Prediction Time: 2021 Schmoedown Mid-Season Star Wars Tournament

Prediction Time: 2021 Schmoedown Mid-Season Star Wars Tournament

While the Mid-Season Teams Tournament may have only just kicked off, those are far from the only high stakes matches taking place in May as we prepare for the beginning of the Mid-Season Star Wars Tournament. Similar to the ongoing Teams Tournament, each of the 8 factions has entered a Schmoedown Pro into the tournament, with the overall winner earning a title shot against either Andrew Dimalanta, Alex Damon or Laura Kelly, depending who is the Champion by that point.

The contenders taking part are:

  • Gold Leader (1-0) – The Finstock Exchange
  • Eric “The Knight” Whiteley (0-1) – The Quirky Mercs
  • “Marvellous” Marie Wilson (1-0) – The Usual Suspects
  • “The Major” Thomas Harper (1-0) – The Den
  • Adam “The Razor” Witt (0-3) – The Dungeon
  • Andres “Ace” Cabrera (4-1) – S.W.A.G.
  • Sean “The Saint” Sullivan (1-2) – KOrruption
  • Zack Burkett (0-0) – The Stars

I recently made my predictions for how the Teams Tournament bracket would play out and as always seems to be the way, my bracket was already broken by the end of the first match. However, not to be deterred, I’m back again looking at the Star Wars tournament and hoping the Force will be with me as I make my predictions.

MTS 2021 Star Wars Tournament 1 Bracket

Round 1

Wilson v Gold Leader: In a match between 2 rookies with 1-0 records, there is very little to go on to make a prediction here. Marie may be the defending Dragon Con Champion, but looking back at her and Gold Leader’s debut’s, Gold Leader had slightly better accuracy through Rounds 1 and 2, though neither had to face the critical 5-point question. Don’t be surprised if this match comes down to the 5-pointer, but I can see Gold Leader having slightly more success than his namesake did in the Battle of Yavin.

Burkett v Witt: Poor Adam Witt is in the unenviable position of having the worst record of all active participants in the division. I must admit that I was initially surprised to see Kaiser pick him over John Hoey or Mollie Damon… and then I saw his match against Thomas Harper. While he came out on the losing side, this was by far his most impressive performance, missing the opening question but going perfect thereafter. As for Burkett, we know very little about him as he comes into the tournament without any previous matches. I’m sure that Roxy Striar and Alex Damon will have been coaching Burkett on strategy and gameplay, but could that lack of experience prove costly? Witt’s performance against Harper would have beaten most competitors in the division; he’s due a win and I think that it’s finally happening here.

Cabrera v Sullivan: Ace was the Cinderella story of season 7, having played in 1 3v2 Teams match in Season 2 and been humbled in his Season 7 IG debut against Robert Parker, before going on a magical run through last season’s Star Wars Tournament to earn a shot at Alex Damon at Spectacular. Things didn’t go his way in the Championship match, and now the question will be how he can bounce back, especially now that Winston also has Laura Kelly on the faction. He goes up against Sean Sullivan, who has struggled to get the results since a debut victory against Adam Witt. Sullivan has consistently put in decent performances, but Cabrera has shown the ability to go perfect and will be looking to show that his TKO loss to Alex Damon was an aberration. KOrruption will have some strong tournament runs this season, but I think that Sullivan’s ends here.

Harper v Whiteley: As a multiple-time winner of Dragon Con and someone who has a strong record in that competition against Alex Damon, Harper came into the league with a big reputation, which was only enhanced by his debut victory over Adam Witt, which saw him get 100% accuracy and only check down to multiple choice once in Round 2. Eric Whiteley did not have as much of a successful debut, but has a lot of support behind him from the Blind Wave fans and Quirky Mercs alike. Only a fool would rule out Whiteley, but he’s likely going to have to go perfect to keep up with Harper, who I see going on to the semis. 

Semifinals

Gold Leader v Adam Witt: With a 2-0 record by this point to Witt’s 3-1, Gold Leader will come in as the favourite. However, Witt has the support of 2 other Star Wars specialists and IG Champion Mara Knopic in the Dungeon and will be fired up after getting his first ever Schmoedown victory. While I can see this one going either way, I think that Witt will feed on both his momentum and the Dungeon’s success to put one over on the Exchange. 

Cabrera v Harper: It honestly feels like this could be a final, such will be the quality on show. Both have shown the ability to go 100% accurate and it feels like one wrong answer or check down to multiple choice will decide the match. While Cabrera has the experience, I can see Harper taking the win in Sudden Death.

Final

Witt v Harper: And so we reach the final, and to add even more drama to the match it is a rematch and a chance for Adam Witt to get revenge on Thomas Harper. Both will be in very different places to where they were in their first match, with Harper now a seasoned pro and Witt now on a run of wins. While I expect this to be another close match, I think that this will be the end of Adam Witt’s run as Harper will emerge victorious.

mts thomas harper

Do you agree with my picks? If not, how do you see the tournament panning out?

Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….

Prediction Time: 2021 Schmoedown Mid-Season Teams Tournament

Prediction Time: 2021 Schmoedown Mid-Season Teams Tournament

We may have only just put the Free4All in the rear-view mirror, but tournament season is starting early this year in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown with smaller, more frequent tournaments. The first of these will be the Teams Tournament, which kicks off on Thursday. Each faction will be represented by a team, with the winners facing off against KOrruption in a #1 Contender Match.

The Teams taking part are:

  • Rushmore (John Rocha and JTE) – The Finstock Exchange
  • The Press Room (Josh Horowitz and Perri Nemiroff) – The Quirky Mercs
  • Lightning Time (Ethan Erwin and Liz Shannon Miller) – The Usual Suspects
  • The Outsiders (Ben Goddard and Paul Preston) – The Den
  • Danger Zone (Dan Murrell and Ben Bateman) – The Dungeon
  • The Midterms (Jonathan Harris and Eric Zipper) – S.W.A.G.
  • Deception (Adam Collins and Marisol McKee) – KOrruption
  • Black Jack (Jeannine “The Machine” and Jacoby Bancroft) – The Stars

Regular readers will know that I love to put my credentials as a Schmoedown reporter on the line whenever we get a bracket by trying to predict how it will play out. Last season, most of my brackets were busted within 1 or 2 matches, so let’s see how I can do this time!

MTS 2021 Teams Tournament 1 Bracket

Round 1

Rushmore v The Press Room: JTE may have put in an impressive performance recently against Ben Goddard, but I can’t imagine many people would argue that John Rocha has upgraded teammates having moved on from Dan Murrell. Personally, I was expecting to see The Barbarian partnered with Rocha to form the faction’s marquee team, and I can’t help wonder if this decision will harm them in the long run. That said, one thing they do have over The Press Room (The Mercs’ second team, with Shazam! already challenging for a title) is pedigree, with both Rocha and JTE having belts in their past, while Perri Nemiroff is still relatively inexperienced and Josh Horowitz will be making his debut in this match. If Rocha or JTE has an off day then maybe the lack of tape on Horowitz will see The Press Room advance, but Rushmore come into this match as the favourites.

