Bracket Breakdown: Schmoedown 2020 Star Wars Tournament

Bracket Breakdown: Schmoedown 2020 Star Wars Tournament

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.

mts star wars 2020 tournament entrants napzok dimalanta sullivan cabrera damon witt quevedo kelly scrimshawNext 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!

mts star wars twitch tournament bracket 2020

Play in game

mts trade jte josh quevedoJosh 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.

Quarterfinals

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.

mts andrew dimalantaJoseph 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.

Semifinals

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.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Grace-Hancock-Ken-Napzok-KOrruption-1024x576Laura 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.

Final

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.

mts alex damon star wars belt

So that’s what my bracket looks like, what about yours?

Tournaments & Trades: Schmoedown Season 7 Ramps Up!

Tournaments & Trades: Schmoedown Season 7 Ramps Up!

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.

mts tale of the tape craig gaynier the barbarian singlesAs 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

mts trade brandon hanna james whiteThe 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.

S.W.A.G.

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.

mts star wars explained alex damon mollie damonAs 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

mts brandon hanna trade
Brandon Hanna had this to say during the Schmoedown Rundown

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.

Roxstars

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.

mts trade jte josh quevedoWith 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?

The Dungeon

mts robert parker interview crash atlantaAs 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.

mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Joseph-ScrimshawThe 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

mts teams division KOrruption mike kalinowski chance ellisonKOrruption 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?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Schmoedown Spectacular IV Predictions

Schmoedown Spectacular IV Predictions

It’s hard to believe that we are reaching the end of Season 6 of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. It feels like only a couple of months ago that Jeannine “The Machine” and Chance Ellison were opening the season live in New York. It has certainly lived up to the name “The Magic Season”, but it’s not over yet. On December 7th, Schmoedown Spectacular – the Wrestlemania of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – will take place in front of a live audience, with thousands around the world likely to be live streaming the event. And what a card we have to look forward to: The final of the Ultimate Schmeoedown Singles Tournament and a Championship Match in all 4 Divisions of the League.

Who will be ending the season on a high? And who will be spending the offseason thinking what might have been?

Warning: This will contain spoilers for the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament, so proceed with caution if you have not yet watched the full tournament


Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament Final

Originally meant to be part of the Orlando Live Event, Ben “The Boss” Bateman’s back injury caused the match to be moved to the opener at Spectacular. Bateman has had an incredible season, going 4-1 in Singles and 6-4 overall and is arguably the best Schmeodown Pro in the Singles & Teams Divisions to have never won a belt, so he will be driven to win this. William “The Beast” Bibbiani is a former Singles Champion and clearly one of the most knowledgeable competitors in the league, with his marathon run in the Free 4 All a highlight of not just 2019 but the entirety of Schmoedown history.

Recent months have seen a bit of a heel-ish edge return to Bateman’s play and it will be interesting to see how Bibbiani, performing in his first 1v1 live event, copes with that. While I have really come to respect Bibbs’ knowledge of the Schmoedown over the years – helped greatly by his time as my boss at TriviaSD.com – I think that Bateman’s preparation and calculating strategy within the game is second to none right now, so I see him pulling out the victory, assuming he gets a favourable category in Round 2.

Star Wars Title Match

Laura “The Luminess” Kelly may not have won the Fatal Fiveway at Star Wars Celebration this year, but she certainly put the Division on notice with a strong performance. Working with manager Alyce, she has clearly worked on her knowledge of the game, making her an even more formidable opponent.

Speaking of formidable though, defending champion Alex “The Demon” Damon is probably one of the toughest competitors in the entire league. Running a YouTube channel called Star Wars Explained means you need to know your stuff and he certainly does. He even started the channel as a way of training for a trivia contest at Dragon Con in Atlanta – a contest he finally won this year! There’s very little he doesn’t seem to know, while he also has experience of a full Schmoedown live event production from his #1 Contenders match against Ken Napzok and Joseph Scrimshaw last season.

While I think Laura will put up a strong fight, I just can’t see anyone beating Alex at the moment!

Teams Title Match

Two former rivals who became partners, “The Outlaw” John Rocha and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell are 2 of the biggest names in the league and from the moment the Founding Fathers were formed in Anarchy last year, it always looked a matter of time before they won the Teams Championship. They have a 4-2 record, with those only losses coming to KOrruption, who they went on to beat in Orlando for the title. John Rocha comes alive at a live event while Dan Murrell appears to get better with each live event appearance. A curious stat: Rocha has never successfully defended a title, losing on his first defences to Mark Reilly, Ethan Erwin and The Patriots; Murrell however has never failed to defend a title at least once in any of the 3 times he has held the Singles Title… One of these records will be coming to an end at Spectacular, but which one?

Their opponents Shazam! are on a great run of form, having defeated The Odd Couple, The Family and surprise package Loony Bin on their way to winning the Ultimate Schmoedown. I’ve already stated that “The Beast” is one of the most knowledgeable players in the game, and Brendan “The Kid” Meyer is a wonderful talent who I wouldn’t be shocked to see challenge for the Singles Title in the future.

What will be interesting is seeing how they cope with the live environment. As an actor, “The Kid” should be comfortable in front of a live crowd, and the pair were 2 of the biggest stars during Free 4 All 3, however that is the only live event that they have competed in so far. Meanwhile, Rocha and Murrell have thrived in live events since their introduction last season; they know what the atmosphere will be like firsthand. Add to that the difficulty Bibbiani will have 1 match to get over the agony of losing to Bateman (or alternatively, have to try and keep the momentum from beating Bateman during the Star Wars match) and it is highly possible that he comes into this match a little over/under-cooked.

I give the advantage to the Founding Fathers, but it’s gonna be close!

