SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

SPLIT AND RUN: The Five Most Emotional Breakups in Schmoedown History!

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

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

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

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 As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 23/7/2019


The tale as old as time took a shock turn recently, with the news that “The Beauty” Witney Seibold had left William “The Beast” Bibbiani and brought an end to Critically Acclaimed as a team. Seibold – who lost his Singles debut to David Del Rio – had not taken well to Bibbiani putting his efforts into helping “The Kid” Brendan Meyer so chose to leave Critically Acclaimed and go back to his Anarchy partner Marc Edward Heuck, while Bibbiani has now promoted Meyer from apprentice to partner.

Critically acclaimed were a well-loved team, and as such their split has broken the hearts of many fans. But it is not the first time that we have had to go through the agony of an emotional breakup. Today I will be looking back over the top five emotional breakups that we have had to face. Tissues at the ready? Let’s go!

Before getting into my Top 5, I wanted to give honourable mentions to two teams whose breakups may not have been emotional moments but still provoked a large reaction from the fan base. Having gone on a crazy run of nine consecutive wins (including a title victory and six successful defences), and as some of the biggest heels in the league at the time, the Patriots had a sizeable group of fans. Following their title loss to Above The Line and their loss in their Iron Man rematch at Collision, Jeff Sneider walked away from The Lion’s Den after finding out Tom Dagnino was planning to trade him, but JTE stuck with his manager, bringing an end to a team that is surely destined for the Schmoedown Hall of Fame.

Above The Line’s breakup didn’t even happen on camera, however, as Samm Levine announced in a post-Collision special that he was retiring from competition and vacating both the Singles and Teams Titles in the process. Above The Line were a well-loved team despite not even being active in the league for a full year, while Drew McWeeny and Samm Levine clearly improved each other during their partnership, so many fans mourned the potential this team had to break all the records.

5. Six Degrees

As two of the original leading ladies within the league and with fun theatrical entrances always guaranteed, Brianne Chandler and Stacy Howard quickly became fan favourites. Even with their turn to the dark side under Jay Washington, they were still a team that you couldn’t help root for. After DC Movie News knocked them out of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Teams Tournament and Mike Kalinowski defeated Brianne in the Singles tournament, “Miss Movies” announced that she would be taking a break from competing.

Brianne failed to turn up to support Jay Washington in the Manager Bowl, but appeared to him and Stacy after he lost to announce that she had made a decision and that Jay was dismissed. She asked Stacy to come with her, but Stacy chose to remain loyal to Jay, bringing an end to Six Degrees and transitioning the Missfits into the Viper Sqaud, while Brianne walked away to jump in a car with none other than her former rival Mike Kalinowski.

4. Top 10

One of the original teams from Season 2, “The Outlaw” John Rocha and “Mighty” Matt Knost became the second ever Team Champions but lost to the Patriots on their first defence. For over a year they continued to face whoever they had to in order to win back their titles, only for bad luck and questionable calls to see them lose to the Patriots two more times and leave each of them questioning if they wanted to continue.

With the formation of the Horsemen, it looked like the team would have new life, until Anarchy broke them up, putting Knost with William Bibbiani and Rocha with new Horseman “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. Despite neither of their Anarchy teams making it beyond the quarterfinals, Knost clearly felt that Murrell was the perfect person to replace him as Rocha’s partner, so at Spectacular he made the announcement that Top 10 would not be reforming as he would be stepping away from the league.

The continuation of the Founding Fathers meant that this was not as emotional a break-up as it could have been, but as Knost exited with one last dance, we were still left feeling that this was the end of an era.

3. Nerd’s Watch

The team that brought Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing into the league, her and “The Pitboss” Ken Napzok were a force for good in the league at a time when the Lion’s Den were running amok. A loss to Above The Line in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown left the future of the team in the balance as Ken deliberated whether he wanted to continue competing in the division, while The Missfits were doing everything they could to entice Rachel into their faction.

Rachel chose to turn down the Missfits and wait for Ken, and she was as shocked as anyone to see him revealed as the newest member of the Lion’s Den as the season built towards Spectacular. Appealing to Ken’s good side, she convinced him to come back and take on the Den’s 2nd team Blofeld’s Cat, but he failed to turn up for the match and Rachel was forced to take them on in a 2v1 handicap match. Though she fought hard, she eventually fell to a TKO loss, only for Ken to arrive as the winners were announced… or as he put it as he walked over to the gloating Lion’s Den members: “to congratulate these guys.”

We sat there in shock watching on as Rachel had to deal with losing not just the match, but also her partner and suddenly the world looked a little bit darker.

2. Team Action

Another team whose end began with Anarchy, Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai were the bad boys of the league, with Andrew already getting served a ban for tackling John Rocha at Spectacular. Anarchy saw the pair broke up, with Ben being paired with Mark “Yodi” Reilly, but Drew sat out the tournament after refusing to work under Jay Washington.

