The Teams That Might Have Been…

The Teams That Might Have Been…

Fans watching the Schmoedown Throwdown #1 Contender Match between KOrruption and The Family were left shocked in the post-match as Drew McWeeny announced that he would be stepping away. This leaves Andrew Ghai without a partner after having come so close to a shot at the Teams Title, which seems his best shot of winning a belt. Only time will tell what will happen, but right now the make-up of The Usual Suspects gives the opportunity of creating a team that we almost saw in 2019’s Anarchy Tournament: Andrew Ghai and Jeannine “The Machine”.

mts Jeannine the Machine Andrew Ghai Jenn Sterger

This was a team created in the second drawing of teams after The Shirewolves’ Title victory meant that they were no longer eligible for the draw. How would they have done? I think that they are 2 quality operators and the team could go far, but I do wonder if their strengths and weaknesses would be too similar to compete against the elite teams. Thinking of the alternate timeline where Drew and Jeannine teamed up for Anarchy made me begin to think of some of the other teams that we almost had through the years and how they could have impacted the league.

Which of these teams would you have loved to see?

Andrew Ghai & Rachel Cushing

Drew’s teammate in the original Anarchy draw was none other than Rachel Cushing, and I can’t even begin to imagine how this team would have performed. Rachel is one of the greatest competitors in the league, studying hard to add to her already impressive knowledge. The one potential weakness for her was always getting in front of a crowd, but having someone like Andrew Ghai as her partner would have taken this pressure off her as he would have been able to take the focus and allow her to zone in on the trivia. He may not be Clarke Wolfe, but Ghai would be a strong B-player on this tea and I think that they could’ve gone far. But the thing that would have been most interesting would have been seeing how the pair gelled together. Rachel was the ultimate babyface, whereas Ghai was firmly planting his flag as one of the greatest heels the league had ever seen. Would Rachel have been able to draw Drew to the light side? Would Drew be able to corrupt Rachel? We may never know…

Clarke Wolfe & JTE

One of the famous moments from Season 3 is The Decision. Clarke Wolfe was one of the rising stars of the league and had attracted the attention of JTE, who was fed up of carrying Finstock. JTE asked Clarke to team up with him, but she turned him down in favour of Mark Reilly, creating the Wolves of Steel, leaving JTE to pair with Jeff Sneider and create the Patriots.

Now in hindsight, it can be argued that the right decisions were made, as JTE and Sneider’s 9-0 run (including 6 consecutive title defences) is unlikely to ever be matched as they became the spine that held the Lions Den together, and while the Wolves of Steel maybe never reached the heights people expected, Reilly’s retirement led to Clarke joining Rachel Cushing to create the Shirewolves and finally win a belt.

That said though, Clarke and JTE feels like it could have been one of the original power teams, with JTE’s knowledge of categories like Sly & Arnie overlapping well with Clarke’s knowledge of Horror. I can’t help feel that the early matches for this pair may have gone even better than they went for the Patriots! And more than anything, we may have seen JTE remain “Every Man’s Hero” rather than be corrupted to “Little Evil”.

Clarke Wolfe & Drew McWeeny

Ghai & Cushing wasn’t the only Anarchy team we were denied by the Shirewolves’ winning the belt, as the initial draw had also created the pairing of Clarke Wolfe and Drew McWeeny… and what a team it would have been! McWeeny was one of the most knowledgeable in the game, and Clarke would have just added to the knowledge while also bringing more of a competitive and strategic side. I think that this team would have been able to do what Take The Cannoli and The Family were eventually unable to do: get Drew McWeeny his belt back.

