Collider Collision II: Beyond the Matches

Collider Collision II: Beyond the Matches

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

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

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

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

Farewell to a legend

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

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

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

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

Canine conundrum

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

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

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

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

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

Lion’s Done?

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

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

knights of ken

“I have proof, it’s on video”

“It’s Photoshop”

“It’s on audio”

“It’s Audioshop, then”

“I have a written letter—”

“It’s Everyshop!”

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

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

Vipers v Killer

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

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

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

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

featanarchyKOrruption leads to Anarchy

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

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

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

Commissioner’s woes

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

AnarchyKiller
What will be the KOmmissioner’s next move?

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

 

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

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

Faction Rundown: The League

Faction Rundown: The League

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the faction based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. The 4 main factions have now all been covered but there are a couple of other factions who have featured this season, though it would appear some of these factions may have reached their end, for now at least. Next up is The League

Members: Roxy Striar (manager), Adam Gertler, Jonny Loquasto

Current titles: None

unite
The League unites ahead of Mike’s Innergeekdom Fatal Fiveway

History: Mike “The Killer” Kalinowki was already a part of the league from Season 3 but in June 2017 made his Innergeekdom debut in a Fatal Fiveway match. As he prepared for the match, he was joined backstage by Roxy, Jonny and Gertler, who all wished him luck and joined together with him to form The League. Kalinowski lost that match in the final round to “Crazy” Coy Jandreau and also lost a later lost a 1v1 match in the division to Rachel Cushing, but both matches showed his potential in the Innergeekdom Division. In the singles Division, The Killer built on his 1-0 record from Season 1, finishing 2017 with a new nickname, “KO”, and a 4-2 all-time record which included 2 wins against Brianne Chandler and a run to the semi-final of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, where he lost to JTE. Gertler joined up with Kalinowski in the Teams Division as DC Movie News and they started off well with wins against CinemaBlend and a KO in the Ultimate Schmoedown over Six Degrees, however they lost in the next round via TKO to Above The Line and were then TKO’d again by Top That, a loss that really seemed to disappoint Kalinowski, who was last seen at the end of 2017 in the company of Brianne Chandler, fresh from her decision to leave the Missfits.

Season 5 so far: It’s been a quiet season for The League as a whole. It was Brianne who accompanied KO out for his Number 1 Contender match against JTE and Rachel Cushing, a match which saw him KO’d by the Crusher. Free 4 All II saw Kalinowski joined by Loquasto – making his Schmoedown debut. Loquasto went 3/10 at the table and went out after 2 rounds, whereas KO was unlucky to go out in his first round after getting 4/5 correct answers. It looked like maybe The League were back, but Striar and company were absent again when the poster boy of The League faced Clarke Wolfe in her Number 1 Contender match, something that clearly upset Kalinowski.

byemikeAnd then things got crazy. With Andrew Ghai back in the league and a live match against the Shirewolves coming up, Team Action challenged DC Movie News to a match. Suddenly, with the team involved, everyone was back for the match, something that Kalinowski clearly noticed ahead of the match. He was clearly fired up for the competition and if you need to see any more evidence just watch his reaction when Gertler spun James Bond for them in Round 2! Unfortunately for Kalinowski and Gertler, their decision – on the advice of manager Roxy Striar – to give Team Action Fantasy/Sci-Fi backfired as Ben and Drew scored 8 points while only allowing a 1 point steal to leave the score at 21-21, before going on to win with the final question in Round 3. Gertler looked distressed and Kalinowski looked absolutely fuming. With my previous speculation that KO would be one of the new Horsemen, seeing his mood in the post-match interview made me think that something was about to go down, but even I wasn’t expecting what happened next. After seething through Roxy and Jonny’s responses, Kalinowski stole the mic and went on a furious tirade against the rest of The League, eventually announcing that he was done and walking out on the faction, leaving everyone in a state of shock.