Lightning Time v The Outsiders: A partnership that I predicted when I suggested that Liz Shannon Miller would be lured to the Usual Suspects, Lightning Time looks like a powerful team, with former Singles Champion Ethan Erwin being paired with Liz Shannon Miller, one of Season 7’s surprise packages. Both are strong competitors and as friends, you would imagine that they will have a good chemistry. They face the leaders of The Den in Ben Goddard and Paul Preston. Goddard was on course for Rookie of the Year in the early half of the season but became a forgotten figure after not featuring in the Teams or Singles tournaments, while Paul Preston has so far struggled to reach the heights he expects. While Lightning Time probably go in as favourites, I think that Ben and Paul have the potential to go toe to toe with them, and with IG slices now fair game in Round 2, Ben Goddard’s flexibility may come in crucial. Maybe I’m going heart over head here, but I have The Outsiders coming out with the win.

Danger Zone v The Midterms: Comprised of one of the most strategic minds in the Schmoedown and the GOAT, I genuinely think that Danger Zone has the potential to become the strongest team in Schmoedown history. As such, that would make them a test for any faction’s marquee team, but Final Exam weren’t eligible and instead they face an untested pairing of Eric Zipper and Jonathan Harris. Zipper is a good player, and his knowledge of IG categories may give him some small weapon, but Dan Murrell has flirted with entering the division enough and lives with the current IG Champion, so it’s hard to imagine Zipper gaining much of an advantage. His partner Jonathan Harris certainly started his Schmoedown career well, but never seemed to truly recover after he and brother Lon were routed by Bateman’s old team Who’s The Boss. frankly, I’m surprised that Vinnie Mancuso wasn’t given the job of partnering Zipper. I’ve got Danger Zone winning by TKO.

Deception v Black Jack: The only team in the tournament to have played together before, Deception looked the real deal in last year’s tournament. They will have a tough test against Black Jack, with Jeannine being a much stronger competitor than her 5-6 Singles and 2-2 Teams records suggest, while her partner Jacoby Bancroft showed his quality last week with a 100% PPE performance against Jacob Blunden and 90% accuracy in the Free4All. I see this one going the distance, but think that Adam Collins’ and Lady Justice’s experience playing together last season will see them emerge victorious.

Semifinals

Rushmore v The Outsiders: This will be an interesting one as I can’t help think that after beating Lightning Time, The Outsiders may consider this a slightly easier opponent as I feel that Goddard’s Innergeekdom knowledge may actually prove even more crucial in this match, while he has shown that he can go toe to toe against JTE and Paul Preston certainly has the quality and range of categories to take on Rocha. I can see this coming down to who gets what on the Wheel, but I have The Outsider’s continuing on to the final.

Danger Zone v Deception: What a treat this will be for the fans, with the 3 most recent Singles Champions all involved. Collins and Murrell have already shown that there is nothing much between them so I can see this coming down to Bateman v Marisol. Lady Justice is a fantastic competitor but right now, I’m not sure she’ll be quite able to keep up with the other 3 (though I doubt she will be far off). I’ve got Danger Zone advancing to the final.

Final

The Outsiders v Danger Zone: And so we reach the final, and this is where things get interesting. Usually a final would be a 5-round match, which I would see giving Danger Zone a heavy advantage due to their experience of the format. However, this will be a 3-round match, which goes some way to even the playing field. Paul Preston will certainly be up for revenge after Bateman controversially knocked him out of the Singles Tournament in 2017, but will they have an answer for the power of Danger Zone? I have the Dungeon’s finest coming out with the win to set up a mouth-watering match against Mike Kalinowski and Chance Ellison.

feat murrell bateman

Do you agree with my picks? If not, how do you see the tournament panning out?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Looking back on Free4All IV

Looking back on Free4All IV

Having been one of the first casualties in the Schmoedown calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Free4All made its grand return at the weekend under the leadership of Chairman Kristian Harloff President Grace Hancock and Commissioner Clarke Wolfe Jay Washington.

40 Schmoedown Pros took their chance to represent their faction – with The First Class League’s Zafletinflouse somehow sneaking in at the end, and after 24 rounds (including 2 which went to a 3-answer Sudden Death), Paul Oyama came away as the winner of Free4All IV, earning a title shot of his choosing that could really help get S.W.A.G.’s season back on track, with The Dungeon’s Ben Bateman picking up 3 points for an MVP performance.

In his head

It feels like Ben Bateman and John Rocha have been rivals forever, with Bateman’s time in the Horsemen marked by never really having won over “The Outlaw”. However “The Boss” has always had the better of him in previous Free4Alls, being on the table when Rocha was knocked out in both Free4All II and III.

It certainly looked like Rocha was trying to get in Bateman’s head early with a low blow comment about his parents, but Bateman certainly came out the stronger, with Rocha eliminated in just 2 rounds. Perhaps the highlight of this spell was a Movie Release Dates question where Bateman boldly stated that the Oldlaw would get the answer wrong, while he and Brendan “The Kid” Meyer would get it right, with “The Boss” being proved right just seconds later.

The Outlaw may consider himself the GOAT, but it looks like he has Bateman living rent-free in his head, which could lead to a great match-up later in the season.

Rookie Rivalry

One of the matches in the week leading up to the event saw rookies Jacoby Bancroft and Jacob Blunden face off in their debut. Both put in incredible performances, but Bancroft came out with the victory in a match that saw him finish with 100% PPE.

Well “The Aussie” didn’t have to wait long for his revenge, coming into the event against Bancroft, William Bibbiani, Griffy Newms and Liz Shannon Miller and promptly clearing the table by getting a perfect 5/5 while everyone else could only manage 4 – a moment which ended up being named Moment of the Match.

Bancroft’s 90% accuracy over his 2 rounds was level with Ethan Erwin as the highest accuracy in the event (no minimum number of answers), so don’t be surprised to see these 2 meeting again down the road in the league’s newest rivalry.

Notable performances

As mentioned above, the highest accuracies of the event went to Ethan Erwin and Jacoby Bancroft, who both finished with 90% accuracy – a timely reminder that in the madness of the Free4All, even going 4/5 in a round is no guarantee of safety.

MVP Ben Bateman came away with the most rounds lasted, coming in at Round 11 and going to the end, and he also finished the even with the most correct answers – 56/76 (74%). William Bibbiani and Paul Oyama were the other competitors to pass 40 correct answers.

Griffin Newman (aka “Downtown” Griffy Newms) gave more evidence in support of his high draft placement by competing in 6 rounds and still having a 4/5 round when he exited as part of XXX5X. Duringthis spell, he outlasted established names like VIDEODREW, Marc Edward Heuck and former Teams Champion JTE, while he as eliminated alongside Bibbiani and Miller.

Finally, a mention for Kim Taylor-Foster, who made her Schmoedown debut in this event and put in a strong showing. With 10 correct answers out of 15 questions and no round under 60% accuracy, it certainly seems like she may have the Midas touch when given the chance.

A taste of the big league

While the appearance of Zaflertinflouse was a welcome surprise at the end of the event, it’s certainly left me hoping that this won’t be the last time we see the Schmoedown and the First Class League overlap.

