Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

Ben Bateman’s time in the Finstock Exchange looks to be coming to an end. “The Boss” was the 1ˢᵗ round pick for Tom Dagnino, but following a heartbreaking Championship loss to Dan Murrell, he let his frustrations out and directed them towards his manager. Since then, Bateman has continued to double down on his stance against Bobby Gucci and it looks clear that a partnership that was formed midway through season 5 would be coming to an end.

Following this season, every Schmoedown Pro is set to become a Free Agent, with each manager able to sign 3 Free Agents ahead of the draft. This means that for the elite players like Bateman, the ball is firmly in their court as they have the power to decide if they are willing to stay with their current manager (assuming they are still wanted there) or take up an offer from another manager. As a former Singles Champion and one of the greatest strategic players in the game – arguably, his strategic influence has even improved Dan Murrell’s game – it’s impossible to envision a situation where Bateman is not one of these 3 pre-draft signings, but who will he be representing?

S.W.A.G.

MTS SWAG LogoThe team closest to overthrowing the Exchange at time of writing, S.W.A.G. have some high quality talent in Singles and Teams, but not necessarily someone who would be considered in the elite bracket. Winston Marshall has done a great job of adapting his managerial style to fit each of his players this season and has become a student of the game who is not afraid to throw out a challenge – something that will put him in good stead with Bateman.

However, S.W.A.G have a strong group already and with Chandru Dhandapani and Andres Cabrera both having title matches at Spectacular, there is the possibility that Winston already has to pick 3 out of the pair, Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who have formed an impressive team this year as part of Final Exam. As great an addition as Bateman would be, Winston will surely want to show loyalty to those who have helped him this year, and that may leave him without room for The Boss.

KOrruption

feat mts korruption logo jpShannon Barney is another rookie manager who has done a great job this season, while her rookies Adam Collins and Marisol McKee have impressed when given a chance. Being able to bring Bateman in as one of the top 3, and then picking up either McKee or Collins early in the draft to partner him would make a great pair of teams alongside KOrruption, similar to how the Exchange had Who’s The Boss and the Founding Fathers.

However, KOrruption has the same issue as S.W.A.G in that McKee, Collins and Laura Kelly will likely be on other factions’ radars and it may be that Shannon needs to use her 3ʳᵈ pick to secure one of them, while it’s hard to imagine Bateman going to a faction with an already established team like KOrruption as it will likely end similar to this season, with issues over Bateman’s standing in the faction.

The Quirky Mercs

mts s7 The Quirky Mercs logoCoy Jandreau is another rookie manager who has impressed this season and with the potential that he and Bateman may be working on a show together soon, it may be that they find a good chemistry together. Under Coy’s leadership, the Mercs have done well and it is easy enough to imagine that many of this season’s roster would be available via the draft rather than requiring Coy to sign them in the opening round of Free Agency.

But the issue with The Mercs will be that Bateman would again find himself competing for top spot in the faction with Shazam! As incredible as that trifecta would be, I just can’t imagine Bateman willing to defer big matches or spots in tournaments to Bibbiani and Meyer.

The Den

mts s7 The Den Logo 2This is where things get interesting, as The Den have 4 high level competitors in TOM, Paul Preston, Ben Goddard and James White, but nobody that would necessarily be considered proven as an elite competitor. With White’s chances limited this year and Paul Preston having a down year, it is possible that Bateman could be picked up along with Ben Goddard and TOM, with at least one of the other 2 picked up in the draft, allowing Bateman to create a strong team with one of these competitors.

I do wonder however if Bateman would consider Kate Mulligan the right kind of manager for him. While Kate has been entertaining this season, there have been questions over her management style with some debatable strategic decisions. It may be that Bateman will take it as a chance to help mould her into the manager he wants, but he may also decide that there are more attractive managerial options out there that will allow him to focus on the trivia and his own game.

Roxstars

feat mts roxstars logo jpNow here is an interesting situation. Roxy Striar knows Ben well so will know how to work with him. She may not be quick to challenge at the moment – being more a cheerleader for her players – but it’s easy to imagine that she could change her style a little for the right person. Meanwhile, if you listen to Jeff Sneider, there is every chance that season 7 will see the end of The Odd Couple, which could then allow Bateman to join the Roxstars and partner with either Sneider or Marc Andreyko – either one would be a dangerous team!

