WARNING: This will contain spoilers for the recent Team Championship match and the Singles Tournament Final!
The new Teams Champions have been crowned (congratulations to Shazam!) and with the Singles Tournament reaching it’s climax, we will soon be turning our attention to the upcoming Teams Tournament. Each faction will be sending 1 team into the tournament and the winners will get the chance to challenge Shazam! for the Teams Title at Spectacular.
Now, it’s safe to say that my other tournament brackets this year have been completely wrong (usually within 1 or 2 matches) so now is my chance to try to salvage some credibility with my predictions for the Teams bracket.
So first of all, with a number of new teams forming, let’s see who will be in the tournament:
Final Exam ~ Paul Oyama & Lon Harris ~ 3-1 (2KO)
Category 9 ~ Brandon Hanna & Jader Paramo ~ 0-0
The Witching Power ~ Haleigh Foutch & Perri Nemiroff ~ 0-0
TOM & Paul ~ TOM & Paul Preston ~ 0-1
Founding Fathers ~ Dan Murrell & John Rocha ~ 5-3 (4KO)
The Misfits ~ Eric Zipper & Adam Witt ~ 0-0
Odd Couple ~ Jeff Sneider & Marc Andreyko ~ 6-4 (3KO)
Deception ~ Marisol McKee & Adam Collins ~ 0-0
The Lethal Weapons ~ Ethan Erwin & Andrew Ghai ~ 0-0
Play In Match
The Witching Power v The Misfits: 4 veterans of the game join to form 2 rookie teams and give us a very enticing play in match. Haleigh Foutch has not competed yet this year so may be a little rusty, but I would expect that the online format may actually suit her, while Perri caught me out with how competitive she was in the Singles tournament. It hasn’t been a good season for Adam Witt, but perhaps the pairing with Eric Zipper – who has drastically improved under Kaiser’s tutelage – could be just what he needs. The only issue I see here is that Zipper’s IG knowledge (which could have been a weapon against some teams) may be somewhat cancelled out by Foutch and Nemiroff, so I have to give the narrowest of victories to The Witching Power.
TOM & Paul v Final Exam: This really hasn’t been the season Paul Preston would have hoped for and I’m afraid I can’t see it getting any better with this match. TOM & Paul were meant to be the elite team for The Den, but an early loss and the success of The Pride saw their chances limited, while Preston also suffered a crushing defeat to Zipper in the Singles tournament. Final Exam meanwhile have played 4 matches together (many of them online) so have the experience of competing in this format. Combine with that a strong tactical link with manager Winston Marshall, while TOM’s match against Jader Paramo suggested there are still communication issues with Kate Mulligan. TOM and Paul are knowledgeable competitors so I expect them to keep it close, but I see Paul and Lon advancing.
Founding Fathers v The Witching Power: There’s no easy way to put this, but I can’t see any situation where the Founding Fathers lose this. Murrell and Rocha are so experienced both in the Schmeodown as a whole and even the online format. It’s fair to imagine that (barring a hideous spin) they could have only dropped a couple of points by the end of Round 2. Perri and Haleigh are great competitors, but I don’t think they have the breadth and depth of knowledge to go near-perfect in this match, and I can see the Founding Fathers winning without having to answer in Round 3.
Odd Couple v Category 9: The Odd Couple are former champions so arguably one of the favourites going into the tournament and find themselves against a rookie and someone who has only played in IG. It’s a strange pairing by manager Ken Napzok but it could be effective, as I imagine that Hanna knows enough to feel confident in the division while also having the potential of the IG slice to use as a weapon in Round 2, while Jader has impressed since winning the Golden Ticket in Orlando last year. I expect Category 9 to put up a fight and make people take notice, but I think that Sneider and Andreyko are to well-rounded as a pair to lose this match.
Deception v The Lethal Weapons: This match is anything but easy to predict. Ethan Erwin is a former Singles Champion and looks back to his best this season, while Andrew Ghai has had some ups and downs but has generally been a high quality B player in teams. Ghai will provide the strategic expertise while Ethan is potentially an upgrade on Drew McWeeny. Rookies Marisol McKee and Adam Collins have both had strong starts to their Schmoedown careers, with “The KOyote Coyote” going on an incredible run in the Singles Tournament and “Lady Justice” coming away with an enhanced reputation despite a loss to Paul Oyama leaving her at 1-1. It’s easy enough to imagine that Deception and KOrruption have been regular sparring partners this season, while Erwin and Ghai have probably not had as much time together due to their work -and it must also be noted that Ghai has been vocal about not liking the online format, which Collins and McKee are used to from their time in the fan leagues. I’ll give the slightest of advantages to Deception, and hope that Ghai and Erwin can stick together as a team into Season 8.
Final Exam v Founding Fathers: This will be an interesting match. Paul Oyama has shown he has the ability to beat Dan Murrell 1v1, so I expect the pair to be close, which means this could come down to a battle between Lon Harris and John Rocha. “The Delinquent” has had his ups and downs this season but Rocha has appeared to miss the extra boost that a crowd gives him. I think the Founding Fathers will have enough to get by, but it will be close.
Odd Couple v Deception: The Odd Couple will be coming up against a much more dangerous opponent in the semis than the opening round. Sneider and Andreyko have the experience of working together, but that also means that Deception have more game tape to work off, while McKee and Collins’ experience in the online format will help them communicate effectively. Collins just ended Sneider’s run in Singles, I think that he and McKee have the depth and breadth of knowledge to do the same to his Teams campaign and defeat the former champions.
Founding Fathers v Deception: And so we come to the climax of the tournament as Deception face off against former Team Champions for the second match running. As a tournament final, this should be a 5-round match, and I think that this could be where the Founding Fathers have the slight advantage as they will have the experience of playing the online speed round – though I’m sure Shannon Barney will do everything she can to get them prepped as KOrruption have experience from their recent title matches. As much as I would love to go for the underdogs, I can see the former champions pulling out a narrow victory to set up a Title Match against Shazam! at Spectacular.
So that’s how I see the tournament panning out; what does your bracket look like?
Ben Bateman’s time in the Finstock Exchange looks to be coming to an end. “The Boss” was the 1ˢᵗ round pick for Tom Dagnino, but following a heartbreaking Championship loss to Dan Murrell, he let his frustrations out and directed them towards his manager. Since then, Bateman has continued to double down on his stance against Bobby Gucci and it looks clear that a partnership that was formed midway through season 5 would be coming to an end.
Following this season, every Schmoedown Pro is set to become a Free Agent, with each manager able to sign 3 Free Agents ahead of the draft. This means that for the elite players like Bateman, the ball is firmly in their court as they have the power to decide if they are willing to stay with their current manager (assuming they are still wanted there) or take up an offer from another manager. As a former Singles Champion and one of the greatest strategic players in the game – arguably, his strategic influence has even improved Dan Murrell’s game – it’s impossible to envision a situation where Bateman is not one of these 3 pre-draft signings, but who will he be representing?
The team closest to overthrowing the Exchange at time of writing, S.W.A.G. have some high quality talent in Singles and Teams, but not necessarily someone who would be considered in the elite bracket. Winston Marshall has done a great job of adapting his managerial style to fit each of his players this season and has become a student of the game who is not afraid to throw out a challenge – something that will put him in good stead with Bateman.
However, S.W.A.G have a strong group already and with Chandru Dhandapani and Andres Cabrera both having title matches at Spectacular, there is the possibility that Winston already has to pick 3 out of the pair, Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who have formed an impressive team this year as part of Final Exam. As great an addition as Bateman would be, Winston will surely want to show loyalty to those who have helped him this year, and that may leave him without room for The Boss.
Shannon Barney is another rookie manager who has done a great job this season, while her rookies Adam Collins and Marisol McKee have impressed when given a chance. Being able to bring Bateman in as one of the top 3, and then picking up either McKee or Collins early in the draft to partner him would make a great pair of teams alongside KOrruption, similar to how the Exchange had Who’s The Boss and the Founding Fathers.
However, KOrruption has the same issue as S.W.A.G in that McKee, Collins and Laura Kelly will likely be on other factions’ radars and it may be that Shannon needs to use her 3ʳᵈ pick to secure one of them, while it’s hard to imagine Bateman going to a faction with an already established team like KOrruption as it will likely end similar to this season, with issues over Bateman’s standing in the faction.