While it’s likely that many of the Free Agents we see picked up this year will likely come from the FCL, I think that the Free4All is a great opportunity to get some extra recognition for the development league by perhaps having 5-10 of the top competitors from the FCL also included in the Free 4 All. Not only would it be a chance for the fans to see the cream of the FCL crop, but it is also a chance for FCL competitors to take the step up to the Schmoedown in a fun and relatively low-stakes arena.

On the hot seat

While we may not have had dedicated seats this time due to the virtual environment, I still tried to track what seat each Schmoedown Pro would have filled had everything gone exactly the same in the live environment.

mts free4all iv round summary

As is pretty clear from this graphic, what would have been Seat 5 was the place to be, with just William Bibbiani and Ben Bateman filling (or standing by) the seat through the entire event. In contrast, Seat 1 proved to be the unluckiest, with 13 different Schmoedown Pros taking this seat in just 22 rounds, with only Ethan Erwin and Kim Taylor-Foster managing to last more than 2 rounds at this position.

feat mts season 8 free4all 4 poster

Schmoedown Season 8 Mock Draft

Schmoedown Season 8 Mock Draft

War has been declared in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown as season 8 kicked off with the Free Agency Special! Ahead of the 2021 Draft, each manager had to lock in 3 Schmoedown Pros from season 7 to their faction. Shannon Barney’s Faction Title gave her a 1 week head start and the ability to lock in her trio regardless of their thoughts, while the remaining 7 managers were at the mercy of the Free Agents, who get the final pick of which faction they join.

Well the Free Agency Special gave us some real shocks as Kaiser managed to convince both Dan Murrell and Ben Bateman to join him and Robert Parker in The Dungeon, while Drew McWeeny returned to competition with the Usual Suspects and JTE secured himself as Bobby Gucci’s 3ʳᵈ pick. But perhaps the shock of the night came as “Lady Justice” Marison McKee chose not to risk the raft and signed on with Kate Mulligan and the Den, only for Kate to trade her to KOrruption for Shannon’s 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ round picks!

mts season 8 2021 Free Agency Lock-ins

On Friday, the 2021 Draft will take place, and managers will fill their rosters from the remaining rookies and Free Agents, but who will each manager select? I have put together a mock draft to try and predict how these teams may fill out.

A note on the picks:

  • Season 7 saw the Usual Suspects trade Ken Napzok, Jader Paramo and the 1ˢᵗ round pick in this year’s draft to the Burning Droogs for Ethan Ewrin. As the Droogs are no longer active, Samm retains his pick.
  • Season 7 also saw the Roxstars (now called the Stars) trade JTE to the Burning Droogs for Josh Quevedo and a 3ʳᵈ round pick. As the Droogs are no longer active, Roxy will have 2 picks in round 3 – her own pick and also an extra pick at the start of the round, which is where the Droogs would have been picking if still active.

Notable absences:

Andrew Ghai is arguably the biggest name missing from the Draft board, and it doesn’t seem that many people have seen him since he went missing during Spectacular.

Other notable veterans who were not on the draft list so appear to be sitting out the season are Matt Atchity, Scott Mantz, Tim Franco, Grae Drake, Hecor Navarro and Adam Hlavac.


mts 2021 mock draft season 8

Some key notes from this draft:

  • With Kate’s 2 Free Agent signings and first 2 draft picks covering the 3 main divisions, Kate opens Round 2 by taking a Star Wars competitor. While I imagine she’d want to show loyalty to Sean Sullivan, Laura Kelly’s #1 Contender match is too much of a draw to avoid.
  • Though she doesn’t get to pick until the end of Round 3, Shannon then has consecutive picks, which she uses to take Marc Edward Heuck and Sean Sullivan. Having made these 2 picks, she immediately offers both Heuck and Sullivan to the Den for Laura Kelly, which Kate accepts. This allows Shannon to get her top 5 back, while Kate still has an underrated Star Wars competitor in Sullivan and a dangerous Singles/Teams competitor in Heuck.
  • A number of managers show loyalty to promising Schmoedown Pros from last year’s factions
    • The Dungeon brings back Zipper, Witt and Britney Young
    • Samm brings back Jeannine and Jen Kempe as potential triple threats, as well as Doug Bensen, who did  not get a match last season
    • Kate brings back Saul, Silvestrini, Brett, Alex Marzoña (who was on the faction but did not get a match) and James White, while also bringing back Sean Sullivan in a trade
    • The Mercs bring back Mara, Perri and the Reel Rejects
    • Dagnino holds onto Andrew Dimalanta
    • Roxy retains Stacy Howard, Jim Vejvoda, David Del Rio and Chris Jericho
    • Winston brings back Ace, RB3 and Sean Gerber
    • Shannon retains her top 5 and Eliot Dewberry during the draft. As she would only have 10 picks by the time every other faction is full, she will either have the last 2 picks of the draft or use Free Agency to bring back Claudia Dolph and Klee Wiggins, who both had limited opportunity to show what they could do in 2020
  • Roxy shows faith in Alex Damon in IG by taking Stacy Howard with her Round 1 pick, while also trusting that he will win his early Star Wars Title defence(s) and bringing in Thomas Harper with the intention of creating a Stars 1-2 at the top of the Star Wars rankings in the same way that Kaiser tried to do with Smets and Parker in IG last year
  • Roxy also brings in a couple of competitors to show her quality as a manager and further feuds with Dagnino and Shannon by bringing in Emily Rose Jacobson and Bonnie Somerville respectively
  • Winston picks up Mark Reilly and Haleigh Foutch with early picks, with the intention of making them this year’s Lon Harris and Liz Shannon Miller
  • Winston and Shannon will both draft second Star Wars competitors in the first half of the draft despite having recently signed a Star Wars specialist due to this second competitor – Zack Burkett and Jacob Wittneben also being a threat in IG

mts 2021 mock draft season 8 predicted factions

How do you think the draft will work out? Will Shannon get Laura Kelly back to KOrruption? Let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, pick your side and prepare for WAR!

FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

FREE AGENT FRENZY: Who Will Each Manager Pick?

With the voting closed for the Schmoedown Awards, which will be announced shrtly, it’s time to start looking ahead to season 8 and all-out WAR. Stage 1 of the war will begin 1 week after the Awards show in a Free Agent Special, which will end with each of the 8 factions having secured the services of 3 Schmoedown Pros ahead of the 2021 Draft.

But who will end up where? It’s not just a matter of the manager wanting a certain Schmoedown Pro, that person has to also decide that said manager is the right one for them. My predictions for tournament brackets were woefully off in season 7, so hopefully I can kick off season 8 with a bit more accuracy.

KOrruption

Not really a prediction here as Shannon Barney’s prize for winning the Faction Championship last season was the chance to lock in her 3 before Free Agency even opened for any other manager. In no real shock, Shannon chose to keep hold of Mike Kalinowski, Chance Ellison and Adam Collins, securing herself 2 triple-threats, one of the 3 longest-tenured teams (and arguably one of the elite teams) remaining in the league and the undefeated Singles Champion, who will be a solid lead to a second team.

