The greatest match in history?

The greatest match in history?

With the Movie Trivia Schmoedown going into its 7ᵗʰ season, there are a number of matches that can be looked back on as the “greatest ever”. There are so many things that go into a match being considered for that title: stakes (is a title on the line), the format (Iron Man match/3-round/5-round), rivalries, perfect rounds, perfect games, sudden death, comebacks, shock upsets, crazy wheel spins, not to mention the personalities of the competitors and the way they interact onstage. Add in the live events and an audience of hundreds watching live and things go to another level.

There have been so many fantastic matches: Dan Murrell winning the Singles Title from Ethan Erwin in New York, Rachel Cushing winning the Innergeekdom Title from Mike Kalinowski in sudden death, Mara Knopic beating Rachel Cuhing on the 11ᵗʰ question in sudden death, Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell by TKO, Mark Reilly winning the Singles Title from John Rocha, Sam Witwer winning the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok in an Iron Man match as time elapsed.

But after February 29ᵗʰ, I think we could have a new contender for the title “greatest match of all time”.

mts poster atlanta live

No offence to Alex Damon and Emily Jacobson, but I am of course talking about the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Dan Murrell entered the league in Season 2 as part of Team Champs alongside Mark Reilly, but it was in the Singles Division that he made his name, with his exploits in Seasons 3 and 4 having him considered the GOAT of the Schmoedown before his retirement. He returned in Season 5 and after a bumpy start, his partnership with John Rocha in the Founding Fathers and his return to success in Singles brought him back into the GOAT discussion, with his absence from Innergeekdom (until now) the main argument to put Rachel Cushing ahead of him.

MTS Spectacular IV Horsemen Murrell Rocha Reilly Bateman Dagnino StergerBen Bateman joined the league in Season 4 as part of Team Action, but it was Andrew Ghai’s suspension at the end of the season that really kick-started his Singles career going into Season 5. While he showed flashes on his own, it looked like he was potentially on the road to a good but not great Singles career, until he smashed his way through the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown, finishing off by winning the final against William Bibbiani at Spectacular IV and returning later int he evening to win the title from Paul Oyama via KO. Murrell will be his first attempt at defending his title.

These 2 competitors are stars of the league and have become part of the most successful iteration of the Horsemen, who find themselves at the head of The Finstock Exchange. While they may be teammates within the Exchange, these are 2 driven individuals and neither will want a loss on their record. Ben Bateman is one of the driving forces of the new wave of Schmoedown competitor. He coined the term “Schmoedown Pro” and has embodied it, going heavy on the study not just of the movies, but also his opponents and the game, to ensure that he has the strategy to beat anyone. Murrell has certainly developed more strategy since his return to the league, but his game has always been more about having the superior knowledge and it is a shock if he misses more than a couple of questions in a match. This difference in styles will be incredible to see play out in front of us.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Houston-Live-Five-Horsemen-Booker-T

Add in the extra historical significance of this match: Dan Murrell has never lost at a live event, with 6 victories and a Free 4 All victory to his name. Bateman is 3-2 in live matches. Murrell has never lost when coming in as a #1 Contender, whereas this is Bateman’s 1ˢᵗ title defence. If Bateman wins, he will be the 5ᵗʰ of the 9 Singles Champions to have successfully defended the title at least once. If Murrell wins, he becomes the only 4-time Singles Champion and only the 4ᵗʰ double-belted champion.

I may be jinxing this match, but with so much at stake and 2 elite competitors in front of a manic crowd, I really think we could be looking at the greatest Schmoedown match of all time. Who do I think will win? I can’t separate the 2, so I’m going to chicken out and call The Finstock Exchange the winners.

Tickets for the live event are available at theschmoedownlive.com where you can also purchase access to the live stream, or if you are a $10+ patron on the Schmoedown Patreon you will automatically be granted access to the live stream. It will be available to watch at a later date, but I don’t think this is one to be missed!

mts bateman murrell atlanta

SCHMOEDOWN MASTERPIECES: John Rocha vs. Mark Reilly III (w/ Reilly Commentary!)

SCHMOEDOWN MASTERPIECES: John Rocha vs. Mark Reilly III (w/ Reilly Commentary!)

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 4/9/2019


Season 4 of the Schmoedown was full of memorable matches as the show began to ramp up into the extravaganza that it is today. Just one look at the contenders for Match of the Year at the end of season awards gives an idea of how great the season was: Witwer vs. Napzok, McWeeny vs. JTE, Patriots vs. Above The Line, Rocha vs. Murrell, Harloff vs. Sneider, Murrell vs. Reilly vs. Rocha… the list goes on!

There is one match, though, that didn’t make the shortlist for the award and I think gets underappreciated when we look back at older matches: John Rocha vs. Mark Reilly III.

As I was looking back at this match to write this piece, I reached out to Reilly to ask if he had any memories from this match, which I will include his thoughts as we go through.

In April of 2017 John Rocha was firmly in his heel persona that gave the heels of today a platform from which to build. Reilly was the hero… the original champion. Having defeated Dan Murrell, Rocha had finally won the Singles Belt and his first defence would come against his old rival, who had defeated Samm Levine and Clarke Wolfe to earn a shot to win his title back. These were two titans of the game, who would be facing off for a 4th time, Rocha holding a 2-0 record in Singles and a 1-0 record in Teams from when Top 10 defeated Team Champs in Season 2.

“Rocha was on fire after beating Murrell and I wanted my title back. But I realized the only way to do that was to have fun. Embrace the game and put some faith in the Schmoedown Gods that I would know the answers needed to win.” ~ Mark Reilly

After two great promos that heightened the hero versus villain aspect and the rivalry between the two, it came down to the entrances, and it looked like the match may be over before it even began as word went out that Mark Reilly had been hurt and would be unable to compete, which would lead to Rocha defending his title by default. Just as the situation seemed darkest, Reilly’s Wolves of Steel teammate Clarke Wolfe ran out to the desk with an announcement that instantly perked up the crowd: “Mark Reilly’s gonna fight!”

Yodi emerged with a limp and wearing a Karate Gi and as the music began, it became clear that he was paying homage to The Karate Kid as he channelled his inner Daniel LaRusso with the “Crane” stance and front kick. From Reilly’s entrance we went to the champion and “The Outlaw” was on form. Suited up for the occasion and with his trademark cowboy hat and mask, with the Singles Belt over his shoulder. Such was the importance of this match, he even requested his Horsemen not escort him out for the match, this was just about him and Reilly.

“I loosened up. I decided to have fun and let the match play out naturally. Win or lose, I was going to go in there and play my best, have fun, and answer one question at a time.” ~ Mark Reilly

The match began and it lived up to the hype that came before. Round 1 saw the pair each go 7/8, with the crowd going wild as Rocha became the first to drop a point and remaining much quieter when he immediately drew level – it was clear who they were supporting in this match!

Round 2 saw Rocha defer to Reilly and things looked to be going in The Outlaw’s favour as Reilly’s first spin landed on Opponent’s Choice. While this could have been devastating, in a decision that may have in hindsight lost Rocha the match, he gave Reilly the category Scores & Soundtracks, something that most would look to avoid, but Reilly counts among his strengths. While Rocha did get a point through steals, Reilly still managed a respectable 5 points. Rocha’s luck with the Wheel in this match continued as he spun Spinner’s Choice and selected his specialty of Westerns, going 4/4 for 7 points.

“Then I hit Opponents Choice. I could have let that bad luck beat me. But I kept going and had fun. Then I had the Sandlot moment – and kept going. Who cares. Answer the questions as they come. There were no nerves, just trivia. I kept smiling and knowing that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.” ~ Mark Reilly

While Rounds 3 and 4 saw neither competitor able to change the points difference, the buzzer round gave a wonderful moment that Reilly still brings up to this day as one of the biggest brain-farts of his Schmoedown career as he guessed “The Sandlot” instead of “Scream,” despite Ghostface being among the characters named in the question!

Rocha went into the final round with a 3-point lead and after both missed their 2-pointers but hit their 3-pointers, Reilly took advantage of the JTE Rule on his 5-pointer to take a 16-18 lead. In a mirror to Rocha’s win over Murrell, the champion was left having to answer their final question correctly to defend their title, but like Murrell before him, Rocha was unable to answer correctly, and the title passed back to Mark Reilly.

“When Rocha missed his five pointer and I was champ again, I knew I would never doubt myself again – win or lose.” ~ Mark Reilly

What is there to love about this match? So much! This was a perfect balance of trivia and kayfabe and really showed the best of what the Schmoedown had to offer. It was this match’s appearance on Collider’s Behind the Scenes & Bloopers series that helped convince me to give the main competition a look and not just the occasional Star Wars matches. This was also a historic match, as Reilly became the first two-time champion.

