War has been declared in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown as season 8 kicked off with the Free Agency Special! Ahead of the 2021 Draft, each manager had to lock in 3 Schmoedown Pros from season 7 to their faction. Shannon Barney’s Faction Title gave her a 1 week head start and the ability to lock in her trio regardless of their thoughts, while the remaining 7 managers were at the mercy of the Free Agents, who get the final pick of which faction they join.
Well the Free Agency Special gave us some real shocks as Kaiser managed to convince both Dan Murrell and Ben Bateman to join him and Robert Parker in The Dungeon, while Drew McWeeny returned to competition with the Usual Suspects and JTE secured himself as Bobby Gucci’s 3ʳᵈ pick. But perhaps the shock of the night came as “Lady Justice” Marison McKee chose not to risk the raft and signed on with Kate Mulligan and the Den, only for Kate to trade her to KOrruption for Shannon’s 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ round picks!
On Friday, the 2021 Draft will take place, and managers will fill their rosters from the remaining rookies and Free Agents, but who will each manager select? I have put together a mock draft to try and predict how these teams may fill out.
A note on the picks:
Season 7 saw the Usual Suspects trade Ken Napzok, Jader Paramo and the 1ˢᵗ round pick in this year’s draft to the Burning Droogs for Ethan Ewrin. As the Droogs are no longer active, Samm retains his pick.
Season 7 also saw the Roxstars (now called the Stars) trade JTE to the Burning Droogs for Josh Quevedo and a 3ʳᵈ round pick. As the Droogs are no longer active, Roxy will have 2 picks in round 3 – her own pick and also an extra pick at the start of the round, which is where the Droogs would have been picking if still active.
Andrew Ghai is arguably the biggest name missing from the Draft board, and it doesn’t seem that many people have seen him since he went missing during Spectacular.
Other notable veterans who were not on the draft list so appear to be sitting out the season are Matt Atchity, Scott Mantz, Tim Franco, Grae Drake, Hecor Navarro and Adam Hlavac.
Some key notes from this draft:
With Kate’s 2 Free Agent signings and first 2 draft picks covering the 3 main divisions, Kate opens Round 2 by taking a Star Wars competitor. While I imagine she’d want to show loyalty to Sean Sullivan, Laura Kelly’s #1 Contender match is too much of a draw to avoid.
Though she doesn’t get to pick until the end of Round 3, Shannon then has consecutive picks, which she uses to take Marc Edward Heuck and Sean Sullivan. Having made these 2 picks, she immediately offers both Heuck and Sullivan to the Den for Laura Kelly, which Kate accepts. This allows Shannon to get her top 5 back, while Kate still has an underrated Star Wars competitor in Sullivan and a dangerous Singles/Teams competitor in Heuck.
A number of managers show loyalty to promising Schmoedown Pros from last year’s factions
The Dungeon brings back Zipper, Witt and Britney Young
Samm brings back Jeannine and Jen Kempe as potential triple threats, as well as Doug Bensen, who did not get a match last season
Kate brings back Saul, Silvestrini, Brett, Alex Marzoña (who was on the faction but did not get a match) and James White, while also bringing back Sean Sullivan in a trade
The Mercs bring back Mara, Perri and the Reel Rejects
Dagnino holds onto Andrew Dimalanta
Roxy retains Stacy Howard, Jim Vejvoda, David Del Rio and Chris Jericho
Winston brings back Ace, RB3 and Sean Gerber
Shannon retains her top 5 and Eliot Dewberry during the draft. As she would only have 10 picks by the time every other faction is full, she will either have the last 2 picks of the draft or use Free Agency to bring back Claudia Dolph and Klee Wiggins, who both had limited opportunity to show what they could do in 2020
Roxy shows faith in Alex Damon in IG by taking Stacy Howard with her Round 1 pick, while also trusting that he will win his early Star Wars Title defence(s) and bringing in Thomas Harper with the intention of creating a Stars 1-2 at the top of the Star Wars rankings in the same way that Kaiser tried to do with Smets and Parker in IG last year
Roxy also brings in a couple of competitors to show her quality as a manager and further feuds with Dagnino and Shannon by bringing in Emily Rose Jacobson and Bonnie Somerville respectively
Winston picks up Mark Reilly and Haleigh Foutch with early picks, with the intention of making them this year’s Lon Harris and Liz Shannon Miller
Winston and Shannon will both draft second Star Wars competitors in the first half of the draft despite having recently signed a Star Wars specialist due to this second competitor – Zack Burkett and Jacob Wittneben also being a threat in IG
How do you think the draft will work out? Will Shannon get Laura Kelly back to KOrruption? Let me know in the comments.
In the meantime, pick your side and prepare for WAR!
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 without further ado, my votes went to:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jeff Sneider (8-3 overall) 4-2 in singles, tournament finals, 4-1 in teams. Teams tournament winner, team champion)
Adam Collins (8-1 overall) (7-0 in singles, 1-1 in teams, FreeForAll Horror Winner)
Dan Murrell (4-1 in singles, 3-1 in title matches, defended title twice. 1-2 in teams)
Chance Ellison: 7-3 overall Won the IG tourney, went 4-0 in the tourney. 2-1 in teams, won teams titles. 1-1 in singles
Andres Cabrera 4-2 overall in Star Wars and IG, went 4-0 in Star Wars tourney from play in and won SW tourney
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.
SINGLES PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Adam Collins 7-0, 1 title win, singles tournament winner. 6-0 in tourney
Dan Murrell 4-1, one title win, 2 title defenses
Jeff Sneider 4-2, tournament finalist
Liz Shannon Miller 3-1, tournament semi finalist
Ethan Erwin 5-2, semi finalist
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!
UPSET OF THE YEAR
Perri beats Kalinowski
Cabrera beats Laura Kelly
Collins beats Rocha
Chance beats Parker
Cabrera beats Dimalanta
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.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Odd Couple 4-1, tournament winners, one title win
Shazam 3-1 one title win
Final Exam 4-2, tournament finalists
KOrruption 2-1, 1 title win
Founding Fathers 1-2
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.
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
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
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
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 Odd Couple
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
The Reel Rejects
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
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
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
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
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!
If we only learned one thing during Schmoedown Spectacular V, it was this: the Schmoeminati are real. For months we watched Andrew Ghai’s descent into madness as he tried to warn us and prove their existence, and it proved costly for him, as he was kidnapped by unknown assailants led by a masked figure.
But now we know that the Schmoeminati are real, the questions turn to their identity and their motives. Ghai had the information but that’s lost to us now. The only thing we know is that Chairman Kristian Harloff – shadowy leader of the last coup – is not involved but that means that the rest of the league are still potential suspects.
Let me know who you think is behind the Schmoeminati, but my chief suspects are below:
Suspect #1: Brad Gilmore
The BOAT is an up-and-coming talent in the Schmoedown crew. As host of the Schmoedown Rundown and now also Coming Up Next, he has years of experience as a pundit and has also filled in occasionally in post-match interviews and on the desk, and Kristian Harloff has even mentioned the prospect of him being the heir to Harloff’s place on the deskin the long-term.