Dan Murrell & Mark Reilly

mts team champs mark reilly dan murrell

Before you say it, I am fully aware that this actually was a team. Season 2 saw the Ultimate Schmoedown Champion Mark Reilly and Movie Fights Champion Dan Murrell join together to for the appropriately named Team Champs, but they had a short run, losing in their second match to Top 10. Then going into season 3, Mark Reilly went his own way and eventually teamed up with Clarke Wolfe. But what a team they could have been if they had stayed together. Murrell and Reilly were the two first 2-time Singles Champions, so to have the pair working together in the Teams Division could have potentially seen an early dominance that eclipsed that of the Patriots. Even in today’s league, I think they would be up there pushing for the title”

With both of them joining the new-look Horsemen after coming out of retirement, I thought that we may see Team Champs return, but Anarchy saw them broken up and forming successful teams with John Rocha and Ben Bateman. Had Matt Knost stayed in the league following the end of the season, we may have seen Team Champs reform, but with him leaving, it made sense for Murrell to stick with John Rocha and Reilly to stick with Bateman and eventually bring him into the Horsemen.

Schmoedown Spectacular IV Predictions

Schmoedown Spectacular IV Predictions

It’s hard to believe that we are reaching the end of Season 6 of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. It feels like only a couple of months ago that Jeannine “The Machine” and Chance Ellison were opening the season live in New York. It has certainly lived up to the name “The Magic Season”, but it’s not over yet. On December 7th, Schmoedown Spectacular – the Wrestlemania of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – will take place in front of a live audience, with thousands around the world likely to be live streaming the event. And what a card we have to look forward to: The final of the Ultimate Schmeoedown Singles Tournament and a Championship Match in all 4 Divisions of the League.

Who will be ending the season on a high? And who will be spending the offseason thinking what might have been?

Warning: This will contain spoilers for the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, so proceed with caution if you have not yet watched the full tournament


Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament Final

Originally meant to be part of the Orlando Live Event, Ben “The Boss” Bateman’s back injury caused the match to be moved to the opener at Spectacular. Bateman has had an incredible season, going 4-1 in Singles and 6-4 overall and is arguably the best Schmeodown Pro in the Singles & Teams Divisions to have never won a belt, so he will be driven to win this. William “The Beast” Bibbiani is a former Singles Champion and clearly one of the most knowledgeable competitors in the league, with his marathon run in the Free 4 All a highlight of not just 2019 but the entirety of Schmoedown history.

Recent months have seen a bit of a heel-ish edge return to Bateman’s play and it will be interesting to see how Bibbiani, performing in his first 1v1 live event, copes with that. While I have really come to respect Bibbs’ knowledge of the Schmoedown over the years – helped greatly by his time as my boss at TriviaSD.com – I think that Bateman’s preparation and calculating strategy within the game is second to none right now, so I see him pulling out the victory, assuming he gets a favourable category in Round 2.

Star Wars Title Match

Laura “The Luminess” Kelly may not have won the Fatal Fiveway at Star Wars Celebration this year, but she certainly put the Division on notice with a strong performance. Working with manager Alyce, she has clearly worked on her knowledge of the game, making her an even more formidable opponent.

Speaking of formidable though, defending champion Alex “The Demon” Damon is probably one of the toughest competitors in the entire league. Running a YouTube channel called Star Wars Explained means you need to know your stuff and he certainly does. He even started the channel as a way of training for a trivia contest at Dragon Con in Atlanta – a contest he finally won this year! There’s very little he doesn’t seem to know, while he also has experience of a full Schmoedown live event production from his #1 Contenders match against Ken Napzok and Joseph Scrimshaw last season.

While I think Laura will put up a strong fight, I just can’t see anyone beating Alex at the moment!

Teams Title Match

Two former rivals who became partners, “The Outlaw” John Rocha and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell are 2 of the biggest names in the league and from the moment the Founding Fathers were formed in Anarchy last year, it always looked a matter of time before they won the Teams Championship. They have a 4-2 record, with those only losses coming to KOrruption, who they went on to beat in Orlando for the title. John Rocha comes alive at a live event while Dan Murrell appears to get better with each live event appearance. A curious stat: Rocha has never successfully defended a title, losing on his first defences to Mark Reilly, Ethan Erwin and The Patriots; Murrell however has never failed to defend a title at least once in any of the 3 times he has held the Singles Title… One of these records will be coming to an end at Spectacular, but which one?