However, it feels like Bateman’s chances of joining the Roxstars hinge on the fate of The Odd Couple. Roxy is loyal to her players – arguably too much so – and its hard to imagine her breaking up The Odd Couple unless Sneider or Andreyko decides to end it. Throw in Alex Damon, who has kept Roxy’s 2020 season alive, and there would be no space in the top 3 should The Odd Couple stay together, while Roxy may even still try to keep them both and find new teammates for them.

The Dungeon

MTS The Dungeon Logo JPKaiser took a risk this year by trying to monopolise the Innergeekdom Division, but losses for Smets and Robert Parker, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of matches, has meant that this strategy backfired massively. Kaiser will know that he needs to bring in an elite Singles competitor, and Bateman would be the perfect fit. It’s hard to imagine Kaiser using 2 of his 3 picks on IG specialists, so I can see him keeping his Dungeon regulars Smets and Eric Zipper, then bringing in Bateman as the marquee signing. Zipper would be a good partner for Bateman – especially as the Individual IG slices become available in Teams from 2021 – while it’s possible that Kaiser could pick up another possible partner like Vinnie Mancuso or Liz Shannon Miller in the first round of the draft.

Probably the biggest worry here for Bateman is again the manager. Kaiser can talk the talk, but he’s never really proved himself as a great trivia mind. Bateman was vocal about the downside of having Dagnino as a manager compared to a knowledgeable manager like John Rocha, so could it be that this counts against Kaiser, who actually lost to Dagnino in Orlando last year?

The Usual Suspects

mts s7 The Usual Suspects logo 2The last couple of managers have had question marks beside their names but Samm Levine could arguably be the perfect manager for Ben Bateman. Levine was one of the original strategists in the game and is never shy to throw a challenge, while he also has the trivia knowledge that could make the difference at a crucial moment. Add to this that if the partnership between Andrew Ghai and Ethan Erwin doesn’t work out, Bateman has the chance of a Team Action reunion or forming a superteam with Erwin.

As for a downside, probably the biggest one right now is that if Ghai and Erwin work well together it will be hard to separate them next season, while the Usual Suspects won’t draft until the 2ⁿᵈ round following their blockbuster trade to get hold of Erwin. If that’s the case, it’s going to be much harder to get Bateman a partner that will be strong enough for them to push for the title while also picking up a proven IG competitor.

The Burning Droogs

MTS The Burning Droogs LogoThe team that at time of writing are propping up the table, it’s not been a great year for the Droogs, who no longer have their top 2 draft picks and have also undergone a change of manager. There are some strong competitors here but Bateman could come in as the alpha dog that would be expected to make a run in Singles, while Jader Paramo, Witney Seibold or Alonso Duralde would all be strong partners for Bateman. With Brandon Hanna about to enter the Teams Division and the IG slices entering the division next season, it may even be time for the Boss to team up with his former intern. The big thing here is that they have the chance to create a super strong faction with their 3 picks in the first round of Free Agency, while they then have 2 picks in the 1ˢᵗ round of the draft following the Erwin trade – there are plenty of chances to create a strong team (or 2) and have a strong IG representation by round 2 of the draft!

The big question with the Droogs will be the management, as it is not yet clear whether Ken Napzok will continue in his role next season or hand over to someone else. I can imagine Bateman would prefer a manager with some experience, however a manager willing to learn from him may also prove attractive.

 

The Verdict: Right now I’d have to give the advantage to The Dungeon, but if the right person is in charge of The Burning Droogs, the chance to build a strong team quickly with the extra draft pick could be an enticing enough offer.

Where do you think The Boss will end up?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

In the build-up to the Atlanta live event, I wrote about how the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell had the potential to be the greatest match in the history of the league. Looking back, it certainly didn’t disappoint, as Ben Bateman came from behind to take a 5 point lead, only for the game to go to overtime, where Murrell won. While it doesn’t quite get my vote for the greatest match of all time, it is certainly up there on the list, and that got me thinking: What would I pick as the greatest matches of all time?

This is obviously my own personal list, so I would love to hear your picks. I will also not be including any Free 4 Alls as it would be unfair to compare a 4-hour event to a single match. I’ve also chosen not to rank these movies as I think my list would constantly change as I re-watched some of these matches. So in honour of this being the Schmoedown’s 7ᵗʰ season, I give you my top 7 matches in the history of the league.