But does the BOAT want to wait for nature to take its course, or is he taking a leaf out of Harloff’s books and using subterfuge to take control of the league by steadily infiltrating the league and then brainwashing one of the league’s biggest faces? Speculation? Yes, but go back to the Rundown episode immediately following Spectacular (and Andrew Ghai’s capture – and a certain BOAT is mysteriously missing…
Suspect #2: Grace Hancock
I mentioned in my 5 takeaways from Spectacular to watch out for Grace’s revenge following Kate Mulligan’s decision to fire her, and with her being on bad terms with so many of the other managers (not to mention Chairman Kristian Harloff, who is scared of her), she may have decided that the Schmoeminati is the best way to entrench herself in the league so they can’t get rid of her.
You could argue that the Schmoeminati started before Grace was fired, but I have 2 words for you: CONTINGENCY PLAN. This isn’t the first time Grace has been dropped from a team and with the lack of success in the latter half of the season for The Den, she may have sensed that her role as an advisor was anything but a position of power, and made plans to cement herself in the league.
Let’s not forget that she took advantage of Dagnino locking Emma Fyffe in a closet in order to become the post-match interviewer for the inaugural Collision – never rule the Lioness out when it comes to something despicable.
Suspect #3: Mark Ellis
“Surely not Baby Carrots!” I hear you all cry out, but how better to avoid suspicion than to be one of the most jovial people in the league? Mark Ellis was one of the founders of the Schmoedown, and yet it is Kristian Harloff who gets the majority of the credit and gets to rule the league, while everybody’s favourite dog stepfather is left to give the rulings of all the challenges and bear the brunt of the competitors and managers who are unhappy with the decision.
It’s just a matter of time before someone would snap under that pressure and maybe that is what Ellis has done here, putting into action a plan that will see him oust his former teammate at the top of the league. Rumours that the Schmoeminati have taken control of all the Coors Light on the Wes Coast are still under investigation.
Suspect #4: Frank Janisch
First off, just look at the picture above. This guy is worshipping Kylo Ren so can’t be trusted! Let’s not forget that we never heard of the Schmoeminati until after Frankie Numbaz made the move from Chicago to the West Coast. As a longtime host of the Schmoedown Rundown, he has always had access to people and information behind the scenes in the league, but in recent months has seen his Rundown co-host Brad Gilmore getting a second show while he is even facing pressure in the stats department these days.
With his role as the stats guy onscreen now under threat, has West Coast Frank started making moves to grab more power within the Schmoedown and secure his name of “The Truth” once and for all…?
Suspect #5: ZaFlertinflouse
“The Trending Nightmare” is a mystery wrapped in an enigma and shrouded in conspiracy theories, the most recent of which is that he is behind the Schmoeminati. Did the mask worn by Andrew Ghai’s abductor look familiar? That’s because it has a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in the video for his hit single “Und Und Und”, worn by none other than the Flouse!
The current belief is that the Flouse is looking to take over the league to force the Schmoedown Pros to sing in the chorus for his upcoming album “Spin from the Peg”. Rumours that the planned first release “Sexy Buzzer” will be a duet with Brendan Meyer have been quashed.
Suspect #6: Sabrina Ramirez & Brandon Hanna
We’ve focused on individual suspects for now, but who says that an organisation like the Schmoeminati can only have 1 person at the head. Sabrina Ramirez warned us before Spectacular that she and Brandon Hanna were about to become the league’s new power couple, which is hard to believe when you look and Hanna’s soul-destroying, never-ending promos.
But what if those promos were to lull us into a false sense of security while the Schmoeminati quietly came in and grabbed hold of the league under the overall running of Ramirez, who had a quiet season after being picked up on the Free Agency deadline day with only 1 chance to compete. Ramirez is someone to watch out for in this league, and Hanna could be the perfect underrated sidekick/henchman.
Suspect #7: John Rocha & Finstock
As the resident mask-wearers in the league, of course Rocha and Finstock have to be suspects! It’s been a bad season for both Rocha and Finstock, with a Faction Championship that should have been theirs for the taking ending up falling away from them midway through the season. And yet despite this, the pair joined up to throw the GOAT Dan Murrell out of the faction at the end of the season – a move that boggles the mind!
Why else would they do this if they didn’t have some nefarious plan to take over the league, and with Dagnino’s mysterious contacts, it’s easy to see the Schmoeminati forming. Rumours that the Reel Rejects’ multi-mask entry against Cuckoo’s Mess was a rite of passage to join the Schmoeminati are being investigated.
Suspect #8: Jessica Sterger & PLD
And so we reach the final suspects, with the most interesting motives. PLD is the third leg of Action Industries and has never fully got over the break-up of Team Action, while Jessica Sterger (Jenn’s Action-loving identical twin) has been mooted as the perfect manager for and Action reunion.
There’s just been one problem: both Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai had moved on from Action and become more respectful of the game and their opponents, with Ghai even going so far as to change the name “Dastardly” to “Debonair”. Well Bateman’s struggles this season seem to have pushed him back towards his old self, but it looks like the arrival of the Schmoeminati has been focused on pushing Ghai beyond what he could take and forcing him to snap back to his dastardly self. There is a legitimate chance that the 2021 Draft will see Team Action reunited, and with both the Action Army and Schmoeminati behind them, all hell could be set to break loose…
It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the Movie Trivia Schmoedown from going as expected this year, but everyone involved has done a wonderful job of transitioning to a digital format and giving us an fantastic and utterly unpredictable season. And the ultimate reward of that is that we still get the 5ᵗʰ annual Schmoedown Spectacular!
Schmoedown’s very own Wrestlemania, Spectacular V is this Saturday and will see some of the biggest names in the league compete over 6 matches – including 4 Championship Matches – and at the end of the event, we will know the winner of the first ever Faction Championship. But who will be facing off in this mammoth event, and who will win? I’ve not had a great year with my predictions, but let’s see if I can redeem myself on big stage.
Star Wars Championship: Alex Damon v Andres Cabrera
Will “The Demon” have finally met his match? The man who makes his living explaining Star Wars has looked unbeatable but hasn’t competed in the Star Wars Division since beating Laura Kelly at Spectacular IV. Meanwhile, Ace has ran the gauntlet this year, going on a Cinderella run that saw him go from the Play In Match all the way to winning the tournament, with wins over Josh Quevedo, Ken Napzok, Laura Kelly and Andrew Dimalanta.
Alex has previously mentioned that he didn’t know some of the answers Ace was pulling in the tournament as the questions went deeper than ever, and I think that had this match come hot on the heels of that tournament, we would have a new champion. However, it has been months since then, so you can guarantee that Alex will have dived deeper than ever before, while the momentum that Ace had will have been nullified. I can still see this one going the distance, but I have Alex defending his title.
