CRUSHIN’ IT: The Complete Schmoedown History of Rachel Cushing!

CRUSHIN’ IT: The Complete Schmoedown History of Rachel Cushing!

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

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

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

Over the last few months, I have been posting my articles from the site onto here, and today we reach the final one. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 4/9/2019


Rachel Cushing has made a habit out of making history ever since she made her debut in the Schmoedown, way back in Season 4. As one half of The Shirewolves, she became one of the first female champions in the league, while her recent Innergeekdom victory over Mike Kalinowski has made her only the second competitor (and the first female) to become double-belted.

One of the league’s strongest triple-threat competitors (she’s dangerous in Singles, Teams and Innergeekdom), there is a great argument to be made that despite having only just two years in the league, she should be on the Mount Rushmore of competitors.

An editor who does not actively seek the limelight, she has become a fan favourite for so many people, so I’m sure there were plenty around the world who were heartbroken when it was announced that she and teammate Clarke Wolfe would be stepping away from competition following their Championship match against KOrruption. So as part of our farewell to the Shirewolves and in honour of “The Crusher”, I have taken a look back through her history in the league.

The Debuts

The Crusher made her Schmoedown debut on March 7, 2017 as one half of The Nerd’s Watch, alongside “The Pitboss” Ken Napzok. Their first match together was against Tuff Beats (Perri Nemiroff and Jonathan Voytko) and despite not having competed together before, The Nerd’s Watch came away with a 20-18 TKO victory over their more experienced opponents.

Cushing impressed with her debut and it was not long until she was shooting out on her own in an Innergeekdom Fatal Fiveway against Michelle Boyd, Hal Rudnick, Jason Inman and Jeremy Jahns. The Fatal Fiveway format was different in those days, with one competitor being eliminated in each round, but Cushing beat out Rudnick, Boyd and future champion Inman to make it to the final round, and was the top scorer in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. However, with the final round being on the buzzer and best of five, Jahns managed to hit the first three questions and get the victory.

Just a few weeks later she was the 17th entrant in the inaugural Free 4 All, where she lasted two rounds before being eliminated. Soon after this, she was back in action with Napzok, taking on Team Action. Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai had been jerks in their debut but for this match they came out with their mothers and acted like respectable gentlemen. If The Nerd’s Watch were put off by this, then they didn’t show it. They went on to beat Action in Sudden Death, 25-24. Cushing then made her Singles Division debut in June against Nick Scarpino and while “The Producer/Seducer” pushed her hard, she came out with the 19-18 victory.

Making a Name

Ken and Rachel’s success saw them playing at Collider Collision in a #1 Contender Match against Rotten Tomatoes (Grae Drake and Matt Atchity). While the pair fought hard, they could not pull out the victory and Rotten Tomatoes won 25-23 to set up a title shot against The Patriots.

Following this loss, Rachel went back to the Innergeekdom Division, which she considered her home, for a match against Mike Kalinowski. By this point, she was beginning to get a reputation for her entrances, and her Galadriel entrance for this match went on to win Singles Entrance of the Year at the 2017 Schmoedown Awards. In the match itself, she went 11/12 in the 1st round to set her on her way to a 20-18 victory.

The next time we saw Rachel Cushing was in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, where The Nerd’s Watch were taking on the newly-formed Above The Line. In a close match, Above The Line emerged 26-25 victors and began a run that catapulted Samm Levine into the GOAT conversation.

In the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, her first opponent was Marc Andreyko, who she defeated 16-15, missing a perfect Round 1 by just a single point. She finally hit the Perfect Round in her quarterfinal against Stacy Howard, nailing the bonus question as well. In Round 2, she missed on her first question, but hit her remaining 3 for 5 points, before hitting both 1-point steal opportunities that came her way on Howard’s spin to win by KO, 16-3, with only 1 question wrong and 3 possible points dropped. This set up a semifinal against Samm Levine but, like in the Teams tournament, she was unable to get the victory, losing 20-19 as “The Inglorious One” made his way towards the first of his titles.

While her run in the Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments had come to an end, her season was not over. Just a few weeks later she took on Jason Inman, Jay Washinton and Coy Jandreau in an Innergeekdom #1 Contender Fatal Fourway. A score of 7/10 in Round 1 left her behind Jason Inman, who had managed a perfect round but missed the bonus question. However she scored eight points in Round 2 to take the lead, eventually coming second to Inman, who went on to win the title from Hector Navarro at Schmoedown Spectacular 2.

Betrayal

Following Sam Witwer’s victory in a #1 Contender Match for the Star Wars Division, Tom Dagnino crashed his post-match celebrations to announce that he had the best competitor in the division. The Schmoedown world was rocked to the core when this competitor was revealed to be none other than Ken Napzok, who had turned heel and joined the Lion’s Den. Rachel went after him in an attempt to turn him back to the light and while she agreed that The Patriots were too strong, she convinced him to take on the Lion’s Den’s second team, Blofeld’s Cat (Marc Andreyko and Robert Meyer Burnett).

Contracts were signed and the day of the match came around, but only three competitors came out to the table. Ken Napzok was nowhere to be seen and The Crusher was given the choice of forfeiting the match or playing a 2v1 handicap match. She chose the latter and while she put in a strong performance, two heads proved better than one and Blofeld’s Cat won by TKO, 19-18. As their victory was confirmed, Napzok finally arrived but rather than apologising to Rachel for not being there for her, he instead joined the Lion’s Den’s celebrations.

Despite what she may have considered a poor end to 2017, she was rewarded at the 2017 Schmoedown awards, winning Singles Entrance of the Year along with Babyface of the Year and Rookie of the Year!

Rise of The Shirewolves

Ken’s betrayal clearly hit Rachel hard in the moment, but she was soon out for payback. During Schmoedown Spectacular 2, Rachel challenged Ken to a match: she would find a new partner and take on him and Tom Dagnino in the Teams Division.

Season 5 opened with Rachel facing off against another member of the Lion’s Den, JTE, as well as Mike Kalinowski in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match in the Singles Division. After hitting a perfect Round 1 including the bonus question, she went 4/4 for seven points on her spin of Comic Book Movies and hit both steal opportunities that came her way for another four points, leaving her with 20 points, a high enough score to KO Kalinowski and TKO JTE. The Crusher had hit 100% accuracy in a match for the first time in her career and only missed 1 potential point, due to checking down to multiple choice once in Round 2.