The Quirky Mercs
Coy Jandreau is another rookie manager who has impressed this season and with the potential that he and Bateman may be working on a show together soon, it may be that they find a good chemistry together. Under Coy’s leadership, the Mercs have done well and it is easy enough to imagine that many of this season’s roster would be available via the draft rather than requiring Coy to sign them in the opening round of Free Agency.
But the issue with The Mercs will be that Bateman would again find himself competing for top spot in the faction with Shazam! As incredible as that trifecta would be, I just can’t imagine Bateman willing to defer big matches or spots in tournaments to Bibbiani and Meyer.
This is where things get interesting, as The Den have 4 high level competitors in TOM, Paul Preston, Ben Goddard and James White, but nobody that would necessarily be considered proven as an elite competitor. With White’s chances limited this year and Paul Preston having a down year, it is possible that Bateman could be picked up along with Ben Goddard and TOM, with at least one of the other 2 picked up in the draft, allowing Bateman to create a strong team with one of these competitors.
I do wonder however if Bateman would consider Kate Mulligan the right kind of manager for him. While Kate has been entertaining this season, there have been questions over her management style with some debatable strategic decisions. It may be that Bateman will take it as a chance to help mould her into the manager he wants, but he may also decide that there are more attractive managerial options out there that will allow him to focus on the trivia and his own game.
Now here is an interesting situation. Roxy Striar knows Ben well so will know how to work with him. She may not be quick to challenge at the moment – being more a cheerleader for her players – but it’s easy to imagine that she could change her style a little for the right person. Meanwhile, if you listen to Jeff Sneider, there is every chance that season 7 will see the end of The Odd Couple, which could then allow Bateman to join the Roxstars and partner with either Sneider or Marc Andreyko – either one would be a dangerous team!
However, it feels like Bateman’s chances of joining the Roxstars hinge on the fate of The Odd Couple. Roxy is loyal to her players – arguably too much so – and its hard to imagine her breaking up The Odd Couple unless Sneider or Andreyko decides to end it. Throw in Alex Damon, who has kept Roxy’s 2020 season alive, and there would be no space in the top 3 should The Odd Couple stay together, while Roxy may even still try to keep them both and find new teammates for them.
Kaiser took a risk this year by trying to monopolise the Innergeekdom Division, but losses for Smets and Robert Parker, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of matches, has meant that this strategy backfired massively. Kaiser will know that he needs to bring in an elite Singles competitor, and Bateman would be the perfect fit. It’s hard to imagine Kaiser using 2 of his 3 picks on IG specialists, so I can see him keeping his Dungeon regulars Smets and Eric Zipper, then bringing in Bateman as the marquee signing. Zipper would be a good partner for Bateman – especially as the Individual IG slices become available in Teams from 2021 – while it’s possible that Kaiser could pick up another possible partner like Vinnie Mancuso or Liz Shannon Miller in the first round of the draft.
Probably the biggest worry here for Bateman is again the manager. Kaiser can talk the talk, but he’s never really proved himself as a great trivia mind. Bateman was vocal about the downside of having Dagnino as a manager compared to a knowledgeable manager like John Rocha, so could it be that this counts against Kaiser, who actually lost to Dagnino in Orlando last year?
The Usual Suspects
The last couple of managers have had question marks beside their names but Samm Levine could arguably be the perfect manager for Ben Bateman. Levine was one of the original strategists in the game and is never shy to throw a challenge, while he also has the trivia knowledge that could make the difference at a crucial moment. Add to this that if the partnership between Andrew Ghai and Ethan Erwin doesn’t work out, Bateman has the chance of a Team Action reunion or forming a superteam with Erwin.
As for a downside, probably the biggest one right now is that if Ghai and Erwin work well together it will be hard to separate them next season, while the Usual Suspects won’t draft until the 2ⁿᵈ round following their blockbuster trade to get hold of Erwin. If that’s the case, it’s going to be much harder to get Bateman a partner that will be strong enough for them to push for the title while also picking up a proven IG competitor.
The Burning Droogs
The team that at time of writing are propping up the table, it’s not been a great year for the Droogs, who no longer have their top 2 draft picks and have also undergone a change of manager. There are some strong competitors here but Bateman could come in as the alpha dog that would be expected to make a run in Singles, while Jader Paramo, Witney Seibold or Alonso Duralde would all be strong partners for Bateman. With Brandon Hanna about to enter the Teams Division and the IG slices entering the division next season, it may even be time for the Boss to team up with his former intern. The big thing here is that they have the chance to create a super strong faction with their 3 picks in the first round of Free Agency, while they then have 2 picks in the 1ˢᵗ round of the draft following the Erwin trade – there are plenty of chances to create a strong team (or 2) and have a strong IG representation by round 2 of the draft!
The big question with the Droogs will be the management, as it is not yet clear whether Ken Napzok will continue in his role next season or hand over to someone else. I can imagine Bateman would prefer a manager with some experience, however a manager willing to learn from him may also prove attractive.
The Verdict: Right now I’d have to give the advantage to The Dungeon, but if the right person is in charge of The Burning Droogs, the chance to build a strong team quickly with the extra draft pick could be an enticing enough offer.
I’m a sucker for a Schmoedown tournament bracket, so welcome back to my attempt at predicting the 2020 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. As it is a bumper 36-competitor tournament this year, I know you don’t want to read a mini novel so I’ve split my bracket into 2 articles. This will be covering from the quarterfinals onwards, so make sure you have checked out my predictions for the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2 here.
John Rocha v Brendan Meyer: “The Outlaw” is never shy to take a jab at old rival William Bibbiani, but in order to face him, he will have to go through Bibbiani’s teammate Brendan Meyer. This will be Rocha’s biggest test so far in the tournament and I have it being one challenge too many, as “The Kid” will look to build on his narrow loss to Dan Murrell in February and 2 hugely challenging matches in the earlier rounds to make the semis.
Chance Ellison v William Bibbiani: William Bibbiani has the chance to set up an all-Shazam! semifinal, but finds a Cobra in his way. While Bibbiani is a great competitor, Chance took him close in his debit season and is now in the form of his life, so I have Chance continuing on in the tournament.
Paul Preston v Tim Franco: Tim Franco is the lowest draft pick to make it into the quarterfinals but after taking out TOM in Round 1, he now faces the other half of TOM and Paul in Paul Preston. I can see this being a close match but Franco’s fairy tale run coming to an end here against a resurgent Paul Preston, bringing and end to the Quirky Mercs’ hopes of replicating the Innergeekdom tournament’s all-KOrruption final.
Mike Kalinowski v Paul Oyama: Were it not for KO’s “Flash” blunder against Jeff Sneider, he would have faced Oyama in New York and believes that he would have won on the day, giving the world “Mikey Three-Belts”, the first triple-belted Champion. Unfortnately for him though, he now faces a resurgent Paul Oyama and barring a favourable pair of wheel spins, I see Kalinowski’s run coming to an end, along with the chances of another KOrruption v KOrruption final.
Brendan Meyer v Chance Ellison: And so we reach the semis. When I started planning my bracket, I had “The Kid” winning here, but having watched Chance’s run through the Innergeekdom tournament, it is clear that the IG slice can now be a dangerous weapon for him and I see him using that to make his second tournament final of the season.
Paul Preston v Paul Oyama: Paul will win. There you go. Oh, I have to be more specific? Fine. This is going to be a close match, but Oyama has shown his age to not be a weakness when it comes to older movies but potentially a weapons for genres like YA movies, so I have him making it to the final.
Chance Ellison v Paul Oyama: Maybe I’m too much of a sucker for storylines, but what a final this would be. The first 2 Schmoedown Pros to come from the fan leagues, there has always been that rivalry in the Schmoedown between Chance and Paul. Paul got the win on the way to the Singles Title, but Chance got revenge in the opening round of the Innergeekdom tournament on the way to the final. This could easily go either way but Chance is in the form of his life right now and I can’t go against him winning his tournament of the season and all-but securing Player of the Year.
