Anarchy Semifinals

Anarchy Semifinals

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams– well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

Rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts from the round instead.

Read my thoughts on previous rounds here:

The semifinal results were:

  • The Harris Brothers beat The Odd Couple 29-26
  • Who’s The Boss beat KOrruption 28-26

“Apes together strong”

It may come as no surprise, but the way a team works together and its chemistry is so important in this tournament. On the whole, I think all 4 of these semifinalists have done a great job of working together.

mtssneidermuppet
The Insneider has been a little different since he left JTE, but his partnership with Andreyko has looked dangerous

Lon and Jonathan were always going to work well together being brothers, and I think that this has gone a long way to helping Jonathan quickly bed into the competition after an unexpected entrance following JTE’s injury. Chance may be new to the league but by being paired with Kalinowski, he is with someone who is so experienced in the Schmoedown and with plenty of experience in the division. Sneider is the most experienced (and most successful) in the teams division of all these competitors and has done a great job of adapting from working with JTE to Andreyko, while Reilly and Bateman are so invested in the league. Being a big fan of the Horsemen but also Team Action, I have listened to a couple of podcasts where Ben and Mark have discussed their team-up and talked tactics and it has been great to see how Reilly has actually modified his game off the back of these tactical discussions.

mtsteamWhen you watch the most successful teams in Round 2 or on the 5-point question in the final round, it is so rare to see a competitor just blurt out an answer these days. Even when one of the competitors clearly knows the answer straight away, you will generally see them take a moment to discuss it with their teammate just to make sure they are definitely correct. With so much talent now in the league, playing as 2 individuals will not get you a win deep in a tournament and it will be important to work together as a team in order to reach the top and win the belt.

On the desk

mtsquastoken

One of my favourite things about this season has been the number of new faces appearing at the announcers desk. While variations of Kristian, Ellis and Ken (with occasional cameos from Campea, Reilly and Macuga) was great, having Jenn Sterger and other competitors like Bibbiani, Rachel Cushing, Jason Inman, Jay Washignton, Sneider or – in the case of this week’s matches – Jonny Loquasto and Marc Andreyko has not just allowed us to see some more of our favourite competitors, but also allowed us to get more of a variety of styles at the desk. Jonny was a great announcer and you could tell he was experienced in this sort of role, while Marc did a great job of bringing his wit and humour to what was already going to be a wonderful match.

mtsandkriAs Season 5 draws to a climax and moving into Season 6, I hope we continue to get competitors appearing at the desk. With Ken and Alex set to battle it out for the Star Wars Title at Schmoedown Spectacular, I would love it if their rival from the last Number 1 Contender match Joseph Scrimshaw were to appear at the desk for their match and I would love an Innergeekdom competitor – Rachel, Jay and Emma all have experience at the desk – to announce Mara Knopic’s title defence against Kalinowski.

Not to be forgotten

“Shut your mouth and spin the Wheel” – Mike Kalinowski

This has arguably been the best season of the Schmoedown so this is a tough call to make, but I honestly think the match between Who’s The Boss and KOrruption could be my favourite match of the year so far!

“He’s like a loser senior that got lucky to take the hot freshman to prom” – Ben Bateman

mtswtbkor4Even taking away the cutscenes at the beginning and end due to not all matches having these, the goings-on throughout this match were just wonderful. From Finstock captaining ships and looking for icebergs in the Caribbean (not a sentence I thought I’d be writing anytime soon) to Bateman and Reilly calling Kalinwoski “a loser” and a “little ninny bitch” respectively while Kalinowski called himself “the boss”, these were some of the most amazing promos we’ve had this season. A cameo from Kal during Who’s The Boss’ entrance, Ben and Reilly refusing to shake Mike’s hand pre-match, Ken and Napzok staring each other down after Round 1, the shit-talk from everyone throughout, Reilly’s celebration throwback to when he won his title back from Rocha (a match I watched mere days before as I try to catch up on all the Schmoedown I missed before getting into the league), Ben getting drunk on winners’ juice post-match and calling Kal’s balls “winners”… this match had everything!

mtswtbpromoRound 2 may have stopped this match from being as close as many of us would have hoped, but I still found myself completely enthralled throughout and think this has just beat out Team Action v DC Movie News as my favourite match from the Team Division this season, which is itself saying something considering we had 2 title matches between Above The Line and The Patriots!

“It’s easy to become a star but hard to stay one” – Finstock

Coming to a climax

Cutscenes were back this week with a vengeance and boy were they exciting!

We start off with Finstock finding proof that Bateman really was innocent of stealing Kal and was set up by Kalinowski. Finstock has done a great job of getting Reilly and Bateman working together and if Who’s The Boss win the tournament and then defeat the Shirewolves at Spectacular, I think he could come into consideration for Manager of the Year.

Following The Harris Brothers’ win, Kalinowski paid Thadd a visit and set up Ken Napzok as the contender to face Alex Damon at Spectacular for the Star Wars belt. I’m looking forward to seeing this match (though I still think it is a shame that Sam Witwer has not been available this year, the man has to work and I think the league has done a good job working around this to the best of their ability) and it will be interesting to see how Ken acts considering this will be his first match since he left the Lion’s Den.

mtsthaddno.jpgIt turns out Brianne was outside the room eavesdropping and this was enough for Miss Movies who soon paid Thadd a visit with a list of competitors who will walk unless Thadd either resigns as Commissioner or tells Mike no. Following KOrruption’s loss, Kalinowski came in to arrange Spectacular’s Team Title match as a Triple Threat: the anarchy winners v The Shirewolves v Korruption, however Thadd found his backbone and said no. Kalinowski didn’t stay to argue, but it certainly looks like he isn’t done.

While the Commissioner storyline has not gone anything like what I once predicted, I am absolutely loving the way the KOrruption storyline has tied into this and I can’t wait to see how this continues. Kristian recently confirmed there will be 6 matches at Spectacular and we currently have 4 Title Matches and a Number 1 Contender Match for the Singles Division confirmed, which leaves just 1 match. I was initially thinking this would be another Manager Bowl, but now I am starting to think that this is going to tie into these storylines.

Predicting the final: Who’s The Boss v The Harris Brothers

This is such a hard one to call as I have twice predicted against The Harris Brother and been proved wrong, but I think I’m going to have to do it again. Reilly and Bateman are in great form both individually and as a team and both clearly want to get their hands on the belt. It’s just so hard to predict as we still have so little knowledge of Jonathan’s strengths and weaknesses (which could be an issue for Who’s The Boss should The Harris Brothers spin Opponent’s Choice in Round 2), but when I look at Ben & Reilly I struggle to find many categories I think they would really struggle with.

I would also assume that in line with other tournament finals, this will be a 5-round match. Reilly is the only one here with any experience of the longer format and as I have shown previously, experience does often appear to help in these matches. I’m pretty certain he and Dagnino – who has also competed in the initial Team Title Match against Team Schmoes and managed the Patriots for 8 5-round matches – will have taken some time to talk tactics with Bateman to give them every advantage in the final.


And finally… an exciting announcement

It’s with great pleasure and honour that I can announce that I will be one of the writers for the Schmoedown’s official website!

Though I will be writing on the website, this does not mean my Schmoedown posts on here are coming to an end as there may be some things not quite right for the site that I still want to write about, it may just be that the posts on here are a little less often and I may not be following tournaments round by round as I have with Anarchy and the Innergeekdom Tournament.

There was a time last year when I wanted to start writing about the Schmoedown because I was enjoying it so much and had nobody in my day-to-day life to discuss it with, but wasn’t sure it was right for the blog. Eventually I took the chance and now my Schmoedown posts are some of my favourite to write, so thank you very much to everyone who has not only read these but also interacted with me and given me feedback this year!