Honourable mentions:

Bateman v Murrell

mts atlanta ben bateman v dan murrell finish

The live crowd was on fire for this match with the Action Army there in force to cheer (or boo) for Ben Bateman, while the thrill of seeing the GOAT going for his 4ᵗʰ Singles Title had people hyped. Add to that all the build-up with the controversy over who would manage each of the competitors and this match had all the build-up it needed. From the promos from Tom Dagnino and John Rocha (so much for a gentleman’s agreement of no promos), to Dan’s early snark (“Sir John Woo”) and this was already building nicely. Bateman came into Round 2 with a 3-point deficit but pulled a point back, before Rounds 3 and 4 swung the scoreline heavily in his favour, and the crowd were vibing off his reactions. Then for this to go to overtime and we were in for a treat, ended with the GOAT keeping his 100% record in live events and taking the title back.

Kalinowski v Cushing II

mts Rachel Cushing Throwdown Innergeekdom Belt

My vote for the greatest match of all time would be the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown that saw Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing challenge Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski for the Innergeekdom Title. They had faced each other much earlier in their careers (Rachel getting the win), while Rachel had also beaten Mike in a Triple Threat in the Singles Division. This was the first time that they had faced off since Mike had turned heel, however, so the battle for the belt between the top 2 in the division also being a battle of good vs evil set this on a great stage. Down 15-23 after 2 rounds, it looked over for Kalinowski, but the betting round and speed round saw an incredible swing to 20-20, one of the most incredible comebacks I have ever seen! After both went perfect in Round 5, it went to Sudden Death and the title was decided by just a vowel as Rachel Cushing won the Innergeekdom Title she had been dreaming of to become double-belted.

Murrell v Rocha

mts john rocha first singles title

Season 4 was the year that the show really started to become what we know today, but its Championship Matches often seem forgotten when we look back. Back in the early days of the league, there were 3 superstars: Mark “Yodi” Reilly, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell and “The Outlaw” John Rocha. Defending Champion Dan Murrell came into this match with a 5-0 record but Rocha, the original heel, was gunning for the belt. 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. It ended with Murrell needing to hit his 5-pointer, which he missed, and as it was announced that Rocha (who had himself not known the answer so didn’t realise that he had won) had won, the Outlaw let out a scream of joy that I still consider one of the most iconic moments in the history of the league.

Kalinowski v Smets

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Collision-III-Mike-Kalinowski-Kevin-Smets

Kevin “The Smasher” Smets was on a roll, one of the most impressive rookies that we had ever seen, winning his first 3 matches without having to answer a question in the final round. Then at Collision, he met his match in Mike Kalinowski. Their feud had already been growing through the season and this #1 Contender Match was finally the chance to get to see them go head-to-head. Things were all level after 2 rounds. Both hit their 2- and 3-pointers and Sudden Death was looking a distinct possibility… until “Don’t tell Peter”. Saying “Peter” instead of “Harry” was a killer for Smets and Kalinowski correctly answered his 5-pointer to set up a rematch with Rachel Cushing, being overcome with emotion as his faction congratulated him.

Napzok v Witwer

mts Spectacular II Sam Witwer Star Wars Belt

Who would have expected that the match in the Star Wars Division would be remembered as the match from Spectacular II despite Andrew Ghai tackling John Rocha after Team Action v Top 10?! But this match had everything. Ken’s recent betrayal of Rachel Cushing and defection to the Lion’s Den set him up as the ultimate villain to face Sam Witwer- who would’ve thought we’d be cheering for Darth Maul! And then to the match itself, and the Iron Man format made it truly a test of knowledge v knowledge. Both of them continued to wow Mark Ellis (and probably quite a few viewers) with their insane knowledge of Star Wars, but as time war on, quotes proved to be a weakness of “The Pitboss” and allowed Witwer to pull away. The buzzer was already a known weakness for “The Warrior” however, and allowed Napzok to pull things back, with the scores level with just a few seconds left. The clock ran out halfway through the next question, Witwer suddenly had the fast hand and with a correct answer he took the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok and wrote his name into Schmoedown history books as the winner of the first ever Iron Man and the 2ⁿᵈ Star Wars Champion.

