Schmoedown Live 3

Schmoedown Live 3

The 3rd and final live Schmoedown event of the year took place at the El Portal Theatre on September 8th. Living across the pond, I had to wait until last week to see the matches, but boy was it worth the wait! The Horsemen’s presence at every live event continued with John Rocha and Dan Murrell taking part in the first match of the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, while Jason Inman prepared to defend his Innergeekdom title against Mara Knopic – the first live title match! While I would say the 2nd live event was my favourite to watch (I’m a Star Wars nut and the Horsemen reveal was perfect!), I really enjoyed watching this one and wanted to go back through the main bits.

The Matches

Founding Fathers (“The Outlaw” John Rocha & “Dangerous” Dan Murrell) 20-17 Wait, I Know This (“Sassy” Stacy Howard & “Blackman” Winston Marshall)

“Horsemen! Let’s mount up, it’s time to ride.” – John Rocha

If this match is a hint as to the fun we will have during the Anarchy tournament, we are in for a treat. Clearly underdogs against 2 former champions, Wait, I Know This played up to the fact, with a great promo from first-time manager Coy Jandreau, making ladies swoon everywhere with his Jeff Goldblum costume. The team came out flanked by 2 dinosaurs (it’s still to be confirmed if either was a Tricenatauratops) and certainly got a large portion of the crow on their side. And then came the Founding Fathers, escorted out by the other 3 Horsemen and with a great new entrance music. With Murrell having lost his last match to Andrew Ghai, we knew he’d be up for this and as such we were in for a treat.

mtsanarchy1The Founding Fathers took a strong lead in Round 1, with a combined score of 12 (7 for Rocha, 5 for Dan) while Wait, I know This struggled to keep up as often it turned out Winston (1/8) didn’t know this, though Stacy went under the radar and picked up an impressive 6 points to keep her team in the hunt.

The Founding Fathers chose to defer their spin in Round 2 and Winston spun Pixar Movies. Their fortunes were mixed in this round as they correctly answered all of their questions, however they had to check down to multiple choice for 5/6, only just putting them ahead of their opponents. At this point, it must be noted that Stacy Howard continued to show her Macuga-esque knack of being able to get the right answer on a complete guess. When her guessing game is on point, she will always be a danger. Rocha took the spin for the Founding Fathers, but he landed on Opponent’s Choice and after plenty of deliberation, the former Singles Champions were given Movie Release Dates. Watching the round, it looked like Dan Murrell took the lead on this round – something Rocha confirmed in the post-match interview – and they went 6/6 for 8 points, but it did seem that they could have got more 2-point answers had they chosen not to play it safe.

Things looked bad for Wait I Know This going into the final round 6 points down and things didn’t get any better as Winston missed his 2-point question in the category of Tom Cruise. Stacy nailed her 3-pointer in Brad Pitt and Wait, I Know This were left having to answer their 5-point question to avoid the TKO. I’m a big fan of the Middle Earth films and thought the question to name the 2 actors to appear in all 6 Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies was easy, but I made the same mistake as they did, picking Orlando Bloom (who was not in the first Hobbit movie) rather than Cate Blanchett. And so the Founding Fathers got the TKO victory to kick off the Anarchy Tournament and will next face the winner of KOrruption v Inky and the Brain.

mtsffwinI really liked the chemistry between Winston and Stacy in this match and think it is a shame they were facing one of the strongest teams in the tournament in their opener. Unfortunately with The World’s Finest having done so well in their rookie season, I can’t see Wait, I Know This remaining as a team long-term. As for the Founding Fathers, they will have tougher tests, but scoring 20 points in 2 rounds despite spinning Opponent’s Choice will have put the league on notice. Murrell is back and looks set to prove the Ghai loss was nothing more than a blip, while Rocha appears to have new life alongside Murrell and this could help draw out some of his best ever performances.

“It’s my honour to ride alongside the greatest.” – John Rocha

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 21-20 Jason “Justice” Inman

After her victories over Rachel Cushing and Mike Kalinowski, we knew that we were likely going to be in for a treat when Mara Knopic took on the Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman. Both competitors were very complimentary about each other ahead of the match – no real surprise considering she is effectively a sister-in-law to the Horsemen – and while both clearly wanted to win, what was important was that we were treated to a great match. The mutual respect continued as Mara emerged with Dan Murrell and when the rest of the Horsemen led out Inman, there was clearly no animosity towards her.

mtsknoinRound 1 was a close affair as Mara – who has sometimes struggled in the opening round – looked to be on form with a score of 7, but Jason was showing his championship credentials by getting 8/10. Brad Gilmore from the Schmoedown Rundown won’t be happy though as once again both competitors missed on a question about the Back to the Future films!

“I don’t think I’m a rookie anymore.” – Mara Knopic

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The moment the match spun in Mara’s favour (literally)

Like his fellow Horsemen before him, Inman deferred his spin and Mara was up, landing on Movie Release Dates with her first spin and – to the shock of the crowd – accepting it without hesitation. She fired though the round and only had to check down to multiple choice for one question on her way to correctly answering 5/5 for a haul of 9 points. Jason was less lucky with his spins, initially landing on Mixed Bag and then Star Wars on his second attempt. Inman may not have many weaknesses, but this category certainly isn’t one of his strengths. He worked his way through the category well, going 4/5 for 6 points, missing on a Yoda quote that Mara was also unable to get despite multiple choice.

In Round 3, Mara spun Middle Earth and they got a question that I found easy, but as we already know I’m a Tolkien nut and I can imagine it wouldn’t have been as obvious to anyone else. Both competitors chose to risk 2 points but while Mara was able to pull out the correct answer, the defending champion was not able to and he fell 6 points behind.

Inman caught up slightly in Round 4 as he buzzed in for 3 correct answers to Mara’s 1. After 2 matches in the 5-round format, the speed round appears to be her biggest weakness as she is often beaten to the buzzer, but she clearly has the knowledge and if she can improve her speed she will be deadly here. I will also give her some slack as the buzzers did not appear to be the most reliable of things on the night.

Going into Round 5 with a 4-point deficit, things weren’t looking good for Inman, but if anyone could come back to win it would be him. He hit the mark with his 2- and 3-pointers and after Mara hit her 2-point question, he was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to stay in the match. I think it’s fair to say Chris Skalicky will not be in Inman’s good graces right now after the 5 pointer to name the type of wine Bilbo offered Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, but as someone able to quote the entire line I would call this question miles easier than the one that felled Kalinowski, though I still think it was a very worthy 5-pointer.

“This was a knowledge-based game and knowledge won it” – Jason Inman

mtsmkchampAnd so Mara Knopic became the first female to win a solo title in the Schmoedown, following hot on the heels of the Shirewolves becoming the first female champions. With a 5-0 record and a title to her name, it will be difficult to argue against her being named Rookie of the Year unless Ethan Erwin can have some serious success in the Ultimate Schmoedown. She clearly has a good breadth and depth of knowledge and with Movie Release Dates now appearing more regularly as a category she has more than proved herself worthy of the title and is in my opinion one of the top 4 Innergeekdom competitors.

Inman will come back strong. 20 points is a solid score considering he had one of his weaker categories in Round 2 and I am sure we will see him competing in title matches again in 2019.

More KOrruption

mtskalcrashIt was always going to be difficult to beat an ending as good as the Horsemen reveal, but the arrival of KOrruption to interrupt Mara’s post-match interview and announce that Mike will be taking on Mara for the title at Schmoedown Spectacular 3 without having to go though a contender match to earn a spot. As a beaten finalist in the tournament I can understand Kalinowski being in the hunt for the next title shot and with the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams and Singles Tournaments still to go there obviously isn’t much time to fit in Innergeekdom matches between now and Spectacular, but it is still a shock to see Kalinowski get a free pass to another title match. I guess it helps to be friends with the Commissioner.