Innergeekdom Title Match

While it understandably isn’t the main event, this is the match that I am most excited for right now. With the retirement of Rachel Cushing, Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski and Kevin “The Smasher” Smets are arguably the top 2 competitors in the Innergeekdom Division. When the pair faced off at Collision in a #1 Contender match, Kalinowski came out the victor in a thrilling match, with Smets left to rue saying the wrong name on an answer he clearly knew.

When it comes to preparation, these are 2 of the best in the league, to the point that it is hard to consider any Innergeekdom category a weakness for them, just slightly less of a strength. At one point, Kalinowski had a shot to become Mikey 3-Belts, but that opportunity was gone in a flash and following his loss in Orlando he could conceivably finish the season with no belts, so he’ll be keen to hold onto the title. Meanwhile, Smets has had Kalinowski in his sights all season and as the only loss on his record, he will be up for revenge.

This is going to be a close match and I would not be at all shocked to see this go to Sudden Death, but I’m going to give the slightest of edges to Kalinowski.

Singles Title Match

Ben Bateman’s prize for beating Bibbiani will be a match against “Primetime” Paul Oyama. Part of the 2019 rookie crop after graduating from the fan leagues, Oyama has had an incredible season, going 6-0 in Singles, including winning the title off Dan Murrell and defending against Jeff Sneider in New York. This guy knows more about movies than someone his age should, while he also knows the game inside out.

Right now, I think that Bateman has a good chance against Oyama, providing the right categories come up, as he is so used to mind games from opponents like Andrew Ghai (and from playing his own mind games), while I am confident that he will have developed specific strategies for dealing with not just Bibbiani, but Oyama too.

I expect it to be a close one, but I can see “The Boss” shedding the Dan Marino comparisons and finishing the season as the Singles Champion.


The Tenth Manager

As well as 5 amazing matches, Spectacular will also give us the reveal of the tenth and final manager. With one spot still to fill, we know that next year’s managers are:

  • Roxy
  • Dagnino
  • RMB
  • Kaiser
  • Jay
  • Emma
  • Grace
  • Winston
  • Coy

So who will the last manager be? A while back, I suggested that a loss to KOrruption would see Rocha retire and become the tenth manager. From the way that Kristian was speaking earlier this week on SEN Live, it sounds as if the manager is already confirmed, which makes me think that it will not be Rocha, regardless of who wins against Shazam! Kristian also went on to say that at this moment, he thinks the unnamed manager has the potential to be one of the top prospects for winning in Season 7, something which leads me to believe that it is someone who knows the game inside out. Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe have both ruled themselves out of the role, but I think the aftermath of the Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament Final gave us our answer: Andrew Ghai.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Drew-Ghai-Free-For-All-3

The dastardly one shocked everyone by announcing his retirement “from competitive play” following The Family’s loss to Shazam! “Competitive play” is an interesting choice of words. It suggests that he’s still intending to be a big part of the league, just not competing in matches. He is one of the best tactical minds in the game and has had a huge impact on Drew McWeeny during their matches together this season, and I think that he understands the role that a manager will have moving forwards better than most.

 

What are your predictions for Spectacular?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 27/8/2019


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

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

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

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

“Give me nerd strength” – Sam Witwer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STAR WARS RETURNS: The Division is Stronger Than Ever!

STAR WARS RETURNS: The Division is Stronger Than Ever!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 24/4/2019


Ever since it was introduced to the Schmoedown, the Star Wars division has been the smallest in the league. With a limited number of films the questions quickly became deep cuts, and this has led to just a handful of incredible competitors who have been able to hold their own in the division.

With one of the original poster boys of the division, Sam Witwer, currently unavailable due to other commitments, the active roster in the division was left thin, and this led to some discussion about whether it was time to retire the belt altogether and bring the division to the end.

But the recent matches in Chicago appear to have breathed new life into the division. Four competitors made their debuts at Star Wars Celebration while Joseph Scrimshaw and Alex Damon wowed the Athenaeum Theatre with the depths of their knowledge. Even though Damon retained the title, these matches have suggested that the division could now be at its strongest point ever. So let’s take a look at the competitors!

Let’s start with the Champion.

Alex “The Demon” Damon

Alex “The Demon” Damon may fly under some people’s radar, but he is dominating the division in a way that should make people sit up and take notice. Running a YouTube channel called Star Wars Explained – which numerous competitors have said they use for their research! – suggests that his knowledge will always be at a high level and that has been the case so far, with 95/106 correct answers giving him an 89.6% accuracy.

Beyond that, he was already a fan of the league before his debut so he understands the intricacies of a match. He is also getting more confident competing in front of a crowd, with four of his fie matches being at a live event, Collision or Spectacular. His only loss so far was in his debut in a Fatal Fiveway, where he took Sam Witwer all the way to the final question. Can anyone defeat him? Only time will tell.

Joseph “The Jedi” Scrimshaw

Next up is his most recent challenger, Joseph “The Jedi” Scrimshaw. Making his debut in the same match as Alex Damon, the pair finished with the same score and were only beaten by Sam Witwer hitting his final answer. Over 4 matches, Scrimshaw has managed to give 71/80 correct answers (88.8% accuracy), which shows just how unlucky he has been in his matches to have a 1-3 record. With one loss to Witwer and two to Damon, though he may only compete in the one division, there is a clear argument for him to be one of the best competitors to have never won a belt.

Sam “The Warrior” Witwer

A former champion, Sam “The Warrior” Witwer was the original poster boy for the division.

In a match against Freddie Prinze Jr. in the Singles Division, he ran through the category of Star Wars in Round 2 to set up his victory, before coming back for a Star Wars Teams match against The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and almost single-handedly getting the win for the Force Bros. (with a little controversy/cheating from Prinze Jr.). In his debut in the Division at Celebration 2016, despite a busy weekend that was leaving him exhausted, he missed just two questions but unfortunately those accounted for a possible 8 points and he lost.