Anarchy Quarterfinals

Anarchy Quarterfinals

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams– well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

Rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts from the round instead.

Read my thoughts on previous rounds here:

The quarterfinal results were:

  • The Odd Couple beat The Paddington Two 29-24
  • Who’s The Boss beat Cinemaniacs 27-26
  • The Harris Brothers beat Take The Cannoli 29-25
  • KOrruption beat Founding Fathers in Sudden Death Overtime 32-31

Will they stay?

Much as I hope some of the new managers stick around beyond the tournament, I really hope some of these teams stick!

While The Paddington Two are by no means my favourite team in the tournament, I think they are at least as talented as Modok while also having a better balance between being fun and treating the matches serious. If they were to stick together and become an experienced team, I could see them in a Number 1 Contender match in 2019.

mtsharrisbrosWhile it was a shame JTE had to pull out of the tournament following his accident (get well soon!), I really enjoyed rookie replacement Jonathan Harris’ performance against Take The Cannoli. As well as being a talented competitor, he did a great job playing off “The Professor” and looked comfortable doing so – it’s rare we see a rookie get the trivia/showmanship balance right in their first match! I do agree though with whoever it was online that commented they missed a trick by not calling themselves “The Faculty” or something similar. I hope Jonathan gets the Schmoedown bug and continues beyond the tournament, if so The School of the Elite could quickly become a dangerous faction.

Sneider and Andreyko may be – as their name suggests – an odd couple, but they are playing so well together! Following the win over The Paddington Two, they were both talking positively about the pairing, Sneider saying “The Android” was binging out the best of him and Andreyko calling this his best game technique-wise. It’s hard to argue with that. While they are both highly impressive Singles competitors, they do have their blind spots, but as a pair they complement each other’s blind spots and Sneider has competed in more title matches than petty much anyone in the league! I can’t see Sneider joining the Fyffe Club or Andreyko leaving it currently, but Robert Meyer Burnett’s time with the Four Horsemen showed that it is not necessary for both team members to be in the same faction.

mtsdrewloganI really hope Take The Cannoli stay together beyond the tournament! Drew and Brianne are both wonderful competitors but once again they cover each other’s blind spots so well! More than that, then genuinely look like they are having fun together! I would never have thought we would see Drew coming out dressed as Logan, but Brianne managed to get him to do it! They are both such likeable competitors and Drew seemed very positive about the idea of them sticking together, so I really hope they do!

A “Mighty” fine competitor

As a fan of Top 10 and the Horsemen, it’s no real surprise that I’m a fan of Matt Knost, but the last 2 rounds have reminded me why I love watching him on this show so much. His sarcastic responses to pretty much anything anyone said were hilarious – he broke Kristian Harloff with a simple “good one”! – and his happy dance both as he deflated the beach ball his team were playing with and when he spun the wheel have been immortalised in GIFs that will live on forever.

I do wonder how much more he will continue to compete in the Schmoedown though. He has competed in Singles for 3 seasons but has only played in 6 matches (going 3-3), and it has been as a part of Top 10 that he has really made his mark on the league. Such has been the form of the Founding Fathers over these last few weeks, part of me can see Rocha and Murrell sticking together as the lead team for the Horsemen. Reilly, Rocha and Murrell are clearly the main competitors in the Singles Division and Inman in Innergeekdom. Where would that leave Knost?

I would love to see Knost take on the role of manager for the Horsemen. He is a great mouthpiece and while the managers don’t compete too often, I think it would be great to get him into an annual Manager’s Bowl. Whatever happens though, I hope he continues to feature regularly on the Schmoedown!

KOrruption but no controversy

How could I talk about this round of matches without giving my thoughts on the way KOrruption v Founding Fathers ended? Personally, despite cheering for the Founding Fathers, I fully agree with the judges’ decision that saw KOrruption win on the first question of Sudden Death. Let’s take a quick look through what happened.

  • Rocha uses Founding Fathers’ last JTE rule on their 5-point question before pulling Danny DeVito out his ass (that sounds painful). I’ve seen some people suggest Rocha only used the JTE for dramatic effect, but I disagree with this both from watching the footage and also listening to what Rocha said post-match. They knew DeVito was in the movie but not certain if he was the correct answer, so used the JTE rule to see if they could get a better answer and settled for DeVito as an educated guess.mtschallenge
  • On the first question in Sudden Death, Murrell initially writes the wrong answer, but realises his mistake at the last moment. With no JTE rule remaining he does not have time to write a legible correct answer. He is the first person to answer but as there was no legible correct answer on the whiteboard, the point is not awarded.
  • Chance shows the answer of David O’Russell, Rocha and Kalinowski show David O. Russell. The judges declare KOrruption the winner.
  • Rocha challenges the ruling, from the footage we see, the argument appears to be that as Murrell answers first and says the correct answer, the point should have been awarded.
  • Once we return from the challenge, Mark Ellis announces that the challenge has been overruled and KOrruption have won. During the explanation, Ellis does make mention of Chance’s misspelling.
  • In an emotional post-match interview, Rocha is not happy that Chance’s answer of O’Russell was allowed

The feeling I got from watching all this was that as the initial challenge over Murrell’s answer was going on, it came up that Chance had misspelt and this was added to the challenge – something we do not see in the broadcast footage.

mtsellischallengeI think Ellis does a great job of explaining the reasons behind the ruling. In what could be considered the “Jane Fonda Rule” it is explained that from the rules revision the whiteboard is not intended as a backup to the spoken answer but is used due to multiple competitors having the same question. As such, due to the time limit on the question, the answer must be legibly written on the whiteboard within the allotted time as well as said aloud when prompted. I agree with this, otherwise even the first person to answer would have a few extra seconds to think of the correct answer before they give it. The other rule that Ellis touches on is the “Japeto Rule” that as long as the written answer is legible and spelled phonetically. There was no difference in the way the name was said by Chance compared to Rocha and Kalinowski and personally – as someone who has come to the Schmoedown not as a giant movie fan – if I heard the competitors say the name and was asked to write it, then I probably would have done the same as Chance!

mtsfallout
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house watching Jenn’s interview with the Founding Fathers

Obviously, it’s a horrible way to finish a match and I think Kalinowski’s reaction as before he showed his answer suggests that he knew the controversy coming. This is only Chance’s second match and I hope the reaction doesn’t affect him moving forward in the tournament or as he begins his Singles career. As for the Founding Fathers, it was clearly a low point for them, but these guys are former – and likely future – champions and will both bounce back from this setback.

A fine line between right and wrong

“Should have just put Charlie” – Drew McWeeny

KOrruption’s Sudden Death victory wasn’t the only example of the fine line between right and wrong during this round. Asked who Freddie Highmore played in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, “The Godfather” wrote Charlie Button – a wrong answer as the surname is Bucket – and did not get the point. Jonathan Harris and Brianne both got the point by writing just the first name.

While I again fully agree with the decision, I think that it is a shame for McWeeny to miss out on the point here by trying to give the surname when the first name was sufficient. I would like it if moving forward, the question included a clarification as to how much of the name would be required.

Anarchy in a nutshell

If you ever wondered why the theme of the tournament was called Anarchy, just watch Cinemaniacs v Who’s The Boss!