As for the Commissioner, Thadd is going to be coming under heavy pressure over the next few months. At the start of the show he took credit for the live event, Innergeekdom tournament and Anarchy, which I’m sure won’t have been appreciated by hosts Mark Ellis and the one true Commish Kristian Harloff. While the Innergeekdom tournament took the division to a new level, the lack of a clear bracket will have certainly rubbed some competitors the wrong way, which won’t have been helped by the splitting of teams for the Anarchy Tournament. Jonny Loquasto has not been seen since he was unceremoniously dropped from the announcers desk at Collision but will be managing one of the Anarchy teams and may want to have a word with the Commissioner. The Fyffe Club are likely still seething at Sam Witwer being stripped of his title too. For some competitors, Kalinowski being given a title shot without having to go through a contenders match could be the last straw. Thadd has now been in charge of the league for about a year, I will be shocked if there has not been some serious challenge to his leadership by the end of the season.

Other Thoughts

mtsroghaiThere was a great moment during Inman’s entrance when Rocha and Ghai (in the crowd) fronted up to each other before shaking each other’s hand. This was a great moment as it shows Ghai’s victories over Murrell and Reilly have earned him even the grudging respect of the Outlaw ahead of their contenders match

It wasn’t shown much on the videos, but the Wildberries were at the El Portal to help get the crowd pumped for the show. I’ve seen a few clips online from people who were there (would you believe me if I said I wasn’t jealous? Me neither) and it looks like they did a great job. They may not be the best at trivia but they are so much fun and a role like this is perfect for them!

Sticking with the Wildberries, having Jeopardy as an answer at a live event with Josh Macuga present was just too perfect and it was great to see him rush the stage to celebrate. #JoshMacuga4Jeopardy

It was also great to see Chris Skalicky onstage judging the buzzers during the title match. His is a name many people have heard watching the show but for those who do not watch much other Schmoedown related content (seriously, there’s great stuff out there, you really should!) it must be great to finally see the infamous head writer

After Mara titled herself “Mara, first of her name, Queen of the Innergeekdom, Protector of the Realm, Brown Dwarf Star of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, Mother of kittens, the Undefeated, the Breaker of brackets” on the Schmoedown Rundown, I really want Kristian to have to say all this when announcing her for her next match and see them fit the whole title onto the graphic!

mtscoyHey may not be the best of competitors, but we need so much more of Coy Jandreau as a manager in the league. His charisma and enthusiasm is wonderful and I think he could do a great job as a manager for a competitor who is not so confident with their promos. I think we could see a few other managers along similar lines as the Anarchy tournament goes on

It was great to see the improvements made for this show after the last one. After some issues with having only 1 mic per table during Team Action v The Shirewolves, the production crew did a great job to make sure there was a mic per person at the table

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

Hi guys, apologies yet again for the delay in writing this, the last few weeks have been so busy I’m in serious catch-up mode. Thanks everyone for your patience!

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors.

If you want to read my reviews of the previous rounds, they can be found here:

Mike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-25 “Amazing” Mara Knopic

And so it came to this: the showpiece event that I doubt many people were expecting when the Round 1 matches were initially announced. Mike Kalinowski, the puppet master and creator of the tournament against Mara Knopic, who was not even in the original 10 Innergeekom competitors slated to compete for Jason Inman’s title.

schfinalMara was clearly still suffering in the aftermath of her accident, but the Chewbacca onesie seemed to give her strength and she matched her highest Round 1 score of 8/10, running out of time trying to answer the Green Lantern quote and just getting the incorrect age on the Patreon Question. It was the Patreon Question that denied Kalinowski another perfect round and if I’m honest, I would have probably accepted Mike’s answer of a minimum age limit, though the answer required was the specific age.

Going into Round 2, The Killer deferred his spin and Mara got Harry Potter on her first spin, choosing to keep it. She started strong with 4 points from the first 2 questions, before checking down to multiple choice to get a point on the next one, but missed 2-point attempts on both of her remaining questions, Kalinowski unable to steal. Kalinowski was up next and it looked like it would be his day as he landed on Spinner’s Choice on his first spin and chose to go with the DCEU. Though he missed his second question, Mara was unable to steal and he answered his other 4 questions correctly for 7 points, extending his lead to 16-13.

Both players chose to play it safe in Round 3 when Kalinowski spun Star Trek but Mike was perhaps a little too safe, only going for 1 point whereas Mara went for 2. Both gave the same correct answer and Mike’s lead was cut to 2.

His lead soon grew though as he dominated the speed round, buzzing in first on all 5 questions, however a wrong answer on the 2nd question meant that he only came away with 3 points from the round. In my preview of the final, I noted that the buzzer round was new for both competitors, but it appeared that Kalinowski had studied the round better, having his hand already on the buzzer whereas Mara had her hand off to the side, giving her a distinct disadvantage.

schmarawinsAnd so we came to the final round. With the scores at 25-20 in favour of Kalinowski, it would require an Innergeekdom-record comeback in order to win (Navarro’s 4 point comeback against Jeremy Jahns the highest up to this point). She got off to a great start by nailing her 2-point and 3-point questions to throw things over to her rival. Kalinowski missed on his 2-pointer in Scores and Soundtracks but correctly answered his 3-pointer to force Mara to answer her 5-pointer to stay in the game. The category: Indiana Jones. Mara has been coming out to the Indiana Jones theme all tournament and proved she knew her stuff in the category by answering the question with barely any hesitation. And so we were back to Kalinowski, 5 points in the category of MCU. He is generally strong in the comic book movie categories, but I would feel confident in calling this question the hardest ever asked in Innergeekdom! Despite still having all 3 of his JTE rules, Kalinowski could not pull the answer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein remained as she wrote it, with him falling trying to defeat his own creation. Mara Knopic, the rookie who nobody had heard of mere months ago, had won the Innergeekdom tournament and booked her place at the September Live Event to face Jason Inman for the title!

Kalinowski can certainly hold his head high after that performance as both Mara and Rachel Cushing admitted post-match that they didn’t know the final answer either, while he has consistently scored high in all 4 matches within the tournament and does not appear to have any glaring weaknesses. I just wonder how much he regrets playing it safe in Round 3 and not using one of his JTE rules on his 2-point question in Round 5 as he appeared to know the answer but not be able to pull the name.

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Mara needs to spend some time practicing the speed round if she wants to beat Inman

The Final

What chance does Mara Knopic have against Jason Inman? I think she has every chance of winning! She may not have a perfect Round 1 to her name (things have been far from perfect in some matches) but she has shown a wide range of knowledge and has continually found a way to win regardless of who she has playing, going so far as to beat 2 of what I would consider to be the top 3 Innergeekdom competitors in consecutive matches. She will also benefit from the final being in a title format as she can now see what she needs to work on ahead of the final. If she can learn from this match to keep her hand already on the buzzer, she has every chance of getting some points in the speed round (where Inman excelled against Donica) and if she can keep things close, she will have every chance of winning the title.

The fun bit will be seeing how Dan Murrell reacts. The 2-time former Singles Champion will be at the event as he is competing along with Rocha in the Anarchy match against Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall and would have also been expected to cheer on his fellow Horseman in his title match. However now that Mara is there Murrell’s loyalties may be split and Rocha even suggested on Wednesday’s Collider Live that he may be cheering her on for the match. What impact could that have on the Horsemen in Inman were to lose? This could be a tough test of Rocha’s management over the next few weeks!

Brown Dwarf Star to Superstar

Looking beyond Ineergeekdom for a moment and Mara has to come into contention for Rookie of the Year. She is 4-0 this year with some impressive scalps to her name and is set for a title match. Ethan Erwin would currently get my vote due to the combination of Singles (where he lost his Number 1 Contender match to Andreyko to go 3-1) and the Free 4 All, while he also has a chance to improve his standing with a good performance in the Anarchy tournament. Jeannine would be the other name coming into contention, but with a 2-1 record and being on the same team as Erwin, I would give him the advantage. However, if Mara can become the first rookie to win a title, then surely the odds of winning the award will swing her way.

KOrruption

“This is what this tournament was about” – Mike Kalinowski

Since Mike parted ways with The League and started KOrruption, it’s safe to say he has had an impact on the league. The Innergeekdom Division has gone to a new level with the number and quality of the 1v1 matches and the tournament, while competitors like him and Rachel now have records more befitting their quality, while other unknowns (like Mara) have had a chance to come into the league and make a name for themselves.