Following this match, she and 2016 Rookie of the Year Clarke Wolfe announced that they had joined together to form The Shirewolves. Emma Fyffe invited them to join her new faction, the Fyffe Club, once they had won their match, but following World’s Finest’s victory over The Kingsmen the pair met with Fyffe and told her that they did not want to wait and wanted to join the faction immediately.

Now with a faction behind her, Rachel Cushing took on Samm Levine in a match for the Singles Title. There was no separating them in the first two rounds, with both getting six points in Round 1 and eight points in Round 2. Round 3 saw Levine take a 1-point lead as he bet the maximum three points while Cushing went safe with two points. Then it came to the buzzer round and once more, The Crusher found herself beaten for speed as Levine went 5-0 in the round to open up a 6 point lead. Rachel hit her two- and three-pointers but could not hit her five-pointer, leaving Samm Levine to defend his title with a 22-21 TKO victory.

With her run in the Singles Division over (for now), it was time for The Shirewolves to take on the Lion’s Den. Clarke and Rachel worked well together and though the Lion’s Den put up more points than many expected, The Shirewolves came away with a 25-22 victory. Rachel was the 26th competitor to enter the 2018 Free 4 All and while she again only lasted two rounds, she managed an impressive 8/10 points, proving the quality of the opposition she was against.

The Shirewolves were back in action at the second LA Live Event, taking on Team Action. In a close affair, Ben Bateman’s untimely mind-blank that saw him confuse actor Giancarlo Esposito and baseball player Giancarlo Stanton, and Action’s miss on their second 5-pointer following a successful challenge, saw The Shirewolves win 23-24.

Going for the Belts

With The Shirewolves going strong at 2-0, Cushing had her eyes set not just on the Teams belt, but also the Innergeekdom belt. Mike Kalinowski coerced Thadd into arranging a 16-competitor tournament in the Innergeekdom Division for the chance to challenge Jason Inman.

Rachel’s first opponent was debutante Markeia McCarty, a member of the Viper Squad who at the time were pushing a feud with the Fyffe Club. A perfect Round 1 including the bonus gave her an early 11-3 lead and she added a further six points after spinning Star Trek in Round 2, though she did allow two steals for two points. At 17-5 down, Markeia spun DC Movies but missed her first two questions. The Crusher hit both steal opportunities for three points, completing a 20-5 KO victory.

This victory set her up for a match at Collision II against Eric Zipper. The Crusher hit the perfect Round 1 and bonus in consecutive matches and went 4/4 in the category of Marvel Movies for five points. Zipper went 2/4 for four points in Star Trek, but two steals for three points set Cushing up for the 19-14 TKO victory – her second 100% accuracy match and first in Innergeekdom!

Cushing’s next match was back in the Teams Division, taking on World’s Finest. A strong combined performance saw Clarke and Rachel achieve their first TKO victory as a team, by a score of 23-19. Following this match, Brianne Chandler chose to cash in her Free 4 All victory and announced that she would be finding a teammate in order to challenge The Shirewolves for the vacant Teams Title.

Rachel couldn’t focus on their Championship Match just yet as she still had to take on rookie sensation and surprise contender Mara Knopic, who had won both her previous matches by TKO. Unfortunately, neither competitor was in good health on the day of the match, Knopic having recently been in a car accident and Cushing being clearly ill. Nevertheless, like the warriors in Middle Earth, the two continued with their match and could not be separated over 3 rounds. What followed was one of the most incredible moments in the history of the division as it took 11 rounds of Sudden Death to separate the two, Rachel finally missing on a Captain America quote to give Mara the 24-23 victory.

While neither competitor was anywhere near their best accuracy, the fact these two managed to keep going despite being in such poor health showed the desire of both competitors and the 11-question overtime (the longest in Schmoedown history) saw this match named Match of the Year at the 2018 Awards.

With her challenge for the Innergeekdom belt over, it was time to take on Brianne and her mystery partner – revealed to be Bryan Bishop – for the Teams Title. After a wonderful Thor: Ragnarok-inspired entrance that saw Cushing come out as Hela, they opened a 13-9 lead in Round 1, which they extended to 24-17 by the end of Round 2. The betting round saw the lead grow even more as The Shirewolves gained two points but Sick in the Head lost one, then after each competitor earned a point in the buzzer round, Clarke Wolfe hit the final question of the round to seal a 29-18 KO victory and make The Shirewolves the first ever female Champions in the League.

While Clarke chose to enter the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, Rachel chose instead to focus on the Teams Division, where her next match would be a title defence against Who’s The Boss at Spectacular 3. In one of the best matches of the year, The Shirewolves entered with most of the women in the league in a tribute to the ladies of the Schmoedown. Ben Bateman and Mark Reilly held a narrow lead for the first two rounds but both teams missed in Round 3 to draw level, before The Shirewolves dominated the buzzer round to take a three point lead. Who’s The Boss earned the full ten points in the final round but The Shirewolves did the same, defending their title with a 34-31 victory.

Unsurprisingly, given how her season had gone, Rachel was a multiple winner during the 2018 Schmoedown Awards, winning Match of the Year for her match against Mara Knopic and four awards as part of The Shirewolves: Team Entrance of the Year for their Thor: Ragnarok entrance, Babyface Team of the Year, New Team of the Year and Team of the Year, spending almost as much time on the Comedy Store stage as Baby Carrots himself!

Innergeekdom Champion

With the Teams Title secured, it was time for another run at the Innergeekdom belt, now held by the face of KOrruption, Mike Kalinowski. Before she could face “The Killer” though, she had to take down Adam Hlavac. Cushing took an 8-6 lead in Round 1 and managed a two-point steal from Hlavac’s Round 2 spin of Star Wars, which he earned five points in. Rachel spun Opponent’s Choice and was given Movie Release Dates, but it did not help Hlavac at all as she went 4/5 for seven points to set up a 17-13 TKO victory.

And so, almost 2 years after she made her Innergeekdom debut, Rachel Cushing found herself competing for the title in the main event of the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown. A perfect Round 1 with the bonus helped her pull out a 8-point lead by the end of Round 2, but a 5-point swing in the betting round and Kalinowski’s dominance on the buzzer saw him level the scores going into Round 5. Both competitors earned the full 10 points in Round 5 and the title came down to Sudden Death.

On the first question, Kalinowski missed by one letter, writing “Ninko”, while Rachel was able to hit the correct vowel with “Ninka,” in response to a Last Jedi question, and with that, the match was over with a score of 31-30. Rachel Cushing was finally left holding the belt she had always wanted, following in Samm Levine’s footsteps to become only the second ever double-champion.