Murrell v Ghai

If ever there was a match that looked a foregone conclusion before it began, this was it. Andrew Ghai’s claims of being “the Ghai who beat the GOAT” drew Dan Murrell out of retirement to challenge him to a match at Collision – Ghai’s first match in the Singles Division. What followed was about 20 minutes of craziness as “Dastardly” Drew Ghai showed the GOAT just how much the game had changed while he was gone, going full heel at the table and exploiting the former champion’s rustiness to come away with not just a win, but a TKO. The silence of the crowd as the match progressed showed just how stunned everyone was and as Ghai jumped up on the table to celebrate his win, you could see in Kristian’s face his dreams of a Murrell v Levine live event going up in smoke!

Shirewolves v Who’s The Boss

mts spectacular III Shirewolves Whos The Boss Clarke Wolfe Ben Bateman Rachel Cushing Mark Reilly

When the Shirewolves first won the vacant Teams Titles by defeating Sick in the Head, there were plenty of trolls who refused to acknowledge their titles due to not facing any so-called elite teams in their title run. That talk largely came to an end after their match at Spectacular III against Who’s the Boss. Mark Reilly and Ben Bateman had become an elite pairing during Anarchy and led after the first 2 rounds. However the Shirewolves hit back to take a 3 point lead into the final round. Bateman and Reilly went perfect on their 2-, 3- and 5-pointers, but Rachel Cushing and “Classy” Clarke Wolfe did the same to defend their titles 34-31 in what was my pick for the best match at Spectacular III. Oh and let’s not forget the Shirewolves’ entrance celebrating women in film and the Schmoedown, and the aftermath of this match, with Andrew Ghai tackling Ben Bateman to kick off the Action Civil War.

The greatest match in history?

The greatest match in history?

With the Movie Trivia Schmoedown going into its 7ᵗʰ season, there are a number of matches that can be looked back on as the “greatest ever”. There are so many things that go into a match being considered for that title: stakes (is a title on the line), the format (Iron Man match/3-round/5-round), rivalries, perfect rounds, perfect games, sudden death, comebacks, shock upsets, crazy wheel spins, not to mention the personalities of the competitors and the way they interact onstage. Add in the live events and an audience of hundreds watching live and things go to another level.

There have been so many fantastic matches: Dan Murrell winning the Singles Title from Ethan Erwin in New York, Rachel Cushing winning the Innergeekdom Title from Mike Kalinowski in sudden death, Mara Knopic beating Rachel Cuhing on the 11ᵗʰ question in sudden death, Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell by TKO, Mark Reilly winning the Singles Title from John Rocha, Sam Witwer winning the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok in an Iron Man match as time elapsed.

But after February 29ᵗʰ, I think we could have a new contender for the title “greatest match of all time”.

mts poster atlanta live

No offence to Alex Damon and Emily Jacobson, but I am of course talking about the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Dan Murrell entered the league in Season 2 as part of Team Champs alongside Mark Reilly, but it was in the Singles Division that he made his name, with his exploits in Seasons 3 and 4 having him considered the GOAT of the Schmoedown before his retirement. He returned in Season 5 and after a bumpy start, his partnership with John Rocha in the Founding Fathers and his return to success in Singles brought him back into the GOAT discussion, with his absence from Innergeekdom (until now) the main argument to put Rachel Cushing ahead of him.

MTS Spectacular IV Horsemen Murrell Rocha Reilly Bateman Dagnino StergerBen Bateman joined the league in Season 4 as part of Team Action, but it was Andrew Ghai’s suspension at the end of the season that really kick-started his Singles career going into Season 5. While he showed flashes on his own, it looked like he was potentially on the road to a good but not great Singles career, until he smashed his way through the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown, finishing off by winning the final against William Bibbiani at Spectacular IV and returning later int he evening to win the title from Paul Oyama via KO. Murrell will be his first attempt at defending his title.