As well as this tournament, KOrruption has seen The Patriots and the Lion’s Den come to an end, the formation of the Knights of Ken – who appear willing to throw their support behind Kalinowski – and has also led to the (at least temporary) breaking up of most teams for the Anarchy edition of the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament, which is at this stage impossible to call. As he said post-match, KOrruption is not just Innergeekdom and this is just the start… I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

What did you think of the final? Who do you think will win at the El Portal Theatre? Would Mara get your vote for Rookie of the Year? Let me know down below. Thanks for reading and until next time… Baaaaa!

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KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

Hey guys! First of all,sorry for the delay in writing this, I’ve been away in Ireland for a wedding so even though I was able to see both semi-finals before I went away I wasn’t able to actually write about them until now. I’m hoping that my write-up of the final will be up within a few days of the match.

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. We were treated to some fantastic matches in Rounds 1 and 2 and while both matches had an overwhelming favourite, we’d seen enough to know that an upset was certainly possible.

 

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 24-23 Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing

Arguably the best match in the Innergeekdom Division, surely one of the matches of the year and perhaps even one of the best Schmoedown matches ever, the match started slow but will live long in the memory. Rachel Cushing was most people’s favourite for the tournament following her demolition of Markeia McCarty and second consecutive perfect Round 1 against Eric Zipper at Collider Collision II, however she was under the weather on the day of the match, which became increasingly clear as the match wore on. The Brown Dwarf Star was also struggling as she was in pain following a recent car accident, so before we even start going into detail on this match, I want to give massive respect to both of them for agreeing to go ahead with the match. If you have read my articles on the previous rounds, you will know that I usually take a look at where the competitors have struggled, but given the circumstances I will not be getting into this so much for this match as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to focus and concentrate when clearly struggling.

mtsrachmarThe Crusher’s run of perfect Round 1s came to an end as she missed question 6, finishing a run of 27 consecutive correct answers in Round 1 during this tournament, eventually finishing with 8 of a possible 10 points. Mara did not have such a good start and found herself 8-5 down going into Round 2, at which point I imagine the Schmoeville bookies were getting ready to pay out on a Cushing victory.

Going into Round 2 and Cushing was up first, initially spinning Mixed Bag but spinning away to Heroes & Villains. She started strongly with 3 consecutive 2-pointers but missed on her last 2 despite checking down to multiple choice, Mara stealing a point on the final question. It was then Knopic’s turn to spin and she also chose to spin away from Mixed Bag, eventually landing on Marvel. She missed on her first question – Rachel missing with the steal opportunity – but improved to 4/5 for 6 points, leaving her just 2 behind going into Round 3.

mtsmarafinalBoth competitors hit their 2-point questions, Mara missed on her 3-pointer but hit her final question, while Rachel landed her 3-pointer. And so it came down to Rachel’s 5 pointer. A correct answer would see her into the final; a wrong answer would give us the first ever Overtime in an Innergeekdom 1v1 match – Coy’s Fatal Fiveway victory (remembered as the “Pudding” match) being the only other match in the division to enter Overtime. The category Who Said It? is always going to be tricky and while many fans have commented that it was obvious, Rachel was unable to pull the answer and the match continued.

Both competitors hit their first 2 answers in Sudden Death before missing the next 3, though it was so nearly over on question 5 as Cushing was off by a letter, going with San Frantokyo rather than San Fransokyo, and at that point I think people realised that we could really be in for a long haul. Both competitors were clearly struggling to keep going at this point, as they both answered question 6 correctly before missing 3 in a row – going so far as to both guess the same wrong answer (Tex) on question 9 before both hitting question 10. And finally, as I was beginning to think Sudden Death may take on a more literal meaning in the match, another Who Said It? question came up. Mara was able to correctly answer but Rachel Cushing then shocked the world by missing, completing a match that by the end had so many of us on the edge of our seats.

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Kristian’s reaction was likely mirrored by many watching come the end of the match

As I mentioned above, I will not go into where competitors struggled in this match as I think both competitors would have done better had they been at full health. And that in itself shows just how strong they both are, as 19 points over 3 rounds is a very respectable score. Rachel Cushing has mentioned that this is the division where she feels most comfortable and though she may not have made the final, a title shot is clearly a matter of when not if! One thing’s for certain: Cushing v Knopic II will be one of the most anticipated matches ever when it happens down the line and if both are at their best it really could be one of the best ever matches.

mtskalfinalMike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-21 Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac

“Win or lose, I’ve changed the game”

With the first spot in the final decided, it was between Kalinowski and Hlavac for the chance to face Mara Knopic. After the last round, I was expecting a Kalinowski victory and it looked like we’d be getting that pretty quickly as Adam struggled to just 3 points in Round 1, while Kalinowski – who just missed a perfect Round 1 against Donica – got the perfect round he’d been craving and the bonus to take a 11-3 lead.

Adam was up first in Round 2 and initially spun Star Trek but took the risk and spun again, landing on DCEU where he went 5/5 for 8 points. Kalinowski spun Harry Potter – a previous weakness that he listed for this match as a strength following a 5/5 Round 2 performance for 8/10 points in his last round – but chose to spin again and landed on MCU, going 4/5 for 7 points while Hlavac was unable to take advantage of his steal opportunity.

mtsadammikeGoing into Round 3 with a 7 point deficit was always going to be difficult for Adam to overcome, but he gave it his best shot by correctly answering all 3 of his questions, forcing The Killer to have to answer in Round 3 for the first time in the tournament. Missing the opportunity of a third consecutive KO/TKO did not phase him though as he correctly answered his 2 and 3-pointers to win the match and book his place in the final.

Though poor categories in Rounds 2 and 3 are often seen as the deciders, this match shows the importance of Round 1. Even if we assume Kalinowski would have correctly answered his 5-pointer, that would have still left him with a point less than Hlavac if we only looked at the final 2 rounds. Though we know from previous matches that Adam has weaknesses (Middle Earth being the most obvious) he generally has a good breadth of knowledge in the Innergeekdom Division, so it was a surprise to see him struggle in this match. He even admitted in his post-match interview that he did know some of the answers but just could not pull it in the moment. From the highs of dominating Keetin Marchi in Round 1 to now being dominated himself, this is a stark reminder of just how easy it is to have a bad day at the table. His later Rounds however are a reminder of just how dangerous he can be and though I probably wouldn’t currently put him in the very top tier of Innergeekdom competitors, I don’t think he is far off and feel that on his day he could beat anyone.

 

The final

And so the final is set: Kalinowski v Knopic. Mara was not even part of the original plan of 5 1v1s and a Fatal Fiveway, but now she is 1 win away from a title match. Kalinowski described this match as Frankenstein v Frankenstein’s monster, which I found interesting considering the monster destroys everything its creator held dear and survived where Dr Frankenstein did not, but Kalinowski clarified this when speaking to Take 3 Productions by saying that KOrruption is changing everything we know.

“I don’t have weaknesses, I have varying degrees of strength”

Who will get the win? Some things to consider:

  • Per Frank Janisch, Mara has 60% accuracy and has averaged 18.3 points per game through the tournament
  • Again per Frank Janisch, Mike has 91% accuracy and has averaged 21 points per game throughout the tournament, despite this being the only time he has had to answer in Round 3
  • The final will be a 5 Round match, neither competitor has played in one of these, so the buzzer and betting rounds will be new to them
  • Depending how soon after the semis the final was taped, Mara may still be struggling following her accident

MTSfinalprevThough I think Mara can certainly win, the work Kalinowski has done to improve himself within the division and the way he studies his competitors makes me give him the edge. He has turned weaknesses into strengths so it is very difficult to know how to react if Mike spins Opponent’s Choice. Mara has not shown herself to be especially weak in any category either, but there has not been the same degree of strength across the board. It would not surprise me if this comes down to the speed round and it will be interesting to see how each competitor does here, as Mike especially frequently takes his time to think though his answer.

So, putting my neck on the line, like a good sheep I predict a Kalinowski v Inman match at the September live event. But it’s safe to say that whoever wins the final will have completely earned their title shot!

 

What did you think of the matches? Who do you think will be facing the champion at the El Portal? Let me know below.

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 2

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 2

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. Round 1 gave us some wonderful matches, with a mix of experienced competitors and new fan favourites making their way through to Round 2.

As I did in the last round, I will take a look back over each match and give my thoughts for what’s next for each competitor.