“This team is anchored by veteran knowledge, homeless vagrants and talent” – Ben Bateman

First of all, let’s look at the teams themselves. Who’s The Boss has one of the biggest heels of the season in Ben Bateman paired with Mark Reilly, a Horseman who has had beef with Team Action this season for their lack of respect, with the moron/enigma (delete as appropriate) that is Finstock spewing nonsense pre- and post-match. The Cinemaniacs have Matt Knost paired with his former stablemate and traitor William Bibbiani, so they were clearly never going to get along, while Emma Fyffe is their manager but more interested in seeing the Shirewolves keep hold of their belts.

mtsgoodoneTo the entrances and Bibbiani and Fyffe come out with a happy upbeat entrance throwing a beach ball between each other. When the ball gets thrown to Matt Knost it looks like he’s joining in… until you realise that the smile and dance is because he’s deflating the beach ball, to the amusement of Ben and Reilly, who even high fives Knost as they sit down.

Throughout the match, Bateman channels his inner Andrew Ghai with his shit talk towards Bibbs, but is shut down by Knost when he tries to put him off.

mtsrochabossTo the Cinemaniacs’ post-match interview and it is crashed by Rocha, who congratulates Knost on his performance before confronting Bibbiani ahead of their title match. Rocha then crashes Who’s The Boss’ interview to congratulate Reilly and soon ends up trading barbs with Bateman (who threatens to run him over with his car) and Finstock.

As if the quality of some teams wasn’t reason enough to declare Anarchy a success, seeing competitors who wouldn’t often share the screen interacting with each other has led to some wonderful moments!

Predicting the Semifinals

Obviously all 4 teams are more than capable of winning now that they have made it to this stage, so it will not surprise me if these matches come down to the spin of the Wheel.

Who’s The Boss v KOrruption: It’s still so hard to judge KOrruption as we only have 2 matches on which to look at Chance’s strengths and weaknesses. My pick goes to Who’s The Boss as Reilly is looking back to his best and is working so well with Bateman as they each have abroad range of knowledge but also different specialities to allow them to cover each other

mtsoddThe Odd Couple v The Harris Brothers: So as I was writing this I was catching up on the last couple of episodes of Action Movie Anatomy and they were discussing the Harris Brothers with Brianne Chandler. They discussed how having grown up together, there is a potential that Lon and Jonathan may have quite a similar range of strengths, which could cause them issues if the questions don’t go there way. I would give the victory to The Odd Couple as Andreyko and Sneider are on such good form and cover each other’s weaknesses so well.

 

What did you think about this round? Who stood out to you and who are you expecting to win the semis? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Anarchy Round 1

Anarchy Round 1

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams – well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

The Round 1 results were:

  • Founding Fathers beat Wait, I Know This! by TKO 20-17
  • The Paddington Two beat War Machine by TKO 23-21
  • The Odd Couple beat Team Seb’s by TKO 20-10
  • Who’s the Boss? beat Crazy Eighty-Greats 28-27
  • Cinemaniacs beat Franchise Force by TKO 26-19
  • KOrruption beat Inky and the Brain 19-18
  • Take the Cannoli beat The Self-Righteous Brothers 35-31
  • Evil Geniuses beat Wildberries by TKO 25-15

Now rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts on the round instead.

Who stole Kal?

Ben Bateman was famously thrown out of Collider Collision II by Commissioner Thadd Williams after evidence suggested he was responsible for the theft of Kal the Schmoe Dog, which left Mark Reilly unable to attend fellow Horseman Dan Murrell’s match against Andrew Ghai.

mtskalgonebenIt became clear ahead of his first match with Ben as part of Who’s the Boss? that Reilly has not forgotten or forgiven “The Boss” for this. But Bateman once again declared his innocence and I’m still inclined to agree with him. It still seems far too convenient to me that Thadd was sent a picture of Kal in Bateman’s car as he was stood with Team Action.

But who would steal Kal and set up Bateman? Well Finstock is one potential culprit and that could play in great later down the line considering he is now managing this team, but I have a sneaky feeling that Kal’s disappearance was part of a greater corruption… or should I say KOrruption. Kalinowski has made it clear that he is not a fan of factions and the Horsemen are the one faction he has not made clear moves against, while it would have been a great chance to put Andrew Ghai off his game against Murrell (if that was the plan, it didn’t work) as revenge for Action’s win over DC Movie News.

Changes to the Viper Squad?

When it was first announced that Ethan Erwin and Jeannine “The Machine” would be on a team together and managed by Jay Washington, this looked like the perfect opportunity for the Viper Squad to recruit him. Unfortunately, plans may have been scuppered slightly by Ethan having to swap partners due to scheduling issues, but “The Urban Gladiator” managed to sweet-talk Thadd into allowing him to manage both teams. Sadly for Jay, neither of his teams could make it past Round 1, but it looks like he may still have a chance of winning over Erwin as he announced that he will remain as his manager for the remainder of the season.

The Viper Squad have done a good job this year considering two of the 3 competitors are rookies and there are some underrated talents in that faction, but if they can convince Ethan Erwin to join the faction, then that will instantly make their rivals sit up and take notice.

mtsmarkeiaBut will all of the other Vipers still be there? It looks like Jay has managed to keep the peace between Jeannine and Stacy Howard after they were put up against each other and Andreyko at Collision, but “Marvelous” Markeia McCarty appeared to be enjoying her time away from the Viper Squad as manager of Take The Cannoli, saying that she felt smothered and not allowed to shine in the Viper Squad. The Viper Squad could really push into the upper echelons of the factions if they can continue to grow together, if they have to keep rebuilding every year, it will be hard for them to dominate the league.

A star is born

As far as debuts go, they don’t go much better than Chance Ellison. “The Cobra” made his debut alongside Mike Kalinowski as part of KOrruption at the tender age of 20 (I feel old!) and looked instantly at home. Having come up from the fan leagues, people already knew that the knowledge was there, it was just a question of whether he could cope in the top flight with the pressure of the lights and the crowds. Well he’s already popped up onstage at the live event, joined Napzok and Kalinowski in a pre-match scene and won his debut team match.

mtschanceAnd in his debut match itself, he was the top scorer in the opening round, missing a perfect round by just 1 point whilst also correctly answering his solo question in the final round and working well with “The Killer” to work through a poor spin in Round 2. 1 match may be a small sample size, but so far he’s proving the crowd’s chants of “overrated” very wrong. The Founding Fathers will be a much sterner test than Inky and the Brain and there will be no easy matches as they work through the bracket, but if they can carry on through the tournament, Chance could add his name to the shortlist for Rookie of the Year.

One other thing that could help him go for Rookie of the Year would be a strong start to his Singles career. He’s been named as one of the 5 competitors in contention for the final 2 places in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. There are some strong names even in that group of 5 so there is no guarantee that he will progress, but if he can continue how he has started, we may have just seen a new tar enter the league.

mtstptRoom for improvement

The Paddington Two may have beat War Machine and impressed me along the way, but they will have sterner tests as the tournament progresses. They clearly have a strong knowledge of movies but I still worry that (despite Matt Atchity having now played 12 matches and both Free 4 Alls) they will struggle with their knowledge of how to play the game.

When Atchity and Duralde were conferring in Round 2 they were making no attempt to cover their mouths, so if they had got the question wrong, their conferring may have helped their opponents get to the right answer for the steal. Atchity also asked on a steal for multiple choice – not possible as War Machine went for a 2-point answer – which is something that I have noticed he does in most of his matches.

The Schmeodown has come on so far from its beginnings, movie trivia will get you so far but you need to be able to play the game if you are going to rise to the top. I can’t see them pulling off a result against The Odd Couple.

mtscoyMore please

One of the best bits of Round 1 has been seeing some other competitors reborn as managers. I’ve been a fan of Coy Jandreau’s happiness and enthusiasm when he is on the Schmoedown and I was so happy to see him named as a manger in this tournament. He didn’t disappoint at all with his Jeff-Goldblum-inspired promo at the live event and while I was happy as a Horsemen fan to see the Founding Fathers win, it was disappointing knowing that Coy’s time as a manger in this tournament would be over.