So there you have it, from an incredibly deep field of 36, Chance Ellison will emerge victorious to earn a shot at the Singles Title at Spectacular. what do think of my bracket? How does it compare to yours?
The Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament is coming back! Following the success of the online tournaments in the Star Wars and Innergeekdom Divisions, the Singles Division will be getting a supersized tournament with a whopping 36 players!
My attempts to correctly predict the brackets for the Star Wars and Innergeekdom tournaments failed miserably, but that has not put me off trying again for this tournament. Of course, this tournament is so big, I don’t want to leave you with a novel to read, so I will be breaking this prediction down into 2 articles: this one covering the Play Ins, Round 1 and Round 2, while the second will cover from the Quarterfinals through to the end of the tournament.
Now before I start, I need to address a couple of assumptions that I have made for this prediction. Some of the players taking part in this tournament are currently unconfirmed as we await the outcome of the #1 Contender Match between John Rocha and Ethan Erwin, and the winner’s subsequent Championship Match against Dan Murrell. The Champion following these 2 matches will understandably not feature in the tournament, while all 3 have been confirmed as entering if they are not the champion. Should Ethan Erwin become Singles Champion, Jen Kempe will instead represent the Usual Suspects, while Sabrina Ramirez will take the final spot for the Finstock Exchange if either Rocha or Murrell holds the title.
I see Erwin defeating Rocha but losing to Murrell, meaning that John Rocha will be the Round 1 opponent for the winner of Gallegos v Collins in the top-left corner of the bracket, while in the top-right corner of the bracket Sabrina Ramirez will face Vinnie Mancuso in the Play In, with the winner facing Ethan Erwin in Round 1.
Play In Games
Andres Gallegos v Adam Collins: 2 untested rookies here so there is very little for me to go on. Gallegos has received some hype from legendary editor Nerd Chronic, and while Collins impressed in the fan leagues, he is seen as a 4-division threat, so I will give the advantage to the specialist Gallegos.
Frank Moran v James White: The Free Agent signing for SWAG takes on the man the Burning Droogs traded to the Den to bring in Brandon Hanna. Moran has had good showings in the league with his appearance for B.O.B and in Free 4 All II, however James White will feel at home playing online having been promoted from the fan leagues. Expect the 2ⁿᵈ round draft pick to show why he was picked so high.
Sabrina Ramirez v Vinnie Mancuso: The Free Agent that everyone wanted, Sabrina Ramirez shows the strength in depth of the Finstock Exchange. While she has done well t impress the Horsemen and earn a place in the faction, she has no gametape, while the Dungeon’s Vinnie Mancuso looked strong on his debut for The Butcher Boys and has been talked up by Kaiser as a great talent withing the division. I have Mancuso making it into the tournament.
Marisol McKee v Bonnie Somerville: A look at Bonnie’s Twitter recently suggests that she is up for the chance to go against her former faction, but how will she do in the match? Bonnie has put in decent performances but finds herself up against someone who comes with a strong reputation from the fan leagues and will be keen to make her mark in the pros. I’ve got Marisol McKee advancing.
Andres Gallegos v John Rocha: Gallegos may come into this match with momentum, but he will be facing an Outlaw who will be keen to put a loss to Ethan Erwin (or maybe Dan Murrel) behind him and consider losing to an untried rookie the ultimate insult. Rocha will be fired up and as long as he doesn’t burn too hot, he’ll advance to the next round.
Lon Harris v Sabina Graves: I am so excited to see more of “The Delinquent”! Harris has looked a great talent and the pressure seems off him compared to his tenure as “The Professor”. Sabina is a strong competitor, especially with Samm Levine in her corner, but I think that Harris’ run for Comeback Player of the Year will continue with a win here.
Brendan Meyer v Alonso Duralde: There is going to be a lot of movie trivia know-how on show in this match. “The Kid” looks destined to win a belt in the next couple of seasons but will face a dangerous adversary in Duralde. Duralde’s knowledge covers even some of the more generally avoided categories, but he is not used to playing on his own and I think that Meyer will have the advantage strategically, which will see him through to Round 2.
Marc Andreyko v Matt Atchity: Another incredible Round 1 match-up, when it comes to movie trivia I don’t think there is much between them. However Atchity is notorious for never remembering the rules, while Andreyko has watched a lot of past matches during the lockdown, so I have Andreyko’s better gameplay seeing him advance.
Chance Ellison v David Del Rio: Chance Ellison will have been so happy to see a larger Singles tournament as it made it more likely that he wold have a chance of advancing, having been eliminated from the last couple of Singles tournaments in the opening round by William Bibbiani and Ethan Erwin. This time he faces David Del Rio, who looked good in his appearances last season, but I think that Chance is a future legend of the league and will come away with the victory here.
Liz Shannon Miller v Rachel Silvestrini: This will be a very interesting match and I’m struggling to call it. Miller has the knowledge but will she be hampered by not having her manager in the room with her? Meanwhile, can Silvestrini improve on a couple of questionable round 1 performances? If Silvestrini can hit Kevin Smith or Disney at the right times then she has a good chance, but I’m giving this one to Liz Shannon Miller.
The Barbarian v Witney Seibold: With Ben Goddard not in the tournament, The Barbarian has a great chance of cementing himself as the Rookie of the Year. Witney Seibold has a great knowledge, but the Barbarian has thrown himself into the sport and has the benefit of learning from 4 former Singles Champions, so not only does he have the knowledge, but he also has the strategy, and will also benefit from a familiarity with the online matches from his time in the recent Innergeekdom tournament. I’ll be shocked if The Barbarian loses this.
William Bibbani v James White: James White could be the next Schmoedown superstar, but William Bibbiani is called “The Beast” for a reason and will be looking to get back to winning ways after his loss in New York at the start of the season.
Vinnie Mancuso v Ethan Erwin: Mancuso’s prize for winning the Play In is taking on Ethan Erwin, who will be coming in fresh off a title loss to Dan Murrell. Now Mancuso could be one of the next stars of the league, but Erwin knows a lot about a lot and has even been checking out Disney+, so don’t expect him to lose here.
Paul Preston v Eric Zipper: Paul Preston is a fun character, so much so that you forget just how good his movie trivia knowledge is. With just a loss in Teams to his name this season, he will be keep to get back to winning ways against Eric Zipper. Zipper’s improvements have been clear to see, but I think that Preston has the potential to fight for a Singles Title and I think Zipper still has a little may to go before that, so I have Preston the win.
Jader Paramo v Jim Vejvoda: This will be an interesting match. Vejvoda has great movie knowledge but really lacks the understanding of the game and strategy. Jader meanwhile has a good level of knowledge but probably not quite as high, but as a long-time fan he understands the game better and will be benefiting from the strategic advice of Samm Levine and Andrew Ghai (unless the Schmoeminati have got him). I’m picking Vejvoda, but a Paramo win wouldn’t surprise me.
Tim Franco v TOM: This was anything but easy to pick. TOM became an instant fan favourite and hasn’t missed many questions in his Schmoedown career, while Tim Franco’s impact on the league has been limited due to being based in Arizona. Right now, I’m looking at experience of the game and competing without a teammate, and as a long-time fan who TKO’d Matt Atchity on debut, I’m going for Tim Franco.
Mike Kalinowski v Perri Nemiroff: “The Killer” turned down a winnable match with Andrew Ghai and the potential of a #1 Contender match to enter the tournament and earn as many pints as he can for KOrruption. First up is Perri Nemiroff who certainly has some areas of strength, but hasn’t played outside of exhibitions for years. Expect to see KO going on to the next round.
Mark Reilly v VIDEODREW: “Yodi” will be hoping to go further in this tournament that last year, where Stacy Howard knocked him out in the opening round. He goes up against VIDEODREW who certainly has the potential to be a banana skin for him. I was struggling to call this one but eventually let my heart take over and selected Mark Reilly to advance.
Jeff Sneider v Robert Montano: “The Insneider” believes himself to be the best in the game and running through such a large tournament wold be a great way to do it. First up is Robert Montano, formerly of Late to the Party. Montano has shown that he has good knowledge, but Sneider is a great player and as long as he feels driven to win, I have him advancing.