 

Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing 19-14 Eric “Super Zip” Zipper

Anyone wondering if Cushing could put in another dominant performance soon got their answer as she followed up getting the Innergeekdom Division’s first Perfect Round 1 (including the bonus question) against McCarty by doing it again here, while Zipper could only muster a respectable 7 points.

The Crusher spun Marvel in Round 2 and worked her way through the category to go 4/4 for 5 points, while Zipper chose to spin away from Star Wars and landed on Star Trek, which he struggled on for 2 points while giving Cushing 3 points from 2 steals.

19-9 down going into Round 3, Zipper knew he had to go 3/3 in order to avoid the TKO and while he started well, Lord of the Rings proved his undoing on the 5-point question and The Crusher had the victory without having to answer in the final round again.

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Rachel has her mind set on a match against Kalinowski, could this be the final of the tournament?

It’s hard to imagine someone stopping Rachel winning the tournament right now as she is clearly on a roll, she was 15/15 on her questions and 2/2 on steals today and with consecutive Perfect Round 1s, even Jason Inman must be getting nervous. She has such a breadth of knowledge but also enough depth in her knowledge too. Speaking on the Schmoedown Rundown following Collision, she stated that she is confident she can work her way through any Innergeekdom wheel slice and it’s hard to argue with that, while she also stated that she has been watching all the Innergeekdom matches so she will have picked up on any areas of weakness in her opposition. As for Zipper, he has some work to do in order to join the top echelon of Innergeekdom competitors. His reaction to spinning Star Wars showed he has no confidence in that category, and this match has also exposed Star Trek as a weakness, both of which will be capitalised on should he spin Opponent’s Choice in the future. More than that he needs to improve at the game, having burned 2 repeats in Round 1 and used the final one in Round 2 – all for questions that he still got wrong. His depth in some categories will help him stay competitive against some of the top competitors should he get questions in those categories, but he cannot afford to rely on luck moving forward.

Mike “Killer” Kalinowski 20-7 Mark “The Enforcer” Donica

Anyone who says Kalinowski was giving himself an easy route to the title by avoiding Rachel Cushing in Round 2 is crazy as I would consider Donica a top 5 talent in the Innergeekdom Division and this was the one match that I was not comfortable in predicting ahead of time, though I did give Kalinowski the slight advantage following his impressive defeat of Jared Haibon.

mikevmarkThe Knights of Ken got their first run-out in the league, but things did not go to plan for them as Donica was made to enter first despite being the favourite and things got even worse once the match started. Donica is usually so reliable in Round 1 but could only pull 5/10 in this match, while the spelling of “Frigia” rather than “Frigga” was the only thing that stopped Kalinowski from having a Perfect Round. What must have been even more galling for Donica was that on the final question of the round, he used a JTE rule but was unable to pull the correct answer, while the repeat allowed Kalinowski to realise that he had misheard the question and change his answer to the correct one.

The Killer deferred his spin going into Round 2 and Donica came away with Star Wars, a definite strength, on his first spin. Unfortunately for The Enforcer, he continued to struggle, checking to multiple choice on 4 questions to go 2/5 for 2 points, while Kalinowski came away with 3 points from 2 steals, including one where Donica did not take the time to fully think through his answer and make sure he was right before saying. Things looked like they may finally be looking up for the Knights of Ken though as Kalinowski spun away from Heroes only to land on Opponent’s Choice. Donica had clearly done some homework on his rival and having picked up on some visual tells from the Haibon match, he assigned Kalinowski Harry Potter, a category that he was 2/6 in going into this match (stat courtesy of Frank Janisch!). Kalinowski has clearly been studying though as he backed up his successful Round 1 answer in the category by going 5/5 for 8 points to seal consecutive KO victories.

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Kalinowski continues to make former weaknesses into unexpected strengths

Much like Rachel Cushing, Kalinowski is putting the Innergeekdom Division on notice with these performances, as his only misses in the match were the “Frigga” question that he clearly knew but couldn’t quite pull and 1 multiple choice steal attempt that was looking for a specific word from a quote. With the studying he has done in all the categories and the research he does on his opponents, I would confidently name The Killer in the Top 3 Innergeekdom competitors and will be shocked if he doesn’t make the final. As for Donica, well something seemed off throughout the match with his performance and once the 24-hour spoiler ban elapsed he posted on the Schmoedown’s Facebook group about how he struggled in his prep the days building up to the match and then during the match itself, before realising that he had been having an extended panic attack. Thankfully, he has since sought help and now has medication to help in the future, so I think while it is a disappointment, this match is one that he can write off as a bad day and look to come back stronger than ever. Massive respect to Donica for being so open about this, the more people that can be open about mental health, the better!

maremm“Amazing” Mara Knopic 17-9 “The Golden Mic” Emma Fyffe

A 1-0 record made Mara Knopic the favourite against Emma Fyffe (2-1) despite the lack of Schmoedown experience, but she didn’t have the best of starts in this match as she found herself up against it in Round 1, using repeats on the first 2 questions on the way to a 5-6 deficit by the end of the round.

Going into Round 2, she got herself back on track, answering 4/5 in the category of MCU for 7 points, while the one steal chance she game Emma was missed. Coming to the Wheel herself, Fyffe originally spun DCEU, but clearly did not feel confident enough in the category and spun again, landing on Marvel. At this point, things went horribly wrong for the manager of the Fyffe Club as she only managed to earn 1 point in the category, while Knopic was able to steal 3 of the 4 opportunities that came her way for 5 points, leaving the score 17-7 in favour of the Brown Dwarf Star.

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The Brown Dwarf Star could become the next superstar

Fyffe went into Round 3 knowing that she needed to hit all 3 of her questions and while she started well by getting 2 points in the category of Weapons, Tech, Vehicles & Magical Objects, she was unable to get her 3 point question in Back to the Future – possibly making an enemy of Schmoedown Rundown host Brad Gilmore in the process – to give Knopic the TKO victory.

Knopic’s Round 2 performance in both Marvel categories will be a good reminder to her rivals that she is a dangerous competitor, but we probably need to wait for her semi-final match to get a more accurate idea of her breadth of knowledge as 5 points this time certainly didn’t match up to her 8 points against Coy Jandreau. If I was to group the Innergeekdom competitors into 3 levels right now she would be in the middle group, but a good showing in her next match could push her into the top category. As for Fyffe, she again showed that while she is strong in a couple of categories, she does not have the breadth of knowledge to compete at the top of the division. In her post-match interview, she was saying about how many of her questions in Round 2 were about films that she chooses not to think about. That is not going to get you wins against the high-level competitors and I think the recent performances of Kalinowski and Cushing in Innergeekdom and other competitors like Ben Batemen and Andrew Ghai in the Singles and Teams Division shows the importance of studying ahead of your matches, especially in the Innergeekdom Division where there is a much shorter list of films to watch and research.

Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac 18-4 Keetin “Magic” Marchi

hlavmarHaving both made their Innergeekdom debuts in the Fatal Fiveway won by Mark Donica, Marchi and Hlavac were up against each other again for the final spot in the semi-finals.

Ahead of the match, I would have picked Adam as the favourite provided he could stay away from questions about Middle Earth and while he did miss on the question in that category, he took the lead on Question 3 and never looked back, building up a 8-1 lead by the end of Round 1.

Going into Round 2 and Keetin initially spun Middle Earth but did not seem sure if she should stick with it or spin again. I was yelling at the screen to stick and in hindsight she also said that she should have stuck when speaking to Jenn Sterger after the match, but she chose to spin again and ended up with DCEU. This category clearly isn’t one of her strengths and despite checking down to multiple choice 4 times, she answered 2/5 correct for 2 points, while giving away 3 points from 2 steals. She did manage to steal 1 point back on Adam’s first question in the category of Villains, but following that he correctly answered his remaining 4 questions for 7 points to confirm the win via KO – the tenth consecutive Innergeekdom match to finish with a KO or TKO!

adwinAdam once again showed that he is a dangerous competitor due to his breadth of knowledge, especially considering Villains again covers any franchise. However he did miss what was a relatively easy Lord of the Rings question which leads me to think Middle Earth remains a danger for him. As for Keetin, this was a bad match and really didn’t do her justice. As she mentioned, she had been prepping to face Emma Fyffe before Kalinowski decided to change things up. While I don’t know how Keetin preps, I imagine that she has focused on categories like Harry Potter that she knows Fyffe will be strong in to ensure she does not give possible steal opportunities. Had she prepped to face Hlavac, I feel that she would have done more studying in comic book categories like DCEU. I think more than this though, she got in her own head early in the match. She appeared to struggle under the lights on her debut but was under less pressure against Knight as she was not playing form behind. Missing on Middle Earth and Harry Potter in the first 4 questions to go 3-1 down against a dangerous competitor possibly flustered her and once that happens it’s very easy to fall apart under the pressure. Sadly, I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments on the video and the number of people saying she has no place in in the league was disgusting. Not everyone can be a title contender, but she brings a lot to the division and much like Coy Jandreau brings a fun personality to matches. I would love to see her make a return soon to get over this disappointment with a match against a competitor like Fyffe or Coy.

