Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

Assessing the Market: Who Will Ben Bateman Play for in Season 8?

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?

S.W.A.G.

MTS SWAG LogoThe 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.

KOrruption

feat mts korruption logo jpShannon 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

mts s7 The Quirky Mercs logoCoy 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.

The Den

mts s7 The Den Logo 2This 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.

Roxstars

feat mts roxstars logo jpNow 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.

The Dungeon

MTS The Dungeon Logo JPKaiser 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

mts s7 The Usual Suspects logo 2The 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

MTS The Burning Droogs LogoThe 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.

Where do you think The Boss will end up?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

4 Takeaways from the Schmoedown Free Agency Deadline

4 Takeaways from the Schmoedown Free Agency Deadline

As far as Free Agency deadline days go, the Schmoedown’s first ever Deadline Day was fantastic. Last week’s announcement of the upcoming Innergeekdom and Star Wars tournaments and the set deadlines to cut Schmoedown Pros and pick up Free Agents suddenly stepped up the action with 3 huge trades, before yesterday’s Free Agency special episode saw 14 Free Agents signed. And then just to finish everything off, Chairman Kristian Harloff has now released the brackets for both of the upcoming tournaments.

With the tournaments coming up soon, keep an eye out for my bracket predictions later in the week. But for now, I’m going to be giving my major takeaways from Deadline Day. If you want my thoughts on the trades, I have already covered them in my last article and the recent events have not largely changed my opinions.

Stepping up to a new level

Season 7 has already seen the Schmoedown step up to a new level with the Draft and faction standings adding more of a sports element and drawing in/drawing back fans and making every match matter. This game was already going to a new level, but 3 Free Agency pick-ups in particular could be about to catapult the Schmoedown even further.

 

Now to give you an idea, I’ve never been deep into wrestling and I wouldn’t consider myself a cinephile by any means, so if I know the names Chris Jericho and Kevin Smith, that shows just how much they are household names! Meanwhile, I’ve already heard a lot of fans talking about how Doug Benson was part of their pathway to finding the Schmoedown in the first place.

These are big names, that automatically generate hype for the league… Just wait until they actually have a match lined up! But it’s not just the hype inside the league, it’s going to go beyond that. The Schmoedown may be huge for us, but the masses still don’t know about it. The upcoming ESPN article will get the name Schmoedown out to people who have never seen it before, but now we will have the name spreading even wider through the social media accounts of big names.

Dan Murrell is widely cited as being peoples entrance into the Schmoedown. At time of writing, he has 73.9k followers on Twitter, while the Schmoedown’s official Twitter account has 66.4k followers and Chairman Kristian Harloff 84.8k followers. In contrast, Doug Benson has 823.3k Twitter followers, Kevin Smith has 3.1m Twitter followers and Chris Jericho 3.6m Twitter followers. The moment these guys mention the Schmoedown on their social media, the will be spreading the league to a far wider audience! Not only that, but they will often be wrestling fans or film fans – 2 of the demographics most likely to be drawn into the league!

The 2020 season has been horribly hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this could be the year that the Schmoedown reaches amazing new heights.

The next Civil War?

mts late to the party robert montano vanessa fitzsimmons

We all remember the heartbreak of seeing Team Action break up at Spectacular III, which led to a wonderful Action Civil War last season. Well now we may have a couple more Civil Wars to look forward to.

Shannon Barney breaking up the Wildberries at the Draft had already set up the likelihood of a match between the former teammates once she’d been able to sufficiently KOrrupt Eliot Dewberry. Now we may have another Civil War coming up with breaking up of Late To The Party.

Robert Montano and Vanessa Fitzsimmons were some of the first fans to enter the league and will always be remembered for their upset victory over Critically Acclaimed. But that all came to an end when Robert agreed to join The Usual Suspects, who only had the one free spot. This led to Vanessa contacting Kate Mulligan and offering herself to the Den, which they agreed.

Now with both of them living out of state, it is likely that when they can finally make it to the studio to compete, they will be coming at the same time, so who better to start their Singles careers against than each other?!

Who would you have winning this match?

Free Agency format

feat mts free agent special

Though there were only a few days between the announcement of the deadlines for cutting existing faction members and signing new Free Agents, I really enjoyed the format of Deadline Day.

What I really enjoyed was the suspense of the Free Agents being able to choose their own destiny by picking which of the factions they wanted to join out of any offers given, as it led to shocks like Sabrina joining The Finstock Exchange and the big names mentioned earlier coming into the league with managers who they already had history with.

This is a format that I really hope is kept for next year,perhaps just with a few tweaks: Have a set deadline for cutting players in place by the start of the season, with the Free Agency deadline coming 1-2 weeks later. Both of these deadlines could have heir own shows, with the Free Agency Deadline show actually having some time to analyse the signings announced while any last minute signings are made, so that the deadline actually passes on the show. Free Agents can be approached earlier in the season, but any approaches must be broadcast to all managers so that they can also approach the Free Agent, then the Free Agent can appear on the next Schmoedown Backstage/Rundown to announce the faction they have selected.

Room to expand

 

When the format for Season 7 was initially announced, we were set to have 10 factions, but Jay Washington had to pull out and was not replaced, dropping us down to 9. While there is always the risk of another faction meaning there are not enough matches to go around, This Free Agency period has highlighted that there is the depth in the league for a tenth (and potentially more) faction in the future.

Some exciting names were cut due to busy schedules, more exciting Free Agents were picked up alongside talented veterans who we have barely seen over the last year. And even then there were big names who missed out, like Mark Donica and Eric Goldman!