JLoq
It may be a while before we see another intense promo from Jonny Loquasto

Future Prospects: I hate to say it, but I think The League is dead, at least for now. Jonny is a wonderful mouthpiece and I would love to see him compete more, while I also enjoy Gertler as “The Silent Assassin” as part of DC Movie News. However, Jonny’s 2 rounds at this year’s Free 4 All is all the experience he has at the table, while Gertler has never appeared solo and has often be the weaker half of DC Movie News, while Roxy hasn’t competed at all, so I don’t know how well they would do either in the Singles League or as a new roster for DC Movie News in the Teams Division. With the Innergeekdom Tournament well underway and the Singles and Teams Tournaments coming up after Collision, I don’t see where they would be able to fit in the schedule in any significant way until next season. Would Gertler even want to compete again anytime soon after the most recent match? As if the loss to Team Action wasn’t bad enough, Kalinowsi leaving appeared to hit him hard.

IFeelLikeIJustBrokeMikeKalinowski
“I feel like I just broke Mike Kalinowski” – Adam Gertler

Perhaps they will come back to help the league deal with Kalinowski as he takes control of the Schmoedown through his puppet Thadd. Only time will tell, but I don’t expect to see much of The League as a faction anytime soon.

Season 5 record (across all divisions): 0-1          With Kalinowski gone, Gertler’s part in DC Movie News’ loss to Action is the only match remaining on The League’s record this year

jonnyhang
Jonny summing up the state of The League

Mid-season ranking: 7th          The faction appears dead for now, while there is no experienced representation left in the faction now Kalinowski is gone. I’ll be shocked if we see much more of them this year

Faction Rundown: The School of the Elite

Faction Rundown: The School of the Elite

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the faction based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. The 4 main factions have now all been covered but there are a couple of other factions who have featured this season, though it would appear some of these factions may have reached their end, for now at least. Next up is The School of the Elite

Members: Lon Harris, Cody Hall

Current titles: None

History: “The Professor” Lon Harris made his debut in the Schmoedown late in Season 4 with a 15-16 victory over Marc Bernardin. After the victory, many were expecting him to challenge another big brain in the league like William Bibbiani, but instead he shocked everyone by calling out Cody Hall, whose only previous match was an 11-0 KO at the hands of Kristian Harloff in 2014. We saw him shadowing Cody throughout Schmoedown Spectacular II and apparently trying to educate and improve him. The much-anticipated match was the 3rd of the season and was not the one-sided bloodbath everyone expecting, with Cody getting a perfect Round 1 including the bonus question to take a 5-9 lead, however he could not keep the good start going and eventually lost 16-15 on the first question of Sudden Death. After the game, Cody apparently seemed willing to learn from the Professor and the School of the Elite had formed.

schoolsin
The moment Cody Hall signed up to the School of the Elite

Season 5 so far: “The Web Slinger” has not been seen competing since his match against Harris, but the Professor has appeared in 2 other matches. After beating Cody he called out Cobbster, but Commissioner Thadd Williams overruled this, stating the Cobbster was not a competitor and that Harris would instead face someone closer to his level: Ethan Erwin. This match kicked off a run of fantastic matches and saw each competitor answer 14/16 questions asked to them, resulting in a 20-24 win for “Big Time”, who currently looks the favourite for Rookie of the Year. Harris also appeared at Free 4 All II, being the 4th competitor drawn but lasting an impressive 11 rounds (level with McWeeny and behind only Erwin and Bibbiani) while accruing a whopping 41 points (4th behind the same 3 competitors).

Future Prospects: The Professor’s 2-1 record in the Singles Division sees him just holding onto a spot in the top 10, though Murrell and Reilly will likely leapfrog him when they begin to compete again. I would expect to see him in the Singles Tournament when that comes around and I would not be surprised to see him make a run for the belt at some point, though I don’t know if he currently has the overall game to win a title. It will be interesting to see if he continues to challenge competitors on his level now or if he goes back to challenging supposedly easy victories. At 0-2, I don’t see Cody becoming a regular in the division anytime soon as the competition is getting so strong. He could potentially feature in the Teams Division alongside Harris as he showed that maybe his movie trivia is better than it used to be, but Harris could still cover a number of his blind spots.

lonerwin
Ethan Erwin is the only competitor to have defeated The Professor, could he become a fellow faculty member in the School of the Elite?