As part of Who’s The Boss, Ben won the Anarchy Tournament but he and Reilly fell just short against the Shirewolves at Spectacular. Following the match, Ben and Drew discussed the idea of Who’s The Boss staying together, something that Drew agreed to, suggesting the pair stat their own faction with Reilly. Members of the Action Army began to get excited at the thought of their boys leading their own faction, then found themselves watching on in horror as Drew tackled Ben through a coffee table.

Ghai went on to tell Bateman that he was nothing without him, before spitting on him and walking off to begin finding support for the upcoming Action Civil War. The shock of Ghai’s actions and seeing the best of friends become fierce enemies in a matter of seconds, not to mention the impact it has had on this season gets this one high on the list.

1. DC Movie News

Action’s breakup wasn’t the only one to impact the way the last year went, as by that point the league had already been shaken by my number 1 pick: Mike Kalinowski walking away from DC Movie News and The League to create KOrruption and take control of the league. Kalinowski did not feel that he was getting the support he needed from his faction in early 2018 and things reached a head when DC Movie News took on Team Action. Following an agonising loss, he was clearly simmering throughout the post-match interview and eventually broke, going on a tirade against Roxy Striar, Jonny Loquasto and teammate Adam Gertler before announcing that he was done with the faction and walking out of the interview. The silence was deafening as nobody could believe what they were seeing, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Gertler as his response to what happened was a confused “I feel like I just broke Mike Kalinowski” before having to be led away in tears. It was so emotional, even Team Action were in tears watching… though admittedly theirs were from laughing so hard at their opponents’ misfortune.

Did I miss any? Let me know what you think the most emotional breakup has been.

THE GHAI’S THE LIMIT: Drew Ghai’s 10 Biggest Schmoedown Moments!

THE GHAI’S THE LIMIT: Drew Ghai’s 10 Biggest Schmoedown Moments!

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 8/5/2019


“Dastardly” Andrew Ghai… you either love him or you love to hate him. Since his debut in the league as one half of Team Action in March 2017, Ghai has been finding ways to provoke almost everyone in the league. He’s been suspended twice and now he’s getting ready to headline the Houston Live Event, in part two of the Action Civil War, with a Singles match against his former brother Ben “The Boss” Bateman.

In honour of his upcoming match, I’ve picked at his top 10 moments in the Schmoedown, otherwise known as his rap sheet. What would make your top 10? Let me know in the comments.

10. Crashing the Party

Team Action’s third match in the league was against reactors Late to the Party, who were making their debut. While this 31-28 match was arguably the moment that Action began to hit their stride, this match makes the list for their entrance alone. Choosing to make a mockery of their opponents, the pair came out each carrying a large comfy chair, sat down with a laptop and with a look of nerdy joy on their face exclaimed “We’re reacting!”

9. Taking on the Watch

After looking like a pair of jerks in their debut against the Night Sisters, it looked like Team Action had turned to their light with their entrance against Nerd’s Watch. Coming out with their mothers to “Take My Breath Away” – an odd choice as Mark Ellis pointed out – the Action boys were perfectly behaved gentlemen. This continued through the match, where they eventually lost to Ken Napzok and Rachel Cushing in Sudden Death, 25-24. They continued to be gracious losers in their post-match interview… until their mums left. The moment they walked out, Ben and Drew were back to being the loud, obnoxious guys that we now come to associate with Team Action, leaving poor Emma Fyffe completely confused.

8. Welcome to The Family

The first match of the Action Civil War saw Ben and Drew face off in the Teams Division, partnered by their managers Tom Dagnino and Robert Meyer Burnett. Or at least, that’s what we all thought. While Burnett and Dagnino were busy slagging each other off, Ghai had a quiet word in Commissioner Emma Fyffe’s ear. When the match came around, Ghai walked out with Burnett, but before the match started, he announced that “The Captain” would not be partnering him and introduced his new partner, Drew McWeeny! The added firepower of “The Godfather” was enough to see The Family win 30-25 and take an early 1-0 lead in the Action Civil War.

7. Adding Insult to Injury

Having just lost a #1 Contender match and slapped by your ex in front of a 1000-strong audience, Ben Bateman was surely thinking things couldn’t get any worse. He was quickly proved wrong though as Andrew Ghai suddenly appeared on the big screen to rub salt into his wounds. Accusing Ben of always blowing it on the big stage, Drew called him a disappointment and said that after they face off in Houston, Ben’s career in the Schmoedown will be over. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he revealed that he’d broken into his former teammate’s apartment and got his puppy Snickers (whose cameo almost pushed this to number 1) to take a poop in Ben’s pillow and finished everything off by hitting on Roxy Striar… That’s cold-blooded.

6. Beating Reilly

So far, the focus has been largely on Ghai’s antics away from competing, but this one is a big focus on the match itself. While it was anything but a high-scoring match and Reilly was rusty on his return to competing, Ghai took a 4-3 lead in Round 1, which he expanded to 10-4 by the end of Round 2. Reilly was unable to answer his 5-pointer in Round 3 and Ghai walked away with a 10-9 TKO victory over the former double-champion. He didn’t break any records, but the fact that he came out of his first two Singles matches with a 2-0 record (and 2 TKOs) against former champions set him up for a #1 Contender Match against John Rocha and showed that he could not be overlooked.