Paul Oyama v Marisol McKee: Another case of a currently untested rookie who has made a good name for themselves in the fan leagues versus a high level veteran. McKee is meant to be be a dangerous adversary, but Paul Oyama showed his quality last year and I have him bouncing back from Singles losses to Bateman and Rocha to advance to the next round.
John Rocha v Lon Harris: Let’s be honest, we all want Lon Harris to g all the way in this tournament, just to see as much of “The Delinquent” as possible. Unfortunately, he’ll find himself up against a John Rocha who is driven after coming so close to fighting for the belt again. Expect an Outlaw near the top of his game to make it to the next round.
Brendan Meyer v Marc Andreyko: These maybe 2 of the best Schmoedown Pros in the game to have never won the Singles title, such is the strength of this season’s bracket. Andreyko can go up against anyone on his day and thanks to this season being so heavily disrupted, he will find that he is not burned out like usual by this stage of the season. However, “The Kid” has looked the real deal and I have him pulling out the victory.
Chance Ellison v Liz Shannon Miller: Speaking of players who look the real deal, Chance Ellison will look to follow up a fantastic Innergeekdom run with an equally strong run in Singles. In his way stands Liz Shannon Miller, who has shown a good level of knowledge but has never faced someone in the form Ellison is in, while Chance’s fan league and Innergeekdom experience also means that he is used to the online setup. The Cobra is continuing on.
The Barbarian v William Bibbiani: This match feels like it could have been a semi-final! Though the Barbarian has a limited number of matches, neither he nor Bibbiani have any glaring weaknesses, and I think that this will come down to who gets a more favourable spin of the wheel. Though I’m loath to write off the Barbarian, I’m going with the more experienced Bibbiani.
Ethan Erwin v Paul Preston: What happens when a hotshot Hollywood producer faces off against a middle-aged frat boy? We get a great match in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown! I can see this being a great match and while I’d never count against Ethan Erwin’s trivia know-how, I think that Paul Preston will have spent the break working on strategy, which will see him through to the next round.
Jim Vejvoda v Tim Franco: After a greater knowledge saw him sneak past the more strategic Jader Paramo, this will be a much harder fight for Jim Vejvoda. Franco has a wide and deep knowledge of movies and the strategy to go with it, so I have him advancing to the quarters.
Mike Kalinowski v Mark Reilly: Having made it past VIDEODREW, things don’t get any easier for Mark Reilly as he takes on Kalinowski. I think that this match could easily go either way so will probably come to the wheel, where I can see either Bond or the Innergeekdom slice giving KO the advantage he needs to progress to the next round.
Jeff Sneider v Paul Oyama: Jeff Sneider will never get as close to winning the Singles Title as he did against Oyama in New York, where manager Roxy Striar convinced him to bet (and lose) a point in the betting round, leading to a loss in Sudden Death. He’ll have his chance for revenge here, but that was Oyama on a bad day, and I think the change in character and familiarity of playing online will see Oyama play better and get the win again.
We started with 36, now we’re down to 8. I’ll have my predictions for the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final up early next week. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my bracket so far. How does it compare to yours?
The Movie Trivia Schmoedown continues to go strong despite the current pandemic bringing an end to live and studio matches and forcing the league online. Given the unavoidable circumstances, Season 7 is well on its way to being a resounding success.
Each season, we so many wonderful moments – either story beats moments within a match. Some will live on forever, like the XX5XX moment from the inaugural Free 4 All, the reveal of the 5 Horsemen at the LA Live event and The Tackle, but there will also be many moments that are also worth celebrating and remembering that seem to fade out of conversation after a year or 2 due to the people involved no longer competing or the storyline it was involved in having come to an end. Today I want to give some love to those forgotten moments.
The breaking of the 4 Horsemen
Season 3 saw the beginning of factions within the Schmoedown, as John Rocha put together the 4 Horsemen: Rocha, Matt Knost, William Bibbiani and Robert Meyer Burnett, while Tom Dagnino put together the Lion’s Den to counter them. It’s safe to say that the Lion’s Den had the greater success, while the 4 Horsemen came to an end at Collision of Season 4.
Despite a starring debut, William Bibbiani was struggling to get over with the fans, but his yell of “I BETRAY YOU!” as he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold was a big step in helping “The Beast” truly come into his own and set up a rivalry with Rocha. Likewise, after being the top heel of the league, this betrayal gave Rocha the chance to turn away from this and become a more respectful character, leaving a space at the top of the heel tree for Team Action to swagger into.
The “perfect” game
When someone talks about playing the perfect game, thoughts immediately go to William Bibbiani, Dan Murrell, Robert Parker and Kevin Smets. One name that is often forgotten, though, is that of Mark Ellis.
Way back in Season 1, Mark Ellis was pitching a perfect game going into the final round of his quarterfinal against JTE. Now back in those days, the final round was a Jeopardy round, similar to the current betting round in title matches but with Schmoedown Pros able to be as many points as they had.
Both Ellis and JTE got the question right, but “Baby Carrots” had taken the risk of expecting JTE to miss and not bet enough points, losing 11-14. While this match does live on in infamy due to it leading to the Trial of JTE, Ellis’ perfect game is a moment that gets forgotten when we look back at the match.
Reilly’s greatest flub
Back in season 3, John Rocha (who hosted a Star Wars podcast) forgot that Bespin was featured in The Empire Strikes Back and has never been allowed to forget it. Over time, many of the top competitors have had their own “Bespin moments” that they have never been able to fully live down: Mike Kalinowski’s “Pudding” and “Flash”, Kevin Smets’ “Don’t tell Peter” and Ben Bateman’s “Giancarlo Stanton”. One man who always seems to get away with it, though, is Mark Reilly.
During the Speed Round of Reilly’s Championship Match against John Rocha, the pair were asked “Which film features the following characters: Billy, Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Tatum, Cotton, Ghostface?” When horror-buff Reilly buzzed in, everyone was certain the he would be giving the correct answer of Scream, but instead he guessed The Sandlot and lost the point. Reilly’s reaction when the correct answer is revealed is priceless, but somehow (probably because he still managed to win the match) this great flub is often forgotten by all but Reilly.
2 in a row
Everybody remembers Ben Bateman’s recent feat of winning 2 matches in 1 night at Spectacular, where he TKO’d William Bibbiani in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament final and then later KO’d Paul Oyama to win the title. While Impressive, it is not even the first time a Schmoedown Pro has won 2 5-round matches in a day.
That feat was achieved by “Dangerous” Dan Murrell at Season 4’s Collision. With Mark Reilly holding the Singles title, Murrell defeated both him and John Rocha in a Triple Threat to win the belt back, then had to immediately defend it as Samm Levine crashed his post-match interview to cash in his Free 4 All prize and challenge Murrell for the title.
Now Levine’s logic makes sense, that Murrell would be tired after such a big match and not be able to hit the heights again right after, but the GOAT earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8 question format (though he did miss the bonus question) on his way to a 26-23 defence.
The great JTE-isms
JTE will always hold a special place in our heart and it is a shame that we do not get to see him compete as much anymore. While he played the heel so well, you could never bring yourself to truly hate him as you were always looking forward to his JTE-isms.
Now some have lived on better than others. His “Jew Bear” from last year’s Free 4 All remains in peoples minds due to the recency and the famous “Tricenatorustops” from the first ever Schmoedown against Cobbster is too good to ever forget! But there were also plenty of others from the littlest of evils over the years, from “The jungle rules the kingdom” to the classic answers of “Gwelmo del Toro” and my personal favourite from his Singles match against teammate Jeff Sneider “Japeto”.
The other table clear
When we think of table clears at the inaugural Free 4 All, our minds understandably go to XX5XX, but there was actually another one later in the event that could have massively changed the Schmoedown.
The penultimate entrant was Samm Levine, who came to the table and with a score of 3-2-2-2-2 eliminated Robert Meyer Burnett, Dennis Tzeng, Marc Andreyko and Hector Navarro. This meant that the fight for the prize would be between Levine and none other than Tom Dagnino, Leader of the Lion’s Den. Now thankfully Levine won the final round 3-1, but just imagine an alternate universe where Dagnino had won the Free 4 All and had a title shot guaranteed for one of his faction. The second half of Season 4 could have looked very different.
