earlier in the season, but any approaches must be broadcast to all managers so that they can also approach the Free Agent, then the Free Agent can appear on the next Schmoedown Backstage/Rundown to announce the faction they have selected.
Room to expand
When the format for Season 7 was initially announced, we were set to have 10 factions, but Jay Washington had to pull out and was not replaced, dropping us down to 9. While there is always the risk of another faction meaning there are not enough matches to go around, This Free Agency period has highlighted that there is the depth in the league for a tenth (and potentially more) faction in the future.
Some exciting names were cut due to busy schedules, more exciting Free Agents were picked up alongside talented veterans who we have barely seen over the last year. And even then there were big names who missed out, like Mark Donica and Eric Goldman!
Do I think that the league should go to 10 factions next year? Probably not. I think that the pandemic’s impact on the league this season means that the league would benefit from a full season of matches to make sure that the scheduling feels appropriately balanced for the factions. If that goes well, then maybe we could add another faction or two, especially if the league has grown significantly enough to allow for more than just 2 matches a week (we can all hope!).
Sport has come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Movie Trivia Schmoedown has been able to keep going. Though live events have been cancelled, the amount of work done early in the season with pre-taping has allowed the Schmoedown to go down to one match a week, with next week’s Teams Division match between The Pride and the Reel Rejects being the last pre-taped match.
The early success of the exhibition matches through Streamlabs has led to a future for the league during the quarantine, as Chairman Kristian Harloff has announced 2 upcoming tournaments to continue the season: a 16-man Innergeekdom tournament on the YouTube channel and an 8-man Star Wars tournament on the new Twitch channel.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Chairman also announced that Friday May 8ᵗʰ would be the deadline for managers to drop Schmoedown Pros from their squads, while Monday May 11ᵗʰ will be the deadline for any Free Agents pick-ups, with trades being the only way to change personnel beyond this point.
At time of writing, we have had the following blockbuster trades go down:
The Den traded Brandon Hanna to The Burning Droogs for James White
The Usual Suspects traded Jader Paramo, Ken Napzok and a 2021 first-round pick to The Burning Droogs for Ethan Erwin
The Roxstars have traded JTE to The Burning Droogs for Josh Quevedo and a 2021 third-round pick
Each Faction will name 2 Schmoedown Pros for the Innergeekdom tournament, nominating one of the players to be locked into the tournament. Of the 9 Schmoedown Pros not locked in, current rankings will come into play to decide the next 5 places. The remaining 4 will compete to fill the final 2 spots. Though the title will not be on the line, I would assume that Champion Kevin Smets and future #1 Contenders Mara Knopic and Chandru Dhandapani will not be in the tournament.
For the Star Wars tournament, I expect that every faction other than the Roxstars (who have current champion Alex Damon) will look to submit a Schmoedown Pro to the tournament, however the Chairman has admitted that a play-in for the 8ᵗʰ spot if Roxy wants to submit someone else to try and earn some extra points for her faction.
Today, I’m going to have a look at what these 2 tournaments could mean for each faction, going down the current (at time of writing – after Howard v Zipper) roster standings. Right now, some factions have named their entrants to the tournament, while others have held off until they have finalised their rosters, so I will look at the confirmed names, other possibilities, and some current Free Agents who could make an impact.
The Finstock Exchange
The Exchange come into the tournaments in a strong position, with Dan Murrell holding the Singles and Teams Titles, while John Rocha, Mark Reilly and “The Barbarian” are on winning runs in the Singles Division (where Ben Bateman should also be in a strong position as a former champion,which should put him high in the pecking order once the Division gets going again). Similarly, Who’s The Boss win over The Odd Couple has put them on the road to a title match, potentially taking on the Founding Fathers if they successfully defend against KOrruption when the Division returns.
As of now, The Exchange have only named “The Barbarian” for the IG tournament, while Dan Murrell has ruled himself out of the tournament as setting up his channel has left him without the time to study effectively. It can be assumed then (unless Elvis counts as the second entrant) that Emily Rose Jacobson will be the second representative, looking to get back to winning ways after a loss in Atlanta to Alex Damon.
As for the Star Wars Division, Andrew Dimalanta seems the obvious pick here (as much as Rocha wants to take on Kevin Smets and make a run in the Division). Though 0-2, Dimalanta is a strong competitor, but with other knowledgeable Star Wars fans on the roster, he needs to have some success in the tournament or may find himself on the roster bubble in the future.
However, we all know that Bobby Gucci is anything but predictable, and there is another potential route available here: trading Jacobson and Dimalanta (and perhaps one or 2 of their other late-round picks if required to a team in need of specialists for a potential partner for “The Barbarian”, which would leave the Exchange with 3 top-level teams. With a spot opening up on the roster if more than one Schmoedown Pro is traded, it would be a chance for Dagnino to bring in a former Lion’s Den member who specialises in IG and Star Wars: Mark Donica, who stands to benefit int he short term from the tournaments being over Streamlabs as it means that he becomes available despite not being in LA. Donica is a true talent who possibly earned a title shot too soon, then was unfortunate enough to have a bad day against Kalinowski as the studying required for the Division stepped up, but I feel confident that he could hold his own in the Division as it stands.
If nothing else, the release of BC suggests that something is brewing in the Exchange…
The Den are in a really strong position when you consider that Kate Mulligan’s first 2 picks have only appeared in one loss in the Teams Division, which makes their trade activity even more surprising. Brandon Hanna’s reputation may have been hurt by consecutive losses to Chandru Dhandapani, but he was still the best IG player on the roster, so it was no shock to see him traded within hours of the announcement that Ben Goddard and Saul would be the Den’s representatives in the tournament.
That is immediately piling the pressure on Ben (who looks good but also missed a few Middle Earth questions in his Singles debut) and untried rookie Saul (who may find himself having to play for one of the final 2 spots just to make it into the tournament, while James White will not be having any immediate impact on the faction. I won’t be surprised to see Hanna being matched up against at least one of Saul/Goddard during the tournament.
As for the Star Wars tournament, Sean Sullivan is the obvious pick here following his win over Adam Witt at short notice and could be the dark horse of the group. If nothing else, his 1-0 record will be a benefit for the seeding when creating the bracket.
