TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.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 15/7/2019


The Shirewolves made history once again at Collision III when they became the first team to reclaim the Teams title. It’s is a feat that had accomplished before: the Patriots lost their rematch against Above The Line, while Top 10 failed to get revenge on the Patriots twice, including the infamous “Jane Fonda” match.

As of now, nobody has ever regained their belt in the Innergeekdom Division, and in fact Mike Kalinowski will be the first former Champion in the division to even challenge for the belt again, as both Mara Knopic and Jason Inman stepped away from competition following their title losses, and Burnett and Navarro have not yet been able to get back to the top of the rankings.

The only division that has really seen any repetition of champions has been the Singles Division. Dan Murrell is currently enjoying his 3rd title reign, while both John Rocha and Mark Reilly have won the belt on 2 separate occasions.

Seeing the Shirewolves start their second reign as team Champions got me thinking: who (if anyone) will be able to regain their title by the end of the season? Having thought about it, I’ve selected the five players I think are most likely. (For all you fans of the Star Wars Division, Ken Napzok and Sam Witwer would have definitely been in the discussion if they were playing, but a recent comment from Kristian suggested that the next #1 Contender Match will likely involve people who competed at Celebration and that the winner would be in the last Title Match that the division holds this year.)

Mike Kalinowski

As mentioned, Kalinowski is the first former Innergeekdom Champion to earn a second shot at the belt, having just defeated Kevin Smets at Collision. He is without a doubt one of the top three current Innergeekdom competitors and even though he has lost to Rachel both times they faced off in the Division (and also once outside the Division, when she KO’d him in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match), he has more than enough knowledge to go the distance again, just like when he lost the belt to Cushing in Sudden Death. The match is set to be held live in San Diego during Comic-Con, which I think gives “The Killer” a slight advantage, as live events seem to bring the best out of him. Either way, it could be a contender for Match of the Year.

John Rocha

“The Outlaw” is a former Teams Champion and two-time former Singles Champion, but it is in the Teams division where I think he’s more likely to regain a title this year. While he may no longer be part of Top 10, his new partnership with Dan Murrell has created a formidable team. At 3-1, the Founding Fathers aren’t far off from a shot at the title and they certainly have the pedigree to take down the Shirewolves. Even if they find their run halted by a loss, they could take advantage of Murrell’s Free 4 All victory to get themselves an immediate title shot at any time.

William Bibbiani

“The Beast” claimed the vacant Singles Title after Samm Levine walked away from Competition but lost it to John Rocha on his first defence. One of the best in the game in terms of overall knowledge, he can never be ruled out of a match and even won a Triple Threat match earlier this year against Ethan Erwin and John Rocha. Bibbs hasn’t played in the Singles Division since his loss to Dan Murrell at the start of May, but as the Free 4 All MVP, he has the chance to cash in a #1 Contender Match at any time, which means he’s only ever two wins away from reclaiming the belt.

Ethan Erwin

If we’re taking about incredible knowledge, then we need to mention Ethan Erwin, who Kristian Harloff recently stated on Collider Live was unable to feature in the Free 4 All but played along and would have made it to the end, knocking Bibbiani out earlier in the event. Erwin is the only competitor to date to win the Singles Title in his rookie year and though he lost on his first defence, Dan Murrell needed to play a 100% accurate game to earn the victory. Erwin’s partnership with Jeannine may also lead tohim gaining knowledge in areas that he would have previously considered weaknesses, making him even more dangerous. He may not have any fast-track to a title, but don’t bet against him going on a strong tournament run to earn a title shot at Spectacular.

Dan Murrell

The most hypothetical one on the list, since in order to reclaim the belt Murrell would first have to lose it. But imagine for one moment that Murrell has a bad day at the office and loses to Paul Oyama, he still has every chance of becoming a 4-time Singles Champion by the end of the season. First of all, he would have the option of cashing in his Free 4 All victory to earn an immediate title shot, and even if he has to go through the tournament to earn another shot, you should never bet against the GOAT. Murrell has a wide and deep knowledge and has worked on his strategy since coming back from his hiatus, while having some of the best competitors in the game in his faction means that he’ll have plenty of support and advice coming his way if he needs it.

Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments who you think has the best chance of regaining their title.

OH ODD, YOU DEVILS: The Schmoedown History of The Odd Couple!

OH ODD, YOU DEVILS: The Schmoedown History of The Odd Couple!

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 22/6/2019


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 21/1/2019

WORLD’S GREATEST DAN: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s Top 10 Schmoedown Moments!

WORLD’S GREATEST DAN: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s Top 10 Schmoedown Moments!

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 1/5/2019


When you talk about the Schmoedown, it doesn’t take long for conversation to turn to “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. The reigning Singles Champion and Free 4 All Champion is the only person to have held the Singles Title on three separate occasions and his partnership with “The Outlaw” John Rocha is more than capable of challenging for the Teams title too.

But with six victories in title matches and plenty of other iconic events in his history, the question then becomes “What is the best Dan Murrell moment?” I’ve looked back through his time in the league to present my top ten.!

What would make your list?

10. Dan’s First Faction

Murrell had clearly been doing well enough on his own during Season 3 as he went 5-0 in the Singles Division, with 3 victories in title matches and 3 TKOs in that spell.

By this point, Murrell and Rocha were clear rivals and during his interview after defending his title at Spectacular against Mark Ellis, Murrell was firing some shots at his next opponent, who had lost the Teams Title to The Patriots earlier in the day.

His interview was soon interrupted by the arrival of the Lion’s Den, who invited him to join their faction with a number of promises, including free comic books from Marc Andreyko. With the strength of the Four Horsemen at the time, uniting the Singles and Teams Belts in one faction set up a huge rivalry between the two factions heading into Season 4.

9. Hitting a Promo

With the Schmoedown’s move to Collider and the changes that entailed, the league needed to entice people in. What better way to do in than with the incredible promos from Murrell and John Campea? With lines like “Champions do their talk in the ring” and “Nobody’s ever beat me when there’s a title on the line” as well as comparing the angry Canadian’s rants to a Pomeranian yapping, Murrell brought a quiet confidence to counter Campea’s bluster and set us up for a great season opener.

8. “It’s a New Murrell Order and I’m a Free Agent, Baby”

Murrell’s time with the Lion’s Den lasted a whole one match. In his interview following his title loss to John Rocha, he announced that he was leaving the Lion’s Den. As Murrell pointed out, he received no support from his stable mates and none of them joined him in his promo, entrance or post-match interview. And with a proclamation of “You just lost your alpha” his time in the Lion’s Den came to an end.