The Force is with Sam Witwer
As the voice and likeness of Galen Marek/Starkiller in the The Force Unleashed games and the voice of Maul, Emperor Palpatine and The Son in the current Star Wars canon, it looks like Sam Witwer may have picked up some real-life knowledge of using the Force.
When most people think of Witwer competing in the Schmoedown, they think of his last gasp victory over Ken Napzok to win the Star Wars title at Spectacular II, there were some other moments that really shouldn’t be forgotten.
Season 3’s match between The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and the Force Bros (Witwer and Freddie Prinze Jr) is probably best remembered for Freddie getting a point in Round 1 that he shouldn’t leading to the rule now that answers must be spoken and written on the whiteboard, but that led us to Sudden Death and a great moment. Sudden Death was different back then: A question on the buzzer, if the Schmoedown Pro buzzed in and got the answer right, they had the chance to answer the next question for the win. Now by this pin in the match, Witwer has shown that knowledge isn’t really his problem, but he is not fast on the buzzer. So trying to get the win, he jumps in midway through the question, not realising that this would stop the question being completed. With the question standing at “Who is surrounded by droids…” Witwer somehow correctly guesses Obi-Wan Kenobi, before answering the next question correctly to win the game.
Witwer’s next appearance was at Celebration in a Fatal Fiveway for the first ever Star Wars title. After missing his 3-pointer in the final round (though I would challenge the wording of the question), Sam seemed off his game and when asked “In The Empire Strikes Back” who barked the order “Shields up!” just before the Falcon buzzed the Star Destroyer’s bridge?” he was unable to pull the correct answer of Captain Needa. This miss meant that Napzok and Campea would go to Sudden Death, which Napzok won. Witwer made his return to the Schmoedown in another Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match just ahead of Spectacular and found himself in similar circumstances. If he hit his 5-pointer he would win, a miss would see Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw go t Sudden Death. As the question “In The Empire Strikes Back who said “Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility for losing them and apologise to Lord Vader.” was read out, Sam’s face was shocked as he realised the correct answer was none other than Captain Needa, earning him redemption and a shot at the title (as well as handing Damon his only loss to date).
As George Lucas famously said: “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”
Macuga v Finstock
The Wildberries became so beloved, it’s hard to remember that they were not always a team. But before that, Josh Macuga had been teamed with Finstock, a pairing that did not end amicably. This led to a moment in Season 4 where Josh Macuga and Finstock were set to play a match against each other, with the loser being banned from the league.
The day of the match came, Macuga made his way to the table and then the impossible happened: Tom Dagnino walked out alongside “Finstock” – clearly Marc Andreyko in the Finstock attire (still to date the only other person we have seen don the mask). Somehow the idea that Finstock could be anyone meant that the match continued, and in a complete shock, Josh Macuga somehow managed to come away with the victory over “Findreyko”, leading to Dagnino being (briefly) ejected from the league.
Actin v DC Movie News
So this is one that I have to include in its entirety as I absolutely love it. Action were at their heelish best with Andrew Ghai back from suspension and their constant goading of DC Movie News led to a match. Kalinowski had recently found himself without support during his #1 Contender Match against Clarke Wolfe and clearly wasn’t happy in the pre-match promos. The match was hard-fought with DC Movie News running through James Bond in Round 2 but gifting Action a strong category of Sci-Fi/Fantasy after they hit Opponent’s Choice. Action got the win and then in the post-match interviews things went crazy as Mike Kalinowski severed ties with The League and went off on his own after reducing Adam Gertler to tears.
And this then led to…
Thadd Williams v Mike Kalinowski
Following Kalinowski’s break from the league, we were treated to about half a year full of scenes showing Kalinowski taking over control of the Schmoedown by bribing Commissioner Thadd Williams. As well as leading to huge impacts on the league – such as the first ever Innergeekdom Tournament, the debut and rise of Mara Knopic and the Anarchy Tournament – these scenes were also great viewing and deserve remembering as we watch Thadd get further and further out of his depth.
The other Odd Couple
One of the teams to form during Anarchy was that of William Bibbiani and Matt Knost. Not even taking into account their history as former members of the Horsemen, Knost’s focus on the game and Bibbiani’s love of theatrics never felt a good mix and it was no surprise to hear Bibbiani state on the Finstock Exchange Podcast recently that the first thing they managed to agree on was making their team name “The Odd Couple”, only to find that Andreyko and Sneider had beat them to it.
Knost’s humour is something many fans have missed since his retirement and one of the best examples was during one of the Cinemaniacs’ entrances, where Bibbiani and manager Emma Fyffe came out dancing and playing with a beach ball while Knost trudged out sulkily alongside them, only for him to catch the beach ball and stat to smile and dance as he slowly deflated it.
Please come back Knost!
What other great moments can you think of that seem to have been forgotten over time?
The Star Wars tournament is underway on Twitch and in just a week’s time, the Innergeekdom tournament will also be underway. 18 players preparing to go on a (hopefully) long run to victory… all starting Monday 1ˢᵗ June (or Thursday 4ᵗʰ for the general public.
At the moment, it is not confirmed whether the winner of the tournament will earn a title shot (though with current Champion Kevin Smets and #1 Contenders Mara Knopic & Chandru Dhanadapani not involved, it would make sense), but with things tight at the top of the faction standings, this could be the moment for a faction to take control of the league, while someone struggling like KOrruption could suddenly find themselves back in contention.
Jim Vejvoda v Ben Goddard: Kate Mulligan’s call to give Saul the guaranteed place in the tournament may have backfired as Ben Goddard now finds himself in one of the play in matches, against Jim Vejvoda. This is an interesting call from Roxy Striar as Vejvoda’s IG knowledge has never really been seen in the Division, so he could be a dark horse, but this will be his first match competing on his own, going up against a student of the game who knows Middle Earth back to front and has frequently shown to have a good all-round knowledge. Right now, I see Goddard qualifying for the main tournament and furthering his campaign for Rookie of the Year.
Greg Alba v Warfather: With Mara Knopic currently deactivated, I was shocked that Coy Jandreau did not look to add at least one Innergeekdom specialist. This has led to him entering the Reel Rejects as his representatives for the tournament. Now Greg Elba Alba looks like he knows his stuff when it comes to IG categories, but there will be questions about his ability to get the deeper cuts that you expect in the division, while this will also be his first match outside the Teams Division. The Warfather, by comparison, comes with 2 matches to his name, both competing alone and one in the IG Division. As far as debuts go, the Warfather looked good, so I think that experience could give him a strategic advantage. As much as I hate to see Robert Meyer Burnett celebrating a victory, I have Warfather earning the final spot in the 16-man bracket.
The Barbarian v Adam Hlavac: The Barbarian has been one of the most impressive rookies so far this season and is already looking an absolute steal as a 6ᵗʰ Round pick, with superb performances in his Singles debut and the Jurassic Park Exhibition leading to talk that he wants to be the first person to hold all 4 belts. He faces a tough opponent in the experienced Adam Hlavac, his confidence makes me feel that he is able to hang with even the best. Is Hlavac one of the best though? He may be one of the more seasoned Schmoedown Pros in the division and will make some categories look easy, but he has some gaps in his knowledge that he has so far failed to cover and I can see these leading to an early exit. I have The Barbarian advancing to the next round.
Jeannine “The Machine” v John Humphrey: This is an interesting match-up between 2 veterans of the league who are both going to be making their IG debut. I get the feeling that John Humphrey has good knowledge of the IG categories, but I do question his competitiveness, especially going up against Jeannine, who will be looking to get her career back on track after losing her last 3 Singles matches against tough opposition (Mike Kalinowski x2, Mark Reilly). I have The Machine pulling out an important win here.
Chance Ellison v Paul Oyama: The first 2 Schmoedown Pros promoted from the fan leagues will meet for the second time in the Schmoedown in what I predict could be one the closest matches in the round. Oyama got the win in Singles on the way to winning the title, and will now be making his Innergeekdom debut. Chance Ellison may be 0-1 in the division, but he put in a super-impressive performance in that loss and has the benefit of having 2-time Innergeekdom Champion Mike Kalinowski as his study partner. I’d have picked Oyama over a handful of other winners that I will be picking in this round, but in this match-up, I have to give Ellison the advantage.