And as for the faction itself… Who knows what is happening? With Cobbster avoiding Harris, it does not look like he will be joining the faction anytime soon and I get the feeling that Lon’s loss to Erwin has slowed the growth of the faction. If this faction is to grow, I see it doing so in on of 3 ways, though admittedly the 3rd is a combination of the first 2. The Professor could choose to look for other younger and less prestigious competitors to join Cody as fellow students. Or he could go the other way and try to recruit fellow intellects like Erwin and WcWeeny to improve the teaching faculty. It wouldn’t surprise me if both options are looked at, with both “teachers” and “students” joining the roster at some point. With so many debutantes this season, there are certainly options available.

Season 5 record (across all divisions): 1-1          As founder of the School of the Elite, I have counted Lon’s win over Cody here, however as Cody was not part of the faction until after the match, I have not counted his loss. If we look at the full record for the two of them over the season, the record becomes 1-2

Mid-season ranking: 6th          Though they may not be taking a break as Critically Acclaimed announced, the School of the Elite are not as active in the league at the moment or as close to a title. Harris especially can certainly cause problems for a number of ranked competitors but until they recruit more competitors, they will not be rising far up this list

Faction Rundown: The Growling Commandos

Faction Rundown: The Growling Commandos

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the faction based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. The 4 main factions have now all been covered but there are a couple of other factions who have featured this season, though it would appear some of these factions may have reached their end, for now at least. First up is the Growling Commandos

WARNING: This will contain spoilers for Critically Acclaimed v Modok

Members: William Bibbiani, Witney Seibold

Titles: None

ibetrayyou
“I BETRAY YOU!!”

History: In the build-up to the 2017 Collider Collision, Ricky Hayberg had returned to the Schmoedown and was sneaking around with what appeared to be a cunning plan. His plan was revealed as following Rocha’s loss to Murrell, Bibbiani turned against the 4 Horsemen and allied himself with Hayberg to form the Growling Commandos. Of course every Beast needs their Beauty and the faction soon unveiled their third member: Witney Seibold, who combined with “The Beast” to form the team Critically Acclaimed. They also tried to make a power play by recruiting Matt Knost but he chose to sick with Rocha and the Horsemen as everything fell apart around them. Season 4 post-Collision was underwhelming for the faction: Bibbiani beat Scott Mantz but was knocked out in the first round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown by eventual winner Samm Levine, Critically Acclaimed’s debut ended in a TKO victory over Only Stupid Answers, however they were on the wrong side of the upset of the season as Late to the Party beat them in the first round of the Ultimate Schmoedown, while Ricky’s only match was in the Manager Bowl, where he was the first contestant eliminated.

critacc
Critically Acclaimed are 3-1 (3 KO’s) following their victory over Modok

Season 5 so far: It’s been a relatively quiet 2018 for the Growling Commandos so far. Witney is yet to make his Singles debut and Bibbiani’s only match in the division was a loss to Drew McWeeny back in March. Critically Acclaimed have TKO victories over Superhero News and Modok to their name but lost manager Ricky Hayberg, who decided that they were being too nice, ahead of their match against Superhero News. The most notable appearances for both Bibbs and Witney (other than The Beast’s wonderful cameos at the announcers’ desk) came at the 2018 Free 4 All, where Witney lasted 6 rounds, scoring 22 points (only 5 competitors scored more) and Bibbiani lasted longer than anyone, only to lose in the final round to Brianne Chandler.