Jonny Loquasto is another who I have really enjoyed this year as a mouthpiece for his competitors and again it is a shame that his time in the competition was over almost as fast as his time at the announcer’s desk at Collision.

Markeia looked energised managing Take the Cannoli – who can blame her with competitors like Drew and Brianne! – and Ricky Hayberg was a wonderful addition to the Wildberries.

I really hope that the Anarchy tournament leads to some of these guys deciding to stay as managers as they have not all found success competing but all bring something to the league. They don’t all need to start factions, but even just being as mouthpieces for unaligned competitors would bring a new dimension to the league, whilst also ensuring it wasn’t the same 4 or 5 people competing in the Manager Bowl every year at Spectacular.

Predicting the Quarterfinals

I wrote this during the week before the quarterfinals started but due to a combination of work and travel, it is likely that the first match will have aired by the time this goes up.

The Odd Couple v The Paddington Two: Assuming Sneider and Andreyko can continue to work together, I think their better knowledge of the game will give The Odd Couple the victory

mtswtbCinemaniacs v Who’s the Boss?: Plenty of pedigree in this match with the current Singles Champion and former Team Champion facing off against the former 2-time Singles Champ and one of the best prospects in the game. Reilly is getting over his rust and I think the way that he and Bateman are gelling will see them make it to the semis

The Harris Bros v Take the Cannoli: It’s such a shame that JTE has had to step back from the Schmoedown for the rest of the season as he recovers (get well soon JTE!) as it looks like the Evil Geniuses could have been dangerous. I don’t know anything about Lon’s new competitor other than that it is his brother, so I have to lean towards Take the Cannoli

UntitledFounding Fathers v KOrruption: Putting aside all Horsemen bias here, I’ve still got to pick the Founding Fathers as they have experience on their side. That said, if Chance can put in another great performance and the categories fall right for Kalinowski, this could easily go against the former champions

What did you think about the first round of the tournament? Who stood out to you and who are you expecting to win in the Quarters? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Schmoedown Live 3

Schmoedown Live 3

The 3rd and final live Schmoedown event of the year took place at the El Portal Theatre on September 8th. Living across the pond, I had to wait until last week to see the matches, but boy was it worth the wait! The Horsemen’s presence at every live event continued with John Rocha and Dan Murrell taking part in the first match of the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, while Jason Inman prepared to defend his Innergeekdom title against Mara Knopic – the first live title match! While I would say the 2nd live event was my favourite to watch (I’m a Star Wars nut and the Horsemen reveal was perfect!), I really enjoyed watching this one and wanted to go back through the main bits.

The Matches

Founding Fathers (“The Outlaw” John Rocha & “Dangerous” Dan Murrell) 20-17 Wait, I Know This (“Sassy” Stacy Howard & “Blackman” Winston Marshall)

“Horsemen! Let’s mount up, it’s time to ride.” – John Rocha

If this match is a hint as to the fun we will have during the Anarchy tournament, we are in for a treat. Clearly underdogs against 2 former champions, Wait, I Know This played up to the fact, with a great promo from first-time manager Coy Jandreau, making ladies swoon everywhere with his Jeff Goldblum costume. The team came out flanked by 2 dinosaurs (it’s still to be confirmed if either was a Tricenatauratops) and certainly got a large portion of the crow on their side. And then came the Founding Fathers, escorted out by the other 3 Horsemen and with a great new entrance music. With Murrell having lost his last match to Andrew Ghai, we knew he’d be up for this and as such we were in for a treat.

mtsanarchy1The Founding Fathers took a strong lead in Round 1, with a combined score of 12 (7 for Rocha, 5 for Dan) while Wait, I know This struggled to keep up as often it turned out Winston (1/8) didn’t know this, though Stacy went under the radar and picked up an impressive 6 points to keep her team in the hunt.

The Founding Fathers chose to defer their spin in Round 2 and Winston spun Pixar Movies. Their fortunes were mixed in this round as they correctly answered all of their questions, however they had to check down to multiple choice for 5/6, only just putting them ahead of their opponents. At this point, it must be noted that Stacy Howard continued to show her Macuga-esque knack of being able to get the right answer on a complete guess. When her guessing game is on point, she will always be a danger. Rocha took the spin for the Founding Fathers, but he landed on Opponent’s Choice and after plenty of deliberation, the former Singles Champions were given Movie Release Dates. Watching the round, it looked like Dan Murrell took the lead on this round – something Rocha confirmed in the post-match interview – and they went 6/6 for 8 points, but it did seem that they could have got more 2-point answers had they chosen not to play it safe.

Things looked bad for Wait I Know This going into the final round 6 points down and things didn’t get any better as Winston missed his 2-point question in the category of Tom Cruise. Stacy nailed her 3-pointer in Brad Pitt and Wait, I Know This were left having to answer their 5-point question to avoid the TKO. I’m a big fan of the Middle Earth films and thought the question to name the 2 actors to appear in all 6 Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies was easy, but I made the same mistake as they did, picking Orlando Bloom (who was not in the first Hobbit movie) rather than Cate Blanchett. And so the Founding Fathers got the TKO victory to kick off the Anarchy Tournament and will next face the winner of KOrruption v Inky and the Brain.

mtsffwinI really liked the chemistry between Winston and Stacy in this match and think it is a shame they were facing one of the strongest teams in the tournament in their opener. Unfortunately with The World’s Finest having done so well in their rookie season, I can’t see Wait, I Know This remaining as a team long-term. As for the Founding Fathers, they will have tougher tests, but scoring 20 points in 2 rounds despite spinning Opponent’s Choice will have put the league on notice. Murrell is back and looks set to prove the Ghai loss was nothing more than a blip, while Rocha appears to have new life alongside Murrell and this could help draw out some of his best ever performances.

“It’s my honour to ride alongside the greatest.” – John Rocha

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 21-20 Jason “Justice” Inman

After her victories over Rachel Cushing and Mike Kalinowski, we knew that we were likely going to be in for a treat when Mara Knopic took on the Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman. Both competitors were very complimentary about each other ahead of the match – no real surprise considering she is effectively a sister-in-law to the Horsemen – and while both clearly wanted to win, what was important was that we were treated to a great match. The mutual respect continued as Mara emerged with Dan Murrell and when the rest of the Horsemen led out Inman, there was clearly no animosity towards her.

mtsknoinRound 1 was a close affair as Mara – who has sometimes struggled in the opening round – looked to be on form with a score of 7, but Jason was showing his championship credentials by getting 8/10. Brad Gilmore from the Schmoedown Rundown won’t be happy though as once again both competitors missed on a question about the Back to the Future films!

“I don’t think I’m a rookie anymore.” – Mara Knopic

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The moment the match spun in Mara’s favour (literally)

Like his fellow Horsemen before him, Inman deferred his spin and Mara was up, landing on Movie Release Dates with her first spin and – to the shock of the crowd – accepting it without hesitation. She fired though the round and only had to check down to multiple choice for one question on her way to correctly answering 5/5 for a haul of 9 points. Jason was less lucky with his spins, initially landing on Mixed Bag and then Star Wars on his second attempt. Inman may not have many weaknesses, but this category certainly isn’t one of his strengths. He worked his way through the category well, going 4/5 for 6 points, missing on a Yoda quote that Mara was also unable to get despite multiple choice.