Robert Parker v Ben Goddard: “The Bandit”‘s prize for winning his play-in match is to be thrown into “The Spider”‘s web. I like the look of Goddard and his performance in the Middle Earth Exhibition against Parker, Alex Damon and Kevin Smets left me confident that he has a good career ahead of him in the division. However, Parker showed in his debut that he is just on another level, not missing a single question, which will put Goddard under heavy pressure to keep up. I think Goddard can force his opponent to answer in Round 3, but I have Parker winning this one.
Brandon Hanna v Saul: The match that most of us are currently looking forward to, it was clear this would happen the moment Kate Mulligan included Saul in the tournament over Hanna. Fresh off a trade to The Burning Droogs, Hanna has been on a quest to become the most hated person in the league, taking shots at Mulligan, Call To Action and even the darling of the league Brett Sheridan. What do we know about Saul? Saul can cut a good promo, but he is untested at this level and is against an opponent keen to prove that he is “nothing more than a Collider Live phone call that got through the line one too many times.” I have Hanna making it clear to Kate that she made a big mistake leaving him out.
Alex Damon v Jen Kempe: Jen Kempe finally gets the chance to make her official debut after a cameo at last year’s Free 4 All and it will be interesting to see how she gets on. I have heard those in the know hold her in high esteem from the fan leagues, but I always got the impression that she was more of a Singles threat than IG. Meanwhile, Alex Damon comes in 1-0 in the division and will have been training since Atlanta in preparation for his next match. We know he knows Star Wars, but he is also a big fan of Indiana Jones and showed in the recent exhibition that he can do well in Middle Earth. Expect the Force to be with Damon in this one.
Emily Rose Jacobson v Eric Zipper: I must admit that I was surprised to see Zipper picked up as The Dungeon’s 3ʳᵈ pick at the Draft (after 2 IG specialists) but his recent loss in Singles impressed me as I could see that he is putting in the effort to succeed and was clearly improving. Now moving back to IG but knowing the fans’ focus will be on other matches, this is a great chance for him to pull off an important victory for The Dungeon. Jacobson showed a big improvement between her first 2 IG matches but looked out of her depth in Atlanta. The virtual format may help her here, but she needs to be more accurate and play a more strategic game. I see Zipper making it to the next round.
Mike Kalinowski v Warfather: Warfather will be coming in with some momentum following a win over Greg Alba, but he will be facing a much harder test in Kalinowski. The former champion had a match to forget when he lost the title to Smets at Spectacular and was taking a break from the division, but the faction’s place in the standings has seen him return to his strongest division to pull KOrruption up the standings. Honestly, I can’t see anything but a Kalinowski win here.
The Barbarian v Jeannine “The Machine”: This is not an easy pick right now with so little IG-related gametape on the pair, but I have to make a pick here. Jeannine will surely have been benefiting from The Usual Suspects’ close links to former Innergeekdom Champion Rachel Cushing, but The Barbarian‘s knowledge looks insane at this point and right now, I can’t look beyond him for a place in the semis.
Chance Ellison v Robert Parker: Chance Ellison continues to get screwed in brackets. He has lost the opening round of the last 2 Singles tournaments to Ethan Erwin and William Bibbiani, and now after one of the harder opening rounds in this tournament, comes up against Robert Parker. The pair come in with the backing of the best sparring partners in Mike Kalinowski and Kevin Smets to extend the Dungeon v KOrruption IG rivalry even further. Kalinowski has been impressed by Ellison’s knowledge and I think he can push Parker close, but I expect Parker to reach the final 4.
Brandon Hanna v Alex Damon: This is where we will see the level Alex Damon can reach in the Innergeekdom Division. Brandon Hanna enters the tournament the 6ᵗʰ most accurate all-time in the division (4ᵗʰ among active Schmoedown Pros), despite having a 2-2 record and I would say that he can beat anyone in the division on his day. Damon looks good but I’m not sure if he has quite the breadth of knowledge as Hanna right now, but if he can hit Star Wars in Round 2 and on his 5-pointer, it will give him a good shot. I think Damon will show that he can hang at this level and be competitive, but I have Hanna progressing.
Eric Zipper v Mike Kalinowski: The second match-up between The Dungeon and KOrruption in this round is one with a bit more history, following KOrruption humiliating him ahead of Kaiser picking him up last season. Zipper will be going into this match with no pressure on him as everyone will expect “The Killer” to win, which could play into his favour, but I think that Kalinowski will have enough to continue on in the tournament.
The Barbarian v Robert Parker: And so the left side of the bracket comes down to a battle between 2 likely contenders for Rookie of the Year. It’s always hard to call this so fa in advance with so little game-tape but I can see this going down to the 5-pointers and right now I need to give the benefit to the Schmoedown Pro I’ve seen more game-tape on: Robert Parker.
Brandon Hanna v Mike Kalinowski: Another match that could easily go either way, both Kalinowski and Hanna have the potential to go near-perfect but also have a bad day and struggle with their accuracy. Hanna will be keen to prove his quality with a win against a big name in the division, but I think he will have to wait for this as I see Kalinowski‘s experience earning him the win here.
Robert Parker v Mike Kalinowski: And so my bracket comes down to the 2 faourites in the final. Mike Kalinowski played a key part in making the Innergeekdom Division what it is, while Parker is part of the new breed looking to take things to a new level. Now if this was a 3-round match, I think I would give Parker the advantage, but with this being a 5-rounder I think that Kalinowski could benefit from his experience of playing the format within the Schmoedown. Add to that, I recently heard Kalinowski talking about how he had changed his study techniques to bring them closer to when he was cutting a swathe through the division. When planning my bracket, I had Parker to win… but in the heat of the moment I’m switching to Kalinowski.
So that’s what my bracket looks like, what about yours?
With Free Agency now in the rear-view mirror and the final taped studio match (The Pride v the Reel Rejects) dropping tot he public on Friday, the thoughts of many Schmoedown fans are turning towards the upcoming tournaments, which will see the league continue online as we work through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Next week will see the beginning of the Star Wars tournament with the play in match on May 20ᵗʰ, with the tournament proper starting May 25ᵗʰ. The entire tournament will be broadcast exclusively on the Schmoedown’s Twitch channel, a first for the league. The prize for the winner of the tournament: a Championship Match against Alex “The Demon” Damon, with the current intention that this match will be played once the league can return to studio/live events.
And now, with the official bracket released, there is just one thing left to do… predicting the outcome of the matches!
Play in game
Josh Quevedo v Andres Cabrera: With Alex Damon ineligible due to his status as the Champion, it was a smart move from Roxy Striar to pick up a second Star Wars specialist to give her a chance to earn some much-needed points in the tournament. However, she first needs Josh Quevedo to make it into the tournament proper, and to do that, he will have to take out the former host of Collider Jedi Council, Andres Cabrera. With the pair being the only ones to have never played in the Star Wars Division previously, they were the obvious picks for the play in game. As an untested rookie, Quevedo is something of an unknown quantity, whereas Cabrera has some experience of playing the game and will be looking to prove himself after a disappointing loss to Robert Parker in Innergeekdom. However, Quevedo is a Star Wars specialist and given how previous matches have shown that one wrong answer could be enough to lose a match, I have to feel that Quevedo‘s focus on the division will see him advance to the tournament.
Mollie Damon v Adam Witt: Both Witt and Damon come in with 0-1 records and very little game tape, so this is a hard one to call. As one half of the YouTube channel Star Wars Explained and wife (and study-partner) of current champion Alex Damon, Mollie clearly knows her stuff and I personally think that she will benefit from this not being in front of a live crowd. Witt’s 5-point pull against Sean Sullivan showed he has the knowledge, but he made some tactical errors, which you would expect he will have moved beyond by the time of this match. What this could come down to is the state of preparedness for each of these Schmoedown Pros, and for that reason, I give a slight advantage to Witt due to his extra match experience.
