The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown continues to go strong despite the current pandemic bringing an end to live and studio matches and forcing the league online. Given the unavoidable circumstances, Season 7 is well on its way to being a resounding success.

Each season, we so many wonderful moments – either story beats moments within a match. Some will live on forever, like the XX5XX moment from the inaugural Free 4 All, the reveal of the 5 Horsemen at the LA Live event and The Tackle, but there will also be many moments that are also worth celebrating and remembering that seem to fade out of conversation after a year or 2 due to the people involved no longer competing or the storyline it was involved in having come to an end. Today I want to give some love to those forgotten moments.

The breaking of the 4 Horsemen

mts collision four horsemen break-up i betray you john rocha matt knost william bibbiani ricky hayberg
“I BETRAY YOU!!”

Season 3 saw the beginning of factions within the Schmoedown, as John Rocha put together the 4 Horsemen: Rocha, Matt Knost, William Bibbiani and Robert Meyer Burnett, while Tom Dagnino put together the Lion’s Den to counter them. It’s safe to say that the Lion’s Den had the greater success, while the 4 Horsemen came to an end at Collision of Season 4.

Despite a starring debut, William Bibbiani was struggling to get over with the fans, but his yell of “I BETRAY YOU!” as he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold was a big step in helping “The Beast” truly come into his own and set up a rivalry with Rocha. Likewise, after being the top heel of the league, this betrayal gave Rocha the chance to turn away from this and become a more respectful character, leaving a space at the top of the heel tree for Team Action to swagger into.

The “perfect” game

When someone talks about playing the perfect game, thoughts immediately go to William Bibbiani, Dan Murrell, Robert Parker and Kevin Smets. One name that is often forgotten, though, is that of Mark Ellis.

mts mark ellis jteWay back in Season 1, Mark Ellis was pitching a perfect game going into the final round of his quarterfinal against JTE. Now back in those days, the final round was a Jeopardy round, similar to the current betting round in title matches but with Schmoedown Pros able to be as many points as they had.

Both Ellis and JTE got the question right, but “Baby Carrots” had taken the risk of expecting JTE to miss and not bet enough points, losing 11-14. While this match does live on in infamy due to it leading to the Trial of JTE, Ellis’ perfect game is a moment that gets forgotten when we look back at the match.

Reilly’s greatest flub

Back in season 3, John Rocha (who hosted a Star Wars podcast) forgot that Bespin was featured in The Empire Strikes Back and has never been allowed to forget it. Over time, many of the top competitors have had their own “Bespin moments” that they have never been able to fully live down: Mike Kalinowski’s “Pudding” and “Flash”, Kevin Smets’ “Don’t tell Peter” and Ben Bateman’s “Giancarlo Stanton”. One man who always seems to get away with it, though, is Mark Reilly.

mts john rocha mark reilly“Then I hit Opponents Choice. I could have let that bad luck beat me. But I kept going and had fun. Then I had the Sandlot moment – and kept going. Who cares. Answer the questions as they come. There were no nerves, just trivia. I kept smiling and knowing that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.” ~ Mark Reilly

During the Speed Round of Reilly’s Championship Match against John Rocha, the pair were asked “Which film features the following characters: Billy, Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Tatum, Cotton, Ghostface?” When horror-buff Reilly buzzed in, everyone was certain the he would be giving the correct answer of Scream, but instead he guessed The Sandlot and lost the point. Reilly’s reaction when the correct answer is revealed is priceless, but somehow (probably because he still managed to win the match) this great flub is often forgotten by all but Reilly.

2 in a row

feat mts collision triple threat singles championship dan murrell mark reilly john rochaEverybody remembers Ben Bateman’s recent feat of winning 2 matches in 1 night at Spectacular, where he TKO’d William Bibbiani in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament final and then later KO’d Paul Oyama to win the title. While Impressive, it is not even the first time a Schmoedown Pro has won 2 5-round matches in a day.

That feat was achieved by “Dangerous” Dan Murrell at Season 4’s Collision. With Mark Reilly holding the Singles title, Murrell defeated both him and John Rocha in a Triple Threat to win the belt back, then had to immediately defend it as Samm Levine crashed his post-match interview to cash in his Free 4 All prize and challenge Murrell for the title.