Stars

I’m making Roxy the first of my actual predictions as I can’t help feel that her trio is pretty obvious. I’m assuming that with big names like Chris Jericho there will be some unspoken agreement that other managers won’t come after them allowing Roxy to not have to use one of her 3 spots on him and being able to pick him up a couple of rounds into the draft. This will allow Roxy to pick up her 3 champions in Jeff Sneider, Marc Andreyko and Alex Damon. While Andreyko may only be featuring in Teams so may be on the bench early in the season, it gives Roxy an elite team once that division gets going, with a strong chance of defending for big points, while Sneider already has a #1 Contender Match scheduled. Similarly, Alex will likely still be the favourite in his upcoming title match, and can also look to push on after a great first season in IG and could also be a solid B player on a team, utilising the IG-specific wheel slices.

Quirky Mercs

Next up is Coy Jandreau, as he is in a relatively similar situation to Roxy. Like Jericho, I am assuming that Coy will be able to pick up Kevin Smith in the draft, allowing him to get quality cover for 3 divisions with his 3 picks. Keeping hold of the Shazam! pairing of William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer appears a no-brainer for all parties involved – Coy gets an elite team and 2 elite Singles competitors (as well as the master of FreeForAlls, while Shazam stick with the manager who got them over the hump and helped them win their first Team Title. For his final pick, I see Coy sticking with his top 3 from last year’s draft by picking Mara Knopic, who has a Title Match early in the season, and I can see Mara showing some loyalty to Coy for keeping her on the faction through season 7 despite being inactive.

S.W.A.G.

This is where things get interesting. Winston Marshall and Chandru Dhandapani look like a solid match so I envision the Innergeekdom Champion sticking with S.W.A.G. Paul Oyama looked revitalised with Winston and is a former champion with solid strategy, so I can see the pair also agreeing to stick together. However, I can see Final Exam coming to an end after twice failing to get the win against the elite teams, with Winston Marshall bringing in Ben Bateman as his third pick. I feel that Bateman will respect the effort that Winston puts into the league and his players, while a pairing with Oyama would cover some of his weaker areas like Classics and family movies, while he knows that Oyama will put in the same effort he will. Don’t be shocked to see Winston looking to secure Ace in the opening round of the draft.

The Den

The Den was hard to call as it feels like there will be big changes here with Kate now having a year of experience under her belt. Ben Goddard impressed over 3 divisions before being left out in the second half of the season, but I think that a fired-up Kate could convince him to stay as one of the leads within the faction. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Paul Preston move on after a disappointing season, but I think that she could convince him to stay by proving she has learned from last season and pairing him with the GOAT Dan Murrell. A shock move for Murrell? Maybe, but the faction feels like it has good quality and was just missing an elite veteran to lead them.

Finstock Exchange

What a difference a year makes. Tom Dagnino kicked off 2020 by drafting all 4 Horsemen and future star “The Barbarian”. Now hehas to start almost from scratch after losing the support of Ben Bateman and then throwing out Dan Murrell. By doing so though, he appears to have secured the services of John Rocha to lead the faction. Early in the offseason, I had thoughts that Ben Bateman may convince The Barbarian to follow him to a new faction where they could pair up, but I now see Dagnino holding onto him by offering him a partnership with Rocha as the lead team. Barbarian’s ability to also cover IG means that Dagnino will look to cover all 4 divisions with his 3 picks by holding onto Andrew Dimalanta, who has a guaranteed title shot early in the season.

Usual Suspects

So much was expected from the Suspects last season, but the early retirement of Drew McWeeny and the impact of COVID seriously hampered their season. One good thing did come of it though: a trade with the Burning Droogs that involved Ethan Erwin joining the Suspects at the cost of their 1ˢᵗ round draft pick. Well the dissolution of the Droogs has allowed Samm to keep his draft pick and I’m sure he will also be keeping Ethan Erwin. However, it looks like he may be getting a new partner as Andrew Ghai has been MIA on the Schmoedown scene since Spectacular, while he has also previously talked about how he is focused on Teams but struggles in the online environment. For that reason, I see Samm looking for a new partner for Erwin, and who better than someone who he already knows well: Liz Shannon Miller, who had a great run in the Singles Tournament. For the final spot, I see Samm also showing faith in someone whose 1-2 record this season does not match up with her quality, Jeannine “The Machine”, who could become a legitimate triple threat if she looks to carry on from her foray into the IG tournament.

The Dungeon

And so that brings us to The Dungeon, who probably have a little more wiggle room here as they own the 1ˢᵗ overall pick in the draft to supplement their 3 picks here. Last season, Kaiser chose to try dominating the IG Division with his early draft picks, picking up Kevin Smets and Robert Parker with his first 2 picks. Well Smets will be inactive this year as he continues to smash cancer, so I see Robert Parker stepping into the role of the team’s IG leader. I expect the IG focus to continue though with the acquisition of Brandon Hanna, who is the 4ᵗʰ most accurate of all time in IG (min 5 matches) and hinted at his quality outside the division with his foray into Teams with Jader Paramo. Hanna is an underrated player and as a triple threat, he could cause some havoc under Kaiser’s tutelage. For his final spot, I can see Kaiser showing loyalty with one of his originals and holding onto Eric Zipper, who is another legitimate triple threat and has improved year on year. Don’t be shocked to see Kaiser looking to pick up the best available Singles/Teams competitor on the board with his opening pick to pair with Zipper/Hanna.

 

So those are my predictions. Who you think each manager will pick up?

And the Award Goes to…

And the Award Goes to…

Happy New Year y’all! It’s time to start putting 2020 behind us, but before we completely forget about it, we need to take one more look at Season 7 in order to pick the winners for the 2020 Schmoedown Awards.

As a Patron of the Schmoedown, I had the honour of being involved in the voting process for this year’s awards, and wanted to take a moment to reflect on a bright point in a poor year and talk through my votes.

So without further ado, my votes went to:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Jeff Sneider (8-3 overall) 4-2 in singles, tournament finals, 4-1 in teams. Teams tournament winner, team champion)
  • Adam Collins (8-1 overall) (7-0 in singles, 1-1 in teams, FreeForAll Horror Winner)
  • Dan Murrell (4-1 in singles, 3-1 in title matches, defended title twice. 1-2 in teams)
  • Chance Ellison: 7-3 overall Won the IG tourney, went 4-0 in the tourney. 2-1 in teams, won teams titles. 1-1 in singles
  • Andres Cabrera 4-2 overall in Star Wars and IG, went 4-0 in Star Wars tourney from play in and won SW tourney

So most of the talk I have heard has been between Sneider and Collins for understandable reasons given their second half of the season. Ace did fantastic in the Star Wars Division, but only played 1 match (a loss) outside of the Division so I can’t give him the award. Murrell doesn’t have the same number of wins, but almost every match he played was for a title and an absolute thriller. Collins’ Singles run was fantastic, but like Ace he barely played outside of that division so misses out on the overall award. Sneider had a fantastic end to the season, finishing with a tournament victory, a Teams Title and another tournament final with an 8-3 record. However my vote goes to someone who I think has been criminally underlooked: Chance Ellison won a Teams title like Sneider (the only difference being Sneider hasn’t had a chance to lose it since) and finished with a similar record (7-3, just one match less) while also winning the IG tournament and fighting for that title, but what he did that nobody else on this list did is compete in 3 Divisions and find a degree of success in each – exactly what I’m looking for with the overall award.