Chris Jericho v Britney Young
One of the GOATs of pro-wrestling, Jericho’s arrival in the league as a Free Agent pick-up for the Roxstars was a high point of the season and his match against Kevin Smith was an absolute treat! Meanwhile, Britney Young of GLOW fame made her name in the Schmoedown as part of the GLOW celebrity match, putting in an impressive performance and enjoying the game so much, she accepted a place on the active roster this season, being picked up by The Dungeon.
Neither of these competitors have much in the way of game tape, but both have shown themselves to have a decent knowledge base. However, there is a hint that Britney’s knowledge may be slightly broader, whereas Jericho’s more focused. If Jericho can hit a favoured category in Round 2, then I think he can ace it, but I think that Britney will have the breadth of knowledge to take a narrow win. One thing I do feel confident in though is that we will get some killer promos.
Teams Championship: Shazam! v Odd Couple
The Teams Championship has bounced around a little this season, with KOrruption taking the belts from the Founding Fathers only to lose them to Shazam! just 2 months later! Meanwhile, former champions the Odd Couple have recovered from their early season loss against Who’s The Boss to run through the recent Teams Tournament, and have arguably looked better than when they won the title.
Sneider has been on something of a revenge tour of late, beating Paul Oyama in both Teams and Singles to avenge his Season 6 Championship loss, while also avenging his loss to Adam Collins in the final of this season’s Singles Tournament by defeating Deception in the Teams Tournament. Could this revenge tour continue against the team who defeated them in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown? We have 4 superstars on display so I expect this to go to the wire, but I think that the online format’s speed round benefits William Bibbiani more than the buzzer round, so I have Shazam! defending their title.
Innergeekdom Championship: Chandru Dhandapani v Chance Ellison
Who’d have thought that fans would be cheering for “The Cobra”? Such is the mood against Chandru Dhandapani, who had the gall to talk smack about Rachel Cushing. Dhandapani’s route to the title saw him defeat Brandon Hanna to set up a #1 Contender Match against Mike Kalinowski. However, Kalinowski put his faction before his personal glories and turned down the match in order to compete in the Innergeekdom Tournament – a move which looks to have helped KOrruption secure the Faction Championship, as both Kalinowski and his Padawan Chance each ran through their side of the tournament bracket to reach the final, where Chance came away with the win. Meanwhile Chandru’s match against Kevin Smets certainly didn’t go as expected as the champion struggled to get in the zone playing online and lost the title to Chandru.
This is an interesting one, as Chance has the experience of close Championship matches and has been a regular in he online format this season, but as a triple-threat competitor he won’t have been able to focus on IG subjects in the same depth as Chandru, an IG specialist. While my heart has Chance following in the footsteps of KO, I have to go with my head, which has Chandru becoming the first Schmoedown Pro to defend the Innergeekdom Title since Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica.
Kevin Smith v Brett Sheridan
One of the big announcements from the Free Agency deadline, Kevin Smith proved that he was more than “Good Enough” as he took down Chris Jericho in his Schmoedown debut. Meanwhile Brett Sheridan shocked the world (and arguably even himself) as he defeated Bonnie Somerville at the start of the season.
Now no offence to Brett, but I can’t imagine him pulling out the victory over Kevin Smith, though I can see it going to the final round. Instead, the questions to ask about this match are:
What will Kevin Smith do if he spins Kevin Smith on the wheel?
Will the big stage of Spectacular V see the grand return of ZaFlertinFlouse?
Will Inappropriate Elmo or Jon Voight from Anaconda make an appearance in an attempt to put Kevin Smith off?
Singles Championship: Dan Murrell v Adam Collins
While you would never rule out Dan Murrell being in the main event of Spectacular, who would have guessed that his opponent would be Adam Collins, a man who went undrafted and was picked up on the final day of Free Agency. That acquisition arguably won Shannon Barney the Factions Championship, as “The Coyote” went all the way from Play In Match to the Ultimate Schmoedown winner.
Murrell has held on to the belt the hard way after winning it back from Ben Bateman in Atlanta, going into the final round 6 down to “The Boss” in their rematch, while beating Ethan Erwin in Sudden Death, so it’s hard to imagine him struggling for a 4ᵗʰ consecutive Championship Match. Collins however has looked so solid in Singles, but did begin to show some cracks before losing with Deception, and now needs to show that he can recover quickly to take on the GOAT. I see Murrell leading by a point or 2 into the final round, and holding the lead to secure victory.
How do you see these matches playing out? Regardless, I’m certain that this event will be – as its name suggests – spectacular!
WARNING: This will contain spoilers for the recent Team Championship match and the Singles Tournament Final!
The new Teams Champions have been crowned (congratulations to Shazam!) and with the Singles Tournament reaching it’s climax, we will soon be turning our attention to the upcoming Teams Tournament. Each faction will be sending 1 team into the tournament and the winners will get the chance to challenge Shazam! for the Teams Title at Spectacular.
Now, it’s safe to say that my other tournament brackets this year have been completely wrong (usually within 1 or 2 matches) so now is my chance to try to salvage some credibility with my predictions for the Teams bracket.
So first of all, with a number of new teams forming, let’s see who will be in the tournament:
Final Exam ~ Paul Oyama & Lon Harris ~ 3-1 (2KO)
Category 9 ~ Brandon Hanna & Jader Paramo ~ 0-0
The Witching Power ~ Haleigh Foutch & Perri Nemiroff ~ 0-0
TOM & Paul ~ TOM & Paul Preston ~ 0-1
Founding Fathers ~ Dan Murrell & John Rocha ~ 5-3 (4KO)
The Misfits ~ Eric Zipper & Adam Witt ~ 0-0
Odd Couple ~ Jeff Sneider & Marc Andreyko ~ 6-4 (3KO)
Deception ~ Marisol McKee & Adam Collins ~ 0-0
The Lethal Weapons ~ Ethan Erwin & Andrew Ghai ~ 0-0
Play In Match
The Witching Power v The Misfits: 4 veterans of the game join to form 2 rookie teams and give us a very enticing play in match. Haleigh Foutch has not competed yet this year so may be a little rusty, but I would expect that the online format may actually suit her, while Perri caught me out with how competitive she was in the Singles tournament. It hasn’t been a good season for Adam Witt, but perhaps the pairing with Eric Zipper – who has drastically improved under Kaiser’s tutelage – could be just what he needs. The only issue I see here is that Zipper’s IG knowledge (which could have been a weapon against some teams) may be somewhat cancelled out by Foutch and Nemiroff, so I have to give the narrowest of victories to The Witching Power.
TOM & Paul v Final Exam: This really hasn’t been the season Paul Preston would have hoped for and I’m afraid I can’t see it getting any better with this match. TOM & Paul were meant to be the elite team for The Den, but an early loss and the success of The Pride saw their chances limited, while Preston also suffered a crushing defeat to Zipper in the Singles tournament. Final Exam meanwhile have played 4 matches together (many of them online) so have the experience of competing in this format. Combine with that a strong tactical link with manager Winston Marshall, while TOM’s match against Jader Paramo suggested there are still communication issues with Kate Mulligan. TOM and Paul are knowledgeable competitors so I expect them to keep it close, but I see Paul and Lon advancing.