5. 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown

Team Action’s first time in the Ultimate Schmoedown put them on the map. Coming into the tournament with a 2-1 record, they defeated Deep Cuts with a 20-19 TKO and followed this up with a 23-21 TKO victory over Team Trek. Trek were former title contenders (arguably being unlucky to lose given a controversial buzzer call) and yet Ben and Drew managed to get under their more experienced opponents’ skin and put them off. Despite this, Top 10 were the clear favourites in the semifinal, but the former Team Champions found themselves on the losing end of a 25-23 scoreline. They may not have won the final, but a 28-27 loss against Above The Line – arguably one of the strongest teams in the history of the league – is more than respectable and made sure that the other teams in the league would be taking notice of them moving forward.

4. The Tackle

The moment that made Andrew Ghai infamous. After Top 10 won their rematch with Team Action at Spectacular 2 with a 22-12 TKO, Ghai decided to get his revenge in his own way. As John Rocha celebrated, everyone watched on in shock as Ghai channelled his inner linebacker and tackled The Outlaw to the floor. It took both Ben and Commissioner Thadd Williams to drag Ghai away while Kristian Harloff and Dale “The Dude” Gibbs helped Rocha back to his feet. Physical violence was something new in the Schmoedown and Ghai was rightly banned for three months.

3. The Tackle II

While The Tackle was iconic, The Tackle II just beats it to a top 3 spot. Following Ben Bateman’s successful run in the Anarchy tournament with Who’s The Boss, he was left considering the future of Team Action. After their loss to the Shirewolves at Spectacular, he explained to Ghai that he wanted to stick with his new team. Like a good friend, Ghai supported this decision and announced that he’d sorted himself a new partner, suggesting that the four of them create their new faction. With Ghai leaving, Bateman was left to think about how well things had gone, until he found himself blindsided by his former brother and tackled through a table. The hearts of the Action Army broke just like Bibbiani’s table as they watched Ghai stand over an injured Bateman and spit on him. While not as much of a shock as the tackle on Rocha, the added emotion of watching Team Action split apart and the setting up of the Civil War sees this one rank slightly higher on the list.

2. The Free 4 All Return

With Ghai’s ban for tackling Rocha coming to an end just before Free 4 All II, people were excited for his return to the league. However, the manner of his return definitely caught people out. With just two competitors left to be revealed, the Jaws theme music began to play. The crowd went wild as Kristian announced Dan Murrell’s return to the league following a hiatus… only for Ghai to emerge through the curtain and announce that he had left the GOAT six feet under the ground. Entrance of the Year? Not in my opinion. But a fantastic swerve that led to Murrell’s return at the second live event.

1. The Ghai That Beat the GOAT

Let’s be honest, there was only one moment that could make number one: Ghai’s Singles debut against Dan Murrell at Collision. From the moment Murrell returned and challenged him to a match, nobody thought Ghai would have a chance. However, a combination of Murrell’s rustiness and Ghai’s off-putting antics made things hard for the GOAT. Ghai led 7-6 after Round 1 and extended that to 16-9 by the end of Round 2. Murrell hit his 2- and 3-pointers but missed his 5-pointer to leave Ghai with an unbelievable 16-14 TKO victory over the GOAT.

Just go back and look at Kristian’s face after announcing the winner and I think that sums up how pretty much everyone watching was feeling!

What do YOU think were Andrew Ghai’s best moments in the Schmoedown? Let us know in the comments!

HOW’S THE BOSS: Can Ben Bateman Recover from This…?!

HOW’S THE BOSS: Can Ben Bateman Recover from This…?!

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


Things really haven’t been going well for Ben Bateman lately.

“The Boss” went on some great runs in 2018, working his way through the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Gauntlet to earn a spot in the tournament itself, while his new Anarchy partnership with Mark “Yodi” Reilly and manager Tom Dagnino ran through the Anarchy tournament to set up a title shot against the Shirewolves at Spectacular 3.

Unfortunately, the season ended on a downer: Clarke Wolfe defeated him in the first round of the tournament 23-20, and one of the greatest matches in the history ended in the Shirewolves defending their title against Who’s The Boss, 34-31.

Things got even worse for Bateman right afterwards, when his former partner “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai tackled him through a table when The Boss said that he wanted to stick with Reilly as his partner.

So 2019 saw Bateman looking for revenge, and after crashing the New York live event to convince Chairman Kristian Harloff to limit Ghai’s suspension, The Boss made it clear that he was coming for his former partner. Ghai kept busy during his ban though, bringing in Robert Meyer Burnett as manager, who then convinced Drew McWeeny to become the third member of The Family.

With Bateman and Dagnino having previous history with Ghai and Burnett respectively, the first match of the Action Civil War was arranged: Bateman & Dagnino vs. Ghai & Burnett. This got turned on its head though as – with the agreement of Commissioner Emma Fyffe – Ghai switched out Burnett for McWeeny. The strength of the family proved too much for Bateman, who was carrying Dagnino for much of the match and ended up on the wrong end of a 30-25 final score.