Not only that, but it added more fuel to the rivalry between Rocha and Reilly – who would have thought that within 18 months the pair would be in the same faction?! – while Rocha losing the title and his insistence on a rematch helped set up the Battle of the Champions as Reilly, Rocha and Murrell all faced off in a Triple Threat at Collision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted to TriviaSD.com 27/8/2019


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

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

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

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

“Give me nerd strength” – Sam Witwer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MIKEY THREE-BELTS?! – How Mike Kalinowski Could Become the First Triple-Champion

MIKEY THREE-BELTS?! – How Mike Kalinowski Could Become the First Triple-Champion

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 31/7/2019


Paul Oyama’s recent victory over Dan Murrell brought the number of Schmoedown Pros who have held a title up to 24. Of those 24 Pros, only four have managed to hold two different titles during their Schmoedown career. Narrowing things down even further, only Samm Levine (Singles and Teams) and Rachel Cushing (Teams and Innergeekdom) have the distinction of holding multiple belts at the same time.

Right now though, there is one man on a path to go one step further, and become the first person to hold three belts at the same time. And his name is Mike Kalinowski.

“The Killer” won his first title by defeating Mara Knopic in Spectacular III’s Innergeekdom Championship Match, and after losing it to Rachel Cushing in the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown, he began his quest to become Champion again. But not just in the Innergeekdom, but in Singles and Teams as well.

As such, he can consider July 2019 a resounding success, after he TKO’d Jeannine “The Machine” in the Singles Division and won a Teams #1 Contender Match with KOrruption against the Founding Fathers, right before capping things off by winning the Innergeekdom belt back from Rachel Cushing in front of a live crowd in San Diego.

So what is next for him in his quest to become “Mikey Three-Belts”?

Let’s start with the Teams Division, where KOrruption’s win over the Founding Fathers means that they will take on the Shirewolves in the near future in a Championship Match. The Shirewolves will likely go in as favourites, but KOrruption should never be ruled out. Even though Chance hasn’t experienced the 5-round format in the league, Mike has now competed in four 5-round matches (three Innergeekdom Title Matches and the final of 2018’s Innergeekdom Tournament) so they’re not lacking in Championship match experience. Both Mike and Chance have a good breadth of knowledge and you can almost guarantee that James Bond will be on the wheel given Mike’s recent successes there, while they will probably look towards one of Chance’s strengths – possibly Disney or Pixar – instead of Comic Book Movies, given the danger of Rachel running through the category if the Shirewolves were to hit the slice.

While some may suggest that Mike’s recent Innergeekdom run means that his focus hasn’t been on the wider categories, he made it to a #1 Contender match with his performances in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament and he has still performed strongly in his recent Singles and Team matches, to the point that I feel this won’t be as much of an issue as people think. Clarke is famed for being quick on the buzzer, but Mike has proved himself to be equally capable there, so don’t be too shocked if this comes down to the final question.

In the Singles Division he still has a way to go, but Mike’s path is clearly laid out before him. A face-off with Ben “The Boss” Bateman will see the winner take on Jeff “The Insneider” Sneider in a #1 Contender Match. The prize? A chance to take on Paul Oyama for the title live in New York.

The match with Bateman is an interesting one. With Andreyko having now won the Teams Title, Ben Bateman is arguably the best competitor to have not yet won a belt, and he is keen to bring that title drought to an end. Bateman consistently earns 6+ points in Round 1, so I expect things will be close there. Going into Round 2, I think that this could be the key round. Bateman’s go-to slice is Movie Release Dates, which he can run through similar to Mike in James Bond, while he is also especially strong in Oscars. While Bond will likely be on the wheel for Mike, there is always the risk that Bateman will know this and take the chance to study the category enough that he feels confident if he lands on the slice.

Beyond that, some of Mike’s other obvious strengths – Comic Book Movies and Tom Cruise – may also be dangerous picks given Ben is very competent in these categories. It will be a difficult match, but with the run Mike is on, he can never be ruled out.

Moving onto a #1 Contender Match against Sneider, should he get that far, one of the keys to victory for Kalinowski will be keeping his head. Sneider is always looking for ways to put his opponent off and is very good at getting under his opponent’s skin, while he is also very good at challenging on the slightest of technicalities, whereas Mike has at times appeared to be put out of rhythm by challenges in the past. Since the low point of his KO loss to Bibbiani, Sneider has been on a roll in Teams and Singles and may also be fresher given the number of matches Mike will have been playing in recent months.

Sneider has proved in the past that he does have weaknesses, so a poor spin in Round 2 could easily lead to another collapse like against Bibbiani. However given the positive impact that Roxy has had on him, it may be that her rivalry with Kalinowski – a result of him leaving The League when he felt she, Adam and Jonny weren’t supporting him – has led to Sneider upping his game to make it third time lucky in a Singles #1 Contender Match.

Assuming Kalinowski makes it through the gauntlet of Bateman and Sneider, it is time for a trip to New York to take on Paul Oyama in front of a live audience. This is much harder match to judge right now as Oyama has only competed in six Schmoedown matches and the Free 4 All to date, which means that there is less gametape for Mike to look at when studying his opponent. However, this is where he will likely benefit from his faction. Chance was a fellow competitor in the fan leagues before stepping up to become a Pro, so he will be able to help prepare for Oyama with extra information about his strengths and weaknesses.

Over five Rounds, it is hard to imagine there will be much separating them since Oyama has a great breadth of knowledge and looked quick on the buzzer against Murrell, similar to what Mike has demonstrated in Innergeekdom. What could b the difference is the impact of a live audience, as Paul will already be feeling the pressure of a first title defence, and the addition of a live audience will no doubt heighten that pressure. Mike has proved time and again that he thrives in front of a live audience. This would be the fifth live event that he would have been onstage for (he crashed the stage at the 3rd 2018 LA event, came out with Chance in New York, competed in the live Free 4 All and defeated Rachel in San Diego), so he knows how it feels to be competing with so many eyes on him.

Will we be witnessing history over the coming months with the crowning of “Mikey Three-Belts”? He’s got a hard road ahead of him, but as he has proved plenty of times recently, he is more than happy to be written off by the fan polls… and prove them completely wrong.

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

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 15/7/2019


The Shirewolves made history once again at Collision III when they became the first team to reclaim the Teams title. It’s is a feat that had accomplished before: the Patriots lost their rematch against Above The Line, while Top 10 failed to get revenge on the Patriots twice, including the infamous “Jane Fonda” match.

As of now, nobody has ever regained their belt in the Innergeekdom Division, and in fact Mike Kalinowski will be the first former Champion in the division to even challenge for the belt again, as both Mara Knopic and Jason Inman stepped away from competition following their title losses, and Burnett and Navarro have not yet been able to get back to the top of the rankings.

The only division that has really seen any repetition of champions has been the Singles Division. Dan Murrell is currently enjoying his 3rd title reign, while both John Rocha and Mark Reilly have won the belt on 2 separate occasions.

Seeing the Shirewolves start their second reign as team Champions got me thinking: who (if anyone) will be able to regain their title by the end of the season? Having thought about it, I’ve selected the five players I think are most likely. (For all you fans of the Star Wars Division, Ken Napzok and Sam Witwer would have definitely been in the discussion if they were playing, but a recent comment from Kristian suggested that the next #1 Contender Match will likely involve people who competed at Celebration and that the winner would be in the last Title Match that the division holds this year.)

Mike Kalinowski

As mentioned, Kalinowski is the first former Innergeekdom Champion to earn a second shot at the belt, having just defeated Kevin Smets at Collision. He is without a doubt one of the top three current Innergeekdom competitors and even though he has lost to Rachel both times they faced off in the Division (and also once outside the Division, when she KO’d him in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match), he has more than enough knowledge to go the distance again, just like when he lost the belt to Cushing in Sudden Death. The match is set to be held live in San Diego during Comic-Con, which I think gives “The Killer” a slight advantage, as live events seem to bring the best out of him. Either way, it could be a contender for Match of the Year.

John Rocha

“The Outlaw” is a former Teams Champion and two-time former Singles Champion, but it is in the Teams division where I think he’s more likely to regain a title this year. While he may no longer be part of Top 10, his new partnership with Dan Murrell has created a formidable team. At 3-1, the Founding Fathers aren’t far off from a shot at the title and they certainly have the pedigree to take down the Shirewolves. Even if they find their run halted by a loss, they could take advantage of Murrell’s Free 4 All victory to get themselves an immediate title shot at any time.