In Round 3, Mara spun Middle Earth and they got a question that I found easy, but as we already know I’m a Tolkien nut and I can imagine it wouldn’t have been as obvious to anyone else. Both competitors chose to risk 2 points but while Mara was able to pull out the correct answer, the defending champion was not able to and he fell 6 points behind.

Inman caught up slightly in Round 4 as he buzzed in for 3 correct answers to Mara’s 1. After 2 matches in the 5-round format, the speed round appears to be her biggest weakness as she is often beaten to the buzzer, but she clearly has the knowledge and if she can improve her speed she will be deadly here. I will also give her some slack as the buzzers did not appear to be the most reliable of things on the night.

Going into Round 5 with a 4-point deficit, things weren’t looking good for Inman, but if anyone could come back to win it would be him. He hit the mark with his 2- and 3-pointers and after Mara hit her 2-point question, he was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to stay in the match. I think it’s fair to say Chris Skalicky will not be in Inman’s good graces right now after the 5 pointer to name the type of wine Bilbo offered Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, but as someone able to quote the entire line I would call this question miles easier than the one that felled Kalinowski, though I still think it was a very worthy 5-pointer.

“This was a knowledge-based game and knowledge won it” – Jason Inman

mtsmkchampAnd so Mara Knopic became the first female to win a solo title in the Schmoedown, following hot on the heels of the Shirewolves becoming the first female champions. With a 5-0 record and a title to her name, it will be difficult to argue against her being named Rookie of the Year unless Ethan Erwin can have some serious success in the Ultimate Schmoedown. She clearly has a good breadth and depth of knowledge and with Movie Release Dates now appearing more regularly as a category she has more than proved herself worthy of the title and is in my opinion one of the top 4 Innergeekdom competitors.

Inman will come back strong. 20 points is a solid score considering he had one of his weaker categories in Round 2 and I am sure we will see him competing in title matches again in 2019.

More KOrruption

mtskalcrashIt was always going to be difficult to beat an ending as good as the Horsemen reveal, but the arrival of KOrruption to interrupt Mara’s post-match interview and announce that Mike will be taking on Mara for the title at Schmoedown Spectacular 3 without having to go though a contender match to earn a spot. As a beaten finalist in the tournament I can understand Kalinowski being in the hunt for the next title shot and with the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams and Singles Tournaments still to go there obviously isn’t much time to fit in Innergeekdom matches between now and Spectacular, but it is still a shock to see Kalinowski get a free pass to another title match. I guess it helps to be friends with the Commissioner.

As for the Commissioner, Thadd is going to be coming under heavy pressure over the next few months. At the start of the show he took credit for the live event, Innergeekdom tournament and Anarchy, which I’m sure won’t have been appreciated by hosts Mark Ellis and the one true Commish Kristian Harloff. While the Innergeekdom tournament took the division to a new level, the lack of a clear bracket will have certainly rubbed some competitors the wrong way, which won’t have been helped by the splitting of teams for the Anarchy Tournament. Jonny Loquasto has not been seen since he was unceremoniously dropped from the announcers desk at Collision but will be managing one of the Anarchy teams and may want to have a word with the Commissioner. The Fyffe Club are likely still seething at Sam Witwer being stripped of his title too. For some competitors, Kalinowski being given a title shot without having to go through a contenders match could be the last straw. Thadd has now been in charge of the league for about a year, I will be shocked if there has not been some serious challenge to his leadership by the end of the season.

Other Thoughts

mtsroghaiThere was a great moment during Inman’s entrance when Rocha and Ghai (in the crowd) fronted up to each other before shaking each other’s hand. This was a great moment as it shows Ghai’s victories over Murrell and Reilly have earned him even the grudging respect of the Outlaw ahead of their contenders match

It wasn’t shown much on the videos, but the Wildberries were at the El Portal to help get the crowd pumped for the show. I’ve seen a few clips online from people who were there (would you believe me if I said I wasn’t jealous? Me neither) and it looks like they did a great job. They may not be the best at trivia but they are so much fun and a role like this is perfect for them!

Sticking with the Wildberries, having Jeopardy as an answer at a live event with Josh Macuga present was just too perfect and it was great to see him rush the stage to celebrate. #JoshMacuga4Jeopardy

It was also great to see Chris Skalicky onstage judging the buzzers during the title match. His is a name many people have heard watching the show but for those who do not watch much other Schmoedown related content (seriously, there’s great stuff out there, you really should!) it must be great to finally see the infamous head writer

After Mara titled herself “Mara, first of her name, Queen of the Innergeekdom, Protector of the Realm, Brown Dwarf Star of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, Mother of kittens, the Undefeated, the Breaker of brackets” on the Schmoedown Rundown, I really want Kristian to have to say all this when announcing her for her next match and see them fit the whole title onto the graphic!

mtscoyHey may not be the best of competitors, but we need so much more of Coy Jandreau as a manager in the league. His charisma and enthusiasm is wonderful and I think he could do a great job as a manager for a competitor who is not so confident with their promos. I think we could see a few other managers along similar lines as the Anarchy tournament goes on

It was great to see the improvements made for this show after the last one. After some issues with having only 1 mic per table during Team Action v The Shirewolves, the production crew did a great job to make sure there was a mic per person at the table

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

KOrruption Innergeekdown Tournament: The Final

Hi guys, apologies yet again for the delay in writing this, the last few weeks have been so busy I’m in serious catch-up mode. Thanks everyone for your patience!

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors.

If you want to read my reviews of the previous rounds, they can be found here:

Mike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-25 “Amazing” Mara Knopic

And so it came to this: the showpiece event that I doubt many people were expecting when the Round 1 matches were initially announced. Mike Kalinowski, the puppet master and creator of the tournament against Mara Knopic, who was not even in the original 10 Innergeekom competitors slated to compete for Jason Inman’s title.

schfinalMara was clearly still suffering in the aftermath of her accident, but the Chewbacca onesie seemed to give her strength and she matched her highest Round 1 score of 8/10, running out of time trying to answer the Green Lantern quote and just getting the incorrect age on the Patreon Question. It was the Patreon Question that denied Kalinowski another perfect round and if I’m honest, I would have probably accepted Mike’s answer of a minimum age limit, though the answer required was the specific age.

Going into Round 2, The Killer deferred his spin and Mara got Harry Potter on her first spin, choosing to keep it. She started strong with 4 points from the first 2 questions, before checking down to multiple choice to get a point on the next one, but missed 2-point attempts on both of her remaining questions, Kalinowski unable to steal. Kalinowski was up next and it looked like it would be his day as he landed on Spinner’s Choice on his first spin and chose to go with the DCEU. Though he missed his second question, Mara was unable to steal and he answered his other 4 questions correctly for 7 points, extending his lead to 16-13.

Both players chose to play it safe in Round 3 when Kalinowski spun Star Trek but Mike was perhaps a little too safe, only going for 1 point whereas Mara went for 2. Both gave the same correct answer and Mike’s lead was cut to 2.

His lead soon grew though as he dominated the speed round, buzzing in first on all 5 questions, however a wrong answer on the 2nd question meant that he only came away with 3 points from the round. In my preview of the final, I noted that the buzzer round was new for both competitors, but it appeared that Kalinowski had studied the round better, having his hand already on the buzzer whereas Mara had her hand off to the side, giving her a distinct disadvantage.

schmarawinsAnd so we came to the final round. With the scores at 25-20 in favour of Kalinowski, it would require an Innergeekdom-record comeback in order to win (Navarro’s 4 point comeback against Jeremy Jahns the highest up to this point). She got off to a great start by nailing her 2-point and 3-point questions to throw things over to her rival. Kalinowski missed on his 2-pointer in Scores and Soundtracks but correctly answered his 3-pointer to force Mara to answer her 5-pointer to stay in the game. The category: Indiana Jones. Mara has been coming out to the Indiana Jones theme all tournament and proved she knew her stuff in the category by answering the question with barely any hesitation. And so we were back to Kalinowski, 5 points in the category of MCU. He is generally strong in the comic book movie categories, but I would feel confident in calling this question the hardest ever asked in Innergeekdom! Despite still having all 3 of his JTE rules, Kalinowski could not pull the answer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein remained as she wrote it, with him falling trying to defeat his own creation. Mara Knopic, the rookie who nobody had heard of mere months ago, had won the Innergeekdom tournament and booked her place at the September Live Event to face Jason Inman for the title!