7. The Aftermath

It’s never nice to lose a game on a controversial moment, but that is what happened with the Founding Fathers’ Anarchy loss to KOrruption. In an emotional post-match interview, Murrell was so gracious in his loss and talked about how low a loss can make you feel and showed how much the Schmoedown meant to him. Talking about how Rocha had pulled him back following his loss to Andrew Ghai, Murrell clearly did the same in this moment with Rocha and pulled him back to prepare for his upcoming title match, while also reducing Jenn Sterger to tears. If I’m being honest, watching it back for this list got me pretty emotional too!

6. Free 4 All

In a recent article, I named XX5XX as my favourite moment from the first two Free 4 Alls. While a fantastic moment in itself, it also brought to an end a great performance from Dan Murrell. Dan Murrell’s 12 rounds lasted was the most of anyone in that event (1 more than John Humphrey) and correctly answered 47/60 questions over that spell (nobody else managed more than 28 points at the event). If his 5-1 Singles record was not already hint enough, this performance proved that the name “Dangerous” was an apt choice.

5. Dan’s First Title

TKO victories over John Campea and Scott Mantz earned Murrell a shot at Mark Reilly’s Singles Title. “Yodi” was 5-0 at this point, with a title victory over Josh Macuga and a successful defence against JTE to his name, but Murrell gave him the first loss of his Singles career with an 18-15 victory. I think the fact that Murrell’s first ever title victory shows just how great his career has been since then.

4. Free 4 All Victory

Having missed the second Free 4 All due to a personal tragedy, Murrell made his glorious return to the event in 2019. Coming out at number 31, he lasted 13 rounds and scored 42 points (only William Bibbiani could beat those numbers) to defeat MVP William Bibbiani and JTE in the second round of Sudden Death and win the event. It was a great performance and winning the event combined with being a Triple-Champion probably confirmed him as the GOAT to many fans.

3. The Five Horsemen

Andrew Ghai’s antics and his claims of beating Dan Murrell were always going to end up drawing the GOAT back to the league, and it happened at the second Los Angeles live event. With Ghai onstage making fun of a caricature of Murrell (Bateman dressed up as him and acted stupid), the music began to play and the lights went out, before turning back on to reveal four hooded figures. The new Four Horsemen revealed themselves one by one: Knost, Rocha, Inman, Reilly.

Everything went dark again and when the lights returned, a fifth figure had appeared onstage, who was revealed to be Murrell. The GOAT had put aside his rivalry with The Outlaw and they had joined together in a faction of current and former champions to take control of the lead. Murrell’s first action was to go over to Ghai and immediately challenge him to a match at Collision… I’ve never seen Ghai so scared, he was speechless!

The reveal was amazing and left me with goosebumps, and it was great to see Murrell return to the league and team up with his two greatest rivals from his original run in the league.

2. Two in a Row

After Mark Reilly won the Singles Title back from John Rocha, the next title match was arranged for the inaugural Collision: a Triple Threat between Reilly, Rocha and Murrell. In an amazing match, Murrell came away as the new champion, becoming the second two-time Champion.

He wasn’t given much time to celebrate though, as his post-match interview was interrupted by Samm Levine cashing in his Free 4 All victory and challenging Murrell for the title in the hopes that Murrell would be tired.

That logic didn’t work though, as he hit a perfect Round 1 (minus the bonus) on the way to a 26-23 victory.

Winning one match is good, winning two in a day is impressive, and winning two matches one right after another is GOAT material.

1. The Third Title

2018 was an up and down year for Murrell following his return to competition, but a win over Clarke Wolfe at Spectacular confirmed his as the next title contender. That contest would be against Ethan Erwin, live in New York. Erwin had been living up to his “Big Time” moniker and it was going to take something special to beat him, which is exactly what Dan Murrell gave us. A 100% accuracy match gave him a 25-23 victory over Erwin, and he was able to become the first 3-time Singles Champion and lift the belt to chants of “You deserve it” from the crowd.

STAR WARS RETURNS: The Division is Stronger Than Ever!

STAR WARS RETURNS: The Division is Stronger Than Ever!

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 24/4/2019


Ever since it was introduced to the Schmoedown, the Star Wars division has been the smallest in the league. With a limited number of films the questions quickly became deep cuts, and this has led to just a handful of incredible competitors who have been able to hold their own in the division.

With one of the original poster boys of the division, Sam Witwer, currently unavailable due to other commitments, the active roster in the division was left thin, and this led to some discussion about whether it was time to retire the belt altogether and bring the division to the end.

But the recent matches in Chicago appear to have breathed new life into the division. Four competitors made their debuts at Star Wars Celebration while Joseph Scrimshaw and Alex Damon wowed the Athenaeum Theatre with the depths of their knowledge. Even though Damon retained the title, these matches have suggested that the division could now be at its strongest point ever. So let’s take a look at the competitors!

Let’s start with the Champion.

Alex “The Demon” Damon

Alex “The Demon” Damon may fly under some people’s radar, but he is dominating the division in a way that should make people sit up and take notice. Running a YouTube channel called Star Wars Explained – which numerous competitors have said they use for their research! – suggests that his knowledge will always be at a high level and that has been the case so far, with 95/106 correct answers giving him an 89.6% accuracy.

Beyond that, he was already a fan of the league before his debut so he understands the intricacies of a match. He is also getting more confident competing in front of a crowd, with four of his fie matches being at a live event, Collision or Spectacular. His only loss so far was in his debut in a Fatal Fiveway, where he took Sam Witwer all the way to the final question. Can anyone defeat him? Only time will tell.

Joseph “The Jedi” Scrimshaw

Next up is his most recent challenger, Joseph “The Jedi” Scrimshaw. Making his debut in the same match as Alex Damon, the pair finished with the same score and were only beaten by Sam Witwer hitting his final answer. Over 4 matches, Scrimshaw has managed to give 71/80 correct answers (88.8% accuracy), which shows just how unlucky he has been in his matches to have a 1-3 record. With one loss to Witwer and two to Damon, though he may only compete in the one division, there is a clear argument for him to be one of the best competitors to have never won a belt.

Sam “The Warrior” Witwer

A former champion, Sam “The Warrior” Witwer was the original poster boy for the division.

In a match against Freddie Prinze Jr. in the Singles Division, he ran through the category of Star Wars in Round 2 to set up his victory, before coming back for a Star Wars Teams match against The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and almost single-handedly getting the win for the Force Bros. (with a little controversy/cheating from Prinze Jr.). In his debut in the Division at Celebration 2016, despite a busy weekend that was leaving him exhausted, he missed just two questions but unfortunately those accounted for a possible 8 points and he lost.