Their opponents Shazam! are on a great run of form, having defeated The Odd Couple, The Family and surprise package Loony Bin on their way to winning the Ultimate Schmoedown. I’ve already stated that “The Beast” is one of the most knowledgeable players in the game, and Brendan “The Kid” Meyer is a wonderful talent who I wouldn’t be shocked to see challenge for the Singles Title in the future.

What will be interesting is seeing how they cope with the live environment. As an actor, “The Kid” should be comfortable in front of a live crowd, and the pair were 2 of the biggest stars during Free 4 All 3, however that is the only live event that they have competed in so far. Meanwhile, Rocha and Murrell have thrived in live events since their introduction last season; they know what the atmosphere will be like firsthand. Add to that the difficulty Bibbiani will have 1 match to get over the agony of losing to Bateman (or alternatively, have to try and keep the momentum from beating Bateman during the Star Wars match) and it is highly possible that he comes into this match a little over/under-cooked.

I give the advantage to the Founding Fathers, but it’s gonna be close!

Innergeekdom Title Match

While it understandably isn’t the main event, this is the match that I am most excited for right now. With the retirement of Rachel Cushing, Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski and Kevin “The Smasher” Smets are arguably the top 2 competitors in the Innergeekdom Division. When the pair faced off at Collision in a #1 Contender match, Kalinowski came out the victor in a thrilling match, with Smets left to rue saying the wrong name on an answer he clearly knew.

When it comes to preparation, these are 2 of the best in the league, to the point that it is hard to consider any Innergeekdom category a weakness for them, just slightly less of a strength. At one point, Kalinowski had a shot to become Mikey 3-Belts, but that opportunity was gone in a flash and following his loss in Orlando he could conceivably finish the season with no belts, so he’ll be keen to hold onto the title. Meanwhile, Smets has had Kalinowski in his sights all season and as the only loss on his record, he will be up for revenge.

This is going to be a close match and I would not be at all shocked to see this go to Sudden Death, but I’m going to give the slightest of edges to Kalinowski.

Singles Title Match

Ben Bateman’s prize for beating Bibbiani will be a match against “Primetime” Paul Oyama. Part of the 2019 rookie crop after graduating from the fan leagues, Oyama has had an incredible season, going 6-0 in Singles, including winning the title off Dan Murrell and defending against Jeff Sneider in New York. This guy knows more about movies than someone his age should, while he also knows the game inside out.

Right now, I think that Bateman has a good chance against Oyama, providing the right categories come up, as he is so used to mind games from opponents like Andrew Ghai (and from playing his own mind games), while I am confident that he will have developed specific strategies for dealing with not just Bibbiani, but Oyama too.

I expect it to be a close one, but I can see “The Boss” shedding the Dan Marino comparisons and finishing the season as the Singles Champion.


The Tenth Manager

As well as 5 amazing matches, Spectacular will also give us the reveal of the tenth and final manager. With one spot still to fill, we know that next year’s managers are:

  • Roxy
  • Dagnino
  • RMB
  • Kaiser
  • Jay
  • Emma
  • Grace
  • Winston
  • Coy

So who will the last manager be? A while back, I suggested that a loss to KOrruption would see Rocha retire and become the tenth manager. From the way that Kristian was speaking earlier this week on SEN Live, it sounds as if the manager is already confirmed, which makes me think that it will not be Rocha, regardless of who wins against Shazam! Kristian also went on to say that at this moment, he thinks the unnamed manager has the potential to be one of the top prospects for winning in Season 7, something which leads me to believe that it is someone who knows the game inside out. Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe have both ruled themselves out of the role, but I think the aftermath of the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament Final gave us our answer: Andrew Ghai.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Drew-Ghai-Free-For-All-3

The dastardly one shocked everyone by announcing his retirement “from competitive play” following The Family’s loss to Shazam! “Competitive play” is an interesting choice of words. It suggests that he’s still intending to be a big part of the league, just not competing in matches. He is one of the best tactical minds in the game and has had a huge impact on Drew McWeeny during their matches together this season, and I think that he understands the role that a manager will have moving forwards better than most.