Do I think that the league should go to 10 factions next year? Probably not. I think that the pandemic’s impact on the league this season means that the league would benefit from a full season of matches to make sure that the scheduling feels appropriately balanced for the factions. If that goes well, then maybe we could add another faction or two, especially if the league has grown significantly enough to allow for more than just 2 matches a week (we can all hope!).

 

What were your takeaways from the recent events?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

TAKING ON THE FLOUSE: 3 Schmoedown Opponents for ZeFlertinFlouse

TAKING ON THE FLOUSE: 3 Schmoedown Opponents for ZeFlertinFlouse

Twitter went crazy last week as Bavarian superstar ZeFlertinFlouse made his debut on SEN Live and began doing the rounds on a number of affiliated shows.

The German, best known for his multi-platinum albums Und, Und, Und and Flouse in das Haus and his starring role in the semi-autobiographical film Za Flert Locker is in high demand, with rumours as to his immediate future including furthering his sporting career, returning to WWE or going into seclusion while he writes his next album – which is said to feature collaborations with Yanni, David B and Stine Bramsen! However before he leaves, we can only hope that he finds time to compete in a Schmoedown.

But who would be willing to take on the man who taught Chuck Norris everything he knows? I have put together a shortlist of 3 potential opponents for him:

mts finstock is back tom dagninoFinstock

Who ever thought that a crazier character would appear on the Schmoedown Entertainment Network than Bob Finstock?! The man in the beard mask has only just returned to the league for the first time in over a year, but is now finding the attention shifting to The Flouse.

Now I can’t promise more points than Dagnino v Burnett, but I’m pretty certain the personalities on show would make it an entertaining match!

mts danish kristian harloffDanish Kristian Harloff

ZeFlertinFlouse may be the A-lister, but he’s not the first European to guest on a Kristian Harloff show, as his Danish namesake was a regular guest on Collider Live. Unfortunately, it sounds like Danish Kristian Harloff currently has some beef with The Flouse.

You see, Danish Kristian Harloff is a big fan of Stine Bramsen. And while you’d think that The Flouse collaborating with Bramsen on his next album would be good news, The Flouse is famous for taking himself and any collaborators into complete seclusion for at least 2 years when creating a new album (you can’t rush art), which means that Danish Harloff’s record of 15 consecutive years having seen Stine Bramsen perform live will be coming to an end. Would he be able to get some form of revenge in a 1v1 Schmoedown?

DJ Froby

mts dj froby

While ZeFlirtenFlouse has taken all the attention, his long-time partner DJ Froby has also been turning up on some streams, including recent episodes of the Reilly Roundtable and Chill to Action. While Froby has been on board for most of The Flouse’s biggest hits, there are rumours that a rift is forming between the pair as Froby does not feel that The Flouse gives him enough recognition in public, while reports also state that Froby is feeling threatened by the upcoming collaboration with David B.

Could the Schmoedown be about to play host to the messiest breakup since Andrew Ghai tackled Ben Bateman through a table? That all-but guarantees drawing a crowd!

 

Who would you love to see ZaFlertinFlouse face off against?

Until next time!

The greatest match in history?

The greatest match in history?

With the Movie Trivia Schmoedown going into its 7ᵗʰ season, there are a number of matches that can be looked back on as the “greatest ever”. There are so many things that go into a match being considered for that title: stakes (is a title on the line), the format (Iron Man match/3-round/5-round), rivalries, perfect rounds, perfect games, sudden death, comebacks, shock upsets, crazy wheel spins, not to mention the personalities of the competitors and the way they interact onstage. Add in the live events and an audience of hundreds watching live and things go to another level.

There have been so many fantastic matches: Dan Murrell winning the Singles Title from Ethan Erwin in New York, Rachel Cushing winning the Innergeekdom Title from Mike Kalinowski in sudden death, Mara Knopic beating Rachel Cuhing on the 11ᵗʰ question in sudden death, Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell by TKO, Mark Reilly winning the Singles Title from John Rocha, Sam Witwer winning the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok in an Iron Man match as time elapsed.

But after February 29ᵗʰ, I think we could have a new contender for the title “greatest match of all time”.

mts poster atlanta live

No offence to Alex Damon and Emily Jacobson, but I am of course talking about the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Dan Murrell entered the league in Season 2 as part of Team Champs alongside Mark Reilly, but it was in the Singles Division that he made his name, with his exploits in Seasons 3 and 4 having him considered the GOAT of the Schmoedown before his retirement. He returned in Season 5 and after a bumpy start, his partnership with John Rocha in the Founding Fathers and his return to success in Singles brought him back into the GOAT discussion, with his absence from Innergeekdom (until now) the main argument to put Rachel Cushing ahead of him.

MTS Spectacular IV Horsemen Murrell Rocha Reilly Bateman Dagnino StergerBen Bateman joined the league in Season 4 as part of Team Action, but it was Andrew Ghai’s suspension at the end of the season that really kick-started his Singles career going into Season 5. While he showed flashes on his own, it looked like he was potentially on the road to a good but not great Singles career, until he smashed his way through the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown, finishing off by winning the final against William Bibbiani at Spectacular IV and returning later int he evening to win the title from Paul Oyama via KO. Murrell will be his first attempt at defending his title.

These 2 competitors are stars of the league and have become part of the most successful iteration of the Horsemen, who find themselves at the head of The Finstock Exchange. While they may be teammates within the Exchange, these are 2 driven individuals and neither will want a loss on their record. Ben Bateman is one of the driving forces of the new wave of Schmoedown competitor. He coined the term “Schmoedown Pro” and has embodied it, going heavy on the study not just of the movies, but also his opponents and the game, to ensure that he has the strategy to beat anyone. Murrell has certainly developed more strategy since his return to the league, but his game has always been more about having the superior knowledge and it is a shock if he misses more than a couple of questions in a match. This difference in styles will be incredible to see play out in front of us.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Houston-Live-Five-Horsemen-Booker-T

Add in the extra historical significance of this match: Dan Murrell has never lost at a live event, with 6 victories and a Free 4 All victory to his name. Bateman is 3-2 in live matches. Murrell has never lost when coming in as a #1 Contender, whereas this is Bateman’s 1ˢᵗ title defence. If Bateman wins, he will be the 5ᵗʰ of the 9 Singles Champions to have successfully defended the title at least once. If Murrell wins, he becomes the only 4-time Singles Champion and only the 4ᵗʰ double-belted champion.

