FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

With the voting closed for the Schmoedown Awards, which will be announced shrtly, it’s time to start looking ahead to season 8 and all-out WAR. Stage 1 of the war will begin 1 week after the Awards show in a Free Agent Special, which will end with each of the 8 factions having secured the services of 3 Schmoedown Pros ahead of the 2021 Draft.

But who will end up where? It’s not just a matter of the manager wanting a certain Schmoedown Pro, that person has to also decide that said manager is the right one for them. My predictions for tournament brackets were woefully off in season 7, so hopefully I can kick off season 8 with a bit more accuracy.

KOrruption

Not really a prediction here as Shannon Barney’s prize for winning the Faction Championship last season was the chance to lock in her 3 before Free Agency even opened for any other manager. In no real shock, Shannon chose to keep hold of Mike Kalinowski, Chance Ellison and Adam Collins, securing herself 2 triple-threats, one of the 3 longest-tenured teams (and arguably one of the elite teams) remaining in the league and the undefeated Singles Champion, who will be a solid lead to a second team.

Stars

I’m making Roxy the first of my actual predictions as I can’t help feel that her trio is pretty obvious. I’m assuming that with big names like Chris Jericho there will be some unspoken agreement that other managers won’t come after them allowing Roxy to not have to use one of her 3 spots on him and being able to pick him up a couple of rounds into the draft. This will allow Roxy to pick up her 3 champions in Jeff Sneider, Marc Andreyko and Alex Damon. While Andreyko may only be featuring in Teams so may be on the bench early in the season, it gives Roxy an elite team once that division gets going, with a strong chance of defending for big points, while Sneider already has a #1 Contender Match scheduled. Similarly, Alex will likely still be the favourite in his upcoming title match, and can also look to push on after a great first season in IG and could also be a solid B player on a team, utilising the IG-specific wheel slices.

Quirky Mercs

Next up is Coy Jandreau, as he is in a relatively similar situation to Roxy. Like Jericho, I am assuming that Coy will be able to pick up Kevin Smith in the draft, allowing him to get quality cover for 3 divisions with his 3 picks. Keeping hold of the Shazam! pairing of William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer appears a no-brainer for all parties involved – Coy gets an elite team and 2 elite Singles competitors (as well as the master of FreeForAlls, while Shazam stick with the manager who got them over the hump and helped them win their first Team Title. For his final pick, I see Coy sticking with his top 3 from last year’s draft by picking Mara Knopic, who has a Title Match early in the season, and I can see Mara showing some loyalty to Coy for keeping her on the faction through season 7 despite being inactive.

S.W.A.G.

This is where things get interesting. Winston Marshall and Chandru Dhandapani look like a solid match so I envision the Innergeekdom Champion sticking with S.W.A.G. Paul Oyama looked revitalised with Winston and is a former champion with solid strategy, so I can see the pair also agreeing to stick together. However, I can see Final Exam coming to an end after twice failing to get the win against the elite teams, with Winston Marshall bringing in Ben Bateman as his third pick. I feel that Bateman will respect the effort that Winston puts into the league and his players, while a pairing with Oyama would cover some of his weaker areas like Classics and family movies, while he knows that Oyama will put in the same effort he will. Don’t be shocked to see Winston looking to secure Ace in the opening round of the draft.

The Den

The Den was hard to call as it feels like there will be big changes here with Kate now having a year of experience under her belt. Ben Goddard impressed over 3 divisions before being left out in the second half of the season, but I think that a fired-up Kate could convince him to stay as one of the leads within the faction. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Paul Preston move on after a disappointing season, but I think that she could convince him to stay by proving she has learned from last season and pairing him with the GOAT Dan Murrell. A shock move for Murrell? Maybe, but the faction feels like it has good quality and was just missing an elite veteran to lead them.

Finstock Exchange

What a difference a year makes. Tom Dagnino kicked off 2020 by drafting all 4 Horsemen and future star “The Barbarian”. Now hehas to start almost from scratch after losing the support of Ben Bateman and then throwing out Dan Murrell. By doing so though, he appears to have secured the services of John Rocha to lead the faction. Early in the offseason, I had thoughts that Ben Bateman may convince The Barbarian to follow him to a new faction where they could pair up, but I now see Dagnino holding onto him by offering him a partnership with Rocha as the lead team. Barbarian’s ability to also cover IG means that Dagnino will look to cover all 4 divisions with his 3 picks by holding onto Andrew Dimalanta, who has a guaranteed title shot early in the season.

Usual Suspects

So much was expected from the Suspects last season, but the early retirement of Drew McWeeny and the impact of COVID seriously hampered their season. One good thing did come of it though: a trade with the Burning Droogs that involved Ethan Erwin joining the Suspects at the cost of their 1ˢᵗ round draft pick. Well the dissolution of the Droogs has allowed Samm to keep his draft pick and I’m sure he will also be keeping Ethan Erwin. However, it looks like he may be getting a new partner as Andrew Ghai has been MIA on the Schmoedown scene since Spectacular, while he has also previously talked about how he is focused on Teams but struggles in the online environment. For that reason, I see Samm looking for a new partner for Erwin, and who better than someone who he already knows well: Liz Shannon Miller, who had a great run in the Singles Tournament. For the final spot, I see Samm also showing faith in someone whose 1-2 record this season does not match up with her quality, Jeannine “The Machine”, who could become a legitimate triple threat if she looks to carry on from her foray into the IG tournament.