William Bibbiani

“The Beast” claimed the vacant Singles Title after Samm Levine walked away from Competition but lost it to John Rocha on his first defence. One of the best in the game in terms of overall knowledge, he can never be ruled out of a match and even won a Triple Threat match earlier this year against Ethan Erwin and John Rocha. Bibbs hasn’t played in the Singles Division since his loss to Dan Murrell at the start of May, but as the Free 4 All MVP, he has the chance to cash in a #1 Contender Match at any time, which means he’s only ever two wins away from reclaiming the belt.

Ethan Erwin

If we’re taking about incredible knowledge, then we need to mention Ethan Erwin, who Kristian Harloff recently stated on Collider Live was unable to feature in the Free 4 All but played along and would have made it to the end, knocking Bibbiani out earlier in the event. Erwin is the only competitor to date to win the Singles Title in his rookie year and though he lost on his first defence, Dan Murrell needed to play a 100% accurate game to earn the victory. Erwin’s partnership with Jeannine may also lead tohim gaining knowledge in areas that he would have previously considered weaknesses, making him even more dangerous. He may not have any fast-track to a title, but don’t bet against him going on a strong tournament run to earn a title shot at Spectacular.

Dan Murrell

The most hypothetical one on the list, since in order to reclaim the belt Murrell would first have to lose it. But imagine for one moment that Murrell has a bad day at the office and loses to Paul Oyama, he still has every chance of becoming a 4-time Singles Champion by the end of the season. First of all, he would have the option of cashing in his Free 4 All victory to earn an immediate title shot, and even if he has to go through the tournament to earn another shot, you should never bet against the GOAT. Murrell has a wide and deep knowledge and has worked on his strategy since coming back from his hiatus, while having some of the best competitors in the game in his faction means that he’ll have plenty of support and advice coming his way if he needs it.

Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments who you think has the best chance of regaining their title.

DON’T TELL PETER: The Top 10 Mind-Blowing Moments of Schmoedown Collision III

DON’T TELL PETER: The Top 10 Mind-Blowing Moments of Schmoedown Collision 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 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 4/7/2019


Season 6 of the Schmoedown really has been the Magic Season so far and it’s safe to say that Collision III was no exception! After the success of the Schmoedown Throwdown earlier this season, the crew took on the daunting task of live streaming the entire four-match event and pulled it off with great aplomb, so before we get into the main part of this article, let’s take a moment to congratulate everyone involved in putting on such a wonderful event!

Here at TriviaSD.com, we love to break down the big events and look at the highlights of the event. Of course, Collision as a whole was a highlight, so it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just 10 moments and as you will see, I did cheat a little with a few of these selections, so if you think I missed something that deserved a spot on the list, let me know in the comments.

10. Let Him Finish

With Mark Ellis on the desk you can guarantee there will be some fun moments during matches. Having previously idolised Kristian’s golden throat in the earlier seasons, it looks like Baby Carrots has now taken pride in his own voice and wants every chance to use it. So imagine how he felt when competitors were so confident in their knowledge, they were answering before he had the chance to complete his question. Poor Mark looked crestfallen at not being able to show his full range of question-asking skills and kindly asked the competitors to allow him to finish the question… only to be cut off again a few minutes later!

9. Checking Rachel’s Buzzer

One of the joys of the live streams has been getting to see some of the behind the scenes action that would usually get edited out. One example of this is going into the Speed Round of Title Matches and checking that each competitor’s buzzer works so that nobody is at a disadvantage. Rather than just asking each competitor in the Shirewolves vs. The Odd Couple match to test their buzzer one by one, Mark Ellis chose to ask each competitor a question for them to buzz in and answer. Coming finally to Rachel Cushing, he hit her with “Who is the greatest Innergeekdom player of all time?” As Rachel buzzed in, fans were left wondering if she would be modest and give praise to one of her fellow competitors in the division, but to the joy of the crowd, she backed herself and declared that it was her. Extra motivation for Kalinowski at San Diego Comic-Con? Most likely. But I doubt many people would argue with her.

8. Top Promotion

While the quality of the entire Schmoedown product has been on the rise in recent seasons, one thing that has really shot forward in quality this year has been the pre-match promos. Combining the history needed for the upcoming match, the competitors’ smack talk and a clear view of the prize for victory, the promos have done a great job of bringing the hype before the match starts. With two of the most dominant Innergeekdom competitors of the moment facing off for a shot at Rachel Cushing, there was already plenty of hype for Kalinowski vs. Smets, but the pre-match promo took things to another level and gave the competitors the hard task of trying to do it justice by putting on a great match – SPOILER: they did!

7. Facing Off

With the rivalry between KOrruption and The Dungeon and so much at stake in the match between Mike Kalinowski and Kevin Smets, any chance to get the mental edge on their opponent would be huge. Mike Kalinowski got in an early shot by managing to infiltrate the Dungeon and face off with Smets in his own environment. Rumours that “The Smasher” punched a hole in the wall just after the camera cut are still to be confirmed.

As if that wasn’t enough, both competitors chose to come out with the rest of their faction as their representatives for the Manager Bowl made their way to the table. With their match on next, Smets and Kalinowski found themselves nose-to-nose and it didn’t look like either was willing to back down, leading Chairman Kristian Harloff to order them to leave or forfeit their #1 Contender match. Between these two events, it was clear that neither competitor would be giving the other any quarter during their match.

6. Manager Face-Off

It wasn’t just Smets and Kalinowski who were facing off against each other early in the match as managers Tom Dagnino, Kaiser and Jay Washington all faced off, proclaiming that their competitor would win the manager Bowl. Throw in accusations from Tom about what really happens in the dungeon and Jay flipping off the other two while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, and this was a great light-hearted scene between three of the most entertaining mouthpieces in the league.

5. Kaiser’s Top 3 Managers

While on the subject of entertaining mouthpieces, Kaiser came out with an absolute zinger just before the start of the Manager Bowl, announcing “It’s an honour to be here with three of the greatest managers ever to perform: Tom Dagnino, Bobby Gucci and Bob Finstock!” While a fun comment in itself, it also has a great little nod to the craziness that is Tom Dagnino and his many alter-egos over the years.

4. Winning in Primetime

Those of us unfamiliar with the fan leagues likely didn’t know the name Paul Oyama when this season started, but he has been quickly making a name for himself in the Singles Division. Having seen off Brendan Meyer, Josh Macuga and Chance Ellison, “Primetime” faced off against Liz Shannon Miller for the chance to challenge Dan Murrell for the title. Miller came into this league with a recommendation from Ethan Erwin but Oyama saw her off in stunning fashion to earn a title shot. Oyama’s victory makes it this high not just for the way he won, but also for the legitimacy it is giving to the fan leagues as a proving ground, as he becomes the first competitor to come from the fan leagues and earn a shot at a title.

3. Wheel-y Fun Round

The wheel may be old and on its way out, but it still appears to have a mind of its own. Never was this more obvious than in Round 2 of the Manager Bowl, which was probably one of the most fun rounds of competition in a while. From competitors continually deferring their spin to three of the first four competitors landing on Spinner’s Choice (sorry Zipper), to John Rocha continually spinning slices that had already been selected, leading to him accepting a questionable category just to keep the game flowing. The fun with the wheel gave Round 2 a fun undercurrent, while also showing us a high level of movie trivia knowledge.

2. Making History

Success for the Shirewolves is becoming a staple of these big event Top 10 moments articles and this one is no exception. Having lost to The Odd Couple in their last match, the Shirewolves came out victors in this rematch as neither Jeff Sneider nor Marc Andreyko could correctly answer their 5-point question. This victory saw Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe make Schmoedown history once again as the first Team to regain the Title, while it once again showed the strength of The Odd Couple. Don’t be surprised to see Sneider and Andreyko in contention again by the end of the season.

1. An Emotional Finish

I’ve mentioned the build-up to Kalinowski v Smets a couple of times on this list, and now its conclusion takes the top spot. There was hardly anything between the two throughout the match and going into the 5-point questions it was still level. Both competitors were so invested in the match, that when Smets missed his 5-pointer – incorrectly quoting “Don’t tell Peter” instead of “Don’t tell Harry” – Kalinowski’s reaction was a reflection of Smets’. Then when Mike correctly answered his 5-pointer – something he had gone through backstage right before the match – he was clearly overcome with emotion as the rest of his faction rushed to congratulate him. If ever you needed a reminder of how much this means to the competitors, this moment was it!

LET’S GET DANGEROUS: The Schmoedown History of Dan Murrell!

LET’S GET DANGEROUS: The Schmoedown History of Dan Murrell!