Kalinowski can certainly hold his head high after that performance as both Mara and Rachel Cushing admitted post-match that they didn’t know the final answer either, while he has consistently scored high in all 4 matches within the tournament and does not appear to have any glaring weaknesses. I just wonder how much he regrets playing it safe in Round 3 and not using one of his JTE rules on his 2-point question in Round 5 as he appeared to know the answer but not be able to pull the name.

schbuzzer
Mara needs to spend some time practicing the speed round if she wants to beat Inman

The Final

What chance does Mara Knopic have against Jason Inman? I think she has every chance of winning! She may not have a perfect Round 1 to her name (things have been far from perfect in some matches) but she has shown a wide range of knowledge and has continually found a way to win regardless of who she has playing, going so far as to beat 2 of what I would consider to be the top 3 Innergeekdom competitors in consecutive matches. She will also benefit from the final being in a title format as she can now see what she needs to work on ahead of the final. If she can learn from this match to keep her hand already on the buzzer, she has every chance of getting some points in the speed round (where Inman excelled against Donica) and if she can keep things close, she will have every chance of winning the title.

The fun bit will be seeing how Dan Murrell reacts. The 2-time former Singles Champion will be at the event as he is competing along with Rocha in the Anarchy match against Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall and would have also been expected to cheer on his fellow Horseman in his title match. However now that Mara is there Murrell’s loyalties may be split and Rocha even suggested on Wednesday’s Collider Live that he may be cheering her on for the match. What impact could that have on the Horsemen in Inman were to lose? This could be a tough test of Rocha’s management over the next few weeks!

Brown Dwarf Star to Superstar

Looking beyond Ineergeekdom for a moment and Mara has to come into contention for Rookie of the Year. She is 4-0 this year with some impressive scalps to her name and is set for a title match. Ethan Erwin would currently get my vote due to the combination of Singles (where he lost his Number 1 Contender match to Andreyko to go 3-1) and the Free 4 All, while he also has a chance to improve his standing with a good performance in the Anarchy tournament. Jeannine would be the other name coming into contention, but with a 2-1 record and being on the same team as Erwin, I would give him the advantage. However, if Mara can become the first rookie to win a title, then surely the odds of winning the award will swing her way.

KOrruption

“This is what this tournament was about” – Mike Kalinowski

Since Mike parted ways with The League and started KOrruption, it’s safe to say he has had an impact on the league. The Innergeekdom Division has gone to a new level with the number and quality of the 1v1 matches and the tournament, while competitors like him and Rachel now have records more befitting their quality, while other unknowns (like Mara) have had a chance to come into the league and make a name for themselves.

As well as this tournament, KOrruption has seen The Patriots and the Lion’s Den come to an end, the formation of the Knights of Ken – who appear willing to throw their support behind Kalinowski – and has also led to the (at least temporary) breaking up of most teams for the Anarchy edition of the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament, which is at this stage impossible to call. As he said post-match, KOrruption is not just Innergeekdom and this is just the start… I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

What did you think of the final? Who do you think will win at the El Portal Theatre? Would Mara get your vote for Rookie of the Year? Let me know down below. Thanks for reading and until next time… Baaaaa!

schKOrruptionmain

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament: Semi-finals

Hey guys! First of all,sorry for the delay in writing this, I’ve been away in Ireland for a wedding so even though I was able to see both semi-finals before I went away I wasn’t able to actually write about them until now. I’m hoping that my write-up of the final will be up within a few days of the match.

After Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica in their Innergeekdom Title Match back in April, the defending champion spoke about how he wanted his next title defence to be a worthy competitor who had got there by defeating some of the best competitors in the division. It looked like he may get his wish as it was announced that there would be 5 1v1 matches leading to a Fatal Fiveway Number 1 Contender Match for the chance to face him.

“The Killer”, fresh from his split with The League, approached Commissioner Thadd Williams and through questionable methods arranged a new format for the next run for a title shot: a tournament containing 16 competitors. We were treated to some fantastic matches in Rounds 1 and 2 and while both matches had an overwhelming favourite, we’d seen enough to know that an upset was certainly possible.

 

“Amazing” Mara Knopic 24-23 Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing

Arguably the best match in the Innergeekdom Division, surely one of the matches of the year and perhaps even one of the best Schmoedown matches ever, the match started slow but will live long in the memory. Rachel Cushing was most people’s favourite for the tournament following her demolition of Markeia McCarty and second consecutive perfect Round 1 against Eric Zipper at Collider Collision II, however she was under the weather on the day of the match, which became increasingly clear as the match wore on. The Brown Dwarf Star was also struggling as she was in pain following a recent car accident, so before we even start going into detail on this match, I want to give massive respect to both of them for agreeing to go ahead with the match. If you have read my articles on the previous rounds, you will know that I usually take a look at where the competitors have struggled, but given the circumstances I will not be getting into this so much for this match as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to focus and concentrate when clearly struggling.

mtsrachmarThe Crusher’s run of perfect Round 1s came to an end as she missed question 6, finishing a run of 27 consecutive correct answers in Round 1 during this tournament, eventually finishing with 8 of a possible 10 points. Mara did not have such a good start and found herself 8-5 down going into Round 2, at which point I imagine the Schmoeville bookies were getting ready to pay out on a Cushing victory.

Going into Round 2 and Cushing was up first, initially spinning Mixed Bag but spinning away to Heroes & Villains. She started strongly with 3 consecutive 2-pointers but missed on her last 2 despite checking down to multiple choice, Mara stealing a point on the final question. It was then Knopic’s turn to spin and she also chose to spin away from Mixed Bag, eventually landing on Marvel. She missed on her first question – Rachel missing with the steal opportunity – but improved to 4/5 for 6 points, leaving her just 2 behind going into Round 3.

mtsmarafinalBoth competitors hit their 2-point questions, Mara missed on her 3-pointer but hit her final question, while Rachel landed her 3-pointer. And so it came down to Rachel’s 5 pointer. A correct answer would see her into the final; a wrong answer would give us the first ever Overtime in an Innergeekdom 1v1 match – Coy’s Fatal Fiveway victory (remembered as the “Pudding” match) being the only other match in the division to enter Overtime. The category Who Said It? is always going to be tricky and while many fans have commented that it was obvious, Rachel was unable to pull the answer and the match continued.

Both competitors hit their first 2 answers in Sudden Death before missing the next 3, though it was so nearly over on question 5 as Cushing was off by a letter, going with San Frantokyo rather than San Fransokyo, and at that point I think people realised that we could really be in for a long haul. Both competitors were clearly struggling to keep going at this point, as they both answered question 6 correctly before missing 3 in a row – going so far as to both guess the same wrong answer (Tex) on question 9 before both hitting question 10. And finally, as I was beginning to think Sudden Death may take on a more literal meaning in the match, another Who Said It? question came up. Mara was able to correctly answer but Rachel Cushing then shocked the world by missing, completing a match that by the end had so many of us on the edge of our seats.