The Dungeon

And so that brings us to The Dungeon, who probably have a little more wiggle room here as they own the 1ˢᵗ overall pick in the draft to supplement their 3 picks here. Last season, Kaiser chose to try dominating the IG Division with his early draft picks, picking up Kevin Smets and Robert Parker with his first 2 picks. Well Smets will be inactive this year as he continues to smash cancer, so I see Robert Parker stepping into the role of the team’s IG leader. I expect the IG focus to continue though with the acquisition of Brandon Hanna, who is the 4ᵗʰ most accurate of all time in IG (min 5 matches) and hinted at his quality outside the division with his foray into Teams with Jader Paramo. Hanna is an underrated player and as a triple threat, he could cause some havoc under Kaiser’s tutelage. For his final spot, I can see Kaiser showing loyalty with one of his originals and holding onto Eric Zipper, who is another legitimate triple threat and has improved year on year. Don’t be shocked to see Kaiser looking to pick up the best available Singles/Teams competitor on the board with his opening pick to pair with Zipper/Hanna.

 

So those are my predictions. Who you think each manager will pick up?

Draft Kings: Looking at the new Factions

Draft Kings: Looking at the new Factions

The New Era began on Saturday with the Movie Trivia Schmoedown’s first ever Draft. 9 Factions will be facing off this season and between Saturday’s live rounds and Sunday’s non-televised final rounds, the initial line-ups for each faction are set.

Now that the Draft is available for all to see, it’s time to cast an eye over the new factions and give my thoughts on the rosters each manager has put together. Now I’ll say before we start: my knowledge of the 2020 rookie class will be limited, so if I gloss over the next Ethan Erwin/Mara Knopic/Kevin Smets/Paul Oyama, then I apologise in advance!

Also before we begin, I just need to give a massive shoutout to Jacob Patrick for putting together such awesome graphics to summarise each faction’s draft.


The Usual Suspects

MTS Draft 2020 The Usual Suspects

While I still think that Shazam! were a better option with the 1ˢᵗ overall pick, The Family are still a great selection and given Samm Levine’s history with Drew McWeeny it is no surprise to see him go for them. McWeeny never technically lost the Teams Title, vacating it due to Samm’s decision to step away, so I am sure that he will be keen to get McWeeny a title again, while I think that Ghai and Levine will get the best out of “The Godfather” this season. Jeannine is arguably now one of the best to have never won a belt, but I can see her forming a great team and if paired with Matt Atchity, her knowledge of the game will be a great foil for him. Jen Kempe is a rookie who I heard good things about and she already has some experience under the lights with an appearance at Free 4 All 3, so she could be a steal with Samm’s 8ᵗʰ pick, while Jader Paramo impressed in Orlando and will benefit from having a former champion as his manager. Napzok will also be a great presence in this group, while also providing a great mouthpiece to help take the pressure off of the rookies, and while I don’t know about Cameron Rice’s trivia abilities, I believe that he has been close to the game for a while so will know how to play the game.

Roxstars

MTS Draft 2020 Roxstars

This is a very strong roster for Roxy Striar, who has chosen to go for proven talent rather than take any rookies. The Odd Couple remain a top-tier team and she really gets the best out of them, while both Andreyko and Sneider can put together strong Singles runs. Alex Damon looks hard to beat in the Star Wars Division and I think that he will also have a strong season in Innergeekdom. Stacy Howard has been a little inconsistent recently, but I think that could make Roxy the perfect manager for her and she could be a contender for Comeback Player of the Year. JTE and Jim Vejvoda seemed odd picks to me – they are both great talents in the game, but JTE is not based locally anymore and Vejvoda’s investment in the game ahs been questioned previously – however I heard Roxy say on SEN Live that she had spoken to everyone that she drafted, which suggests to me that she is confident that they will not be wasted picks, which gives her a very strong top 6 picks. Beyond that, Del Rio and Haibon have both had success previously and could do well with such an invested manager, while it is nice to see a reunion for The League with Adam Gertler making the squad, someone who could be an underrated B-player in a team.

The Mouthy Mercs

MTS Draft 2020 The Mouthy Mercs

I had Shazam! going with the 1ˢᵗ overall pick, so to see them drop to Coy with the 3ʳᵈ overall pick was great news for him. Bibbs and “The Kid” are both legitimate threats in both the Teams and Singles Division and will be kicking off the season in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match against Dan Murrell. Mara is a great 3ʳᵈ pick and hopefully she will recover soon to challenge Smets for the IG Title. To get Tim Franco and Haleigh Foutch with his 4ᵗʰ and 5ᵗʰ picks gives him a fantastic 2ⁿᵈ team who could even be a dark horse for a title run. As one of the few to push Alex Damon close in the Star Wars Division and with experience in the 5-round format, Joseph Scrimshaw was a steal in the 7ᵗʰ round, and the Reel Rejects can never be taken lightly, while their fun personalities will help them get matches even after a loss. Coy is in a very strong position here and with 2 spaces left to fill, he could snap up someone who kicks off the season strongly or look for another IG competitor.

