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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.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

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…

AMAZED AND CONFUSED: What Does the Return of Mara Knopic Mean for the League?!

AMAZED AND CONFUSED: What Does the Return of Mara Knopic Mean for the League?!

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 29/7/2019


We’ve all become accustomed to Schmoedown live events having a shock moment towards the end, but San Diego’s live event may have given us the most amazing (pun fully intended) shock to date.

Having won the Innergeekdom Title back from Rachel Cushing, Mike Kalinowski took his chance to call out Jason Inman for a match. The crowd went wild as a former Innergeekdom emerged onto the stage… but instead of Inman, it was Mara Knopic, appearing for the first time since Spectacular III!

When Kalinowski took advantage of his power over Thadd Williams to earn a title shot without having to go through any qualifying matches, it was announced that Mara would be awarded a rematch if she lost the title in that match. Kalinowski won the title in Sudden Death, but the rematch never materialised as Mara stepped away from the league.

Now the Brown Dwarf Star is back and looking to settle a score with “The Killer”.

Will she get the chance, though? Kalinowski refused to commit to the match onstage, and current Overlord Robert Meyer Burnett recently changed the rules surrounding former champions getting an automatic rematch. So it may be that he will refuse to recognise Mara’s right to a rematch and instead make her earn the title shot. Kevin Smets has just taken down Adam Hlavac in the San Diego undercard and despite the pair being arguably 2 of the top 4 active in the Division (along with Kalinowski and Rachel), the match was not a #1 Contender, so Mara could be forced to take on Smets for a shot at the title – or perhaps even face Rachel in a rematch of their 2018 tournament thriller!

Regardless of whether she gets her immediate rematch or is forced to work her way to Mike, the question will be “can she win the title back?” While she may not have the statistical dominance that we see from many of the other recent champions, she has consistently done exactly everything she needed to (including playing through physical discomfort) in order to get the win, to the tune of 5 wins (2 by TKO). More than that, she has the distinction of being the only Schmoedown Pro to have defeated Jason Inman, Mike Kalinowski and Rachel Cushing in Innergeekdom. Her only loss has come to Mike, in a rematch, and even that went into Sudden Death!

This is someone that you rule out at your peril.

Beyond the immediate future, competing in the Innergeekdom again, it is also worth looking at the wider impact Mara Knopic’s return could have on the league and the factions. It’s hard to believe that KOrruption or The Dungeon would try to bring her in as each faction already has two Innergeekdom competitors (Mike and Chance for KOrruption, Smets and Zipper for The Dungeon).

Meanwhile, Roxy has set herself up against both these factions, with her beef against Kalinowski going back to him leaving The League and her new rivalry with Kaiser as they compete for Manager of the Year. At the moment she is only managing just Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider, so bringing in a former Innergeekdom Champion would give her a chance to be competitive in another division.

The obvious faction to look at here would be the Horsemen (Horsepeople? Horsepersons?), as they have established themselves as a stable of champions (it’s just a matter of time, Ben) and have been missing a representative in the Innergeekdom Division ever since Inman stepped away. So bringing in the person who took his title from him would be a statement of intent from a stable that has just lost the Singles Title.

Both The Family and Time Machine are also without an Innergeekdom representative and can never be ruled out – especially if Burnett says Mara can only have her title rematch if she joins The Family – but of the two, I think that Time Machine would be more likely given Jay’s recent change in attitude, while Mara probably wouldn’t want to join Andrew Ghai in a faction given the bad blood surrounding Ghai’s win over Dan Murrell.

Or, we could see Mara stay away from the factions and remain on her own. It didn’t appear to hinder her on her 5-0 run to the Innergeekdom Title last year, while she has already shown that she is able to hold her own against the heels and cut a promo with her own special brand of entertainment.

Regardless how things go, it’s great to see the Innergeekdom Division getting deeper again with the arrival of Pros like Chance and Brandon Hanna and the return of a former champion in Mara. We’re in for an amazing ride!

SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

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 23/7/2019


The tale as old as time took a shock turn recently, with the news that “The Beauty” Witney Seibold had left William “The Beast” Bibbiani and brought an end to Critically Acclaimed as a team. Seibold – who lost his Singles debut to David Del Rio – had not taken well to Bibbiani putting his efforts into helping “The Kid” Brendan Meyer so chose to leave Critically Acclaimed and go back to his Anarchy partner Marc Edward Heuck, while Bibbiani has now promoted Meyer from apprentice to partner.

Critically acclaimed were a well-loved team, and as such their split has broken the hearts of many fans. But it is not the first time that we have had to go through the agony of an emotional breakup. Today I will be looking back over the top five emotional breakups that we have had to face. Tissues at the ready? Let’s go!

Before getting into my Top 5, I wanted to give honourable mentions to two teams whose breakups may not have been emotional moments but still provoked a large reaction from the fan base. Having gone on a crazy run of nine consecutive wins (including a title victory and six successful defences), and as some of the biggest heels in the league at the time, the Patriots had a sizeable group of fans. Following their title loss to Above The Line and their loss in their Iron Man rematch at Collision, Jeff Sneider walked away from The Lion’s Den after finding out Tom Dagnino was planning to trade him, but JTE stuck with his manager, bringing an end to a team that is surely destined for the Schmoedown Hall of Fame.

Above The Line’s breakup didn’t even happen on camera, however, as Samm Levine announced in a post-Collision special that he was retiring from competition and vacating both the Singles and Teams Titles in the process. Above The Line were a well-loved team despite not even being active in the league for a full year, while Drew McWeeny and Samm Levine clearly improved each other during their partnership, so many fans mourned the potential this team had to break all the records.

5. Six Degrees

As two of the original leading ladies within the league and with fun theatrical entrances always guaranteed, Brianne Chandler and Stacy Howard quickly became fan favourites. Even with their turn to the dark side under Jay Washington, they were still a team that you couldn’t help root for. After DC Movie News knocked them out of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament and Mike Kalinowski defeated Brianne in the Singles tournament, “Miss Movies” announced that she would be taking a break from competing.

Brianne failed to turn up to support Jay Washington in the Manager Bowl, but appeared to him and Stacy after he lost to announce that she had made a decision and that Jay was dismissed. She asked Stacy to come with her, but Stacy chose to remain loyal to Jay, bringing an end to Six Degrees and transitioning the Missfits into the Viper Sqaud, while Brianne walked away to jump in a car with none other than her former rival Mike Kalinowski.

4. Top 10

One of the original teams from Season 2, “The Outlaw” John Rocha and “Mighty” Matt Knost became the second ever Team Champions but lost to the Patriots on their first defence. For over a year they continued to face whoever they had to in order to win back their titles, only for bad luck and questionable calls to see them lose to the Patriots two more times and leave each of them questioning if they wanted to continue.

With the formation of the Horsemen, it looked like the team would have new life, until Anarchy broke them up, putting Knost with William Bibbiani and Rocha with new Horseman “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. Despite neither of their Anarchy teams making it beyond the quarterfinals, Knost clearly felt that Murrell was the perfect person to replace him as Rocha’s partner, so at Spectacular he made the announcement that Top 10 would not be reforming as he would be stepping away from the league.

The continuation of the Founding Fathers meant that this was not as emotional a break-up as it could have been, but as Knost exited with one last dance, we were still left feeling that this was the end of an era.

3. Nerd’s Watch

The team that brought Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing into the league, her and “The Pitboss” Ken Napzok were a force for good in the league at a time when the Lion’s Den were running amok. A loss to Above The Line in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown left the future of the team in the balance as Ken deliberated whether he wanted to continue competing in the division, while The Missfits were doing everything they could to entice Rachel into their faction.

Rachel chose to turn down the Missfits and wait for Ken, and she was as shocked as anyone to see him revealed as the newest member of the Lion’s Den as the season built towards Spectacular. Appealing to Ken’s good side, she convinced him to come back and take on the Den’s 2nd team Blofeld’s Cat, but he failed to turn up for the match and Rachel was forced to take them on in a 2v1 handicap match. Though she fought hard, she eventually fell to a TKO loss, only for Ken to arrive as the winners were announced… or as he put it as he walked over to the gloating Lion’s Den members: “to congratulate these guys.”