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Kristian’s reaction was likely mirrored by many watching come the end of the match

As I mentioned above, I will not go into where competitors struggled in this match as I think both competitors would have done better had they been at full health. And that in itself shows just how strong they both are, as 19 points over 3 rounds is a very respectable score. Rachel Cushing has mentioned that this is the division where she feels most comfortable and though she may not have made the final, a title shot is clearly a matter of when not if! One thing’s for certain: Cushing v Knopic II will be one of the most anticipated matches ever when it happens down the line and if both are at their best it really could be one of the best ever matches.

mtskalfinalMike “Killer” Kalinowski 23-21 Adam “The Haymaker” Hlavac

“Win or lose, I’ve changed the game”

With the first spot in the final decided, it was between Kalinowski and Hlavac for the chance to face Mara Knopic. After the last round, I was expecting a Kalinowski victory and it looked like we’d be getting that pretty quickly as Adam struggled to just 3 points in Round 1, while Kalinowski – who just missed a perfect Round 1 against Donica – got the perfect round he’d been craving and the bonus to take a 11-3 lead.

Adam was up first in Round 2 and initially spun Star Trek but took the risk and spun again, landing on DCEU where he went 5/5 for 8 points. Kalinowski spun Harry Potter – a previous weakness that he listed for this match as a strength following a 5/5 Round 2 performance for 8/10 points in his last round – but chose to spin again and landed on MCU, going 4/5 for 7 points while Hlavac was unable to take advantage of his steal opportunity.

mtsadammikeGoing into Round 3 with a 7 point deficit was always going to be difficult for Adam to overcome, but he gave it his best shot by correctly answering all 3 of his questions, forcing The Killer to have to answer in Round 3 for the first time in the tournament. Missing the opportunity of a third consecutive KO/TKO did not phase him though as he correctly answered his 2 and 3-pointers to win the match and book his place in the final.

Though poor categories in Rounds 2 and 3 are often seen as the deciders, this match shows the importance of Round 1. Even if we assume Kalinowski would have correctly answered his 5-pointer, that would have still left him with a point less than Hlavac if we only looked at the final 2 rounds. Though we know from previous matches that Adam has weaknesses (Middle Earth being the most obvious) he generally has a good breadth of knowledge in the Innergeekdom Division, so it was a surprise to see him struggle in this match. He even admitted in his post-match interview that he did know some of the answers but just could not pull it in the moment. From the highs of dominating Keetin Marchi in Round 1 to now being dominated himself, this is a stark reminder of just how easy it is to have a bad day at the table. His later Rounds however are a reminder of just how dangerous he can be and though I probably wouldn’t currently put him in the very top tier of Innergeekdom competitors, I don’t think he is far off and feel that on his day he could beat anyone.

 

The final

And so the final is set: Kalinowski v Knopic. Mara was not even part of the original plan of 5 1v1s and a Fatal Fiveway, but now she is 1 win away from a title match. Kalinowski described this match as Frankenstein v Frankenstein’s monster, which I found interesting considering the monster destroys everything its creator held dear and survived where Dr Frankenstein did not, but Kalinowski clarified this when speaking to Take 3 Productions by saying that KOrruption is changing everything we know.

“I don’t have weaknesses, I have varying degrees of strength”

Who will get the win? Some things to consider:

  • Per Frank Janisch, Mara has 60% accuracy and has averaged 18.3 points per game through the tournament
  • Again per Frank Janisch, Mike has 91% accuracy and has averaged 21 points per game throughout the tournament, despite this being the only time he has had to answer in Round 3
  • The final will be a 5 Round match, neither competitor has played in one of these, so the buzzer and betting rounds will be new to them
  • Depending how soon after the semis the final was taped, Mara may still be struggling following her accident

MTSfinalprevThough I think Mara can certainly win, the work Kalinowski has done to improve himself within the division and the way he studies his competitors makes me give him the edge. He has turned weaknesses into strengths so it is very difficult to know how to react if Mike spins Opponent’s Choice. Mara has not shown herself to be especially weak in any category either, but there has not been the same degree of strength across the board. It would not surprise me if this comes down to the speed round and it will be interesting to see how each competitor does here, as Mike especially frequently takes his time to think though his answer.

So, putting my neck on the line, like a good sheep I predict a Kalinowski v Inman match at the September live event. But it’s safe to say that whoever wins the final will have completely earned their title shot!

 

What did you think of the matches? Who do you think will be facing the champion at the El Portal? Let me know below.

Anarchy Begins

Anarchy Begins

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament took another step towards starting on Friday with the announcement of the teams. Unlike previous years, the influence of Mike Kalinowski’s attempts to remove corruption from the league resulted in the Theme of Anarchy: All the usual teams are being disbanded for the tournament and new teams being drawn out of a hat, along with managers for the majority of the teams.

Now that Commissioner Thadd has picked the teams, I’ve decided to have a quick look at the matchups we have got. This will obviously contain spoilers for the draw, also the match between The Shirewolves and World’s finest that preceded it.

 

Matt Knost & William Bibbiani – managed by Emma Fyffe

2 of the original 4 Horsemen combine under Emma Fyffe in a team that could be a dark horse for victory. “The Beast” is in some of the best form of his Schmoedown career in 2018 while “Mighty” Matt Knost is a former Teams Champion with Top 10 and has played in 4 title matches within the division. Though Knost has run hot and cold at times, his performances have generally been better of late and combined with Bibbiani’s strong Round 1’s and Emma Fyffe’s experience of managing top competitors, they could find themselves in the later stages of the tournament. This could also throw up a great dynamic if they come up against John Rocha as “The Outlaw” has unfinished business with Bibbs, would the thirst to defeat the man who betrayed him overcome his friendship with his usual teammate and fellow Horseman?

mtsyodibossMark Reilly & Ben Bateman – managed by Tom Dagnino

If Knost and Bibbs are a potential dark horse, then these guys must be real contenders. 2-time Singles Champion Mark “Yodi” Reilly has recently returned to the league following a hiatus and has been matched with one of the most impressive competitors of the year in “The Boss”. Bateman is notorious for his studying techniques and excels in categories where others may struggle, like Oscars and Movie Release Dates, while Yodi brings the title match experience and Dagnino, while not having the best of seasons with the Lion’s Den, is the most experienced manager in the league and is good at deflecting attention away from his team. The dynamic within the team will be interesting given Reilly’s upcoming match with Ben’s usual teammate Andrew Ghai, but if this team can work together, they will be difficult to beat.

Devon Stewart & Brianne Chandler – managed by Markeia McCarty*

The Kingsmen have had little success so far in the Team Division but they have been fun to watch. Now Devon is being drawn with Brianne Chandler, who is possibly one of the more underrated competitors in the league. Aside from her Free 4 All victory, she has not competed since the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments so may be a bit rusty, but if she can reach her best this team could pull off an upset. McCarty did not have the best of debuts in the Innergeekdom Tournament, but it is good to see her returning in a manager role here. She will have been learning from an experienced manager in Jay Washington and it will be interesting to see how she and Brianne can work together given Miss Movies’ history with the Viper Squad.