The Dungeon

MTS Draft 2020 The Dungeon

This was a very interesting draft for Kaiser. With protected pick Smets in the 1ˢᵗ round and then Robert Parker in the 2ⁿᵈ round, it looks like the Dungeon are looking to dominate the Innergeekdom Division this season, but it does leave them without a clear superstar in the Singles Division – although it may be that he has some diamonds in the rough with his rookies. Of the rookies, the only one I have any knowledge of is Britney Young, who impressed in the GLOW Celebrity match, and it will be interesting to see how she does in regular competition (and how often she is available). As for Eric Zipper and Adam Witt, I would have considered them both good B-players on teams, but I think that could be undervaluing them due to limited tape and they could be a dark horse team. While not as initially star-studded as most other squads, The Dungeon may find themselves going under the radar and it must be remembered that Kaiser managed 2 rookies to titles in 2019, so don’t be surprised if they have a great season.

The Finstock Exchange

MTS Draft 2020 The Finstock Exchange

With the Horsemen all protected with Dagnino’s first 4 picks, The Finstock Exchange were already in a fantastic position and their remaining picks look to have just made them even stronger. The Horsemen alone gave good cover over the 3 main divisions with Dan Murrell entering IG, while he now has a #1 Contender Match against both halves of Shazam! to open the season. Andrew Dimalanta is a great competitor whose 0-2 record in the Star Wars Division really doesn’t do him justice, while I was shocked to see Emily Rose Jacobson fall as far as she did given her upcoming match against Alex Damon – she could be a great sleeper pick in IG. Beyond that, Cody Hall will always be a fan favourite and his knowledge is underrated – he took Lon Harris to Sudden Death following a perfect first round – while “The Barbarian” has been highly touted by people in the know. I’m a bit skeptical of Grae Drake, but as a late-round pick she could still prove a steal, while BC will have good tactical knowledge from the time that he spends around the Schmoedown.

KOrruption

MTS Draft 2020 KOrruption

Before anything, we need to acknowledge that Shannon Barney has already won Heel of the Year by breaking up the Wildberries… Have you no heart?!!!

Moving beyond that, this looks a strong squad for KOrruption. Mike and Chance provide 2 legitimate triple threats (Singles, Teams, IG) with the first 2 picks. Marc Edward Heuck has looked extremely knowledgeable in his limited matches so far and could pair well with Dewberry, who is a quality option as a B-player and a very experienced player. Laura Kelly brings a high-level talent to the Star Wars Division, while Bonnie Somerville could be a steal with the 8ᵗʰ pick… assuming that she turns up to her matches! I’ve not heard much about any of the rookies’ talent, but one thing can be guaranteed: taking Nerd Chronic with their final pick has just guaranteed KOrruption will have the most epic promos this season.

S.W.A.G.

MTS Draft 2020 S.W.A.G.

With no teams remaining by the time it got to Winston, Paul Oyama was the obvious first round pick, and pairing him with Lon Harris makes a very strong team. Chandru will be a threat in IG and Liz Shannon Miller has great knowledge and could benefit from a manager that will be learning the tactics from the Chairman himself on SEN Live. Adam Hlavac could be a steal at 6 with his strength in IG, while he is also a good option in the Teams Division. Josh Macuga may have been picked a bit high, due to other commitments leaving him unavailable, but he will get matches when he is free. RB3 could be a sleeper pick at 7 picking up a lot of tips while engineering SEN Live, while Andres Cabrera could be a steal with Winston’s final pick. And that leaves Demi Adejuyigbe, who performed well on debut and Ed Greer, who is currently an unknown commodity. S.W.A.G could be an dangerous squad, but if nothing else, they’ll be fun to watch! Drip Drip!

The Den

MTS Draft 2020 The Den

Watch out for The Den this season! Kate Mulligan may be an inexperienced manager, but will benefit from being paired with Grace Hancock. Assuming they have good chemistry, “Tom” and Paul Preston make a very dangerous team, while I expect strong runs in the Singles Division from both of them this season. Brandon Hanna is a great talent in IG and will be looking to prove himself after a disappointing end to season 6. Rachel Silvestrini was an absolute steal in the 5ᵗʰ round and I expect great things from her this season. Ben Goddard is somewhat of an unknown but has already shown himself to be a student of the game and will learn a lot from being on SEN Live and Schmoedown Backstage, while Alex Marzoña was often shown to have good knowledge on Collider Live. Sean Sullivan and Diane Ademu-John are unknowns for me but Kate and Grace must have heard good things to draft them in their top 5, while if nothing else, we will get some great fun watching Saul and the sniper himself Brett Sheridan. Sleep on this squad at your peril.

The Burning Droogs

MTS Draft 2020 The Burning Droogs

Trust Robert Meyer Burnett to go wild in the second round. While Ethan Erwin was an obvious pick in round 1, the second round feels very high for a rookie – though I have heard good things about James White. “The Captain” has got good value for his next 3 picks though, with Duralde, Seibold and VIDEODREW all being strong presences in Singles and Teams. The Warfather looked a good talent on his IG debut and I think his character will help him get matches. The final 3 picks are unknowns to me, but with such a knowledgeable and experienced group ahead of them, they will have some talent to learn from.