That victory for The Family allowed Ghai to set the stipulation for the next match in the Civil War: he would take on his former Team Action brother in a Singles match live at the Booker T World Gym Arena in Houston. A win for Bateman would allow him to set the terms of their next match, but a win for Ghai would see Bateman cut out of this year’s Singles Tournament.

Bateman would have been hoping to get a win under his belt before that match in order to get some momentum, but after lasting only two rounds in the Free 4 All, his last chance for another victory was a #1 Contender Match between Who’s The Boss and The Odd Couple live in Chicago. Another close match saw Bateman come out on the losing side (26-27) and when he tried to congratulate his opponents, both Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider blew him off and their manager Roxy Striar slapped him in the face, while Ghai added insult to injury by sending a message on the big screen taking pleasure in Bateman’s run of poor results.

This match in Houston is huge for Bateman’s season, especially if he wants any chance of competing for the Singles Belt. But what can he do to turn things around?

First off, he shouldn’t panic about his latest matches. Clarke Wolfe was on a great run of her own when she beat Bateman, and although he didn’t last long in the Free 4 All, he took out John Rocha in his first round and then was only eliminated by an incredible group consisting of William Bibbiani, Drew McWeeny, Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider. So neither of these results should be a serious cause of concern.

Likewise, the combination of Ghai and McWeeny is arguably a stronger partnership than Bateman and Dagnino, so for Bateman to carry his partner and still push The Family to a close match is a great achievement, and it also marked his first perfect round.

Finally, against The Odd Couple it came down to just a couple of misses at the end; it was far from a capitulation against a team who were in top form themselves. Bateman is still playing at a high level overall, so a series of losses against high quality opposition shouldn’t rattle him. Especially as it would generally be said that Bateman is the stronger of the two competitors in Houston.

Next up, Bateman needs to get some security. In the space of just four months he has suffered two physical assaults in the Schmoedown. While he may try to play it off, he’ll never be able to give 100% focus to the trivia while he is looking for where the next attack is coming from. If the markets in Beijing are still doing well, hopefully The Boss can afford to buy a personal security detail, or at the very least enlist “The Intern” Brandon Hanna as a decoy to take the hits for him. Reilly and Dagnino will obviously try to give Ben whatever protection they can, but again they will need to focus on their Who’s The Boss’ matches, so finding a someone who can focus on protecting him before, during and after a match could be key.

Going into the matches themselves, Bateman may also have to change up his attitude a bit. Partnering with Reilly has brought out his good side, but has he gone too far into the light? Let’s not forget the match against KOrruption where he was going after Chance Ellison and Mike Kalinowski at every opportunity. Now that he’s set that strategy aside, it is giving his opposition a chance to settle into he game. I’m not saying that he needs to go full heel again, but he needs to keep an edge to his play. Ghai and Burnett will be loud so Bateman needs to find a way to shut them up early.

But let’s suppose that the worst happens and Bateman finds himself on the losing side in Houston. Ghai has history of beating stronger players – I don’t think anyone is forgetting his Singles debut against Dan Murrell anytime soon! While that would effectively bring Bateman’s Singles campaign to an end for 2019, it does not have to be the end of the world.

Despite losing two matches in a row, Who’s The Boss are still arguably one of the elite teams in the division and I will be shocked if they are not in contention for the belt again by the end of the season. The Singles Division is so strong at the moment, it could be argued that the Teams League is in fact Bateman’s best chance of a belt at the moment anyway, despite the dominant run the Shirewolves are on.

There is another option available to The Boss, though: Innergeekdom.

Bateman has teased a couple of times that he could give the Innergeekdom a try in the future and what better time than while he’s cut out of the Singles Division. Bateman is thorough and organised in his studies, so Innergeekdom – which has a finite number of movies that can be used – could arguably be easier to study for than the Singles Division. Not only that, but a move into Innergeekdom could allow him another shot at The Family by challenging Burnett in his debut – beating the original Innergeekdom Champion in his first match in the Division would be a great signal of intent.

Could he win that belt? There’s real strength on the Innergeekdom roster with Cushing, Kalinowski and Smets, but once he’s studied up, I would never rule him out.

Do you think Bateman can turn things around in time for Houston? Let me know how you think he can do this season.

HFS: The Top 10 Moments of Schmoedown Spectacular III!

HFS: The Top 10 Moments of Schmoedown Spectacular III!

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 coming weeks, I will be 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 1/1/2019


Now that the dust has settled and we’ve feasted far too much over the holidays, I’m sure we can all agree that the biggest event in the Schmoedown calendar was (as its name suggests) Spectacular! Schmoedown Spectacular 3 gave us six wonderful matches and so much more besides, enough to keep us busy discussing the possibilities while we await Season 6.

With so many hours of footage, there was obviously a lot to take in, but I have tried to put together what I feel to be the top 10 moments from the event!

