BAD INFLUENCE: Is Mark Reilly Turning to the Dark Side?

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“But these heels… Don’t make me come out of retirement, ’cause I eat heels for breakfast.”

These were the words of Mark Reilly at the end of last year, at the Schmoedown Awards. The first Singles Champion, Reilly was Superman, the hero of the Schmoedown. He was driven to win the belt and, once he had it, to defend it, but he was always respectful of his opponents and always kept his cool – except on one occasion when Rocha crashed his interview and pushed things a little too far by disrespecting both Reilly and interviewer Emma Fyffe.

After losing the belt to Dan Murrell at the 2017 Collider Collision, Reilly took a step back from competing, coming back only to aid Clarke Wolfe in her quest to win the Ultimate Schmoedown Team Tournament – a run ended by eventual winners Above The Line. The Schmoedown was left without its hero, even though the heels wouldn’t stay away.

Fresh from his suspension following the infamous Tackle, “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai stole Dan Murrell’s spot at the Free 4 All and announced to the world that he was “the Ghai that beat the GOAT.” Weeks went by of Ghai parading around as if he owned the place… and it became too much for Reilly to sit by and take.

Reilly returned to the League in dramatic fashion at the 2nd live event, revealing himself as a member of the new-look 5 Horsemen alongside his fellow former champions Rocha and Murrell. The Horsemen looked to be the strongest faction assembled and they were here to teach the heels a lesson.

But almost straight away, things started to go wrong for Reilly and the Horsemen. Kal was stolen – supposedly by Ben Bateman – leaving Reilly unable to support Murrell at Collision when he lost to Andrew Ghai, then Reilly also lost to Ghai in a rusty first performance back, leaving him out of the race for the Singles title for the rest of the year. Reilly’s chance for a belt turned to the Team Division, where under the Anarchy format at the Ultimate Schmoedown he was paired with Ben Bateman to form Who’s The Boss?, under the management of Finstock.

The hero of the Schmoedown was stuck alongside 2 of the biggest heels in the league.

For their first match against the Crazy Eighty-Greats, it was clear that Reilly was not impressed with his team, voicing his displeasure with Bateman’s lack of respect and his role in Kal’s theft. Throughout the match he was apologising for Bateman’s insults and being every bit the hero stuck in a bad situation. And at the victory, his celebration was with his stablemate Rocha rather than his team, though he did note in the post-match interview that he was impressed with Bateman’s ability.

That respect for Bateman appeared to continue growing in their second match against Cinemaniacs. Reilly was less apologetic as Bateman targeted William Bibbiani with his barbs, but still had the decency to correct his teammate post-match when he called Jenn Sterger “Jessica”. He again celebrated with Rocha but not at the expense of his new team and worked as peacemaker between Bateman and Rocha. A hero still, but adapting to his new team.

And then, the bombshell. Finstock managed to get video footage proving Bateman’s innocence in Kal’s theft, and that it was in fact Mike Kalinowski – their next opponent – who was responsible. Reilly’s drive to win the belt appeared to be joined by another desire: revenge. In their pre-match promo against KOrruption, Reilly seemed more a part of his new team than ever before. Any thought of holding Bateman back was gone and he even called Kalinowski a “little ninny bitch” – a classic Team Action insult.

Had Kalinowski’s crime put the hero over the edge? Perhaps not, as he did still stand up for Rocha and Emma Fyffe when Finstock called them dopes, though not a single Horseman was in sight to celebrate with him.

With the Gauntlet to enter the Singles Tournament scheduled before Who’s The Boss? takes on The Harris Brothers in the final, Reilly had a chance to spend some time away from his team. But when Bateman stepped out, Reilly was there beside his “partner” and Dagnino. Reilly seemed to have no problem with Bateman’s comments about how his mission was to crush Rocha and also failed to defend his stablemate when Finstock insulted him. More than that, he actively laughed along when Finstock made fun of Jay Washington and claimed to own him.

Perhaps Reilly has decided that the only way he can claim a belt and stop the heels is to sink to their level. It’s fair to say that Wolves of Steel never reached the heights they were expected to, but Who’s The Boss? are currently looking like one of the strongest and most well-rounded teams in the division, and no manager has had greater success in the league than Finstock/Tom Dagnino. Will he decide that his new team can do more for him than Rocha and the other Horsemen can?

The Dark Knight included the line “You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.” If Who’s The Boss? continues to win, which Mark Reilly will we see at Spectacular: Yodi… or Darth Reillus?

Do you think that Reilly’s moving towards a heel turn? Let me know in the comments what you see Reilly doing moving forward!

10 COMMENTS

  1. Those were exactly my thoughts. Thanks for putting them down and adding a few more details / references. I enjoy that storyline, no matter how it ends, they kept us on the ropes wondering whether Reilly would turn or not. 🙂

  2. With the loss of the Lion’s Den there appears to be a vacuum for heels in the Schmoedown. Korruption might have filled that but you need more than just one heel faction. Reilly and Bateman could fill that roll. Also Reilly could continue to play the reluctant heel which seems to fit his personality better than a full blown heel. Which would also feel forced. You need Veteran Knowledge, Homeless Vagrants, and Talent. To be honest the 5 Horseman have completely lost steam because of Korruption Anarchy.

  3. I’m of two minds here. 1. Reilly has an awesome dynamic with both Finstock and Bateman but 2. I would like the Horsemen to stay together and see Team Champs and Team Top 10 in the teams division.

  4. I can definitely see it, but i dont want it. Hes always been the good guy for me. Rocha can switch back and forth, but Reilly has always remained a force for good. But if it does happen, itll be just as shocking and sad as the Ken heel turn…

  5. Great read. Personally I think Reilly is still conflicted and it would all depend on where Who’s the Boss? end up

  6. I forgot to add that there’s too many heels and not enough babyfaces with an edge to them and I feel this is where Reilly fits in nicely. He’s that babyface with an edge to him that this league really needs at the moment.

  7. I see both Ben and Mark gradually changing, Reilly has a little more edge and Bateman has toned down the bad boy schtick a little. It’s my opinion that it’s helped both their games a great deal. Their last match was a perfect example of a well oiled machine. Finally, love him or hate him Finnstock has made a difference. You could make the argument that the big reveal that Kalinowski and not Bateman was responsible for Kal’s abduction was the final piece of the puzzle that brought Who’s The Boss together. Finnstock was the one to get the info. Andrew Ghai’s lost a teammate for good if Who’s The Boss are wearing the belts which I hope happens.

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