Future Prospects: The big match on the faction’s radar will be the prize for Bibbiani’s starring role at the Free 4 All. By lasting the most rounds, Bibbiani earned himself a Number 1 Contender match, which he (or Future Bibbs) decided to use in the Singles Division, challenging Jeff “The Insneider” Sneider. The Beast’s 3-4 record clearly doesn’t accurately reflect his ability in the league and it is hard to pick a winner from that match. “The Beauty” will hopefully make his solo debut before the end of the season – he recently hinted there is something in the pipeline – and if his Free 4 All and Critically Acclaimed performances are anything to go by, his inclusion will just be increasing the strength within the Singles Division. As a team, they are now 2-0 for the season (3-1 overall) and all of their victories have been by TKO, so another win will probably set them up for a Number 1 Contender match. Every other team to beat Modok have held the Team title, so that’s got to be a positive sign for them!

beast
Growl Growl!

But with Ricky gone, where does this faction stand? Though he made waves by beginning the demise of the 4 Horsemen, there was very little else Ricky did to bring success for the Growling Commandos. In an interview with Take 3’s Chris Clark, Bibbs and Witney announced that as things stand, the Growling Commandos are no more, but they were not ruling out a return in the future. If they were to return and have Bibbiani manage the faction, his knowledge of the game and the league could help him bring some quality talent into the faction, while also potentially becoming the favourite in future Manager Bowls. Both Bibbs and Witney have both made note of how smart they are compared to their rivals in the past and perhaps the new nice guys mentality will help them pull in competitors like Ethan Erwin or Above The Line, creating another super-faction. Only time will tell…

Season 5 record (across all divisions): 2-1          This does not take into account Witney’s win in the Celebrity match with the cast of Ash v Evil Dead

Mid-season Ranking: 5th          They may be done as a faction for now, but they still look set to be regulars in the league for the rest of the season. The quality that both Bibbs and Witney have shown in the league, combined with The Beast’s upcoming Number 1 Contender match, is enough for me to put them above the factions that I still have to mention. If they return as a faction and recruit wisely, they have the potential to quickly rise up the faction rankings

Faction Rundown: The Viper Squad

Faction Rundown: The Viper Squad

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the team based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. Today I be looking at The Viper Squad

WARNING: This will included details from a cutscene before Carlson v Zipper

Members: Jay Washington (manager), Stacy Howard, Jeannine LC, Markeia McCarty

Current titles: None

History: Originally, there were 2 sweet girls: “Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler and “Sassy” Stacy Howard, who made up the team Six Degrees. But as they became more used to the league, the sweetness disappeared and Jay Washington became their manager, forming The Missfits. The Missfits had mixed success in Season 4: Stacy defeating Jonathan Voyko and Mark Ellis, but losing heavily to Rachel Cushing in the second round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, Brianne beat Perri Nemiroff and Clarke Wolfe but lost twice to her rival Mike Kalinowski, including in the second round of the Ultimate Schmoedown. As a team, they lost to the Wolves of Steel, defeated Tuff Beats (causing them to break up) but then lost to Kalinowski (again) and his DC Movie News teammate Adam Gertler in the Ultimate Schmoedown.

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Brianne left the Missfits at Schmoedown Spectacular II and disappeared in a car with the faction’s nemesis Mike Kalinowski

Following her second loss to Kalinowski, Miss Movies announced that she was stepping back from competing, but she still continued to support her faction until Schmoedown Spectacular II where she missed Jay’s loss in the Manager Bowl before announcing that she was leaving them and getting in a car with none other than Kalinowski. The Missfits were left with just Jay and Stacy, their attempts to recruit Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe both failing. Ahead of Season 5, they rebranded themselves as the Viper Squad – something that Jay had often discussed as his plan when trying to compete the future Shirewolves – and added Jeannine “The Machine” and “Marvelous” Markeia McCarty to their ranks.

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Markeia was the latest to make their debit for the Viper Squad this season, but Rachel Cushing proved too much for her

Season 5 so far: Fortunes have been mixed for the Viper Squad this season. Jay Washington has only had one match outside the Free 4 All, a first round match in Kalinowski’s Innergeekdom tournament against Emma Fyffe where he was unable to stick with her after she was able to get questions in her ideal category Harry Potter in Round 2. The current star of the faction, Stacy has wins against RB3 and Josh Macuga to leave her 4th in the Singles Division rankings with a 4-1 record. “The Machine” is also 2-0 for the season with wins over Bonnie Somerville and Emma Fyffe to go 9th in the Singles rankings. Markeia made her debut in the Innergeekdom tournament recently against Rachel Cushing – part of the Viper Squad’s vendetta against the Fyffe Club – but “The Crusher” proved too strong from her  and she lost by KO.