 

What are your predictions for Spectacular?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 4/9/2019


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

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

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

The Debuts

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

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

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

Making a Name

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

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

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

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

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

Betrayal

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

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

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

Rise of The Shirewolves

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going for the Belts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Innergeekdom Champion

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

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

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

Cementing the Legacy

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

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

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

A Rivalry for the Ages

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farewell and Thank You!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 3/9/2019


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

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

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

17. All Together

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

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

16. Agent Cushing

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

15. Game of Thrones

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

14. Wonder Woman

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

13. Home Run

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

12. Two’s Company

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

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

11. You’re a Wizard, Rachel

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

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

10. Fight/Fyffe Club

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

9. Seeing Double

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

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

8. Shirewolves vs. Trolls

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

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

7. Fyffe’s Angels

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

6. Crushing It

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

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

5. Galadriel

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

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

4. Queen of the Geeks

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

3. Reunion

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

2. Thor: Ragnarok

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

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

1. Who Runs the World?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 31/7/2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament: My Bracket Prediction

2019 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament: My Bracket Prediction

It’s hard to believe, but “The Magic Season” of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown will soon be drawing to a close. The Singles Tournament is reaching a climax and Spectacular is just around the corner. But before all that, there’s the little matter of the Teams Tournament. Starting on 4ᵗʰ November, 16 teams will be fighting it out for the chance to face off against the defending Champions – either KOrruption or the Founding Fathers, depending on the result in Orlando.

Who will be the challengers? Well the joy of the tournament is that we know the bracket in advance, allowing us to trace each team’s potential route to the final and try to predict who will be challenging for the title. And that’s what I’ll be trying to do today: working through the bracket to predict the tournament winners.

Let me know your brackets in the comments!

Teams USD2019 Bracket

First Round

The Odd Couple v Only Stupid Answers

As deep as the Teams Division has become this season, with 16 teams involved there will always be some matches in the first round that seem a foregone conclusion. Sam Bashor and DJ Wooldridge are 2 great personalities and do know their stuff, but are relatively inexperienced in the league and have a 2-1 record as a pair – that win coming against the Wildberries. Compared to The Odd Couple, who have defeated the Shirewolves and held the Team Title this season and it’s hard to see this ending any other way than a win for The Odd Couple.

Shazam! v The Movie Guys

2 rookie teams will face off in this match that could play a role in the race for Rookie of the Year. Brendan “The Kid” Meyer and Paul “The Powder Keg” Preston have both had fantastic seasons in the league and I think will be closely matched, so this will likely come down to their partners. Adam Witt’s Schmoedown experience so far contains 1 round at the Free 4 All and a loss to Inky and The Brain, whereas The Kid is paired with former Singles Champion William “The Beast” Bibbiani, arguably one of the best in the game in terms of pure knowledge. Advantage: The Kid and Shazam!

Time Machine v Scream Queens

A team that was announced at the season-opening live event in New York, Time Machine have been hotly anticipated but limited to just one match together so far: a Sudden Death Win against the Paddington Two. The Scream Queens come in with a 4-4 record, but beyond that have limited experience in the league. Taking on a team made up of the former Singles Champion and someone far better than their 3-5 Singles record suggests looks to be a step too far for Haleigh Foutch and Kalyn Corrigan. I’ll be shocked if Time Machine don’t progress to the next round.

The Loony Bin v Self-Righteous Brothers

One of the hardest matches to predict in this round as each team only has one previous appearance to their name, while Witney Seibold is the only one to have a substantial Schmoedown history outside of these teams. “VIDEODREW” and “Tom” are very much an unknown quantity and it will be interesting to see if they are able to build on a strong first outing against the Loose Cannons. As for the Self-Righteous Brothers, they looked very impressive in the first round exit during last year’s Anarchy tournament and I expect more of the same from the pair here. An upset wouldn’t shock me, but I’m going for the Self-Righteous Brothers.