Witwer made his comeback in a Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match, missing just one question all match and eventually winning with the return of Captain Needa, who had cost him victory in the last match. His final appearance as of now is still arguably one of the best matches in the history of the league, as he took on Ken Napzok in an Iron Man Match, which he won at the buzzer. Over these 3 matches, Witwer has managed 86/101 correct answers (85.1% accuracy) and has shown himself to be deadly with quotes.

Stripped of his belt by Thadd Williams under the orders of Mike Kalinowski, when he makes his return to competition we will be in for a real treat.

Ken “The Pit Boss” Napzok

The other former champion, Ken Napzok was not involved in the latest competition for the belt as he was focused on growing KOrruption. Napzok won the inaugural Star Wars Title Match at Celebration 2016 by defeating John Campea in the 5th round of Sudden Death, but after switching his allegiance to the Lion’s Den he lost his title to Sam Witwer in an Iron Man match.

In the next #1 Contender Match, “The Pitboss” found himself the first out in a Triple Threat against Scrimshaw and Damon, while his most recent match saw him lose to Damon once again at Spectacular 3. Quotes have proven to be a weakness for Napzok in the past, but he has still managed to amass a figure of 103/127 correct answers (81.1%). Count the Pitboss out at your peril.

The Rise of the Challengers

Looking at the four competitors who made their debut at Celebration, there are positive signs for the future.

Andy Blanchard may have been the first eliminated with just 50% accuracy, but making your debut in front of a live crowd of Star Wars nuts is no easy feat and his Round 2 questions were by no means easy, while his Round 1 score of 7/10 is respectable. I imagine that he will return stronger now that he has some experience.

Mollie Damon has the knowledge of the game from managing the current Champion, and she also showed that Alex is not the only one in the household good at Star Wars trivia. Her 78.9% accuracy (15/19) is good for a debut, and she should also be stronger upon her return now that she has some experience at the table.

The latest competitor to come through the Patreon audition process, Andrew Dimalanta may have fallen just short against Scrimshaw, but he surely put the division on notice. He had a clear understanding of the game, remembering to utilise his JTEs and Multiple Choice where needed, helping him get to 18/20 correct answers (90% accuracy). Obviously, this accuracy rate can’t be directly compared to the more established competitors due to the number of questions, but if he can continue this level of performance in his upcoming matches, we will see him competing for the title in no time.

Last but not least, we come to Laura Kelly. The only competitor to hit a perfect first round, she finished with 18/21 correct answers for 85.7% accuracy, with one of her misses coming down to a lack of familiarity with the steal process in a Fatal Fiveway. Like Dimalanta, the early signs are clear: she has the knowledge to compete at the top end of the division.

The Phantom Outlaw

There is one other name that should be mentioned here, and that… is John Rocha.

Though he has not yet competed in the division, “The Outlaw” has mentioned several times that he intends to enter the division, most likely by the end of this year. Though his Bespin moment will likely never be lived down, he has a good level of Star Wars knowledge and studies hard in preparation for his matches, so that should fill any gaps. On top of that, he would easily be the most experienced Schmoedown competitor in the division, which should put him over in terms of strategy. Could winning the title be what it takes to put Bespin behind him once and for all?

Be Mindful of the Future

The success of these new competitors has not only shown that there is still a scope to expand the roster in the Star Wars division, but also throughout the whole league.

When asked to comment on the success of the competition in Chicago and the performances of the new rookies, Chairman Kristian Harloff said: “The Star Wars Division proved that there are so many players – great trivia players – out in the world that just don’t live in Los Angeles, and that’s what has been a little bit limiting for what we do. And that’s why we continue to grow, why we want to build the Patreon and why we want to get a sponsor and do more live events: it’s because somewhere out there is the next Alex Damon, someone out there is the next William Bibbiani, Rachel Cushing, Shirewolves, Patriots. They are all out there, they just don’t know this thing exists yet, they might be in London, they might be in France, hey might be is Kansas City… But the Star Wars Division just proved there are many knowledgeable people out there that don’t have to live in California.”

So go pop on a movie, make some notes as you go and before you know it, you could be walking out as a Schmoedown competitor. May the Force be with you… always.

FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM: The Greatest Rookie Debuts in the History of the Schmoedown!

FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM: The Greatest Rookie Debuts in the History of the Schmoedown!

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 25/2/2019


As a new season starts, it’s never long before rookies start appearing to make their debuts. The rookie class of 2019 have been turning up in recent weeks and if anybody was worried about a drop in the quality of competition then I think they will be happy with the early performances.

Debuting in the Schmoedown is no easy feat. I’m sure we’ve all tried to play along at some point and found ourselves getting a respectable score, but to then be under the lights and in front of a crowd, without the questions on a screen in front of us, is a much harder situation. Even the two-time Singles Champion John Rocha – one of the greatest Schmoedown competitors of all time – suffered his “Bespin moment” in his Singles debut and I don’t think any number of titles will let him ever fully live that down!

But how have the rookies been getting on? I’ve decided to look back through the recent rookie debuts and then also look back at some notable debut performances from previous seasons. For this, I will be looking specifically at Schmoedown debuts rather than a specific division as a competitor could have a strong debut in a division having picked up plenty of experience in the league already.

Paul Oyama & Brendan Meyer

Paul Oyama has followed Chance Ellison into the Schmoedown from the fan leagues and on first viewing, these two rivals have a lot in common, including their confident/arrogant personalities, their love of wearing shades indoors and their ability at movie trivia. His opponent, Brendan Meyer was an actor looking to prove that his movie trivia knowledge was anything but an act.

Oyama took an early lead, finishing Round 1 ahead by 6-4, but stretched his lead to 14-7 by the end of Round 2, with Oyama spinning Directors and Meyer Festival Darlings. Meyer made a comeback in Round 3, hitting all three of his questions to force it back to Oyama and setting the new record for the biggest margin overcome to avoid a TKO. But “Primetime” hit his first two questions to earn an impressive 19-17 victory.

