7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

In the build-up to the Atlanta live event, I wrote about how the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell had the potential to be the greatest match in the history of the league. Looking back, it certainly didn’t disappoint, as Ben Bateman came from behind to take a 5 point lead, only for the game to go to overtime, where Murrell won. While it doesn’t quite get my vote for the greatest match of all time, it is certainly up there on the list, and that got me thinking: What would I pick as the greatest matches of all time?

This is obviously my own personal list, so I would love to hear your picks. I will also not be including any Free 4 Alls as it would be unfair to compare a 4-hour event to a single match. I’ve also chosen not to rank these movies as I think my list would constantly change as I re-watched some of these matches. So in honour of this being the Schmoedown’s 7ᵗʰ season, I give you my top 7 matches in the history of the league.

Honourable mentions:

Bateman v Murrell

mts atlanta ben bateman v dan murrell finish

The live crowd was on fire for this match with the Action Army there in force to cheer (or boo) for Ben Bateman, while the thrill of seeing the GOAT going for his 4ᵗʰ Singles Title had people hyped. Add to that all the build-up with the controversy over who would manage each of the competitors and this match had all the build-up it needed. From the promos from Tom Dagnino and John Rocha (so much for a gentleman’s agreement of no promos), to Dan’s early snark (“Sir John Woo”) and this was already building nicely. Bateman came into Round 2 with a 3-point deficit but pulled a point back, before Rounds 3 and 4 swung the scoreline heavily in his favour, and the crowd were vibing off his reactions. Then for this to go to overtime and we were in for a treat, ended with the GOAT keeping his 100% record in live events and taking the title back.

Kalinowski v Cushing II

mts Rachel Cushing Throwdown Innergeekdom Belt

My vote for the greatest match of all time would be the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown that saw Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing challenge Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski for the Innergeekdom Title. They had faced each other much earlier in their careers (Rachel getting the win), while Rachel had also beaten Mike in a Triple Threat in the Singles Division. This was the first time that they had faced off since Mike had turned heel, however, so the battle for the belt between the top 2 in the division also being a battle of good vs evil set this on a great stage. Down 15-23 after 2 rounds, it looked over for Kalinowski, but the betting round and speed round saw an incredible swing to 20-20, one of the most incredible comebacks I have ever seen! After both went perfect in Round 5, it went to Sudden Death and the title was decided by just a vowel as Rachel Cushing won the Innergeekdom Title she had been dreaming of to become double-belted.

Murrell v Rocha

mts john rocha first singles title

Season 4 was the year that the show really started to become what we know today, but its Championship Matches often seem forgotten when we look back. Back in the early days of the league, there were 3 superstars: Mark “Yodi” Reilly, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell and “The Outlaw” John Rocha. Defending Champion Dan Murrell came into this match with a 5-0 record but Rocha, the original heel, was gunning for the belt. The pair could not be separated in Round 1 and while Murrell managed to open a 1-point lead during the wheel round, Rocha had brought things back level going into the final round. It ended with Murrell needing to hit his 5-pointer, which he missed, and as it was announced that Rocha (who had himself not known the answer so didn’t realise that he had won) had won, the Outlaw let out a scream of joy that I still consider one of the most iconic moments in the history of the league.

Kalinowski v Smets

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Collision-III-Mike-Kalinowski-Kevin-Smets

Kevin “The Smasher” Smets was on a roll, one of the most impressive rookies that we had ever seen, winning his first 3 matches without having to answer a question in the final round. Then at Collision, he met his match in Mike Kalinowski. Their feud had already been growing through the season and this #1 Contender Match was finally the chance to get to see them go head-to-head. Things were all level after 2 rounds. Both hit their 2- and 3-pointers and Sudden Death was looking a distinct possibility… until “Don’t tell Peter”. Saying “Peter” instead of “Harry” was a killer for Smets and Kalinowski correctly answered his 5-pointer to set up a rematch with Rachel Cushing, being overcome with emotion as his faction congratulated him.