Who’s The Boss v Inky and the Brain

So let me start by making it clear, my allegiances lie with the Horsemen, so I’m hoping that Ben and Reilly win the tournament and face off against the Founding Fathers for the title. I am however going to do my best to remain objective throughout this bracket. The pair looked like one of the favourites to take the title off the Shirewolves, but the pair haven’t played together since losing to The Odd Couple in Chicago. Inky and the Brain have showed they are not to be underestimated (especially Rachel Silvestrini) and they will be dangerous if they can hit Disney/Will Smith in Round 2, but Who’s The Boss will be a tough task. Bateman is tactically one of the best in the game and his recent back injury has given him time to catch up on a number of movies he hasn’t seen, while his partnership with Mark Reilly makes for a great combination. I fully expect to be celebrating a victory for Who’s The Boss.

Loose Cannons v Crimson Fury

Another difficult match to predict due to both teams having only played once together. “Primetime” Paul Oyama’s weak matches are still strong enough to beat many of his opponents and he currently looks nailed on for Rookie of the Year and a strong run with Eric Zipper could confirm it. Crimson Fury on their day have the potential to beat anyone and Stacy Howard has made a habit of busting brackets, but her results are inconsistent. Tim “The Tank” Franco has looked strong but is somewhat of an unknown quantity with just 2 matches to his name. It’s so hard picking against Crimson Fury here and I can see Stacy Howard busting my bracket, but right now I can’t look past Paul Oyama and the Loose Cannons.

The Family v Wildberries

Wildberries! I’m so glad to see them in the tournament as I always enjoy watching them and can’t wait to see how they interact with The Family. Eliot Dewberry gave a timely reminder of his potential in their victory over Late to the Party, while Josh Macuga is the original master of pulling answers out of his ass. By contrast, Drew McWeeny is one of the most knowledgeable in the game and Drew Ghai is no slouch, and I think their combined knowledge will give them a wide and deep enough base to earn a win for The Family.

Evil Geniuses v The Paddington Two

This is an interesting one. At first, I was picking the Evil Geniuses straight away due to JTE’s experience in the league. Then I remembered that he was no longer a member of the team, having been replaced by Simon Thompson. Thompson comes in as an unknown and “The Professor” has had an average season up to now. Matt Atchity and Alonso Duralde may not compete regularly but they have shown in the past that they have a base of knowledge. I usually go against Atchity due to his issues remembering the rules, but this time is a case of “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” and I’ll give the win to The Paddington Two.

Quarterfinals

The Odd Couple v Shazam!

Such is the quality in the league, there will be no such thing as an easy match in the quarterfinals, certainly not in this match! Both Shazam! and The Odd Couple look to have formed great partnerships and it could be argued that either team is capable of winning the entire tournament. While both teams are strong, I feel that The Odd Couple are more likely to struggle if things don’t go their way, whereas Shazam! can fall back on “The Beast’s” impressive knowledge and strong runs of form for both Bibbiani and Meyer (both made the semifinals of the Singles Tournament). It’s hard going against a former Team Champion, but I give Shazam! the slightest of advantages.

Time Machine v Self-Righteous Brothers

What an incredible match this could be! Ethan Erwin and Jeannine “The Machine” both have incredible knowledge and complement each other very well, so I’m confident in saying they have the potential to be a Top 5 team at least. Witney and Marc Edward Heuck have shown themselves to have a high level of knowledge, but I think that Jeannine & Ethan have a greater tactical knowledge that will likely give the victory to Time Machine.

Who’s The Boss v Loose Cannons

This will be by far the biggest challenge for the Loose Cannons so far. Ben and Reilly cover most categories pretty well between them and while Oyama will be a threat, Zipper has limited experience in big matches. If Reilly and Bateman can both play to the best of their abilities (a distinct possibility as Bateman is in fine form), it’s going to be very hard to stick with them, especially if they can hit Movie Release Dates or Oscar Movies in Round 2. I won’t rule out Oyama and Zipper, but I still see Who’s The Boss as one of the best teams in the league and see them progressing to the semis.