10. The Future of the Schmoedown

Maybe not as flashy or funny as some of the other moments on this list, Kristian’s announcement of the future of the league going into Season 6 was so important it had to appear on my list. It is understandably a controversial decision to some people but it is also an exciting moment as we look to see the Schmoedown growing into live streams.

9. Alex Uses The Force

Alex confronted Ken, Kalinowski and Chance ahead of the Star Wars title match. The KOrruption boys tried to jump the champion and steal the belt, only to fall through what was revealed to be a Force projection. This was a great little moment to hype up the coming match and include Alex – who appears more confident with each match – in the storylines. The cameo from Nathan Hamill as his teacher saying that it worked out better than the last guy who tried it was a great little surprise.

8. One Letter Off

The Commissioner Bowl may not have been the best match of the event, but it was certainly an exciting one with a lot of fun moments. Probably the best moment of the match itself was Tom Dagnino’s first question of Round 3. Asked “Who wrote and directed the 2016 film Suicide Squad?” he answered David Ayers rather than David Ayer, missing out on the point despite one of the most questionable challenges I have ever seen. What makes this moment such a standout is that Dagnino was eliminated with 11 points, while none of his opponents could score higher than 12, meaning that we were just 1 letter away from having Dagnino as Commissioner!

7. One Last Dance

I’m a big Horsemen and Top 10 fan so a bit of bias may have come into this pick. Following John Rocha’s unsuccessful title defence, Matt Knost announced that he would be stepping away from the Schmoedown and with one last shimmy exited the league. I’ve really enjoyed Knost’s wit and humour over the years while his knowledge has probably made him one of the more underrated players in the Teams Division, so it is a real loss to the league. Hopefully he will find the time to return in the future to call a couple of matches at the desk. As if the emotion at Knost leaving wasn’t enough, there is also the excitement to build now for who will replace him as the 5th Horseman, something that I’m sure will keep us theorising until the reveal.

6. Perfect All Round

You always want a good performance in a title match and The Shirewolves vs. Who’s The Boss? did not disappoint. With the scores at 12-13 in favour of the challengers after Round 1 (only 7 of a possible 32 combined points dropped), The Shirewolves spun a strength in Sandra Bullock and fired through the round to go 6/6 for a perfect 12 points. Who’s The Boss? got stuck on Festival Darlings, which they didn’t appear confident in, but knowing the need for a good score to keep in touch, Reilly and Bateman matches Clarke and Rachel’s feat, going 6/6 for a perfect 12 points. Frank Janisch will know better than I will, but both teams going perfect in Round 2 is a rare feat and just highlighted the quality of the teams on display.

5. Burning The Mask

After hours of watching Tom Dagnino look everywhere for his missing mask, Spectacular III ended with us seeing the grubbiest piece of knitwear in Los Angeles being thrown in a bucket and set alight by a mysterious figure, revealed to be Robert Meyer Burnett. Last seen being abandoned by the Lion’s Den at Spectacular II, it will be interesting to see what impact “The Captain” has on the league in Season 6. He will surely be looking to win back his Innergeekdom title in what has become a much stronger division, while it looks like he may now have a feud with Dagnino to go along with his feuds with Rocha and Hector Navarro.

4. It Was Him All Along

The KOrruption storyline had clearly been building to a head in recent months and we finally found out who was behind Mike Kalinowski’s evildoings following the Commissioner Bowl. Thadd shredded an envelope containing sensitive information that was meant to be revealed if he lost, only for Paulie G to come out and announce that he had a second copy, the contents of which would be announced by his employer… Kristian Harloff! The former Commissioner announced that he had always been aware that the contract stated he would revert to Commissioner after four months, only for Thadd to hide the page. Harloff announced himself as the Chairman of the Schmoedown and said that Emma Fyffe will be a Commissioner with other Commissioners still to be announced.

While bringing a great end to the KOrruption and Commissioner storylines this season, we now have the excitement of seeing how the Chairman runs the league with multiple Commissioners, while it will be interesting to see if Kalinowski begins a vendetta against Harloff now he sees how he was manipulated.

3. The Mystery Basterd

With some Schmoedown competitors actually working in movies, there is always a chance that one day they will eventually be the answer to a question in the Schmoedown. This happened perfectly in Rocha v Erwin when during the speed round they were asked “Who played Pfc Hirschberg in the war film Inglourious Basterds?” Now with so many Basterds, it’s difficult to remember each one’s name and you could tell that both competitors wanted to guess Samm Levine but didn’t want to look foolish if it was wrong. When it was announced that the former Singles Champion was indeed the right answer, the moment got even better as it turned out he was in the crowd and he came on to take the belt that neither of them deserved. Any time we get to see Samm is a great moment and for this to happen in the main event of Spectacular 3, one year after he became champion, was just perfect!

