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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.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.

newchamp
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

ghaiwins
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.

theshock
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