Witwer made his comeback in a Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match, missing just one question all match and eventually winning with the return of Captain Needa, who had cost him victory in the last match. His final appearance as of now is still arguably one of the best matches in the history of the league, as he took on Ken Napzok in an Iron Man Match, which he won at the buzzer. Over these 3 matches, Witwer has managed 86/101 correct answers (85.1% accuracy) and has shown himself to be deadly with quotes.

Stripped of his belt by Thadd Williams under the orders of Mike Kalinowski, when he makes his return to competition we will be in for a real treat.

Ken “The Pit Boss” Napzok

The other former champion, Ken Napzok was not involved in the latest competition for the belt as he was focused on growing KOrruption. Napzok won the inaugural Star Wars Title Match at Celebration 2016 by defeating John Campea in the 5th round of Sudden Death, but after switching his allegiance to the Lion’s Den he lost his title to Sam Witwer in an Iron Man match.

In the next #1 Contender Match, “The Pitboss” found himself the first out in a Triple Threat against Scrimshaw and Damon, while his most recent match saw him lose to Damon once again at Spectacular 3. Quotes have proven to be a weakness for Napzok in the past, but he has still managed to amass a figure of 103/127 correct answers (81.1%). Count the Pitboss out at your peril.

The Rise of the Challengers

Looking at the four competitors who made their debut at Celebration, there are positive signs for the future.

Andy Blanchard may have been the first eliminated with just 50% accuracy, but making your debut in front of a live crowd of Star Wars nuts is no easy feat and his Round 2 questions were by no means easy, while his Round 1 score of 7/10 is respectable. I imagine that he will return stronger now that he has some experience.

Mollie Damon has the knowledge of the game from managing the current Champion, and she also showed that Alex is not the only one in the household good at Star Wars trivia. Her 78.9% accuracy (15/19) is good for a debut, and she should also be stronger upon her return now that she has some experience at the table.

The latest competitor to come through the Patreon audition process, Andrew Dimalanta may have fallen just short against Scrimshaw, but he surely put the division on notice. He had a clear understanding of the game, remembering to utilise his JTEs and Multiple Choice where needed, helping him get to 18/20 correct answers (90% accuracy). Obviously, this accuracy rate can’t be directly compared to the more established competitors due to the number of questions, but if he can continue this level of performance in his upcoming matches, we will see him competing for the title in no time.

Last but not least, we come to Laura Kelly. The only competitor to hit a perfect first round, she finished with 18/21 correct answers for 85.7% accuracy, with one of her misses coming down to a lack of familiarity with the steal process in a Fatal Fiveway. Like Dimalanta, the early signs are clear: she has the knowledge to compete at the top end of the division.

The Phantom Outlaw

There is one other name that should be mentioned here, and that… is John Rocha.

Though he has not yet competed in the division, “The Outlaw” has mentioned several times that he intends to enter the division, most likely by the end of this year. Though his Bespin moment will likely never be lived down, he has a good level of Star Wars knowledge and studies hard in preparation for his matches, so that should fill any gaps. On top of that, he would easily be the most experienced Schmoedown competitor in the division, which should put him over in terms of strategy. Could winning the title be what it takes to put Bespin behind him once and for all?

Be Mindful of the Future

The success of these new competitors has not only shown that there is still a scope to expand the roster in the Star Wars division, but also throughout the whole league.

When asked to comment on the success of the competition in Chicago and the performances of the new rookies, Chairman Kristian Harloff said: “The Star Wars Division proved that there are so many players – great trivia players – out in the world that just don’t live in Los Angeles, and that’s what has been a little bit limiting for what we do. And that’s why we continue to grow, why we want to build the Patreon and why we want to get a sponsor and do more live events: it’s because somewhere out there is the next Alex Damon, someone out there is the next William Bibbiani, Rachel Cushing, Shirewolves, Patriots. They are all out there, they just don’t know this thing exists yet, they might be in London, they might be in France, hey might be is Kansas City… But the Star Wars Division just proved there are many knowledgeable people out there that don’t have to live in California.”

So go pop on a movie, make some notes as you go and before you know it, you could be walking out as a Schmoedown competitor. May the Force be with you… always.

ALL ABOUT OUTLAW: The Schmoedown History of John Rocha!

ALL ABOUT OUTLAW: The Schmoedown History of John Rocha!

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 11/4/2019


Even if you’re new to the Schmoedown, you’ll probably recognize John Rocha. With his trademark Guy Fawkes mask and cowboy hat, “The Outlaw” has been a regular competitor in the Schmoedown since Season 2, trying to make his goal of “All the belts, all the records” a reality.

Rocha’s career in the Schmoedown has been a story of highs and lows, so as he approaches a Triple Threat match that could earn him another shot at the Singles Title, let’s look back through The Outlaw’s journey through the Schmoedown!

Top 10

Rocha arrived as part of the 2015 Ultimate Schmoedown. Unlike its debut year, the 2015 season was a team tournament, so Rocha’s debut came alongside Matt Knost as one half of the team Top 10. Taking on Screen Junkies (Hal Rudnick and Nick Mundy), Rocha went 2/3 to help the team to an early 5-3 lead. Rocha stepped up in Round 2 in the category of Mob Movies, going 4/4 for 6 points, while Mundy’s struggles in 80s Movies allowed Rocha and Knost to steal 3 answers for 4 points, ending the match after just 2 rounds with a 15-5 scoreline – the first time that season a match didn’t go to Round 3!

Next up for Top 10 was a quarterfinal against Team Champs (Movie Fights Champion Dan Murrell and Schmoedown Singles Champion Mark Reilly). Team Champs took an early 6-4 lead but 3 points from 2 steals and 5 points in the category of DiCaprio put Rocha and Knost ahead. In Round 3, Team Champs bet all of their 9 points and got the answer right, some quick mental maths from Matt Knost worked out that betting 7 points was enough to secure the win if both teams had the same answer and the pair were also correct, securing a 19-18 victory – the closest winning margin of the season.

This set up a semifinal against B.O.B. with a final against either the Schmoes or Rotten Tomatoes on the line. The first 2 rounds saw Top 10 take an 18-15 lead, which left Knost doing some more clever maths to give them a chance of winning in the Jeopardy round. B.O.B had turned up to the match dressed as priests and perhaps there was some divine influence at play as they hit the correct answer, while Top 10 missed to give B.O.B a 2-30 victory.