Founding Fathers v The Witching Power: There’s no easy way to put this, but I can’t see any situation where the Founding Fathers lose this. Murrell and Rocha are so experienced both in the Schmeodown as a whole and even the online format. It’s fair to imagine that (barring a hideous spin) they could have only dropped a couple of points by the end of Round 2. Perri and Haleigh are great competitors, but I don’t think they have the breadth and depth of knowledge to go near-perfect in this match, and I can see the Founding Fathers winning without having to answer in Round 3.
Odd Couple v Category 9: The Odd Couple are former champions so arguably one of the favourites going into the tournament and find themselves against a rookie and someone who has only played in IG. It’s a strange pairing by manager Ken Napzok but it could be effective, as I imagine that Hanna knows enough to feel confident in the division while also having the potential of the IG slice to use as a weapon in Round 2, while Jader has impressed since winning the Golden Ticket in Orlando last year. I expect Category 9 to put up a fight and make people take notice, but I think that Sneider and Andreyko are to well-rounded as a pair to lose this match.
Deception v The Lethal Weapons: This match is anything but easy to predict. Ethan Erwin is a former Singles Champion and looks back to his best this season, while Andrew Ghai has had some ups and downs but has generally been a high quality B player in teams. Ghai will provide the strategic expertise while Ethan is potentially an upgrade on Drew McWeeny. Rookies Marisol McKee and Adam Collins have both had strong starts to their Schmoedown careers, with “The KOyote Coyote” going on an incredible run in the Singles Tournament and “Lady Justice” coming away with an enhanced reputation despite a loss to Paul Oyama leaving her at 1-1. It’s easy enough to imagine that Deception and KOrruption have been regular sparring partners this season, while Erwin and Ghai have probably not had as much time together due to their work -and it must also be noted that Ghai has been vocal about not liking the online format, which Collins and McKee are used to from their time in the fan leagues. I’ll give the slightest of advantages to Deception, and hope that Ghai and Erwin can stick together as a team into Season 8.
Final Exam v Founding Fathers: This will be an interesting match. Paul Oyama has shown he has the ability to beat Dan Murrell 1v1, so I expect the pair to be close, which means this could come down to a battle between Lon Harris and John Rocha. “The Delinquent” has had his ups and downs this season but Rocha has appeared to miss the extra boost that a crowd gives him. I think the Founding Fathers will have enough to get by, but it will be close.
Odd Couple v Deception: The Odd Couple will be coming up against a much more dangerous opponent in the semis than the opening round. Sneider and Andreyko have the experience of working together, but that also means that Deception have more game tape to work off, while McKee and Collins’ experience in the online format will help them communicate effectively. Collins just ended Sneider’s run in Singles, I think that he and McKee have the depth and breadth of knowledge to do the same to his Teams campaign and defeat the former champions.
Founding Fathers v Deception: And so we come to the climax of the tournament as Deception face off against former Team Champions for the second match running. As a tournament final, this should be a 5-round match, and I think that this could be where the Founding Fathers have the slight advantage as they will have the experience of playing the online speed round – though I’m sure Shannon Barney will do everything she can to get them prepped as KOrruption have experience from their recent title matches. As much as I would love to go for the underdogs, I can see the former champions pulling out a narrow victory to set up a Title Match against Shazam! at Spectacular.
So that’s how I see the tournament panning out; what does your bracket look like?
Ben Bateman’s time in the Finstock Exchange looks to be coming to an end. “The Boss” was the 1ˢᵗ round pick for Tom Dagnino, but following a heartbreaking Championship loss to Dan Murrell, he let his frustrations out and directed them towards his manager. Since then, Bateman has continued to double down on his stance against Bobby Gucci and it looks clear that a partnership that was formed midway through season 5 would be coming to an end.
Following this season, every Schmoedown Pro is set to become a Free Agent, with each manager able to sign 3 Free Agents ahead of the draft. This means that for the elite players like Bateman, the ball is firmly in their court as they have the power to decide if they are willing to stay with their current manager (assuming they are still wanted there) or take up an offer from another manager. As a former Singles Champion and one of the greatest strategic players in the game – arguably, his strategic influence has even improved Dan Murrell’s game – it’s impossible to envision a situation where Bateman is not one of these 3 pre-draft signings, but who will he be representing?
The team closest to overthrowing the Exchange at time of writing, S.W.A.G. have some high quality talent in Singles and Teams, but not necessarily someone who would be considered in the elite bracket. Winston Marshall has done a great job of adapting his managerial style to fit each of his players this season and has become a student of the game who is not afraid to throw out a challenge – something that will put him in good stead with Bateman.
However, S.W.A.G have a strong group already and with Chandru Dhandapani and Andres Cabrera both having title matches at Spectacular, there is the possibility that Winston already has to pick 3 out of the pair, Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who have formed an impressive team this year as part of Final Exam. As great an addition as Bateman would be, Winston will surely want to show loyalty to those who have helped him this year, and that may leave him without room for The Boss.
Shannon Barney is another rookie manager who has done a great job this season, while her rookies Adam Collins and Marisol McKee have impressed when given a chance. Being able to bring Bateman in as one of the top 3, and then picking up either McKee or Collins early in the draft to partner him would make a great pair of teams alongside KOrruption, similar to how the Exchange had Who’s The Boss and the Founding Fathers.
However, KOrruption has the same issue as S.W.A.G in that McKee, Collins and Laura Kelly will likely be on other factions’ radars and it may be that Shannon needs to use her 3ʳᵈ pick to secure one of them, while it’s hard to imagine Bateman going to a faction with an already established team like KOrruption as it will likely end similar to this season, with issues over Bateman’s standing in the faction.
The Quirky Mercs
Coy Jandreau is another rookie manager who has impressed this season and with the potential that he and Bateman may be working on a show together soon, it may be that they find a good chemistry together. Under Coy’s leadership, the Mercs have done well and it is easy enough to imagine that many of this season’s roster would be available via the draft rather than requiring Coy to sign them in the opening round of Free Agency.
But the issue with The Mercs will be that Bateman would again find himself competing for top spot in the faction with Shazam! As incredible as that trifecta would be, I just can’t imagine Bateman willing to defer big matches or spots in tournaments to Bibbiani and Meyer.
This is where things get interesting, as The Den have 4 high level competitors in TOM, Paul Preston, Ben Goddard and James White, but nobody that would necessarily be considered proven as an elite competitor. With White’s chances limited this year and Paul Preston having a down year, it is possible that Bateman could be picked up along with Ben Goddard and TOM, with at least one of the other 2 picked up in the draft, allowing Bateman to create a strong team with one of these competitors.