David Del Rio

Actor “Diamond” David Del Rio made his debut against Singles Division debutant but Schmoedown veteran Witney “The Beauty” Seibold last week.
Both started strongly, Del Rio going 6/8 in Round 1, while Witney only missed on the final question of the round, denying him a bonus question.

Heading into Round 2, Del Rio hit Spinner’s Choice and chose Famous Actors and Actresses and even though none of the questions were about him, he managed to hit 3/4 for 4/8 points while Witney missed his steal opportunity. Witney stuck with Robin Williams but went 2/4 for 4/8 points, with Del Rio hitting both steal opportunities to pick up an extra two points. In Round 3, Witney missed his two and three-point questions but avoided the TKO by answering his 5-pointer. Del Rio hit his two and three-pointers to take the victory with a question to spare, the final score reading 17-16.

Kevin Smets

Smets originally auditioned through the Patreon but missed the cut and worked his way up through the fan leagues. Making his debut in the Innergeekdom against fellow rookie David Moore, Smets showed that taking the long way around was worth it.

In Round 1, he went perfect including the bonus question to take an 11-7 lead and he continued his dominance in Round 2. Moore spun MCU and went 3/5 for three points in a category that is getting dangerously deep, but Smets took both steal opportunities for two points. If Smets wasn’t already turning heads with his performance, his confidence upon spinning Movie Release Dates gave note to his strength and he began running through the questions for two points.

He looked set for a KO victory and 100% PPE (percentage of points available) match on debut but was caught with the final question in Round 2, checking down to multiple choice and getting it wrong. The steal allowed Moore to avoid the KO and take it into Round 3 where a miss on his two-pointer saw Smets complete the TKO victory with a 21-11 score.

This may have not been the best of debuts for David Moore, but this will have taught him the danger of the MCU category, and his Round 1 performance showed that he has a solid base of knowledge to compete in this division. As for Kevin Smets, he has called out former champion Hector Navarro and has already made it clear that he is coming for the Innergeekdom Title and looking to emulate Ethan Erwin by winning a title and Rookie of the Year all in his first year. Based on this performance, that looks highly possible.

Ethan Erwin

Speaking of “Big Time,” the former champ had an impressive debut himself! Facing Yolanda Machado early in Season 5, Erwin went 7/8 in Round 1 for a two-point lead before taking a heavy lead in Round 2, going 4/4 for 8 points in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and stealing a point in Machado’s category, Tom Cruise, for a 16-8 lead. Machado missed her 3-point question to hand Erwin a 16-10 TKO victory.

This victory put the league on notice and Kristian’s prediction at the start of the season that Erwin was one to watch was proven correct, as he pulled off impressive victories over Lon Harris and Drew McWeeny and looked set to be competing for the vacant Singles Title, only to fall at his 5-point question in a Number 1 Contender Match against Marc Andreyko.

His next run at the Singles Division, however, resulted in him winning the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown and winning the title from John Rocha at Spectacular 3.

Alex Damon & Joseph Scrimshaw

From one champion to another, Alex Damon made his Schmoedown debut during Season 4 in a Fatal Fiveway that doubled as a Number 1 Contender Match, to decide who would face Ken Napzok for the Star Wars Title at Spectacular 2. Joining Damon in that match were Sam Witwer and fellow debutants Joseph Scrimshaw, Steele Saunders and Shana O’Neil. While O’Neil and Saunders put in gutsy performances, they were KO’d and TKO’d respectively, so we’ll focus on the battle between Damon, Scrimshaw and Witwer.

Both Damon and Scrimshaw went 9/10 in Round 1, but found themselves two points behind Witwer, who went perfect and hit the bonus question. In Round 2, Damon was the only competitor to go 3/3, for the maximum six points in The Force Awakens. Scrimshaw and Witwer both went 2/3 for four points in Who Said It? and Revenge Of The Sith, respectively. However, on steal opportunities, Damon went 2/4 for three points, while his rivals went 3/3 for five points, leaving Witwer ahead 20-18-18.

All three hit their two and three-pointers and both Scrimshaw and Damon hit their five-pointers to reach 28 points, leaving Witwer needing to hit his five-pointer to win, or else the rookies would go to Sudden Death. It would appear that the Will of the Force was on Witwer’s side that day, though as his downfall at Celebration returned to give him the 5-pointer and set up his last-second Iron Man Title Match victory over Napzok.

While neither got the victory, these performances marked both Damon and Scrimshaw as top-tier competitors in the division and they both returned in the next Number 1 Contender Match in a Triple Threat at the second Live Event against Ken Napzok, where Damon pulled out a 28-27-20 victory over Scrimshaw and Napzok, respectively. While Scrimshaw did not compete again in Season 5, Damon went on to KO Bruce Greene to win the title at Collision II and successfully defended it against Napzok at Spectacular III, his performances earning him Innergeekdom/Star Wars Player of the Year at the 2018 Schmoedown Awards.

Tim Franco

Sticking in Season 4, Tim “The Tank” Franco was one of the original fans to enter the league. His debut was against Matt Atchity, who was himself making his Singles debut but had by his point competed 6 times as one half of the team Rotten Tomatoes.

Both had strong performances in Round 1, with “The Kahuna” only missing on one question, but Franco went perfect and hit his bonus question to take an early 9-7 lead. Round 2 saw Franco go 3/4 on his own spin (picking Crime after hitting Spinner’s Choice) for 6 points, giving up a 1-point steal, while on Atchity’s spin of Romantic Comedies he was able to hit his sole steal opportunity for 1 point, opening up a 12-16 lead. This lead proved unassailable for Atchity and Franco came away from his debut with a 15-16 TKO victory.

Unfortunately, scheduling issues have stopped Franco from competing again since, but his opponents better take note when he does.

Jared Haibon

What’s better than getting a KO victory on your record on debut? Getting four KOs on your debut! That’s exactly what Jared Haibon did in his Innergeekdom debut when he took part in a Fatal Fiveway against Alana Jordan, Dorian Parks, Taylor Robinson and Jamie Costa early in Season 5.

