Happy New Year y’all! It’s time to start putting 2020 behind us, but before we completely forget about it, we need to take one more look at Season 7 in order to pick the winners for the 2020 Schmoedown Awards.
As a Patron of the Schmoedown, I had the honour of being involved in the voting process for this year’s awards, and wanted to take a moment to reflect on a bright point in a poor year and talk through my votes.
So most of the talk I have heard has been between Sneider and Collins for understandable reasons given their second half of the season. Ace did fantastic in the Star Wars Division, but only played 1 match (a loss) outside of the Division so I can’t give him the award. Murrell doesn’t have the same number of wins, but almost every match he played was for a title and an absolute thriller. Collins’ Singles run was fantastic, but like Ace he barely played outside of that division so misses out on the overall award. Sneider had a fantastic end to the season, finishing with a tournament victory, a Teams Title and another tournament final with an 8-3 record. However my vote goes to someone who I think has been criminally underlooked: Chance Ellison won a Teams title like Sneider (the only difference being Sneider hasn’t had a chance to lose it since) and finished with a similar record (7-3, just one match less) while also winning the IG tournament and fighting for that title, but what he did that nobody else on this list did is compete in 3 Divisions and find a degree of success in each – exactly what I’m looking for with the overall award.
Let’s be honest, this is a pretty easy one. Jeff, Ethan and Liz had great campaigns, while Dan Murrell defeated Meyer, Bibbiani, Bateman (twice) and Erwin in stunning fashion. However, it’s hard to give this award to anyone other than Adam Collins, who took the league by storm and went unbeaten in the division, including defeating Murrell at Spectacular!
So this may be a hot take, but I didn’t actually consider Cabrera the underdog against Dimalanta, so I can rule that one out. While Robert Parker’s loss to Chance was a shock, I think that maybe we expected too much too soon from a rookie. Perri beating Kalinowski and Collins beating Rocha were certainly shocks, but I think that both of the higher-ranked competitors were below their best, which is why I go for Kelly v Cabrera, as this was Laura Kelly at her best, missing just 1 question in the entire game, and Ace having to be at his very best to come away with the win.
So this was a pretty interesting one, with 4 teams having held the Teams Title in 2020. The fact that the Founding Fathers made the shortlist with a winning record says it all. When I make the pick here, I feel that you need to look at repeated success (so a high win-loss record), while having also won the title. KOrruption and Shazam both get ruled out due to Final Exam and Odd Couple having more wins, but as Final Exam could not win a belt, they also get ruled out and leaves the Odd Couple as my vote.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- Adam Collins 8-1 over two divisions, Horror FreeForAll Winner
- Barbarian 4-2 over two divisions
- Goddard 4-2 over three divisions
- Marisol McKee 2-2 over two divisions
- Kevin Smith 2-0
Another one that ended up being a clear option. Credit to Marisol McKee, Kevin Smith and all the other rookies who showed their quality in 2020, but there was a clear top 3. Ben Goddard’s early success across 3 divisions had him leading the race and also in contention for Player of the Year, but not competing in the Teams or Singles tournaments cost him. Similarly, Craig “The Barbarian” Gaynier showed early success in Singles and IG, but not being in he Teams tournament hurt him. The clear winner here is Adam Collins. He may have only gone 1-1 in Teams but he still ended up with the same number of wins as Ben and the Barbarian combined with just 1 loss to his name and the Singles Belt around his waist.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Andres Cabrera SW tourney winner
- Lon Harris Teams division come back and advancing in singles tourney
- Liz Shannon Miller Semi finals in tourney
- Jeff Sneider wins teams titles for 3rd time, makes it to singles finals
- Perri Nemiroff: after long layoff, defeats Mike Kalinowski, pushes Reilly and pulls off biggest 3 round comeback in teams
So this is an interesting one with no clear winner to me. I don’t personally see what Ace’s “comeback” is from, as a loss to Team Champs in season 2 and a mauling in IG against Robert Parker is not enough to me. Likewise, Liz went 3-2 last season, with both losses coming to people on their run to the Singles Title. Sneider held a Teams Title and competed for the Singles Title in 2019, while Perri’s 2-2 record doesn’t seem award-worth to me. Lon Harris, however, limped to a 2-4 overall record last year while playing with 3 different teammates, but this year found success with Paul Oyama and SWAG, while also completely reinventing himself with his switch from Professor to Delinquent, and therefore gets my vote.
FACTION OF THE YEAR
- KOrruption: Faction champions, singles title, teams title, IG tourney, singles tourney
- SWAG: Second place, IG title, Star Wars tourney, teams finals
- Roxstars: Third place, teams championship, Star Wars championship
- Finstock Exchange: teams title, singles title
- Quirky Mercs, teams title
For me, this was a 2-horse race between KOrruption and SWAG, who ran away with the Faction championship. While both had success, KOrruption won 2 titles to SWAG’s 1 during the season and also won 2 of the 4 tournaments and the Horror FreeForAll, on the way to winning the Faction Championship, so I have to give my vote to them.