These 2 competitors are stars of the league and have become part of the most successful iteration of the Horsemen, who find themselves at the head of The Finstock Exchange. While they may be teammates within the Exchange, these are 2 driven individuals and neither will want a loss on their record. Ben Bateman is one of the driving forces of the new wave of Schmoedown competitor. He coined the term “Schmoedown Pro” and has embodied it, going heavy on the study not just of the movies, but also his opponents and the game, to ensure that he has the strategy to beat anyone. Murrell has certainly developed more strategy since his return to the league, but his game has always been more about having the superior knowledge and it is a shock if he misses more than a couple of questions in a match. This difference in styles will be incredible to see play out in front of us.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Houston-Live-Five-Horsemen-Booker-T

Add in the extra historical significance of this match: Dan Murrell has never lost at a live event, with 6 victories and a Free 4 All victory to his name. Bateman is 3-2 in live matches. Murrell has never lost when coming in as a #1 Contender, whereas this is Bateman’s 1ˢᵗ title defence. If Bateman wins, he will be the 5ᵗʰ of the 9 Singles Champions to have successfully defended the title at least once. If Murrell wins, he becomes the only 4-time Singles Champion and only the 4ᵗʰ double-belted champion.

I may be jinxing this match, but with so much at stake and 2 elite competitors in front of a manic crowd, I really think we could be looking at the greatest Schmoedown match of all time. Who do I think will win? I can’t separate the 2, so I’m going to chicken out and call The Finstock Exchange the winners.

Tickets for the live event are available at theschmoedownlive.com where you can also purchase access to the live stream, or if you are a $10+ patron on the Schmoedown Patreon you will automatically be granted access to the live stream. It will be available to watch at a later date, but I don’t think this is one to be missed!

mts bateman murrell atlanta

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?

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.

HFS: The Top 10 Moments of Schmoedown Spectacular III!

HFS: The Top 10 Moments of Schmoedown Spectacular III!

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 1/1/2019


Now that the dust has settled and we’ve feasted far too much over the holidays, I’m sure we can all agree that the biggest event in the Schmoedown calendar was (as its name suggests) Spectacular! Schmoedown Spectacular 3 gave us six wonderful matches and so much more besides, enough to keep us busy discussing the possibilities while we await Season 6.

With so many hours of footage, there was obviously a lot to take in, but I have tried to put together what I feel to be the top 10 moments from the event!

10. The Future of the Schmoedown

Maybe not as flashy or funny as some of the other moments on this list, Kristian’s announcement of the future of the league going into Season 6 was so important it had to appear on my list. It is understandably a controversial decision to some people but it is also an exciting moment as we look to see the Schmoedown growing into live streams.

9. Alex Uses The Force

Alex confronted Ken, Kalinowski and Chance ahead of the Star Wars title match. The KOrruption boys tried to jump the champion and steal the belt, only to fall through what was revealed to be a Force projection. This was a great little moment to hype up the coming match and include Alex – who appears more confident with each match – in the storylines. The cameo from Nathan Hamill as his teacher saying that it worked out better than the last guy who tried it was a great little surprise.

8. One Letter Off

The Commissioner Bowl may not have been the best match of the event, but it was certainly an exciting one with a lot of fun moments. Probably the best moment of the match itself was Tom Dagnino’s first question of Round 3. Asked “Who wrote and directed the 2016 film Suicide Squad?” he answered David Ayers rather than David Ayer, missing out on the point despite one of the most questionable challenges I have ever seen. What makes this moment such a standout is that Dagnino was eliminated with 11 points, while none of his opponents could score higher than 12, meaning that we were just 1 letter away from having Dagnino as Commissioner!

7. One Last Dance

I’m a big Horsemen and Top 10 fan so a bit of bias may have come into this pick. Following John Rocha’s unsuccessful title defence, Matt Knost announced that he would be stepping away from the Schmoedown and with one last shimmy exited the league. I’ve really enjoyed Knost’s wit and humour over the years while his knowledge has probably made him one of the more underrated players in the Teams Division, so it is a real loss to the league. Hopefully he will find the time to return in the future to call a couple of matches at the desk. As if the emotion at Knost leaving wasn’t enough, there is also the excitement to build now for who will replace him as the 5th Horseman, something that I’m sure will keep us theorising until the reveal.

6. Perfect All Round

You always want a good performance in a title match and The Shirewolves vs. Who’s The Boss? did not disappoint. With the scores at 12-13 in favour of the challengers after Round 1 (only 7 of a possible 32 combined points dropped), The Shirewolves spun a strength in Sandra Bullock and fired through the round to go 6/6 for a perfect 12 points. Who’s The Boss? got stuck on Festival Darlings, which they didn’t appear confident in, but knowing the need for a good score to keep in touch, Reilly and Bateman matches Clarke and Rachel’s feat, going 6/6 for a perfect 12 points. Frank Janisch will know better than I will, but both teams going perfect in Round 2 is a rare feat and just highlighted the quality of the teams on display.