 

The semis

After Mara’s victory, KOmmissioner Kalinowski entered her post-match interview to announce that she would be playing Rachel Cushing, which in turn means that he will be facing Hlavac.

These will be 2 good matches and while I think any competitor could win on the day, I’m predicting a Cushing v Kalinowski final as they just don’t seem to have holes in their game at the moment.

 

What did you think of these matches? Who caught your eye this round? Who do you think will make the final? Let me know your thoughts below

Collider Collision II: The Matches

Collider Collision II: 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 one the other events. Today I will be taking a look through each of the matches , while a look back at the other events will hopefully be up later in the week following Tuesday’s Post-Collision 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 – you have been warned!

Singles Division, Triple Threat:- Jeannine “The Machine” v “Sassy” Stacy Howard v Marc “The Android” Andreyko: 13-11-14

3wayFollowing her victory against Emma Fyffe, The Machine continued the Viper Squad’s feud with the Fyffe Club by challenging The Android to a match. She got her wish – along with manager Jay Washington’s to have the Viper Squad feature in a main event – when Commissioner Thadd Williams announced that they would face each other at Collision. A fly was thrown in the ointment though as their previous goading of Mike Kalinowski caused him to make Thadd include Jeannine’s fellow Viper Squad member Stacy Howard in the match as part of a Triple Threat.

Going into the match, I had Andreyko as the favourite to win despite Stacy’s higher ranking courtesy of the calibre opposition he had faced compared to the Vipers, but I certainly started getting nervous as we went through Round 1. He got off to a bad start, missing the first 2 questions, but eventually got going to end on 4 points, while luckily for him both Stacy and Jeannine could only manage 5 points. A critical moment in Round 1 came on Question 5, where Jeannine attempted to use one of her 3 repeats, but left it too late and did not start asking until as Kristian Harloff started to say “pens down”. She clearly knew the answer but did not have time to write it all out and was rightly not allowed the points. I know Jay and Jeannine were not happy about the decision but the call to not allow with only half the answer on the board is in line with recent calls, while I vaguely remember another match recently where use of a JTE rule was not allowed as the request came after the 1 second count, but if anything slightly earlier than Jeannine’s attempt. Though I can’t begin to imagine the pressure of being under the lights, this is where a competitor must be aware of what is going on around them.

Going into Round 2, Andreyko turned down Disney to spin Fantasy/Sci-Fi. He got 2 points on his first question but missed the second and was lucky that neither Viper could pull the answer, before successfully checking down to multiple choice for his last 2 questions. Stacy Howard was up next and after turning down Comic Book Movies, she had mixed results in Directors, scoring 4 points but allowing both Jeannine and Andreyko a 1-point steal. The Machine finally made her way to The Wheel and spun Opponent’s Choice on her first attempt, choosing Romcoms. She had by far the most successful run in Round 2, going 4/4 for 7 points to leave her 4 points ahead at 13-9-9.

androidwinsInto Round 3 and The Android was up first courtesy of his lower ranking compared to Howard. The two of them were both successful on their 2-pointers, but after Andreyko correctly answered his 3-point question to bring his total to 14 points, Howard missed on both her remaining questions to be the first eliminated. Jeannine was finally up, but she missed her 2 and 3-pointers. And this is where that missed repeat in Round 1 proved vital. at 13-14 down, Jeannine now had to answer her 5-pointer correctly, whereas had she got the repeat through in time she a miss would have taken her to Sudden Death if Andreyko also missed. Though she got Romcoms again, she was unable to pull the correct answer and the Android had the win without having to answer his 5-pointer.

Up next for Andreyko is a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan “Big Time” Erwin and while I would be stupid to rule out the Android, Erwin has looked incredible in his 3 Singles victories and Free 4 All II and I find it hard to predict anything other than a win for the potential Rookie of the Year. As for Jeannine and Stacy, they both put in good showings but I think they need to try and go against higher calibre opposition than they have been facing this year. Witney Seibold has been teasing an entrance to the Singles Division and I would love to see him debut against one of these competitors, while Andrew Ghai (more on him later) and Ben Batemen (if he loses his next match against John Rocha) would also make good opposition for the Vipers.

alexbruceStar Wars Division, Title Match:- Alex “The Demon” Damon v Bruce Greene: 25-3

While this was still a good match to watch, it was unfortunately never going to live up to they hype following Damon’s Triple Threat victory at the last live event. Initially due to challenge Sam Witwer for the title, things changed last minute as “The Warrior” had to withdraw from Collision due to landing some work, which led to him being stripped of the title (more on that in a few days). Having already flown out from Atlanta, Alex was not willing to merely accept the gorgeous new belt and instead asked Thadd to find him an opponent. An open call was put out and it was answered by Bruce Greene, but he only had a couple of days to prepare and it’s safe to say it showed in this match.

new belt
Alex decided that he needed to earn the swanky new belt by winning a match rather than by default

Greene was already in deep trouble by the end of Round 1, having only amassed 3 points while the number of Porgs Chewbacca cooked in The Last Jedi was the only thing that denied Alex a Perfect Round. Things didn’t get any closer in Round 2 as Greene spun The Empire Strikes Back and went 2/5 for 3 points, while Alex was successful on all 3 steal opportunities for 4 points, before spinning Return of the Jedi and going 5/5 for 9 points. Being a title match, Round 3 was the betting round and after Alex spun Movie Quotes, both competitors chose to risk 3 points. Unfortunately for Greene he was unable to pull the correct answer (he clearly knew the character just not the name) while Alex answered correctly to take a 25-3 lead and, with only a possible 15 points remaining, the victory by KO.

I do feel for Bruce Greene here as he clearly didn’t have the prep time that Alex did due to filling in at the eleventh hour and I hope that we get to see him compete in the division again in the future. That said, I don’t think he would have beat Alex anyway as he was in fantastic form and only missed 1 question to go 54/60 over his 3 matches. This guy makes his living explaining Star Wars so the knowledge is never going to be a problem, just the confidence and the ability to play the game. He was already a fan of the Schmoedown before competing so he knows the game, while it is clear from his promos and entrances that he is growing in confidence from match to match.

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Congratulations Alex!

While it was a shame Witwer was stripped of the title, I completely understand the decision as it sounds like he will be unavailable for a considerable period of time. I’ve seen some people suggest that as a former champion, Ken should have been given the chance to face Alex, but I like the decision to bring in someone other than Ken or Joseph Scrimshaw considering Alex has only recently defeated them.

Looking at the questions asked as well and we are clearly starting to get to the deeper cuts, especially on the less recent films. I can generally hold my own when playing along at home in the Star Wars Division, but I only managed to answer 12/21 on the day and would have scored 14 points on either Alex or Bruce’s questions. I noticed as well that Question 6 of Round 1 asked for the name of a creature that featured in a sequence from A New Hope that was added as part of the 1997 Special Edition rather than the Theatrical cut. While I would expect anyone competing in the Division has seen the more recent additions, it could potentially catch someone out. The depth of some questions also makes me wonder how long the Star Wars Division can continue before spreading to the wider canon, especially as many of the character names are not expressly stated in the movies.

danghaiSingles Division:- “Dangerous” Dan Murrell v “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai: 14-16

What the actual ****?! Ever since Dan Murrell returned at the live event and challenged Ghai to a match, all the talk has been about how far Ghai would be able to go before Murrell won. Now we’re left in a reality where the Andrew really has become “The Ghai that beat the GOAT”… Unless Bibbiani’s entrance for his match v Jeff Sneider is longer and more elaborate than any of us thought!