So who looks in the best position following the draft? Right now, my top 3 squads would be The Finstock Exchange, The Mouthy Mercs and the Roxstars, while The Dungeon would hold the bottom spot. Will that be the case? Only time will tell…

MTS S7 Factions Compilation

Draft Day! Schmoedown Mock Draft v2

Draft Day! Schmoedown Mock Draft v2

It’s Draft Day!

Today will see The Magic Season come to an end with the 2019 Schmoedown Awards and The New Era kick off with the Schmoedown’s first ever live draft!

Last week, I put out my first ever Mock Draft for the 6 rounds that are planned to be televised, but as I began to promote it on social media, I saw that a trade had already been announced that made my draft wrong. So with the draft just hours away, I have taken a second* shot at predicting how things will go.

*It’s actually probably more like a version 7, due to manager changes, trades and some other announcements, but this will be the second published version

So here are the big news points that have had an effect on this new mock draft:

  • Due to other commitments, Emma Fyffe has had to drop out as a manager. The Fyffe Club has been rebranded as The Den and will be managed by Kate Mulligan, with Grace Hancock as her advisor
  • Tom Dagnino’s prize of a pick swap with Kaiser/Fyffe does not transfer over to Mulligan, so he can now only pick swap with Kaiser
  • John Kaiser and Robert Meyer Burnett agreed a trade that saw them swap places in the first 2 rounds of the Draft – The Dungeon now has the 9ᵗʰ & 10ᵗʰ overall picks, The Burning Droogs have the 4ᵗʰ & 15ᵗʰ overall picks
  • John Kaiser and Kate Mulligan agreed a trade that saw The Den give up their 3ʳᵈ round pick (26ᵗʰ overall) for The Dungeon’s 4ᵗʰ & 5ᵗʰ round picks (33ʳᵈ & 40ᵗʰ overall)

Feat MTS 2020 Draft Header

MTS Mock Draft v7

So, the big talking points from this one:

  • With the way the Dungeon’s trades have worked out, Tom Dagnino would not gain any benefit from a pick swap with Kaiser until the 7ᵗʰ round, which would only see him move up one spot. Instead, he will use it to sabotage Kaiser in the early rounds as he looks a dangerous rival, swapping positions in the 2ⁿᵈ round. Tom not get a pick here as it is sacrificed to hold onto his champions, but it makes it less likely that Kaiser will be able to pick up an elite Singles competitor
  • Coy Jandreau will still attempt a trade with KOrruption, but will sweeten it by throwing in his 5ᵗʰ round pick to make it more attractive to Shannon Barney
  • Josh Macuga drops to the 6ᵗʰ round due to questions over his availability, but his experience of the game will see him picked up to Roxy Striar. Though I have her picking Dewberry, it may be that she pairs him with Lon Harris rather than keep the Wildberries together.
  • “The Barbarian” was one of the rookies recently announced by Kristian Harloff, but what makes him stand out was a comment on the announcement from Ethan Erwin praising him. Kate Mulligan was present on SEN Live when this was discussed and will take a chance on him with her 6ᵗʰ round pick.
  • Kate will be in a strong position following the Draft. “Tom” and Jeannine make a strong 1ˢᵗ team, she has one of the dark horses of the IG Division this season in Robert Parker and a former Star Wars Champion in Ken Napzok. If Ken is also entering teams, he will be an experienced partner who knows the game to pair with Matt Atchity. Ben Goddard would also make a fine teammate for Atchity, as he is a student of the game and will be picking up a lot of tactical knowledge from being on SEN Live and Schmoedown Backstage. If Napzok will enter teams, then he, Atchity, Goddard and the Barbarian could make 2 strong teams.
  • The Finstock Exchange will pick up an elite Star Wars specialist in the 5ᵗʰ round in case Rocha and Reilly choose to focus on the bigger divisions this year, then pick up Keetin Marchi – who is often overlooked when discussing IG but has had some help previously from Rocha, putting her on their radar
  • VIDEODREW will drop to the 5ᵗʰ round due to questions over her availability. While splitting up The Loony Bin will not prove popular with the fans, it would put Samm Levine in a good position following the draft (or even in the later rounds) to offer a trade with The Den to get a couple of competitors/picks from them.

How do you see this draft going? Bring on The New Era!

Schmoedown Season 7 Mock Draft

Schmoedown Season 7 Mock Draft

If season 6 was “The Magic Season”, how do you take things even bigger? By creating “The New Era”! 2020 will see the Movie Trivia Schmoedown take its next step by having its very first draft. The factions and teams that we have come to know will be coming to an end (for the most part) and 9 new, larger teams will be taking their place, competing for a prize at the end of the season.

feat MTS 2019 awards 2020 draft

So here is what we know so far:

  • The Draft will take place at The Comedy Store on January 11ᵗʰ 2020, following the Awards
  • There were originally intended to be 10 teams, with the teams announced at Spectacular, however other commitments means that Jay Washington has had to pull out of being a manager, so he has taken on an advisory role, leaving us with the following 9 teams:
    • The Usual Suspects – Samm Levine
    • Roxstars – Roxy Striar
    • S.W.A.G. (Schmoedown Winners And Greatness) – Winston Marshall (Jay Washington advisor)
    • The Mouthy Mercs – Coy Jandreau
    • The Finstock Exchange – Tom Dagnino
    • The Dungeon – John Kaiser
    • The Fyffe Club – Emma Fyffe (Grace Hancock advisor)
    • KOrruption – Shannon Barney
    • The Burning Droogs – Robert Meyer Burnett
  • Each team can sign up to 10 Schmoedown Pros at any moment. Managers will not compete, so Robert Meyer Burnett must keep a slot free for himself to face Andrew Ghai, and can then fill the spot afterwards
  • The draft will be a snake draft, with the order picked out of a hat on Schmoedown Backstage #4
  • Managers will be allowed to drop personnel and acquire new people during the season, as well as trade with other managers
  • Mike Kalinowski has said that he will demand a trade if drafted by Roxy, similarly Ghai with Burnett
  • Each victory will earn points for the team. Innergeekdom and Star Wars matches will earn more points as there are less matches, a win in a Championship will earn extra points, as will a knockout victory
  • Managers who currently manage a champion can keep their Champions, with the cost being their first however many picks covers the champions they have (Kaiser 1 pick, Tom 3 picks)
  • The top 5 teams in the rankings – other than the champions – are protected. If a manager drafts one of the team, they also get the teammate at the cost of their next pick (so as Who’s The Boss are protected, Reilly remains with the Finstock Exchange at the cost of Tom’s 4ᵗʰ pick)
  • Due to his victory in Orlando, Tom Dagnino can swap a pick in his first eligible round with either Kaiser or Emma

With that in mind, it was time for me to do what all sports fans love doing for American sports: a mock draft. Now on the whole, I will be keeping this pretty basic and staying away from too many trades. I will also be looking to go through the first 6 rounds as that is what it appears we will get at the event, with the rest of the free agents being acquired over the following days. I will show you my draft board and then run through my predictions in a little more detail after. When putting this together, I’ve not had a copy of the roster to look at, so I have gone off names that I have heard mentioned and made some assumptions about the divisions that people will compete in… plus my memory is terrible so I’ve probably managed to miss out a big name somewhere – though I will admit that I can see Josh Macuga slipping out of the top 6 rounds due to availability questions, similarly Scott Mantz, who did not compete in 2019.

Let me know how you think the Draft will go!

Feat MTS 2020 Draft Header

 

MTS Mock Draft 1

Tom & Kaiser’s Champions

First off, I 100% expect both Tom Dagnino and Kaiser to keep hold of their champions. While the 4ᵗʰ pick overall may be a bit higher than you would expect for an Innergeekdom specialist, there is too much of a risk that someone would steal Smets if Kaiser didn’t sacrifice his first pick. Add to that, as defending champion and one of the most dangerous Schmoedown Pros in IG, you would expect Smets to have a chance of multiple title defences, while he has also mentioned that he is keen to enter the Star Wars division. Dagnino meanwhile has 2 of the best teams in the Division, comprised of 3 of the last 5 Singles Champions and another former Champion in Reilly who should never be ruled out for putting another title run together. Though it will mean that he can’t pick until the 5ᵗʰ round, there is no way that he would be able to get such a strong stable with his first 4 picks, while Murrell’s decision to enter the IG division means that he already has the 3 main divisions covered.

Round 1

I know a lot of people want a reunion between Samm and Drew McWeeny, but Samm is a competitor and he needs to consider the value of the 1ˢᵗ pick overall. Due to this being a snake draft, he won’t get to pick again until the end of Round 2, so are The Family really good value for him? Personally I see him taking Shazam! Both Bibbs and “The Kid” look like they have the potential to challenge for the Singles Title in 2020 (Bibbs already has a #1 Contender match) and Shazam! are arguably one of the strongest teams in the league. Add in “The Beast” still having his Free 4 All MVP prize of a #1 Contender shot and I thin that Samm has to take Shazam!

Next up is Roxy and this is an easy pick as she has worked so well with The Odd Couple since the beginning of Anarchy, so I can’t see her letting another manager build on that work. Things will get very interesting with the 3ʳᵈ pick, though. With Kalinowski and Chance both a factor in all 3 of the main divisions, KOrruption are the best value team left on the board (maybe even better value than some of the already acquired teams). However, Mike has already said that he will refuse to play for Roxy, and I think that would likely extend to many of the other managers too. However, Shannon will be the next manager to pick so I expect Coy to pull a move here and take KOrruption ahead of her, then immediately offering them to her for her 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ Round picks, while also taking her 4ᵗʰ Round pick. With Shannon now having KOrruption via this trade, Coy will use her first 2 picks to take The Family, as this gets him an elite team, but also a great strategic mind in Andrew Ghai that will help an inexperienced manager so much.

With the protected teams now gone, Winston will look for the strongest name on the board, which I see as Paul Oyama, as he has shown how good he can be in Singles (which means the right teammate will make him a danger in the Teams Division), while he has also mentioned possibly entering the IG Division. Paul is not just great at trivia, but he is also great at the game, which will be another big aid for a new manager. Emma Fyffe will pick up Ethan Erwin, who clearly has a wide and deep knowledge of movie trivia and will benefit from a manager who knows the game well. The Round will finish with Robert Meyer Burnett, who I think will take the best ranked Singles competitor available: Paul Preston.