Joseph Scrimshaw v Andrew Dimalanta: Don’t count out Dimalanta because of his 0-2 record, this guy is a legit competitor and a fan of the league, which means that he understands the strategy behind the game as well as knowing the difference between an Ewok and a Wookiee. That said, if you can answer every question correctly then not much strategy is needed, and I would consider Joseph Scrimshaw the most knowledgeable in the tournament. Dimalanta will have a big fight on his hands and I expect him to fall short against Scrimshaw.
Laura Kelly v Sean Sullivan: Sullivan enters the tournament off the back of a debut win against Adam Witt but will face a stern test against KOrruption’s Laura Kelly. Sullivan clearly showed that he knew his stuff, but Laura Kelly has been highly impressive over her first 3 matches and is another I think will benefit from the comfort of playing fro home rather than in front of a crowd. Sullivan’s time will come, but I’ve got this as a much-needed win for KOrruption and Kelly.
Ken Napzok v Josh Quevedo: Josh Quevedo’s prize for winning into the tournament is a match against the inaugural Star Wars Champion. Now Quevedo could be the next Alex Damon, but right now we just don’t know, whereas Ken Napzok has played more matches in the league than anyone else in the tournament, so his experience will be key here (as long as he can stay away from quotes). I have Napzok bringing an end to a losing streak that started at Spectacular II.
Adam Witt v Joseph Scrimshaw: Not gonna lie, it was pretty much a coin flip between Adam Witt and Mollie Damon, both of whom I think could have lost to Dimalanta had the draw gone differently. So considering I have already predicted Scrimshaw beating Dimalanta, there’s only one way I can go here. I get the feeling this could be one of the most entertaining matches in the tournament, ending in a win for Scrimshaw.
Laura Kelly v Ken Napzok: The old guard takes on the new generation in the second semifinal. Ken Napzok knows more about Star Wars than many people will forget in their lives, but I am 99% certain that he is just going into this tournament with his base knowledge rather than studying, which could prove especially costly if he is forced to deal with quotes – a weakness that has cost him in multiple matches. Laura Kelly, however, is a studier and after coming so close to the title last season, I think she will want to earn another shot at Alex Damon. I have Kelly winning and with more potential rookies entering the Division, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last time we see “The Pitboss” competing in the league.
Joseph Scrimshaw v Laura Kelly: And so we reach the final, to be fought between the 2 active Schmoedown Pros who have come closest to taking down Alex Damon. This is going to be an incredible match and I legitimately feel that whoever drops a point first could prove costly. While Laura Kelly looks a fantastic player judging by last year’s performances, Joseph Scrimshaw has the extra experience of the game and I would consider him one of the 5 best Schmoedown Pros to have never (to date) won a belt. This could be his chance though, as I see Scrimshaw winning the tournament to set up a rematch with Alex Damon.
So that’s what my bracket looks like, what about yours?
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?
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
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!).
Sport has come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Movie Trivia Schmoedown has been able to keep going. Though live events have been cancelled, the amount of work done early in the season with pre-taping has allowed the Schmoedown to go down to one match a week, with next week’s Teams Division match between The Pride and the Reel Rejects being the last pre-taped match.
The early success of the exhibition matches through Streamlabs has led to a future for the league during the quarantine, as Chairman Kristian Harloff has announced 2 upcoming tournaments to continue the season: a 16-man Innergeekdom tournament on the YouTube channel and an 8-man Star Wars tournament on the new Twitch channel.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Chairman also announced that Friday May 8ᵗʰ would be the deadline for managers to drop Schmoedown Pros from their squads, while Monday May 11ᵗʰ will be the deadline for any Free Agents pick-ups, with trades being the only way to change personnel beyond this point.
At time of writing, we have had the following blockbuster trades go down:
The Den traded Brandon Hanna to The Burning Droogs for James White
The Usual Suspects traded Jader Paramo, Ken Napzok and a 2021 first-round pick to The Burning Droogs for Ethan Erwin
The Roxstars have traded JTE to The Burning Droogs for Josh Quevedo and a 2021 third-round pick
Each Faction will name 2 Schmoedown Pros for the Innergeekdom tournament, nominating one of the players to be locked into the tournament. Of the 9 Schmoedown Pros not locked in, current rankings will come into play to decide the next 5 places. The remaining 4 will compete to fill the final 2 spots. Though the title will not be on the line, I would assume that Champion Kevin Smets and future #1 Contenders Mara Knopic and Chandru Dhandapani will not be in the tournament.
For the Star Wars tournament, I expect that every faction other than the Roxstars (who have current champion Alex Damon) will look to submit a Schmoedown Pro to the tournament, however the Chairman has admitted that a play-in for the 8ᵗʰ spot if Roxy wants to submit someone else to try and earn some extra points for her faction.
Today, I’m going to have a look at what these 2 tournaments could mean for each faction, going down the current (at time of writing – after Howard v Zipper) roster standings. Right now, some factions have named their entrants to the tournament, while others have held off until they have finalised their rosters, so I will look at the confirmed names, other possibilities, and some current Free Agents who could make an impact.
The Finstock Exchange
The Exchange come into the tournaments in a strong position, with Dan Murrell holding the Singles and Teams Titles, while John Rocha, Mark Reilly and “The Barbarian” are on winning runs in the Singles Division (where Ben Bateman should also be in a strong position as a former champion,which should put him high in the pecking order once the Division gets going again). Similarly, Who’s The Boss win over The Odd Couple has put them on the road to a title match, potentially taking on the Founding Fathers if they successfully defend against KOrruption when the Division returns.
As of now, The Exchange have only named “The Barbarian” for the IG tournament, while Dan Murrell has ruled himself out of the tournament as setting up his channel has left him without the time to study effectively. It can be assumed then (unless Elvis counts as the second entrant) that Emily Rose Jacobson will be the second representative, looking to get back to winning ways after a loss in Atlanta to Alex Damon.
As for the Star Wars Division, Andrew Dimalanta seems the obvious pick here (as much as Rocha wants to take on Kevin Smets and make a run in the Division). Though 0-2, Dimalanta is a strong competitor, but with other knowledgeable Star Wars fans on the roster, he needs to have some success in the tournament or may find himself on the roster bubble in the future.
However, we all know that Bobby Gucci is anything but predictable, and there is another potential route available here: trading Jacobson and Dimalanta (and perhaps one or 2 of their other late-round picks if required to a team in need of specialists for a potential partner for “The Barbarian”, which would leave the Exchange with 3 top-level teams. With a spot opening up on the roster if more than one Schmoedown Pro is traded, it would be a chance for Dagnino to bring in a former Lion’s Den member who specialises in IG and Star Wars: Mark Donica, who stands to benefit int he short term from the tournaments being over Streamlabs as it means that he becomes available despite not being in LA. Donica is a true talent who possibly earned a title shot too soon, then was unfortunate enough to have a bad day against Kalinowski as the studying required for the Division stepped up, but I feel confident that he could hold his own in the Division as it stands.
If nothing else, the release of BC suggests that something is brewing in the Exchange…
The Den are in a really strong position when you consider that Kate Mulligan’s first 2 picks have only appeared in one loss in the Teams Division, which makes their trade activity even more surprising. Brandon Hanna’s reputation may have been hurt by consecutive losses to Chandru Dhandapani, but he was still the best IG player on the roster, so it was no shock to see him traded within hours of the announcement that Ben Goddard and Saul would be the Den’s representatives in the tournament.
That is immediately piling the pressure on Ben (who looks good but also missed a few Middle Earth questions in his Singles debut) and untried rookie Saul (who may find himself having to play for one of the final 2 spots just to make it into the tournament, while James White will not be having any immediate impact on the faction. I won’t be surprised to see Hanna being matched up against at least one of Saul/Goddard during the tournament.
As for the Star Wars tournament, Sean Sullivan is the obvious pick here following his win over Adam Witt at short notice and could be the dark horse of the group. If nothing else, his 1-0 record will be a benefit for the seeding when creating the bracket.
So right now, I’m assuming that Chandru Dhandapani will not be included in the tournament due to his impending Championship Match with Kevin Smets once the lockdown is over. However, Winston Marshall still has some super strong options. Paul Oyama is yet to feature in the Division but is listed as an potential IG competitor. His time in the fan leagues means that he is used to this style of competing and I think that he could catch out a competitor who underestimates someone transferring from Singles to IG.