2. Who Run the World?

The Shirewolves vs. Who’s The Boss? match makes this list for a second time, this time for the Shirewolves’ entrance. Coming out to “Run the World” by Beyoncé, the Shirewolves used their entrance to showcase the wealth of female talent in the league, being accompanied out by a number of female competitors including then-Innergeekdom Champion Mara Knopic, and Vipers Jeannine the Machine and Markeia McCarty. We always know to expect a great entrance form Clarke and Rachel, but following Clarke’s statement that “We are the league” following their first title victory, this was a beautiful way to remind everyone that the Schmoedown does not need a women’s league as the women involved are more than capable of beating the men put in front of them.

1. The Tackle II

Andrew Ghai’s tackle of John Rocha stole the headlines at Schmoedown Spectacular 2 last year, and he did it again. The wannabe linebacker came to commiserate with former teammate Ben Bateman following his loss in the Team Title Match. When Bateman expressed an interest in sticking with Reilly, Ghai accepted it, announcing that he had found a new teammate and suggesting the four of them make their own faction before leaving. Bateman was clearly so happy that Ghai understood and his comment in the post-match interview of “Action Army for life” showed that he was still committed to his brother in arms… right up until the moment Ghai tackled him through a table. The hearts of the Action Army broke as they watched Ghai show his disgust for Bateman’s newfound respect and spitting on his former brother before being chased off by Reilly.

Now the Army must decide if they are #TeamGhai or #TeamBateman and Ghai’s feud with Ben is surely going to play a part in Season 6, while William Bibbiani may also be after Ghai unless he repays the former champion for the broken table!

So those were my top 10 moments, what are yours…?

Anarchy Round 1

Anarchy Round 1

The 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown is underway and as its name suggested, the Team tournament has been anarchy. For those of you who have missed a big chunk of this season (you’re missing out and really need to go back and watch what you missed), all teams were disbanded and picked from a hat, leading to 16 new teams – well technically 15 new and the Wildberries – and a number of new managers. Following the Shirewolves’ victory to earn the Team Title and a few other issues with the original selections, the 16 teams were confirmed along with the bracket and the tournament kicked off at the 3rd live event.

The Round 1 results were:

  • Founding Fathers beat Wait, I Know This! by TKO 20-17
  • The Paddington Two beat War Machine by TKO 23-21
  • The Odd Couple beat Team Seb’s by TKO 20-10
  • Who’s the Boss? beat Crazy Eighty-Greats 28-27
  • Cinemaniacs beat Franchise Force by TKO 26-19
  • KOrruption beat Inky and the Brain 19-18
  • Take the Cannoli beat The Self-Righteous Brothers 35-31
  • Evil Geniuses beat Wildberries by TKO 25-15

Now rather than try to do a write-up for each match as I did for the Innergeekdom Tournament, as many of these teams may not have much of a future I have decided instead to give my overall thoughts on the round instead.

Who stole Kal?

Ben Bateman was famously thrown out of Collider Collision II by Commissioner Thadd Williams after evidence suggested he was responsible for the theft of Kal the Schmoe Dog, which left Mark Reilly unable to attend fellow Horseman Dan Murrell’s match against Andrew Ghai.

mtskalgonebenIt became clear ahead of his first match with Ben as part of Who’s the Boss? that Reilly has not forgotten or forgiven “The Boss” for this. But Bateman once again declared his innocence and I’m still inclined to agree with him. It still seems far too convenient to me that Thadd was sent a picture of Kal in Bateman’s car as he was stood with Team Action.

But who would steal Kal and set up Bateman? Well Finstock is one potential culprit and that could play in great later down the line considering he is now managing this team, but I have a sneaky feeling that Kal’s disappearance was part of a greater corruption… or should I say KOrruption. Kalinowski has made it clear that he is not a fan of factions and the Horsemen are the one faction he has not made clear moves against, while it would have been a great chance to put Andrew Ghai off his game against Murrell (if that was the plan, it didn’t work) as revenge for Action’s win over DC Movie News.

Changes to the Viper Squad?

When it was first announced that Ethan Erwin and Jeannine “The Machine” would be on a team together and managed by Jay Washington, this looked like the perfect opportunity for the Viper Squad to recruit him. Unfortunately, plans may have been scuppered slightly by Ethan having to swap partners due to scheduling issues, but “The Urban Gladiator” managed to sweet-talk Thadd into allowing him to manage both teams. Sadly for Jay, neither of his teams could make it past Round 1, but it looks like he may still have a chance of winning over Erwin as he announced that he will remain as his manager for the remainder of the season.

The Viper Squad have done a good job this year considering two of the 3 competitors are rookies and there are some underrated talents in that faction, but if they can convince Ethan Erwin to join the faction, then that will instantly make their rivals sit up and take notice.

mtsmarkeiaBut will all of the other Vipers still be there? It looks like Jay has managed to keep the peace between Jeannine and Stacy Howard after they were put up against each other and Andreyko at Collision, but “Marvelous” Markeia McCarty appeared to be enjoying her time away from the Viper Squad as manager of Take The Cannoli, saying that she felt smothered and not allowed to shine in the Viper Squad. The Viper Squad could really push into the upper echelons of the factions if they can continue to grow together, if they have to keep rebuilding every year, it will be hard for them to dominate the league.