SINGLES PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Adam Collins 7-0, 1 title win, singles tournament winner. 6-0 in tourney
  • Dan Murrell 4-1, one title win, 2 title defenses
  • Jeff Sneider 4-2, tournament finalist
  • Liz Shannon Miller 3-1, tournament semi finalist
  • Ethan Erwin 5-2, semi finalist

Let’s be honest, this is a pretty easy one. Jeff, Ethan and Liz had great campaigns, while Dan Murrell defeated Meyer, Bibbiani, Bateman (twice) and Erwin in stunning fashion. However, it’s hard to give this award to anyone other than Adam Collins, who took the league by storm and went unbeaten in the division, including defeating Murrell at Spectacular!

UPSET OF THE YEAR

  • Perri beats Kalinowski
  • Cabrera beats Laura Kelly
  • Collins beats Rocha
  • Chance beats Parker
  • Cabrera beats Dimalanta

So this may be a hot take, but I didn’t actually consider Cabrera the underdog against Dimalanta, so I can rule that one out. While Robert Parker’s loss to Chance was a shock, I think that maybe we expected too much too soon from a rookie. Perri beating Kalinowski and Collins beating Rocha were certainly shocks, but I think that both of the higher-ranked competitors were below their best, which is why I go for Kelly v Cabrera, as this was Laura Kelly at her best, missing just 1 question in the entire game, and Ace having to be at his very best to come away with the win.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Odd Couple 4-1, tournament winners, one title win
  • Shazam 3-1 one title win
  • Final Exam 4-2, tournament finalists
  • KOrruption 2-1, 1 title win
  • Founding Fathers 1-2

So this was a pretty interesting one, with 4 teams having held the Teams Title in 2020. The fact that the Founding Fathers made the shortlist with a winning record says it all. When I make the pick here, I feel that you need to look at repeated success (so a high win-loss record), while having also won the title. KOrruption and Shazam both get ruled out due to Final Exam and Odd Couple having more wins, but as Final Exam could not win a belt, they also get ruled out and leaves the Odd Couple as my vote.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

  • Adam Collins 8-1 over two divisions, Horror FreeForAll Winner
  • Barbarian 4-2 over two divisions
  • Goddard 4-2 over three divisions
  • Marisol McKee 2-2 over two divisions
  • Kevin Smith 2-0

Another one that ended up being a clear option. Credit to Marisol McKee, Kevin Smith and all the other rookies who showed their quality in 2020, but there was a clear top 3. Ben Goddard’s early success across 3 divisions had him leading the race and also in contention for Player of the Year, but not competing in the Teams or Singles tournaments cost him. Similarly, Craig “The Barbarian” Gaynier showed early success in Singles and IG, but not being in he Teams tournament hurt him. The clear winner here is Adam Collins. He may have only gone 1-1 in Teams but he still ended up with the same number of wins as Ben and the Barbarian combined with just 1 loss to his name and the Singles Belt around his waist.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Andres Cabrera SW tourney winner
  • Lon Harris Teams division come back and advancing in singles tourney
  • Liz Shannon Miller Semi finals in tourney
  • Jeff Sneider wins teams titles for 3rd time, makes it to singles finals
  • Perri Nemiroff: after long layoff, defeats Mike Kalinowski, pushes Reilly and pulls off biggest 3 round comeback in teams

So this is an interesting one with no clear winner to me. I don’t personally see what Ace’s “comeback” is from, as a loss to Team Champs in season 2 and a mauling in IG against Robert Parker is not enough to me. Likewise, Liz went 3-2 last season, with both losses coming to people on their run to the Singles Title. Sneider held a Teams Title and competed for the Singles Title in 2019, while Perri’s 2-2 record doesn’t seem award-worth to me. Lon Harris, however, limped to a 2-4 overall record last year while playing with 3 different teammates, but this year found success with Paul Oyama and SWAG, while also completely reinventing himself with his switch from Professor to Delinquent, and therefore gets my vote.

FACTION OF THE YEAR

  • KOrruption: Faction champions, singles title, teams title, IG tourney, singles tourney
  • SWAG: Second place, IG title, Star Wars tourney, teams finals
  • Roxstars: Third place, teams championship, Star Wars championship
  • Finstock Exchange: teams title, singles title
  • Quirky Mercs, teams title

For me, this was a 2-horse race between KOrruption and SWAG, who ran away with the Faction championship. While both had success, KOrruption won 2 titles to SWAG’s 1 during the season and also won 2 of the 4 tournaments and the Horror FreeForAll, on the way to winning the Faction Championship, so I have to give my vote to them.

FEUD OF THE YEAR

  • Roxy vs Shannon
  • Shannon vs Winston
  • Dagnino vs Bateman
  • Founding Fathers vs KOrruption
  • Chandru vs Smets

So for me, the feud needs to go on for a while and remain relevant, which gives the advantage to those between managers, so I’m ruling out the bottom two, while I also think that Tom v Ben has been mainly shots for long distance rather than face to face. So that leaves Shannon (shock!) vs either Roxy or Winston. But as I said, relevance is also important and – though it may sound harsh – the Roxstars were never a legitimate threat to KOrruption, whereas SWAG were, which gave the extra edge to Shannon v Winston.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

  • Shannon Barney
  • Winston Marshall
  • Roxy Striar
  • Tom Dagnino
  • Coy Jandreau

Another that was really a two-horse race in my mind, but as Roxy has also got a lot of backing I will go through all 5. Bobby Gucci’s managing style doesn’t work online and he proved unable to adapt effectively to the new format forced upon us, whilst also allowing too much squabbling within the faction. Roxy Striar may be getting some love for her speeches to the Odd Couple and the fact that she had competitors in 3/6 Spectacular matches, but 2 of those matches were basically gifted to her by drafting Alex Damon at a sport where it would have been stupid to pick anyone else and having a connection to a famous name who wanted to play. I would put her above Dagnino, but I also question why such an experienced manager is still having to constantly give speeches to stop 2 experienced Schmoedown Pros from giving up, while I also can’t ignore the missteps with Josh Quevedo and Jim Vejvoda. Coy Jandreau takes third for doing well with his whole factin, with the Reel Rejects getting a win, Greg Alba turning heads in IG and Perri making an impressive return to the league, while he also got Shazam to the title. However, with the Mercs being so far behind in the faction Standings, there is then a big gap between him and the top 2.

And so it comes down to Winston v Shannon. Shannon has 2 titles won, 1 title lost and a missed title. Winston has 1 title won, a successful defence and a missed title. So we’re pretty even there. Shannon brought out the best in Laura Kelly and discovered Marisol and Adam, but also had the benefit of pre-made team in former Team Champions KOrruption. Winston however had to start from scratch and did a great job by pairing Paul Oyama and Lon Harris, who were both revitalised with changes to their character, while he also got the best out of Liz Shannon Miller and Andres Cabrera. Shannon may have come away with the Faction Championship, but I feel that she started with a step up by having 2 established and experienced triple threats to fall back on, so Winston Marshall gets my vote.