I may be jinxing this match, but with so much at stake and 2 elite competitors in front of a manic crowd, I really think we could be looking at the greatest Schmoedown match of all time. Who do I think will win? I can’t separate the 2, so I’m going to chicken out and call The Finstock Exchange the winners.

Tickets for the live event are available at theschmoedownlive.com where you can also purchase access to the live stream, or if you are a $10+ patron on the Schmoedown Patreon you will automatically be granted access to the live stream. It will be available to watch at a later date, but I don’t think this is one to be missed!

mts bateman murrell atlanta

Draft Kings: Looking at the new Factions

Draft Kings: Looking at the new Factions

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

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

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


The Usual Suspects

MTS Draft 2020 The Usual Suspects

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

Roxstars

MTS Draft 2020 Roxstars

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

The Mouthy Mercs

MTS Draft 2020 The Mouthy Mercs

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

The Dungeon

MTS Draft 2020 The Dungeon

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

The Finstock Exchange

MTS Draft 2020 The Finstock Exchange

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

KOrruption

MTS Draft 2020 KOrruption

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

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

S.W.A.G.

MTS Draft 2020 S.W.A.G.

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

The Den

MTS Draft 2020 The Den

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

The Burning Droogs

MTS Draft 2020 The Burning Droogs

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


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

MTS S7 Factions Compilation

Draft Day! Schmoedown Mock Draft v2

Draft Day! Schmoedown Mock Draft v2

It’s Draft Day!

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

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

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

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

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

Feat MTS 2020 Draft Header

MTS Mock Draft v7

So, the big talking points from this one:

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

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

Schmoedown Season 7 Mock Draft

Schmoedown Season 7 Mock Draft

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

feat MTS 2019 awards 2020 draft

So here is what we know so far:

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

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

Let me know how you think the Draft will go!

Feat MTS 2020 Draft Header

 

MTS Mock Draft 1

Tom & Kaiser’s Champions

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

Round 1

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

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

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

Round 2

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

Round 3

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

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

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

Round 4

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

Round 5

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

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

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

Round 6

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

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

MTS S7 Logo

CRUSHIN’ IT: The Complete Schmoedown History of Rachel Cushing!

CRUSHIN’ IT: The Complete Schmoedown History of Rachel Cushing!

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 last few months, I have been posting my articles from the site onto here, and today we reach the final one. 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 4/9/2019


Rachel Cushing has made a habit out of making history ever since she made her debut in the Schmoedown, way back in Season 4. As one half of The Shirewolves, she became one of the first female champions in the league, while her recent Innergeekdom victory over Mike Kalinowski has made her only the second competitor (and the first female) to become double-belted.

One of the league’s strongest triple-threat competitors (she’s dangerous in Singles, Teams and Innergeekdom), there is a great argument to be made that despite having only just two years in the league, she should be on the Mount Rushmore of competitors.

An editor who does not actively seek the limelight, she has become a fan favourite for so many people, so I’m sure there were plenty around the world who were heartbroken when it was announced that she and teammate Clarke Wolfe would be stepping away from competition following their Championship match against KOrruption. So as part of our farewell to the Shirewolves and in honour of “The Crusher”, I have taken a look back through her history in the league.

The Debuts

The Crusher made her Schmoedown debut on March 7, 2017 as one half of The Nerd’s Watch, alongside “The Pitboss” Ken Napzok. Their first match together was against Tuff Beats (Perri Nemiroff and Jonathan Voytko) and despite not having competed together before, The Nerd’s Watch came away with a 20-18 TKO victory over their more experienced opponents.

Cushing impressed with her debut and it was not long until she was shooting out on her own in an Innergeekdom Fatal Fiveway against Michelle Boyd, Hal Rudnick, Jason Inman and Jeremy Jahns. The Fatal Fiveway format was different in those days, with one competitor being eliminated in each round, but Cushing beat out Rudnick, Boyd and future champion Inman to make it to the final round, and was the top scorer in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. However, with the final round being on the buzzer and best of five, Jahns managed to hit the first three questions and get the victory.

Just a few weeks later she was the 17th entrant in the inaugural Free 4 All, where she lasted two rounds before being eliminated. Soon after this, she was back in action with Napzok, taking on Team Action. Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai had been jerks in their debut but for this match they came out with their mothers and acted like respectable gentlemen. If The Nerd’s Watch were put off by this, then they didn’t show it. They went on to beat Action in Sudden Death, 25-24. Cushing then made her Singles Division debut in June against Nick Scarpino and while “The Producer/Seducer” pushed her hard, she came out with the 19-18 victory.

Making a Name

Ken and Rachel’s success saw them playing at Collider Collision in a #1 Contender Match against Rotten Tomatoes (Grae Drake and Matt Atchity). While the pair fought hard, they could not pull out the victory and Rotten Tomatoes won 25-23 to set up a title shot against The Patriots.

Following this loss, Rachel went back to the Innergeekdom Division, which she considered her home, for a match against Mike Kalinowski. By this point, she was beginning to get a reputation for her entrances, and her Galadriel entrance for this match went on to win Singles Entrance of the Year at the 2017 Schmoedown Awards. In the match itself, she went 11/12 in the 1st round to set her on her way to a 20-18 victory.