FEUD OF THE YEAR
- Roxy vs Shannon
- Shannon vs Winston
- Dagnino vs Bateman
- Founding Fathers vs KOrruption
- Chandru vs Smets
So for me, the feud needs to go on for a while and remain relevant, which gives the advantage to those between managers, so I’m ruling out the bottom two, while I also think that Tom v Ben has been mainly shots for long distance rather than face to face. So that leaves Shannon (shock!) vs either Roxy or Winston. But as I said, relevance is also important and – though it may sound harsh – the Roxstars were never a legitimate threat to KOrruption, whereas SWAG were, which gave the extra edge to Shannon v Winston.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
- Shannon Barney
- Winston Marshall
- Roxy Striar
- Tom Dagnino
- Coy Jandreau
Another that was really a two-horse race in my mind, but as Roxy has also got a lot of backing I will go through all 5. Bobby Gucci’s managing style doesn’t work online and he proved unable to adapt effectively to the new format forced upon us, whilst also allowing too much squabbling within the faction. Roxy Striar may be getting some love for her speeches to the Odd Couple and the fact that she had competitors in 3/6 Spectacular matches, but 2 of those matches were basically gifted to her by drafting Alex Damon at a sport where it would have been stupid to pick anyone else and having a connection to a famous name who wanted to play. I would put her above Dagnino, but I also question why such an experienced manager is still having to constantly give speeches to stop 2 experienced Schmoedown Pros from giving up, while I also can’t ignore the missteps with Josh Quevedo and Jim Vejvoda. Coy Jandreau takes third for doing well with his whole factin, with the Reel Rejects getting a win, Greg Alba turning heads in IG and Perri making an impressive return to the league, while he also got Shazam to the title. However, with the Mercs being so far behind in the faction Standings, there is then a big gap between him and the top 2.
And so it comes down to Winston v Shannon. Shannon has 2 titles won, 1 title lost and a missed title. Winston has 1 title won, a successful defence and a missed title. So we’re pretty even there. Shannon brought out the best in Laura Kelly and discovered Marisol and Adam, but also had the benefit of pre-made team in former Team Champions KOrruption. Winston however had to start from scratch and did a great job by pairing Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who were both revitalised with changes to their character, while he also got the best out of Liz Shannon Miller and Andres Cabrera. Shannon may have come away with the Faction Championship, but I feel that she started with a step up by having 2 established and experienced triple threats to fall back on, so Winston Marshall gets my vote.
ENTRANCE OF THE YEAR
- ZaFlertinFlouse (Vs Smith)
- Reel Rejects (VS The Pride)
- Bonnie Somerville (Vs Mckee)
- Reel Rejects (VS Cuckoos Mess)
- Shazam (VS Final Exam)
This is difficult, as the move to the online format took away a lot of the possible theatricality that we got in the early months of the season. The Reel Rejects’ entrance against The Pride was fun, but as I didn’t know Red Letter Media, it just didn’t hit as well with me. The Delinquent Kid was a fun bit from Shazam that played well an honoured their opponents. Bonnie’s steamy entrance certainly got pulses racing. After the joy of SEN Live’s descent into madness midway through the pandemic, the return of ZaFlertinFlouse was the true highlight of Spectacular. My vote however goes to the Reel Rejects v Cuckoo’s Mess, as the masks were a fun gimmick (and in hindsight, a premonition of our entire year), but it went to another level as John Rocha stormed out and took Greg’s Guy Fawkes mask – a jab at Rocha beating Greg to the award last year – only for John to remove his Jigsaw mask to reveal a second Guy Fawkes mask, which he removed and gave to Greg, unveiling a second Jigsaw mask! Perfection!
HEEL OF YEAR
- Shannon Barney
- Chandru Dhandapani
- Brandon Hanna
- Jeff Sneider
- Eliot Dewberry
- Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly and Eliot Dewberry’s heel turns this season were great, but unfortunately had limited screen time, while Sneider also doesn’t really stick in my mind for his heel antics this year, other than his rants about Innergeekdom. And so that leaves us with 3 very different heels. Shannon kicked things off with a bang by breaking up the Wildberries, and carried on the season as a highly entertaining villain, who I couldn’t wait to see what she did next. Brandon Hanna’s speeches helped cure my insomnia this season, while Chandru’s arrogance, dancing and disrespect made him someone you couldn’t help loathe. While I think the vote should go to Hanna or Chandru, I’ve always preferred the entertaining heels, so after losing out on Manager of the Year, Shannon Barney gets my vote here.