We sat there in shock watching on as Rachel had to deal with losing not just the match, but also her partner and suddenly the world looked a little bit darker.

2. Team Action

Another team whose end began with Anarchy, Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai were the bad boys of the league, with Andrew already getting served a ban for tackling John Rocha at Spectacular. Anarchy saw the pair broke up, with Ben being paired with Mark “Yodi” Reilly, but Drew sat out the tournament after refusing to work under Jay Washington.

As part of Who’s The Boss, Ben won the Anarchy Tournament but he and Reilly fell just short against the Shirewolves at Spectacular. Following the match, Ben and Drew discussed the idea of Who’s The Boss staying together, something that Drew agreed to, suggesting the pair stat their own faction with Reilly. Members of the Action Army began to get excited at the thought of their boys leading their own faction, then found themselves watching on in horror as Drew tackled Ben through a coffee table.

Ghai went on to tell Bateman that he was nothing without him, before spitting on him and walking off to begin finding support for the upcoming Action Civil War. The shock of Ghai’s actions and seeing the best of friends become fierce enemies in a matter of seconds, not to mention the impact it has had on this season gets this one high on the list.

1. DC Movie News

Action’s breakup wasn’t the only one to impact the way the last year went, as by that point the league had already been shaken by my number 1 pick: Mike Kalinowski walking away from DC Movie News and The League to create KOrruption and take control of the league. Kalinowski did not feel that he was getting the support he needed from his faction in early 2018 and things reached a head when DC Movie News took on Team Action. Following an agonising loss, he was clearly simmering throughout the post-match interview and eventually broke, going on a tirade against Roxy Striar, Jonny Loquasto and teammate Adam Gertler before announcing that he was done with the faction and walking out of the interview. The silence was deafening as nobody could believe what they were seeing, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Gertler as his response to what happened was a confused “I feel like I just broke Mike Kalinowski” before having to be led away in tears. It was so emotional, even Team Action were in tears watching… though admittedly theirs were from laughing so hard at their opponents’ misfortune.

Did I miss any? Let me know what you think the most emotional breakup has been.

SCHMOEDOWN COLLISION III: The Biggest Winners and Losers!

SCHMOEDOWN COLLISION III: The Biggest Winners and Losers!

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 2/7/2019


The biggest Schmoedown event of the summer is now in the rear-view mirror. Four huge matches with plenty at stake: two competitors earned Title shots, the Shirewolves won their Teams Title back and The Family now find themselves in charge of the Commissioners for the next month.

As with any big event, there are those who greatly benefit from the results and those who have far less to celebrate, so in this article we are going to look at five parties who can be considered the big winners coming out of Collision and three who suffered the biggest losses of the evening.

THE COLLISION WINNERS

Fan Leagues

History was made last year as the first competitor made their way from the fan leagues to the Schmoedown in the form of Chance Ellison, but Season 6 has seen even more competitors making the jump from the fan leagues up to the pros. Two of them were competing in #1 Contender Matches at Collision: Kevin Smets and Paul Oyama.

Oyama earned a shot at Dan Murrell’s title with a win over the highly touted Liz Shannon Miller, while Smets fell only just short against Mike Kalinowski in arguably the most suspenseful match of the event. In addition to Oyama and Smets, Jeannine “The Machine” continues to improve her already great reputation in the league with a strong performance in the Manager Bowl that saw her lose to Drew McWeeny, but still beat John Rocha, Stacy Howard and Eric Zipper.

All three of these competitors showed amazing levels of knowledge and have quickly become ones to watch in the league, which gives such great validation to the fans and the associated leagues.

The Family

After Andrew Ghai’s loss in Houston, The Family needed some success to get their season back on track. Their recent win over Inky and the Brain was a great start, but Drew McWeeny winning the Manager Bowl was huge. On a personal level, for “The Godfather,” his Singles record has never really matched up with the level of knowledge he clearly has, so to win in a stacked group that includes one of the all-time greats in John Rocha will do wonders for him.

But on a wider scale, Robert Meyer Burnett now has control of the league for an entire month and can use this opportunity to benefit the faction. Will he look to reward McWeeny or Andrew Ghai with title shots (either in Teams or Singles)? Will he give them matches against seemingly weaker opposition in order to improve their records? Time will tell.