Cementing the Legacy

With the Innergeekdom Belt finally hers, it was back to the Teams Division to defend the title against Critically Acclaimed. After a great entrance throwing shade at the internet trolls, Clarke and Rachel came out fighting, with Rachel and Bibbiani both earning a Perfect Round (including the bonus) in Round 1. Round 2 saw them go from 14-16 down to 26-20 ahead, which increased to 30-23 by the end of Round 4 following some controversy in the buzzer round. Bibbs and Witney scored 7 points in the final round, Rachel hit her 2-pointer, Clarke hit her 3-pointer and the title remained with The Shirewolves.

Their next defence was against The Odd Couple. Marc Andreyko had been their ally in the Fyffe Club for a season but now they found themselves on opposite sides of the contest. The Shirewolves came out in Game of Thrones themed costumes and their fans must have felt like they were watching the Red Wedding again as The Odd Couple held with Clarke and Rachel through the first 4rounds before going on to win the match 22-25, handing the Shirewolves their first loss as a team and earning the Teams Title from them.

The Shirewolves’ previous successful defences had earned them a rematch against The Odd Couple, which was scheduled for Collision. Following on from their loss, Clarke and Rachel went back to basics with a full focus on the match and though they found themselves behind for much of the bout, they pulled level going into the last round before going on to win 33-30, becoming the first team to ever win the title and then later reclaim it.

A Rivalry for the Ages

While The Shirewolves regaining the title was one of the big stories of Collision, the other was Mike Kalinowski’s victory over Kevin Smets, which earned him the chance to challenge Rachel for the title. The venue: San Diego. The time: Comic-Con. With a crowd of geeks cheering them on, the greatest of rivals went head-to-head once again. Much like the last time they met, Rachel took an early lead and a bad start to Round 2 for “The Killer” saw her ahead by 3. Things changed in Round 3 as the betting round saw the score shift from 18-15 in her favour to 15-18 behind, which stretched to 15-21 by the end of Round 4. While Rachel managed to answer all her Round 5 questions correctly, the deficit was too much to overcome as Kalinowski hit his 2- and 3-pointers to win back the title in yet another contender for Match of the Year.

And so, we reached the end. In a special episode, Clarke and Rachel announced that they will both be stepping away from competition, with their upcoming Championship match against KOrruption set to be their last match regardless of the result.

And what a way to go out, with the match having been announced as a Schmoedown Throwdown. Having faced each other four times over Singles and Innergeekdom, it seemed somewhat fitting that Rachel’s last hurrah would see her face Mike Kalinowski once again.

For one night only the Fyffe Club reformed, with Emma Fyffe and Marc Andreyko escorting Clarke and Rachel out. The Shirewolves put in a strong Round 1 performance but found themselves behind as Chance Ellison produced a perfect round and hit the bonus for a 13-15 scoreline.

Round 2 saw KOrruption hit Kalinowski’s ideal category of James Bond, while the Shirewolves stuck with Dramas and held their own, finding themselves only 3 points behind. Both teams scored 2 points in Round 3 and then it came to the buzzer round. Rachel has often found this round to be a weakness, but she was first to buzz in on the opening 2 questions, before Chance took over to get the last 3 points and extend the lead to 4 points. After Clarke hit the 2-pointer, Rachel put the Shirewolves ahead with the 3-pointer.

It looked like they may take the victory when Mike and Chance assigned themselves to the wrong 2- and 3-point questions, but KOrruption took the lead with their 5-pointer. And so it came down to the last question in the Shirewolves’ career: a 5-pointer to in the game. Sadly, there was to be no fairy tale ending for the pair, as they were unable to get the correct answer and in yet another iconic moment that will go down in Schmoedown history, Rachel was left to congratulate Mike Kalinowski on becoming the 3rd double-belted champion and – after an emotional farewell, Rachel and Clarke stepped away to leave us all broken hearted.

Farewell and Thank You!

Regardless of the result, to have gone from not feeling comfortable in front of a camera to becoming an Innergeekdom Champion and 2-time Teams Champion, not to mention only the second competitor to have been double-belted, Rachel has shown herself to be one of the greatest Schmoedown Pros in the league’s history.

Thank you, Rachel. We hope to see you back in the future!

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Every Shirewolves Entrance, Ranked!

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Every Shirewolves Entrance, Ranked!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 3/9/2019


We have reached a sad moment as we say goodbye to Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing and “Classy” Clarke Wolfe, who are both stepping away from competing in the Schmoedown. Ahead of taking on KOrruption in their Teams Title Match, they announced that this would be their last match regardless of the result and it seems fitting that their last match was a thrilling spectacle.

While undoubtedly one of the best teams to have ever competed in the league, the Shirewolves have also become famous for providing some of the best entrances. Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe don’t go for a big theatrical entrance every time they compete alone but when they do, they make sure it’s a spectacle. And when they pair up, the results are brilliant!

Back in March, I took on the tough task of ranking all the Shirewolves’ entrances, both as a team and as individuals. In honour Rachel and Clarke, I have gone back to that article and updated it to include their more recent entrances, though you may also find that some entrances have moved around in the rankings.

17. All Together

I didn’t plan to include any entrances in which the competitors walked out without fanfare or a costume, but Clarke’s entrance last year against Marc Andreyko deserved a mention.

Going up against her fellow Fyffe Club member in the semi-finals of the Ultimate Schmoedown, the pair came out together flanked by Rachel Cushing and Emma Fyffe. The message was clear, they were a group and there was no animosity, despite the chance to reach the tournament final and guarantee a spot at Schmoedown Spectacular.

16. Agent Cushing

For her Innergeekdom Tournament match against Markeia McCarty, Rachel Cushing came out dressed as Agent Peggy Carter from the MCU. The outfit looked great and the only reason it doesn’t rate higher on the list is that this was the entrance in a nutshell and there were a number of more intricate entrances.

15. Game of Thrones

The Shirewolves’ first match against The Odd Couple saw them go into the world of TV for their intro as they came out in Game of Thrones-inspired outfits to the show’s main theme. With Rachel’s original team, the Nerd’s Watch, having emerged to this music during their run, it was nice to see Rachel return to this music in her new team, while also giving the entrance their own Shirewolves spin. Sadly, these outfits appear to have been unlucky as their only loss in the Division to date came in that match.