So right now, I’m assuming that Chandru Dhandapani will not be included in the tournament due to his impending Championship Match with Kevin Smets once the lockdown is over. However, Winston Marshall still has some super strong options. Paul Oyama is yet to feature in the Division but is listed as an potential IG competitor. His time in the fan leagues means that he is used to this style of competing and I think that he could catch out a competitor who underestimates someone transferring from Singles to IG.
As for the second spot, Andres Cabrera would probably appreciate a chance to shake off the recent loss to Robert Parker, but given the probable strength of the other competitors, I think that Winston will look to Adam Hlavac, who certainly has his weaknesses, but if he gets the right categories can be very dangerous.
As for Star Wars, there is no specialist currently on the roster, however it is one of Hlavac’s stronger categories, while Cabrera was one of the hosts of the revamped Collider Jedi Council before its cancellation. Either of these could do a job for S.W.A.G. but if Winston wants a specialist, dropping Ed Greer and Demi Adejuyigbe has created space for a Free Agent to be brought in (Mollie Damon being the obvious option).
The Burning Droogs
The Droogs were somewhat limited in the IG department with just the Warfather, who is certainly a character but has not yet shown himself to be at an elite level. However, the acquisition of Brandon Hanna massively improves the roster’s chances in the tournament, while I’m sure Hanna will be out to prove himself after losing twice to Chandru and being overlooked by Kate Mulligan. Was James White really the man o give up for him, though? Yes, this has been a heavily disrupted season that has harmed White’s chances, but it feels like Burnett was willing to give up on his second-round pick far too easily.
Perhaps even more interesting is the Droogs’ other trade, which has seen former Singles Champion and first-round draft pick Ethan Erwin go to the Usual Suspects. Given Erwin’s position in the hunt for the Singles Title, that seems an odd decision from “The Captain” and it will be putting a lot of pressure on Witney Seibold, Alonso Duralde and new recruit Jader Paramo, who looked to be growing well with the support of his original faction. Even more interesting is the inclusion of former Star Wars Champion in the trade, and the announcement that Napzok would be the Droogs’ representative in the Star Wars tournament. This made Josh Quevedo surplus to requirements, but I’m not sure that Burnett has really taken advantage of the situation, handing the Roxstars Quevedo and a third-round pick for JTE, who is only likely to play with any regularity if the Singles Tournament is also done through Streamlabs. I also feel that an untested rookie in Quevedo is probably more motivated for this tournament than Napzok, who has mentioned on streams his preference to announce matched than play. That said, it looks like the realisation that he is going into the tournament as a target may have just fired up “The Pitboss”. Don’t be surprised to see Napzok and Quevedo facing off when the bracket is announced.
Finally, a note must be taken of the 2021 first-round pick Burnett acquired as part of the trade. This is the first time a future pick has been used as part of a trade and though the loss of Ethan Erwin may hurt this season, but being able to have 2 first-round picks in the 2021 draft puts him in a strong position (assuming all rosters are broken up again rather than just Free Agents or rookies being available). We may not know the real winner of this trade for a long time.
The Roxstars may be mid-table but their season stands on a knife-edge. Jeff Sneider’s recent comments and his reaction to the trade of JTE may be driving a wedge between him, teammate Marc Andreyko and manager Roxy Striar, while the decision to pair Jim Vejvoda with Jared Haibon rather than Stacy Howard resulted in the Roxstars taking another L at the hands of Winston Marshall’s S.W.A.G.
With the Star Wars Title already in the division, Roxy has pulled off a smart trade by offloading JTE for a second Star Wars competitor Josh Quevedo and a future draft pick, meaning that she still has a chance to earn points in the division even while Alex Damon waits for a match. Best case scenario, Quevedo goes the distance and then Roxy will have a guaranteed 4 points coming her way for a Star Wars title victory when he then faces off with Alex, and the loser can stay in the faction to make a run back for the belt, similar to Kaiser’s plans for Kevin Smets and Robert Parker in IG.
Now he may not be in the Star Wars tournament, but expect Alex Damon to be one of Roxy’s entrants for the Innergeekdom tournament, having won his debut in the division against Emily Rose Jacobson. Jared Haibon has history in the division but the Roxstars need points, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Roxy Striar filling the final spot on her roster with an IG specialist – Mark Donica or Sean Gerber could be great pick-ups here.
The Usual Suspects
This is a very interesting time for The Usual Suspects. Losing number 1 draft pick Drew McWeeny was a big loss, but Ethan Erwin was an incredible pick-up who probably provides more in the Singles Division than McWeeny and looks set to form an elite team with Andrew Ghai. Losing Jader Paramo is a hit when Singles and Teams competition returns, but in the short term, it feels worth it to get such a top-class team, while allowing Jeannine and Matt Atchity to create a strong second team. Ken Napzok’s inclusion leaves the Usual Suspects without a Star Wars specialist right now, but I would argue that they are in a strong position.
The reason they’re in a strong place: they currently have a whopping 4 spaces on their roster. With this, they should be able to pick up a couple of strong Free Agents, who will benefit from the tactical nous of Samm Levine. Napzok knows Star Wars well, but I don’t feel that he is studying in the same way many of his rivals are, so picking up a Free Agent like Mollie Damon or Mark Donica could actually be an upgrade on the former champion.
What is interesting to me is how quickly Samm Levine has named Jeannine and Jen Kempe as his entrants to the Innergeekdom Tournament. While I would have thought that Mark Donica would have been the perfect acquisition, Samm’s show of faith in Jeannine and Jen (who I imagine have been in communication with Rachel Cushing) makes me think that he will instead look for a Star Wars specialist (don’t be surprised to see Mollie Damon on their radar) and then look to fill the roster with Schmoedown Pros who he thinks could prove handy in Singles and Teams. With so many open slots, could Scott Mantz or the Cinefanatics finally find a home with the Usual Suspects?