Enter the Singles Division

During Top 10’s run in 2015, “The Mantzman” Scott Mantz had called out Rocha for a 1v1 match after they developed a rivalry on Movie Fights. The Schmoedown’s move to a league format for Season 3 saw Mantz vs. Rocha scheduled for the second match of the season.

After plenty of very vocal trash talk, Mantz took a 2-3 lead in Round 1 but a perfect Round 2 and a 1-point steal in Round 2 gave Rocha an 11-9 lead heading into the final round. Mantz hit his 3- and 5-pointers and Rocha his 1- and 3-pointers, leaving him needing to hit his 5-pointer to win. With the category of his final question being Star Wars, it looked like victory for Rocha – who hosted a Star Wars podcast – would win.

Asked to name the 3 planet settings in The Empire Strikes Back, Rocha managed to name “Hoth” and “Dagobah” but was unable to remember “Bespin” and as a result fell to a 15-17 loss. That moment of infamy is still remembered years later as you hear other competitors talk about their “Bespin moment” when they blank and miss an answer in their wheelhouse that they should have known.

Rocha was soon back to avenge his loss, taking on Josh Macuga, who he defeated 17-16. This led to a rematch against Mantz and from the moment he entered, it was clear that this was a more focused, serious Rocha who was going to do anything to win. The pair could not be separated over the opening 2 rounds, entering Round 3 with a 9-9 score, but Rocha was able to pull away in the final round and win 13-10, earning himself a place in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament.

The Rise of the Four Horsemen

In his post-match interview following his victory over Mantz, Rocha teased that there was something coming, showing a 4-fingered symbol but saying nothing further.

Rocha took on Kristian Harloff in the first round of the tournament and – using a blindfold to cut out the Commissioner’s distracting antics – he defeated the creator of the league 21-19, the highest scoring Singles match in the history of the Schmoedown at the time.

Next up for Rocha was a return to the Teams Division with a #1 Contender Match against Rotten Tomatoes. In a close match, Top 10 came away with the 23-21 victory to set up a title shot against The Schmoes.

Before taking on The Schmoes, Rocha had the rest of the Singles Tournament to focus on. Taking on Mark “Yodi” Reilly in the semifinal, Rocha took the lead in Round 1 and steadily extended his advantage in Rounds 2 and 3 to emerge victorious 18-14. This set up a final against Mark Ellis that would also work as a #1 Contender Match to face Dan Murrell at Spectacular. In Rocha’s first match in the 5-round format, there was little between them over the first 2 rounds. The betting round saw Ellis open up a lead as Rocha lost 2 points and Ellis gained 2, while he extended this lead to 9-13 by the end of Round 4. Rocha fought hard in the final round but could not overcome the deficit and “Baby Carrots” came away with a 13-18 victory.

Rocha only had to wait a couple of days before he could try to get revenge on Ellis. Taking on The Schmoes in his first Championship Match, Rocha and Knost took an early 14-9 lead over the first 2 rounds. A correct answer for Top 10 and a wrong answer for The Schmoes saw the lead stretch to 17-6 and the buzzer round saw each competitor answer a question right for Top 10 to take an unassailable 19-8 lead and earn a KO victory. The Outlaw had won his first title and was in a strong position to compete for the Singles Title too.

Following an impressive debut against Marc Andreyko, William “The Beast” Bibbiani had his post-match interview interrupted by Rocha, who announced that he was forming a faction, the Four Horsemen. He and Knost were the first 2 Horsemen and The Beast was brought on as the 3rd member. Schmoedown Spectacular kicked off with Robert Meyer Burnett winning the inaugural Innergeekdom Title match and following his victory, “The Captain” was invited to become the 4th member. As a counter to the Horsemen, Top 10’s opponents The Patriots combined with Tom Dagnino and Marc Andreyko to form their own faction, The Lion’s Den.

The third match of Spectacular saw Top 10 look to defend their title against The Patriots. The challengers opened a 2-point lead over the first 3 rounds and the buzzer round extended this to 11-13. 6 points for Top 10 in the final round and misses for Sneider and JTE left The Patriots having to hit their 5-pointer for victory, which they managed to do, leading to them taking the titles and beginning the longest title run in Schmoedown history (so far).

Rocha did not have much time to focus on this loss as he was involved in the very next match, a Singles #1 Contender Match against Mark Reilly. “Yodi” led through the first 2 rounds but Rocha got the maximum 9 points in Round 3 and Reilly was unable to hit his 5-pointer, earning Rocha his first shot at the Singles Title.

This Championship match came early in Season 4. Dan Murrell came into this match with a 5-0 record in Singles and 2 title defences under his belt, but he had a challenge on his hands in the form of the Outlaw. The pair could not be separated in Round 1 and while Murrell managed to open a 1-point lead during the wheel round, Rocha had brought things back level going into the final round. Rocha missed his 1-pointer and Murrell hit his, Rocha missed his 3-pointer but hit his 5-pointer to reach 21 points.

Murrell hit his 3-pointer but missed his final question and with a scream of delight, The Outlaw celebrated winning the Singles Title and becoming the first competitor to have held belts in multiple divisions.

The Fall of the Horsemen

By the time Rocha won the Singles Title, Burnett had lost his Innergeekdom title to Hector Navarro and Bibbiani had lost to JTE – his first Singles victory since 2014. It was up to the Outlaw and Top 10 at this point to lead the Horsemen. Top 10 took on the Schmoes for a second time and came out with a 26-24 victory, which marked the last time to date that the Schmoes competed together outside of exhibition matches.

The first Free 4 All saw Rocha emerge as the 16th competitor out of 35 and last 8 rounds (the 3rd highest of everyone involved) and score 28 points (joint-2nd with John Humphrey) before being eliminated as part of the famous XX5XX moment.

Rocha’s next match was his first title defence and 3rd Singles match against Mark Reilly, who had defeated teammate Clarke Wolfe to earn a shot at winning back his title. After an opening round that saw the pair matched at 7-7, Reilly spun Opponent’s Choice and was surprisingly given Scores & Soundtracks, in which he earned 5 points and gave away a 1-point steal. Rocha spun Spinner’s Choice and picked Westerns, earning 7 points to take a 15-12 lead. Both lost 2 points in the betting round and the scores were still the same following a buzzer round that saw Reilly have what he would probably consider one of the biggest misses of his career (blanking on “Scream” and instead saying “The Sandlot”). Rocha could only hit his 3-point question in Round 5 and Reilly hit his 3- and 5-pointers to take his title back with a 16-18 victory and become the first 2-time Champion.

Top 10’s victory over The Schmoes saw them take on The Patriots for the second time, but a perfect Round 1 from Jeff Sneider (who missed the bonus question) saw The Patriots take an early 9-14 lead, which Top 10 were unable to overcome, eventually losing via TKO 20-27.