A star is born

As far as debuts go, they don’t go much better than Chance Ellison. “The Cobra” made his debut alongside Mike Kalinowski as part of KOrruption at the tender age of 20 (I feel old!) and looked instantly at home. Having come up from the fan leagues, people already knew that the knowledge was there, it was just a question of whether he could cope in the top flight with the pressure of the lights and the crowds. Well he’s already popped up onstage at the live event, joined Napzok and Kalinowski in a pre-match scene and won his debut team match.

mtschanceAnd in his debut match itself, he was the top scorer in the opening round, missing a perfect round by just 1 point whilst also correctly answering his solo question in the final round and working well with “The Killer” to work through a poor spin in Round 2. 1 match may be a small sample size, but so far he’s proving the crowd’s chants of “overrated” very wrong. The Founding Fathers will be a much sterner test than Inky and the Brain and there will be no easy matches as they work through the bracket, but if they can carry on through the tournament, Chance could add his name to the shortlist for Rookie of the Year.

One other thing that could help him go for Rookie of the Year would be a strong start to his Singles career. He’s been named as one of the 5 competitors in contention for the final 2 places in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. There are some strong names even in that group of 5 so there is no guarantee that he will progress, but if he can continue how he has started, we may have just seen a new tar enter the league.

mtstptRoom for improvement

The Paddington Two may have beat War Machine and impressed me along the way, but they will have sterner tests as the tournament progresses. They clearly have a strong knowledge of movies but I still worry that (despite Matt Atchity having now played 12 matches and both Free 4 Alls) they will struggle with their knowledge of how to play the game.

When Atchity and Duralde were conferring in Round 2 they were making no attempt to cover their mouths, so if they had got the question wrong, their conferring may have helped their opponents get to the right answer for the steal. Atchity also asked on a steal for multiple choice – not possible as War Machine went for a 2-point answer – which is something that I have noticed he does in most of his matches.

The Schmeodown has come on so far from its beginnings, movie trivia will get you so far but you need to be able to play the game if you are going to rise to the top. I can’t see them pulling off a result against The Odd Couple.

mtscoyMore please

One of the best bits of Round 1 has been seeing some other competitors reborn as managers. I’ve been a fan of Coy Jandreau’s happiness and enthusiasm when he is on the Schmoedown and I was so happy to see him named as a manger in this tournament. He didn’t disappoint at all with his Jeff-Goldblum-inspired promo at the live event and while I was happy as a Horsemen fan to see the Founding Fathers win, it was disappointing knowing that Coy’s time as a manger in this tournament would be over.

Jonny Loquasto is another who I have really enjoyed this year as a mouthpiece for his competitors and again it is a shame that his time in the competition was over almost as fast as his time at the announcer’s desk at Collision.

Markeia looked energised managing Take the Cannoli – who can blame her with competitors like Drew and Brianne! – and Ricky Hayberg was a wonderful addition to the Wildberries.

I really hope that the Anarchy tournament leads to some of these guys deciding to stay as managers as they have not all found success competing but all bring something to the league. They don’t all need to start factions, but even just being as mouthpieces for unaligned competitors would bring a new dimension to the league, whilst also ensuring it wasn’t the same 4 or 5 people competing in the Manager Bowl every year at Spectacular.

Predicting the Quarterfinals

I wrote this during the week before the quarterfinals started but due to a combination of work and travel, it is likely that the first match will have aired by the time this goes up.

The Odd Couple v The Paddington Two: Assuming Sneider and Andreyko can continue to work together, I think their better knowledge of the game will give The Odd Couple the victory

mtswtbCinemaniacs v Who’s the Boss?: Plenty of pedigree in this match with the current Singles Champion and former Team Champion facing off against the former 2-time Singles Champ and one of the best prospects in the game. Reilly is getting over his rust and I think the way that he and Bateman are gelling will see them make it to the semis

The Harris Bros v Take the Cannoli: It’s such a shame that JTE has had to step back from the Schmoedown for the rest of the season as he recovers (get well soon JTE!) as it looks like the Evil Geniuses could have been dangerous. I don’t know anything about Lon’s new competitor other than that it is his brother, so I have to lean towards Take the Cannoli

UntitledFounding Fathers v KOrruption: Putting aside all Horsemen bias here, I’ve still got to pick the Founding Fathers as they have experience on their side. That said, if Chance can put in another great performance and the categories fall right for Kalinowski, this could easily go against the former champions

What did you think about the first round of the tournament? Who stood out to you and who are you expecting to win in the Quarters? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Ready for Action

Ready for Action

Let me start this by being very clear, I am a fan of Rocha, Top 10 and The Horsemen. When I first started watching the Schmoedown just before the first Collision, I found myself rooting for Rocha and Knost following Bibbiani and Burnett’s betrayal and have kept my support with them ever since. So I pains me to write this… but I since they joined the league, I have also come to love Team Action.

mtsrochaghaiRight, that’s enough kayfabe for now, let’s be serious here.