As with S.W.A.G. I will assume that champion Kevin Smets will not be involved in the Innergeekdom tournament due to currently holding the belt. However, Kaiser is stacked in the Division and Robert Parker arguably goes in as one of the favourites following his debut against Andres Cabrera, especially considering his experience of doing matches from home courtesy of his time in the fan leagues. Expect the second spot to be filled by Eric Zipper, who is coming off an agonising loss to Stacy Howard in Singles but could pick up a couple of victories in the IG tournament if he gets a good spot in the bracket.
As for the Star Wars tournament, Adam Witt was the obvious pick here. He made some mistakes in the loss to Sean Sullivan but showed that the knowledge was there. If he has learned from that experience, he has to fancy his chances. And if anyone chooses not to take part in this tournament, don’t be surprised to see Kaiser trying to get Smets in as a second entrant.
The Quirky Mercs
The Mercs have been seriously hampered by the quarantine, with the only matches for William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer being the #1 Contender Triple Threat loss to Dan Murrell, while the Reel Rejects have picked up a win and have one match against The Pride still to air, leaving them on 6 points (at best) going into the tournament.
The Star Wars tournament is easily covered by Joseph Scrimshaw and I think that he is currently my favourite going into the tournament, having given Alex Damon the closest competition so far.
Looking at the Innergeekdom tournament, though, I expect some action from Coy Jandreau in the Free Agency market. Mara Knopic is the only recognised Innergeekdom competitor on the roster, but she is currently deactivated for medical reasons (though she also has a title match confirmed when she returns). The Mercs have 2 spaces on the roster so expect to see Coy looking to fill these either through trades or Free Agency. Mark Donica, Sean Gerber, Keetin Marchi and David Moore are all proven competitors, while BC, Ben Bagley and Dan Casey are also available rookies.
These next few days could make or break the Mercs’ season…
KOrruption may find themselves bottom of the standings, but expect that to change soon, because the big guns are coming out to play.
It was no surprise to see former two-time Innergeekdom Champion Mike Kalinowksi named as one of the faction’s entrants to the Innergeekdom tournament, while Chance Ellison also really impressed on his IG debut last season. Mike and Chance are KOrruption, they are the backbone of the faction and – with just one Teams match to their name this season, which has set them up for a title match when the Division returns – they will be raring to go. This is where they will take the team on their backs and drag them up the standings. Don’t be surprised if they both make it to the semis.
They will be helped over the coming months by Laura Kelly, who has started her Schmoedown career so well and will probably benefit from not being under the lights during the tournament as she clearly has the knowledge to hold her own against the best in the Division.
What are you expecting to see over the coming days? Who do you think will benefit from these tournaments?
With the Movie Trivia Schmoedown going into its 7ᵗʰ season, there are a number of matches that can be looked back on as the “greatest ever”. There are so many things that go into a match being considered for that title: stakes (is a title on the line), the format (Iron Man match/3-round/5-round), rivalries, perfect rounds, perfect games, sudden death, comebacks, shock upsets, crazy wheel spins, not to mention the personalities of the competitors and the way they interact onstage. Add in the live events and an audience of hundreds watching live and things go to another level.
There have been so many fantastic matches: Dan Murrell winning the Singles Title from Ethan Erwin in New York, Rachel Cushing winning the Innergeekdom Title from Mike Kalinowski in sudden death, Mara Knopic beating Rachel Cuhing on the 11ᵗʰ question in sudden death, Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell by TKO, Mark Reilly winning the Singles Title from John Rocha, Sam Witwer winning the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok in an Iron Man match as time elapsed.
But after February 29ᵗʰ, I think we could have a new contender for the title “greatest match of all time”.
No offence to Alex Damon and Emily Jacobson, but I am of course talking about the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.
Dan Murrell entered the league in Season 2 as part of Team Champs alongside Mark Reilly, but it was in the Singles Division that he made his name, with his exploits in Seasons 3 and 4 having him considered the GOAT of the Schmoedown before his retirement. He returned in Season 5 and after a bumpy start, his partnership with John Rocha in the Founding Fathers and his return to success in Singles brought him back into the GOAT discussion, with his absence from Innergeekdom (until now) the main argument to put Rachel Cushing ahead of him.
Ben Bateman joined the league in Season 4 as part of Team Action, but it was Andrew Ghai’s suspension at the end of the season that really kick-started his Singles career going into Season 5. While he showed flashes on his own, it looked like he was potentially on the road to a good but not great Singles career, until he smashed his way through the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown, finishing off by winning the final against William Bibbiani at Spectacular IV and returning later int he evening to win the title from Paul Oyama via KO. Murrell will be his first attempt at defending his title.
These 2 competitors are stars of the league and have become part of the most successful iteration of the Horsemen, who find themselves at the head of The Finstock Exchange. While they may be teammates within the Exchange, these are 2 driven individuals and neither will want a loss on their record. Ben Bateman is one of the driving forces of the new wave of Schmoedown competitor. He coined the term “Schmoedown Pro” and has embodied it, going heavy on the study not just of the movies, but also his opponents and the game, to ensure that he has the strategy to beat anyone. Murrell has certainly developed more strategy since his return to the league, but his game has always been more about having the superior knowledge and it is a shock if he misses more than a couple of questions in a match. This difference in styles will be incredible to see play out in front of us.
Add in the extra historical significance of this match: Dan Murrell has never lost at a live event, with 6 victories and a Free 4 All victory to his name. Bateman is 3-2 in live matches. Murrell has never lost when coming in as a #1 Contender, whereas this is Bateman’s 1ˢᵗ title defence. If Bateman wins, he will be the 5ᵗʰ of the 9 Singles Champions to have successfully defended the title at least once. If Murrell wins, he becomes the only 4-time Singles Champion and only the 4ᵗʰ double-belted champion.
I may be jinxing this match, but with so much at stake and 2 elite competitors in front of a manic crowd, I really think we could be looking at the greatest Schmoedown match of all time. Who do I think will win? I can’t separate the 2, so I’m going to chicken out and call The Finstock Exchange the winners.
Tickets for the live event are available at theschmoedownlive.com where you can also purchase access to the live stream, or if you are a $10+ patron on the Schmoedown Patreon you will automatically be granted access to the live stream. It will be available to watch at a later date, but I don’t think this is one to be missed!