Now Levine’s logic makes sense, that Murrell would be tired after such a big match and not be able to hit the heights again right after, but the GOAT earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8 question format (though he did miss the bonus question) on his was to a 26-23 defence.

The great JTE-isms

mts japeto jteJTE will always hold a special place in our heart and it is a shame that we do not get to see him compete as much anymore. While he played the heel so well, you could never bring yourself to truly hate him as you were always looking forward to his JTE-isms.

Now some have lived on better than others. His “Jew Bear” from last year’s Free 4 All remains in peoples minds due to the recency and the famous “Tricenatorustops” from the first ever Schmoedown against Cobbster is too good to ever forget! But there were also plenty of others from the littlest of evils over the years, from “The jungle rules the kingdom” to the classic answers of “Gwelmo del Toro” and my personal favourite from his Singles match against teammate Jeff Sneider “Japeto”.

The other table clear

mts free 4 all samm levine hector navarro marc andreyko robert meyer burnett dennis tzengWhen we think of table clears at the inaugural Free 4 All, our minds understandably go to XX5XX, but there was actually another one later in the event that could have massively changed the Schmoedown.

The penultimate entrant was Samm Levine, who came to the table and with a score of 3-2-2-2-2 eliminated Robert Meyer Burnett, Dennis Tzeng, Marc Andreyko and Hector Navarro. This meant that the fight for the prize would be between Levine and none other than Tom Dagnino, Leader of the Lion’s Den. Now thankfully Levine won the final round 3-1, but just imagine an alternate universe where Dagnino had won the Free 4 All and had a title shot guaranteed for one of his faction. The second half of Season 4 could have looked very different.

The Force is with Sam Witwer

As the voice and likeness of Galen Marek/Starkiller in the The Force Unleashed games and the voice of Maul, Emperor Palpatine and The Son in the current Star Wars canon, it looks like Sam Witwer may have picked up some real-life knowledge of using the Force.

When most people think of Witwer competing in the Schmoedown, they think of his last gasp victory over Ken Napzok to win the Star Wars title at Spectacular II, there were some other moments that really shouldn’t be forgotten.

Season 3’s match between The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and the Force Bros (Witwer and Freddie Prinze Jr) is probably best remembered for Freddie getting a point in Round 1 that he shouldn’t leading to the rule now that answers must be spoken and written on the whiteboard, but that led us to Sudden Death and a great moment. Sudden Death was different back then: A question on the buzzer, if the Schmoedown Pro buzzed in and got the answer right, they had the chance to answer the next question for the win. Now by this pin in the match, Witwer has shown that knowledge isn’t really his problem, but he is not fast on the buzzer. So trying to get the win, he jumps in midway through the question, not realising that this would stop the question being completed. With the question standing at “Who is surrounded by droids…” Witwer somehow correctly guesses Obi-Wan Kenobi, before answering the next question correctly to win the game.

mts sam witwer captain needa 2Witwer’s next appearance was at Celebration in a Fatal Fiveway for the first ever Star Wars title. After missing his 3-pointer in the final round (though I would challenge the wording of the question), Sam seemed off his game and when asked “In The Empire Strikes Back” who barked the order “Shields up!” just before the Falcon buzzed the Star Destroyer’s bridge?” he was unable to pull the correct answer of Captain Needa. This miss meant that Napzok and Campea would go to Sudden Death, which Napzok won. Witwer made his return to the Schmoedown in another Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match just ahead of Spectacular and found himself in similar circumstances. If he hit his 5-pointer he would win, a miss would see Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw go t Sudden Death. As the question “In The Empire Strikes Back who said “Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility for losing them and apologise to Lord Vader.” was read out, Sam’s face was shocked as he realised the correct answer was none other than Captain Needa, earning him redemption and a shot at the title (as well as handing Damon his only loss to date).

As George Lucas famously said: “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”

Macuga v Finstock

mts finstock marc andreyko tom dagnino josh macugaThe Wildberries became so beloved, it’s hard to remember that they were not always a team. But before that, Josh Macuga had been teamed with Finstock, a pairing that did not end amicably. This led to a moment in Season 4 where Josh Macuga and Finstock were set to play a match against each other, with the loser being banned from the league.