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Both Jeannine (2-0) and Stacy (4-1) find themselves 1 win away from a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin

Future Prospects: The vendetta against the Fyffe Club was set to continue with Jeannine having challenged Andreyko to a match, but their previous goading of Mike Kalinowski has worked against them as his power over Thadd has seen that match become a Triple Threat match at Collision, with Stacy Howard being added to the match and the prize being a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin. While this does mean the Viper Squad have 2 chances of victory, it does mean that at least 1 of Stacy or Jeannine will come away with a loss, or perhaps both as Andreyko is a dangerous competitor. Regardless, I can’t currently see any of these 3 winning against Erwin, who looks a good shout for Rookie of the Year. With both Jay and Markeia out of the Innergeekdom tournament and with the way the schedule is being scheduled this year, it may be a while before we see either of these two competing again. Currently there is no representation in the Teams Division, but it would not surprise me if Jeannine and Stacy were to team up or if Jay were to convince someone else to join the faction.

But before “The Urban Gladiator” looks at strengthening, he may need to focus on keeping harmony amongst the current members as it looked like neither Stacy nor Jeannine felt the other should be involved against Andreyko at Collision. Could we see Stacy choose to follow Brianne out of the Viper Squad and perhaps even reform Six Degrees? Brianne still holds the title challenge she earned at this year’s Free 4 All and that could be a very good lure for a competitor with a strong record who has struggled to get matches against her fellow ranked contenders.

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Could Kalinowski’s control of the Schmoedown cause a rift in the Viper Squad

Record this season (all divisions): 4-2

Mid-season Ranking: 4th          2 competitors in the top 10 of the Singles Division is nothing to be sniffed at, even if Stacy and Jeannine’s wins have not come against the strongest of opponents. Compared to the factions ranked ahead of them, they have limited experience in the league with half their faction debuting this season, while the lack of an established team or a competitor in the Star Wars Division hurts heir ranking. That said, with a Number 1 Contender match just a win away and an experienced manager like Jay, they still rank higher than some other factions, assuming they stay together

Faction Rundown: The Lion’s Den

Faction Rundown: The Lion’s Den

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the team based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. Today I be looking at the faction you either love or hate: The Lion’s Den

Warning: This will make mention of the cutscene at the end of Carlson v Zipper

Members: Tom Dagnino (manager), JTE, Jeff Sneider, Ken Napzok, Mark Donica, Grace Hancock(?)

Current titles: None

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Dagnino turned the league on its head when he announced Ken as the newest member of the Lion’s Den

History: Formed at the end of Season 3, the Lion’s Den was originally made up of Finstock, his former teammate JTE, JTE’s new teammate Jeff Sneider and Marc Andreyko. They had some success at Schmoedown Spectacular, with the Patriots winning the Team title and the group pulling off a coup by bringing in Singles Champion “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. Season 4 saw the Den’s lineup chop and change as Murrell eft the faction following his title loss to John Rocha, while Finstock was banned from the league for a year following “his” loss to Josh Macuga, leading to the beginning of the Tom Dagnino era. Under Dagnino, the Den poached Robert Meyer Burnett away from the 4 Horsemen after Collider Collision and also brought in Grace Hancock as a non-competing member for the Den. And then, as we came close to Schmoedown Spectacular II, Dagnino made his move to turn the league on its head, convincing Star Wars Champion Ken Napzok to betray his Nerd’s Watch teammate Rachel Cushing and bring another belt to the Den. However things did not go as planned at Schmoedown Spectacular II, with Dagnino losing the Manager Bowl to Emma Fyffe, who revealed Andreyko as her first competitor, Burnett was deemed surplus to requirements and let go, while Ken Napzok lost his title to Sam Witwer in a thrilling match, leaving The Patriots as the only current Champions in the faction.