The next time we saw Rachel Cushing was in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, where The Nerd’s Watch were taking on the newly-formed Above The Line. In a close match, Above The Line emerged 26-25 victors and began a run that catapulted Samm Levine into the GOAT conversation.

In the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, her first opponent was Marc Andreyko, who she defeated 16-15, missing a perfect Round 1 by just a single point. She finally hit the Perfect Round in her quarterfinal against Stacy Howard, nailing the bonus question as well. In Round 2, she missed on her first question, but hit her remaining 3 for 5 points, before hitting both 1-point steal opportunities that came her way on Howard’s spin to win by KO, 16-3, with only 1 question wrong and 3 possible points dropped. This set up a semifinal against Samm Levine but, like in the Teams tournament, she was unable to get the victory, losing 20-19 as “The Inglorious One” made his way towards the first of his titles.

While her run in the Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments had come to an end, her season was not over. Just a few weeks later she took on Jason Inman, Jay Washinton and Coy Jandreau in an Innergeekdom #1 Contender Fatal Fourway. A score of 7/10 in Round 1 left her behind Jason Inman, who had managed a perfect round but missed the bonus question. However she scored eight points in Round 2 to take the lead, eventually coming second to Inman, who went on to win the title from Hector Navarro at Schmoedown Spectacular 2.

Betrayal

Following Sam Witwer’s victory in a #1 Contender Match for the Star Wars Division, Tom Dagnino crashed his post-match celebrations to announce that he had the best competitor in the division. The Schmoedown world was rocked to the core when this competitor was revealed to be none other than Ken Napzok, who had turned heel and joined the Lion’s Den. Rachel went after him in an attempt to turn him back to the light and while she agreed that The Patriots were too strong, she convinced him to take on the Lion’s Den’s second team, Blofeld’s Cat (Marc Andreyko and Robert Meyer Burnett).

Contracts were signed and the day of the match came around, but only three competitors came out to the table. Ken Napzok was nowhere to be seen and The Crusher was given the choice of forfeiting the match or playing a 2v1 handicap match. She chose the latter and while she put in a strong performance, two heads proved better than one and Blofeld’s Cat won by TKO, 19-18. As their victory was confirmed, Napzok finally arrived but rather than apologising to Rachel for not being there for her, he instead joined the Lion’s Den’s celebrations.

Despite what she may have considered a poor end to 2017, she was rewarded at the 2017 Schmoedown awards, winning Singles Entrance of the Year along with Babyface of the Year and Rookie of the Year!

Rise of The Shirewolves

Ken’s betrayal clearly hit Rachel hard in the moment, but she was soon out for payback. During Schmoedown Spectacular 2, Rachel challenged Ken to a match: she would find a new partner and take on him and Tom Dagnino in the Teams Division.

Season 5 opened with Rachel facing off against another member of the Lion’s Den, JTE, as well as Mike Kalinowski in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match in the Singles Division. After hitting a perfect Round 1 including the bonus question, she went 4/4 for seven points on her spin of Comic Book Movies and hit both steal opportunities that came her way for another four points, leaving her with 20 points, a high enough score to KO Kalinowski and TKO JTE. The Crusher had hit 100% accuracy in a match for the first time in her career and only missed 1 potential point, due to checking down to multiple choice once in Round 2.

Following this match, she and 2016 Rookie of the Year Clarke Wolfe announced that they had joined together to form The Shirewolves. Emma Fyffe invited them to join her new faction, the Fyffe Club, once they had won their match, but following World’s Finest’s victory over The Kingsmen the pair met with Fyffe and told her that they did not want to wait and wanted to join the faction immediately.

Now with a faction behind her, Rachel Cushing took on Samm Levine in a match for the Singles Title. There was no separating them in the first two rounds, with both getting six points in Round 1 and eight points in Round 2. Round 3 saw Levine take a 1-point lead as he bet the maximum three points while Cushing went safe with two points. Then it came to the buzzer round and once more, The Crusher found herself beaten for speed as Levine went 5-0 in the round to open up a 6 point lead. Rachel hit her two- and three-pointers but could not hit her five-pointer, leaving Samm Levine to defend his title with a 22-21 TKO victory.

With her run in the Singles Division over (for now), it was time for The Shirewolves to take on the Lion’s Den. Clarke and Rachel worked well together and though the Lion’s Den put up more points than many expected, The Shirewolves came away with a 25-22 victory. Rachel was the 26th competitor to enter the 2018 Free 4 All and while she again only lasted two rounds, she managed an impressive 8/10 points, proving the quality of the opposition she was against.

The Shirewolves were back in action at the second LA Live Event, taking on Team Action. In a close affair, Ben Bateman’s untimely mind-blank that saw him confuse actor Giancarlo Esposito and baseball player Giancarlo Stanton, and Action’s miss on their second 5-pointer following a successful challenge, saw The Shirewolves win 23-24.

Going for the Belts

With The Shirewolves going strong at 2-0, Cushing had her eyes set not just on the Teams belt, but also the Innergeekdom belt. Mike Kalinowski coerced Thadd into arranging a 16-competitor tournament in the Innergeekdom Division for the chance to challenge Jason Inman.

Rachel’s first opponent was debutante Markeia McCarty, a member of the Viper Squad who at the time were pushing a feud with the Fyffe Club. A perfect Round 1 including the bonus gave her an early 11-3 lead and she added a further six points after spinning Star Trek in Round 2, though she did allow two steals for two points. At 17-5 down, Markeia spun DC Movies but missed her first two questions. The Crusher hit both steal opportunities for three points, completing a 20-5 KO victory.