14. Wonder Woman

After beating Markeia, Rachel found herself taking on Eric Zipper in the Innergeekdom Tournament at Collision. This match saw Rachel switching from Marvel to DC as she came out with a great Wonder Woman-inspired entrance. Coming out in a dress like the one worn at the gala, she even had the sword hidden in the back of the dress, which she drew out to brandish at Zipper. You can’t argue with someone pointing a sword at you.

13. Home Run

The Shirewolves set the benchmark for their team entrances in their debut together against the Lion’s Den. With manager Emma Fyffe also coming out on-theme, The Shirewolves emerged as members of The Rockford Peaches from A League of Their Own. The outfits looked great and for this to be so low on the list it shows how great all their entrances are! The message was clear: they were going to be hitting the Lion’s Den out the park.

12. Two’s Company

Marc Andreyko wasn’t the first time Clarke Wolfe had faced an ally in the Singles Division. Season 4 saw her go up against her Wolves of Steel teammate Mark Reilly.

While Clarke’s entrance was rather understated, once Reilly emerged it was clear that they had planned their entrances together as she got up to dance with him. They both turned away from the camera and appeared to be unbuttoning their shirts, before turning back around to reveal they were wearing their Wolves of Steel t-shirts. Whatever the result of this match, it was clear that they considered it a win for the team.

11. You’re a Wizard, Rachel

Another Rachel Cushing entrance from the Innergeekdom Division. Rachel Cushing is known to be strong in the category of Harry Potter and she reminded everyone by coming out for her Fatal Fourway against Jason Inman, Coy Jandreau and Jay Washington in full Gryffindor Hogwarts robes (with her incredible knowledge, I’d have expected Ravenclaw). Not only that but she had her wand with her and either magic is real or there was some wizardry going on in the editing room as we saw her cast a spell before making her way to her seat.

While this was a great entrance in itself, I also couldn’t help but laugh as Inman, in costume as The Doctor, brandished his sonic screwdriver back at her.

10. Fight/Fyffe Club

With the Shirewolves competing at the second live event, we knew we were likely going to get something special from The Shirewolves. They didn’t disappoint as they came out with a Fight Club-inspired entrance. After hyping up the fans with free bars of soap, Fyffe and Andreyko took control of the mics to run through the rules of Fyffe Club, taking a chance to throw some shade at several opponents and promote their designs on TeePublic. While there are probably more impressive or technical entrances, for Rachel to be involved in a live entrance despite not being especially comfortable in front of such a large crowd was great to see.

9. Seeing Double

In my opinion one of the most underrated entrances in the Schmoedown. When Clarke Wolfe took on Josh Macuga in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown, people must have thought there had been a mistake when “Wild Thing” started playing during Wolfe’s introduction. What followed was a wonderful moment as Clarke came out channelling her inner Wildman, coming through the curtains in a brightly coloured suit and hitting Macuga’s mannerisms as she hyped up the crowd and did a quick dance.

At this point, Clarke’ entrances had just been a simple walk out with a smile and wave to the crowd. This showed that she knew how to have some fun with her entrances.

8. Shirewolves vs. Trolls

The comments section on the internet is a dangerous place to go wandering. The Shirewolves have had a lot of heat over the last year since their formation, especially when they first earned their title shot and won the belts.

For their title defence against Critically Acclaimed, the Shirewolves fired back with their entrance, taking the trucker scene from Thelma and Louise and recreating it with the Shirewolves taking on an internet troll. Don’t get on the wrong side of these ladies!

7. Fyffe’s Angels

The most elaborate entrance of Clarke Wolfe’s Singles career came in her #1 Contender Match against Mike Kalinowski, where she brought in her fellow Fyffe Club members for a Charlie’s Angels-themed entrance. With three ladies in the faction Fyffe, Rachel and Clarke might have seemed the obvious choices to be the Angels, but instead we were treated to Emma as Bosley and Marc Andreyko taking the final spot in the Angels. Some things just can’t be unseen!

6. Crushing It

Rachel Cushing’s Singles entrances have generally been quite understated, but one thing has been almost guaranteed: “The Crusher” would crush something. The Crush has become her signature entrance, generally smacking one hand down on top of the other before grinding them together. While usually this is the sum total of the entrance, sometimes she takes things a little further and modifies the Crush by destroying a prop.

When taking on Samm Levine in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, she pulled out a copy of Inglourious Basterds. However, knowing that she would be unable to crush it with her hands, she borrowed a baseball bat and made short work of it. When the Nerd’s Watch competed against Rotten Tomatoes, a poor innocent tomato felt the wrath of the Crush (I pity whoever had to clean up that mess). But perhaps the funniest was when she opened Season 5 against Mike Kalinowski and JTE, where Rachel came out with a plush Lion and ripped it to shreds, sending a message to the Lion’s Den, who she had a rivalry with at the time.

5. Galadriel

Besides the Crush, Rachel Cushing first drew acclaim to her theatricalities with her early Innergeekdom matches where she would come out dressed as Galadriel. A competitor so strong in the Middle Earth categories, her costume looked amazing in her Innergeekdom debut Fatal Fiveway and then she took things even further in her match against Mike Kalinowski where she got a little help from the editors to recreate Galadriel’s speech from The Fellowship of the Ring where she is tempted by the Ring.

This was an amazing entrance especially for a fellow Tolkien fan like myself, and the work that went into both the outfit and the editing rightly earned it the Singles Entrance of the Year at the 2017 Awards.

4. Queen of the Geeks

For her Innergeekdom Title defence at San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel managed to take the Galadriel entrance and to a new level. In front of a live crowd, Rachel emerged to an original composition by David B in a modern white dress with the Galadriel tiara. Accompanied by Clarke and looking every bit a queen of the Schmoedown, this was an entrance that added even more hype to a match that was already being touted as a Match of the Year contender before it even began.

3. Reunion

A simple walk out without any theme does not sound like something that should rank highly on this list, and perhaps the recency bias and the emotion surrounding this being Rachel and Clarke’s last match has pushed it a little higher, but their final entrance ever makes it into the top 3. Emma Fyffe’s promotion to Commissioner led to the breaking of the Fyffe Club, but everyone left under good terms and there was still plenty of goodwill between Marc, Emma and the Shirewolves, even when they were facing off against The Odd Couple. It seemed fitting that for one night only, the Fyffe Club came back together to give the Shirewolves the send-off they deserved. One of many beautiful moments on the night.

2. Thor: Ragnarok

The Shirewolves had two entrances nominated for Teams Entrance of the Year at the 2018 Awards and they were both so good that the one that won the award only makes the number two spot on this list!