Dan Murrell was set to face Mark Reilly for the Singles Title at Collision, but Rocha got himself involved and managed to make the match a Triple Threat. In the main event, things were close after Round1, but Reilly fell 5 points behind during the wheel round (Murrell and Rocha remained level on points). Murrell took the lead in the buzzer round and Reilly was eliminated after missing his 2- and 3-pointers. Rocha missed his 2- and 3-pointers too (including the infamous “Fruit of the Loom” incident that appeared to rattle him) but hit his 5-pointer to throw it back to Murrell, who scored 7 points to win back the title.

Following this match, the discontent amongst the Four Horsemen reached a head and William Bibbiani betrayed Rocha, leaving the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold. Burnett quickly followed suit, joining the Lion’s Den. The Horsemen were over, and it was back to just Rocha and Knost, who refused to leave his partner.

New Rivals

It was time for Top 10 to reset and the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown was the perfect chance to do this. Up until now, Rocha had been one of the biggest heels in the league, but he mellowed somewhat, giving his competitors the respect they were due but not being afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone who got in his way.

Top 10’s opening match in the tournament was against the Reel Rejects and a strong performance by Rocha (7/8 in Round 1, 8 points working with Knost in Biopics during Round 2, and successfully answering his Round 3 3-pointer) helped push them towards a 26-25 victory, which set up a quarterfinal against the Lion’s Den’s second team, Blofeld’s Cat (Burnett and Andreyko).

Against Blofeld’s Cat, Rocha earned a perfect round in Round 1 but missed the bonus, which helped set Top 10 up for a 34-29 victory – a new points record in the Division. Following this match, Rocha took a quick break to compete in a Celebrity Match, where he and Brett Davern defeated Jeff Sneider and Beau Mirchoff 27-25.

After that it was back to the tournament and their next opponents were the new heels on the block, Team Action, who had been making a name of themselves with their impressive performances and complete lack of respect. Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai took a 10-12 Round 1 lead and things got even worse for Top 10 in Round 2 as the dreaded Spinner’s Choice & Opponent’s Choice combo went against them, leaving them 13-20 down. Rocha and Knost earned the full 10 points in Round 3, but Ghai hit the 2-pointer and Bateman the 3-pointer to take the victory 23-25 and end Top 10’s run in the tournament.

Rocha was also competing in the Singles Tournament and after taking out 16th seed Jason Inman via TKO 11-10, it was time to take on Samm Levine. At this point, Levine was 4-4 in Singles, but his new partnership with Drew McWeeny was making waves in the Teams Tournament and set to face Action in the final. Levine had made some comments against Rocha in a post-match interview and Rocha kept a recording of this on his phone for motivation.

Rocha was in a strong position in this match, down by just 3 points halfway through Round 2, but a controversial call against John Rocha (saying “Lena Headley” rather than “Lena Headey”) resulted in a 2-point steal for Levine to level the scores going into Round 3, where “The Inglorious One” came out with a 17-19 victory.

With Action losing to Above The Line, Top 10 challenged the young upstarts to a rematch, which they initially refused. New Commissioner Thadd Williams put some stipulations in place that made it impossible for them to resist: A Top 10 victory would win them a #1 Contender Match; an Action victory would win them a Title Match and Top 10 would split for a year. The match took place at Spectacular 2 and a poor Round 2 for Action gave Top 10 a 10-point lead. Ghai missed his 2-point question and Top 10 had the TKO victory 12-22.

Then Things Got Crazy

As Rocha began to celebrate that victory, an enraged Andrew Ghai snapped and tackled the Outlaw to the floor, being pulled away by Bateman and Thadd and earning himself a 3-month ban. Rocha luckily sustained minimal injuries and with the season ending, he had time to recuperate before having to play again.

Ten vs. Den

With The Patriots still holding the Teams Title one year on, Top 10 hoped that they would be the ones to finally end their run of success. Their #1 Contender match was arranged against Top That (Eric Goldman and Jim Vejvoda), who at 3-1 were going to be a dangerous opponent. Round 1 could not have gone any better for Top 10 as both Rocha and Knost hit perfect rounds and the bonus questions to take an 18-13 lead. Top 10 spun Opponent’s Choice but were let off by Top That’s lack of knowledge about the game as they gave Rocha and Knost Biopics, a category that Rocha had never missed a question in. Top 10 earned 10 points on this spin, but Top That scored 10 points after spinning Comic Book Movies, a strength, for 10 points. Both teams scored 7 points in the final round and Top 10 came away with the 35-30 victory and the chance of a third match against The Patriots.

The opening two rounds saw Sneider and JTE take a 19-23 lead before the controversy of Round 3. After spinning Westerns, The Patriots lost 1 point and Top 10 scored 3, to level the scores at 22-22, with Rocha having got the answer in the last second and scribbled the answer – Jane Fonda – on the corner of the board rather than use a JTE rule. Sneider challenged the ruling and it was decided that as the answer was not legibly written on the board the points could not be allowed. Shockingly though, Sneider’s suggestion of a re-spin was also accepted and in the category of Will Smith, The Patriots scored 3 points and Top 10 lost 3. The decision clearly got in the heads of Rocha and Knost and Round 4 ended with Top 10 being KO’d 15-28.

At this point, JTE was able to boast that John Rocha had never beat him, but The Outlaw had the chance to do so mere days later at the first live event at the El Portal Theatre. With the crowd going wild, Things were level going into Round 2, where JTE spun once of his strengths in Sly & Arnie. Things did not go Little Evil’s way though as a couple of bad errors – including one of the more forgotten JTE-isms “Elisha Dooku” – Rocha stole more points (4) than JTE earned (2). Rocha spun Westerns and earned 7 more points, while JTE missed his 2-pointer in Westerns to hand Rocha a 17-10 TKO victory. After this match, Rocha announced that he was coming for the Lion’s Den and hinted that he may be looking for some new support to join him and Knost.

Next up for Rocha was the second Free 4 All, where he was the 33rd competitor out of 48. He lasted 4 rounds, spending time at the table with rivals Bibbiani, Burnett and Bateman, eventually getting eliminated by Bateman after scoring 11 points.

With the chance of a direct title shot gone for another season, it was back to taking on the Lion’s Den and with JTE down, it was time to battle his Patriots teammate Jeff Sneider. Sneider took a lead in Round 1 and while the score remained close throughout, Rocha was unable to pull a 5-pointer in the category Horror/Thriller and he fell to the Insneider 17-20.