This victory set her up for a match at Collision II against Eric Zipper. The Crusher hit the perfect Round 1 and bonus in consecutive matches and went 4/4 in the category of Marvel Movies for five points. Zipper went 2/4 for four points in Star Trek, but two steals for three points set Cushing up for the 19-14 TKO victory – her second 100% accuracy match and first in Innergeekdom!

Cushing’s next match was back in the Teams Division, taking on World’s Finest. A strong combined performance saw Clarke and Rachel achieve their first TKO victory as a team, by a score of 23-19. Following this match, Brianne Chandler chose to cash in her Free 4 All victory and announced that she would be finding a teammate in order to challenge The Shirewolves for the vacant Teams Title.

Rachel couldn’t focus on their Championship Match just yet as she still had to take on rookie sensation and surprise contender Mara Knopic, who had won both her previous matches by TKO. Unfortunately, neither competitor was in good health on the day of the match, Knopic having recently been in a car accident and Cushing being clearly ill. Nevertheless, like the warriors in Middle Earth, the two continued with their match and could not be separated over 3 rounds. What followed was one of the most incredible moments in the history of the division as it took 11 rounds of Sudden Death to separate the two, Rachel finally missing on a Captain America quote to give Mara the 24-23 victory.

While neither competitor was anywhere near their best accuracy, the fact these two managed to keep going despite being in such poor health showed the desire of both competitors and the 11-question overtime (the longest in Schmoedown history) saw this match named Match of the Year at the 2018 Awards.

With her challenge for the Innergeekdom belt over, it was time to take on Brianne and her mystery partner – revealed to be Bryan Bishop – for the Teams Title. After a wonderful Thor: Ragnarok-inspired entrance that saw Cushing come out as Hela, they opened a 13-9 lead in Round 1, which they extended to 24-17 by the end of Round 2. The betting round saw the lead grow even more as The Shirewolves gained two points but Sick in the Head lost one, then after each competitor earned a point in the buzzer round, Clarke Wolfe hit the final question of the round to seal a 29-18 KO victory and make The Shirewolves the first ever female Champions in the League.

While Clarke chose to enter the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, Rachel chose instead to focus on the Teams Division, where her next match would be a title defence against Who’s The Boss at Spectacular 3. In one of the best matches of the year, The Shirewolves entered with most of the women in the league in a tribute to the ladies of the Schmoedown. Ben Bateman and Mark Reilly held a narrow lead for the first two rounds but both teams missed in Round 3 to draw level, before The Shirewolves dominated the buzzer round to take a three point lead. Who’s The Boss earned the full ten points in the final round but The Shirewolves did the same, defending their title with a 34-31 victory.

Unsurprisingly, given how her season had gone, Rachel was a multiple winner during the 2018 Schmoedown Awards, winning Match of the Year for her match against Mara Knopic and four awards as part of The Shirewolves: Team Entrance of the Year for their Thor: Ragnarok entrance, Babyface Team of the Year, New Team of the Year and Team of the Year, spending almost as much time on the Comedy Store stage as Baby Carrots himself!

Innergeekdom Champion

With the Teams Title secured, it was time for another run at the Innergeekdom belt, now held by the face of KOrruption, Mike Kalinowski. Before she could face “The Killer” though, she had to take down Adam Hlavac. Cushing took an 8-6 lead in Round 1 and managed a two-point steal from Hlavac’s Round 2 spin of Star Wars, which he earned five points in. Rachel spun Opponent’s Choice and was given Movie Release Dates, but it did not help Hlavac at all as she went 4/5 for seven points to set up a 17-13 TKO victory.

And so, almost 2 years after she made her Innergeekdom debut, Rachel Cushing found herself competing for the title in the main event of the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown. A perfect Round 1 with the bonus helped her pull out a 8-point lead by the end of Round 2, but a 5-point swing in the betting round and Kalinowski’s dominance on the buzzer saw him level the scores going into Round 5. Both competitors earned the full 10 points in Round 5 and the title came down to Sudden Death.

On the first question, Kalinowski missed by one letter, writing “Ninko”, while Rachel was able to hit the correct vowel with “Ninka,” in response to a Last Jedi question, and with that, the match was over with a score of 31-30. Rachel Cushing was finally left holding the belt she had always wanted, following in Samm Levine’s footsteps to become only the second ever double-champion.

Cementing the Legacy

With the Innergeekdom Belt finally hers, it was back to the Teams Division to defend the title against Critically Acclaimed. After a great entrance throwing shade at the internet trolls, Clarke and Rachel came out fighting, with Rachel and Bibbiani both earning a Perfect Round (including the bonus) in Round 1. Round 2 saw them go from 14-16 down to 26-20 ahead, which increased to 30-23 by the end of Round 4 following some controversy in the buzzer round. Bibbs and Witney scored 7 points in the final round, Rachel hit her 2-pointer, Clarke hit her 3-pointer and the title remained with The Shirewolves.

Their next defence was against The Odd Couple. Marc Andreyko had been their ally in the Fyffe Club for a season but now they found themselves on opposite sides of the contest. The Shirewolves came out in Game of Thrones themed costumes and their fans must have felt like they were watching the Red Wedding again as The Odd Couple held with Clarke and Rachel through the first 4rounds before going on to win the match 22-25, handing the Shirewolves their first loss as a team and earning the Teams Title from them.

The Shirewolves’ previous successful defences had earned them a rematch against The Odd Couple, which was scheduled for Collision. Following on from their loss, Clarke and Rachel went back to basics with a full focus on the match and though they found themselves behind for much of the bout, they pulled level going into the last round before going on to win 33-30, becoming the first team to ever win the title and then later reclaim it.