The New Era began on Saturday with the Movie Trivia Schmoedown’s first ever Draft. 9 Factions will be facing off this season and between Saturday’s live rounds and Sunday’s non-televised final rounds, the initial line-ups for each faction are set.
Now that the Draft is available for all to see, it’s time to cast an eye over the new factions and give my thoughts on the rosters each manager has put together. Now I’ll say before we start: my knowledge of the 2020 rookie class will be limited, so if I gloss over the next Ethan Erwin/Mara Knopic/Kevin Smets/Paul Oyama, then I apologise in advance!
Also before we begin, I just need to give a massive shoutout to Jacob Patrick for putting together such awesome graphics to summarise each faction’s draft.
The Usual Suspects
While I still think that Shazam! were a better option with the 1ˢᵗ overall pick, The Family are still a great selection and given Samm Levine’s history with Drew McWeeny it is no surprise to see him go for them. McWeeny never technically lost the Teams Title, vacating it due to Samm’s decision to step away, so I am sure that he will be keen to get McWeeny a title again, while I think that Ghai and Levine will get the best out of “The Godfather” this season. Jeannine is arguably now one of the best to have never won a belt, but I can see her forming a great team and if paired with Matt Atchity, her knowledge of the game will be a great foil for him. Jen Kempe is a rookie who I heard good things about and she already has some experience under the lights with an appearance at Free 4 All 3, so she could be a steal with Samm’s 8ᵗʰ pick, while Jader Paramo impressed in Orlando and will benefit from having a former champion as his manager. Napzok will also be a great presence in this group, while also providing a great mouthpiece to help take the pressure off of the rookies, and while I don’t know about Cameron Rice’s trivia abilities, I believe that he has been close to the game for a while so will know how to play the game.
This is a very strong roster for Roxy Striar, who has chosen to go for proven talent rather than take any rookies. The Odd Couple remain a top-tier team and she really gets the best out of them, while both Andreyko and Sneider can put together strong Singles runs. Alex Damon looks hard to beat in the Star Wars Division and I think that he will also have a strong season in Innergeekdom. Stacy Howard has been a little inconsistent recently, but I think that could make Roxy the perfect manager for her and she could be a contender for Comeback Player of the Year. JTE and Jim Vejvoda seemed odd picks to me – they are both great talents in the game, but JTE is not based locally anymore and Vejvoda’s investment in the game ahs been questioned previously – however I heard Roxy say on SEN Live that she had spoken to everyone that she drafted, which suggests to me that she is confident that they will not be wasted picks, which gives her a very strong top 6 picks. Beyond that, Del Rio and Haibon have both had success previously and could do well with such an invested manager, while it is nice to see a reunion for The League with Adam Gertler making the squad, someone who could be an underrated B-player in a team.
The Mouthy Mercs
I had Shazam! going with the 1ˢᵗ overall pick, so to see them drop to Coy with the 3ʳᵈ overall pick was great news for him. Bibbs and “The Kid” are both legitimate threats in both the Teams and Singles Division and will be kicking off the season in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match against Dan Murrell. Mara is a great 3ʳᵈ pick and hopefully she will recover soon to challenge Smets for the IG Title. To get Tim Franco and Haleigh Foutch with his 4ᵗʰ and 5ᵗʰ picks gives him a fantastic 2ⁿᵈ team who could even be a dark horse for a title run. As one of the few to push Alex Damon close in the Star Wars Division and with experience in the 5-round format, Joseph Scrimshaw was a steal in the 7ᵗʰ round, and the Reel Rejects can never be taken lightly, while their fun personalities will help them get matches even after a loss. Coy is in a very strong position here and with 2 spaces left to fill, he could snap up someone who kicks off the season strongly or look for another IG competitor.
This was a very interesting draft for Kaiser. With protected pick Smets in the 1ˢᵗ round and then Robert Parker in the 2ⁿᵈ round, it looks like the Dungeon are looking to dominate the Innergeekdom Division this season, but it does leave them without a clear superstar in the Singles Division – although it may be that he has some diamonds in the rough with his rookies. Of the rookies, the only one I have any knowledge of is Britney Young, who impressed in the GLOW Celebrity match, and it will be interesting to see how she does in regular competition (and how often she is available). As for Eric Zipper and Adam Witt, I would have considered them both good B-players on teams, but I think that could be undervaluing them due to limited tape and they could be a dark horse team. While not as initially star-studded as most other squads, The Dungeon may find themselves going under the radar and it must be remembered that Kaiser managed 2 rookies to titles in 2019, so don’t be surprised if they have a great season.
The Finstock Exchange
With the Horsemen all protected with Dagnino’s first 4 picks, The Finstock Exchange were already in a fantastic position and their remaining picks look to have just made them even stronger. The Horsemen alone gave good cover over the 3 main divisions with Dan Murrell entering IG, while he now has a #1 Contender Match against both halves of Shazam! to open the season. Andrew Dimalanta is a great competitor whose 0-2 record in the Star Wars Division really doesn’t do him justice, while I was shocked to see Emily Rose Jacobson fall as far as she did given her upcoming match against Alex Damon – she could be a great sleeper pick in IG. Beyond that, Cody Hall will always be a fan favourite and his knowledge is underrated – he took Lon Harris to Sudden Death following a perfect first round – while “The Barbarian” has been highly touted by people in the know. I’m a bit skeptical of Grae Drake, but as a late-round pick she could still prove a steal, while BC will have good tactical knowledge from the time that he spends around the Schmoedown.
Before anything, we need to acknowledge that Shannon Barney has already won Heel of the Year by breaking up the Wildberries… Have you no heart?!!!
Moving beyond that, this looks a strong squad for KOrruption. Mike and Chance provide 2 legitimate triple threats (Singles, Teams, IG) with the first 2 picks. Marc Edward Heuck has looked extremely knowledgeable in his limited matches so far and could pair well with Dewberry, who is a quality option as a B-player and a very experienced player. Laura Kelly brings a high-level talent to the Star Wars Division, while Bonnie Somerville could be a steal with the 8ᵗʰ pick… assuming that she turns up to her matches! I’ve not heard much about any of the rookies’ talent, but one thing can be guaranteed: taking Nerd Chronic with their final pick has just guaranteed KOrruption will have the most epic promos this season.