The Fyffe Club pulled out all the stops in their first ever title match, against Sick in the Head, with a Thor: Ragnarok entrance that saw Clarke play the part of Thor, Rachel playing Hela, Emma as Odin and Marc Andreyko comically as Odin’s eye. This took the great costume and editing work from Rachel’s Galadriel evidence and took it a stage further, while it was great to see the entire faction getting involved.

1. Who Runs the World?

The Shirewolves title defence at Spectacular 3 was arguably one of the matches of the year and in my opinion also gave us the entrance of the year and the best Shirewolves entrance to date. Calling in as many women from the Schmoedown as possible, their entrance became a tribute to the women of the league and women in film.

While I think that the previous entrance was arguably “better” due to the extra contributions from the editing team, this entrance makes the top spot due to the added meaning behind it, which was even more special due to this being the season where we finally saw female champions for the first time in league history. All this combined to make this entrance truly spectacular!

With Rachel and Clarke now stepping away, the pressure is on to fill the void when it comes to theatrical entrances. Bibbiani, Stacy and Jeannine are all known for their theatrical entrances, will we see some new faces trying to emulate the Shirewolves’ entrances?

THE HITMAN HAS TWO FACES: What is Brandon Hanna’s Secret Scheme?

THE HITMAN HAS TWO FACES: What is Brandon Hanna’s Secret Scheme?

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 23/8/2019


Ever since Ben Bateman and Tom Dagnino joined the Five Horsemen in Houston, there have been questions as to whether Dagnino – as a manager, not a competitor – counted as one of the “five.”

That question was answered very recently when Brandon Hanna was invited by John Rocha to become the 5th Horseman. As the fan base went crazy and the Action Army did everything they could to call out the latest “traitor,” the story took an unexpected turn as Hanna was then seen signing a contract to join… The Family.

Let’s take a moment to try too igure out what the heck is going on here, and what the repercussions could be within the league.

Why Him?

First of all, we need to look at why “The Hitman” is in such high demand. One of the 2019 rookie crop, Hannah currently sits at 2-0 (1KO) in the Innergeekdom Division following a win on his debut in a Fatal Fiveway against Keetin Marchi, Chance Ellison and fellow debutant Chandru Dhandapani and a 20-18 victory over Emily “The Rose” Jacobson. His next match looks to be a 1v1 rematch against Chandru, where victory would see him well on the way to a potential title shot. Someone who knows the game well, he has clearly studied hard within the division and could soon find himself being classed within the IG Division’s top tier of competitors.

Currently, both the Horsemen and The Family are lacking a competitor in the Innergeekdom and bringing in someone of Hanna’s calibre would makes them not just a part of the Division, but a force within it. Bringing Hanna into either faction elevates them immediately.

Who Controls the Hitman?

Trying to be a part of tw factions at the same time is just greedy, and with all the history between the Horsemen and the Family, there is no way either of them would accept their new guy also being associated with their nemeses.

So now we need to figure out who Hanna is actually going to be representing. Going with the idea that “the early bird catches the worm,” it would seem John Rocha has found his 5th Horseman. However, Thadd Williams proved in the past the importance of a contract and Burnett having Hanna actually sign paperwork would likely have more weight than a verbal agreement; Rocha and Hanna were so busy throwing up the symbol of the Horsemen, they didn’t even shake hands!

When talking to Hannah, Rocha mentions that Bateman speaks highly of him. Hannah was originally the intern to “The Boss” and from all his previous appearances, it would appear that his allegiances in the Action Civil War would lie with his former employer. However, it must also be noted that Burnett says Andrew Ghai also spoke highly of him. Had this been purely Burnett’s doing, I would have been worried that “The Captain” had just risked his reputation within The Family by bringing in someone who had already committed to the Horsemen; however it would appear that Ghai is fully on board with the acquisition, which makes me feel that this is not going to result in Hanna betraying The Family and joining the Horsemen.

What is worth noting as well is that Hanna left his role as Bateman’s intern to go out on his own following Bateman and Ghai’s split. Perhaps even he felt that his employer was the guilty party in Team Action splitting up.

Looking at the evidence, it looks like the Horsemen are going to be left disappointed.

What Does This Mean for the Horsemen?

Hanna duping the Horsemen and joining The Family probably won’t go down well and will certainly add more friction within the Horsemen stable. Ben Bateman appears to have been instrumental to Hanna joining the group and seeing Hanna betray them for The Family could affect his reputation within the stable, which could then turn ugly given his fractious history with Rocha.

Should their relationship deteriorate, it could also put strain on Rocha and Reilly’s relationship as it was Reilly who took a risk by backing Bateman and Dagnino as potential Horsemen.

Have Hanna’s actions just set in motion a series of events that will see Who’s The Boss walk away from the Horsemen?

Conversely, this could also bring the Horsemen closer together and galvanise them for another attempt to take down The Family. Could this motivate Ben Bateman to enter the Innergeekdom purely to remind his former intern who the real boss is? Or could they instead turn to an unattached Innergeekdom star like Mara Knopic or Chandru and put out a hit on the Hitman, with the prize being a place in the Horsemen stable?

The repercussions could even go beyond The Horsemen and The Family. Kaiser was the first to offer Hanna a spot in his faction but was immediately turned down. After seeing Hanna join a faction led by a man who can’t tell the difference between “Lou” and “Kaiser”, could he set his own Innergeekdom star Kevin Smets against him? With Smets having destroyed Hlavac in San Diego and Hanna 3-0 if he beats Chandru, that would be a mouth-watering #1 Contender match.

One thing is for certain: There’s some drama ahead!

THE FELLOWSHIP IN THE RING: The Innergeekdom Roster Breakdown!

THE FELLOWSHIP IN THE RING: The Innergeekdom Roster Breakdown!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 15/8/2019


Since its debut at the inaugural Schmoedown Spectacular, the Innergeekdom Division has been going from strength to strength. With a limited number of movies to pick from, it’s a division that goes deep into the details but can also be more effectively studied for. Last year saw the first Innergeekdom Tournament as Mike Kalinowski tried to take control of the league, while this season saw “The Killer” become the first Schmoedown Pro to win the title on two separate occasions.

While we have seen some big names step away from competition, including two recent champions and legends of the division, a look at the roster suggests that the Innergeekdom Division is the strongest it has ever been:

The Champions

Mike Kalinowski’s win in San Diego saw him gain back the title in the division where he first began to become a star. The level of work he put in to elevate himself to the top of the rankings is incredible, ensuring that he has no weaknesses… only areas of slightly less strength.