Haibon went 7/10 in Round 1 while the closest any of his competitors could get was a score of 4. In Round 2, he went 3/3 on his own spin (Marvel Movies) for five of a possible six points, then hit all four of his steal opportunities to amass a score of 17. This was enough to KO Jordan and Costa, while Parks and Robinson were unable to catch up with him, leaving him on the way to a 1-0 record with 2 KOs and 2 TKOs.

Unfortunately, his road in the Innergekdom has been anything but too smooth since, as a bad spin in Round 2 put Mark Donica on track for victory in their Number 1 Contender Match, while his run in the Innergeekdom tournament was over before it had really began as the dreaded Round 2 combo of Spinner’s Choice and Opponent’s Choice saw him KO’d by Mike Kalinowski.

William Bibbiani & Marc Andreyko

Of course this was going to make the list! Season 3 saw both “The Beast” and “The Android” make their Schmoedown debuts in November, against each other no less!

This was back in the days of the old format, where Round 1 saw each competitor given six different questions, but both competitors went 100% in that round. Bibbiani was up first in Round 2, going 4/4 in Comic Book Movies for 7 points. Andreyko spun 80s Movies and had the first miss of the match, going 3/4 for 5 points, while Bibbiani picked up a point on the steal to take a 14-11 lead. Both competitors went perfect in Round 3 to earn the maximum nine points – Question 1 was only worth one point in this era – which saw Bibbiani come away with a perfect game and a 23-20 win that saw him set the new Singles Points Record, while Andreyko’s 20 points was also significantly higher than the average score.

Since then, both have gone on to become regulars in the Schmoedown. Bibbiani was immediately invited to join the Four Horsemen but eventually betrayed them and created his own faction, the Growling Commandos, while Andreyko joined the Lion’s Den to get another shot at Bibbiani, which eventually led to him leaving to become Emma Fyffe’s first competitor.

While neither had the success many expected in Season 4, Season 5 saw Bibbiani and Andreyko both go on a run in the Singles Division – including Andreyko handing Ethan Erwin his first ever loss – and they faced each other again in a Championship Match for the vacant Singles Title, where another close match ended with a Bibbiani victory, making him the 6th person to become the Singles Champion.

Are there any other impressive debuts you think deserve a mention? What have you thought about this year’s rookie class so far? Let me know down below in the comments!

Collider Collision II: The Matches

Collider Collision II: The Matches

We’ve reached the midpoint of the Schmoedown season and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for Collider Collision. The second annual Collision treated us to 5 matches in total: 2 title matches, A Triple Threat match to set up the next Number 1 Contender match in the Singles Division, the opening match in Round 2 of the ongoing Innergeekdom tournament and the return of the GOAT “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

As with all the big PPV-style events in the Schmoedown, the matches were only half of the story as we also had a number of reveals and storyline progressions over the 2 videos, so much though that if I tried to do it all justice in one article you’d be reading for hours! Therefore I’ve decided to split my report into 2 pieces, 1 looking at the matches and one the other events. Today I will be taking a look through each of the matches , while a look back at the other events will hopefully be up later in the week following Tuesday’s Post-Collision Special.

Obviously it goes without saying, but this is going to contain spoilers for the event, if you do not want to be spoiled, go watch Part 1 and Part 2 of the event first – you have been warned!

Singles Division, Triple Threat:- Jeannine “The Machine” v “Sassy” Stacy Howard v Marc “The Android” Andreyko: 13-11-14

3wayFollowing her victory against Emma Fyffe, The Machine continued the Viper Squad’s feud with the Fyffe Club by challenging The Android to a match. She got her wish – along with manager Jay Washington’s to have the Viper Squad feature in a main event – when Commissioner Thadd Williams announced that they would face each other at Collision. A fly was thrown in the ointment though as their previous goading of Mike Kalinowski caused him to make Thadd include Jeannine’s fellow Viper Squad member Stacy Howard in the match as part of a Triple Threat.

Going into the match, I had Andreyko as the favourite to win despite Stacy’s higher ranking courtesy of the calibre opposition he had faced compared to the Vipers, but I certainly started getting nervous as we went through Round 1. He got off to a bad start, missing the first 2 questions, but eventually got going to end on 4 points, while luckily for him both Stacy and Jeannine could only manage 5 points. A critical moment in Round 1 came on Question 5, where Jeannine attempted to use one of her 3 repeats, but left it too late and did not start asking until as Kristian Harloff started to say “pens down”. She clearly knew the answer but did not have time to write it all out and was rightly not allowed the points. I know Jay and Jeannine were not happy about the decision but the call to not allow with only half the answer on the board is in line with recent calls, while I vaguely remember another match recently where use of a JTE rule was not allowed as the request came after the 1 second count, but if anything slightly earlier than Jeannine’s attempt. Though I can’t begin to imagine the pressure of being under the lights, this is where a competitor must be aware of what is going on around them.

Going into Round 2, Andreyko turned down Disney to spin Fantasy/Sci-Fi. He got 2 points on his first question but missed the second and was lucky that neither Viper could pull the answer, before successfully checking down to multiple choice for his last 2 questions. Stacy Howard was up next and after turning down Comic Book Movies, she had mixed results in Directors, scoring 4 points but allowing both Jeannine and Andreyko a 1-point steal. The Machine finally made her way to The Wheel and spun Opponent’s Choice on her first attempt, choosing Romcoms. She had by far the most successful run in Round 2, going 4/4 for 7 points to leave her 4 points ahead at 13-9-9.

androidwinsInto Round 3 and The Android was up first courtesy of his lower ranking compared to Howard. The two of them were both successful on their 2-pointers, but after Andreyko correctly answered his 3-point question to bring his total to 14 points, Howard missed on both her remaining questions to be the first eliminated. Jeannine was finally up, but she missed her 2 and 3-pointers. And this is where that missed repeat in Round 1 proved vital. at 13-14 down, Jeannine now had to answer her 5-pointer correctly, whereas had she got the repeat through in time she a miss would have taken her to Sudden Death if Andreyko also missed. Though she got Romcoms again, she was unable to pull the correct answer and the Android had the win without having to answer his 5-pointer.