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Dagnino was named Manager of the Year in December, but it’s not looking likely that he’ll win the award again this season

Season 5 so far: At the start of the year, it was safe to say The Lion’s Den were the strongest faction in the league, but Season 5 has not been going their way so far. Napzok’s attempt to win his Star Wars title back came to a premature end after he was TKO’d by Alex Damon at the recent live event during their Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match with Joseph Scrimshaw. The Patriots’ unbeaten run finally came to an end with their loss to Above The Line and while they have an automatic replay, there is no guarantee that they will emerge from their Iron Man match victorious. In singles, JTE missed out on a title shot after losing to Rachel Cushing in their match against Mike Kalinowski and such is the strength in the league, he is not currently even ranked in the top 10, his awful record in Season 3 counting against him. Jeff Sneider however is back on the up and has a Number 1 Contender match lined up against William Bibbiani. “Bobby Gucci” is yet to appear in singles this year, with his early exit at this year’s Free 4 All and his match as part of the Dream Crushers along with “The Pitboss” – who only has a loss to Matt Knost and a quick Free 4 All appearance to his name this season – against the Shirewolves, where they put in a better than expected showing but could not get the win. The final active member of the faction is Mark Donica, who joined earlier this season to give the Den a presence in the Innergeekdom ahead of his match against Jared Haibon and earned a title shot in that Division, playing well but being outclassed by Jason Inman. Grace Hancock has not been present this season (maybe she was their good luck charm?) due to other commitments and at this point it is not clear whether she is still part of the Den or has fallen by the wayside.

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Victory in the ongoing Innergeekdom tournament would see Donica get a chance of revenge against Jason Inman

Future Prospects: Looking forward, I would argue that the best shot of a title soon is The Patriots, but Above The Line are going to be difficult opponents and given the recent Round 1 performances and Samm Levine’s speed in the in the buzzer round, the Iron Man format could give the new champions an advantage. Mark Donica appears to be one of the stronger Innergeekdom players and I expect the enforcer to get the victory over Robert Meyer Burnett (a former member of the Den) in the opening round of the Innergeekdom tournament, but such is the format and strength of opposition, he will eventually come up against stronger opposition like Rachel Cushing and that may be a step too far for “The Enforcer” this season. With the amount of quality in the league now, I can see Ken and Tom doing well against the lower echelons of the competition, especially when joined as a team, but I do not see them breaking into the higher rankings anytime soon. Looking at the rankings, “The Insneider” has to be the favourite in his match with Bibbiani, but if “The Beast” can get a good spin in Round 2 and sort out his issues with Round 3, anything is possible. Meanwhile, JTE’s record does not do him justice, but such is the depth in the Singles Division right now, his best chance of another shot at the Singles title is probably a tournament victory – though I would say that will be infinitely harder than his run to the Ultimate Schmoedown Final last season. Ken will always be in with a shot in Star Wars matches, but matches are few and far between and recent outings have shown quotes to be a weakness that could be exploited. If the Den want a second challenger for Witwer’s belt, then Donica could join the division, but like Rocha and Reilly I haven’t yet seen enough to think he would be able to beat the competitors that were at the live event.

The question then becomes “what happens next?” This is the first time The Lion’s Den haven’t had a belt since the early days before The Patriots won at Schmoedown Spectacular. Now that they have reached a less successful period and found themselves against stronger factions than ever before, will cracks begin to show between the competitors? Will The Pitboss continue to serve under Tom Dagnino if the competitors start dropping down the rankings, or will he mutiny and try to take control of the group, or even branch off and form his own faction? Or will their shared hatred of “The System” see them continue to work together? After Carlson v Zipper, Ken received a letter that appeared to rile him up, could this be the start of his defection?

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What impact will Finstock’s return to the league have on the Den?

The big wildcard could be Finstock. Following his year-long exile courtesy of his loss to Josh Macuga, the masked menace made his return during this year’s Free 4 All – with limited success – but has not been seen since. The founder of the Den and a former teammate of JTE, if he comes back with an agenda different to that of the Lion’s Den, could that see loyalties tested and civil war within the Den?