Rachel Cushing finally won the belt that she coveted at the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown and became the first double-belted Champion to compete in the Innergeekdom division. She is without a doubt one of the best in the division when it comes to sheer knowledge. Jason Inman was the first superstar Innergeekdom champion as the quality of the division improved and was the only one of the last four champions to manage a successful title defence. Sadly, Inman stepped away from competition at the end of last season and Rachel has just announced that she will no longer be competing, but if they ever do return they will be able to quickly re-establish themselves as a part of the Innergeekdom elite.

From two who have stepped away to one who has recently returned, Mara Knopic left the league after losing the title to Mike Kalinowski but has recently returned and will surely compete for the title again in the future – nobody else can boast victories over three current/former/future champions within the division!

Though they arguably do not fall into quite the same bracket as the aforementioned Schmoedown Pros, inaugural champion Robert Meyer Burnett and his nemesis Hector Navarro should never be overlooked. Their current status within the division is questionable given Burnett’s role as manager/commissioner and Navarro’s defeat at the hands of Kevin Smets but they both have categories that you don’t expect them to drop points in and a concerted study effort could see them rise back up the rankings.

Future Champions…?

With a 4-1 (4KO) record and some incredible accuracy stats, Kevin “The Smasher” Smets is arguably the best in the division to have never won a belt at this point. Adam Hlavac’s 3-4 record also doesn’t do him justice, as his losses have all come to highly ranked players Smets, Kalinowski, Cushing and Mark Donica; if he can improve in Middle Earth and Harry Potter then he will be able to start getting results against the top opponents.

Donica himself looked a great competitor and earned a title shot in his first run for the belt. Sadly no longer in the division, if the chance ever comes for him to compete again, his opponents better watch out!

Looking at some of the more recent debutants from this season, Brandon “The Hitman” Hanna seems to have picked up some study tips from his time as Ben Bateman’s intern and his victory in the Fatal Four-Way victory over Chance Ellison, Keetin Marchi and Chandru Dhandapani will have made veterans sit up and take notice. If he can get the victory over Emily “The Rose” Jacobson this week then his path to a title match will get much clearer. Chandru also looked good on his debut and he backed that up by earning victory over War Father and David Moore, suggesting a run for “that thicc belt” is not out of the question.

The other Innergeekdom debutant in that Fatal Four-Way, Chance Ellison, has the Schmoedown experience from the Teams and Singles Divisions and the Innergeekdom knowledge to be competitive in the Division. With Kalinowski coaching him, the thought of an all-KOrruption title match is not out of the question.

Going Deeper

Emily “The Rose” Jacobson has been one of the hardest to judge at this point, as her debut against Winston Marshall was less than stellar (an 8-7 TKO), but if she can get a stronger result against “The Hitman”, then she will be making her rivals take notice.

Recent debutant the War Father put in a strong performance in his debut; now that he has experience under the lights he will surely improve, while his opponent David Moore looks to be on the up and that elusive first victory will come soon if he can just face the right opponent.

Returning to the Schmoedown after a 14-month break, Jared Haibon has the statistically interesting record of 1-2 (4KOs) after dominating his debut Fatal Five-Way, before losing to Donica and Kalinowski. In both those losses, he had bad luck with the Wheel, so if he can turn his Round 2 fortunes around, he looks to have a good enough knowledge to hold his own in the division.

Eric Zipper, Keetin Marchi, Coy Jandreau, Winston Marshall, Sean Gerber, Jay Washington and Emma Fyffe (if she returns to competing) have all had mixed or disappointing results in the division so far, but they all have categories that they are very strong in as well as having a wide enough knowledge to get the victory on their day; never forget, Coy beat Kalinowski on his debut!

Still to Come…

While the Innergeekdom is in a strong place, the beauty is that it can only get stronger. The fan leagues have already shown that they can develop the stars of the future with Smets and Paul Oyama, and we will surely see more future pros coming through over the next few seasons.

And let’s never rule out more veterans trying their luck in the division, as there are some big names in the Teams and Singles Divisions (most notably in the Horsemen’s stable) who could hold their own in Innergeekdom and – with enough studying – challenge for the title!

OPPOSITION? HEEL THYSELF! – Five Schmoedown Players Who Wisely Went Wicked

OPPOSITION? HEEL THYSELF! – Five Schmoedown Players Who Wisely Went Wicked

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 8/8/2019


As someone who was not a regular watcher of the WWE, one of the things that took me a while to understand was the intricacies of kayfabe and the roles of heels and faces. After over two years of watching the Schmoedown however, I have come to appreciate the role this has in the success of the league and really look forward to seeing how new entrants will act and what dastardly deeds the heels will get up to next.

While many of the heels have been that way from the start, like “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai, there are others like Ken Napzok and Mike Kalinowski who were once seen as heroes of the league, fighting the good fight, until they snapped and turned to the dark side. In addition to shocking the fans with their turn to evil, many of these heel turns have played a big role in improving not just their own personal Schmoedown careers, but also the league as a whole.

Today we’ll be looking at those former faces who found success by going dark!

Six Degrees

Two of the original ladies of the Schmoedown, “Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler and “Sassy” Stacy Howard arrived in the league with a victory over the Wangers in October 2016. However, their success was limited over the following months, until they brought in Jay Washington as their manager. Washington helped turn the pair into the first big female heels of the league, while the Viper Squad became one of the more established factions of Season 4.

While Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe were showing their success as faces, Six Degrees made it clear that the role of a heel would work just as well with a woman or a man, creating the opportunity for any new arrivals to play any character that they wanted.

Mike Kalinowski

He was Captain America. He was Batman. Then, he became “The Killer” and the leader of KOrruption. Mike Kalinowski’s heel turn on leaving The League revolutionized the Schmoedown last season as he – under instruction from Paulie G (and unbeknownst to Kalinowski, Kristian Harloff) – began blackmailing Commissioner Thadd Williams into running the league however he wanted.

Under Mike’s supervision, we saw the Innergeekdom Division get its first Ultimate Schmoedown-style tournament, which saw Mara Knopic make her debut and run all the way to the Innergeekdom Championship, whilst also highlighting the strength of the division and setting up himself, Rachel Cushing and Adam Hlavac as some of the biggest stars within the division. We also saw the Anarchy Tournament completely shake up the Teams Division, as most teams were broken up and new alliances were created, giving us super-teams like Who’s The Boss, The Odd Couple and the Founding Fathers.