The Family v The Paddington Two

This match comes down to tactics. Drew Ghai is one of the best in the league when it come to tactics, which is a massive benefit to Drew McWeeny, who can then focus on the trivia. Meanwhile neither Alonso Duralde nor Matt Atchity are regular competitors and Atchity never seems able to remember the rules. Add in Ghai causing disruption with his antics and I see The Family getting the upper hand in this match.

Semifinals

Shazam! v Time Machine

What a match this would be! Matches between Ethan Erwin and William Bibbiani are a thrill to watch, then add in the talents of Jeannine and “The Kid” and you have a potential Match of the Year contender right here! Bibbiani has had the upper hand in his Singles matches with Erwin, but they have been close affairs. I really think this match could come down to whatever the wheel lands on in Round 2. Right now, my heart says Shazam!

Who’s The Boss v The Family

The Action Civil War makes a return in the semifinals as Ben Bateman faces off against Drew Ghai for the first time since Houston. Again, I can see this coming down to the spin of the Wheel in Round 2 as we know McWeeny can smash through 80s just like Bateman can Movie Release Dates. While it’s harsh to say, I think this could come down to how Drew Ghai performs. If he’s struggling with his questions, the it could allow Who’s The Boss to pull away, while I think they’ll be able to ignore any heel-ish attempts to put them off. In the Action Civil War, I’ve gotta go #TeamBateman and pick Who’s The Boss for back-to-back tournament finals.

The Final

Who’s The Boss v Shazam!

And so we reach the final, which I feel will be the teams version of the final of the Singles Tournament. William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer versus Ben Bateman and Mark Reilly. This will be an incredible match to watch and it’s so hard to predict a winner, so what I will look at here is the format. The finals are played in the 5-round format, with the betting round and speed round joining the usual 3 rounds. Now “The Kid” has not played in the 5-round format under the lights, whereas all the other competitors have, and I can’t help feel that this little bit of extra experience could prove vital and set up Who’s The Boss for the victory and a shot at the title.

MTS Teams USD2019 Bracket Prediction

HOW’S THE BOSS: Can Ben Bateman Recover from This…?!

HOW’S THE BOSS: Can Ben Bateman Recover from This…?!

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


Things really haven’t been going well for Ben Bateman lately.

“The Boss” went on some great runs in 2018, working his way through the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Gauntlet to earn a spot in the tournament itself, while his new Anarchy partnership with Mark “Yodi” Reilly and manager Tom Dagnino ran through the Anarchy tournament to set up a title shot against the Shirewolves at Spectacular 3.

Unfortunately, the season ended on a downer: Clarke Wolfe defeated him in the first round of the tournament 23-20, and one of the greatest matches in the history ended in the Shirewolves defending their title against Who’s The Boss, 34-31.

Things got even worse for Bateman right afterwards, when his former partner “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai tackled him through a table when The Boss said that he wanted to stick with Reilly as his partner.

So 2019 saw Bateman looking for revenge, and after crashing the New York live event to convince Chairman Kristian Harloff to limit Ghai’s suspension, The Boss made it clear that he was coming for his former partner. Ghai kept busy during his ban though, bringing in Robert Meyer Burnett as manager, who then convinced Drew McWeeny to become the third member of The Family.

With Bateman and Dagnino having previous history with Ghai and Burnett respectively, the first match of the Action Civil War was arranged: Bateman & Dagnino vs. Ghai & Burnett. This got turned on its head though as – with the agreement of Commissioner Emma Fyffe – Ghai switched out Burnett for McWeeny. The strength of the family proved too much for Bateman, who was carrying Dagnino for much of the match and ended up on the wrong end of a 30-25 final score.

That victory for The Family allowed Ghai to set the stipulation for the next match in the Civil War: he would take on his former Team Action brother in a Singles match live at the Booker T World Gym Arena in Houston. A win for Bateman would allow him to set the terms of their next match, but a win for Ghai would see Bateman cut out of this year’s Singles Tournament.