I do wonder however if Bateman would consider Kate Mulligan the right kind of manager for him. While Kate has been entertaining this season, there have been questions over her management style with some debatable strategic decisions. It may be that Bateman will take it as a chance to help mould her into the manager he wants, but he may also decide that there are more attractive managerial options out there that will allow him to focus on the trivia and his own game.
Now here is an interesting situation. Roxy Striar knows Ben well so will know how to work with him. She may not be quick to challenge at the moment – being more a cheerleader for her players – but it’s easy to imagine that she could change her style a little for the right person. Meanwhile, if you listen to Jeff Sneider, there is every chance that season 7 will see the end of The Odd Couple, which could then allow Bateman to join the Roxstars and partner with either Sneider or Marc Andreyko – either one would be a dangerous team!
However, it feels like Bateman’s chances of joining the Roxstars hinge on the fate of The Odd Couple. Roxy is loyal to her players – arguably too much so – and its hard to imagine her breaking up The Odd Couple unless Sneider or Andreyko decides to end it. Throw in Alex Damon, who has kept Roxy’s 2020 season alive, and there would be no space in the top 3 should The Odd Couple stay together, while Roxy may even still try to keep them both and find new teammates for them.
Kaiser took a risk this year by trying to monopolise the Innergeekdom Division, but losses for Smets and Robert Parker, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of matches, has meant that this strategy backfired massively. Kaiser will know that he needs to bring in an elite Singles competitor, and Bateman would be the perfect fit. It’s hard to imagine Kaiser using 2 of his 3 picks on IG specialists, so I can see him keeping his Dungeon regulars Smets and Eric Zipper, then bringing in Bateman as the marquee signing. Zipper would be a good partner for Bateman – especially as the Individual IG slices become available in Teams from 2021 – while it’s possible that Kaiser could pick up another possible partner like Vinnie Mancuso or Liz Shannon Miller in the first round of the draft.
Probably the biggest worry here for Bateman is again the manager. Kaiser can talk the talk, but he’s never really proved himself as a great trivia mind. Bateman was vocal about the downside of having Dagnino as a manager compared to a knowledgeable manager like John Rocha, so could it be that this counts against Kaiser, who actually lost to Dagnino in Orlando last year?
The Usual Suspects
The last couple of managers have had question marks beside their names but Samm Levine could arguably be the perfect manager for Ben Bateman. Levine was one of the original strategists in the game and is never shy to throw a challenge, while he also has the trivia knowledge that could make the difference at a crucial moment. Add to this that if the partnership between Andrew Ghai and Ethan Erwin doesn’t work out, Bateman has the chance of a Team Action reunion or forming a superteam with Erwin.
As for a downside, probably the biggest one right now is that if Ghai and Erwin work well together it will be hard to separate them next season, while the Usual Suspects won’t draft until the 2ⁿᵈ round following their blockbuster trade to get hold of Erwin. If that’s the case, it’s going to be much harder to get Bateman a partner that will be strong enough for them to push for the title while also picking up a proven IG competitor.
The Burning Droogs
The team that at time of writing are propping up the table, it’s not been a great year for the Droogs, who no longer have their top 2 draft picks and have also undergone a change of manager. There are some strong competitors here but Bateman could come in as the alpha dog that would be expected to make a run in Singles, while Jader Paramo, Witney Seibold or Alonso Duralde would all be strong partners for Bateman. With Brandon Hanna about to enter the Teams Division and the IG slices entering the division next season, it may even be time for the Boss to team up with his former intern. The big thing here is that they have the chance to create a super strong faction with their 3 picks in the first round of Free Agency, while they then have 2 picks in the 1ˢᵗ round of the draft following the Erwin trade – there are plenty of chances to create a strong team (or 2) and have a strong IG representation by round 2 of the draft!
The big question with the Droogs will be the management, as it is not yet clear whether Ken Napzok will continue in his role next season or hand over to someone else. I can imagine Bateman would prefer a manager with some experience, however a manager willing to learn from him may also prove attractive.
The Verdict: Right now I’d have to give the advantage to The Dungeon, but if the right person is in charge of The Burning Droogs, the chance to build a strong team quickly with the extra draft pick could be an enticing enough offer.
I’m a sucker for a Schmoedown tournament bracket, so welcome back to my attempt at predicting the 2020 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. As it is a bumper 36-competitor tournament this year, I know you don’t want to read a mini novel so I’ve split my bracket into 2 articles. This will be covering from the quarterfinals onwards, so make sure you have checked out my predictions for the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2 here.
John Rocha v Brendan Meyer: “The Outlaw” is never shy to take a jab at old rival William Bibbiani, but in order to face him, he will have to go through Bibbiani’s teammate Brendan Meyer. This will be Rocha’s biggest test so far in the tournament and I have it being one challenge too many, as “The Kid” will look to build on his narrow loss to Dan Murrell in February and 2 hugely challenging matches in the earlier rounds to make the semis.
Chance Ellison v William Bibbiani: William Bibbiani has the chance to set up an all-Shazam! semifinal, but finds a Cobra in his way. While Bibbiani is a great competitor, Chance took him close in his debit season and is now in the form of his life, so I have Chance continuing on in the tournament.
Paul Preston v Tim Franco: Tim Franco is the lowest draft pick to make it into the quarterfinals but after taking out TOM in Round 1, he now faces the other half of TOM and Paul in Paul Preston. I can see this being a close match but Franco’s fairy tale run coming to an end here against a resurgent Paul Preston, bringing and end to the Quirky Mercs’ hopes of replicating the Innergeekdom tournament’s all-KOrruption final.
Mike Kalinowski v Paul Oyama: Were it not for KO’s “Flash” blunder against Jeff Sneider, he would have faced Oyama in New York and believes that he would have won on the day, giving the world “Mikey Three-Belts”, the first triple-belted Champion. Unfortnately for him though, he now faces a resurgent Paul Oyama and barring a favourable pair of wheel spins, I see Kalinowski’s run coming to an end, along with the chances of another KOrruption v KOrruption final.
Brendan Meyer v Chance Ellison: And so we reach the semis. When I started planning my bracket, I had “The Kid” winning here, but having watched Chance’s run through the Innergeekdom tournament, it is clear that the IG slice can now be a dangerous weapon for him and I see him using that to make his second tournament final of the season.
Paul Preston v Paul Oyama: Paul will win. There you go. Oh, I have to be more specific? Fine. This is going to be a close match, but Oyama has shown his age to not be a weakness when it comes to older movies but potentially a weapons for genres like YA movies, so I have him making it to the final.
Chance Ellison v Paul Oyama: Maybe I’m too much of a sucker for storylines, but what a final this would be. The first 2 Schmoedown Pros to come from the fan leagues, there has always been that rivalry in the Schmoedown between Chance and Paul. Paul got the win on the way to the Singles Title, but Chance got revenge in the opening round of the Innergeekdom tournament on the way to the final. This could easily go either way but Chance is in the form of his life right now and I can’t go against him winning his tournament of the season and all-but securing Player of the Year.