Jeannine “The Machine” & Ethan Erwin – managed by Jay Washington

2 of the forerunners for Rookie of the Year combine under one of the more experienced managers in the league to create a team that could go far in the competition. Erwin is currently my favourite to claim the vacant Singles Title and Jeannine has put up strong showings in her 3 matches so far. This could come down to how well they can work together as a team. Regardless of how well they work, don’t be surprised to see Jay and Jeannine trying to make Erwin a permanent member of the Viper Squad.

mtskillerkobraMike Kalinowski & Chance Ellison – managed by Ken Napzok

Probably not who “The Killer” was hoping to be paired with, rookie Chance Ellison will be lining up alongside Kalinowski with veteran Ken Napzok at the helm. The irony that the 2 competitors who have complained most about the system end up being drawn with an untried contestant is just too good to ignore. Kalinowski is a genuine triple threat in the league but Ellison is very much an unknown. Watching the Schmoedown Rundown and Late to the Party’s reaction suggest that he could be an dangerous competitor, but even if he is good at the trivia, many have shown how difficult it is to perform when under the lights for the first time. This team could be a surprise package and challenge in the later rounds, but they could also conceivably be one and done.

Jeff Sneider & Mark Andreyko – managed by Roxy Striar

On the topic of one and done teams, this partnership has the potential to go the distance, but also combust and cash out in the first round. “The Insneider” has had a generally good singles career but does have holes in his knowledge, which proved costly in his Number 1 Contender match against Bibbiani. Andreyko is a player who looks so strong but can also have horrible games. Luckily for his former Lion’s Den teammate, Andreyko has generally been in better form since joining the Fyffe Club. If Roxy Striar can get these two working together, they will be a force to be reckoned with, something I think Sneider knew judging by his cheers off-camera when the pair were announced.

mtsWildberries&Jen
You just can’t break them up…

Josh Macuga & Eliot Dewberry – managed by Ricky Hayberg

You just can’t break up the Wildberries! After a poor start, they have won 2 in a row and could cause an upset on the day. Throw in Ricky as manager and 2 things can be guaranteed when they play: carnage and loud voices! This may also be the match where Teepublic advertising takes a backseat to the Josh Macuga for Jeopardy campaign… I can’t wait!

Andrew Ghai & Rachel Cushing – managed by Robert Meyer Burnett*

Following a late withdrawal from the Innergeekdom tournament, “The Captain” makes his return to the Schmoedown managing one of the most interesting teams in the tournament. “The Crusher” is probably the strongest triple threat in the league and has been tied with “Dastardly” Drew Ghai who shocked the world with his defeat of Dan Murrell at Collider Collision II. Both study hard and I think their strengths could go together well to make an extremely dangerous team. Their personalities are complete opposites however and how they work together could prove crucial. If they can gel together, I’ll be shocked if they don’t make the semis.

Winston Marshall & Stacy Howard – managed by Coy Jandreau

This could be one of the most fun matches in the tournament. Marshall has really grown on me throughout the season as part of World’s Finest, while Stacy Howard plays the heel but also has some fun in her matches. They are also deceptively strong, with Marshall having just featured in a Number 1 Contenders match with World’s Finest and Stacy being well placed in the singles ranking. Throw in Coy and this is a trio that could have some fun.

Marc Edward Heuck & Witney Seibold – managed by Jonny Loquasto

An unknown quantity. “The Beauty” joins Schmoedown rookie Heuck. The Movie Geek may know his stuff but much like Chance Ellison, how he can cope with the pressure at the table will be key. Seibold is a strong competitor to be paired with and with “The Mouth” managing, they will not need to worry about their promos. If Heuck can perform well, then this team could cause some problems.

Eric Zipper & Haleigh Foutch – managed by Steele Saunders

While I don’t see this team making the latter stages of the tournament, they could definitely cause an upset in the first round. Zipper has performed well this season as part of World’s Finest and could enter the conversation for Rookie of the Year. Foutch has really impressed in her matches for Scream Queens but is likely to come up against stronger opposition than she has faced previously. I’m very interested to see what Steele Saunders brings to the team as he was a fun competitor in his Star Wars Fatal Fiveway. With a favourable draw they can have some success, but this will be a step up for both of them.

Scott Mantz & Sean Gerber

I’ve got to be honest, as good as both these competitors are, I think they will need a favourable draw to make it through the first round. Mantz on his day can be a real danger, but if he’s not focused he’s more dangerous to his own team. Will Gerber be able to keep him calm as Jason Inman has for many of Team Trek’s matches? If any team needed a manager, this was potentially it. Gerber has had a couple of strong showings this year, but is still relatively inexperienced compared to a number of his potential opponents. A match against Reilly & Batemen would not surprise me as it would give The Mantzman a chance for revenge against the man who stole his wheel slice.

Alonso Duralde & Matt Atchity

Duralde makes his return to the league having not competed since the 2017 Free 4 All, which was itself only his second appearance. While he may have good movie knowledge, the league has changed a lot since he last played and he may struggle to adapt. As part of MODOK, “The Kahuna” is by far the more experienced in the league, but at times you would not know it as he is not a regular in the same way that many of his competitors are. If this was a straight-up trivia battle I think they would stand more a chance, but I don’t think they will have the nuances of the how to compete in the Schmoedown that many of these teams possess.

Lon Harris & JTE

Another potential dark horse for the latter stages, “The Professor” has looked good in the Singles Division despite a loss to Ethan Erwin and being paired with one half of the most successful team in Schmoedown history could be just what he needs to make a run in the tournament. As for “Little Evil”, he was so often considered to be carried by Jeff Sneider, this will be a chance to remind everybody how dangerous he is in the Teams format. If things go well for the team, could we see Harris joining the Lion’s Den after the tournament? If nothing else, maybe the Professor can help JTE with his spelling.

mtsanarchyhorsemenDan Murrell & John Rocha

The moment Murrell’s name was drawn, I just had a feeling that his former rival would be partnering him. 2 of the original triumvirate of Singles Champions, both competitors are legends of the Schmoedown and between then will have a good grasp of most categories. Add to that their first match being at the Live Event and I expect them to thrive with the support likely to be largely behind them. The Horsemen have the potential to be the strongest faction in the league, this pairing could be the start of the campaign for all the belts and all the records.

Drew McWeeny & Clarke Wolfe*

“The Godfather” will be making an immediate attempt to reclaim the belt he had to vacate and will be joined by the 2016 Rookie of the Year, forming a deadly partnership. McWeeny has improved so much over the last year and appeared to thrive in the Team Division with Samm Levine, while Clarke has likewise thrived since joining the Shirewolves. I will be shocked if they aren’t pushing for a place in the final, while the chance of competing against Clarke’s former teammate Mark Reilly and Ben Bateman – who has lost to both Drew and Clarke as part of Team Action – will be mouth-watering.

16 wonderful teams that will all be exciting to watch, but there is a chance that changes could still happen. 3 pairings have been marked with a * as they contain a competitor hat we know will be facing off in the Team Title Match ahead of the tournament. The Shirewolves will be taking on Brianne Chandler and her currently unannounced partner (so perhaps 4 teams will actually need the *), with the winners not competing in the Anarchy tournament. If that happens, there are still some quality competitors not accounted for – Jason Inman, Grae Drake and Mara Knopic to name just a few. As much as I like the Shirewolves, I almost find myself hoping that Brianne wins the title match just because of how much I want to see Rachel and Clarke in these new teams!

And just as I was about to post this, Kristian Harloff has announced the matches for the first round. Obviously there will be some changes of personnel dependant on the Team Title match result, but I have predicted my victors as the teams currently stand in bold:

Rocha & Murrell v Marshall & Howard

Sneider & Andreyko v Mantz & Gerber

JTE & Harris v Wildberries

Bibbiani & Knost v Chandler & Stewart

Reilly & Bateman v Zipper & Foutch

McWeeny & Wolfe v Heuck & Seibold

Kalinowski & Ellison v Cushing & Ghai

Erwin & The Machine v Duralde & Atchity

What do you think of the new teams? Who are you looking forward to watching? Who do you see progressing to the next round? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!