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 6/2/2019


Season 6 kicked off with an event that will go down in Schmoedown history: the first live event in New York, the first Schmoedown event to be live streamed… and Dan Murrell becoming the first competitor to win the Singles Title for a 3rd time!

During his time in the Schmoedown, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell has been a fan favourite. I started watching the Schmoedown myself just after Reilly v Rocha III; I saw so many fans online hyping up Dan Murrell and when I finally got to see him compete in a match at Collider Collision, it was clear that the hype was well deserved.

So in honour of the Champion’s victory, let’s take a chance to go back down memory lane and look at Murrell’s Schmoedown career to date!

Rising Star

Dan Murrell’s entry to the Schmoedown came in Season 2 as part of the first ever team tournament. Already the Screen Junkies Movie Fights Champion, Murrell paired up with Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Champion Mark “Yodi” Reilly to form the aptly named Team Champs. Their first round opponents were the B-Team (Cody Hall, Cobbster and Ace Cabrera) who were unable to pull out a victory despite having an extra man. Team Champs were beaten in the quarterfinals by Top 10, but the 18-19 final score was the closest losing margin in the tournament.

Murrell made his Schmoedown return and his Singles debut in the Season 3 opener against John Campea. He TKO’d Campea with a 6-13 score and followed this up with a 16-11 TKO victory over Scott Mantz to set up a title match against his former teammate.

Reilly came into this match with a 5-0 record, but Murrell handed him his first ever loss in Singles with a 15-18 victory to win in his first ever Championship Match. He soon had to defend his title against Clarke Wolfe – who went on to be crowned 2016 Rookie of the Year – where in a dominant performance he earned his 3rd TKO victory in 4 matches, with a score of 11-4.

Mark Ellis worked his way through the field in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament to challenge Murrell for the belt at Schmoedown Spectacular, but once again Murrell emerged with the victory, 23-20. This match is notable for being Murrell’s first perfect Round 1, though it must be remembered that this was in the old format where competitors were only asked 6 questions and each competitor received different questions.

The Three Champions

Up until this point, Murrell had been a lone wolf or accompanied by some of his Screen Junkies colleagues, but following victory over Mark Ellis he accepted an invitation to join the Lion’s Den, furthering a rivalry with John Rocha, who was targeting all the belts and all the records. Rocha’s win over Reilly at Spectacular earned him a Championship match against Murrell and the Champ finally received his first loss in Singles, by a margin of 20-21. After this match, Murrell chose to leave the Lion’s Den as he felt he was not getting the support he wanted from them. He chose instead to fly solo.

Murrell’s next Schmoedown outing was at the 2017 Free 4 All. Coming in at number 12 (out of 35), Murrell’s 11 rounds was the longest anyone lasted that year, and his total points (47) was 19 more than his closest competitors, John Rocha and John Humphrey. However, Murrell was unable to get the victory here: he was eliminated along with Rocha, William Bibbiani and Drew McWeeny in one of the greatest moments of Schmoedown history: XX5XX.

After Mark Reilly won the belt back from Rocha, the three of them competed at Collider Collision in a Triple Threat match for the title. Reilly was the first to be eliminated in Round 5 and Murrell won the belt back on the final question, with a final score of 13-22-26. He wasn’t given long to savour his victory though, as his interview was interrupted by Samm Levine appearing at the table and cashing in his Free 4 All victory for a shot at Murrell. Samm’s logic was that Murrell would be tired, but he instead earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8-question format (though he missed the bonus) on the way to a 26-23 victory to retain the belt.

Stepping Away

By this point, the Commissioner Kristian Harloff was on his revenge tour and a victory over Jeff Sneider at Collision set him up for a September showdown with Murrell. In a match where points were hard to come by, Harloff emerged the victor to become the 3rd competitor to hold the Singles Title. Following the match, Murrell shocked the world by announcing his retirement from the Schmoedown, stating that with all the new blood coming into the league it was time someone else had a shot at the title, but vowing that he would return at some point.

Time went on, Samm Levine went on a run through both the Singles and Teams Ultimate Schmoedowns, winning the Singles belt but losing the Team Championship to the Patriots, with his partner Drew WcWeeny. Samm defended his title against Rachel Cushing and Above the Line beat Modok to earn another shot at the Teams Title. As this incredible run continued, debates began amongst the fans as to whether the title of Greatest Of All Time had to move from Murrell to Levine… yet still we heard nothing from Dan.

The Return

Before we knew it, the 2018 Free 4 All was here. 48 competitors all competing for a title shot of their choice. RB3 was eliminated and the 47th competitor was about to be announced. The entrance music began and it was unmistakably the Jaws theme that Murrell always came out to. Kristian began his announcement at the desk: “Representing Screen Junkies… Ladies and gentlemen… Dangerous Dan Murrell!” The world was buzzing with excitement at the GOAT’s return, only for Andrew Ghai to emerge, giving the middle finger salute to anyone and everyone, announcing that he’d killed Murrell and buried him.

Over the next few weeks, he would go around proclaiming himself the Ghai that beat the GOAT, prancing around the Collider studios as if he owned the place. At the end of the second live event at the El Portal Theatre, Andrew Ghai came back on stage and announced to the crowd that he could get Dan Murrell there tonight. This “Dan Murrell” turned out to be none other than his Team Action teammate Ben Bateman in costume, and the pair of them mocked him publicly. The bear had been prodded… or perhaps I should say the Horse…

The lights went out and when they came back up, four hooded figures were on the stage. The revealed themselves one by one: Knost, Rocha, Inman, Reilly, all holding up the four-fingered sign of the Four Horsemen. Then their salute changed, from four fingers to five, the lights went down again and a fifth hooded figure appeared, and was revealed, and it was none other than Dan Murrell. The Five Horsemen had formed, with the original 3 Singles Champions all in one stable. Murrell told Ghai right then and there that he’d had enough and pressured him into a match at Collision.

Mixed Results

Of course, things didn’t go as planned when that match came around. Kal the Schmoe Dog’s theft meant that Reilly was not there to support his stablemate and when he got to the table, Murrell realised just how much the game had moved forward while he was away. A combination of ring-rust, being put off by Ghai’s antics and poor luck when spinning the Wheel saw Ghai shock the world. Andrew Ghai hand Dan Murrell his first ever TKO defeat: 14-16!

Murrell’s next match came at Season 5’s final live event as he and new teammate John Rocha took on Wait, I Know This! in the opening match of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy tournament. With two former champions teaming up, the Founding Fathers made short work of Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall with a 20-17 TKO victory.

The Founding Fathers were many people’s favourites to win the tournament, but they had a much tougher test in the second round, against KOrruption. The teams could not be separated over 3 rounds and a 30-30 score saw them go to Sudden Death. On the first question, Murrell was unable to get his answer down in time and following the “Jane Fonda Rule” did not get the point, while Rocha and Kalinowski both got the correct answer of “David O. Russell” and Chance Ellison was controversially given the point for the phonetically correct “David O’Russell,” knocking Murrell and Rocha out.

Watching an emotional post-match interview, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person worrying that Murrell would be unable to get back to the heights of his first spell in the league, but he was ready to prove me wrong.

Murrell was one of six players to be given an automatic entry into the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles tournament, while Chance Ellison won a spot with the magic number and Ben Bateman earned his spot by running the gauntlet. Murrell’s first round match was against Stacy Howard and he came away with the 18-7 KO victory. This was a notable match for Murrell as not only was this the first time he managed a perfect Round 1 and hit the bonus point, it was also the first time that he finished with 100% accuracy, a feat that only 3 other competitors (Mark Ellis in Season 1, William Bibbiani on his debut and Rachel Cushing in Innergeekdom) have achieved.

Next up though was rookie sensation Ethan Erwin in the semifinal and the league’s new “Big Time” competitor proved too much for Murrell, who had a bad day with just 60% accuracy and earning 46% of the points available to him, on the way to a 12-13 TKO defeat.

The Road to New York

Any other year and that would have meant his season was over, but it had been announced that this year’s losing semi-finalists would compete in a third-place playoff, the winner of which would face the losing finalist in a Number 1 Contender match at Spectacular III. Murrell faced Marc Andreyko in the playoff and blew the Android away for a 15-14 TKO victory, managing to hit a perfect Round 1 and the bonus question for the second time in his career.

This result left him facing Clarke Wolfe at Spectacular III for the chance to face either Ethan Erwin or stablemate John Rocha at the Season 6 opener in New York. This match was much closer than when they faced previously, but Clarke again succumbed to a 12-15 TKO defeat, likely fatigued from having already defended the Teams Title earlier in the event. In the conclusion to the season, Ethan Erwin completed his run through the Singles Division with a victory over John Rocha to become the first rookie to win the Singles Title, setting up a rematch with Murrell in New York.