Record this season (all divisions): 4-7            This only takes into account matches played as a member of the Lion’s Den, therefore Donica’s debut is not counted, if we look at the full 2018 record for all competitors the record becomes 5-7

Mid-season Ranking: 3rd          They may have a losing record this season and not currently hold any belts, but the Den still contains the most successful team in the league, credible threats in the Innergeekdom (Donica) and Star Wars (Ken) Divisions and 2 competitor in Sneider and JTE that have the ability to win the singles title on their day. They may be going through a rough patch and be facing the strongest competition so far from other factions, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them challenging on multiple fronts through the rest of the season

Faction Rundown: The 5 Horsemen

Faction Rundown: The 5 Horsemen

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the team based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. I will try not to be too biased, as today I be looking at the faction I cheer for: The 5 Horsemen

Members: John Rocha, Matt Knost, Jason Inman, Mark Reilly, Dan Murrell

Current titles: Innergeekom – Jason Inman

History: The 4 Horsemen originally formed in Season 3 as “The Outlaw” John Rocha looked to take control of all the belts and all the records. He and his Top 10 teammate “Mighty” Matt Knost recruited William “The Beast” Bibbiani fresh off his debut victory against Marc Andreyko and completed their stable with the acquisition of “The Captain” Robert Meyer Burnett following his win in the inaugural Innergeekdom match at Schmoedown Spectacular. Season 4 was mixed for The Horsemen: Burnett soon lost his title to Hector Navarro, Bibbiani became the first person to lose to JTE in Singles in years and Top 10 failed to win back their Team Title from the Patriots. Rocha did win the Singles Title from Dan Murrell – in the process becoming the first competitor to have held both the Singles and Teams belts – but lost in his first defence against Mark Reilly and came 2nd to Murrell in the Triple Threat at Collider Collision. And then everything fell apart for the Horsemen. Bibbiani betrayed Rocha and left to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg, while Burnett soon announced that he was also jumping ship to join their greatest rivals, The Lion’s Den. And so Top 10 were back on their own. They had some successes both individually and together, but the Horsemen were no more.

And then came the first live event. Rocha v JTE, a huge result for The Outlaw, who finally got a victory over “Little Evil”. After the match while speaking to Jenn Sterger, he made it clear that he was going to work his way through the Den and teased that he would be bringing in some new help. Everyone was giving their thoughts on when the new Horsemen would be announced and who they would be. But I don’t think anybody guessed just what was coming.

“You’re still vastly outnumbered right now by The Lion’s Den though.”

“That’s right I am. So, there’s only one way to solve… actually, there’s four ways to solve it. And I’m gonna tell you the four real soon.”

4revealAndrew Ghai, back from his time in prison “stole” Murrell’s spot in Free 4 All II, announcing that he had killed Murrell and buried him 6 feet under. Despite any proof that Murrell was doing anything but enjoying a well-earned retirement from the Schmoedown, Ghai continued to parade around telling anyone who would listen that he was, as the shirt on Teepublic says, The Ghai That Beat The GOAT. At the second live event, he came out an told the crowd that he could do what nobody else could – bring Dan Murrell back, before proceeding to bring out “the GOAT” (teammate Ben Batemen in disguise). As they continued their fin, the lights went out and new music began to play. The lights went up to reveal 4 cloaked figures brandishing the sign of the 4 Horsemen. One by one they pulled back their hoods to reveal themselves: Matt Knost… John Rocha… Jason “Justice” Inman… Mark “Yodi” Reilly back from retirement! The crowd went mental, reactors at home went mental, and in the pandemonium plenty of people missed the Horsemen change their sign from 4 fingers to 5. The lights went back down, the music changed and when the lights came back up, a fifth cloaked figure was onstage and soon revealed as… Dan Murrell! The GOAT was back, in the same faction as his former rivals and the 5 Horsemen were formed.

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The Jane Fonda moment was a low point for Top 10 this season, now they have a new stable, is their stock set to rise?

