When Rocha reclaimed the singles belt in October 2018 he became the first Schmoedown player to win three titles, and in doing so he climbed to the top of a table that I set up earlier this season.
This season, I’ve been tracking the current Schmoedown GOAT and, with this win, Rocha took the top spot over Samm Levine. Here’s the top 10 of that table, as it stands right now:
To explain, those that have played for a title in any league are ranked by their overall combined record across every league, including additional matches (for Rocha, this means the inclusion of the Party Boat match, his match against Alex Wolff, and the Patreon 5 way match). Ties are then broken by a number of metrics, the first of which is belts held.
Obviously, there are specific decisions within this ranking that you may not agree with, but these are the factors that I set up to determine the GOAT, and, under these parameters, Rocha is currently top of the heap.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with these particular conditions, I’ve noticed that very few in the fan community have seriously discussed the idea that, right now, Rocha is the GOAT in the Schmoedown, and as this table shows, the Outlaw should definitely be in the discussion.
So, let’s have that discussion.
Being called the GOAT is about a lot more than a player’s record; it’s about the perception that fans have of a player. I’m going to explore this, looking at Rocha’s case. Specifically, I want to compare him to other potential GOAT players, and look at the parts of his career that perhaps indicate why fans don’t take his candidacy seriously.
Of course, it’s worth saying that the Schmoedown is still pretty young to have a genuine GOAT, and that by this, I (and other fans) really mean the greatest Schmoedown player at this particular moment.
The strongest point in Rocha’s favour is his overall record. 24 wins and 13 defeats is impressive, and the fact that he has three belts to accompany his record demonstrates that he’s put together runs and competed at the highest level. The other players that deserve to be in the GOAT conversation are probably Levine, Murrell, JTE and Sneider. Murrell only clocks in at 12th on my GOAT table but he’s often the fan pick for GOAT, so failing to include him would be foolish.
Straight away, we can see what they have that Rocha doesn’t. Sneider and JTE unquestionably make up the greatest team the Schmoedown has ever seen, while Murrell and Levine both have claims to be the greatest singles player. Rocha doesn’t have a strong claim to be the greatest in either league, and this obviously hurts his candidacy.
That being said, Rocha has held belts in both divisions, and it is only his three losses to the Patriots that takes the shine off of his team record.
If Rocha wants to be considered the greatest singles player, he needs title defenses. Levine defended his singles belt twice and the team belt once, without ever losing them, while Murrell has three singles defenses across two reigns, and the Patriots managed to defend their belts for an unprecedented year of domination. The following table should help to demonstrate where Rocha falls down in this respect:
This table shows performance in title matches, and while Rocha has won three belts, those are the only three title matches that he’s won, against five losses. The top four are the players I’ve been discussing as potential GOAT players: Sneider, Murrell, Levine and JTE.
So let’s say that Rocha wanted to be considered the greatest singles player. To do that, he’d need to put together the greatest singles reign yet, which at present belongs to Levine, whose reign featured two defenses, and, importantly, no losses. Rocha would therefore need three defenses to dethrone Levine (and Murrell, who achieved two defenses in his first reign).
That being said, one defense or two should be more than enough to put Rocha in the conversation.
Another factor working against Rocha is the fact that he hasn’t put together nearly as impressive a run as the other best Schmoedown competitors. As part of his first reign, Murrell put together a five game winning streak (ended, of course, by the Outlaw), which Levine topped when he won an incredible seven game winning streak. Rocha’s best run of singles form started when he beat Macuga back in season 3, and ended with a Ultimate Schmoedown final loss to Ellis, for a winning streak of 4 matches.
In teams, Rocha has never bettered a two game winning streak, which is poor in comparison to the Patriot’s dominating nine wins in a row. Putting together runs gives a player momentum, gives them the appearance that they are unstoppable, that they are dominating the Schmoedown. For all of his titles, Rocha has advanced his career incrementally. In winning the Free For All and the singles and team Ultimate Schmoedown in a single year, Levine looked unstoppable. This is something Rocha needs to replicate.