So there you have it, from an incredibly deep field of 36, Chance Ellison will emerge victorious to earn a shot at the Singles Title at Spectacular. what do think of my bracket? How does it compare to yours?
The Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament is coming back! Following the success of the online tournaments in the Star Wars and Innergeekdom Divisions, the Singles Division will be getting a supersized tournament with a whopping 36 players!
My attempts to correctly predict the brackets for the Star Wars and Innergeekdom tournaments failed miserably, but that has not put me off trying again for this tournament. Of course, this tournament is so big, I don’t want to leave you with a novel to read, so I will be breaking this prediction down into 2 articles: this one covering the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2, while the second will cover from the Quarterfinals through to the end of the tournament.
Now before I start, I need to address a couple of assumptions that I have made for this prediction. Some of the players taking part in this tournament are currently unconfirmed as we await the outcome of the #1 Contender Match between John Rocha and Ethan Erwin, and the winner’s subsequent Championship Match against Dan Murrell. The Champion following these 2 matches will understandably not feature in the tournament, while all 3 have been confirmed as entering if they are not the champion. Should Ethan Erwin become Singles Champion, Jen Kempe will instead represent the Usual Suspects, while Sabrina Ramirez will take the final spot for the Finstock Exchange if either Rocha or Murrell holds the title.
I see Erwin defeating Rocha but losing to Murrell, meaning that John Rocha will be the Round 1 opponent for the winner of Gallegos v Collins in the top-left corner of the bracket, while in the top-right corner of the bracket Sabrina Ramirez will face Vinnie Mancuso in the Play In, with the winner facing Ethan Erwin in Round 1.
Play In Games
Andres Gallegos v Adam Collins: 2 untested rookies here so there is very little for me to go on. Gallegos has received some hype from legendary editor Nerd Chronic, and while Collins impressed in the fan leagues, he is seen as a 4-division threat, so I will give the advantage to the specialist Gallegos.
Frank Moran v James White: The Free Agent signing for SWAG takes on the man the Burning Droogs traded to the Den to bring in Brandon Hanna. Moran has had good showings in the league with his appearance for B.O.B and in Free 4 All II, however James White will feel at home playing online having been promoted from the fan leagues. Expect the 2ⁿᵈ round draft pick to show why he was picked so high.
Sabrina Ramirez v Vinnie Mancuso: The Free Agent that everyone wanted, Sabrina Ramirez shows the strength in depth of the Finstock Exchange. While she has done well t impress the Horsemen and earn a place in the faction, she has no gametape, while the Dungeon’s Vinnie Mancuso looked strong on his debut for The Butcher Boys and has been talked up by Kaiser as a great talent withing the division. I have Mancuso making it into the tournament.
Marisol McKee v Bonnie Somerville: A look at Bonnie’s Twitter recently suggests that she is up for the chance to go against her former faction, but how will she do in the match? Bonnie has put in decent performances but finds herself up against someone who comes with a strong reputation from the fan leagues and will be keen to make her mark in the pros. I’ve got Marisol McKee advancing.
Andres Gallegos v John Rocha: Gallegos may come into this match with momentum, but he will be facing an Outlaw who will be keen to put a loss to Ethan Erwin (or maybe Dan Murrel) behind him and consider losing to an untried rookie the ultimate insult. Rocha will be fired up and as long as he doesn’t burn too hot, he’ll advance to the next round.
Lon Harris v Sabina Graves: I am so excited to see more of “The Delinquent”! Harris has looked a great talent and the pressure seems off him compared to his tenure as “The Professor”. Sabina is a strong competitor, especially with Samm Levine in her corner, but I think that Harris’ run for Comeback Player of the Year will continue with a win here.
Brendan Meyer v Alonso Duralde: There is going to be a lot of movie trivia know-how on show in this match. “The Kid” looks destined to win a belt in the next couple of seasons but will face a dangerous adversary in Duralde. Duralde’s knowledge covers even some of the more generally avoided categories, but he is not used to playing on his own and I think that Meyer will have the advantage strategically, which will see him through to Round 2.
Marc Andreyko v Matt Atchity: Another incredible Round 1 match-up, when it comes to movie trivia I don’t think there is much between them. However Atchity is notorious for never remembering the rules, while Andreyko has watched a lot of past matches during the lockdown, so I have Andreyko’s better gameplay seeing him advance.
Chance Ellison v David Del Rio: Chance Ellison will have been so happy to see a larger Singles tournament as it made it more likely that he wold have a chance of advancing, having been eliminated from the last couple of Singles tournaments in the opening round by William Bibbiani and Ethan Erwin. This time he faces David Del Rio, who looked good in his appearances last season, but I think that Chance is a future legend of the league and will come away with the victory here.
Liz Shannon Miller v Rachel Silvestrini: This will be a very interesting match and I’m struggling to call it. Miller has the knowledge but will she be hampered by not having her manager in the room with her? Meanwhile, can Silvestrini improve on a couple of questionable round 1 performances? If Silvestrini can hit Kevin Smith or Disney at the right times then she has a good chance, but I’m giving this one to Liz Shannon Miller.
The Barbarian v Witney Seibold: With Ben Goddard not in the tournament, The Barbarian has a great chance of cementing himself as the Rookie of the Year. Witney Seibold has a great knowledge, but the Barbarian has thrown himself into the sport and has the benefit of learning from 4 former Singles Champions, so not only does he have the knowledge, but he also has the strategy, and will also benefit from a familiarity with the online matches from his time in the recent Innergeekdom tournament. I’ll be shocked if The Barbarian loses this.
William Bibbani v James White: James White could be the next Schmoedown superstar, but William Bibbiani is called “The Beast” for a reason and will be looking to get back to winning ways after his loss in New York at the start of the season.
Vinnie Mancuso v Ethan Erwin: Mancuso’s prize for winning the Play In is taking on Ethan Erwin, who will be coming in fresh off a title loss to Dan Murrell. Now Mancuso could be one of the next stars of the league, but Erwin knows a lot about a lot and has even been checking out Disney+, so don’t expect him to lose here.
Paul Preston v Eric Zipper: Paul Preston is a fun character, so much so that you forget just how good his movie trivia knowledge is. With just a loss in Teams to his name this season, he will be keep to get back to winning ways against Eric Zipper. Zipper’s improvements have been clear to see, but I think that Preston has the potential to fight for a Singles Title and I think Zipper still has a little may to go before that, so I have Preston the win.
Jader Paramo v Jim Vejvoda: This will be an interesting match. Vejvoda has great movie knowledge but really lacks the understanding of the game and strategy. Jader meanwhile has a good level of knowledge but probably not quite as high, but as a long-time fan he understands the game better and will be benefiting from the strategic advice of Samm Levine and Andrew Ghai (unless the Schmoeminati have got him). I’m picking Vejvoda, but a Paramo win wouldn’t surprise me.