Production Crew

The guys that don’t get enough credit from all of us, but without whom the Schmoedown would grind to a halt. From promos and preparing the wheel to camera work and editing, the production crew do an amazing job every week. Putting on a live stream adds extra pressure, and this was one of the longest live streams yet, but it went off with barely a hitch. Congratulations and thank you to all of you!

The Shirewolves

Obviously the Shirewolves are the winners on paper, but it goes far beyond that. They made history once again by becoming the first team to regain their titles, and with a 7-1 record they are moving steadily closer to beating the Patriots’ 9-2 record. Being double-belted once again helps the argument that Rachel Cushing is the GOAT, while Clarke Wolfe’s legacy is also greatly improved by becoming a two-time Champion. No matter what happens from here, the Shirewolves will live on in Schmoedown history.

Mike Kalinowski

Aside from the obvious, that he now gets to challenge for the Innergeekdom Title again, Kalinowski’s emotional victory over Kevin Smets will elevate him even higher in the history books. Smets looked unstoppable in his run for the title, yet Kalinowski – despite being considered the underdog by many fans and competitors – came out on top. His presence and confidence in front of the camera makes him one of the premier competitors in a live environment and he has the knowledge to back it up. While Rachel may be considered the greatest Innergeekdom competitor, “The Killer” is not far behind and if he can defeat Rachel Cushing at San Diego, he may take that honour along with the new belt.

THE COLLISION LOSERS

Samm Levine, Emma Fyffe & Jenn Sterger

Jenn and the Commissioners end up in this list not because of anything that they did badly, but instead as a result of Drew McWeeny winning the Manager Bowl. This put The Family in the driving seat for the league, which means Robert Meyer Burnett is now in charge of Samm and Emma. Besides likely needing hearing tests by the end of the month, Samm and Emma now have to start hoping they aren’t going to see Burnett ruin everything they hold dear to the league, while Jenn may find herself out of a job since Burnett mentioned changing interviewers, though she may be able to get around it, if he specifically bans “Jessica Sterger.”

Stacy Howard

Things haven’t really gone to plan for Stacy so far this year. After leaving the Viper Squad for KOrruption, she then found herself finishing behind her former stablemate Jeannine in both a 1v1 match and the Manager Bowl. While this loss may not hurt her record, it won’t help her standing in the Singles Division, especially given the strength of her faction. It may be that she takes a break from Singles for a while and focuses on her new partnership with Tim Franco as part of Crimson Fury.

The Horsemen

While they weren’t overly involved in Collision, the Manager Bowl could have left the Horsemen in a dangerous situation. Rocha lost the Manager Bowl, but he put in a strong performance to be proud of. However, Drew McWeeny’s victory means that the Family are in charge of the league for the next month. Burnett is on bad terms with both Rocha and Dagnino after their previous associations, and Andrew Ghai’s war against Ben Bateman leaves a lot of hostility between the two factions. The Horsemen could find themselves marginalised or even suspended for the near future, depending on how Burnett exerts his control.

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

AS THE WORLD BURNS: Can Robert Meyer Burnett Stay in Charge of The Family?

AS THE WORLD BURNS: Can Robert Meyer Burnett Stay in Charge of The Family?

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 14/6/2019


Robert Meyer Burnett has not had the best of luck when joining factions.

He became the fourth Horseman at the first Spectacular following his victory in the inaugural Innergeekdom match, but then “The Captain” struggled to establish himself in the league, losing the Innergeekdom Title to Hector Navarro in his first defence before losing to Jeremy Jahns in a #1 Contender Match. Blaming the Horsemen for his demise, he took advantage of William Bibbiani’s betrayal to walk away from Rocha and Knost and join their arch-rivals the Lion’s Den.

Things didn’t improve much for him there. He lost in Innergeekdom to Jay Washington and lost in a Fatal Fiveway Qualifying match for the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown. His only real success in the Lion’s Den came as one half of Blofeld’s Cat, who went 1-1 in the Ultimate Schmoedown before TKO’ing Rachel Cushing in a 2v1 handicap match. Following Marc Andreyko’s defection to Emma Fyffe, Burnett was deemed surplus to requirements and let go from the faction, finding himself locked in a room for six months then disappearing for the rest of the year to plot revenge.