As for the second spot, Andres Cabrera would probably appreciate a chance to shake off the recent loss to Robert Parker, but given the probable strength of the other competitors, I think that Winston will look to Adam Hlavac, who certainly has his weaknesses, but if he gets the right categories can be very dangerous.
As for Star Wars, there is no specialist currently on the roster, however it is one of Hlavac’s stronger categories, while Cabrera was one of the hosts of the revamped Collider Jedi Council before its cancellation. Either of these could do a job for S.W.A.G. but if Winston wants a specialist, dropping Ed Greer and Demi Adejuyigbe has created space for a Free Agent to be brought in (Mollie Damon being the obvious option).
The Burning Droogs
The Droogs were somewhat limited in the IG department with just the Warfather, who is certainly a character but has not yet shown himself to be at an elite level. However, the acquisition of Brandon Hanna massively improves the roster’s chances in the tournament, while I’m sure Hanna will be out to prove himself after losing twice to Chandru and being overlooked by Kate Mulligan. Was James White really the man o give up for him, though? Yes, this has been a heavily disrupted season that has harmed White’s chances, but it feels like Burnett was willing to give up on his second-round pick far too easily.
Perhaps even more interesting is the Droogs’ other trade, which has seen former Singles Champion and first-round draft pick Ethan Erwin go to the Usual Suspects. Given Erwin’s position in the hunt for the Singles Title, that seems an odd decision from “The Captain” and it will be putting a lot of pressure on Witney Seibold, Alonso Duralde and new recruit Jader Paramo, who looked to be growing well with the support of his original faction. Even more interesting is the inclusion of former Star Wars Champion in the trade, and the announcement that Napzok would be the Droogs’ representative in the Star Wars tournament. This made Josh Quevedo surplus to requirements, but I’m not sure that Burnett has really taken advantage of the situation, handing the Roxstars Quevedo and a third-round pick for JTE, who is only likely to play with any regularity if the Singles Tournament is also done through Streamlabs. I also feel that an untested rookie in Quevedo is probably more motivated for this tournament than Napzok, who has mentioned on streams his preference to announce matched than play. That said, it looks like the realisation that he is going into the tournament as a target may have just fired up “The Pitboss”. Don’t be surprised to see Napzok and Quevedo facing off when the bracket is announced.
Finally, a note must be taken of the 2021 first-round pick Burnett acquired as part of the trade. This is the first time a future pick has been used as part of a trade and though the loss of Ethan Erwin may hurt this season, but being able to have 2 first-round picks in the 2021 draft puts him in a strong position (assuming all rosters are broken up again rather than just Free Agents or rookies being available). We may not know the real winner of this trade for a long time.
The Roxstars may be mid-table but their season stands on a knife-edge. Jeff Sneider’s recent comments and his reaction to the trade of JTE may be driving a wedge between him, teammate Marc Andreyko and manager Roxy Striar, while the decision to pair Jim Vejvoda with Jared Haibon rather than Stacy Howard resulted in the Roxstars taking another L at the hands of Winston Marshall’s S.W.A.G.
With the Star Wars Title already in the division, Roxy has pulled off a smart trade by offloading JTE for a second Star Wars competitor Josh Quevedo and a future draft pick, meaning that she still has a chance to earn points in the division even while Alex Damon waits for a match. Best case scenario, Quevedo goes the distance and then Roxy will have a guaranteed 4 points coming her way for a Star Wars title victory when he then faces off with Alex, and the loser can stay in the faction to make a run back for the belt, similar to Kaiser’s plans for Kevin Smets and Robert Parker in IG.
Now he may not be in the Star Wars tournament, but expect Alex Damon to be one of Roxy’s entrants for the Innergeekdom tournament, having won his debut in the division against Emily Rose Jacobson. Jared Haibon has history in the division but the Roxstars need points, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Roxy Striar filling the final spot on her roster with an IG specialist – Mark Donica or Sean Gerber could be great pick-ups here.
The Usual Suspects
This is a very interesting time for The Usual Suspects. Losing number 1 draft pick Drew McWeeny was a big loss, but Ethan Erwin was an incredible pick-up who probably provides more in the Singles Division than McWeeny and looks set to form an elite team with Andrew Ghai. Losing Jader Paramo is a hit when Singles and Teams competition returns, but in the short term, it feels worth it to get such a top-class team, while allowing Jeannine and Matt Atchity to create a strong second team. Ken Napzok’s inclusion leaves the Usual Suspects without a Star Wars specialist right now, but I would argue that they are in a strong position.
The reason they’re in a strong place: they currently have a whopping 4 spaces on their roster. With this, they should be able to pick up a couple of strong Free Agents, who will benefit from the tactical nous of Samm Levine. Napzok knows Star Wars well, but I don’t feel that he is studying in the same way many of his rivals are, so picking up a Free Agent like Mollie Damon or Mark Donica could actually be an upgrade on the former champion.
What is interesting to me is how quickly Samm Levine has named Jeannine and Jen Kempe as his entrants to the Innergeekdom Tournament. While I would have thought that Mark Donica would have been the perfect acquisition, Samm’s show of faith in Jeannine and Jen (who I imagine have been in communication with Rachel Cushing) makes me think that he will instead look for a Star Wars specialist (don’t be surprised to see Mollie Damon on their radar) and then look to fill the roster with Schmoedown Pros who he thinks could prove handy in Singles and Teams. With so many open slots, could Scott Mantz or the Cinefanatics finally find a home with the Usual Suspects?
As with S.W.A.G. I will assume that champion Kevin Smets will not be involved in the Innergeekdom tournament due to currently holding the belt. However, Kaiser is stacked in the Division and Robert Parker arguably goes in as one of the favourites following his debut against Andres Cabrera, especially considering his experience of doing matches from home courtesy of his time in the fan leagues. Expect the second spot to be filled by Eric Zipper, who is coming off an agonising loss to Stacy Howard in Singles but could pick up a couple of victories in the IG tournament if he gets a good spot in the bracket.
As for the Star Wars tournament, Adam Witt was the obvious pick here. He made some mistakes in the loss to Sean Sullivan but showed that the knowledge was there. If he has learned from that experience, he has to fancy his chances. And if anyone chooses not to take part in this tournament, don’t be surprised to see Kaiser trying to get Smets in as a second entrant.
The Quirky Mercs
The Mercs have been seriously hampered by the quarantine, with the only matches for William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer being the #1 Contender Triple Threat loss to Dan Murrell, while the Reel Rejects have picked up a win and have one match against The Pride still to air, leaving them on 6 points (at best) going into the tournament.
The Star Wars tournament is easily covered by Joseph Scrimshaw and I think that he is currently my favourite going into the tournament, having given Alex Damon the closest competition so far.
Looking at the Innergeekdom tournament, though, I expect some action from Coy Jandreau in the Free Agency market. Mara Knopic is the only recognised Innergeekdom competitor on the roster, but she is currently deactivated for medical reasons (though she also has a title match confirmed when she returns). The Mercs have 2 spaces on the roster so expect to see Coy looking to fill these either through trades or Free Agency. Mark Donica, Sean Gerber, Keetin Marchi and David Moore are all proven competitors, while BC, Ben Bagley and Dan Casey are also available rookies.
These next few days could make or break the Mercs’ season…
KOrruption may find themselves bottom of the standings, but expect that to change soon, because the big guns are coming out to play.
It was no surprise to see former two-time Innergeekdom Champion Mike Kalinowksi named as one of the faction’s entrants to the Innergeekdom tournament, while Chance Ellison also really impressed on his IG debut last season. Mike and Chance are KOrruption, they are the backbone of the faction and – with just one Teams match to their name this season, which has set them up for a title match when the Division returns – they will be raring to go. This is where they will take the team on their backs and drag them up the standings. Don’t be surprised if they both make it to the semis.
They will be helped over the coming months by Laura Kelly, who has started her Schmoedown career so well and will probably benefit from not being under the lights during the tournament as she clearly has the knowledge to hold her own against the best in the Division.
What are you expecting to see over the coming days? Who do you think will benefit from these tournaments?
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:
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!
Danish 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?
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?