Tim Franco v TOM: This was anything but easy to pick. TOM became an instant fan favourite and hasn’t missed many questions in his Schmoedown career, while Tim Franco’s impact on the league has been limited due to being based in Arizona. Right now, I’m looking at experience of the game and competing without a teammate, and as a long-time fan who TKO’d Matt Atchity on debut, I’m going for Tim Franco.
Mike Kalinowski v Perri Nemiroff: “The Killer” turned down a winnable match with Andrew Ghai and the potential of a #1 Contender match to enter the tournament and earn as many pints as he can for KOrruption. First up is Perri Nemiroff who certainly has some areas of strength, but hasn’t played outside of exhibitions for years. Expect to see KO going on to the next round.
Mark Reilly v VIDEODREW: “Yodi” will be hoping to go further in this tournament that last year, where Stacy Howard knocked him out in the opening round. He goes up against VIDEODREW who certainly has the potential to be a banana skin for him. I was struggling to call this one but eventually let my heart take over and selected Mark Reilly to advance.
Jeff Sneider v Robert Montano: “The Insneider” believes himself to be the best in the game and running through such a large tournament wold be a great way to do it. First up is Robert Montano, formerly of Late to the Party. Montano has shown that he has good knowledge, but Sneider is a great player and as long as he feels driven to win, I have him advancing.
Paul Oyama v Marisol McKee: Another case of a currently untested rookie who has made a good name for themselves in the fan leagues versus a high level veteran. McKee is meant to be be a dangerous adversary, but Paul Oyama showed his quality last year and I have him bouncing back from Singles losses to Bateman and Rocha to advance to the next round.
John Rocha v Lon Harris: Let’s be honest, we all want Lon Harris to g all the way in this tournament, just to see as much of “The Delinquent” as possible. Unfortunately, he’ll find himself up against a John Rocha who is driven after coming so close to fighting for the belt again. Expect an Outlaw near the top of his game to make it to the next round.
Brendan Meyer v Marc Andreyko: These maybe 2 of the best Schmoedown Pros in the game to have never won the Singles title, such is the strength of this season’s bracket. Andreyko can go up against anyone on his day and thanks to this season being so heavily disrupted, he will find that he is not burned out like usual by this stage of the season. However, “The Kid” has looked the real deal and I have him pulling out the victory.
Chance Ellison v Liz Shannon Miller: Speaking of players who look the real deal, Chance Ellison will look to follow up a fantastic Innergeekdom run with an equally strong run in Singles. In his way stands Liz Shannon Miller, who has shown a good level of knowledge but has never faced someone in the form Ellison is in, while Chance’s fan league and Innergeekdom experience also means that he is used to the online setup. The Cobra is continuing on.
The Barbarian v William Bibbiani: This match feels like it could have been a semi-final! Though the Barbarian has a limited number of matches, neither he nor Bibbiani have any glaring weaknesses, and I think that this will come down to who gets a more favourable spin of the wheel. Though I’m loath to write off the Barbarian, I’m going with the more experienced Bibbiani.
Ethan Erwin v Paul Preston: What happens when a hotshot Hollywood producer faces off against a middle-aged frat boy? We get a great match in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown! I can see this being a great match and while I’d never count against Ethan Erwin’s trivia know-how, I think that Paul Preston will have spent the break working on strategy, which will see him through to the next round.
Jim Vejvoda v Tim Franco: After a greater knowledge saw him sneak past the more strategic Jader Paramo, this will be a much harder fight for Jim Vejvoda. Franco has a wide and deep knowledge of movies and the strategy to go with it, so I have him advancing to the quarters.
Mike Kalinowski v Mark Reilly: Having made it past VIDEODREW, things don’t get any easier for Mark Reilly as he takes on Kalinowski. I think that this match could easily go either way so will probably come to the wheel, where I can see either Bond or the Innergeekdom slice giving KO the advantage he needs to progress to the next round.
Jeff Sneider v Paul Oyama: Jeff Sneider will never get as close to winning the Singles Title as he did against Oyama in New York, where manager Roxy Striar convinced him to bet (and lose) a point in the betting round, leading to a loss in Sudden Death. He’ll have his chance for revenge here, but that was Oyama on a bad day, and I think the change in character and familiarity of playing online will see Oyama play better and get the win again.
We started with 36, now we’re down to 8. I’ll have my predictions for the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final up early next week. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my bracket so far. How does it compare to yours?
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
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.
Way 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.
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
Everybody 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 way to a 26-23 defence.
The great JTE-isms
JTE 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
When 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.
Witwer’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
The 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
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 Star Wars tournament is underway on Twitch and in just a week’s time, the Innergeekdom tournament will also be underway. 18 players preparing to go on a (hopefully) long run to victory… all starting Monday 1ˢᵗ June (or Thursday 4ᵗʰ for the general public.
At the moment, it is not confirmed whether the winner of the tournament will earn a title shot (though with current Champion Kevin Smets and #1 Contenders Mara Knopic & Chandru Dhanadapani not involved, it would make sense), but with things tight at the top of the faction standings, this could be the moment for a faction to take control of the league, while someone struggling like KOrruption could suddenly find themselves back in contention.
Jim Vejvoda v Ben Goddard: Kate Mulligan’s call to give Saul the guaranteed place in the tournament may have backfired as Ben Goddard now finds himself in one of the play in matches, against Jim Vejvoda. This is an interesting call from Roxy Striar as Vejvoda’s IG knowledge has never really been seen in the Division, so he could be a dark horse, but this will be his first match competing on his own, going up against a student of the game who knows Middle Earth back to front and has frequently shown to have a good all-round knowledge. Right now, I see Goddard qualifying for the main tournament and furthering his campaign for Rookie of the Year.
Greg Alba v Warfather: With Mara Knopic currently deactivated, I was shocked that Coy Jandreau did not look to add at least one Innergeekdom specialist. This has led to him entering the Reel Rejects as his representatives for the tournament. Now Greg Elba Alba looks like he knows his stuff when it comes to IG categories, but there will be questions about his ability to get the deeper cuts that you expect in the division, while this will also be his first match outside the Teams Division. The Warfather, by comparison, comes with 2 matches to his name, both competing alone and one in the IG Division. As far as debuts go, the Warfather looked good, so I think that experience could give him a strategic advantage. As much as I hate to see Robert Meyer Burnett celebrating a victory, I have Warfather earning the final spot in the 16-man bracket.
The Barbarian v Adam Hlavac: The Barbarian has been one of the most impressive rookies so far this season and is already looking an absolute steal as a 6ᵗʰ Round pick, with superb performances in his Singles debut and the Jurassic Park Exhibition leading to talk that he wants to be the first person to hold all 4 belts. He faces a tough opponent in the experienced Adam Hlavac, his confidence makes me feel that he is able to hang with even the best. Is Hlavac one of the best though? He may be one of the more seasoned Schmoedown Pros in the division and will make some categories look easy, but he has some gaps in his knowledge that he has so far failed to cover and I can see these leading to an early exit. I have The Barbarian advancing to the next round.