With no teams remaining by the time it got to Winston, Paul Oyama was the obvious first round pick, and pairing him with Lon Harris makes a very strong team. Chandru will be a threat in IG and Liz Shannon Miller has great knowledge and could benefit from a manager that will be learning the tactics from the Chairman himself on SEN Live. Adam Hlavac could be a steal at 6 with his strength in IG, while he is also a good option in the Teams Division. Josh Macuga may have been picked a bit high, due to other commitments leaving him unavailable, but he will get matches when he is free. RB3 could be a sleeper pick at 7 picking up a lot of tips while engineering SEN Live, while Andres Cabrera could be a steal with Winston’s final pick. And that leaves Demi Adejuyigbe, who performed well on debut and Ed Greer, who is currently an unknown commodity. S.W.A.G could be an dangerous squad, but if nothing else, they’ll be fun to watch! Drip Drip!
Watch out for The Den this season! Kate Mulligan may be an inexperienced manager, but will benefit from being paired with Grace Hancock. Assuming they have good chemistry, “Tom” and Paul Preston make a very dangerous team, while I expect strong runs in the Singles Division from both of them this season. Brandon Hanna is a great talent in IG and will be looking to prove himself after a disappointing end to season 6. Rachel Silvestrini was an absolute steal in the 5ᵗʰ round and I expect great things from her this season. Ben Goddard is somewhat of an unknown but has already shown himself to be a student of the game and will learn a lot from being on SEN Live and Schmoedown Backstage, while Alex Marzoña was often shown to have good knowledge on Collider Live. Sean Sullivan and Diane Ademu-John are unknowns for me but Kate and Grace must have heard good things to draft them in their top 5, while if nothing else, we will get some great fun watching Saul and the sniper himself Brett Sheridan. Sleep on this squad at your peril.
The Burning Droogs
Trust Robert Meyer Burnett to go wild in the second round. While Ethan Erwin was an obvious pick in round 1, the second round feels very high for a rookie – though I have heard good things about James White. “The Captain” has got good value for his next 3 picks though, with Duralde, Seibold and VIDEODREW all being strong presences in Singles and Teams. The Warfather looked a good talent on his IG debut and I think his character will help him get matches. The final 3 picks are unknowns to me, but with such a knowledgeable and experienced group ahead of them, they will have some talent to learn from.
So who looks in the best position following the draft? Right now, my top 3 squads would be The Finstock Exchange, The Mouthy Mercs and the Roxstars, while The Dungeon would hold the bottom spot. Will that be the case? Only time will tell…
Today will see The Magic Season come to an end with the 2019 Schmoedown Awards and The New Era kick off with the Schmoedown’s first ever live draft!
Last week, I put out my first ever Mock Draft for the 6 rounds that are planned to be televised, but as I began to promote it on social media, I saw that a trade had already been announced that made my draft wrong. So with the draft just hours away, I have taken a second* shot at predicting how things will go.
*It’s actually probably more like a version 7, due to manager changes, trades and some other announcements, but this will be the second published version
So here are the big news points that have had an effect on this new mock draft:
Due to other commitments, Emma Fyffe has had to drop out as a manager. The Fyffe Club has been rebranded as The Den and will be managed by Kate Mulligan, with Grace Hancock as her advisor
Tom Dagnino’s prize of a pick swap with Kaiser/Fyffe does not transfer over to Mulligan, so he can now only pick swap with Kaiser
John Kaiser and Robert Meyer Burnett agreed a trade that saw them swap places in the first 2 rounds of the Draft – The Dungeon now has the 9ᵗʰ & 10ᵗʰ overall picks, The Burning Droogs have the 4ᵗʰ & 15ᵗʰ overall picks
John Kaiser and Kate Mulligan agreed a trade that saw The Den give up their 3ʳᵈ round pick (26ᵗʰ overall) for The Dungeon’s 4ᵗʰ & 5ᵗʰ round picks (33ʳᵈ & 40ᵗʰ overall)
So, the big talking points from this one:
With the way the Dungeon’s trades have worked out, Tom Dagnino would not gain any benefit from a pick swap with Kaiser until the 7ᵗʰ round, which would only see him move up one spot. Instead, he will use it to sabotage Kaiser in the early rounds as he looks a dangerous rival, swapping positions in the 2ⁿᵈ round. Tom not get a pick here as it is sacrificed to hold onto his champions, but it makes it less likely that Kaiser will be able to pick up an elite Singles competitor
Coy Jandreau will still attempt a trade with KOrruption, but will sweeten it by throwing in his 5ᵗʰ round pick to make it more attractive to Shannon Barney
Josh Macuga drops to the 6ᵗʰ round due to questions over his availability, but his experience of the game will see him picked up to Roxy Striar. Though I have her picking Dewberry, it may be that she pairs him with Lon Harris rather than keep the Wildberries together.
“The Barbarian” was one of the rookies recently announced by Kristian Harloff, but what makes him stand out was a comment on the announcement from Ethan Erwin praising him. Kate Mulligan was present on SEN Live when this was discussed and will take a chance on him with her 6ᵗʰ round pick.
Kate will be in a strong position following the Draft. “Tom” and Jeannine make a strong 1ˢᵗ team, she has one of the dark horses of the IG Division this season in Robert Parker and a former Star Wars Champion in Ken Napzok. If Ken is also entering teams, he will be an experienced partner who knows the game to pair with Matt Atchity. Ben Goddard would also make a fine teammate for Atchity, as he is a student of the game and will be picking up a lot of tactical knowledge from being on SEN Live and Schmoedown Backstage. If Napzok will enter teams, then he, Atchity, Goddard and the Barbarian could make 2 strong teams.
The Finstock Exchange will pick up an elite Star Wars specialist in the 5ᵗʰ round in case Rocha and Reilly choose to focus on the bigger divisions this year, then pick up Keetin Marchi – who is often overlooked when discussing IG but has had some help previously from Rocha, putting her on their radar
VIDEODREW will drop to the 5ᵗʰ round due to questions over her availability. While splitting up The Loony Bin will not prove popular with the fans, it would put Samm Levine in a good position following the draft (or even in the later rounds) to offer a trade with The Den to get a couple of competitors/picks from them.