The Anarchy Tournament also created a number of new teams who either stuck together after the tournament or found themselves reforming on a more permanent basis over the next year, effectively “rebooting” the Teams Division at a time where the Patriots, the Shirewolves and Above the Line had been dominating the league.

On a more individual note, this turn also represented the moment where Mike’s fortunes began to improve. His studying seemed to go to a new level as he strove to win his own tournament, eventually leading him to becoming the first Schmoedown Pro to win the Innergeekdom Title twice. Meanwhile, his new partnership with Chance Ellison and creation of the KOrruption faction has seen him earn an upcoming title match in the Teams Division, as well as finding himself just three matches away from the Singles Title.

Ken Napzok

Staying within KOrruption for a moment, we also need to take a look at Ken Napzok. As part of the Nerd’s Watch, Napzok was a force for good in the league but he did not have the ability to stand up to the Lion’s Den. Eventually he decided that “If you can’t beat them, join them” was an acceptable alternative and he betrayed Rachel Cushing to join Tom Dagnino.

While it may not have had a net positive impact on his playing career, turning heel gave him the chance to go all-in on the mic and he has since proven himself to be one of the best in the league when cutting a promo either on camera or live on stage. More than that, his turn also freed up Rachel Cushing to join Clarke Wolfe and take the next steps in her development into one of the best to ever compete in the league. Not to say that he was holding her back, but the Shirewolves and the Fyffe Club played such a key role in Rachel’s success, and that would not have been possible if Ken had not abandoned her.

Drew McWeeny

Who would have thought that Drew McWeeny could turn heel?! “The Godfather” had always been a player focused on pure knowledge instead of storylines, but this season he has dived in headfirst by siding with The Family. Usually quiet and reserved, he has not really had to change his ways much, but his strong, silent personality makes him so menacing whenever he does speak – just look at Burnett’s reaction in the recent promo when McWeeny reminds him that he was promised a belt!

Beyond that, turning heel and joining The Family has brought him real success. With Burnett and Ghai there to take care of things on the mic, McWeeny can focus on his performance in the match, and having Ghai at his side on the table adds a great element of strategy to go along with his immense knowledge.

Could this alliance ever see him win a belt again? I’d never rule it out!

Who will be the next Schmoedown Pro to turn from hero to villain? What impact will that have on the league? Only time will tell…

SONGS OF FIGHTS AND IRE: The Best Entrance Music in the Schmoedown!

SONGS OF FIGHTS AND IRE: The Best Entrance Music in the Schmoedown!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 6/8/2019


Music is such a big factor in movies. Imagine Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings without John Williams’ and Howard Shore’s respective scores. The music takes the footage to a new level. In a similar way, music in Schmoedown entrances takes them from a person walking through a curtain to as big a part of the show as the promos and interviews.

Some competitors love a theatrical entrance and use iconic music from the movie they are honouring, whereas other competitors choose to go for a more simple entrance but use the same piece of music ever time, so that you know who’s coming before their name or accomplishments have even been announced.

Today I will be looking at some of the musical selections that have become synonymous with competitors over the years. Before I start, I want to give a quick shout-out to some teams whose song choices did not make the list due to still being relatively new. If we re-do this list in a year, then I think The Odd Couple, KOrruption and the Founding Fathers could be pushing onto the list.

(If you’d like to hear these songs and many of the other classic pieces of entrance music used in the Schmoedown, check out the Spotify playlist!)

Ben Bateman – “The Man”

Ben Bateman started his Singles career coming out to “I’m so Humble” but more recently changed things up and began to use “The Man” by The Killers as his entrance music. This was going to just miss the list originally until I paid more attention to the lyrics:

“I got skin in the game. I got a household name. I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.”

This is no longer the young hotshot coming in to cause trouble, instead he is an experienced competitor with confidence bordering on arrogance in his ability to play the game. Could there be a better entrance song for someone that spins again on Spinner’s Choice against his biggest rival?

Ethan Erwin – “Turtle Power!”

Who would have thought that hearing the rap from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film would get a crowd of hundreds on their feet cheering? Such is now the case as Ethan Erwin has made “Turtle Power!” his go-to entrance music. Again, this was another that just made the list, but given Erwin’s success in Singles it has become a song that is instantly recognisable and synonymous with winning.

Josh Macuga – “Wild Thing”

With a nickname like “The Wildman”, how could Josh Macuga not use a variation of the classic “Wild Thing?!” The song is loud and upbeat, just like a classic Macuga entrance. The moment I hear it, I can immediately picture him coming out in a bright/interestingly patterned suit, doing the running man and making his way to his seat. This became so synonymous with him, it was also used in Clarke Wolfe’s entrance against Macuga where she parodied him (above), coming out dancing in a bright suit.

Mark Reilly – Superman

“Yodi” has not always stuck to one entrance song and at points has crossed into doing the more theatrical entrances, but when he has done more of a traditional walkout, his entrance music has often been from one of the Superman movies. He is a man who loves movie scores and has not been shy to show how big of a fan he is of the superhero and its movies – the Wolves of Steel name and logo made that pretty clear – and as someone who has remained a face throughout his time in the league so far, the Superman music is a perfect choice for him.

John Rocha – “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

While he may have moved away from it more recently, in favor of a fan-made song that could itself make the list in the future, Rocha used to emerge to Ennio Morricone’s main theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. An instantly recognisable piece of music, it was a perfect choice for a man who dubbed himself “The Outlaw” and considers Westerns to be one of his biggest strengths on the wheel. Combined with his cowboy hat and Guy Fawkes mask, the music helped to make Rocha’s entrances memorable.

Dan Murrell – “Jaws” Theme

There’s a reason that so many of the current Horsemen are making this list, and that is because we have had years of watching them emerge to these pieces of music, while they have also played in so many big matches that they have become memorable. However, if you are looking for a piece of music that has become synonymous with a competitor, then you just have to look back to everyone’s reactions at the 2018 Free 4 All, when the Jaws theme began to play, only for Andrew Ghai to emerge. The Jaws theme is instantly recognisable and conjures images of a ruthless predator that will attack the moment it smells blood, much like the GOAT’s recent performances. Whether the John Williams original or the more recent version he has taken to using in recent matches, there aren’t many pieces of music more synonymous with a competitor.