The Horsemen Return

While The Outlaw had been focusing on the Lion’s Den, it did not mean his rivalry with Team Action was over. Andrew Ghai returned from his suspension worse than ever, stealing Dan Murrell’s spot in the Free 4 All and going on to brag to everyone that he had beat the GOAT. Following Action’s loss to the Shirewolves at the second EL Portal live event, Ghai pulled a stunt of calling Murrell out only for “Murrell” (Bateman dressed as Murrell) to appear as a target for ridicule. Suddenly music started to cut them off, the lights went out and when they came back up, four hooded figures stood on stage showing the symbol of the Four Horsemen.

One by one the figures revealed themselves: Knost… Rocha… Jason Inman… and Mark Reilly, coming out of retirement! As the crowd went wild, the symbol of the 4 changed to a 5 and the lights went out again, coming back up to reveal a 5th figure. Rocha pulled off the hood of the new figure to reveal a fifth Horseman: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell!

The three great rivals from the early days of the league had joined forces along with former Teams Champion Matt Knost and then-Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman to create what was on paper arguably one of the strongest factions in Schmoedown history. Murrell decided to shut Ghai up by challenging him to a Singles match at Collision.

Unfortunately for the Horsemen, that didn’t go to plan as Murrell was TKO’d on his return to competition. Reilly challenged Ghai next, while Rocha – who by this point had beaten Alex Wolff in a 1v1 Celebrity Match, 19-18 – took on Bateman, with the winners of these matches set to face each other in a #1 Contender match for a chance to take on new Champion William Bibbiani. Reilly fell to Ghai but in a tight match, Bateman missed a tough 5-pointer to hand Rocha the victory 18-16.

Before Rocha could take on Ghai, it was time to enter the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament. Mike Kalinowski’s influence on the league had put a twist in this season’s tournament: Anarchy. Every existing team other than the Champions (The Shirewolves) were split up and new teams were formed for the tournament. Knost was paired with Bibbiani but Rocha and new stablemate Dan Murrell were paired to form the Founding Fathers. Their team debut came at the third El Portal live event, where they took on Wait, I Know This (Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall). Despite a strong performance from Stacy Howard, The Founding Fathers were just too strong and came out with the 20-17 TKO victory. It wasn’t all good news for the Horsemen at the event though, as Jason Inman lost his title to Mara Knopic in the other match.

Rocha took on Ghai for a shot at Bibbiani and Ghai was unable to make it 3 from 3 as Rocha took a 2-point lead in Round 1 and took advantage of spinning Westerns in Round 2 to win via TKO, 13-12. Before taking on Bibbiani, it was a return to Anarchy, where the Founding Fathers were taking on KOrruption (Kalinowski and rookie Chance Ellison). In an incredibly tight match, the scores went 12-12 in Round 1, 23-23 in Round 2 and a last second pull from John Rocha after using the last JTE rule to get the 5-pointer saw the scores level after 3 rounds, 30-30.

The tie went to Sudden Death and on the first question, Dan Murrell fell afoul of what could be considered the “Jane Fonda Rule,” Ellison got the point despite writing “David O’Russell” rather than “David O. Russell,” and Rocha and Kalinowski both got it right, giving KOrruption the 31-32 win. Rocha challenged the call against Dan and in favour of Chance, but this was overruled and the result stood, leading to a highly emotional post-match interview that included Rocha wondering if he would compete in his upcoming Championship Match.

Thankfully, he got himself back on track and took on his old nemesis William Bibbiani for the Singles Title. Bibbiani’s run of success had started with the decision to stand at Free 4 All 2 and he had not sat down for a match ever since. In this match, Rocha decided to take a leaf out of The Beast’s book and stand. In another great contest Bibbiani took a 12-14 lead after 2 rounds, only for the betting round to flip that score. A strong performance on the buzzer put Bibbiani a point ahead, but he could only hit his 2-point question in the final round and Rocha scored his 3- and 5-pointers to win and become the third 2-time Singles Champion.

Changing Times

This title victory meant that Rocha would become the only competitor to have played a match in all the first 3 Spectaculars, as he took on 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament winner Ethan Erwin. Both were level after Round 1, but Erwin took the lead in Round 2, finishing Round 4 with a 15-20 lead, though either competitor could have had an extra point in the buzzer round if they had been brave enough to guess that it was Samm Levine who played PFC Hirschberg in Inglorious Basterds. Rocha hit his 2-pointer but missed his last 2 questions and the Singles title moved to Ethan Erwin, the first rookie to win the title (if you don’t count Reilly in the inaugural year).

With the season coming to an end, Top 10 also came to an end as a team as Matt Knost announced that he would be retiring from the league. Inman also stepped away indefinitely and Reilly’s success as part of Anarchy team Who’s The Boss led to him sticking with Ben Bateman in the Teams Division, which meant that The Founding Fathers would remain as a team going forward.

With Dan Murrell winning his third Singles Title in New York, the next set of competitors to make a run for the title were decided: Rocha would take on Marc Andreyko and William Bibbiani would play Lon Harris. The winners would feature against each other and Ethan Erwin in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match. Against “The Android”, Rocha hit a perfect Round 1 but missed the bonus, taking a 1-point lead. The lead was extended to 2 points by the end of Round 2. Both hit their 2-and 3-point questions in the final round, but Andreyko challenged and for once, Rocha was on the right end of a decision and the points stood. This left Rocha with a 19-17 lead and Andreyko missed his final question to give Rocha the place in the Triple Threat Match.

Rocha’s last competitive appearance to date was this year’s Free 4 All, where he emerged as competitor number 24/40. He scored 12 points in 4 rounds before being eliminated following (you guessed it!) an unsuccessful challenge on the merits of jewels rather than diamonds.

What Next for The Outlaw?

This is an interesting moment for John Rocha. While Bibbiani and Erwin are going to be tough competition, a focused John Rocha has the ability to win this and set up a title shot against his teammate. The Founding Fathers also have 2 matches scheduled, taking on the Wildberries on April 25th and Double Toasted at the Houston live event. 2 wins here would put them close to a #1 Contender Match but with Dan Murrell having won the Free 4 All and now having a title shot to use when he wants, they could easily set up a Championship Match in the Teams Division. There have also been discussions about Rocha moving into the Star Wars Division later in the season, making him the first competitor to have won a belt and then move into this division.

Along with the talk about Rocha’s personal future, the Horsemen’s future must also be considered. Mark Reilly and Dan Murrell have been suggesting Ben Bateman as a potential recruit, but neither he nor Rocha seem sold on the suggestion so far. There are plenty of quality competitors out there that could join the faction, or Rocha could decide to stick to just the 3 original Singles Champions. Only time will tell.