Napzok v Witwer

mts Spectacular II Sam Witwer Star Wars Belt

Who would have expected that the match in the Star Wars Division would be remembered as the match from Spectacular II despite Andrew Ghai tackling John Rocha after Team Action v Top 10?! But this match had everything. Ken’s recent betrayal of Rachel Cushing and defection to the Lion’s Den set him up as the ultimate villain to face Sam Witwer- who would’ve thought we’d be cheering for Darth Maul! And then to the match itself, and the Iron Man format made it truly a test of knowledge v knowledge. Both of them continued to wow Mark Ellis (and probably quite a few viewers) with their insane knowledge of Star Wars, but as time war on, quotes proved to be a weakness of “The Pitboss” and allowed Witwer to pull away. The buzzer was already a known weakness for “The Warrior” however, and allowed Napzok to pull things back, with the scores level with just a few seconds left. The clock ran out halfway through the next question, Witwer suddenly had the fast hand and with a correct answer he took the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok and wrote his name into Schmoedown history books as the winner of the first ever Iron Man and the 2ⁿᵈ Star Wars Champion.

Murrell v Ghai

If ever there was a match that looked a foregone conclusion before it began, this was it. Andrew Ghai’s claims of being “the Ghai who beat the GOAT” drew Dan Murrell out of retirement to challenge him to a match at Collision – Ghai’s first match in the Singles Division. What followed was about 20 minutes of craziness as “Dastardly” Drew Ghai showed the GOAT just how much the game had changed while he was gone, going full heel at the table and exploiting the former champion’s rustiness to come away with not just a win, but a TKO. The silence of the crowd as the match progressed showed just how stunned everyone was and as Ghai jumped up on the table to celebrate his win, you could see in Kristian’s face his dreams of a Murrell v Levine live event going up in smoke!

Shirewolves v Who’s The Boss

mts spectacular III Shirewolves Whos The Boss Clarke Wolfe Ben Bateman Rachel Cushing Mark Reilly

When the Shirewolves first won the vacant Teams Titles by defeating Sick in the Head, there were plenty of trolls who refused to acknowledge their titles due to not facing any so-called elite teams in their title run. That talk largely came to an end after their match at Spectacular III against Who’s the Boss. Mark Reilly and Ben Bateman had become an elite pairing during Anarchy and led after the first 2 rounds. However the Shirewolves hit back to take a 3 point lead into the final round. Bateman and Reilly went perfect on their 2-, 3- and 5-pointers, but Rachel Cushing and “Classy” Clarke Wolfe did the same to defend their titles 34-31 in what was my pick for the best match at Spectacular III. Oh and let’s not forget the Shirewolves’ entrance celebrating women in film and the Schmoedown, and the aftermath of this match, with Andrew Ghai tackling Ben Bateman to kick off the Action Civil War.

SCHMOEDOWN MASTERPIECES: Ken Napzok vs. Sam Witwer – Star Wars Iron Man!

SCHMOEDOWN MASTERPIECES: Ken Napzok vs. Sam Witwer – Star Wars Iron Man!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 27/8/2019

When William Bibbiani first announced to us writers that he wanted to begin a series of articles looking back at classic matches that were important to us, my mind immediately went to Schmoedown Spectacular II and the Star Wars Championship Match between Ken Napzok and Sam Witwer. As a massive Star Wars fan, my pathway to the Schmoedown came through Collider Jedi Council and Sam’s previous matches (Singles v Freddie Prinze Jr, Force Bros v The Council and the Fatal Fiveway at Star Wars Celebration).

Sam “The Warrior” Witwer was widely regarded as the great Star Wars mind in the newly formed Star Wars Division, with a great knowledge of quotes (and some pretty good impressions of the characters while giving his answers). However the rigours of Star Wars Celebration proved too much and though he only missed 2 questions, they totalled 8 points and saw him eliminated 2nd in a match that Ken Napzok went on to win, which earned him the new title – “Captain Needa” proving Sam’s eventual undoing. In a bizarre twist of fate, Captain Needa gave Sam the victory in his return to competition in a Fatal Fiveway that introduced us to Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw, setting him up for a shot at Napzok’s title.