A Rivalry for the Ages

While The Shirewolves regaining the title was one of the big stories of Collision, the other was Mike Kalinowski’s victory over Kevin Smets, which earned him the chance to challenge Rachel for the title. The venue: San Diego. The time: Comic-Con. With a crowd of geeks cheering them on, the greatest of rivals went head-to-head once again. Much like the last time they met, Rachel took an early lead and a bad start to Round 2 for “The Killer” saw her ahead by 3. Things changed in Round 3 as the betting round saw the score shift from 18-15 in her favour to 15-18 behind, which stretched to 15-21 by the end of Round 4. While Rachel managed to answer all her Round 5 questions correctly, the deficit was too much to overcome as Kalinowski hit his 2- and 3-pointers to win back the title in yet another contender for Match of the Year.

And so, we reached the end. In a special episode, Clarke and Rachel announced that they will both be stepping away from competition, with their upcoming Championship match against KOrruption set to be their last match regardless of the result.

And what a way to go out, with the match having been announced as a Schmoedown Throwdown. Having faced each other four times over Singles and Innergeekdom, it seemed somewhat fitting that Rachel’s last hurrah would see her face Mike Kalinowski once again.

For one night only the Fyffe Club reformed, with Emma Fyffe and Marc Andreyko escorting Clarke and Rachel out. The Shirewolves put in a strong Round 1 performance but found themselves behind as Chance Ellison produced a perfect round and hit the bonus for a 13-15 scoreline.

Round 2 saw KOrruption hit Kalinowski’s ideal category of James Bond, while the Shirewolves stuck with Dramas and held their own, finding themselves only 3 points behind. Both teams scored 2 points in Round 3 and then it came to the buzzer round. Rachel has often found this round to be a weakness, but she was first to buzz in on the opening 2 questions, before Chance took over to get the last 3 points and extend the lead to 4 points. After Clarke hit the 2-pointer, Rachel put the Shirewolves ahead with the 3-pointer.

It looked like they may take the victory when Mike and Chance assigned themselves to the wrong 2- and 3-point questions, but KOrruption took the lead with their 5-pointer. And so it came down to the last question in the Shirewolves’ career: a 5-pointer to in the game. Sadly, there was to be no fairy tale ending for the pair, as they were unable to get the correct answer and in yet another iconic moment that will go down in Schmoedown history, Rachel was left to congratulate Mike Kalinowski on becoming the 3rd double-belted champion and – after an emotional farewell, Rachel and Clarke stepped away to leave us all broken hearted.

Farewell and Thank You!

Regardless of the result, to have gone from not feeling comfortable in front of a camera to becoming an Innergeekdom Champion and 2-time Teams Champion, not to mention only the second competitor to have been double-belted, Rachel has shown herself to be one of the greatest Schmoedown Pros in the league’s history.

Thank you, Rachel. We hope to see you back in the future!

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Every Shirewolves Entrance, Ranked!

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Every Shirewolves Entrance, Ranked!

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 3/9/2019


We have reached a sad moment as we say goodbye to Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing and “Classy” Clarke Wolfe, who are both stepping away from competing in the Schmoedown. Ahead of taking on KOrruption in their Teams Title Match, they announced that this would be their last match regardless of the result and it seems fitting that their last match was a thrilling spectacle.

While undoubtedly one of the best teams to have ever competed in the league, the Shirewolves have also become famous for providing some of the best entrances. Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe don’t go for a big theatrical entrance every time they compete alone but when they do, they make sure it’s a spectacle. And when they pair up, the results are brilliant!

Back in March, I took on the tough task of ranking all the Shirewolves’ entrances, both as a team and as individuals. In honour Rachel and Clarke, I have gone back to that article and updated it to include their more recent entrances, though you may also find that some entrances have moved around in the rankings.

17. All Together

I didn’t plan to include any entrances in which the competitors walked out without fanfare or a costume, but Clarke’s entrance last year against Marc Andreyko deserved a mention.

Going up against her fellow Fyffe Club member in the semi-finals of the Ultimate Schmoedown, the pair came out together flanked by Rachel Cushing and Emma Fyffe. The message was clear, they were a group and there was no animosity, despite the chance to reach the tournament final and guarantee a spot at Schmoedown Spectacular.

16. Agent Cushing

For her Innergeekdom Tournament match against Markeia McCarty, Rachel Cushing came out dressed as Agent Peggy Carter from the MCU. The outfit looked great and the only reason it doesn’t rate higher on the list is that this was the entrance in a nutshell and there were a number of more intricate entrances.

15. Game of Thrones

The Shirewolves’ first match against The Odd Couple saw them go into the world of TV for their intro as they came out in Game of Thrones-inspired outfits to the show’s main theme. With Rachel’s original team, the Nerd’s Watch, having emerged to this music during their run, it was nice to see Rachel return to this music in her new team, while also giving the entrance their own Shirewolves spin. Sadly, these outfits appear to have been unlucky as their only loss in the Division to date came in that match.

14. Wonder Woman

After beating Markeia, Rachel found herself taking on Eric Zipper in the Innergeekdom Tournament at Collision. This match saw Rachel switching from Marvel to DC as she came out with a great Wonder Woman-inspired entrance. Coming out in a dress like the one worn at the gala, she even had the sword hidden in the back of the dress, which she drew out to brandish at Zipper. You can’t argue with someone pointing a sword at you.

13. Home Run

The Shirewolves set the benchmark for their team entrances in their debut together against the Lion’s Den. With manager Emma Fyffe also coming out on-theme, The Shirewolves emerged as members of The Rockford Peaches from A League of Their Own. The outfits looked great and for this to be so low on the list it shows how great all their entrances are! The message was clear: they were going to be hitting the Lion’s Den out the park.