The Patriots – “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”

Sometimes you don’t realise how much you love a piece of music until it’s gone. Such was the case for me with “I’m Shipping up to Boston” when The Patriots broke up and JTE’s accident saw him take a break from competing. First heard at Sneider’s reveal during The Decision, the song became the entrance music not just for the Patriots, but also JTE and Sneider in their Singles careers. With them being the Lion’s Den’s main competitors, the song became synonymous not just with he pair of them, but the whole faction and was in fact used as such at times, including when they came to claim Robert Meyer Burnett after he chose to leave the Four Horsemen.

The amount of times I have heard this song away from the Schmoedown and found myself about to start booing as a reflex action, this was the first piece of music that came to mind once I started planning this article. JTE has been continuing to use this entrance music since his return to the league, so he now has the chance to make the music synonymous with just him as he gets used to life without the Lion’s Den.

MIKEY THREE-BELTS?! – How Mike Kalinowski Could Become the First Triple-Champion

MIKEY THREE-BELTS?! – How Mike Kalinowski Could Become the First Triple-Champion

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 31/7/2019


Paul Oyama’s recent victory over Dan Murrell brought the number of Schmoedown Pros who have held a title up to 24. Of those 24 Pros, only four have managed to hold two different titles during their Schmoedown career. Narrowing things down even further, only Samm Levine (Singles and Teams) and Rachel Cushing (Teams and Innergeekdom) have the distinction of holding multiple belts at the same time.

Right now though, there is one man on a path to go one step further, and become the first person to hold three belts at the same time. And his name is Mike Kalinowski.

“The Killer” won his first title by defeating Mara Knopic in Spectacular III’s Innergeekdom Championship Match, and after losing it to Rachel Cushing in the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown, he began his quest to become Champion again. But not just in the Innergeekdom, but in Singles and Teams as well.

As such, he can consider July 2019 a resounding success, after he TKO’d Jeannine “The Machine” in the Singles Division and won a Teams #1 Contender Match with KOrruption against the Founding Fathers, right before capping things off by winning the Innergeekdom belt back from Rachel Cushing in front of a live crowd in San Diego.

So what is next for him in his quest to become “Mikey Three-Belts”?

Let’s start with the Teams Division, where KOrruption’s win over the Founding Fathers means that they will take on the Shirewolves in the near future in a Championship Match. The Shirewolves will likely go in as favourites, but KOrruption should never be ruled out. Even though Chance hasn’t experienced the 5-round format in the league, Mike has now competed in four 5-round matches (three Innergeekdom Title Matches and the final of 2018’s Innergeekdom Tournament) so they’re not lacking in Championship match experience. Both Mike and Chance have a good breadth of knowledge and you can almost guarantee that James Bond will be on the wheel given Mike’s recent successes there, while they will probably look towards one of Chance’s strengths – possibly Disney or Pixar – instead of Comic Book Movies, given the danger of Rachel running through the category if the Shirewolves were to hit the slice.

While some may suggest that Mike’s recent Innergeekdom run means that his focus hasn’t been on the wider categories, he made it to a #1 Contender match with his performances in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament and he has still performed strongly in his recent Singles and Team matches, to the point that I feel this won’t be as much of an issue as people think. Clarke is famed for being quick on the buzzer, but Mike has proved himself to be equally capable there, so don’t be too shocked if this comes down to the final question.

In the Singles Division he still has a way to go, but Mike’s path is clearly laid out before him. A face-off with Ben “The Boss” Bateman will see the winner take on Jeff “The Insneider” Sneider in a #1 Contender Match. The prize? A chance to take on Paul Oyama for the title live in New York.

The match with Bateman is an interesting one. With Andreyko having now won the Teams Title, Ben Bateman is arguably the best competitor to have not yet won a belt, and he is keen to bring that title drought to an end. Bateman consistently earns 6+ points in Round 1, so I expect things will be close there. Going into Round 2, I think that this could be the key round. Bateman’s go-to slice is Movie Release Dates, which he can run through similar to Mike in James Bond, while he is also especially strong in Oscars. While Bond will likely be on the wheel for Mike, there is always the risk that Bateman will know this and take the chance to study the category enough that he feels confident if he lands on the slice.

Beyond that, some of Mike’s other obvious strengths – Comic Book Movies and Tom Cruise – may also be dangerous picks given Ben is very competent in these categories. It will be a difficult match, but with the run Mike is on, he can never be ruled out.

Moving onto a #1 Contender Match against Sneider, should he get that far, one of the keys to victory for Kalinowski will be keeping his head. Sneider is always looking for ways to put his opponent off and is very good at getting under his opponent’s skin, while he is also very good at challenging on the slightest of technicalities, whereas Mike has at times appeared to be put out of rhythm by challenges in the past. Since the low point of his KO loss to Bibbiani, Sneider has been on a roll in Teams and Singles and may also be fresher given the number of matches Mike will have been playing in recent months.

Sneider has proved in the past that he does have weaknesses, so a poor spin in Round 2 could easily lead to another collapse like against Bibbiani. However given the positive impact that Roxy has had on him, it may be that her rivalry with Kalinowski – a result of him leaving The League when he felt she, Adam and Jonny weren’t supporting him – has led to Sneider upping his game to make it third time lucky in a Singles #1 Contender Match.

Assuming Kalinowski makes it through the gauntlet of Bateman and Sneider, it is time for a trip to New York to take on Paul Oyama in front of a live audience. This is much harder match to judge right now as Oyama has only competed in six Schmoedown matches and the Free 4 All to date, which means that there is less gametape for Mike to look at when studying his opponent. However, this is where he will likely benefit from his faction. Chance was a fellow competitor in the fan leagues before stepping up to become a Pro, so he will be able to help prepare for Oyama with extra information about his strengths and weaknesses.

Over five Rounds, it is hard to imagine there will be much separating them since Oyama has a great breadth of knowledge and looked quick on the buzzer against Murrell, similar to what Mike has demonstrated in Innergeekdom. What could b the difference is the impact of a live audience, as Paul will already be feeling the pressure of a first title defence, and the addition of a live audience will no doubt heighten that pressure. Mike has proved time and again that he thrives in front of a live audience. This would be the fifth live event that he would have been onstage for (he crashed the stage at the 3rd 2018 LA event, came out with Chance in New York, competed in the live Free 4 All and defeated Rachel in San Diego), so he knows how it feels to be competing with so many eyes on him.

Will we be witnessing history over the coming months with the crowning of “Mikey Three-Belts”? He’s got a hard road ahead of him, but as he has proved plenty of times recently, he is more than happy to be written off by the fan polls… and prove them completely wrong.