Up next for Andreyko is a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan “Big Time” Erwin and while I would be stupid to rule out the Android, Erwin has looked incredible in his 3 Singles victories and Free 4 All II and I find it hard to predict anything other than a win for the potential Rookie of the Year. As for Jeannine and Stacy, they both put in good showings but I think they need to try and go against higher calibre opposition than they have been facing this year. Witney Seibold has been teasing an entrance to the Singles Division and I would love to see him debut against one of these competitors, while Andrew Ghai (more on him later) and Ben Batemen (if he loses his next match against John Rocha) would also make good opposition for the Vipers.

alexbruceStar Wars Division, Title Match:- Alex “The Demon” Damon v Bruce Greene: 25-3

While this was still a good match to watch, it was unfortunately never going to live up to they hype following Damon’s Triple Threat victory at the last live event. Initially due to challenge Sam Witwer for the title, things changed last minute as “The Warrior” had to withdraw from Collision due to landing some work, which led to him being stripped of the title (more on that in a few days). Having already flown out from Atlanta, Alex was not willing to merely accept the gorgeous new belt and instead asked Thadd to find him an opponent. An open call was put out and it was answered by Bruce Greene, but he only had a couple of days to prepare and it’s safe to say it showed in this match.

new belt
Alex decided that he needed to earn the swanky new belt by winning a match rather than by default

Greene was already in deep trouble by the end of Round 1, having only amassed 3 points while the number of Porgs Chewbacca cooked in The Last Jedi was the only thing that denied Alex a Perfect Round. Things didn’t get any closer in Round 2 as Greene spun The Empire Strikes Back and went 2/5 for 3 points, while Alex was successful on all 3 steal opportunities for 4 points, before spinning Return of the Jedi and going 5/5 for 9 points. Being a title match, Round 3 was the betting round and after Alex spun Movie Quotes, both competitors chose to risk 3 points. Unfortunately for Greene he was unable to pull the correct answer (he clearly knew the character just not the name) while Alex answered correctly to take a 25-3 lead and, with only a possible 15 points remaining, the victory by KO.

I do feel for Bruce Greene here as he clearly didn’t have the prep time that Alex did due to filling in at the eleventh hour and I hope that we get to see him compete in the division again in the future. That said, I don’t think he would have beat Alex anyway as he was in fantastic form and only missed 1 question to go 54/60 over his 3 matches. This guy makes his living explaining Star Wars so the knowledge is never going to be a problem, just the confidence and the ability to play the game. He was already a fan of the Schmoedown before competing so he knows the game, while it is clear from his promos and entrances that he is growing in confidence from match to match.

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Congratulations Alex!

While it was a shame Witwer was stripped of the title, I completely understand the decision as it sounds like he will be unavailable for a considerable period of time. I’ve seen some people suggest that as a former champion, Ken should have been given the chance to face Alex, but I like the decision to bring in someone other than Ken or Joseph Scrimshaw considering Alex has only recently defeated them.

Looking at the questions asked as well and we are clearly starting to get to the deeper cuts, especially on the less recent films. I can generally hold my own when playing along at home in the Star Wars Division, but I only managed to answer 12/21 on the day and would have scored 14 points on either Alex or Bruce’s questions. I noticed as well that Question 6 of Round 1 asked for the name of a creature that featured in a sequence from A New Hope that was added as part of the 1997 Special Edition rather than the Theatrical cut. While I would expect anyone competing in the Division has seen the more recent additions, it could potentially catch someone out. The depth of some questions also makes me wonder how long the Star Wars Division can continue before spreading to the wider canon, especially as many of the character names are not expressly stated in the movies.

danghaiSingles Division:- “Dangerous” Dan Murrell v “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai: 14-16

What the actual ****?! Ever since Dan Murrell returned at the live event and challenged Ghai to a match, all the talk has been about how far Ghai would be able to go before Murrell won. Now we’re left in a reality where the Andrew really has become “The Ghai that beat the GOAT”… Unless Bibbiani’s entrance for his match v Jeff Sneider is longer and more elaborate than any of us thought!

If you look back at Team Action’s recent matches, Ben Batemen has not been carrying Ghai so much and Murrell clearly wasn’t underestimating him pre-match, stating to Jenn Sterger that Ghai must feel he had a chance of victory to call him out in the first place. Despite that, it was clear that everyone in the studio was expecting the GOAT to win on his return, which suited Ghai just fine.

“Some of it’s luck, some of it’s skill, some of it’s destiny” – Dan Murrell

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The Horsemen’s worst nightmare came true

Ghai came out with his usual bluster and trash talk throughout the match and though Murrell would respond to it, I would not say that he was overly affected. However, while Murrell went a respectable 6/8 in Round 1, Ghai shocked everyone by getting 7 points! Then, going into Round 2, everything went crazy! After spinning Pixar, Murrell chose to spin again but landed on Opponent’s Choice. Ghai has clearly joined Ben Bateman in studying past matches, deciding against giving Murrell Sports in case he had studied that category since struggling there against Harloff and instead giving him Romance. Murrell went 1/4 for 2 points but Ghai managed to get 3 points in steals before going to the wheel himself and spinning Comedy, going 3/4 for 6 points, while Dan stole 1 point on the final question to make it 16-9 to Ghai. After all the speculation of Murrell getting a KO or TKO, he now had to answer all 3 of his Round 3 questions in order to avoid a TKO! Murrell was successful on his first 2 questions, but was unable to pull the right answer for his final question and a a shocked Kristian Harloff announced Ghai as the winner by TKO.

