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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.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