Season 5 so far: As a faction, they have not yet had any matches and due to Murrell and Reilly’s retirements and Inman’s title, there have been very few matches with these competitors so far this season. Individually, Matt Knost is 1-0 for the season following his victory over Napzok. Rocha TKO’d JTE at the first live event but he then lost to Jeff Sneider. He also defeated Alex Wolfe earlier this month, but as this was an exhibition match it does not count towards his record. Jason Inman’s only solo match so far was his Innergeekdom title defence against Mark Donica. Top 10 started the season with a victory over Top That after Jim Vejvoda gifted Rocha Biopics after they spun Opponent’s Choice in Round 2, but were KO’d by the Patriots in their third meeting – a match remembered for the Jane Fonda controversy. Inman has also played once in the Team Division this season along with his Team Trek partner Scott Mantz, a match that ended in defeat to World’s Finest.

Future Prospects: Very little is known at this stage as to what is in store for the Horsemen. Murrell is currently the only competitor with a match booked, against Andrew Ghai at Collider Collision II, which I think only the bravest would expect to end in anything but a victory for the GOAT. Inman will also be defending his title against the winner of the ongoing Innergeekdom tournament, but other than Rachel Cushing I cannot see many competitors that I think would give him a real challenge when he’s on top form. Rocha still has the stipulation of needed 3 Singles wins in a row to earn a title shot (barring a fast-pass like from the Free 4 All/Manager Bowl) so it will probably be a while until we see him in an individual title match. With a 7-2 record, it will not take long for Murrell to find himself back towards the top of the rankings and the thought of a Murrell v Levine sequel for the title is mouth-watering given The Inglorious One’s exploits since Murrell retired. Likewise, Yodi’s 9-4 record in singles will not take him long to earn a title shot, but of the 2 returning champs, I am more worried about him given the rise in the quality of competition since he retired almost a year ago. Knost and Inman will hopefully continue to get matches in the Singles Division, but I think their success will be in matches that would make suitable undercards, against competitors who are less successful in solo competition like Ghai, Dagnino and Napzok – all 3 of whom would make suitable rivalries with the Horsemen to make a potential undercard quality match worthy of being an episode of its own.

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The 3 great rivals in the early days of the Singles League are now in the same faction

Top 10 will likely be making a new push for the Teams title now that The Patriot’s loss to Above The Line makes them eligible to compete in a Team title match again, but they may not even be the strongest team in the faction if Team Champs decide to reform – something I predicted, but not in this way! If Team Champs don’t reform, then I would expect one of the former champs to team up with Jason Inman, though at this stage it is still not confirmed whether Team Trek is done or if they will continue to compete together similar to how Burnett continued to compete with Jon Schnepp as part of Team Heroes. Potentially, the Five Horsemen could have representation on 3 teams in the division. The only weakness that I see in this faction right now is the lack of representation in the Star Wars Division. The Fyffe Club have Witwer, The Lion’s Den have Napzok, but nobody in the Horsemen has ever competed in one of the Star Wars Schmoedowns. Reilly and Rocha know their Star Wars trivia (Rocha’s Bespin moment notwithstanding) and I would love to see them compete in the division, but when you look at the quality of recent Star Wars matches I don’t know if they would be able to stick with the top competitors.

Record this season (all divisions): 3-2 (Rocha & Knost this season), 4-3 including Inman’s matches before joining The Horsemen. This is not counting Rocha’s exhibition victory over Alex Wolfe

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Only the Lion’s Den (24, soon to be 26) can come close to the number of title matches competitors have been involved in. Matches containing more than one of the competitors are counted for each competitor

Mid-season Ranking: 2nd       3 former Singles Champions (2 2-time champs)… Former Team Champions… the current Innergeekdom Champion… countless other title matches. On paper this is the strongest faction in the league, capable of holding the Singles, Teams and Innergeekdom titles. However the uncertainty at this point surrounding how Reilly and Murrell will cope in a much stronger league and the lack of a clear competitor in the Star Wars Division stops me giving them the top spot at this point