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I think their faces sum up how pretty much everyone outside the Action Army was feeling

This was a stunning result for Ghai and proof that studying the game and your opponent are equally as important as studying movie trivia. Having defeated the GOAT, it will be interesting to see if Ghai is given another big name in his next match – Reilly’s return, maybe? – or if he will be given a competitor with a more similar record. As for Murrell, let’s not look into this too much. He came up against a Ghai playing the game of his life and was ultimately undone by a bad spin in Round 2. Will he feature again before the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles tournament? I would imagine he would try to get at least 1 more match in, but perhaps he will instead use the Teams tournament as his practice.

KOrruption Innergeekdom Tournament, Round 2:- Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing v Eric “Super Zip” Zipper: 19-14

crushzipThe Innergeekdom Tournament entered its second round at the Collision with a match between Rachel Cushing, who was coming in off the back of a crushing (sorry!) KO victory over Markeia McCarty, and Eric Zipper, who TKO’d Mike Carlson.

Anyone wondering if Cushing could put in another dominant performance soon got their answer as she followed up getting the Innergeekdom Division’s first Perfect Round 1 (including the bonus question) against McCarty by doing it again here, while Zipper could only muster a respectable 7 points. The Crusher spun Marvel in Round 2 and worked her way through the category to go 4/4 for 5 points, while Zipper chose to spin away from Star Wars and landed on Star Trek, which he struggled on for 2 points while giving Cushing 3 points from 2 steals. 19-9 down going into Round 3, Zipper knew he had to go 3/3 in order to avoid the TKO and while he started well, Lord of the Rings proved his undoing on the 5-point question and The Crusher had the victory without having to answer in the final round again.

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Rachel has her mind set on a match against Kalinowski, could this be the final of the tournament?

It’s hard to imagine someone stopping Rachel winning the tournament right now as she is clearly on a roll, she was 15/15 on her questions and 2/2 on steals today and with consecutive Perfect Round 1s, even Jason Inman must be getting nervous. She has such a breadth of knowledge but also enough depth in her knowledge too. Speaking on the Schmoedown Rundown following Collision, she stated that she is confident she can work her way through any Innergeekdom wheel slice and it’s hard to argue with that, while she also stated that she has been watching all the Innergeekdom matches so she will have picked up on any areas of weakness in her opposition. As for Zipper, he has some work to do in order to join the top echelon of Innergeekdom competitors. His reaction to spinning Star Wars showed he has no confidence in that category, and this match has also exposed Star Trek as a weakness, both of which will be capitalised on should he spin Opponent’s Choice in the future. More than that he needs to improve at the game, having burned 2 repeats in Round 1 and used the final one in Round 2 – all for questions that he still got wrong. His depth in some categories will help him stay competitive against some of the top competitors should he get questions in those categories, but he cannot afford to rely on luck moving forward.

Teams Division, Title Match:- Above The Line v The Patriots: 57-48

atlpats3The ATL v Patriots trilogy came to an end in spectacular fashion as Collision ended with an Iron Man match. With both the first and second title matches between these 2 having gone down to the last question, and the only previous Iron Man match in the league – Witwer’s victory over Napzok at Schmoedown Spectacular II – being voted the 2017 Match of the Year, we were expecting a thrilling match… and boy was it!

I had been expecting each competitor to be answering the questions like it usually is in Round 1 of a match, but instead it was one whiteboard per team and this definitely seemed to work to Above the Line’s advantage as they have often commented on how they cover for each other. Of a possible 64 points on offer in the whiteboard section, ATL scored 50 points to the Patriots’ 45. Given Samm Levine’s recent successes in the speed round of title matches, it was fair to assume that the Patriots needed to enter the final 2 minutes with a lead in order to stand a chance of winning. However, “The Inglorious One” was far from the MVP of the final 2 minutes as he was first to the buzzer on only 2 occasions (answering both right). The real MVP on the buzzer was his teammate “The Godfather” Drew McWeeny, who was the first to buzz in 5 times and went 5/5. By comparison, JTE was first in on 5 occasions but went 4/5 for 3 points, which could have been worse had Harloff not ruled that he managed to say “Juno, umm… Ellen Page” in the allotted 2 seconds, while Sneider was the first in twice but went 1/2 for a net total of 0 points, giving the defending Champions a 57-48 victory.

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For once, McWeeny wasn’t a minute behind everybody else realising ATL had won

It is currently frightening just how good Above the Line are and if McWeeny can continue to dominate the speed rounds along with Levine, they are going to be almost impossible to beat! Next up should be a title defence against either the Shirewolves or World’s Finest, but I don’t want to look too far ahead right now until we find out what Samm’s announcement is on Tuesday’s show. When he stated this, my initial thoughts went to retirement or taking a hiatus from competing, so I am hoping it is nothing of the sort, but I will make sure I cover this in my second piece on Collision. And in terms of what’s next for the Patriots… well see what happens on Tuesday, but it looks like the most successful team in Schmoedown history are done!

 

Which was your favourite match? Who surprised you most (besides Ghai)? Let me know in the comments below.

As I sign off for today, let me just give a big thank you to Kristian and Mark, Jenn and all the competitors, crew and fans for making Collision yet another wonderful event!

Faction Rundown: The Lion’s Den

Faction Rundown: The Lion’s Den

Welcome to my Faction Rundown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each of the factions in the Schmoedown to see how things are going for them in Season 5 of the Schmoedown. I will be looking at the titles they hold, the chances they have coming up and the general strength of each faction. At the end I will also be giving my personal ranking of the team based on how the season is going and the potential I see going forward. Today I be looking at the faction you either love or hate: The Lion’s Den

Warning: This will make mention of the cutscene at the end of Carlson v Zipper

Members: Tom Dagnino (manager), JTE, Jeff Sneider, Ken Napzok, Mark Donica, Grace Hancock(?)