ENTRANCE OF THE YEAR

  • ZaFlertinFlouse (Vs Smith)
  • Reel Rejects (VS The Pride)
  • Bonnie Somerville (Vs Mckee)
  • Reel Rejects (VS Cuckoos Mess)
  • Shazam (VS Final Exam)

This is difficult, as the move to the online format took away a lot of the possible theatricality that we got in the early months of the season. The Reel Rejects’ entrance against The Pride was fun, but as I didn’t know Red Letter Media, it just didn’t hit as well with me. The Delinquent Kid was a fun bit from Shazam that played well an honoured their opponents. Bonnie’s steamy entrance certainly got pulses racing. After the joy of SEN Live’s descent into madness midway through the pandemic, the return of ZaFlertinFlouse was the true highlight of Spectacular. My vote however goes to the Reel Rejects v Cuckoo’s Mess, as the masks were a fun gimmick (and in hindsight, a premonition of our entire year), but it went to another level as John Rocha stormed out and took Greg’s Guy Fawkes mask – a jab at Rocha beating Greg to the award last year – only for John to remove his Jigsaw mask to reveal a second Guy Fawkes mask, which he removed and gave to Greg, unveiling a second Jigsaw mask! Perfection!

HEEL OF YEAR

  • Shannon Barney
  • Chandru Dhandapani
  • Brandon Hanna
  • Jeff Sneider
  • Eliot Dewberry
  • Laura Kelly

Laura Kelly and Eliot Dewberry’s heel turns this season were great, but unfortunately had limited screen time, while Sneider also doesn’t really stick in my mind for his heel antics this year, other than his rants about Innergeekdom. And so that leaves us with 3 very different heels. Shannon kicked things off with a bang by breaking up the Wildberries, and carried on the season as a highly entertaining villain, who I couldn’t wait to see what she did next. Brandon Hanna’s speeches helped cure my insomnia this season, while Chandru’s arrogance, dancing and disrespect made him someone you couldn’t help loathe. While I think the vote should go to Hanna or Chandru, I’ve always preferred the entertaining heels, so after losing out on Manager of the Year, Shannon Barney gets my vote here.

BABYFACE OF THE YEAR

  • The Kid
  • Kevin Smith
  • Coy Jandreau
  • Andres Cabrera
  • Perri Nemiroff

Coy and Ace both did a great job of playing faces while keeping the competitive edge. The Kid remained a fine young tenderoni even during his delinquent phase, and his heavy breathing in the tight moments was somewhat endearing, if annoying to the Chairman. Kevin Smith added his own brand to the league, but Perri Nemiroff just gets my vote as she looked to enjoy her return to the league and matches against people she knew well.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR

  • Murrell vs Collins Post interview
  • Shannon drafts Dewberry
  • Murrell disbelief says “I won” when beating Bateman after 6 point comeback
  • Bibbs and Andreyko have touching moment in post interview Spectacular
  • Kevin Smith gives Chris Jericho….Kevin Smith movies on Opponents choice

What a great set of moments here and all of them enjoyable for different reasons. For me though, it has to be the bombshell moment during the draft where Shannon Barney drafted Dewberry immediately after Winston drafted Macuga, thereby breaking up the Wildberries. It was so out of nowhere and showed that even as a rookie manager, Shannon was not going to hold back when it came to being a heel, and it is a shame that the move online due to the pandemic meant that much of the progression of this storyline – all from a heat of the moment decision by Shannon – was lost.

HEEL TEAM OF YEAR

  • KOrruption
  • The Pride
  • Deception
  • The Odd Couple
  • Category 9

So for this, I’ve decided to prioritise how they act rather than their success in matches. To be honest, I think this category really took a hit by the move online. Category 9 didn’t even feel like a fully heel team in their one match and needed time to grow. The Pride calling themselves heels was like a child throwing a tantrum because they wanted to be treated like an adult. Deception wasclearly a heel team, but they were focusing on results over dramatics first. Both Odd Couple and KOrruption had their moments where they felt like heels, but also others hat ere much tamer as the emotion of events overcame them, but I think that as part of an entirely heel faction, KOrruption felt the more consistent.

BABYFACE TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Shazam
  • Final Exam
  • Witching Power
  • The Reel Rejects
  • Founding Fathers

This was a hard choice, and as much as I enjoyed the light-heartedness of the Reel Rejects and Witching Power, I felt that Final Exam and Shazam had the harder tasks of remaining faces in much more meaningful matches. While both did this well, I give my vote this year to Final Exam, as Lon Harris and Paul Oyama both looked to make U-turns from their heel personas of last year and did so in a way that felt natural within the story, and continued on through the matches themselves.

NEW TEAM OF THE YEAR

  • Final Exam
  • Deep 13
  • The Pride
  • The Witching Power
  • Deception

So for this, I was looking at success in the year, and that meant that there is a clear winner, Deep 13 started well but not competing in the tournament hurt them, as was the case for The Pride, while Deception the Witching Power actually lost out due to only having the tournament, leaving Final Exam, who found success both before and during the tournament.

MATCH OF THE YEAR

  • Murrell vs Collins
  • Murrell vs Bateman I
  • Odd Couple vs Final Exam
  • Dimalanta vs Scrimshaw
  • Dimalanta vs Cabrera
  • Korruption vs Founding Fathers
  • Murrell vs Bibbs vs The Kid
  • Murrell vs Bateman II
  • Odd Couple vs Shazam
  • Smith vs Jericho

There are so many great matches here and that is a real testament to the league, that the season could continue at such a high level despite the switch to an online format. For me, I need a relatively close match, with a pretty high level of competition, but I also want something beyond just the competition. As many great matches as we had this season, my mind still always goes back to Atlanta, and Murrell v Bateman I. While it wasn’t 2 competitors going at 100% accuracy, the level of trivia was still super high but allowed for the scoreline and momentum to go back and forth, with Murrell coming from 5 down to win in Sudden Death.

PODCAST OF THE YEAR

  • A Certain Point of View
  • Call To Action
  • Let’s Get Ready
  • Repeat the Question
  • Machine Mondays

It’s not just the quality of the league that is getting better, as more and more podcasts and shows have set up to cover the league and push the standard of reporting up to new heights. A shout-out first of all to those who missed out on the shortlist this time around, it just shows how much quality content is out there. Unfortunately, that sheer amount of content has made it hard for me to keep up, and it has led to many of the podcasts not getting the love they deserve from me this year. While I have loved everything I’ve seen from all of these podcasts, I find myself voting for Call To Action due to their range of shows, from match breakdowns to Chill To Action, which has been a great show to get to know Schmoedown Pros better without the kayfabe, which has certainly helped me grow a greater appreciation for some of the characters in the league.