How do you see this draft going? Bring on The New Era!
If season 6 was “The Magic Season”, how do you take things even bigger? By creating “The New Era”! 2020 will see the Movie Trivia Schmoedown take its next step by having its very first draft. The factions and teams that we have come to know will be coming to an end (for the most part) and 9 new, larger teams will be taking their place, competing for a prize at the end of the season.
So here is what we know so far:
The Draft will take place at The Comedy Store on January 11ᵗʰ 2020, following the Awards
There were originally intended to be 10 teams, with the teams announced at Spectacular, however other commitments means that Jay Washington has had to pull out of being a manager, so he has taken on an advisory role, leaving us with the following 9 teams:
The Usual Suspects – Samm Levine
Roxstars – Roxy Striar
S.W.A.G. (Schmoedown Winners And Greatness) – Winston Marshall (Jay Washington advisor)
The Mouthy Mercs – Coy Jandreau
The Finstock Exchange – Tom Dagnino
The Dungeon – John Kaiser
The Fyffe Club – Emma Fyffe (Grace Hancock advisor)
KOrruption – Shannon Barney
The Burning Droogs – Robert Meyer Burnett
Each team can sign up to 10 Schmoedown Pros at any moment. Managers will not compete, so Robert Meyer Burnett must keep a slot free for himself to face Andrew Ghai, and can then fill the spot afterwards
Managers will be allowed to drop personnel and acquire new people during the season, as well as trade with other managers
Mike Kalinowski has said that he will demand a trade if drafted by Roxy, similarly Ghai with Burnett
Each victory will earn points for the team. Innergeekdom and Star Wars matches will earn more points as there are less matches, a win in a Championship will earn extra points, as will a knockout victory
Managers who currently manage a champion can keep their Champions, with the cost being their first however many picks covers the champions they have (Kaiser 1 pick, Tom 3 picks)
The top 5 teams in the rankings – other than the champions – are protected. If a manager drafts one of the team, they also get the teammate at the cost of their next pick (so as Who’s The Boss are protected, Reilly remains with the Finstock Exchange at the cost of Tom’s 4ᵗʰ pick)
Due to his victory in Orlando, Tom Dagnino can swap a pick in his first eligible round with either Kaiser or Emma
With that in mind, it was time for me to do what all sports fans love doing for American sports: a mock draft. Now on the whole, I will be keeping this pretty basic and staying away from too many trades. I will also be looking to go through the first 6 rounds as that is what it appears we will get at the event, with the rest of the free agents being acquired over the following days. I will show you my draft board and then run through my predictions in a little more detail after. When putting this together, I’ve not had a copy of the roster to look at, so I have gone off names that I have heard mentioned and made some assumptions about the divisions that people will compete in… plus my memory is terrible so I’ve probably managed to miss out a big name somewhere – though I will admit that I can see Josh Macuga slipping out of the top 6 rounds due to availability questions, similarly Scott Mantz, who did not compete in 2019.
Let me know how you think the Draft will go!
Tom & Kaiser’s Champions
First off, I 100% expect both Tom Dagnino and Kaiser to keep hold of their champions. While the 4ᵗʰ pick overall may be a bit higher than you would expect for an Innergeekdom specialist, there is too much of a risk that someone would steal Smets if Kaiser didn’t sacrifice his first pick. Add to that, as defending champion and one of the most dangerous Schmoedown Pros in IG, you would expect Smets to have a chance of multiple title defences, while he has also mentioned that he is keen to enter the Star Wars division. Dagnino meanwhile has 2 of the best teams in the Division, comprised of 3 of the last 5 Singles Champions and another former Champion in Reilly who should never be ruled out for putting another title run together. Though it will mean that he can’t pick until the 5ᵗʰ round, there is no way that he would be able to get such a strong stable with his first 4 picks, while Murrell’s decision to enter the IG division means that he already has the 3 main divisions covered.
I know a lot of people want a reunion between Samm and Drew McWeeny, but Samm is a competitor and he needs to consider the value of the 1ˢᵗ pick overall. Due to this being a snake draft, he won’t get to pick again until the end of Round 2, so are The Family really good value for him? Personally I see him taking Shazam! Both Bibbs and “The Kid” look like they have the potential to challenge for the Singles Title in 2020 (Bibbs already has a #1 Contender match) and Shazam! are arguably one of the strongest teams in the league. Add in “The Beast” still having his Free 4 All MVP prize of a #1 Contender shot and I thin that Samm has to take Shazam!
Next up is Roxy and this is an easy pick as she has worked so well with The Odd Couple since the beginning of Anarchy, so I can’t see her letting another manager build on that work. Things will get very interesting with the 3ʳᵈ pick, though. With Kalinowski and Chance both a factor in all 3 of the main divisions, KOrruption are the best value team left on the board (maybe even better value than some of the already acquired teams). However, Mike has already said that he will refuse to play for Roxy, and I think that would likely extend to many of the other managers too. However, Shannon will be the next manager to pick so I expect Coy to pull a move here and take KOrruption ahead of her, then immediately offering them to her for her 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ Round picks, while also taking her 4ᵗʰ Round pick. With Shannon now having KOrruption via this trade, Coy will use her first 2 picks to take The Family, as this gets him an elite team, but also a great strategic mind in Andrew Ghai that will help an inexperienced manager so much.
With the protected teams now gone, Winston will look for the strongest name on the board, which I see as Paul Oyama, as he has shown how good he can be in Singles (which means the right teammate will make him a danger in the Teams Division), while he has also mentioned possibly entering the IG Division. Paul is not just great at trivia, but he is also great at the game, which will be another big aid for a new manager. Emma Fyffe will pick up Ethan Erwin, who clearly has a wide and deep knowledge of movie trivia and will benefit from a manager who knows the game well. The Round will finish with Robert Meyer Burnett, who I think will take the best ranked Singles competitor available: Paul Preston.