If you look back at Team Action’s recent matches, Ben Batemen has not been carrying Ghai so much and Murrell clearly wasn’t underestimating him pre-match, stating to Jenn Sterger that Ghai must feel he had a chance of victory to call him out in the first place. Despite that, it was clear that everyone in the studio was expecting the GOAT to win on his return, which suited Ghai just fine.

“Some of it’s luck, some of it’s skill, some of it’s destiny” – Dan Murrell

ghaiwins
The Horsemen’s worst nightmare came true

Ghai came out with his usual bluster and trash talk throughout the match and though Murrell would respond to it, I would not say that he was overly affected. However, while Murrell went a respectable 6/8 in Round 1, Ghai shocked everyone by getting 7 points! Then, going into Round 2, everything went crazy! After spinning Pixar, Murrell chose to spin again but landed on Opponent’s Choice. Ghai has clearly joined Ben Bateman in studying past matches, deciding against giving Murrell Sports in case he had studied that category since struggling there against Harloff and instead giving him Romance. Murrell went 1/4 for 2 points but Ghai managed to get 3 points in steals before going to the wheel himself and spinning Comedy, going 3/4 for 6 points, while Dan stole 1 point on the final question to make it 16-9 to Ghai. After all the speculation of Murrell getting a KO or TKO, he now had to answer all 3 of his Round 3 questions in order to avoid a TKO! Murrell was successful on his first 2 questions, but was unable to pull the right answer for his final question and a a shocked Kristian Harloff announced Ghai as the winner by TKO.

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I think their faces sum up how pretty much everyone outside the Action Army was feeling

This was a stunning result for Ghai and proof that studying the game and your opponent are equally as important as studying movie trivia. Having defeated the GOAT, it will be interesting to see if Ghai is given another big name in his next match – Reilly’s return, maybe? – or if he will be given a competitor with a more similar record. As for Murrell, let’s not look into this too much. He came up against a Ghai playing the game of his life and was ultimately undone by a bad spin in Round 2. Will he feature again before the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles tournament? I would imagine he would try to get at least 1 more match in, but perhaps he will instead use the Teams tournament as his practice.

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament, Round 2:- Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing v Eric “Super Zip” Zipper: 19-14

crushzipThe Innergeekdom Tournament entered its second round at the Collision with a match between Rachel Cushing, who was coming in off the back of a crushing (sorry!) KO victory over Markeia McCarty, and Eric Zipper, who TKO’d Mike Carlson.

Anyone wondering if Cushing could put in another dominant performance soon got their answer as she followed up getting the Innergeekdom Division’s first Perfect Round 1 (including the bonus question) against McCarty by doing it again here, while Zipper could only muster a respectable 7 points. The Crusher spun Marvel in Round 2 and worked her way through the category to go 4/4 for 5 points, while Zipper chose to spin away from Star Wars and landed on Star Trek, which he struggled on for 2 points while giving Cushing 3 points from 2 steals. 19-9 down going into Round 3, Zipper knew he had to go 3/3 in order to avoid the TKO and while he started well, Lord of the Rings proved his undoing on the 5-point question and The Crusher had the victory without having to answer in the final round again.

comingformike
Rachel has her mind set on a match against Kalinowski, could this be the final of the tournament?

It’s hard to imagine someone stopping Rachel winning the tournament right now as she is clearly on a roll, she was 15/15 on her questions and 2/2 on steals today and with consecutive Perfect Round 1s, even Jason Inman must be getting nervous. She has such a breadth of knowledge but also enough depth in her knowledge too. Speaking on the Schmoedown Rundown following Collision, she stated that she is confident she can work her way through any Innergeekdom wheel slice and it’s hard to argue with that, while she also stated that she has been watching all the Innergeekdom matches so she will have picked up on any areas of weakness in her opposition. As for Zipper, he has some work to do in order to join the top echelon of Innergeekdom competitors. His reaction to spinning Star Wars showed he has no confidence in that category, and this match has also exposed Star Trek as a weakness, both of which will be capitalised on should he spin Opponent’s Choice in the future. More than that he needs to improve at the game, having burned 2 repeats in Round 1 and used the final one in Round 2 – all for questions that he still got wrong. His depth in some categories will help him stay competitive against some of the top competitors should he get questions in those categories, but he cannot afford to rely on luck moving forward.

Teams Division, Title Match:- Above The Line v The Patriots: 57-48

atlpats3The ATL v Patriots trilogy came to an end in spectacular fashion as Collision ended with an Iron Man match. With both the first and second title matches between these 2 having gone down to the last question, and the only previous Iron Man match in the league – Witwer’s victory over Napzok at Schmoedown Spectacular II – being voted the 2017 Match of the Year, we were expecting a thrilling match… and boy was it!

I had been expecting each competitor to be answering the questions like it usually is in Round 1 of a match, but instead it was one whiteboard per team and this definitely seemed to work to Above the Line’s advantage as they have often commented on how they cover for each other. Of a possible 64 points on offer in the whiteboard section, ATL scored 50 points to the Patriots’ 45. Given Samm Levine’s recent successes in the speed round of title matches, it was fair to assume that the Patriots needed to enter the final 2 minutes with a lead in order to stand a chance of winning. However, “The Inglorious One” was far from the MVP of the final 2 minutes as he was first to the buzzer on only 2 occasions (answering both right). The real MVP on the buzzer was his teammate “The Godfather” Drew McWeeny, who was the first to buzz in 5 times and went 5/5. By comparison, JTE was first in on 5 occasions but went 4/5 for 3 points, which could have been worse had Harloff not ruled that he managed to say “Juno, umm… Ellen Page” in the allotted 2 seconds, while Sneider was the first in twice but went 1/2 for a net total of 0 points, giving the defending Champions a 57-48 victory.

drewgoeswild
For once, McWeeny wasn’t a minute behind everybody else realising ATL had won

It is currently frightening just how good Above the Line are and if McWeeny can continue to dominate the speed rounds along with Levine, they are going to be almost impossible to beat! Next up should be a title defence against either the Shirewolves or World’s Finest, but I don’t want to look too far ahead right now until we find out what Samm’s announcement is on Tuesday’s show. When he stated this, my initial thoughts went to retirement or taking a hiatus from competing, so I am hoping it is nothing of the sort, but I will make sure I cover this in my second piece on Collision. And in terms of what’s next for the Patriots… well see what happens on Tuesday, but it looks like the most successful team in Schmoedown history are done!

 

Which was your favourite match? Who surprised you most (besides Ghai)? Let me know in the comments below.

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!

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 1

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Round 1

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

KOrruptionAnd then Kalinowski got involved.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. It’s a good job Thadd was able to find a way to fit everything in because Round 1 has thrown up some lovely matches.

In this piece, I will take a quick glance back over each match and have a look to what’s next for the competitors.

 

navarro&hlavacHector “The Nightmare” Navarro 15-16 Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac

The tournament opened with a match between former Superhero News teammates Navarro and Hlavac. Round 2 could not separate them but Round 2 put the ball in Hlavac’s court as he showed his knowledge ofMovie Release Dates, while Navarro landed on Opponent’s Choice and was forced to toil through Middle Earth, giving “The Haymaker” a 3-point lead heading into the final round. The former champion successfully answered his 2 and 3 point questions and though Hlavac missed his 2 pointer, he successfully answered his 3 point question to make Navarro answer his final 5 pointer to stay in the game. Scores & Soundtracks proved to be his undoing but you could see that he knew the answer and just couldn’t pull it under pressure, while Hlavac goes on to the next round.

Hlavac clearly has good knowledge across most categories and his performance on Movie Release Dates will have certainly made his opponents take notice, however he has shown in both this and his last Fatal Fiveway that Middle Earth is a weakness and he will need to sort this quick in order to make the final. Navarro is another well-rounded competitor and as a former champion I’m sure we’ll see him continue to compete somewhat regularly in the division, but he does have areas of weakness – notably again Middle Earth – and also does not seem to be as strategic as some of the other top competitors in the division. He can certainly pull off results against top competitors, but I don’t know if he has the consistency to make another run for the title.

washington&fyffe“The Urban Gladiator” Jay Washington 16-18 “The Golden Mic” Emma Fyffe

The first of 2 Round 1 matches between The Viper Squad and the Fyffe Club saw a meeting of the managers. Both competitors traded blows in Round 1, with Fyffe taking a 1 point lead, but again Round 2 caused the killer as Jay got a respectable 4 points but Fyffe managed to steal 2 points before spinning Spinner’s Choice and selecting her wheelhouse, Harry Potter, which gave her an 8-15 lead that Jay could not overcome despite his best efforts.