INNERGEEKDOM PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Chandru Dhandapani
  • Chance Ellison
  • Mike Kalinowski
  • Brandon Hanna
  • Alex Damon

To me, there are only  people who can really be in consideration here: Chance Ellison and Chandru Dhandapani. Chance has more wins, with a 4-0 run to win the IG tournament, but he then has a loss to Chandru, who won all 3 of his matches, including a title shot and a title defence. I hate doing this, but I have to give this award to the belt and Chandru Dhandapani.

STAR WARS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Andres Cabrera
  • Alex Damon
  • Laura Kelly
  • Andrew Dimalanta
  • Mollie Damon

So this one goes along similar lines to IG Player of the Year, with it being a fight between tournament winner Ace Cabrera and Champion Alex Damon. However, where Chandru’s win of the title and defence were enough to overcome Chance’s superior number of wins, Alex only played once in the division this season, and though that was a win over Cabrera, the run from play in match to tournament victory gives Andres Cabrera my vote.

 

How do my votes tally up against yours? Let me know what you think and where your votes went!

Who is behind the Schmoeminati?

Who is behind the Schmoeminati?

If we only learned one thing during Schmoedown Spectacular V, it was this: the Schmoeminati are real. For months we watched Andrew Ghai’s descent into madness as he tried to warn us and prove their existence, and it proved costly for him, as he was kidnapped by unknown assailants led by a masked figure.

But now we know that the Schmoeminati are real, the questions turn to their identity and their motives. Ghai had the information but that’s lost to us now. The only thing we know is that Chairman Kristian Harloff – shadowy leader of the last coup – is not involved but that means that the rest of the league are still potential suspects.

mts scgmoeminati

Let me know who you think is behind the Schmoeminati, but my chief suspects are below:

Suspect #1: Brad Gilmore

mts brad gilmore matt knost john rocha

The BOAT is an up-and-coming talent in the Schmoedown crew. As host of the Schmoedown Rundown and now also Coming Up Next, he has years of experience as a pundit and has also filled in occasionally in post-match interviews and on the desk, and Kristian Harloff has even mentioned the prospect of him being the heir to Harloff’s place on the deskin the long-term.

But does the BOAT want to wait for nature to take its course, or is he taking a leaf out of Harloff’s books and using subterfuge to take control of the league by steadily infiltrating the league and then brainwashing one of the league’s biggest faces? Speculation? Yes, but go back to the Rundown episode immediately following Spectacular (and Andrew Ghai’s capture – and a certain BOAT is mysteriously missing… 

Suspect #2: Grace Hancock

mts grace hancock

I mentioned in my 5 takeaways from Spectacular to watch out for Grace’s revenge following Kate Mulligan’s decision to fire her, and with her being on bad terms with so many of the other managers (not to mention Chairman Kristian Harloff, who is scared of her), she may have decided that the Schmoeminati is the best way to entrench herself in the league so they can’t get rid of her.

You could argue that the Schmoeminati started before Grace was fired, but I have 2 words for you: CONTINGENCY PLAN. This isn’t the first time Grace has been dropped from a team and with the lack of success in the latter half of the season for The Den, she may have sensed that her role as an advisor was anything but a position of power, and made plans to cement herself in the league.

Let’s not forget that she took advantage of Dagnino locking Emma Fyffe in a closet in order to become the post-match interviewer for the inaugural Collision – never rule the Lioness out when it comes to something despicable.

Suspect #3: Mark Ellis

mts mark ellis

“Surely not Baby Carrots!” I hear you all cry out, but how better to avoid suspicion than to be one of the most jovial people in the league? Mark Ellis was one of the founders of the Schmoedown, and yet it is Kristian Harloff who gets the majority of the credit and gets to rule the league, while everybody’s favourite dog stepfather is left to give the rulings of all the challenges and bear the brunt of the competitors and managers who are unhappy with the decision.

It’s just a matter of time before someone would snap under that pressure and maybe that is what Ellis has done here, putting into action a plan that will see him oust his former teammate at the top of the league. Rumours that the Schmoeminati have taken control of all the Coors Light on the Wes Coast are still under investigation.

Suspect #4: Frank Janisch

mts schmoedown rundown frank janisch

First off, just look at the picture above. This guy is worshipping Kylo Ren so can’t be trusted! Let’s not forget that we never heard of the Schmoeminati until after Frankie Numbaz made the move from Chicago to the West Coast. As a longtime host of the Schmoedown Rundown, he has always had access to people and information behind the scenes in the league, but in recent months has seen his Rundown co-host Brad Gilmore getting a second show while he is even facing pressure in the stats department these days.

With his role as the stats guy onscreen now under threat, has West Coast Frank started making moves to grab more power within the Schmoedown and secure his name of “The Truth” once and for all…?

Suspect #5: ZaFlertinflouse

mts zaflertinflouse crossed arms

“The Trending Nightmare” is a mystery wrapped in an enigma and shrouded in conspiracy theories, the most recent of which is that he is behind the Schmoeminati. Did the mask worn by Andrew Ghai’s abductor look familiar? That’s because it has a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in the video for his hit single “Und Und Und”, worn by none other than the Flouse!

The current belief is that the Flouse is looking to take over the league to force the Schmoedown Pros to sing in the chorus for his upcoming album “Spin from the Peg”. Rumours that the planned first release “Sexy Buzzer” will be a duet with Brendan Meyer have been quashed.

Suspect #6: Sabrina Ramirez & Brandon Hanna

We’ve focused on individual suspects for now, but who says that an organisation like the Schmoeminati can only have 1 person at the head. Sabrina Ramirez warned us before Spectacular that she and Brandon Hanna were about to become the league’s new power couple, which is hard to believe when you look and Hanna’s soul-destroying, never-ending promos.

But what if those promos were to lull us into a false sense of security while the Schmoeminati quietly came in and grabbed hold of the league under the overall running of Ramirez, who had a quiet season after being picked up on the Free Agency deadline day with only 1 chance to compete. Ramirez is someone to watch out for in this league, and Hanna could be the perfect underrated sidekick/henchman.

Suspect #7: John Rocha & Finstock

As the resident mask-wearers in the league, of course Rocha and Finstock have to be suspects! It’s been a bad season for both Rocha and Finstock, with a Faction Championship that should have been theirs for the taking ending up falling away from them midway through the season. And yet despite this, the pair joined up to throw the GOAT Dan Murrell out of the faction at the end of the season – a move that boggles the mind!

Why else would they do this if they didn’t have some nefarious plan to take over the league, and with Dagnino’s mysterious contacts, it’s easy to see the Schmoeminati forming. Rumours that the Reel Rejects’ multi-mask entry against Cuckoo’s Mess was a rite of passage to join the Schmoeminati are being investigated.

Suspect #8: Jessica Sterger & PLD

And so we reach the final suspects, with the most interesting motives. PLD is the third leg of Action Industries and has never fully got over the break-up of Team Action, while Jessica Sterger (Jenn’s Action-loving identical twin) has been mooted as the perfect manager for and Action reunion.