With Round 2, I expect Burnett to look for another elite Schmoedown Pro to pair with Paul Preston. While he is yet to play in Singles, “Tom” has made a name for himself with The Loony Bin and looks like he will be a real danger in both Singles and Teams. Paul and “Tom” will be a strong team, and it will be interesting to see how their personalities gel on a team. Now the Fyffe Club have a big choice to make. Jeannine is probably one of the best competitors to have never won a belt and looks to have worked well with Ethan in their couple of matches as Time Machine. However, Ethan has shown a clear weakness in Disney and similar animated movies, so I think that Emma will instead pick another underrated competitor who knows the game well, has a good general knowledge but absolutely crushes Disney: Rachel Silvestrini! With Time Machine officially broken up, I expect Winston to pick Jeannine up with the next pick, reuniting her with Jay Washington and creating a strong team with Oyama. With everyone else having picked protected teams, The Dungeon are the only other pick in Round 2 and they will need a strong competitor to build around in Singles and Teams, so I think that they take a shot on Marc Edward Heuck, who has shown himself to be a great talent in his appearances for the Self-Righteous Brothers, even if results haven’t gone his way.
With most of the big names from the Singles Division off the board, I can see Samm Levine taking Mara Knopic, who has a guaranteed Title Match in IG and will probably get a couple of chances to go for the title this year even if she does lose to Smets. I can see this sparking a run on the top names in the IG Division, with Roxy taking Chandru, who came close to beating Smets in their #1 Contender Match and will likely shine with a manager like her. Coy will follow that up by taking Brandon Hanna, who again knows both the IG categories and the game really well, probably being the last of the current top tier of IG competitors.
With Smets already in The Dungeon, I think that Kaiser will look to find a strong partner for Marc Edward Heuck and take Stacy Howard, who will bring experience to the pair even if her results have been somewhat hit and miss of late. With Mike and Chance covering all 3 of the main divisions, I expect Shannon to look for someone they think can look to compete in the Singles Division and potentially be the first name on a 2ⁿᵈ team. For me, that is Haleigh Foutch, who has shown promise and just needs more experience around her to help her grow in the league. While Oyama may compete in IG, I expect Winston to bring in a specialist here and I think that his time on SEN Live may benefit him here, as he will have heard mentions of Robert Parker as one of the big names coming up from the fan leagues, while Oyama’s experience there may also help solidify this pick.
The big IG names may be gone but I think that Emma may still draft a big name who will be competing in IG: Star Wars Division Champion Alex Damon, who looks nigh unbeatable in Star Wars and has a guaranteed match on the schedule already in IG. While we already know he’s unlikely to miss a Star Wars question in IG, he is also a big Indiana Jones fan and knows Middle Earth very well, so could be a strong sleeper pick in this division. Finally, Burnett will pick up the highest-ranked remaining competitor in IG: Emily Jacobson, who not only has a confirmed match, but also showed just how much she was growing over last season, so she could be another to keep an eye on in the division.
With The Burning Droogs having 2 strong players but maybe not an obvious challenger in the Singles/Teams Divisions, I think that Burnett looks for another who can go on a strong run and takes Liz Shannon Miller, who could also work very well as part of their main team if either Paul/Tom doesn’t want to compete in Teams this season. The Fyffe Club will look at Eric Zipper who may not be challenging for the Singles/IG Titles but can still pick up wins in the divisions, while also being a reliable teammate. Considering Robert Parker is a (albeit slight) risk as he does not have the experience in the big leagues, I think that Wiston will pick up another big name in IG: Adam Hlavac, who will become a real danger again in the division if he takes the time to study Middle Earth and some of his other weaker categories. Per the earlier trade, Coy would have the next pick and take a veteran of 3 divisions: Ken Napzok. As well as being a potential challenger for the Star Wars Title, Ken will bring great experience for a new manager and could even be a helpful B player in a team like in the days of The Nerd’s Watch. The Dungeon will again look at the Singles and Teams Divisions and take a highly knowledgeable competitor in Alonso Duralde, someone who could again benefit from and experienced manager when it comes to tactics. Coy would have his second pick of the round and take Witney Seibold, whose results in Singles and with the Self-Righteous Brothers have not matched up to the ability he has shown in Critically Acclaimed. Roxy will look to Tim Franco, who again knows the game very well and is also a very knowledgeable competitor, and Samm Levine will end the round by taking VIDEODREW, who was an underrated part of The Loony Bin’s Ultimate Schmoedown run and could even prove to be excellent trade bait if Burnett wants to bow to public pressure to keep The Loony Bin together.
There are still some big names available going into Round 5 and I think that Samm’s next pick could (with the right manager) be in the running for Comeback Player of the Year: Lon Harris. With her next pick, I expect Roxy to partner Tim Franco with his debut opponent Matt Atchity, who has great knowledge but struggles with the strategy, so would benefit from having Tim as his partner and Roxy as manager. The Mouthy Mercs can then pick up Adam Witt, who didn’t have a great debut, but gave a much better account of himself against Shazam!
The next pick would usually belong to Kaiser, but would instead go to Dagnino, courtesy of his victory in Orlando. With strength already there in Singles, Teams and IG, I see The Finstock Exchange looking to get a legit challenger for the Star Wars Division and taking Joseph Scrimshaw, who has ran Alex Damon close in multiple matches and has the benefit of being based more local than many of the others in the division. With a number of big names coming off the board in the Star Wars Division, I think that Kaiser takes the chance to pick up a specialist in the division in case Smets can’t get a match this season. On Beyond the Schmoedown, Dimalanta mentioned that he has been in discussions with Kaiser, so I see him going to The Dungeon with this pick. As the next pick would be only the 4ᵗʰ competitor for KOrruption, I see them getting a teammate for Foutch and going for Eliot Dewberry, who has an underrated level of knowledge as shown by his recent perfect round.
By this point, the big names are all off the board and it becomes looking for people who you think can pick you up some points and who you know a bit about. For that reason, I can see Wisnton looking at his fellow SEN Live regular RB3, whose likeable personality will see him go down well with fans and who will likely be picking up advice on studying and competing by spending so much time on SEN Live. I can see the Fyffe Club taking a punt on one of the big names I have been hearing about from the fan leagues, Jen Kempe, who will likely benefit from an established manager and form a possibly underrated team with Zipper. Burnett will finish the round by taking David Del Rio, who has looked good in his 3 matches last year.