Hall of Fame…?

With his longevity in the league and his success over both Teams and Singles (and potentially also Star Wars in the future), his name may not come up in conversation as often as some competitors, but I think that he is in the mix when discussing who the GOAT is and another title would really help that.

Regardless, Rocha has been one of the key parts of the Schmoedown’s early success. From being the first real heel of the show, it could be argued that he set the foundation that has allowed more recent heels like Team Action to take things to the level they have. His success and drive to keep coming back for more has kept him as a big name in the league even when other big names like Reilly, Murrell, Harloff, Ellis and Levine have stepped away from competing for periods of time. While he has been on the wrong end of several controversial moments, these have also helped improve the league by helping clarify the rules, which will only help the league go.

If the Schmoedown creates a Hall of Fame, my vote is firmly on John Rocha.

“Horsemen! Let’s mount up, it’s time to ride!”

2 BELTS 2 FURIOUS: Who Will Be The Next Double-Belted Champion?

2 BELTS 2 FURIOUS: Who Will Be The Next Double-Belted 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 5/3/2019


Congratulations to Rachel Cushing, who became the new Innergeekdom Champion in the main event of the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown! Her victory over Mike Kalinowski in inarguably one of the greatest matches in Schmoedown history makes “The Crusher” the league’s second-ever double champion, following in the footsteps of Samm Levine.

“The Inglorious One” won the Singles title at Spectacular II by defeating Kristian Harloff and later added the Teams title by ending The Patriots’ unbeaten run in May 2018. Levine vacated his titles after Collision II, having defended the Singles title twice (against Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe) and having defended the Teams title once in an Iron Man match against The Patriots. Cushing won her first belt by winning the vacant Teams title along with Clarke Wolfe in August 2018, against Sick In The Head, and successfully defended the title at Spectacular III against Who’s The Boss.

With her Innergeekdom victory, the Crusher earned her second belt and if she wants to compete in the Singles Division again then she has a legitimate chance of becoming the first ever Triple Champion!

In honour of the Crusher’s achievement, let’s at who could be the next competitors who might, realistically, become double-belted.

The Current Champions

The current “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s return to the Schmoedown has already seen him win back his old Singles title. He’s also go himself a great chance of winning the Teams title by pairing up with stablemate and former rival “The Outlaw” John Rocha as one half of the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers are the only team consisting of two competitors who have already won a Singles title, so they will be a threat for the Teams title once they make another run in the division.

Can Murrell hold onto his title until then? Well, a 100% accuracy performance in his title match against Ethan Erwin will have put the league on notice. He’s shown that he’ll be difficult to beat.

Rachel Cushing’s fellow Teams Champion Clarke Wolfe came closer than anyone to dethroning Samm Levine during his time as the Singles Champion, only losing in Sudden Death. As one half of the Shirewolves, she is part of one of the strongest teams in Schmoedown history and has every chance of holding the Teams belt for a considerable time period, which will give her the chance to go on another run in the Singles Division.

Wolfe showed her skill in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown, taking down Ben Bateman and Marc Andreyko, and she was just one word away from beating Ethan Erwin in the final. She lost to Dan Murrell in her contender’s match at Spectacular 3, but it must be remembered that she was not coming into that match fresh, having just gone through a 5-round epic defence of the Teams title earlier that day.

John Rocha

I’ve already talked about the possibility of the Founding Fathers making a run to the Teams title, but what if it was the other half of the team holding the Singles belt at that point? John Rocha will be taking on Marc Andreyko in the coming weeks, and the prize is a Number 1 Contender’s Match against Ethan Erwin and the winner of William Bibbiani vs. Lon Harris.

Assuming he wins both these matches, Rocha will then have a chance to take on his teammate Dan Murrell in a title match. Rocha has a good record against Murrell over all divisions and will have the motivation to wrest the title off his own teammate and then make a run in the Teams Division so that they can both have a belt.

Mike Kalinowski

It’s not going to be easy to get the Innergeekdom belt off of Rachel Cushing, but if anyone can do it, it’s Mike Kalinowski. “The Killer” has become a real force in the Schmoedown and bounced all the way back from a poor start last season. He may have lost his latest title match but that was in Sudden Death, and by just one letter. Had he risked the full 3 points in the betting round then he would have had his victory in 5 rounds.

Like Cushing, the Innergeekdom Division is his home and I’m sure he will be making a run at the belt again soon. While Kalinowski is technically a triple threat (competing in Singles, Teams and Innergeekdom), I think his best chance for a second belt will be in the Teams Division with his KOrruption teammate Chance Ellison. The pair looked strong during the Anarchy tournament and will only improve as Ellison gets more experience in the league. There are a number of impressive teams in the division at the moment, so KOrruption could be easily overlooked, but I would consider them a dark horse in the division. They have the chance to send out a warning when they take on World’s Finest later this month.

Mark Reilly

Mark “Yodi” Reilly was the first two-time Singles Champion but he has never managed to win the Teams title. He allied himself with Clarke Wolfe to form the Wolves of Steel, but they lost to the Patriots and their one last ride in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown ended in the semis against Above The Line.

After coming out of retirement, the Anarchy tournament paired him with Ben Bateman, who really looks to have taken the former champion’s performances to a new level by helping improve his strategic thinking. Their new team, Who’s the Boss, fell just short in their title shot at Spectacular III, but their performance makes me think that they have a good shot of beating the Shirewolves if given a second chance.

As for the Singles Division, a recent win over McWeeny was a hint that Reilly is back to his best and his new strategic mindset could be big in getting him the Singles belt for the third time.

William Bibbiani

After a less-than-stellar 2017, Season 5 saw “The Beast” reaching the heights that we originally expected, with his MVP performance at the Free 4 All II setting up his run to the vacant Singles title. While he went 1-1 in Anarchy, his partnership with Witney Seibold saw them go 2-0 in 2018 and a victory over the Harris Brothers has set them up to take on the Shirewolves.

Even they admit that they are the underdogs in this match, but I would never rule them out. Bibbiani’s knowledge has never been in question since he joined the Schmoedown and he has improved tactically over the years, but his next run to the Singles title – Lon Harris, then Ethan Erwin and either Marc Andreyko/John Rocha (either of whom will add an extra dimension to the match due to his history with them) and then Dan Murrell, in devastating form – will push him to the limit.

Marc Andreyko

“The Android” is the only competitor on this list to have never held a belt, but he’s easily one of the best competitors to have never done. 2019 could finally be the year. He’s partnered with Jeff Sneider as The Odd Couple, and they are set to face Who’s The Boss in Chicago for the chance to take on the Shirewolves/Critically Acclaimed.