There’s just been one problem: both Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai had moved on from Action and become more respectful of the game and their opponents, with Ghai even going so far as to change the name “Dastardly” to “Debonair”. Well Bateman’s struggles this season seem to have pushed him back towards his old self, but it looks like the arrival of the Schmoeminati has been focused on pushing Ghai beyond what he could take and forcing him to snap back to his dastardly self. There is a legitimate chance that the 2021 Draft will see Team Action reunited, and with both the Action Army and Schmoeminati behind them, all hell could be set to break loose…

Prepare for Something… SPECTACULAR

Prepare for Something… SPECTACULAR

It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the Movie Trivia Schmoedown from going as expected this year, but everyone involved has done a wonderful job of transitioning to a digital format and giving us an fantastic and utterly unpredictable season. And the ultimate reward of that is that we still get the 5ᵗʰ annual Schmoedown Spectacular!

Schmoedown’s very own Wrestlemania, Spectacular V is this Saturday and will see some of the biggest names in the league compete over 6 matches – including 4 Championship Matches – and at the end of the event, we will know the winner of the first ever Faction Championship. But who will be facing off in this mammoth event, and who will win? I’ve not had a great year with my predictions, but let’s see if I can redeem myself on big stage.

Star Wars Championship: Alex Damon v Andres Cabrera

mts schmoedown spectacular v alex damon andres ace cabrera

Will “The Demon” have finally met his match? The man who makes his living explaining Star Wars has looked unbeatable but hasn’t competed in the Star Wars Division since beating Laura Kelly at Spectacular IV. Meanwhile, Ace has ran the gauntlet this year, going on a Cinderella run that saw him go from the Play In Match all the way to winning the tournament, with wins over Josh Quevedo, Ken Napzok, Laura Kelly and Andrew Dimalanta.

Alex has previously mentioned that he didn’t know some of the answers Ace was pulling in the tournament as the questions went deeper than ever, and I think that had this match come hot on the heels of that tournament, we would have a new champion. However, it has been months since then, so you can guarantee that Alex will have dived deeper than ever before, while the momentum that Ace had will have been nullified. I can still see this one going the distance, but I have Alex defending his title.

Chris Jericho v Britney Young

mts schmoedown spectacular v chris jericho britney young

One of the GOATs of pro-wrestling, Jericho’s arrival in the league as a Free Agent pick-up for the Roxstars was a high point of the season and his match against Kevin Smith was an absolute treat! Meanwhile, Britney Young of GLOW fame made her name in the Schmoedown as part of the GLOW celebrity match, putting in an impressive performance and enjoying the game so much, she accepted a place on the active roster this season, being picked up by The Dungeon.

Neither of these competitors have much in the way of game tape, but both have shown themselves to have a decent knowledge base. However, there is a hint that Britney’s knowledge may be slightly broader, whereas Jericho’s more focused. If Jericho can hit a favoured category in Round 2, then I think he can ace it, but I think that Britney will have the breadth of knowledge to take a narrow win. One thing I do feel confident in though is that we will get some killer promos.

Teams Championship: Shazam! v Odd Couple

mts schmoedown spectacular v shazam odd couple william bibbiani brendan meyer marcandreyko jeff sneider

The Teams Championship has bounced around a little this season, with KOrruption taking the belts from the Founding Fathers only to lose them to Shazam! just 2 months later! Meanwhile, former champions the Odd Couple have recovered from their early season loss against Who’s The Boss to run through the recent Teams Tournament, and have arguably looked better than when they won the title.

Sneider has been on something of a revenge tour of late, beating Paul Oyama in both Teams and Singles to avenge his Season 6 Championship loss, while also avenging his loss to Adam Collins in the final of this season’s Singles Tournament by defeating Deception in the Teams Tournament. Could this revenge tour continue against the team who defeated them in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown? We have 4 superstars on display so I expect this to go to the wire, but I think that the online format’s speed round benefits William Bibbiani more than the buzzer round, so I have Shazam! defending their title.

Innergeekdom Championship: Chandru Dhandapani v Chance Ellison

mts schmoedown spectacular v chandru dhandapani chance ellison

Who’d have thought that fans would be cheering for “The Cobra”? Such is the mood against Chandru Dhandapani, who had the gall to talk smack about Rachel Cushing. Dhandapani’s route to the title saw him defeat Brandon Hanna to set up a #1 Contender Match against Mike Kalinowski. However, Kalinowski put his faction before his personal glories and turned down the match in order to compete in the Innergeekdom Tournament – a move which looks to have helped KOrruption secure the Faction Championship, as both Kalinowski and his Padawan Chance each ran through their side of the tournament bracket to reach the final, where Chance came away with the win. Meanwhile Chandru’s match against Kevin Smets certainly didn’t go as expected as the champion struggled to get in the zone playing online and lost the title to Chandru.

This is an interesting one, as Chance has the experience of close Championship matches and has been a regular in he online format this season, but as a triple-threat competitor he won’t have been able to focus on IG subjects in the same depth as Chandru, an IG specialist. While my heart has Chance following in the footsteps of KO, I have to go with my head, which has Chandru becoming the first Schmoedown Pro to defend the Innergeekdom Title since Jason Inman defeated Mark Donica.

Kevin Smith v Brett Sheridan

mts schmoedown spectacular v kevin smith brett sheridan

One of the big announcements from the Free Agency deadline, Kevin Smith proved that he was more than “Good Enough” as he took down Chris Jericho in his Schmoedown debut. Meanwhile Brett Sheridan shocked the world (and arguably even himself) as he defeated Bonnie Somerville at the start of the season.

Now no offence to Brett, but I can’t imagine him pulling out the victory over Kevin Smith, though I can see it going to the final round. Instead, the questions to ask about this match are:

  • What will Kevin Smith do if he spins Kevin Smith on the wheel?
  • Will the big stage of Spectacular V see the grand return of  ZaFlertinFlouse?
  • Will Inappropriate Elmo or Jon Voight from Anaconda make an appearance in an attempt to put Kevin Smith off?

Singles Championship: Dan Murrell v Adam Collins

mts schmoedown spectacular v dan murrell adam collins

While you would never rule out Dan Murrell being in the main event of Spectacular, who would have guessed that his opponent would be Adam Collins, a man who went undrafted and was picked up on the final day of Free Agency. That acquisition arguably won Shannon Barney the Factions Championship, as “The Coyote” went all the way from Play In Match to the Ultimate Schmoedown winner.

Murrell has held on to the belt the hard way after winning it back from Ben Bateman in Atlanta, going into the final round 6 down to “The Boss” in their rematch, while beating Ethan Erwin in Sudden Death, so it’s hard to imagine him struggling for a 4ᵗʰ consecutive Championship Match. Collins however has looked so solid in Singles, but did begin to show some cracks before losing with Deception, and now needs to show that he can recover quickly to take on the GOAT. I see Murrell leading by a point or 2 into the final round, and holding the lead to secure victory.

How do you see these matches playing out? Regardless, I’m certain that this event will be – as its name suggests – spectacular!

feat mts schmoedown spectacular v promo title card

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020

Bracket Breakdown: Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020

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

feat MTS Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament 2020 bracket

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.

Round 1

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.

Semifinals

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.

Final

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?

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!