WARNING – this will contain spoilers for Rocha v Ghai

Since joining the Schmoedown in March 2017 with a TKO victory over the Nightsisters, Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Drew Ghai have been leaving their mark on the league. Originally acting like a pair of jerks in their early matches (except when their mothers were in attendance), they began to shine in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament, with their antics seriously getting under their opponent’s skin – none more so than against Team Trek and Top 10 – on the way to the final where they lost to super-team Above The Line. Continuing to give disrespect, they faced Top 10 in a rematch at Spectacular 2 with a title shot on the line. The veterans came in strong and defeated their young rivals and then… things went crazy!

mtsthetackleAndrew Ghai, in a fit of madness maybe caused by having his hair ruffled earlier by Dale The Dude, tackled John Rocha and found himself quickly suspended for 3 months. Would a spell away from the league calm these 2 own? No chance!

Ben Bateman took it as an opportunity to further his career in the Singles League, following up a loss in the Fatal Fiveway Qualifier for the last Ultimate Schmoedown spot with a TKO victory over Dale The Dude while really growing the persona of “The Boss”. He has continued this since Ghai’s return by beating Scott Mantz – resulting in having his face on the Movie Release Dates wheel slice – in between losses to Andreyko and Rocha – each of whom were on runs to title matches.

mtsghaijawsIt is with Ghai though that we see the real fun. He returned to the league with a shock appearance at Free 4 All II, taking the place meant for the retired Dan Murrell, who he had apparently killed. Following this, we had a couple of months of him strutting around telling everyone who would listen (and everyone who wouldn’t) how he was the Ghai that beat the GOAT, until he took his antics one step too far and drew Murrell out of retirement to join the new-look Horsemen at the 2nd live event.

mtsghaiwins
The Horsemen’s worst nightmare came true

Murrell immediately challenged him to a match at Collision 2 and everybody was (eagerly in many cases) waiting for the former champion to teach the young upstart a lesson. Well THAT didn’t go to plan at all! Ghai TKO’d Murrell in possibly the biggest shock in Schmoedown history, and followed it up with another TKO over another former champion in Mark “Yodi” Reilly on his return to the league to set up a Number 1 Contender match against his biggest enemy, John Rocha. Unfortunately for Ghai and the Action Army, 3 former champions in a row was one step too far and he fell to The Outlaw, but had done enough to earn his respect and a handshake.

Much in the way that Rocha took the Schmoedown to a new level in Season 3 with his persona of “The Outlaw”, Ben and Drew have raised the bar in what it means to be a heel an the personas of “The Boss” and “Dastardly” are 2 of the best in the league. There probably isn’t anyone else in the league whose persona is so far away from their real-life personalities. Both individually and as a team, these guys are box office and I always find myself wondering what they’ll be getting up to next. Will they steal another pet? Tackle someone else? Actually say Jenn rather than Jessica?

mtsbossThe important thing, though, is that they can back up the heel attitudes with the performances. From watching their matches and their Schmoedown chats on their Patreon, they have good knowledge of movies but are some of the best players of the game itself. They strategise how to beat someone – look at Ghai not giving Murrell Sports Movies as he had likely studied this after getting it in his loss to Harloff – while also knowing when it is worth using a JTE rule and (especially Bateman) using all of the allotted time to answer the question and ensure they are getting it right. They have also proved to have strengths in categories many competitors would prefer to shy away from like OscarsComedies and Movie Release Dates.

mtsactiontrekRecords of 2-3 (Bateman) and 2-1 (Ghai) may not seem amazing for the way I’ve hyped them up, but I can’t think of anyone who has had a tougher opening 3 matches than Ghai’s 3 former champions, while 2nd place in a Fatal Fiveway and losses to 2 competitors on their way to title shots is nothing for Bateman to be disappointed about! Even as a team, their 4 losses have come to Nerd’s Watch (who reached a Number 1 Contender match) and Top 10 and Above the Line, who have both held the Team Belts – these guys don’t lose to just anybody!

This strength allows them to have such an impact on storylines as it means they can appear regularly by continuing to win, while their heel personas would not work anywhere near as well if they were losing every time. They have been involved in some of the best storyline moments of the season: their win over DC Movie News pushed Mike Kalinowski over the edge and seeing him leave The League and establish KOrruption, they brought back fan favourites Reilly and Murrell (that ending to the second live event is still my moment of the year) and gave the Horsemen their first rivalry as they look to establish themselves in the league.

mtsroghaiBut what next for these 2? Bateman is teamed with Reilly in the Anarchy Tournament and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go the distance and challenge the Shirewolves at Spectacular 3. I doubt Bateman’s record will see him in the 8 people contesting the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament, but the quality of opposition Ghai has faced could see him just make the cut. Away from the matches themselves, Ghai refusing to work with Jay Washington could potentially see Team Action’s next rivalry be with the Viper Squad and while I don’t expect to see them becoming Horsemen (a faction would probably shackle them) there does appear to be a growing respect between them and they may find themselves as uneasy allies from time to time *braces for the outcry from Action Army and Outlaw Nation*

Where’s the belt? Potentially not that far away!

mtstopgun