What felt like years of no new Schmoedown matches passed, but eventually the big day came. Dan Murrell came to New York without any of his fellow Horsemen, but with a clear determination to win the title back. In front of a raucous crowd, Murrell managed to hit a perfect Round 1 with the bonus question for the third time, to open up a 2 point lead. He went 4/4 in Round 2, checking down once to multiple choice, while 8 points from Erwin narrowed his lead to 1 point, which disappeared as both answered correctly in Round 3, but Murrell only bet 2 points to Erwin’s 3. Erwin took an early lead in Round 4, beating Murrell to the buzzer on the first 2 questions for 2 points. Murrell pulled it back with the next 2, but Erwin got the final question to take a 1 point lead into Round 5. Both competitors hit their 2-pointer, then Murrell hit his 3-pointer to send things back to Erwin. The Champion missed on both his 3- and 5-pointers, giving Murrell a 23-25 victory while the crowd went wild and began a chant of “You deserve it!”

The Future of “Dangerous” Dan Murrell

With this historic third Singles title and second match with 100% accuracy (the only competitor to manage this more than once), the debate begins again as to who the GOAT really is: Dan Murrell or Samm Levine. I think that it is relatively safe to call Murrell the GOAT of the Singles Division considering the incredible accuracy in his victories: five perfect Round 1s and two 100% accuracy games is unheard of.

As for the Teams Division, his impact here has been limited so far, but expect having a belt in the faction to spur the Founding Fathers on to greater heights this season. By the end of Season Six we could see “Dangerous” Dan Murrell added to the list of competitors to hold belts in multiple divisions, something currently only Levine, Rocha and Harloff can boast.

Or could he even follow Levine into becoming the second double-champion…?

Title Week – August 2018

Title Week – August 2018

After Samm Levine stepped away from the Singles and Teams titles after Collider Collision, we knew that we were guaranteed a new singles champion. William “The Beast” Bibbiani, MVP of the Free 4 All won his Number 1 Contender match against Jeff Sneider and was due to face “The Inglorious One” until this announcement, so his challenger instead became Marc “The Android” Andreyko, who defeated Ethan Erwin in a second Contender match. Meanwhile in the Teams Division, The Shirewolves won their Contender match against The World’s Finest and were promptly challenged by Brianne, who announced that her and her mystery partner would be cashing in her title challenge earned by winning Free 4 All 2. Entering this week, we knew that we were going to see a new Singles Champion and also The Schmoedown’s first female Champion. That’s a lot of hype and expectation ahead of these matches, but I’d say they delivered!

Warning: this will contain spoilers for both the Singles and Teams title matches, also Tuesday’s Anarchy Preview Special

mts bibdreykoWilliam “The Beast” Bibbiani 19-18 Marc “The Android” Andreyko

When Bibbiani and Andreyko debuted in the league, they faced each other in what was arguably one of the best Schmoedown matches up to that point, with Bibbiani setting a new points record on the way to victory. It quickly became clear the accuracy stats wouldn’t be as good for the competitors this time around as both competitors missed within the first 4 questions of Round 1 on their way to an end-of-round score of 5-5.

Going into Round 2, Andreyko was the pre-match favourite and chose to defer his spin, The Beast initially spinning 90s, but spinning away to end up with Musicals. Not a category that he likely wanted, but he was able to come away with 2/4 correct answers for 4 points, but Andreyko was able to steal both incorrect answers for 3 points, including one where Bibbs misheard the start of the question and gave the name of the actor from the original film Annie as opposed to the 2014 remake. The Android was up and he chose to stick with his first spin, Monster Movies, and answered his first 3 questions for 5 points. He looked set to get 4/4 as he clearly knew the answer to his last question, but answered “Bud” when it should have been “Bub”, an answer that Bibbiani knew, stealing 2 points and reduce his losses. Obviously it’s disappointing to have a 4-point swing for the matter of 1 letter, but it clearly alters the answer and I completely agree with the judges’ ruling.

Leading by 2 going into Round 3, Andreyko was able to select the category for the betting round, spinning Classics. Despite Bibbs using one of his repeats, neither competitor was able to guess the correct answer, but Andreyko’s lead grew as he had only bet 1 point compared to The Beast’s 2.

The speed round was a first for both competitors and it looked as if Andreyko had benefitted from the practicing the Fyffe Club did ahead of Clarke’s title shot as he beat Bibbiani to the buzzer on all 5 questions. However, wrong answers on the first and third questions meant that he only increased his lead by 1 point.

mtsbibwinAnd so it came to the final round. Marc had a 4 point lead over Bibbiani, who has a horrible record in Round 3. However this new-look standing Beast of 2018 had no problems, getting the full 10 points from Comic Book Movies, Comedies and Will Smith. Andreyko got his 2- and 3-point questions correct and was left needing to answer his 5-pointer to take victory or Bibbiani would be the new Champion. When the category was announced as Sports, I was pretty certain the title was going to the Beast, but Andreyko came so close, correctly guessing one of the required actors but not the other. I must admit that I was surprised Andreyko didn’t use either of his 2 remaining repeats on the last question, as he answered quite quickly and did not even wait to the 5 second countdown, which makes me think that he knew he would be unable to guess the second actor and did not want to prolong the action. And that was it: Bibbiani, touted as a future champion after his debut victory over Andreyko, took the victory once again to become the 6th different competitor to be crowned Singles Champion.

mtsbibbelt
Bibbs finally has the belt that he has been destined for since his debut

Bibbiani will have a tough test ahead of him as he will be facing the winner of Rocha/Batemen and Reilly/Ghai. 2 champions and 2 up-and-comers who have shown their quality in past performances. I would expect Bibbs to have better Round 1 performances in the future as this one was poor by his standards and judging by his interview on the Schmoedown Rundown, he knows that he needs to work on taking his time to think through some of his answers. What he does need to work on though is his reaction time in the Round 4. He got lucky this time, but had Andreyko got all 5 answers correct, the extra 4 points would have meant he wouldn’t have needed to answer his 5-pointer. I’m sure that this experience will improve him and I think regardless of who he faces, he has a good chance of defending his title.

As for Andreyko, this was another strong performance from him and I think that he will be kicking himself about his “Bud” answer as that ultimately proved costly. He also probably underperformed in Round 1 and with title match experience under his belt, I can see him performing better next time he finds himself competing for a belt. Next up for him will likely be the Anarchy tournament, where he has been paired as Jeff Sneider. As I said when I initially looked at the teams, that is a dangerous team and if they get the right opposition, they could certainly be dark horses for the title.

The Shirewolves (“Classy” Clarke Wolfe & Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing) 29-18 Sick In The Head (“Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler & ???)

Coming into this one, we knew that we were guaranteed a female champion for the first time ever, but besides who would be the new champion, the biggest question was arguably who Brianne’s mystery partner would be. For a moment I got excited to see Wendy Lee Szany coming out until I realised that this was all part of another classic entrance from Miss Movies, this time based on Miss Congeniality (yes I recognised it, no I’m not ashamed). Once out, the question was finally answered a she was joined on stage by debutante “Bald” Bryan Bishop, forming Sick in the Head.

mtsshirsickOnce The Shirewolves joined them onstage – in Marvel-lous fashion (I’ll see myself out) – we were all set to go. Nobody managed a perfect Round 1, but the Shirewolves took an early 4-point lead, Rachel being the top scorer with 7/8, while Clarke got 6 points and Brianne and Bryan got 4 and 5 points respectively.

The Shirewolves deferred their spin in Round 2 and Brianne came to the Wheel for the first time this season and spun Dance Movies, a clear strength of hers. I thought this could be the moment that Sick in the Head’s fortunes improved, but Miss Movies shocked me by spinning again, landing on Directors. While it’s rare to see someone spin away from a strength, I can understand the thinking that she would rather a category that both her and Bryan were comfortable with and they worked their way through Directors to go 5/6 for 8 points, though the Shirewolves did successfully steal a point on their miss. It was Clarke’s turn to spin and the Wheel – so often her nemesis in previous seasons – was on her side, giving her and Rachel Horror. They got off to a good start with 2 points on their 1st question, but initially missed their 2nd (Sick in the Head missing their steal opportunity) but Clarke had by good chance watched the film recently and was confident enough to challenge the answer to show that hers was also correct, earning the 2 points. They finished the round 6/6 for 10 points to extend their lead to 24-17.

mtsclassywheelClarke’s newfound love affair with the Wheel continued in Round 3 as she again spun Horror. Perhaps the only surprise about Clarke and Rachel getting the question right was that they only gambled 2 points, but Sick in the Head were unable to pull the correct answer and lost a point, leaving The Shirewolves with a 10 point lead.