Jeannine “The Machine” v John Humphrey: This is an interesting match-up between 2 veterans of the league who are both going to be making their IG debut. I get the feeling that John Humphrey has good knowledge of the IG categories, but I do question his competitiveness, especially going up against Jeannine, who will be looking to get her career back on track after losing her last 3 Singles matches against tough opposition (Mike Kalinowski x2, Mark Reilly). I have The Machine pulling out an important win here.
Chance Ellison v Paul Oyama: The first 2 Schmoedown Pros promoted from the fan leagues will meet for the second time in the Schmoedown in what I predict could be one the closest matches in the round. Oyama got the win in Singles on the way to winning the title, and will now be making his Innergeekdom debut. Chance Ellison may be 0-1 in the division, but he put in a super-impressive performance in that loss and has the benefit of having 2-time Innergeekdom Champion Mike Kalinowski as his study partner. I’d have picked Oyama over a handful of other winners that I will be picking in this round, but in this match-up, I have to give Ellison the advantage.
Robert Parker v Ben Goddard: “The Bandit”‘s prize for winning his play-in match is to be thrown into “The Spider”‘s web. I like the look of Goddard and his performance in the Middle Earth Exhibition against Parker, Alex Damon and Kevin Smets left me confident that he has a good career ahead of him in the division. However, Parker showed in his debut that he is just on another level, not missing a single question, which will put Goddard under heavy pressure to keep up. I think Goddard can force his opponent to answer in Round 3, but I have Parker winning this one.
Brandon Hanna v Saul: The match that most of us are currently looking forward to, it was clear this would happen the moment Kate Mulligan included Saul in the tournament over Hanna. Fresh off a trade to The Burning Droogs, Hanna has been on a quest to become the most hated person in the league, taking shots at Mulligan, Call To Action and even the darling of the league Brett Sheridan. What do we know about Saul? Saul can cut a good promo, but he is untested at this level and is against an opponent keen to prove that he is “nothing more than a Collider Live phone call that got through the line one too many times.” I have Hanna making it clear to Kate that she made a big mistake leaving him out.
Alex Damon v Jen Kempe: Jen Kempe finally gets the chance to make her official debut after a cameo at last year’s Free 4 All and it will be interesting to see how she gets on. I have heard those in the know hold her in high esteem from the fan leagues, but I always got the impression that she was more of a Singles threat than IG. Meanwhile, Alex Damon comes in 1-0 in the division and will have been training since Atlanta in preparation for his next match. We know he knows Star Wars, but he is also a big fan of Indiana Jones and showed in the recent exhibition that he can do well in Middle Earth. Expect the Force to be with Damon in this one.
Emily Rose Jacobson v Eric Zipper: I must admit that I was surprised to see Zipper picked up as The Dungeon’s 3ʳᵈ pick at the Draft (after 2 IG specialists) but his recent loss in Singles impressed me as I could see that he is putting in the effort to succeed and was clearly improving. Now moving back to IG but knowing the fans’ focus will be on other matches, this is a great chance for him to pull off an important victory for The Dungeon. Jacobson showed a big improvement between her first 2 IG matches but looked out of her depth in Atlanta. The virtual format may help her here, but she needs to be more accurate and play a more strategic game. I see Zipper making it to the next round.
Mike Kalinowski v Warfather: Warfather will be coming in with some momentum following a win over Greg Alba, but he will be facing a much harder test in Kalinowski. The former champion had a match to forget when he lost the title to Smets at Spectacular and was taking a break from the division, but the faction’s place in the standings has seen him return to his strongest division to pull KOrruption up the standings. Honestly, I can’t see anything but a Kalinowski win here.
The Barbarian v Jeannine “The Machine”: This is not an easy pick right now with so little IG-related gametape on the pair, but I have to make a pick here. Jeannine will surely have been benefiting from The Usual Suspects’ close links to former Innergeekdom Champion Rachel Cushing, but The Barbarian‘s knowledge looks insane at this point and right now, I can’t look beyond him for a place in the semis.
Chance Ellison v Robert Parker: Chance Ellison continues to get screwed in brackets. He has lost the opening round of the last 2 Singles tournaments to Ethan Erwin and William Bibbiani, and now after one of the harder opening rounds in this tournament, comes up against Robert Parker. The pair come in with the backing of the best sparring partners in Mike Kalinowski and Kevin Smets to extend the Dungeon v KOrruption IG rivalry even further. Kalinowski has been impressed by Ellison’s knowledge and I think he can push Parker close, but I expect Parker to reach the final 4.
Brandon Hanna v Alex Damon: This is where we will see the level Alex Damon can reach in the Innergeekdom Division. Brandon Hanna enters the tournament the 6ᵗʰ most accurate all-time in the division (4ᵗʰ among active Schmoedown Pros), despite having a 2-2 record and I would say that he can beat anyone in the division on his day. Damon looks good but I’m not sure if he has quite the breadth of knowledge as Hanna right now, but if he can hit Star Wars in Round 2 and on his 5-pointer, it will give him a good shot. I think Damon will show that he can hang at this level and be competitive, but I have Hanna progressing.
Eric Zipper v Mike Kalinowski: The second match-up between The Dungeon and KOrruption in this round is one with a bit more history, following KOrruption humiliating him ahead of Kaiser picking him up last season. Zipper will be going into this match with no pressure on him as everyone will expect “The Killer” to win, which could play into his favour, but I think that Kalinowski will have enough to continue on in the tournament.
The Barbarian v Robert Parker: And so the left side of the bracket comes down to a battle between 2 likely contenders for Rookie of the Year. It’s always hard to call this so fa in advance with so little game-tape but I can see this going down to the 5-pointers and right now I need to give the benefit to the Schmoedown Pro I’ve seen more game-tape on: Robert Parker.
Brandon Hanna v Mike Kalinowski: Another match that could easily go either way, both Kalinowski and Hanna have the potential to go near-perfect but also have a bad day and struggle with their accuracy. Hanna will be keen to prove his quality with a win against a big name in the division, but I think he will have to wait for this as I see Kalinowski‘s experience earning him the win here.
Robert Parker v Mike Kalinowski: And so my bracket comes down to the 2 faourites in the final. Mike Kalinowski played a key part in making the Innergeekdom Division what it is, while Parker is part of the new breed looking to take things to a new level. Now if this was a 3-round match, I think I would give Parker the advantage, but with this being a 5-rounder I think that Kalinowski could benefit from his experience of playing the format within the Schmoedown. Add to that, I recently heard Kalinowski talking about how he had changed his study techniques to bring them closer to when he was cutting a swathe through the division. When planning my bracket, I had Parker to win… but in the heat of the moment I’m switching to Kalinowski.
So that’s what my bracket looks like, what about yours?