5. Burning The Mask

After hours of watching Tom Dagnino look everywhere for his missing mask, Spectacular III ended with us seeing the grubbiest piece of knitwear in Los Angeles being thrown in a bucket and set alight by a mysterious figure, revealed to be Robert Meyer Burnett. Last seen being abandoned by the Lion’s Den at Spectacular II, it will be interesting to see what impact “The Captain” has on the league in Season 6. He will surely be looking to win back his Innergeekdom title in what has become a much stronger division, while it looks like he may now have a feud with Dagnino to go along with his feuds with Rocha and Hector Navarro.

4. It Was Him All Along

The KOrruption storyline had clearly been building to a head in recent months and we finally found out who was behind Mike Kalinowski’s evildoings following the Commissioner Bowl. Thadd shredded an envelope containing sensitive information that was meant to be revealed if he lost, only for Paulie G to come out and announce that he had a second copy, the contents of which would be announced by his employer… Kristian Harloff! The former Commissioner announced that he had always been aware that the contract stated he would revert to Commissioner after four months, only for Thadd to hide the page. Harloff announced himself as the Chairman of the Schmoedown and said that Emma Fyffe will be a Commissioner with other Commissioners still to be announced.

While bringing a great end to the KOrruption and Commissioner storylines this season, we now have the excitement of seeing how the Chairman runs the league with multiple Commissioners, while it will be interesting to see if Kalinowski begins a vendetta against Harloff now he sees how he was manipulated.

3. The Mystery Basterd

With some Schmoedown competitors actually working in movies, there is always a chance that one day they will eventually be the answer to a question in the Schmoedown. This happened perfectly in Rocha v Erwin when during the speed round they were asked “Who played Pfc Hirschberg in the war film Inglourious Basterds?” Now with so many Basterds, it’s difficult to remember each one’s name and you could tell that both competitors wanted to guess Samm Levine but didn’t want to look foolish if it was wrong. When it was announced that the former Singles Champion was indeed the right answer, the moment got even better as it turned out he was in the crowd and he came on to take the belt that neither of them deserved. Any time we get to see Samm is a great moment and for this to happen in the main event of Spectacular 3, one year after he became champion, was just perfect!

2. Who Run the World?

The Shirewolves vs. Who’s The Boss? match makes this list for a second time, this time for the Shirewolves’ entrance. Coming out to “Run the World” by Beyoncé, the Shirewolves used their entrance to showcase the wealth of female talent in the league, being accompanied out by a number of female competitors including then-Innergeekdom Champion Mara Knopic, and Vipers Jeannine the Machine and Markeia McCarty. We always know to expect a great entrance form Clarke and Rachel, but following Clarke’s statement that “We are the league” following their first title victory, this was a beautiful way to remind everyone that the Schmoedown does not need a women’s league as the women involved are more than capable of beating the men put in front of them.

1. The Tackle II

Andrew Ghai’s tackle of John Rocha stole the headlines at Schmoedown Spectacular 2 last year, and he did it again. The wannabe linebacker came to commiserate with former teammate Ben Bateman following his loss in the Team Title Match. When Bateman expressed an interest in sticking with Reilly, Ghai accepted it, announcing that he had found a new teammate and suggesting the four of them make their own faction before leaving. Bateman was clearly so happy that Ghai understood and his comment in the post-match interview of “Action Army for life” showed that he was still committed to his brother in arms… right up until the moment Ghai tackled him through a table. The hearts of the Action Army broke as they watched Ghai show his disgust for Bateman’s newfound respect and spitting on his former brother before being chased off by Reilly.

Now the Army must decide if they are #TeamGhai or #TeamBateman and Ghai’s feud with Ben is surely going to play a part in Season 6, while William Bibbiani may also be after Ghai unless he repays the former champion for the broken table!

So those were my top 10 moments, what are yours…?

BAD INFLUENCE: Is Mark Reilly Turning to the Dark Side?

BAD INFLUENCE: Is Mark Reilly Turning to the Dark Side?

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 12/11/2018


“But these heels… Don’t make me come out of retirement, ’cause I eat heels for breakfast.”