Jay’s 16 points despite a hit-and-miss first 2 rounds shows that he can be competitive at this level, but to compete against the top contenders in the future he probably needs to improve his general knowledge and get a couple more categories that he can run convincingly. Emma once again got lucky and if she can get Harry Potter in Round 2 or in the later stages of Round 3 then she can be competitive, but I don’t know if she has the depth of knowledge across the board to match up against most of the contenders in the next round. She also need to be very careful not to answer too quickly as a couple of times she has given a wrong answer and then tried to change her answer afterwards.

cushing&mccartyRachel “The Crusher” Cushing 20-5 “Marvellous” Markeia McCarty

The second matchup between the Fyffe Club and the Viper Squad saw Markeia McCarty make her Schmoedown debut against arguably one of the most dangerous competitors in the division. While Markeia did not have the best of starts, scoring just 3 points in Round 1, The Crusher crushed it with a perfect round and the bonus to take an 11 point lead. Cushing then took advantage of the score to try out Star Trek in Round 2 to take her lead to 17-5. McCarty did not have such success on DC Movies and the match was over with a wrong answer on the 3rd question – A KO victory for Rachel Cushing.

Rachel sent out a message to the rest of the division and Jason Inman with this performance, the perfect round showing her breadth of knowledge and the good performance of Star Trek – a weakness for many competitors – suggests that she is going to be very hard to beat moving forward. As for Markeia, a debut is always going to be difficult as you get used to being at the table and under the lights, so to come up against one of the strongest competitors in the league was always going to be difficult. Hopefully we see more of her this year, but with the pace the league is moving at we may not get a chance if she remains solely in Innergeekdom.

carlson&zipperMike “The Answer Man” Carlson 11-14 Eric “Super Zip” Zipper

“The Answer Man says”: this was not the most high-scoring of matches. Both competitors went 5/10 in Round 1, but Zipper got a strength in Round 2 with the category MCU, scoring 8 points, while Carlson spun Star Trek and only managed 6 points, whilst also allowing Zipper a 1-point steal. In Round 3, the Answer Man couldn’t catch a break and missed on all 3 questions to give Zipper a TKO victory.

At 0-2 in the division and with more talent coming in recently, I think Carlson will struggle to have any regular success in Innergeekdom anytime soon as he doesn’t appear to have the depth of knowledge across the board to compete at the top. He did suggest that he may go into “the main thing” though and I would be very interested to see how he does either in Singles or Teams. As for Super Zip, we may have uncovered a new danger in the division. He clearly has some knowledge gaps as suggested by a 50% success rate in Round 1, but if he can blitz a category like MCU which is getting deeper by the month then he could be a danger. It will be hard to judge him fully until he is forced to answer in Round 3, but until then Zipper looks on course to be a contender in both the Innergeekdom and Teams Division as part of The World’s Finest.

kalinowski&haibonMike “Killer” Kalinowski 20-9 Jared “Too Smooth” Haibon

Probably the match I was most looking forward to this round, Kalinowski had already made clear his disdain for celebrities in the league but rather than have someone like Rachel deal with Haibon, he took on the job himself. He came out of Round 1 with an 8-6 lead and I got the feeling that he’d been putting in some study on Middle Earth. Unfortunately for Haibon, he did not appear so comfortable in the category and paid the price when he spun Opponent’s Choice in Round 2, scoring 3 points but also giving Kalinowski 3 points. Kalinowski came up to the wheel and landed on Spinner’s Choice, picking DCEU. The man formerly known as “KO” checked to multiple choice for the first question but after that he was well and truly going for the kill, picking up 2 points on every remaining question to seal the KO victory with his final question in the round.

After starting the season 0-3 across Singles and Teams, the win was a huge result for Kalinowski, made even greater by it being a KO over a competitor who had previously looked strong in this division. Having seen him in interviews, he clearly studies not just the movies he could be asked questions about, but also his opponents to know how to take advantage of their weaknesses. As for Haibon, he has mentioned going into Singles and Teams which I would enjoy seeing, but I hope he continues to compete in Innergeekdom as he clearly has the general knowledge but has been unfortunate to get categories that he is weak in for Round 2 in his last 2 matches. But before anything, he has a new adventure to begin: engagement! Congratulations to both him and Ashley!

jandreau&knopic“Crazy” Coy Jandreau 9-14 “Amazing” Mara Knopic

Coy won his first ever Innergeekdom match in a Fatal Fiveway that saw him beat Kalinowski with the infamous “Pudding” debacle, but had gone winless in his 2 matches since. He started this tournament against everyone’s favourite Brown Dwarf Star – Mara Knopic. Mara sarted an amazing debut (pun fully intended) by going 8/10 in Round 1, while Coy could only manage 3 correct answers. After spinning DC Movies in Round 2, Coy could only score 2 points but also gave 2 to Mara, while she extended her lead after spinning Star Trek to make the score 6-14 going into Round 3. Coy hit his 3-point question but missed on his 2 and 5-pointers to give Knopic the win by TKO.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Mara goes from here as though she did not have the best Round 2, I don’t feel that it was one of her strengths, whereas Round 1 suggested she has a very good general breadth of knowledge within the division. She also seemed very relaxed compared to most debutantes and I can’t help but wonder if she has picked up some tips from Dan Murrell ahead of competing. It was interesting too to see Kalinowski taking the chance to talk to her and try to get some gratitude for bringing her into the tournament, especially as he never did this for any of the other 5 players who got a chance because of the expanded tournament. Does he think that he can get Mara on his side down the line? As for Coy, he clearly has some areas of great strength but not enough to regularly be competitive in the division. He is a very fun competitor though and I still can’t help but enjoy watching him be involved in something he clearly enjoys. As the division grows I would love Coy to become one of the early opponents for players looking to make their debut. Oh and Coy: that moustache is a thing of beauty!

donica&gerberMark “The Enforcer” Donica 16-11 Sean Gerber

Originally meant to be a match between the old and new members of the Lion’s Den, scheduling issues meant that former champion Robert Meyer Burnett had to pull out at the eleventh hour and Sean Gerber of Superhero News came in to replace him. Donica took an early 7-5 lead in Round 1 and his victory was all-but guaranteed as Gerber struggled through Star Trek in Round 2, before The Enforcer earned 7 points on MCU. With an 8 point deficit going into Round 3, Gerber guessed his way to his 3-point answer but was unable to correctly answer his 2 or 5-point questions and he became the next competitor in the tournament to lose via TKO.

This is an important win for Donica as he looks to get over his loss to Jason Inman in his last match. He has showed once again that he has a good breadth of knowledge and I would safely name him one of the top 5 competitors in the division. With Kalinowski and Cushing still in the tournament though, I don’t know if he will be able to feature in back-to-back title shots. As for Gerber, I think this result should be taken with a pinch of salt. Outside of the Free 4 All, this was his solo debut and it came at short notice, limiting his chance to prepare. He appears to have a decent breadth of knowledge and was just unfortunate to land on Star Trek in Round 2, a category that has been the undoing of so many competitors. Hopefully we’ll see him get another shot soon.

marchi&knightKeetin “Magic” Marchi 13-10 “The Dark Knight” Rosie Knight

Marchi made her return to the league against debutante Rosie Knight in the final match of the round. Both competitors put in good showings in Round 1, answering 7/10. Being a regular recently on Jedi Council, when Knight spun Star Wars in Round 2 I thought it was game over for Marchi, but Knight had a horror show and only scored 2 points while Marchi stole 2 points to keep it level. Marchi spun Opponent’s Choice and was given DCEU, scoring 4 points while allowing Knight a 1-point steal. The Dark Knight went 0/3 in the final round and Marchi got the win via TKO.