After Clarke’s heroics on the buzzer in her match with Samm Levine, I thought that the Shirewolves may be about to run away with things in Round 4 when she got in first to get the correct answer on the 1st question. But each competitor managed to buzz in first with a correct answer over the first 4 questions. And so it came to the final question of the Round. With the scores at 28-18, Sick in the Head needed to either win the point or hope the Shirewolves got it wrong in order to progress to the final round. But Clarke had other plans and she buzzed in first and correctly answered to win the title by KO, much to The Crusher’s visible shock.

mtsshirewin
Rachel’s reaction to winning a title is up there with Rocha’s win over Murrell as one of my favourites

This was a wonderful victory for the Shirewolves and showed just how strong they are both as individuals and a pair, as they only answered 2 questions incorrectly between them the whole game (Rachel’s wrong answer in Round 1 was also one of Clarke’s wrong answers) and I imagine they knew the answers to the 2 questions where they weren’t quick enough in Round 4 too. Rachel may not be the fastest in that round but there was a clear improvement from her match against Samm Levine, while Clarke is surely building a reputation now as a danger on the buzzer. I’ll be shocked if neither of them finds themselves challenging for the Singles Title again by the end of next season, but as a team, their performances go to another level. Will they be able to go on a Patriots-esque run of defences? I don’t think anyone will be able to do that again, but as they continue to grow as a team it is a definite possibility.

As for Sick in the Head, this was a good showing for a team that has never competed together before, especially considering Bryan was making his Schmoedown debut! I have said before that I think players who have experience of the 5 round match format are at an advantage in title matches, but they have shown enough to make me believe they can be an above average team if they stick together.

Anarchy Impact

When the Anarchy teams were initially announced for the Ultimate Schmoedown, we already knew that there would be changes based on the result of the Team Title match courtesy of Brianne, Rachel and Clarke all being involved in the original teams. The Shirewolves win, combined with scheduling issues for Ethan Erwin have led to a couple of changes:

  • As Drew McWeeny is now unable to partner with Clarke, he now has Brianne as his partner. She must be thrilled at the upgrade from Devon Stewart! Stewart is now being partnered with debutante Rachel Silvestri
  • Ethan Erwin’s schedule meant that he was unable to play with Jeannine, so he will now partner Sabina Graves
  • As he is no longer able to partner Rachel Cushing, Andrew Ghai was to become Jeannine’s new partner, but refused to work with Jay Washington so will no longer take part in the tournament. Jeannine will now pair up with Brian Walton
  • Jay Washington will be managing both Ethan and Jeannine’s teamsmtsanarchybracket

Side thoughts

  • Jay Washington managing 2 teams makes me think he will be making a play to get Ethan Erwin into the Viper Squad, but with her impressive performances so far this season, Sabina Graves could also be a potential target for the Urban Gladiator
  • Andrew Ghai is currently going through a campaign against the Horsemen, while the Viper Squad’s feud with the Fyffe Club appears to be coming to an end. Could Ghai’s refusal to compete under Jay Washington be setting up a new feud for the rest of the season?
  • Brianne was open about her struggles when she too a step back from competing in 2017, so it was lovely to see her and Bryan call their team Sick in the Head and admit that it has been due to their health issues. Tie this with Rachel Cushing’s talking about her nerves and Mark Donica’s Facebook post about his panic attack during the Kalinowski match. It’s great to see so many competitors being open and honest about their mental health issues and hopefully people watching this will be more willing to be open about any of their own mental health issues.

 

What did you think of these matches? Who do you think will hold their title longer? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! Until next time…

Collider Collision II: Beyond the Matches

Collider Collision II: Beyond 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 now this piece looking at some of the other events that happened at Collision II and in Tuesday’s 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, also Tuesday’s post-Collision special – you have been warned!

ATLend
This time last year, Above The Line didn’t exist and Samm looked far from being considered by many as the GOAT

Farewell to a legend

We’ll start the look back by talking about Samm Levine’s announcement on Tuesday’s special. Following Above The Line’s title defence against The Patriots, “The Inglorious One” said that he would have an announcement on Tuesday’s show. My immediate thoughts were that we were seeing the end of Samm at least in the Singles Division and my worst fears were confirmed as he announced to Kristian Harloff that he will be vacating both the Singles and Teams titles and walking away from competition.

While it’s sad to see, I can understand his decision. Since losing to Dan Murrell at Collider Collision, Samm has only lost 1 match in Singles and Teams – Above The Line’s first title shot at Schmoedown Spectacular II against The Patriots – and he has achieved pretty much everything possible for him in the League over the last season and a half. He won the inaugural Free 4 All, was the first competitor to 10 wins in the Singles Division, became only the second competitor (after Mark Ellis) to win the Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament in both Singles and Teams (but the first to do it in the same year) and was also only the third competitor to have held both the Singles and Teams title belts (Rocha and Harloff being the others), but again being the first to hold both belts at the same time. He’s been such a big part of the Schmoedown especially over the last 12 months, I think he is fully deserving of the chance to walk away on his own terms and take a break. It does not have to be permanent and I hope that we will see him back in competition next season, while in the meantime, he plans to stay around the Schmoedown similar to how Reilly did during his retirement, so I’m sure we will see him at the desk and also his knowledge of the game will be invaluable in helping the running of the league.

vacant beltsNow we need to look at the belts and what happens to them. William “The Beast” Bibbiani has already earned a title shot, while Marc Andreyko’s win at Collision earned him a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin. Kristian has already announced that the next Singles Title match will be between Bibbiani and the winner of Erwin v Andreyko so – barring any surprises from the KOmmissioner – we are guaranteed a new Singles Champion in the near future. Things are less simple in the Teams Division. Currently, the next Number 1 Contender match is between World’s Finest and The Shirewolves, who are both currently 2-0. The easy decision would be for this match to become a title match, but – and no offence to either team – I am not sure that either of them has done enough to earn a title yet. Granted, the Patriots earned a title match after victories over Megapowers and Heroes, but the Division is so much deeper now and I feel 2-0 is too early for a title match, yet the winner of this match would be deserving of a title shot. The option I’ve seen discussed most over the last couple of days is for the winner of World’s Finest v The Shirewolves to face the winner of the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament (more on that later) for the title, however Thadd has already announced that the winner of the tournament would play their title match at Schmoedown Spectacular III, which seems an awful long time to go without a champion in one of the 2 main divisions. There is one other option available though: Brianne Chandler. Miss Movies still has the option of a title shot in a division of her choosing at any point courtesy of her win at Free 4 All II, and with the Teams Division in such a state this could be the perfect time to use it. If she were to come out and announce that she has given her title shot to a team – or even found a teammate to challenge for it herself, then they could compete against the winners of World’s Finest v The Shirewolves and make the match at Spectacular III their first title defence.

I’ll be interested to see how the league reacts to the opportunities available over the next couple of weeks.

Canine conundrum

The grand return of The Horsemen to competition was dealt a blow as Mark “Yodi” Reilly was forced to miss Collision in order to find his dog Kal, who had gone missing. Now Kal the Schmoe Dog is not just any ordinary dog and certainly wouldn’t just go missing at such a vital time and John Rocha quickly realised that something fishy was going on.

find that dog“Now I don’t know what sort of Mickey Mouse Schmoedown league you’re running with you as the Commissioner, but I’ve been around this league a long time and shit like this doesn’t happen!”

Luckily, Thadd found Kal in Ben Bateman’s car and was quick to ban “The Boss” from the event, leaving Andrew Ghai to take on Dan Murrell without his main supporter present, though Reilly was also unable to return, having to look after Kal.

Kal going missing certainly played into Ghai’s hands with Murrell’s former teammate not able to be there to cheer him on, but I’m not so certain Team Action are guilty. As Ghai said, he may be a “disgusting piece of shit, bad human garbage person” but he and Batemen are generally quick to take credit for their nefarious deeds and also some they haven’t done – such as killing Dan Murrell – so to hear them both deny their involvement makes me think Bateman was set up, a thought reinforced by the coincidence that Thadd received the picture of Kal in Ben’s car as he was with them.