12. Two’s Company

Marc Andreyko wasn’t the first time Clarke Wolfe had faced an ally in the Singles Division. Season 4 saw her go up against her Wolves of Steel teammate Mark Reilly.

While Clarke’s entrance was rather understated, once Reilly emerged it was clear that they had planned their entrances together as she got up to dance with him. They both turned away from the camera and appeared to be unbuttoning their shirts, before turning back around to reveal they were wearing their Wolves of Steel t-shirts. Whatever the result of this match, it was clear that they considered it a win for the team.

11. You’re a Wizard, Rachel

Another Rachel Cushing entrance from the Innergeekdom Division. Rachel Cushing is known to be strong in the category of Harry Potter and she reminded everyone by coming out for her Fatal Fourway against Jason Inman, Coy Jandreau and Jay Washington in full Gryffindor Hogwarts robes (with her incredible knowledge, I’d have expected Ravenclaw). Not only that but she had her wand with her and either magic is real or there was some wizardry going on in the editing room as we saw her cast a spell before making her way to her seat.

While this was a great entrance in itself, I also couldn’t help but laugh as Inman, in costume as The Doctor, brandished his sonic screwdriver back at her.

10. Fight/Fyffe Club

With the Shirewolves competing at the second live event, we knew we were likely going to get something special from The Shirewolves. They didn’t disappoint as they came out with a Fight Club-inspired entrance. After hyping up the fans with free bars of soap, Fyffe and Andreyko took control of the mics to run through the rules of Fyffe Club, taking a chance to throw some shade at several opponents and promote their designs on TeePublic. While there are probably more impressive or technical entrances, for Rachel to be involved in a live entrance despite not being especially comfortable in front of such a large crowd was great to see.

9. Seeing Double

In my opinion one of the most underrated entrances in the Schmoedown. When Clarke Wolfe took on Josh Macuga in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown, people must have thought there had been a mistake when “Wild Thing” started playing during Wolfe’s introduction. What followed was a wonderful moment as Clarke came out channelling her inner Wildman, coming through the curtains in a brightly coloured suit and hitting Macuga’s mannerisms as she hyped up the crowd and did a quick dance.

At this point, Clarke’ entrances had just been a simple walk out with a smile and wave to the crowd. This showed that she knew how to have some fun with her entrances.

8. Shirewolves vs. Trolls

The comments section on the internet is a dangerous place to go wandering. The Shirewolves have had a lot of heat over the last year since their formation, especially when they first earned their title shot and won the belts.

For their title defence against Critically Acclaimed, the Shirewolves fired back with their entrance, taking the trucker scene from Thelma and Louise and recreating it with the Shirewolves taking on an internet troll. Don’t get on the wrong side of these ladies!

7. Fyffe’s Angels

The most elaborate entrance of Clarke Wolfe’s Singles career came in her #1 Contender Match against Mike Kalinowski, where she brought in her fellow Fyffe Club members for a Charlie’s Angels-themed entrance. With three ladies in the faction Fyffe, Rachel and Clarke might have seemed the obvious choices to be the Angels, but instead we were treated to Emma as Bosley and Marc Andreyko taking the final spot in the Angels. Some things just can’t be unseen!

6. Crushing It

Rachel Cushing’s Singles entrances have generally been quite understated, but one thing has been almost guaranteed: “The Crusher” would crush something. The Crush has become her signature entrance, generally smacking one hand down on top of the other before grinding them together. While usually this is the sum total of the entrance, sometimes she takes things a little further and modifies the Crush by destroying a prop.

When taking on Samm Levine in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, she pulled out a copy of Inglourious Basterds. However, knowing that she would be unable to crush it with her hands, she borrowed a baseball bat and made short work of it. When the Nerd’s Watch competed against Rotten Tomatoes, a poor innocent tomato felt the wrath of the Crush (I pity whoever had to clean up that mess). But perhaps the funniest was when she opened Season 5 against Mike Kalinowski and JTE, where Rachel came out with a plush Lion and ripped it to shreds, sending a message to the Lion’s Den, who she had a rivalry with at the time.

5. Galadriel

Besides the Crush, Rachel Cushing first drew acclaim to her theatricalities with her early Innergeekdom matches where she would come out dressed as Galadriel. A competitor so strong in the Middle Earth categories, her costume looked amazing in her Innergeekdom debut Fatal Fiveway and then she took things even further in her match against Mike Kalinowski where she got a little help from the editors to recreate Galadriel’s speech from The Fellowship of the Ring where she is tempted by the Ring.

This was an amazing entrance especially for a fellow Tolkien fan like myself, and the work that went into both the outfit and the editing rightly earned it the Singles Entrance of the Year at the 2017 Awards.

4. Queen of the Geeks

For her Innergeekdom Title defence at San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel managed to take the Galadriel entrance and to a new level. In front of a live crowd, Rachel emerged to an original composition by David B in a modern white dress with the Galadriel tiara. Accompanied by Clarke and looking every bit a queen of the Schmoedown, this was an entrance that added even more hype to a match that was already being touted as a Match of the Year contender before it even began.

3. Reunion

A simple walk out without any theme does not sound like something that should rank highly on this list, and perhaps the recency bias and the emotion surrounding this being Rachel and Clarke’s last match has pushed it a little higher, but their final entrance ever makes it into the top 3. Emma Fyffe’s promotion to Commissioner led to the breaking of the Fyffe Club, but everyone left under good terms and there was still plenty of goodwill between Marc, Emma and the Shirewolves, even when they were facing off against The Odd Couple. It seemed fitting that for one night only, the Fyffe Club came back together to give the Shirewolves the send-off they deserved. One of many beautiful moments on the night.