BABYFACE OF THE YEAR
- The Kid
- Kevin Smith
- Coy Jandreau
- Andres Cabrera
- Perri Nemiroff
Coy and Ace both did a great job of playing faces while keeping the competitive edge. The Kid remained a fine young tenderoni even during his delinquent phase, and his heavy breathing in the tight moments was somewhat endearing, if annoying to the Chairman. Kevin Smith added his own brand to the league, but Perri Nemiroff just gets my vote as she looked to enjoy her return to the league and matches against people she knew well.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR
- Murrell vs Collins Post interview
- Shannon drafts Dewberry
- Murrell disbelief says “I won” when beating Bateman after 6 point comeback
- Bibbs and Andreyko have touching moment in post interview Spectacular
- Kevin Smith gives Chris Jericho….Kevin Smith movies on Opponents choice
What a great set of moments here and all of them enjoyable for different reasons. For me though, it has to be the bombshell moment during the draft where Shannon Barney drafted Dewberry immediately after Winston drafted Macuga, thereby breaking up the Wildberries. It was so out of nowhere and showed that even as a rookie manager, Shannon was not going to hold back when it came to being a heel, and it is a shame that the move online due to the pandemic meant that much of the progression of this storyline – all from a heat of the moment decision by Shannon – was lost.
HEEL TEAM OF YEAR
- The Pride
- The Odd Couple
- Category 9
So for this, I’ve decided to prioritise how they act rather than their success in matches. To be honest, I think this category really took a hit by the move online. Category 9 didn’t even feel like a fully heel team in their one match and needed time to grow. The Pride calling themselves heels was like a child throwing a tantrum because they wanted to be treated like an adult. Deception wasclearly a heel team, but they were focusing on results over dramatics first. Both Odd Couple and KOrruption had their moments where they felt like heels, but also others hat ere much tamer as the emotion of events overcame them, but I think that as part of an entirely heel faction, KOrruption felt the more consistent.
BABYFACE TEAM OF THE YEAR
- Final Exam
- Witching Power
- The Reel Rejects
- Founding Fathers
This was a hard choice, and as much as I enjoyed the light-heartedness of the Reel Rejects and Witching Power, I felt that Final Exam and Shazam had the harder tasks of remaining faces in much more meaningful matches. While both did this well, I give my vote this year to Final Exam, as Lon Harris and Paul Oyama both looked to make U-turns from their heel personas of last year and did so in a way that felt natural within the story, and continued on through the matches themselves.
NEW TEAM OF THE YEAR
- Final Exam
- Deep 13
- The Pride
- The Witching Power
So for this, I was looking at success in the year, and that meant that there is a clear winner, Deep 13 started well but not competing in the tournament hurt them, as was the case for The Pride, while Deception the Witching Power actually lost out due to only having the tournament, leaving Final Exam, who found success both before and during the tournament.
MATCH OF THE YEAR
- Murrell vs Collins
- Murrell vs Bateman I
- Odd Couple vs Final Exam
- Dimalanta vs Scrimshaw
- Dimalanta vs Cabrera
- Korruption vs Founding Fathers
- Murrell vs Bibbs vs The Kid
- Murrell vs Bateman II
- Odd Couple vs Shazam
- Smith vs Jericho
There are so many great matches here and that is a real testament to the league, that the season could continue at such a high level despite the switch to an online format. For me, I need a relatively close match, with a pretty high level of competition, but I also want something beyond just the competition. As many great matches as we had this season, my mind still always goes back to Atlanta, and Murrell v Bateman I. While it wasn’t 2 competitors going at 100% accuracy, the level of trivia was still super high but allowed for the scoreline and momentum to go back and forth, with Murrell coming from 5 down to win in Sudden Death.
PODCAST OF THE YEAR
- A Certain Point of View
- Call To Action
- Let’s Get Ready
- Repeat the Question
- Machine Mondays
It’s not just the quality of the league that is getting better, as more and more podcasts and shows have set up to cover the league and push the standard of reporting up to new heights. A shout-out first of all to those who missed out on the shortlist this time around, it just shows how much quality content is out there. Unfortunately, that sheer amount of content has made it hard for me to keep up, and it has led to many of the podcasts not getting the love they deserve from me this year. While I have loved everything I’ve seen from all of these podcasts, I find myself voting for Call To Action due to their range of shows, from match breakdowns to Chill To Action, which has been a great show to get to know Schmoedown Pros better without the kayfabe, which has certainly helped me grow a greater appreciation for some of the characters in the league.
INNERGEEKDOM PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Chandru Dhandapani
- Chance Ellison
- Mike Kalinowski
- Brandon Hanna
- Alex Damon
To me, there are only people who can really be in consideration here: Chance Ellison and Chandru Dhandapani. Chance has more wins, with a 4-0 run to win the IG tournament, but he then has a loss to Chandru, who won all 3 of his matches, including a title shot and a title defence. I hate doing this, but I have to give this award to the belt and Chandru Dhandapani.
STAR WARS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Andres Cabrera
- Alex Damon
- Laura Kelly
- Andrew Dimalanta
- Mollie Damon
So this one goes along similar lines to IG Player of the Year, with it being a fight between tournament winner Ace Cabrera and Champion Alex Damon. However, where Chandru’s win of the title and defence were enough to overcome Chance’s superior number of wins, Alex only played once in the division this season, and though that was a win over Cabrera, the run from play in match to tournament victory gives Andres Cabrera my vote.
How do my votes tally up against yours? Let me know what you think and where your votes went!