Now back and managing The Family, things appeared to be on the up for him. Burnett convinced Drew McWeeny to turn to the dark side and join him and Drew Ghai, with their debut match as a victory over Ben Bateman and Tom Dagnino. While Ghai took a knock with a KO loss to Ben Bateman at Houston (and his subsequent chair-induced KO), a recent win for The Family over Inky and the Brain put things back on track for the faction.

But while the faction as a whole may be in a decent place, is Burnett’s place in the faction once again at risk, this time from one Roxy Striar?

Roxy’s history with Ben Bateman has seen her take a side in the Action Civil War, with her frequently calling herself a “Ghai Girl”. Chicago’s live event saw her take things one step further by slapping her former flame in the face, something that got immediate respect from Ghai, who proceeded to blatantly flirt with her via video in front of Bateman. Roxy travelled to the Houston live event to support her new Ghai, while she also crashed The Family’s latest post-match interview to congratulate the team on their win before giving the dastardly one a kiss on the cheek.

While Roxy’s managing of The League had mixed results, she has been much more hands on since being assigned to The Odd Couple as a part of the Anarchy shake-up, and it’s paying off. In the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown, she managed to get Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider working together as an effective team as they TKO’d Team Seb’s, beat the Paddington Two and then lost to The Harris Brothers – a match that now looks like an aberration given their other results. Such was her impact on the pair, Andreyko immediately decided to ask her to continue managing him when he heard that Emma Fyffe was disbanding the Fyffe Club to become Commissioner, and Sneider also agreed to keep he trio going.

Since then, both players have played well in the Free 4 All, Andreyko had a narrow loss to John Rocha and Sneider began his next run for the Singles Title with a victory over Mark Reilly, while The Odd Couple TKO’d the Scream Queens, shocked Who’s The Boss in Chicago and recently defeated the 5-0 Shirewolves to win the Teams Title. Arguably, Roxy is one of the frontrunners at this point for Manager of the Year!

A manager of such quality, it would be stupid for Ghai to avoid bringing her into The Family considering she’s clearly on his side, while Andreyko and Sneider also showed themselves to be against Ben Bateman by refusing to shake his hand in Chicago. Bringing in The Odd Couple would make The Family a deadly faction in Teams and Singles, worthy of taking on The Horsemen.

But if the three of them join, or even just Roxy, does The Family need two managers? Arguably not. The only faction that could be considered to have two managers is KOrruption, but Grace Hancock has clearly taken on a manager’s role, whereas Ken is now more of a mouthpiece for the faction. While Burnett could certainly be a mouthpiece, he has a tendency to get distracted by personal rivalries – “NAVARRO!!!!” – and this role could easily be filled by Andrew Ghai alongside his competing.

What role would this leave for Burnett? He is the obvious Innergeekdom competitor for the faction, but his previous performances have suggested that he would be some distance off from competing against Cushing, Kalinowski and Smets. There is a very real possibility that Roxy joining the family would see him as surplus to requirements again.

So now Burnett needs to make sure the Drews don’t want to bring Roxy on board, and that will be easier said than done. Drew McWeeny looked focused on winning back the belt he was forced to give up, which could leave him at odds with Burnett if he chooses to focus on personal gripes. And as for Ghai, Houston was meant to be his big moment, but Burnett could do nothing to stop his man from getting blown out in the ring. Further than that, it was Burnett who supplied Ghai with the chair to attack Bateman. The very same chair that left him battered and bruised. A manager who lets his man get physically beaten in the ring versus a manager who would do anything for him… it sounds like an easy choice for Ghai.

The big factor could be the upcoming Manager Bowl at Collision. Rather than have the managers compete, they will have to pick a member of their faction to represent them in the match, with the winning faction’s manager being in charge of the Commissioners for a month. If Burnett chooses the wrong competitor and The Family loses this – especially if The Horsemen emerge victorious – then this will not go down well with the Drews. And if he were to lose to Tom Dagnino – who has challenged him to a match – then that could just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces Ghai to turn to Roxy.

Watch your back, Robert…