2. Thor: Ragnarok

The Shirewolves had two entrances nominated for Teams Entrance of the Year at the 2018 Awards and they were both so good that the one that won the award only makes the number two spot on this list!

The Fyffe Club pulled out all the stops in their first ever title match, against Sick in the Head, with a Thor: Ragnarok entrance that saw Clarke play the part of Thor, Rachel playing Hela, Emma as Odin and Marc Andreyko comically as Odin’s eye. This took the great costume and editing work from Rachel’s Galadriel evidence and took it a stage further, while it was great to see the entire faction getting involved.

1. Who Runs the World?

The Shirewolves title defence at Spectacular 3 was arguably one of the matches of the year and in my opinion also gave us the entrance of the year and the best Shirewolves entrance to date. Calling in as many women from the Schmoedown as possible, their entrance became a tribute to the women of the league and women in film.

While I think that the previous entrance was arguably “better” due to the extra contributions from the editing team, this entrance makes the top spot due to the added meaning behind it, which was even more special due to this being the season where we finally saw female champions for the first time in league history. All this combined to make this entrance truly spectacular!

With Rachel and Clarke now stepping away, the pressure is on to fill the void when it comes to theatrical entrances. Bibbiani, Stacy and Jeannine are all known for their theatrical entrances, will we see some new faces trying to emulate the Shirewolves’ entrances?

THE HITMAN HAS TWO FACES: What is Brandon Hanna’s Secret Scheme?

THE HITMAN HAS TWO FACES: What is Brandon Hanna’s Secret Scheme?

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 23/8/2019


Ever since Ben Bateman and Tom Dagnino joined the Five Horsemen in Houston, there have been questions as to whether Dagnino – as a manager, not a competitor – counted as one of the “five.”

That question was answered very recently when Brandon Hanna was invited by John Rocha to become the 5th Horseman. As the fan base went crazy and the Action Army did everything they could to call out the latest “traitor,” the story took an unexpected turn as Hanna was then seen signing a contract to join… The Family.

Let’s take a moment to try too igure out what the heck is going on here, and what the repercussions could be within the league.

Why Him?

First of all, we need to look at why “The Hitman” is in such high demand. One of the 2019 rookie crop, Hannah currently sits at 2-0 (1KO) in the Innergeekdom Division following a win on his debut in a Fatal Fiveway against Keetin Marchi, Chance Ellison and fellow debutant Chandru Dhandapani and a 20-18 victory over Emily “The Rose” Jacobson. His next match looks to be a 1v1 rematch against Chandru, where victory would see him well on the way to a potential title shot. Someone who knows the game well, he has clearly studied hard within the division and could soon find himself being classed within the IG Division’s top tier of competitors.

Currently, both the Horsemen and The Family are lacking a competitor in the Innergeekdom and bringing in someone of Hanna’s calibre would makes them not just a part of the Division, but a force within it. Bringing Hanna into either faction elevates them immediately.

Who Controls the Hitman?

Trying to be a part of tw factions at the same time is just greedy, and with all the history between the Horsemen and the Family, there is no way either of them would accept their new guy also being associated with their nemeses.

So now we need to figure out who Hanna is actually going to be representing. Going with the idea that “the early bird catches the worm,” it would seem John Rocha has found his 5th Horseman. However, Thadd Williams proved in the past the importance of a contract and Burnett having Hanna actually sign paperwork would likely have more weight than a verbal agreement; Rocha and Hanna were so busy throwing up the symbol of the Horsemen, they didn’t even shake hands!

When talking to Hannah, Rocha mentions that Bateman speaks highly of him. Hannah was originally the intern to “The Boss” and from all his previous appearances, it would appear that his allegiances in the Action Civil War would lie with his former employer. However, it must also be noted that Burnett says Andrew Ghai also spoke highly of him. Had this been purely Burnett’s doing, I would have been worried that “The Captain” had just risked his reputation within The Family by bringing in someone who had already committed to the Horsemen; however it would appear that Ghai is fully on board with the acquisition, which makes me feel that this is not going to result in Hanna betraying The Family and joining the Horsemen.

What is worth noting as well is that Hanna left his role as Bateman’s intern to go out on his own following Bateman and Ghai’s split. Perhaps even he felt that his employer was the guilty party in Team Action splitting up.

Looking at the evidence, it looks like the Horsemen are going to be left disappointed.

What Does This Mean for the Horsemen?

Hanna duping the Horsemen and joining The Family probably won’t go down well and will certainly add more friction within the Horsemen stable. Ben Bateman appears to have been instrumental to Hanna joining the group and seeing Hanna betray them for The Family could affect his reputation within the stable, which could then turn ugly given his fractious history with Rocha.

Should their relationship deteriorate, it could also put strain on Rocha and Reilly’s relationship as it was Reilly who took a risk by backing Bateman and Dagnino as potential Horsemen.

Have Hanna’s actions just set in motion a series of events that will see Who’s The Boss walk away from the Horsemen?

Conversely, this could also bring the Horsemen closer together and galvanise them for another attempt to take down The Family. Could this motivate Ben Bateman to enter the Innergeekdom purely to remind his former intern who the real boss is? Or could they instead turn to an unattached Innergeekdom star like Mara Knopic or Chandru and put out a hit on the Hitman, with the prize being a place in the Horsemen stable?

The repercussions could even go beyond The Horsemen and The Family. Kaiser was the first to offer Hanna a spot in his faction but was immediately turned down. After seeing Hanna join a faction led by a man who can’t tell the difference between “Lou” and “Kaiser”, could he set his own Innergeekdom star Kevin Smets against him? With Smets having destroyed Hlavac in San Diego and Hanna 3-0 if he beats Chandru, that would be a mouth-watering #1 Contender match.

One thing is for certain: There’s some drama ahead!