Current titles: None

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Dagnino turned the league on its head when he announced Ken as the newest member of the Lion’s Den

History: Formed at the end of Season 3, the Lion’s Den was originally made up of Finstock, his former teammate JTE, JTE’s new teammate Jeff Sneider and Marc Andreyko. They had some success at Schmoedown Spectacular, with the Patriots winning the Team title and the group pulling off a coup by bringing in Singles Champion “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. Season 4 saw the Den’s lineup chop and change as Murrell eft the faction following his title loss to John Rocha, while Finstock was banned from the league for a year following “his” loss to Josh Macuga, leading to the beginning of the Tom Dagnino era. Under Dagnino, the Den poached Robert Meyer Burnett away from the 4 Horsemen after Collider Collision and also brought in Grace Hancock as a non-competing member for the Den. And then, as we came close to Schmoedown Spectacular II, Dagnino made his move to turn the league on its head, convincing Star Wars Champion Ken Napzok to betray his Nerd’s Watch teammate Rachel Cushing and bring another belt to the Den. However things did not go as planned at Schmoedown Spectacular II, with Dagnino losing the Manager Bowl to Emma Fyffe, who revealed Andreyko as her first competitor, Burnett was deemed surplus to requirements and let go, while Ken Napzok lost his title to Sam Witwer in a thrilling match, leaving The Patriots as the only current Champions in the faction.

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Dagnino was named Manager of the Year in December, but it’s not looking likely that he’ll win the award again this season

Season 5 so far: At the start of the year, it was safe to say The Lion’s Den were the strongest faction in the league, but Season 5 has not been going their way so far. Napzok’s attempt to win his Star Wars title back came to a premature end after he was TKO’d by Alex Damon at the recent live event during their Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match with Joseph Scrimshaw. The Patriots’ unbeaten run finally came to an end with their loss to Above The Line and while they have an automatic replay, there is no guarantee that they will emerge from their Iron Man match victorious. In singles, JTE missed out on a title shot after losing to Rachel Cushing in their match against Mike Kalinowski and such is the strength in the league, he is not currently even ranked in the top 10, his awful record in Season 3 counting against him. Jeff Sneider however is back on the up and has a Number 1 Contender match lined up against William Bibbiani. “Bobby Gucci” is yet to appear in singles this year, with his early exit at this year’s Free 4 All and his match as part of the Dream Crushers along with “The Pitboss” – who only has a loss to Matt Knost and a quick Free 4 All appearance to his name this season – against the Shirewolves, where they put in a better than expected showing but could not get the win. The final active member of the faction is Mark Donica, who joined earlier this season to give the Den a presence in the Innergeekdom ahead of his match against Jared Haibon and earned a title shot in that Division, playing well but being outclassed by Jason Inman. Grace Hancock has not been present this season (maybe she was their good luck charm?) due to other commitments and at this point it is not clear whether she is still part of the Den or has fallen by the wayside.

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Victory in the ongoing Innergeekdom tournament would see Donica get a chance of revenge against Jason Inman

Future Prospects: Looking forward, I would argue that the best shot of a title soon is The Patriots, but Above The Line are going to be difficult opponents and given the recent Round 1 performances and Samm Levine’s speed in the in the buzzer round, the Iron Man format could give the new champions an advantage. Mark Donica appears to be one of the stronger Innergeekdom players and I expect the enforcer to get the victory over Robert Meyer Burnett (a former member of the Den) in the opening round of the Innergeekdom tournament, but such is the format and strength of opposition, he will eventually come up against stronger opposition like Rachel Cushing and that may be a step too far for “The Enforcer” this season. With the amount of quality in the league now, I can see Ken and Tom doing well against the lower echelons of the competition, especially when joined as a team, but I do not see them breaking into the higher rankings anytime soon. Looking at the rankings, “The Insneider” has to be the favourite in his match with Bibbiani, but if “The Beast” can get a good spin in Round 2 and sort out his issues with Round 3, anything is possible. Meanwhile, JTE’s record does not do him justice, but such is the depth in the Singles Division right now, his best chance of another shot at the Singles title is probably a tournament victory – though I would say that will be infinitely harder than his run to the Ultimate Schmoedown Final last season. Ken will always be in with a shot in Star Wars matches, but matches are few and far between and recent outings have shown quotes to be a weakness that could be exploited. If the Den want a second challenger for Witwer’s belt, then Donica could join the division, but like Rocha and Reilly I haven’t yet seen enough to think he would be able to beat the competitors that were at the live event.

The question then becomes “what happens next?” This is the first time The Lion’s Den haven’t had a belt since the early days before The Patriots won at Schmoedown Spectacular. Now that they have reached a less successful period and found themselves against stronger factions than ever before, will cracks begin to show between the competitors? Will The Pitboss continue to serve under Tom Dagnino if the competitors start dropping down the rankings, or will he mutiny and try to take control of the group, or even branch off and form his own faction? Or will their shared hatred of “The System” see them continue to work together? After Carlson v Zipper, Ken received a letter that appeared to rile him up, could this be the start of his defection?

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What impact will Finstock’s return to the league have on the Den?

The big wildcard could be Finstock. Following his year-long exile courtesy of his loss to Josh Macuga, the masked menace made his return during this year’s Free 4 All – with limited success – but has not been seen since. The founder of the Den and a former teammate of JTE, if he comes back with an agenda different to that of the Lion’s Den, could that see loyalties tested and civil war within the Den?

Record this season (all divisions): 4-7            This only takes into account matches played as a member of the Lion’s Den, therefore Donica’s debut is not counted, if we look at the full 2018 record for all competitors the record becomes 5-7

Mid-season Ranking: 3rd          They may have a losing record this season and not currently hold any belts, but the Den still contains the most successful team in the league, credible threats in the Innergeekdom (Donica) and Star Wars (Ken) Divisions and 2 competitor in Sneider and JTE that have the ability to win the singles title on their day. They may be going through a rough patch and be facing the strongest competition so far from other factions, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them challenging on multiple fronts through the rest of the season