Round 2

With Round 2, I expect Burnett to look for another elite Schmoedown Pro to pair with Paul Preston. While he is yet to play in Singles, “Tom” has made a name for himself with The Loony Bin and looks like he will be a real danger in both Singles and Teams. Paul and “Tom” will be a strong team, and it will be interesting to see how their personalities gel on a team. Now the Fyffe Club have a big choice to make. Jeannine is probably one of the best competitors to have never won a belt and looks to have worked well with Ethan in their couple of matches as Time Machine. However, Ethan has shown a clear weakness in Disney and similar animated movies, so I think that Emma will instead pick another underrated competitor who knows the game well, has a good general knowledge but absolutely crushes Disney: Rachel Silvestrini! With Time Machine officially broken up, I expect Winston to pick Jeannine up with the next pick, reuniting her with Jay Washington and creating a strong team with Oyama. With everyone else having picked protected teams, The Dungeon are the only other pick in Round 2 and they will need a strong competitor to build around in Singles and Teams, so I think that they take a shot on Marc Edward Heuck, who has shown himself to be a great talent in his appearances for the Self-Righteous Brothers, even if results haven’t gone his way.

Round 3

With most of the big names from the Singles Division off the board, I can see Samm Levine taking Mara Knopic, who has a guaranteed Title Match in IG and will probably get a couple of chances to go for the title this year even if she does lose to Smets. I can see this sparking a run on the top names in the IG Division, with Roxy taking Chandru, who came close to beating Smets in their #1 Contender Match and will likely shine with a manager like her. Coy will follow that up by taking Brandon Hanna, who again knows both the IG categories and the game really well, probably being the last of the current top tier of IG competitors.

With Smets already in The Dungeon, I think that Kaiser will look to find a strong partner for Marc Edward Heuck and take Stacy Howard, who will bring experience to the pair even if her results have been somewhat hit and miss of late. With Mike and Chance covering all 3 of the main divisions, I expect Shannon to look for someone they think can look to compete in the Singles Division and potentially be the first name on a 2ⁿᵈ team. For me, that is Haleigh Foutch, who has shown promise and just needs more experience around her to help her grow in the league. While Oyama may compete in IG, I expect Winston to bring in a specialist here and I think that his time on SEN Live may benefit him here, as he will have heard mentions of Robert Parker as one of the big names coming up from the fan leagues, while Oyama’s experience there may also help solidify this pick.

The big IG names may be gone but I think that Emma may still draft a big name who will be competing in IG: Star Wars Division Champion Alex Damon, who looks nigh unbeatable in Star Wars and has a guaranteed match on the schedule already in IG. While we already know he’s unlikely to miss a Star Wars question in IG, he is also a big Indiana Jones fan and knows Middle Earth very well, so could be a strong sleeper pick in this division. Finally, Burnett will pick up the highest-ranked remaining competitor in IG: Emily Jacobson, who not only has a confirmed match, but also showed just how much she was growing over last season, so she could be another to keep an eye on in the division.

Round 4

With The Burning Droogs having 2 strong players but maybe not an obvious challenger in the Singles/Teams Divisions, I think that Burnett looks for another who can go on a strong run and takes Liz Shannon Miller, who could also work very well as part of their main team if either Paul/Tom doesn’t want to compete in Teams this season. The Fyffe Club will look at Eric Zipper who may not be challenging for the Singles/IG Titles but can still pick up wins in the divisions, while also being a reliable teammate. Considering Robert Parker is a (albeit slight) risk as he does not have the experience in the big leagues, I think that Wiston will pick up another big name in IG: Adam Hlavac, who will become a real danger again in the division if he takes the time to study Middle Earth and some of his other weaker categories. Per the earlier trade, Coy would have the next pick and take a veteran of 3 divisions: Ken Napzok. As well as being a potential challenger for the Star Wars Title, Ken will bring great experience for a new manager and could even be a helpful B player in a team like in the days of The Nerd’s Watch. The Dungeon will again look at the Singles and Teams Divisions and take a highly knowledgeable competitor in Alonso Duralde, someone who could again benefit from and experienced manager when it comes to tactics. Coy would have his second pick of the round and take Witney Seibold, whose results in Singles and with the Self-Righteous Brothers have not matched up to the ability he has shown in Critically Acclaimed. Roxy will look to Tim Franco, who again knows the game very well and is also a very knowledgeable competitor, and Samm Levine will end the round by taking VIDEODREW, who was an underrated part of The Loony Bin’s Ultimate Schmoedown run and could even prove to be excellent trade bait if Burnett wants to bow to public pressure to keep The Loony Bin together.

Round 5

There are still some big names available going into Round 5 and I think that Samm’s next pick could (with the right manager) be in the running for Comeback Player of the Year: Lon Harris. With her next pick, I expect Roxy to partner Tim Franco with his debut opponent Matt Atchity, who has great knowledge but struggles with the strategy, so would benefit from having Tim as his partner and Roxy as manager. The Mouthy Mercs can then pick up Adam Witt, who didn’t have a great debut, but gave a much better account of himself against Shazam!