Let’s turn to Rocha’s head-to-head records. Against his fellow singles champions, Rocha has a fantastic record: a combined 9-3. The problem for Rocha occurs when you turn to his team matches and his record against team champions, because, as we all know, Rocha’s record against the Patriots is terrible. Along with three losses to the Patriots, Rocha also has a loss to JTE’s B.O.B. and a singles loss to Sneider on his record. The pair have five wins over Rocha, to his two wins over them (JTE in singles, Sneider in the Party Boat match). If Rocha could improve this stat, it would help his GOAT chances a lot, since it is hard to perceive a player as the GOAT when they have a bad losing record against another player.
Outside of the Patriots, Rocha has an incredible record against the rest of the league. There are only four other players with a winning record against the Outlaw (Levine, Finstock, Kalinowski, Ellison), and each of these players have played and beat Rocha just once. In fact, of the total twenty nine different players that Rocha has faced, he has a winning record over twenty one of them. That’s an incredibly impressive achievement, and is better than any other Schmoedown player.
Here’s a ranking of the GOAT contenders by their records against all other Schmoedown competitors (winning-draw-losing):
- Rocha: 21 – 2 – 6
- JTE: 20 – 2 – 6
- Levine: 15 – 4 – 2
- Sneider: 11 – 1 – 7
- Murrell: 9 – 0 – 6
It is within this level of nerdy statistical detail that we can see just how Rocha has performed against the body of Schmoedown competitors, and amongst his achievements are impressive 3-1 records against both Reilly and Murrell, and a 3-0 record over Harloff. Rocha hasn’t been given easy opponents to face, and as well as having had the beating of almost everyone he’s faced, he has impressive records against some of the best. Perhaps his stumbling block is simply his losing record against Sneider, JTE and Levine.
Reviewing the vast majority of the stats, I would say that Rocha does indeed have a serious claim to be the GOAT. Not an outright claim, since Levine is right on his heels, but certainly more of a claim than fan conversation might suggest. However, this isn’t a title handed out on record alone. It’s about feeling, and some of the specific nerdy stats that I’ve looked at show why perhaps fans don’t feel like Rocha is the GOAT.
His inability to defend a belt (yet) and poor record in title matches hurts his case, and I can’t think of any Schmoedown player with a worse record against another player than Rocha has against JTE (1 win 4 losses). That being said, I think that the tide may be about to turn. Rocha is one of three players to hold both the singles and team belts (along with Harloff and Levine), and the only one of these players to hold the singles belt twice. If Rocha can build on this in 2019, he may find himself being declared the GOAT.
So, here are five things that Rocha needs to do to stake his claim:
- Defend the Belt – The other GOAT contenders average 4 belt defenses between them. Rocha can’t just be a champion: he needs to have a serious reign.
- Contend for Player of the Year – Murrell won the award in 2016, Levine in 2017. Being the best player in a season helps strengthen your case for being the GOAT.
- Don’t Give Up on Teams – After his heart-breaking loss to KOrruption, Rocha’s run in the team division is over for the season. However, should the Founding Fathers make a push for the team belt in 2019, putting together a run of victories, it would be hard to deny Rocha the moniker of GOAT. This could also make up for his terrible team record against the Patriots.
- Beat His Rivals – Obviously, this is not in Rocha’s hands, but as the singles champion, he will come up against the best competition. In matches against GOAT rivals, it is obviously imperative that Rocha pulls out a victory.
- Compete in the Star Wars League – this is a left-field suggestion, but earlier this year, Rocha announced his desire to compete in the Star Wars division, and while it doesn’t look like that will happen this season, the Outlaw should look to add another league. His rivals only compete in two leagues, and so success in a third division would give Rocha a significant leg-up over his rivals. Of course, when Cushing enters the GOAT picture (as she is bound to – she currently sits tenth in my table), other GOAT runners and riders will have a triple threat to content with. Just as at the moment the strongest GOAT contenders have 2+ belts to their names, the next thing that looks likely to prove a deciding factor may be adding a third league to a player’s repertoire.
And there we have it. From the perspective of his record, Rocha might be the GOAT, but in terms of how he is viewed by fans, I think he has a way to go yet.
What do you think? Is Rocha the GOAT? And if not, who do you give that title to (first person to say Umberto wins)? Personally, I still think that Levine sits on top of the mountain, all things considered, but his retirement has left him open to usurpation. Drop your opinion in the comments!