Following that Fatal Fiveway, the entire narrative of the upcoming match changed, as Ken Napzok was revealed to have turned away from the light side and joined the Lion’s Den. With his betrayal of Rachel Cushing, Ken became Public Enemy Number 1 and his upcoming match against Sam turned from two friends competing to see who the bigger nerd was, into a battle between good and evil. To add even more hype to the match, we saw a new format debut: an Iron Man match. 28 minutes of Round 1-style whiteboard action, finishing with a 2-minute buzzer round, with as many questions as the competitors could get through in the time limit. This would take away the luck of who got the easier questions and would once and for all prove who knew Star Wars better.

Through the promos and entrances, Napzok was embracing his new persona and was supremely confident in his ability to win, while Sam was much more at ease – the Force was with him. Coming out to the Force Unleashed music, Witwer emerged with a lightsabre, but symbolically now had the blue blade of a Jedi compared to the red blade of a Sith. Instead, when a red blade emerged, it was in the hands of Grace Hancock as she and the Lion’s Den led out “The Pitboss” to a storm of boos. And so it was time to begin…

“Give me nerd strength” – Sam Witwer

I won’t give you a full play-by-play because I would never be able to do the match justice but suffice to say it was a perfect example of nerd-dom as both contestants built up a score as they flew through the questions. Sam took an early 1-point lead, but it was almost impossible for him to pull away. As the match went on, Ken’s weakness on quotes began to prove costly as he missed several questions that related to completing quotes.

After 10 minutes, Sam held a 17-18 lead. By 15 minutes, Kristian was thoroughly tongue-tied trying to even ask the questions, but Sam had extended his lead to 24-27. Captain Needa made an appearance for the 3rd Witwer match in a row and there was no way either of them was going to miss a character who has become such a key part of Schmoedown history. As we reached the 2-minute mark and the end of the whiteboard round, Sam had amassed a 5-point lead.

“The crowd thinks it’s easy or is laughing at the absurdity of the question” – Mark Ellis

That lead was probably going to be needed, as his match for the Force Bros had show that the buzzer round was not his forte. So it proved again as Napzok often had the faster hand, while Sam blanked on a couple of early buzzes. The lead quickly evaporated as the clock ticked down. A miss from Sam then a correct answer from Ken meant that with 2 seconds left, the scores were level at 46-46.

And then came the moment of controversy. Time expired as Mark Ellis was asking the next question, but instead of stopping there and then, the question was completed and Sam got in first with the right answer to take the victory, looking thoroughly exhausted as he was handed the belt.

While Ken would spend the next few months accusing the judges of corruption and saying that the final answer should not stand as time was out, the decision had been made that, like in football, if the clock runs out mid-play, the entire play stands. This was something that has since been officially included in the rules of subsequent Iron Man matches to avoid any controversy.

There was so much special about this match that created such a legacy. The match was a hit, being voted Match of the Year at the 2017 Schmoedown Awards. It gave great legitimacy to the fledgling Star Wars Division and showed potential competitors just how good their knowledge would have to be in order to compete for the belt. The victory also led to Sam Witwer joining Emma Fyffe’s new faction, The Fyffe Club, who were quickly setting themselves up to be the heroes of the league.

The Iron Man format as well proved a hit and featured again in Above The Line’s title defence against The Patriots, as well as some of the Exhibition matches, as it takes away the luck factor and puts the focus firmly on the knowledge.

Sadly, Sam’s success as an actor has left him unable to compete since this match, and in his absence, Alex Damon has become a force in the Division. A 1v1 between the pair for the title is something so many of us want to see – including Alex himself – and I hope we get it someday!