The next pick would usually belong to Kaiser, but would instead go to Dagnino, courtesy of his victory in Orlando. With strength already there in Singles, Teams and IG, I see The Finstock Exchange looking to get a legit challenger for the Star Wars Division and taking Joseph Scrimshaw, who has ran Alex Damon close in multiple matches and has the benefit of being based more local than many of the others in the division. With a number of big names coming off the board in the Star Wars Division, I think that Kaiser takes the chance to pick up a specialist in the division in case Smets can’t get a match this season. On Beyond the Schmoedown, Dimalanta mentioned that he has been in discussions with Kaiser, so I see him going to The Dungeon with this pick. As the next pick would be only the 4ᵗʰ competitor for KOrruption, I see them getting a teammate for Foutch and going for Eliot Dewberry, who has an underrated level of knowledge as shown by his recent perfect round.

By this point, the big names are all off the board and it becomes looking for people who you think can pick you up some points and who you know a bit about. For that reason, I can see Wisnton looking at his fellow SEN Live regular RB3, whose likeable personality will see him go down well with fans and who will likely be picking up advice on studying and competing by spending so much time on SEN Live. I can see the Fyffe Club taking a punt on one of the big names I have been hearing about from the fan leagues, Jen Kempe, who will likely benefit from an established manager and form a possibly underrated team with Zipper. Burnett will finish the round by taking David Del Rio, who has looked good in his 3 matches last year.

Round 6

For Burnett’s final televised pick in the draft, I think that he looks to bring in another IG specialist and who better than Warfather, who looked decent on his debut and looks like he may be one of the few people who could come close to making himself heard over Burnett. The Fyffe Club don’t have an IG specialist, so I can see her picking up the former champion Hector Navarro, who would likely benefit from an established manager like her. Winston again will go back to the largely unknown quantities that he will have got to know through SEN Live and pick up Ben Goddard – even if he doesn’t get any wins, he gets to come out to an entrance song he is already in love with and free bagels could guarantee it.

With 2 decent teams and 2 representatives in IG, Shannon will use this pick to get a representative from the Star Wars Division, taking Laura Kelly, who just gets better with each match and now has the experience of competing both in studio and in a high-stakes match in front of a live crowd. With only their 2ⁿᵈ pick in the draft, I have The Finstock Exchange taking Jader Paramo, who has a guaranteed match after his win in the fan event and would be trained by some of the biggest names in the game. The Dungeon will take Sean Gerber, whose perfect match in the MCU exhibition should put him on managers’ radars, while he could also provide a could partner for Alonso Duralde with his IG knowledge and calm head. The Mouthy Mercs will look to take a competitor that lives up to that name, so take Devon Stewart, who may not be an elite player but will get matches due to his fun personality and can also put in very strong performance if the right categories get picked. The Roxstars have no representation in Star Wars to this point, so I see them bringing in Mollie Damon, who put in a good performance at Celebration and will only get better with experience. Finally, Samm Levine takes Sabina Graves with the final pick of the 5 rounds as she is another with a good range of knowledge who could do well with a great manager.

MTS S7 Logo

6 Takeaways from Schmoedown Spectacular IV

6 Takeaways from Schmoedown Spectacular IV

eason 6 of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown reached its climax at the weekend with Schmoedown Spectacular IV. With the final of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament and Championship Matches in all 4 divisions, we were given an event that was truly… well, spectacular!

With Season 7 bringing the biggest shake-up to the league since Anarchy, and the awards less than a month away, it is time to start looking at what impact Spectacular could have on the upcoming season. So in this article, I will be giving the 6 biggest takeaways* from Schmoedown Spectacular IV.

*By which I mean my 6 biggest feelings and thoughts, not more thievery from Ben “Bagel Boy” Goddard

 

Advantage: Finstock

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Spectacular really couldn’t have gone much better for Bobby Gucci and the Five Horsemen. 3/3 wins on the night leaves the Horsemen with the Singles and Teams Titles and puts the longest-standing manager in the league n a great position to win Manager of the Year at the Awards.

But as we head into Season 7, these results at Spectacular will take on even more importance. Founding Fathers’ successful defence of the Teams Title means that Finstock is able to keep them in The Finstock Exchange at the cost of his first 2 draft picks, while Ben Bateman’s Singles Title (and Who’s The Boss’ place in the rankings) means that he is also able to keep hold of them. While this does mean that he won’t technically get a pick until the 5th round on draft day, there is no way that he would have been able to draft Murrell, Rocha, Bateman and Reilly without them becoming champions. Having all the Horsemen in the faction is a great start to dominating the season as all 4 have won the Singles Title (including 3 over the last 2 seasons) and they also contribute 2 of the top teams in the league. Add in Dan Murrell’s announcement that he will be entering the Innergeekdom Division in 2020 and they are in such a strong place.

Oh, and as if that wasn’t good enough, Dagnino’s win in Orlando also means that he has a chance to steal a pick in the later rounds, so he can also find himself moving up the board from Round 5 onwards if there is someone left that he desperately wants.

KOrruption without a KO?

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Kevin Smets’ win over Mike Kalinowski has left us in a very interesting situation. Not only did it lead to Mike and Chance waving goodbye to Grace and Ken and bringing in Shannon Barney as their new manager, but it’s also left Mike and Chance in a position where they are protected as a team, but without the guarantee of being able to stick with Shannon.

She’s announced that she is taking over the leadership of KOrruption, which Mike introduced before the team even formed, but unless she has a very early pick, there’s a risk that the face of KOrruption will be playing elsewhere. With Chance intending to continue competing in the Innergeekdom Division, he and Mike are 2 of the strongest triple threats in the league, so I’ll be shocked if they make it beyond the 1st round. Shannon needs to hope that she has one of the very first picks to make sure that she can hang onto her boys. If she can’t, a trade would be the only way to get them back, but she will probably have to put in a huge offer.