I’m happy to see Marchi get the win here as I felt that she had a good showing in her debut match but was caught out a bit under the lights and also suffered from being in by far the stronger of the two Fatal Fiveways. She is another competitor with a wide range of knowledge, which will always give her a chance. Interestingly, Marchi mentioned post-match that she has been getting some coaching from “The Outlaw” John Rocha. We may have been getting hyped about the 5 Horsemen, but maybe Rocha is looking to expand the stable further. As for Rosie, I must admit I was disappointed. She fell apart after a strong start and what was meant to be her wheelhouse turned into a Round 2 nightmare that didn’t even appear to be down to nerves. She made a big point about how the league was letting anyone in and inadvertently proved her point before calling the game a fix. It looks like she could be involved in a historic moment for the league though as she was called out by Matt Cruz, who has become the first Patron to successfully audition for a place in the Schmoedown. I can’t wait to see how that goes down.

 

What did you think of these matches? Who caught your eye in the First Round? Who do you think will earn the chance to take on Jason Inman at the next Live Event? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Experience Counts

Experience Counts

In the 2008 film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Captain Rex says to Ahsoka Tano “In my book, experience outranks everything”. That doesn’t apply to just fighting a war in a galaxy far far away, but also to title matches in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. The most recent title matches in the Singles League and Innergeekdom League both saw competitors taking part in their first ever title match (Rachel Cushing and Mark Donica respectively) only to lose to the defending champions. In both cases, the matches were effectively decided by the dominant performances of Samm Levine and Jason Inman in Round 4.

For those less familiar with the Schmoedown, the title matches have the following rounds:

  1. General Knowledge Round – as in regular matches
  2. Wheel Round – as in regular matches
  3. Betting Round – the leader/higher ranked competitor spins the wheel once to select a category. Both competitors choose to bet 1-3 points on their answer and are then given the same question. Competitors gain or lose the number of points they bet depending on whether they get the answer right
  4. Speed Round – Both competitors are asked the same questions and have to buzz in, whoever buzzes in first has 2 seconds to give the correct answer. A correct answer gets them a point, an incorrect answer/taking to long loses a point
  5. Final Round – as in regular matches

The specific format of some rounds may have changed slightly but the general title format has remained the same through the Collider era

While the betting round can cause a 6-point swing, it is the speed round that often seems to be the turning point for title match rookies and get controversy. Watching Cushing v Levine and Inman v Donica, I couldn’t help but feel that the experience of the champions in title matches proved the deciding factor in these matches and it made me wonder if this had been the case over recent seasons. So, let’s have a look back through the history of the title matches.

sing
Dan Murrell is the only competitor to defeat an established champion without having any previous experience of the title match format

Singles League

At the time that The Schmoedown came onto Collider, Mark “Yodi” Reilly was the defending champion having defeated Josh Macuga in October 2014, however this title format was different to what was mentioned above. Reilly’s first match under the new format was against JTE, where successfully defended his title, only to lose it to Dan Murrell who was making his title debut.

Murrell defended the belt twice against Clarke Wolfe and Mark Ellis, but it was third time unlucky as he lost to John Rocha. The Outlaw may have been making his Singles title match debut, but by this point he had played in 2 Team title matches as a part of Top 10. The next couple of matches all featured former champions as Yodi won the title back from Rocha, before losing it to Murrell in a Triple Threat match also containing rota.

Murrell then cemented his GOAT status by defeating “The Inglorious One” Samm Levine immediately after winning the Triple Threat. Murrell’s run soon came to an end though as he lost in his next outing to the true Commissioner Kristian Harloff. Much like Rocha before him, this may have been Harloff’s first time in a Singles title match, but he had played for Team Schmoes in 2 Team title matches. Harloff was unable to defend his belt at Schmoedown Spectacular II however, losing to The Inglorious One, who by this point had added to his earlier experience of this format by featuring in 2 5-round matches with Above The Line (2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Final & Schmoedown Spectacular II Team title match). And that brings us up to Levine’s first successful defence against Rachel Cushing.

TeamorIG
Though The Patriots had never appeared in a Team title match, JTE’s previous title experience meant they had more title experience than Rocha & Knost’s sole match against Team Schmoes * This title match was for Team B.O.B (JTE & Finstock). Sneider had no previous title match experience

Teams League

The first Team Title match was played early in the Collider era between Team Schmoes and Team B.O.B. Team Schmoes won to become the first ever Team Champions, but they lost their first title defence to Top 10 (Rocha & Matt Knost), who were making their debuts in any title format. Top 10 were also unable to defend their title as they lost to The Patriots at Schmoedown Spectacular. Though this may have been their first title match as a team, JTE came into this match as the competitor with the most title match experience, having lost in Singles to Reilly and also been part of Team B.O.B. in the inaugural Team title match.

Since then, The Patriots have defeated all comers, regardless of their prior experience. Wolves of Steel, Team Trek, Modok and Above The Line have all failed to wrest the title from The Patriots’ hands, while Top 10 have now been blocked from challenging the current champions again following 2 unsuccessful attempts to win the title back. Often in these matches we have seen JTE coming to the fore in the speed round, while Matt Atchity was too busy trying to keep his Russian spy persona intact to pay attention to the Round 4 rules and cost Modok the match.

TeamorIG
Navarro’s win over Burnett was the first time either of them competed in the regular title format

Innergeekdom League

Having debuted at Schmoedown Spectacular, the Innergeekdom League is still in its relative infancy. The first title match was the Fatal Fiveway at Schmoedown Spectacular, where the first 2 rounds both followed the Round 1 format and the lowest-scoring competitor being eliminated after each round (the scores were reset at the end of each round). Round 3 was the Wheel Round then Round 4 was the Speed Round, with the first competitor to 5 points being awarded the title. Robert Meyer Burnett emerged the winner, but then lost the title to Hector Navarro in the first regular-format title match. “The Nightmare” successfully defended his belt against Jeremy Jahns at Collider Collision but then lost at Schmoedown Spectacular II to Jason “Justice” Inman. Inman had never featured in a Singles or Innergeekdom title match before, having been denied the chance to make the Burnett v Navarro match a Triple Threat match. However, like Harloff and Rocha in the Singles League, Inman had experience of the title match format from Team Trek’s loss to the Patriots. So that brings up to date with the Innergeekdom League and Inman’s TKO of Mark Donica.

 

We have had  different champions over the Singles and Innergeekdom Leagues and so far, Dan Murrell’s defeat of Mark Reilly is the only time a Number 1 Contender with no previous experience of the title match format has defeated a champion that has experience of the format. In the Teams League, The Patriots’ dominance has made it harder to know if the same pattern exists. To make this decision, the matches must be looked at a little deeper. JTE is arguably one of the best in the Schmoedown at the Speed Round, while as mentioned above, Modok would have beat The Patriots were it not for Atchity’s mistakes in Round 4. I would argue that having a teammate to cover an individual’s knowledge gaps somewhat negates the importance of experience, but having at least one member of the team is an advantage.

buzzer
The buzzer round increased Inman’s lead from 2 to 5 points

“I definitely think that having touched those buzzers before you do get a sense of them, but I… The biggest lesson I learned the last time I was in Speed Round is ‘Try to figure out what the question is before they finish it and beat your opponent'”

Jason “Justice” Inman speaking after defending his title against Mark “The Enforcer” Donica

So now the question becomes “should Number 1 Contender matches follow the title match format?” In my opinion, the answer is no. The champions have worked hard and earned their belts, their role deserves some advantages and other than being able to decide if the Wheel includes Spinners Choice and Opponents Choice, the experience in the extra rounds is the clear benefit for a champion. Contenders can practice the Speed Round outside of competition if they want to improve their chances in a title match, and this is where a faction will often come in handy. Having a faction will not just give you other competitors to practice with, but it may also give a title match rookie the chance to get tips from a former champion/number 1 contender.

 

Edit: Apologies to Samm Levine for doing him a disservice when looking at his experience in the 4-Round format. Thank you to Michael Campbell on the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Facebook group for reminding me that Samm competed in both the Singles and Teams finals of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, so he had actually competed in the 5-Round format 4 times in total before facing Harloff.

 

Do you think that title match experience helps? Does it apply to 1v1 matches only rather than Team matches? Do you think that Number 1 Contender matches should follow the 5 round format? Sound off in the comments.