So if not Team Action, who could have stolen Kal? The obvious answer would be Mike Kalinowski, who has certainly been causing waves since he left The League. Given Team Action’s part in his split from The League, anything that would compromise them would certainly make sense, however there appears to be a degree of respect between Kalinowski and the Horsemen so far, so why would he want to jeopardise the Horsemen’s grand return to competing? But there is someone else who has featured fleetingly so far this season but has beef with the Horsemen: Finstock. The masked enigma returned from his year-long ban at Free 4 All II but has not been seen since. As a founding member of The Lion’s Den, the original 4 Horsemen were his main rivals, while Murrell was a former member of his faction but left after losing the Singles belt to Rocha as he got no support from the faction. With everything happening in the league, this could be the perfect time for such an agent of chaos to return.

Lion’s Done?

Kalinowski has certainly been busy since splitting with The League. As well as creating the KOrruption Innergeekdom tournament and arranging for Stacy Howard and Jeannine “The Machine” to face each other and Andreyko at Collision, we have also seen a number of competitors receiving KOrruption letters.

Ken Napzok received one a couple of weeks ago, leading to many – including myself – to think Ken’s time with the Lion’s Den may be coming to an end. With both Mark Donica and Tom Dagnino also receiving KOrruption letters during Collision, it looked like something was set to happen and boy did it happen! Following The Patriots’ loss to Above The Line, “The Pitboss” went on a rant blaming Dagnino for the faction’s recent failings and announcing to the Patriots that Dagnino was trying to trade Jeff Sneider to the Viper Squad and bring in new competitors for the Star Wars and Innergeekdom Divisions.

knights of ken

“I have proof, it’s on video”

“It’s Photoshop”

“It’s on audio”

“It’s Audioshop, then”

“I have a written letter—”

“It’s Everyshop!”

Ken went on to announce that his time in the Den as over and that he was leaving to form his own faction, the Knights of Ken, while Sneider also left to focus on his singles career after telling the assembled group that he had his own sources in the league that had told him the same information Ken had just divulged. As for Donica? He wasn’t even appearing with the rest of the faction during Collision and with Ken having been the one who often accompanied him, I would imagine that “The Enforcer” will be the first to join the Knights of Ken, leaving just Dagnino and his former B.O.B. teammate JTE as part of the Den.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Lion’s Den from here. Sara Stretton was expected to join the Innergeekdom Division this year and Ken even mentioned her by name, so I imagine we will be seeing her join the faction. JTE has the ability to make a play for the Singles Division again, though with his current record he may struggle to make it into this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown. As for the Teams Division, JTE and Dagnino could very easily compete together again either as the Lion’s Den or perhaps even taking on the new Box Office Breakdown to win back the name, or they could take advantage of the shakeup to this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown Team tournament to find a new teammate for JTE. The Den may be down, but they’re far from out.

Vipers v Killer

The Viper Squad’s feud with Mike Kalinowski is leaving them in a dangerous situation. “The Killer” got his puppet Commissioner Thadd to put both their Singles competitors Stacy Howard and Jeannine the Machine against each other and Marc Andreyko for the chance of a Number 1 Contender match against Ethan Erwin. This appeared to be a move to cause dissension in the ranks of the Viper Squad and break them up, but the 4 of them appeared to still be together by the end of Collision.

mikeviper
Kalinowski was involved in setting up the Howard v Machine v Andreyko Triple Threat match at Collision

Things may not be wholly rosy though as both Stacy and Jeannine appeared to feel they deserved to be the winner ahead of the match, Stacy calling herself the bigger sister, Jeannine pointing out she is the undefeated one, not Stacy. Curiously, though he and Markeia came out in support of both competitors for their entrances, Jay Washington only appeared alongside Jeannine during the promos. Stacy was also the only member of the faction not getting involved in blaming Emma Fyffe’s magic powers for Andreyko’s win. Add to that Jay receiving a KOrruption letter during Collision and the revelation that Dagnino was trying to trade Sneider to the Vipers – though we don’t know who for – and I can’t help but wonder if Stacy Howard is regretting her decision to not leave along with former teammate Brianne Chandler.

We don’t know if the Vipers are aware of the trade discussions yet and if it turns out that Stacy was the one being discussed for a trade, that could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. She could conceivably leave to join the Den if they were expressing interest in trading Sneider for her, or she could rejoin Miss Movies just in time for 6 Degrees to use Brianne’s title shot in the Teams Division.

featanarchyKOrruption leads to Anarchy

What a way to end the event! After 5 wonderful matches, Thadd interrupted Kristian and Mark’s wrap-up to announce that this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown Teams tournament would feature 16 teams. The catch? This year would have the theme of Anarchy. No current teams would be taking part, with names picked out of a hat to decide the makeup of the teams.

This could be an incredibly fun opportunity to see competitors teamed with people you wouldn’t usually expect to see them with, leading to some teams containing rivals and some teams also being an opportunity for factions to scout new members.

While I am looking forward to it, the competitors at Collision did not seem so impressed, swarming the table to protest Thadd’s announcement. I hope he survived the rush to the table…

Commissioner’s woes

Assuming he did get away from the crush following the Anarchy announcement, things aren’t going to get any easier for Thadd.

It’s clear now that though he is still the Commissioner, many of the competitors now know that it is Kalinowski pulling the strings in the league. On top of that, there are a number of competitors that will now have reason to be disgruntled with Thadd’s running of the league.

Kal going missing clearly left Rocha annoyed with Thadd and the fact that Ghai beat Murrell will have only intensified his anger. On top of that, Thadd had promised Murrell ahead of the event that there would be no shenanigans to affect him at Collision… well that didn’t last! And to top it all off, Jason Inman was there to witness Thadd throwing Jonny Loquasto off the desk for Cushing v Zipper to replace him with Kalinowski and did not look impressed. I don’t think Thadd will be getting much support from the Horsemen in the near future.

killerjonny
Neither the crowd nor his fellow announcers appeared impressed with Thadd replacing Jonny with Kalinowski

Jonny Loquasto must be fuming at the way that he was mistreated by Thadd! The League’s mouthpiece was invited to Collision by the Commissioner to be at the desk for the Innergeekdom match, something that he was clearly excited about and even dressed up for, only to be embarrassingly replaced after a matter of minutes in favour of Mike Kalinowski. To have been replaced by such a bitter rival will have been a huge disappointment for Loquasto and I doubt he will be forgiving Thadd anytime soon.

 

Emma Fyffe won’t have been impressed with the manner that Sam Witwer was stripped of his singles title. After Sam had to pull out of Collision due to getting a new role, Thadd initially said that the title match would be on hold until he could compete, but then changed his mind at Kalinowski’s insistence and told Fyffe that if Witwer couldn’t be there he would lose the title. Add to that, if the Shirewolves fail to beat World’s Finest then their bid for the Teams Title will be over for the season at least as they will be split up as part of the Anarchy tournament. Things have been going so well for the Fyffe Club but some of “Thadd’s” recent decisions will not have been what their manager wanted.

Drew McWeeny has already had some issues with Thadd having to rearrange his matches on his route to the Singles Title and after McWeeny lost to Erwin, he was to be found banging on Thadd’s office window while the Commissioner hid under his desk. “The Godfather” may have been placated somewhat by winning the Teams Title with Samm Levine, but now that he has had to vacate his title it wouldn’t surprise me to see him back on the warpath against Thadd.

AnarchyKiller
What will be the KOmmissioner’s next move?

Who knows who else could join the list of people with beef against Thadd as Kalinowski’s machinations continue? How much longer can Thadd hold onto the title of Commissioner before the outcry from the league is too loud to ignore and Kristian Harloff is able to take back the role he was cheated out of.

 

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!

What did you think of all the goings on at Collision? What should happen to the Singles and Teams Titles? Who do you think will join the Lion’s Den and the Knights of Ken? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Title Week – May 2018

Title Week – May 2018

Championship week is always going to be a great spectacle in the Schmoedown and this was no exception. The Patriots were looking to remain unbeaten and become the first team to reach 10 wind, but were undone by the trivia juggernaut that is Above the Line, with history being created by “The Inglorious One” Samm Levine becoming the first competitor to hold 2 belts at the same time. Then on Friday, Samm was up to defend his Singles title against “Classy” Clarke Wolfe, who so nearly had victory but lost on the 4th question of Sudden Death. The win makes Samm the first competitor to amass 10 Singles victories (also the first with 7 wins in a row) and also ties Dan Murrell’s record of 2 successful title defences in his first singles title reign.

Before going into the matches, I just want to take a moment to congratulate Samm on his tremendous accomplishments. He may not be the first to have held both belts – John Rocha did this first and then more recently Kristian Harloff – but he is the first to hold them at the same time. Combined with his exploits since 2017’s Free4All, the debate as to who is the GOAT out of him and Murrell gets harder and harder, in fact I may have to go for Levine until Murrell comes back and continues his exploits in the league.