The day of the match came, Macuga made his way to the table and then the impossible happened: Tom Dagnino walked out alongside “Finstock” – clearly Marc Andreyko in the Finstock attire (still to date the only other person we have seen don the mask). Somehow the idea that Finstock could be anyone meant that the match continued, and in a complete shock, Josh Macuga somehow managed to come away with the victory over “Findreyko”, leading to Dagnino being (briefly) ejected from the league.

Actin v DC Movie News

So this is one that I have to include in its entirety as I absolutely love it. Action were at their heelish best with Andrew Ghai back from suspension and their constant goading of DC Movie News led to a match. Kalinowski had recently found himself without support during his #1 Contender Match against Clarke Wolfe and clearly wasn’t happy in the pre-match promos. The match was hard-fought with DC Movie News running through James Bond in Round 2 but gifting Action a strong category of Sci-Fi/Fantasy after they hit Opponent’s Choice. Action got the win and then in the post-match interviews things went crazy as Mike Kalinowski severed ties with The League and went off on his own after reducing Adam Gertler to tears.

And this then led to…

Thadd Williams v Mike Kalinowski

mts thadd williams tells mike kalinowski no

Following Kalinowski’s break from the league, we were treated to about half a year full of scenes showing Kalinowski taking over control of the Schmoedown by bribing Commissioner Thadd Williams. As well as leading to huge impacts on the league – such as the first ever Innergeekdom Tournament, the debut and rise of Mara Knopic and the Anarchy Tournament – these scenes were also great viewing and deserve remembering as we watch Thadd get further and further out of his depth.

The other Odd Couple

One of the teams to form during Anarchy was that of William Bibbiani and Matt Knost. Not even taking into account their history as former members of the Horsemen, Knost’s focus on the game and Bibbiani’s love of theatrics never felt a good mix and it was no surprise to hear Bibbiani state on the Finstock Exchange Podcast recently that the first thing they managed to agree on was making their team name “The Odd Couple”, only to find that Andreyko and Sneider had beat them to it.

Knost’s humour is something many fans have missed since his retirement and one of the best examples was during one of the Cinemaniacs’ entrances, where Bibbiani and manager Emma Fyffe came out dancing and playing with a beach ball while Knost trudged out sulkily alongside them, only for him to catch the beach ball and stat to smile and dance as he slowly deflated it.

Please come back Knost!

 

What other great moments can you think of that seem to have been forgotten over time?

The Teams That Might Have Been…

The Teams That Might Have Been…

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

mts Jeannine the Machine Andrew Ghai Jenn Sterger

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

Which of these teams would you have loved to see?

Andrew Ghai & Rachel Cushing

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

Clarke Wolfe & JTE

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

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

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

Clarke Wolfe & Drew McWeeny

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

Dan Murrell & Mark Reilly

mts team champs mark reilly dan murrell

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

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

ON THE RISE: Who Will Be the Comeback Player of 2019?

ON THE RISE: Who Will Be the Comeback Player of 2019?

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 31/1/2019


With the results of the 2018 Schmoedown Awards now known to the public, a massive congratulations to all the winners but especially to our managing editor William Bibbiani, who picked up Comeback Player of the Year!

Bibbs came into the Schmoedown full of promise at the end of 2016 with a debut victory over Marc Andreyko, setting a new points record in the process, and was immediately snapped up by John Rocha to become the third member of the Four Horsemen.

However 2017 did not go as well as hoped. He was TKO’d by JTE (his opponent’s first win in Singles since 2014), then he TKO’d Eliot Dewberry, but then he lost to Kristian Harloff. As tensions rose between Bibbs and Rocha, he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold and initially things appeared to improve. He beat Scott Mantz and paired with Witney to create Critically Acclaimed, beating Only Stupid Answers by TKO. But everything went wrong in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedowns, as Critically Acclaimed went out in the first round against Late to the Party, while Bibbs lost to eventual champion Samm Levine in the first round of the Singles tournament, ending his season.

2018 saw a giant upturn in his fortunes though. Critically Acclaimed managed TKO victories over Superhero News and Modok before being split during the Anarchy Tournament – where Bibbs won another match while paired with Matt Knost, before losing to Who’s The Boss – and despite an early Singles loss to Drew McWeeny, he was the MVP of the Free 4 All, earning him a Number 1 Contender Match against Jeff Sneider. He KO’d the Insneider and won the vacant Singles Title with a second victory over Andreyko, becoming the 6th Singles Champion, a feat deservedly earning him his Comeback Player award (despite eventually losing the title to John Rocha).