These were the words of Mark Reilly at the end of last year, at the Schmoedown Awards. The first Singles Champion, Reilly was Superman, the hero of the Schmoedown. He was driven to win the belt and, once he had it, to defend it, but he was always respectful of his opponents and always kept his cool – except on one occasion when Rocha crashed his interview and pushed things a little too far by disrespecting both Reilly and interviewer Emma Fyffe.

After losing the belt to Dan Murrell at the 2017 Collider Collision, Reilly took a step back from competing, coming back only to aid Clarke Wolfe in her quest to win the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament – a run ended by eventual winners Above The Line. The Schmoedown was left without its hero, even though the heels wouldn’t stay away.

Fresh from his suspension following the infamous Tackle, “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai stole Dan Murrell’s spot at the Free 4 All and announced to the world that he was “the Ghai that beat the GOAT.” Weeks went by of Ghai parading around as if he owned the place… and it became too much for Reilly to sit by and take.

Reilly returned to the League in dramatic fashion at the 2nd live event, revealing himself as a member of the new-look 5 Horsemen alongside his fellow former champions Rocha and Murrell. The Horsemen looked to be the strongest faction assembled and they were here to teach the heels a lesson.

But almost straight away, things started to go wrong for Reilly and the Horsemen. Kal was stolen – supposedly by Ben Bateman – leaving Reilly unable to support Murrell at Collision when he lost to Andrew Ghai, then Reilly also lost to Ghai in a rusty first performance back, leaving him out of the race for the Singles title for the rest of the year. Reilly’s chance for a belt turned to the Team Division, where under the Anarchy format at the Ultimate Schmoedown he was paired with Ben Bateman to form Who’s The Boss?, under the management of Finstock.

The hero of the Schmoedown was stuck alongside 2 of the biggest heels in the league.

For their first match against the Crazy Eighty-Greats, it was clear that Reilly was not impressed with his team, voicing his displeasure with Bateman’s lack of respect and his role in Kal’s theft. Throughout the match he was apologising for Bateman’s insults and being every bit the hero stuck in a bad situation. And at the victory, his celebration was with his stablemate Rocha rather than his team, though he did note in the post-match interview that he was impressed with Bateman’s ability.

That respect for Bateman appeared to continue growing in their second match against Cinemaniacs. Reilly was less apologetic as Bateman targeted William Bibbiani with his barbs, but still had the decency to correct his teammate post-match when he called Jenn Sterger “Jessica”. He again celebrated with Rocha but not at the expense of his new team and worked as peacemaker between Bateman and Rocha. A hero still, but adapting to his new team.

And then, the bombshell. Finstock managed to get video footage proving Bateman’s innocence in Kal’s theft, and that it was in fact Mike Kalinowski – their next opponent – who was responsible. Reilly’s drive to win the belt appeared to be joined by another desire: revenge. In their pre-match promo against KOrruption, Reilly seemed more a part of his new team than ever before. Any thought of holding Bateman back was gone and he even called Kalinowski a “little ninny bitch” – a classic Team Action insult.

Had Kalinowski’s crime put the hero over the edge? Perhaps not, as he did still stand up for Rocha and Emma Fyffe when Finstock called them dopes, though not a single Horseman was in sight to celebrate with him.

With the Gauntlet to enter the Singles Tournament scheduled before Who’s The Boss? takes on The Harris Brothers in the final, Reilly had a chance to spend some time away from his team. But when Bateman stepped out, Reilly was there beside his “partner” and Dagnino. Reilly seemed to have no problem with Bateman’s comments about how his mission was to crush Rocha and also failed to defend his stablemate when Finstock insulted him. More than that, he actively laughed along when Finstock made fun of Jay Washington and claimed to own him.

Perhaps Reilly has decided that the only way he can claim a belt and stop the heels is to sink to their level. It’s fair to say that Wolves of Steel never reached the heights they were expected to, but Who’s The Boss? are currently looking like one of the strongest and most well-rounded teams in the division, and no manager has had greater success in the league than Finstock/Tom Dagnino. Will he decide that his new team can do more for him than Rocha and the other Horsemen can?

The Dark Knight included the line “You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.” If Who’s The Boss? continues to win, which Mark Reilly will we see at Spectacular: Yodi… or Darth Reillus?

Do you think that Reilly’s moving towards a heel turn? Let me know in the comments what you see Reilly doing moving forward!