Bateman would have been hoping to get a win under his belt before that match in order to get some momentum, but after lasting only two rounds in the Free 4 All, his last chance for another victory was a #1 Contender Match between Who’s The Boss and The Odd Couple live in Chicago. Another close match saw Bateman come out on the losing side (26-27) and when he tried to congratulate his opponents, both Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider blew him off and their manager Roxy Striar slapped him in the face, while Ghai added insult to injury by sending a message on the big screen taking pleasure in Bateman’s run of poor results.

This match in Houston is huge for Bateman’s season, especially if he wants any chance of competing for the Singles Belt. But what can he do to turn things around?

First off, he shouldn’t panic about his latest matches. Clarke Wolfe was on a great run of her own when she beat Bateman, and although he didn’t last long in the Free 4 All, he took out John Rocha in his first round and then was only eliminated by an incredible group consisting of William Bibbiani, Drew McWeeny, Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider. So neither of these results should be a serious cause of concern.

Likewise, the combination of Ghai and McWeeny is arguably a stronger partnership than Bateman and Dagnino, so for Bateman to carry his partner and still push The Family to a close match is a great achievement, and it also marked his first perfect round.

Finally, against The Odd Couple it came down to just a couple of misses at the end; it was far from a capitulation against a team who were in top form themselves. Bateman is still playing at a high level overall, so a series of losses against high quality opposition shouldn’t rattle him. Especially as it would generally be said that Bateman is the stronger of the two competitors in Houston.

Next up, Bateman needs to get some security. In the space of just four months he has suffered two physical assaults in the Schmoedown. While he may try to play it off, he’ll never be able to give 100% focus to the trivia while he is looking for where the next attack is coming from. If the markets in Beijing are still doing well, hopefully The Boss can afford to buy a personal security detail, or at the very least enlist “The Intern” Brandon Hanna as a decoy to take the hits for him. Reilly and Dagnino will obviously try to give Ben whatever protection they can, but again they will need to focus on their Who’s The Boss’ matches, so finding a someone who can focus on protecting him before, during and after a match could be key.

Going into the matches themselves, Bateman may also have to change up his attitude a bit. Partnering with Reilly has brought out his good side, but has he gone too far into the light? Let’s not forget the match against KOrruption where he was going after Chance Ellison and Mike Kalinowski at every opportunity. Now that he’s set that strategy aside, it is giving his opposition a chance to settle into he game. I’m not saying that he needs to go full heel again, but he needs to keep an edge to his play. Ghai and Burnett will be loud so Bateman needs to find a way to shut them up early.

But let’s suppose that the worst happens and Bateman finds himself on the losing side in Houston. Ghai has history of beating stronger players – I don’t think anyone is forgetting his Singles debut against Dan Murrell anytime soon! While that would effectively bring Bateman’s Singles campaign to an end for 2019, it does not have to be the end of the world.

Despite losing two matches in a row, Who’s The Boss are still arguably one of the elite teams in the division and I will be shocked if they are not in contention for the belt again by the end of the season. The Singles Division is so strong at the moment, it could be argued that the Teams League is in fact Bateman’s best chance of a belt at the moment anyway, despite the dominant run the Shirewolves are on.

There is another option available to The Boss, though: Innergeekdom.

Bateman has teased a couple of times that he could give the Innergeekdom a try in the future and what better time than while he’s cut out of the Singles Division. Bateman is thorough and organised in his studies, so Innergeekdom – which has a finite number of movies that can be used – could arguably be easier to study for than the Singles Division. Not only that, but a move into Innergeekdom could allow him another shot at The Family by challenging Burnett in his debut – beating the original Innergeekdom Champion in his first match in the Division would be a great signal of intent.

Could he win that belt? There’s real strength on the Innergeekdom roster with Cushing, Kalinowski and Smets, but once he’s studied up, I would never rule him out.

Do you think Bateman can turn things around in time for Houston? Let me know how you think he can do this season.

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!”