As season 6 gets underway, we ask: which players are in a position to win Comeback Player of the Year at the 2019 Awards?

Drew McWeeny

This may sound an odd choice considering he went 3-0 this season with Above The Line, winning and defending the Teams Title. But beyond that, it has been a mixed year for McWeeny and not necessarily to the level you would expect. He went 1-1 with Take The Cannoli during the Anarchy tournament, but only 1-2 in Singles, beating Bibbiani but losing to Ethan Erwin and Marc Andreyko. Frank Janisch found that The Godfather’s accuracy in Round 1 was just 62.50% in Singles matches compared to 84.72% in Teams, a huge difference for someone of his calibre.

It’s recently been announced that McWeeny’s first match of the year will be against Mark Reilly. A win over the former champion could be a huge first step towards the Singles title and Comeback Player of the Year!

Ken Napzok

2017 saw the Pit Boss receiving some Schmoedown karma for the way he betrayed Rachel Cushing. Since abandoning his partner to join the Lion’s Den, he has lost the Star Wars title to Sam Witwer by the closest of margins, came 3rd behind Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw in a Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match, and lost 1v1 to Damon at Spectacular 3. Away from the Star Wars Division he went 0-2 last season, losing in Singles to Matt Knost and then in Teams to the Shirewolves.

Napzok is still one of the premier contenders in the Star Wars Division so I would never rule out another run to the title, while the right person beside him could see him get a good record in the Teams Division. However it does appear for now that he will be focusing on management rather than competing.

Stacy Howard

With a 2-3 record last season, 2018 was far from a bad year for Stacy Howard. She started the season well with wins over RB3 and Josh Macuga, but came 3rd in the Triple Threat match at Collider Collision against teammate Jeannine the Machine and Marc Andreyko. Her Anarchy partnership with Winston Marshall went 0-1 with a loss to the Founding Fathers and she also fell to Dan Murrell in the opening round of the Ultimate Schmoedown.

Stacy has the ability to beat the bigger names in the league and if she can start picking up those results and find a strong competitor to join her in the Teams Division, she could easily put together a record worthy of the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Robert Meyer Burnett

If the ending of Spectacular is anything to go by, the Captain is back this year! 2018 saw Burnett only compete once, in the Free 4 All, with a scheduling issue meaning he had to pull out of the Innergeekdom Tournament. The original Innergeekdom Champion, Burnett has lost all 3 of his matches in the division since. His only appearance in the Singles Division was a 4th place finish in the Fatal Fiveway qualifier for the final spot in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, while his 2-1 record as part of Blofeld’s Cat has an asterisk next to it courtesy of 1 win being in the infamous handicap match against Rachel Cushing.

A year off from competition may have done the Captain a world of good and if he can be competitive again in a strengthened Innergeekdom Division, then his knowledge of Star Trek could see him making a push for the title again, while he is also another competitor who has shown that he can do well in Teams with the right partner.

JTE

The winner of the 2017 Comeback Player of the Year award makes the list again. JTE opened the season with a loss to Rachel Cushing in a Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match, and his only other match in the Singles Division was his first ever loss to John Rocha at the first live event. His run with Jeff Sneider also came to an end, as they beat Top 10 with a little help from Jane Fonda but then lost twice to Above The Line to lose the title, before Sneider ended their partnership by leaving the Lion’s Den. It looked like JTE had a new chance of success being paired with Lon Harris during the Anarchy Tournament and their TKO victory over the Wildberries looked ominous for the league, but injury brought an early end to Little Evil’s season and he had to watch his replacement Jonathan Harris go to the tournament final, where they lost to Who’s The Boss?

JTE is one of the most experienced competitors in the league and while the Singles Division has certainly strengthened over the last year, I would still rate him as one of the stronger competitors in the league due to his breadth of knowledge and his experience playing the game. He is also a competitor strong enough to lead a team and if he can find a decent partner, then he could find the Team Titles – and Comeback Player of the Year – within his reach again.

Which of these competitors do you think has the best chance of winning the award? Or do you think I’ve missed someone? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!