Get your mock drafts ready!

The geeks are taking over!

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The Innergeekdom Division is probably my favourite in the league at the moment, and I don’t see that changing very soon. Mike Kalinowski is a quality player who will be out for revenge after losing the title to Kevin Smets – who himself is going to be very hard to beat! Throw in another former champion in Mara Knopic, contenders like Brandon Hanna, Chandru Dhandapani, Chance Ellison, Emily Jacobson, Adam Hlavac and now Dan Murrell… that is suddenly looking a very deep division! Don’t be surprised to see some more rookies entering the division this season and some of this season’s rookies looking to improve now they know what it is like to compete in the league.

Innergeekdom is arguably easier to study due to the limited number of movies that will be covered, but the questions are far deeper as a result. Any of these competitors show just how good their knowledge is when they compete and will likely just get better the more they compete. It already feels like the Schmoedown Pros at the top of the rankings are already capable of beating anyone on any given Schmoeday… I get the feeling that the “elite” group is just going to get larger and larger in 2020. Bring it on!

The best rookies yet?

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It genuinely feels like each year’s rookie crop gets crowned the best yet as we get more and more rookies who know the game already so know what they need to do in order to compete, but I would argue that the 2019 crop is the strongest yet!

While Mara Knopic and Ethan Erwin both won titles in their rookie seasons last year, Paul Oyama and Kevin Smets matched the feat this year, with Oyama taking things further by managing a successful defence. But look at Spectacular and the argument that this is the strongest class gets even more credence. Brendan “The Kid” Meyer may have lost on his debut, but he was one of the stars of the Free 4 All and had a strong season off the back of that, resulting in an appearance in the Teams Championship match at Spectacular. Laura Kelly also made her debut at Star Wars Celebration and though she lost, her performance earned her a #1 Contender match against Andrew Dimalanta (himself a rookie), who she defeated to become the 4th rookie competing at this year’s Spectacular. Add in rookie manager Kaiser and all the others who had strong seasons and I feel confident anointing this the greatest rookie class so far.

It maybe that next year’s rookies take things to an even higher level, but they will have a tough challenge on their hands.

Going heel

One of the big shocks of the night was as Emma Fyffe revealed her faction for 2020. The return of the Fyffe Club, the greatest babyface faction in the history of the Schmoedown. But this time, things were different, as Fyffe introduced her new advisor: deposed KOrruption manager Grace Hancock.

“The Lioness” is very much a heel and it was clear from the way that Emma spoke that her time as a face is coming to an end. Personally, I love this move! Dagnino has turned face this year and Jay Washington is far too likeable to be a heel too. That leaves just Burnett, Roxy, Shannon and Kaiser as established heels – and we barely even know Shannon at this point! Having a well-known manager turning heel gives so many possibilities, especially as it already looks like we are setting up for some feuds with Shannon. Let’s just remember as well that Emma has some history when it comes to feuding with the other managers: she’s never seen eye-to-eye with Dagnino or Jay Washington, so that is unlikely to change anytime soon, while she also developed a rivalry with new manager Samm Levine over the last year due to his style of “commissioning”, which led to him losing his role as Commissioner of the Singles Division. Straight away, we have plenty of feuds set up, so the heel turn feels like it will work.

What this turn will also do is allow some of the newer managers to focus on becoming good managers rather than having to also cause trouble. Keeping Levine as a face will allow his and Emma’s feud to continue with her as the aggressor, while at this point it is hard to imagine either Coy Jandreau or Winston Marshall as heels given their personality. Having Shannon as the only heel “new” manager but turning Fyffe to the dark side leaves a good balance between heels and faces, while also giving both sides of the morality scale a good blend of new and experienced managers.

Any given Schmoeday

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Sports fans will already know the idea of anyone being able to beat anyone “on any given Sunday”. While it was arguable that we already know it existed in the Schmoedown, Spectacular IV’s big results proved it.

Already, we have seen Stacy Howard manage huge victories over Mark Ellis and Mark Reilly in Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournaments, only to fall hard at the next hurdle. Add to that Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell then Mark Reilly – both by TKO – in his first 2 Singles matches. And now, we have 4/5 matches in the biggest event of the year ending by KO/TKO. 4 Championship matches and the final of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament… only the best of the best will be competing in these matches, so you would have thought that these matches would be so much closer – I even suggested that Kalinowski v Smets would probably go to Sudden Death!

Instead, we saw Mike Kalinowski, arguably one of the best Innergeekdom Schmoedown Pros ever, not even taking Smets to the final round. We saw William Bibbiani getting TKO’d twice in one night! Finally, we saw Paul Oyama’s 6-0 run in the Singles Division ended by KO in a match that he finished with just 3 points.

If you ever wanted proof that the Movie Trivia Schmoedown is a sport, this is it. You can be the best in the league, you can do all the preparation you can, but on any given Schmoeday, you can still end up struggling to put any points on the board and finding yourself on the wrong end of a huge loss. And that is why we tune in: because we can never consider any match a foregone conclusion.

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.

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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

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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!

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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

mtsmrd
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!

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