While they would probably be considered the underdogs in both matches, they should never be ruled out. His time with Sneider and his year in the Fyffe Club has also seen him improve in his tactical play and he impressed in the Singles Division in Season 5, being one of only two competitors to have defeated Ethan Erwin in Singles, taking Bibbiani the distance in their title match and coming in 4th in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown. He’s set for another run at the Singles title, which would see him take on John Rocha then Ethan Erwin and either Lon Harris or William Bibbiani, with the prize being a match against Murrell. Rule Andreyko out at your peril.

Do you think I missed anyone? Sound off in the comments below!

KNOCKOUT KINGS: The Unlikely History of Critically Acclaimed!

KNOCKOUT KINGS: The Unlikely History of Critically Acclaimed!

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 12/2/2019


The Shirewolves’ next opponents have been found: Critically Acclaimed! The dashing pair of William “The Beast” Bibbiani and Witney “The Beauty” Seibold just took down the second place finalists of the Anarchy tournament, The Harris Brothers, to set up a title match with Clarke Wolfe and Rachel Cushing.

Newer viewers of the Schmoedown can be forgiven for not knowing who this team is, since this was their first match together since June 2018! So it’s time to take a trip back through the history of the Schmoedown, with a story that begins way back in late 2016…

Faction Wars

William Bibbiani announced himself on the Schmoedown scene towards the end of Season 3 with a match against fellow debutant Marc Andreyko. In a fantastic show of movie trivia knowledge, Bibbiani managed a to answer all of his questions correct on his way to a victory over “The Android,” breaking the points record for the Singles Division in the process. Following the match, John Rocha invited him to become the 3rd member of his faction, with Robert Meyer Burnett joining a just few weeks later to complete the Four Horsemen.

His time in the Horsemen was not a good one though. While he beat Eliot Dewberry via TKO, he opened Season 4 with a loss to JTE (who had not won a Singles match since Season 1) and he also fell to Kristian Harloff during the Chairman’s revenge tour. Meanwhile, his relationship with John Rocha soured. As the months went on, Bibbiani had his head turned by Ricky Hayberg and famously left the Four Horsemen at Collision, announcing that he was creating a new faction with Ricky – The Growling Commandos – and bringing in his podcast co-host Witney Seibold to become his new teammate, thus creating the team of Critically Acclaimed.

The Debut

Announcing that “We’re smarter than you!”, Critically Acclaimed moved quickly to prove it. Their first match was against Only Stupid Answers, and Round 1 saw them take a monumental lead with Bibbiani going 7/8 and Seibold getting a perfect round on his debut in the league, and hitting his bonus question. While Only Stupid Answers pulled it back slightly in Round 2, they were only able to hit their 2-point question in Round 3, handing Bibbiani and Seibold a 23-19 TKO victory.

Bracket Busters

Critically Acclaimed’s next match came in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown against fans and reactors Late To The Party, who entered into the match with 0-1 record, following a loss to Team Action. This match saw Critically Acclaimed have their worst Round 1 performance as a team to date, finishing 10-7 up. Late To The Party got maximum points in Round 2 with a spin of Comedies, but on their spin of Hitchcock, Critically Acclaimed could only manage 8 points, while their opponents also managed to steal a point. Round 3 was a close affair but Late To The Party held on, winning by one point. It was the 2017 Upset of the Year, and it broke fans’ brackets around the world.

Back with a Vengeance

Bibbs and Witney returned in Season 5 with a match against Superhero News, with Hayberg quitting as their manager in the middle of the opening promo. Critically Acclaimed came out of Round 1 with a lead of 3 points, which had doubled by the end of Round 2. This lead proved unassailable as Superhero News could only answer their 2-pointer, resulting in a 25-21 TKO victory. They looked to quickly back this up with a match against M.O.D.O.K. and although both teams had identical entrances, their performances were vastly different, with Modok falling 4 points behind in Round 1. They pulled back 2 points in Round 2, but were unable to answer any of their questions in Round 3, giving Critically Acclaimed their second consecutive TKO victory, this time by a score of 19-17.

An Enforced Split

Critically Acclaimed were on a roll and looked set for a Number 1 Contender match in the near future, until it was announced that teams would be split up as part of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy tournament. Bibbiani was given a new Anarchy partner in Matt Knost and under the management of Emma Fyffe they went 1-1 in the tournament as the Cinemaniacs, losing to eventual tournament winners Who’s The Boss. Witney was paired with Mark Edward Heuck as The Self-Righteous Brothers, with Jonny Loquasto managing. They lost to Take The Cannoli in the opening round, but the 35-31 score had Critically Acclaimed fans worried that Witney would chose to stick with his new partner.

While their new teams had limited success, Bibbiani also used this period to cash in his Free 4 All MVP award for a Number 1 contender match with former teams champion Jeff Sneider. He KO’d “The Insneider” and defeated Marc Andreyko to win the Singles title that had been vacated by Samm Levine’s retirement, although Bibbs lost the belt to his old rival John Rocha two months later.

Contenders

And so that brings us to 2019. Season 6’s first match in the Teams Division was a Number 1 Contender Match between Critically Acclaimed and The Harris Brothers. Though Lon Harris managed a perfect Round 1 and the bonus question, the score going into Round 2 was still tied at 12-12. Bibbs and Witney opened up a 4 point lead in Round 2 and when it came to Round 3, The Harris Brothers went 0/3 to give Critically Acclaimed the 24-20 TKO victory and setting up a Championship Match with the Shirewolves in March.

The Future of Critically Acclaimed

Who will win the Championship Match? The Shirewolves will likely be the favourites as they have the 5-0 record and the extra title match experience, but Critically Acclaimed are not to be underestimated. Though Witney is the only one to have managed a perfect Round 1 in this team, both he and Bibbs managed the feat during the Anarchy tournament.

Critically Acclaimed’s 4-1 record is also better than all current teams bar the Shirewolves and Who’s The Boss (4-1), but Bibbs and Whitney’s haul of 4 KOs/TKOs beats Who’s The Boss’ 1KO and the Shirewolves’ 2KOs.

One thing you can almost guarantee though: these are two of the premier teams when it comes to entrances, so we will probably get as much excitement from the entrances as we will from the match itself!

Beyond that, I’m sure Bibbs while be looking to get back in the hunt for the Singles Title, having not been involved in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, while Witney will be making his long-awaited Singles debut against David Del Rio on February 22nd!

Best of luck and a hearty “Growl Growl” to both of them!