For Burnett’s final televised pick in the draft, I think that he looks to bring in another IG specialist and who better than Warfather, who looked decent on his debut and looks like he may be one of the few people who could come close to making himself heard over Burnett. The Fyffe Club don’t have an IG specialist, so I can see her picking up the former champion Hector Navarro, who would likely benefit from an established manager like her. Winston again will go back to the largely unknown quantities that he will have got to know through SEN Live and pick up Ben Goddard – even if he doesn’t get any wins, he gets to come out to an entrance song he is already in love with and free bagels could guarantee it.
With 2 decent teams and 2 representatives in IG, Shannon will use this pick to get a representative from the Star Wars Division, taking Laura Kelly, who just gets better with each match and now has the experience of competing both in studio and in a high-stakes match in front of a live crowd. With only their 2ⁿᵈ pick in the draft, I have The Finstock Exchange taking Jader Paramo, who has a guaranteed match after his win in the fan event and would be trained by some of the biggest names in the game. The Dungeon will take Sean Gerber, whose perfect match in the MCU exhibition should put him on managers’ radars, while he could also provide a could partner for Alonso Duralde with his IG knowledge and calm head. The Mouthy Mercs will look to take a competitor that lives up to that name, so take Devon Stewart, who may not be an elite player but will get matches due to his fun personality and can also put in very strong performance if the right categories get picked. The Roxstars have no representation in Star Wars to this point, so I see them bringing in Mollie Damon, who put in a good performance at Celebration and will only get better with experience. Finally, Samm Levine takes Sabina Graves with the final pick of the 5 rounds as she is another with a good range of knowledge who could do well with a great manager.
Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!
First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:
To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community
Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.
Posted to TriviaSD.com 23/8/2019
Ever since Ben Bateman and Tom Dagnino joined the Five Horsemen in Houston, there have been questions as to whether Dagnino – as a manager, not a competitor – counted as one of the “five.”
That question was answered very recently when Brandon Hanna was invited by John Rocha to become the 5th Horseman. As the fan base went crazy and the Action Army did everything they could to call out the latest “traitor,” the story took an unexpected turn as Hanna was then seen signing a contract to join… The Family.
Let’s take a moment to try too igure out what the heck is going on here, and what the repercussions could be within the league.
First of all, we need to look at why “The Hitman” is in such high demand. One of the 2019 rookie crop, Hannah currently sits at 2-0 (1KO) in the Innergeekdom Division following a win on his debut in a Fatal Fiveway against Keetin Marchi, Chance Ellison and fellow debutant Chandru Dhandapani and a 20-18 victory over Emily “The Rose” Jacobson. His next match looks to be a 1v1 rematch against Chandru, where victory would see him well on the way to a potential title shot. Someone who knows the game well, he has clearly studied hard within the division and could soon find himself being classed within the IG Division’s top tier of competitors.
Currently, both the Horsemen and The Family are lacking a competitor in the Innergeekdom and bringing in someone of Hanna’s calibre would makes them not just a part of the Division, but a force within it. Bringing Hanna into either faction elevates them immediately.
Who Controls the Hitman?
Trying to be a part of tw factions at the same time is just greedy, and with all the history between the Horsemen and the Family, there is no way either of them would accept their new guy also being associated with their nemeses.
So now we need to figure out who Hanna is actually going to be representing. Going with the idea that “the early bird catches the worm,” it would seem John Rocha has found his 5th Horseman. However, Thadd Williams proved in the past the importance of a contract and Burnett having Hanna actually sign paperwork would likely have more weight than a verbal agreement; Rocha and Hanna were so busy throwing up the symbol of the Horsemen, they didn’t even shake hands!
When talking to Hannah, Rocha mentions that Bateman speaks highly of him. Hannah was originally the intern to “The Boss” and from all his previous appearances, it would appear that his allegiances in the Action Civil War would lie with his former employer. However, it must also be noted that Burnett says Andrew Ghai also spoke highly of him. Had this been purely Burnett’s doing, I would have been worried that “The Captain” had just risked his reputation within The Family by bringing in someone who had already committed to the Horsemen; however it would appear that Ghai is fully on board with the acquisition, which makes me feel that this is not going to result in Hanna betraying The Family and joining the Horsemen.
What is worth noting as well is that Hanna left his role as Bateman’s intern to go out on his own following Bateman and Ghai’s split. Perhaps even he felt that his employer was the guilty party in Team Action splitting up.
Looking at the evidence, it looks like the Horsemen are going to be left disappointed.
What Does This Mean for the Horsemen?
Hanna duping the Horsemen and joining The Family probably won’t go down well and will certainly add more friction within the Horsemen stable. Ben Bateman appears to have been instrumental to Hanna joining the group and seeing Hanna betray them for The Family could affect his reputation within the stable, which could then turn ugly given his fractious history with Rocha.
Should their relationship deteriorate, it could also put strain on Rocha and Reilly’s relationship as it was Reilly who took a risk by backing Bateman and Dagnino as potential Horsemen.
Have Hanna’s actions just set in motion a series of events that will see Who’s The Boss walk away from the Horsemen?
Conversely, this could also bring the Horsemen closer together and galvanise them for another attempt to take down The Family. Could this motivate Ben Bateman to enter the Innergeekdom purely to remind his former intern who the real boss is? Or could they instead turn to an unattached Innergeekdom star like Mara Knopic or Chandru and put out a hit on the Hitman, with the prize being a place in the Horsemen stable?
The repercussions could even go beyond The Horsemen and The Family. Kaiser was the first to offer Hanna a spot in his faction but was immediately turned down. After seeing Hanna join a faction led by a man who can’t tell the difference between “Lou” and “Kaiser”, could he set his own Innergeekdom star Kevin Smets against him? With Smets having destroyed Hlavac in San Diego and Hanna 3-0 if he beats Chandru, that would be a mouth-watering #1 Contender match.
One thing is for certain: There’s some drama ahead!