The Patriots 31 – 35 Above the Line

Having lost to the Patriots at Schmoedown Spectacular II, Above the Line were feeling confident in their chances having now watched Remember the Titans. Things were all even on the scoreboard at the end of Round 1, but there was plenty of controversy in Round 1, centering on the 3rd Question.

Asked “Name two of the three films John Carpenter and Kurt Russell made together in the 80s?” the answers given were as follows:

Jeff Sneider: The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China

Drew McWeeny: Big Trouble in little China, Thing

JTE: The Thing, Big trouble in China

Samm Levine: The Thing, Escape from NY

theden
The Lion’s Den have always held at least 1 title, having formed at Schmoedown Spectacular just before the Patriot’s defeat of Top 10

JTE was initially awarded the point before Levine challenged and argued that JTE was incorrect as the title is “Big trouble in Little China”, a challenge which was upheld and could not be argued with. Sneider followed this up with a challenge of his own that Drew should not get the point as he had only put “Thing” rather than “The Thing”, a challenge that was eventually overruled. While I can see where Jeff was coming from that the title is “The Thing” and it is generally known as that, I do agree with Above the Line’s argument that the precedent is in place that the article at the start of a movie title does not need to be included. Eventually the judges ruled that as there is no film called Thing, they would allow the point, which appeared to throw Jeff off for a couple of questions. It wouldn’t surprise me moving forward if the rules are changed to say that the full title must be given, as there have been a number of times this season shortened versions of an answer have been challenged in Round 1. If so, Samm would have likely been in trouble as well for putting NY instead of New York. Granted at the end, the 2 points did not make the crucial difference, but the loss of a challenge certainly did.

Round 2 went the way of the defending champions, with the Patriots answering all their questions right for 10/12 points, while Above The Line’s decision to shoot for 2 points on every question caused them issues as they missed 2 (1 being stolen) and correctly answered 4, including a controversial last question that I’m sure the Patriots would have challenged had they been able to. The question “DiCaprio received his first Oscar nomination co-starring with what actor whose character name was in the film’s title?” is clearly asking for the actor when you read it, but the contestants don’t have that luxury and Samm jumped in with the film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” before realising his mistake and answering “Johnny Depp”. Kristian Harloff asked Samm for his final answer and he correctly gave the actor’s name rather than film title to make it 22-18 to the Patriots at the end of the round. Now personally while I have some sympathy for Levine due to the wording of the question, there was a very clear pause between his initial answer and realising his mistake, though there was no reaction from the judges, so I would personally have not awarded the points had I been at the desk. Had the Patriots been able to challenge, I think it’s very likely Above the Line would have lost the 2 points here.

doublechamp
How does it feel to be a double Champion, Samm?

Round 3 was honours even as both teams bet 3 points and correctly guessed the right answer and then we were on to the Speed Round. JTE usually excels in this round, but he was beaten to the buzzer on all 5 questions, with Samm nailing the first 3 and Drew the 4th, before “The Insneider” kept the Patriots ahead with the final answer of the round. And then it all came down to Round 5. Above the Line went 3/3 on questions from Dance Movies, Crime and Famous Actors & Actresses. Sneider and JTE both answered their questions on Brad Pitt and Dramas respectively, leaving it all coming down to their answer on the 5-point question in a mirror-image of Above the Line’s loss in December. Neither competitor could identify Donald Sutherland and having played the part of Charlize Theron’s father in The Italian Job and the belts passed over to The Inglorious One and The Godfather for history to be made.

I predicted a while back that The Patriots would be hard to beat but that Above the Line were one of the few teams who potentially could, now they need to hold on to the titles. As 6-time defending champions, The Patriots have been granted an automatic rematch at Collider Collision and they will be looking to get their belts back. What we didn’t know was that as the new champions, Above the Line can set the stipulations, so now we are getting the Schmoedown’s second ever Iron Man match. The first, between Napzok and Witwer for the Star Wars belt at Schmoedown Spectacular II was voted the Match of the Year at the 2017 Awards, so to have 2 of the greatest teams in Schmoedown history competing in one is going to be a wonderful spectacle and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it honoured at this year’s awards. Should Above the Line defend their title (and I think they will), I can see them managing a couple of successful defences, but I struggle to imagine anyone matching the achievements. Meanwhile, while I expect The Patriots to hold the title again providing they stay together, but I would love to see them involved in a couple of regular matches as they will be able to go up against different teams. I’m still holding out for The Patriots v Team Action, though I have no idea who I would cheer for in that match!

“The Inglorious One” Samm Levine 19 – 18 “Classy” Clarke Wolfe

titleholdIt may not have been one of the highest scoring matches, but this was a wonderfully tight affair. In Round 1, Clarke Wolfe fell at the final hurdle to miss out on a perfect round, but still led 7-6 as Samm missed on the 4th and 5th questions. The 4th was an odd one as he appeared to mishear Mark Ellis saying “actor slash comedian” as “actress”, resulting in completely the wrong answer. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to rewind and listen back and Ellis is certainly in the clear here with what he said, but as Samm said in his interview with the Schmoedown Rundown, a number of people in the audience heard “actress” too in the Schmoedown equivalent of the Yanny/Laurel debate (it’s definitely Laurel by the way). Kristian offered to check the tape if Samm challenged but the champion chose not to and this decision proved crucial come the end.

Clarke Wolfe spun Sci-Fi/Fantasy in Round 2 and started well with 4 points from her first 2 questions, however she then missed on 2 point attempts on her next 2, picking “rats” and “Argentina” instead of “mice” and “Brazil”, both of which Samm correctly guessed for the steal. Samm has said that as soon as Clarke said “rats” he knew the right answer and I don’t think he would lie about this, but personally as soon as I saw the judges’ reaction as they tried to figure out if her answer was acceptable, I knew it must be “mice” despite having never seen the film. But more on that in a bit. Sam stepped up and spun War movies on his second spin. Sam had 2 points stolen on his first question after his 3rd wrong (Clarke successfully stole for 2 points) before checking down to multiple choice and answering correctly to go level at 13-13.

The controversy continued in Round 3 as Samm spun War movies again and lost 2 points with a wrong answer. Clarke played safe and went for 1 point, and initially got the point with the answer of “they left their post” until Samm challenged and won the challenge as the specific charge was “cowardice”, something that Rocha explained was different. Coming back to the rats/mice debate and these were 2 questions where Samm could have been (he has stated on the Schmoedown Rundown that Clarke’s answers jogged his memory) influenced by the hesitation of the judges as they decide whether a given answer is acceptable. The easy way to sort this would be to have a selection of similar acceptable answers, but that would be resulting in an awful lot more work for Chris Skalicky and his fellow writers).

clarkespeed
Though Round 4 is Samm’s speciality, he lost this round 3-0 against Clarke Wolfe

Regardless of your thoughts, Samm went into his favoured Speed Round with a 3 point lead and I’m sure many people were ready for him to run away with things. Clarke, however is not a title match rookie, having faced Dan Murrell in Season 3 and The Patriots in Season 4 and she had been taking advantage of her Fyffe Club teammates in the build-up by practicing as a faction with the buzzers. The practice worked as she beat Samm to the buzzer on 3 of 5 questions, while Samm’s mind blank on Question 3 cost him the point he had earned 2 questions earlier. The defending Champion’s favourite round had turned against him and his 3 point lead was gone in seconds. Suddenly Clarke Wolfe becoming the first female Schmoedown Champion seemed a possibility. Onto Round 5 and the less that is said about that the better as both competitors selected 3 of the worst categories they could have asked for and failed to answer a question correctly, taking things to Sudden Death with the score at 15-15. Sometimes Sudden Death ends up being an anti-climax as it gets settled on the first question, but this one kept us all glued to the screen as both competitors correctly answered the first 3 questions. And then came the category of Animated films. This category has been a Bane of Samm’s Schmoedown career, but he is such a student of the game he actually went away and watched about 40 animated films, including this answer: The Croods. Clarke could not pull the answer in time and “The Inglorious One” successfully defended his singles title for a second time.

What next for the competitors? Clarke’s next chance of a title will likely be with The Shirewolves, who take on Team Action at the Live Schmoedown in mere days, and I think a Shirewolves v Above The Line title match would be incredible! As for Samm, he will only be defending his Team title at Collision, but we I doubt we will have to wait far beyond that to see him try for 3 successful defences in a row. If he gets that, I think we can firmly name him the GOAT.

 

What did you think of the latest title matches? Will The Patriots win their rematch? Is Samm now the GOAT? Sound off in the comments.