Mike “K.O.” Kalinowski has had a rollercoaster year, abandoning his old team, and taking a mysterious, behind the scenes role at the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. He spearheaded the Innergeekdom Tournament, he brought Anarchy to the Team Tournament, and his latest moves have changed the upcoming Schmoedown Spectacular.
But most controversial of all, Mike Kalinowski literally stole the spotlight from Innergeekdom Champion Mara Knopic at the most recent live event, demanding a rematch for the title at Spectacular… even though he lost the tournament to Knopic, and hasn’t played a game since.
Does Mike Kalinowski really deserve this title shot? Our experts Jack Mayer and Tom Maston weigh in with a POINT/COUNTERPOINT below.
Tell us who YOU think won the argument in the comments below!
Jack Mayer: Mike Kalinowski Deserves The Title Shot
Innergeekdom has been the breakout league of season 5, and Mara and Mike have clearly been the superstars of the division. Sure, Rachel Cushing and Adam Hlavac played well, but the fact of the matter is that both of them lost in the semi-finals to these other two competitors. And you know how the higher-ups in the Schmoedown like it: they want to put their biggest stars in the forefront at events like Spectacular.
So you’re getting the biggest stars of Innergeekdom playing in a match. Check.
If you go back and watch the finals match between the two of them, it’s a stone-cold fact that Mike was leading in every round of that match, just coming up a little short in the final round. I think a guy that shows his knowledge the way Mike did deserves to get a shot at the title. Check.
Mike also legitimized the Innergeekdom league to a level that we have never seen. Before him, it was seen as a league where you can just win a five-way and another match and you get a shot at the title. But because of the Innergeekdom tournament, it’s now many people’s favorite league. I think a guy who does that much good for the league should be rewarded with a title shot.
The sheep should be thanking him, not undermining him. Check.
Let’s also not forget that the match that Mara and Mike played was one of the most impressive showings of knowledge in the Innergeekdom. Mara vs Rachel showed the endurance of competitors, but this match showed us what competitors look like when they are faced with their toughest opponents yet.
That’s four checks, so yes, he absolutely deserves the title shot at Spectacular III.
And there are going to be the classic sheep who disagree, the sheep who say “NO WAY, CUSHING VS KNOPIC WAS A MUCH HARDER MATCH, DISLIKE DISLIKE DISLIKE” and I have only one thing to say to that.
Tom Maston: Mike Kalinowski Doesn’t Deserve It
There is no doubt that Mike Kalinowski is a skilled Innergeekdom competitor. His run to the final of the recent tournament proved as much. But if fans believe that performance alone is justification for him being able to challenge Mara Knopic for the belt at Schmoedown Spectacular, then they are, frankly, fooling only themselves.
“K.O’s” original decision to rejuvenate the Schmoedown was, on the face of it, a just one, if not a little misguided. Kalinowski’s overall mantra seemed to be that he would give the power within the Schmoedown back to the competitors, ensuring that those who make the league what it is were given enough opportunities to shine on the biggest stage.
The aforementioned tournament did exactly that, allowing new faces to make a name for themselves while allowing more seasoned players more chances to shine on the biggest stage.
Even the Anarchy tournament had its benefits, with certain competitors suddenly back in, with a shot at a title that previously seemed a pipe dream at best.
Kalinowski now, though, has gone too far. His crashing of September’s live event in Los Angeles stunk of a man who has allowed power to go to his head. Exactly how he has managed to obtain such power remains unknown, as the Commissioner continues to bend to his every will, but Kalinowski’s demands are threatening to diminish the integrity of the whole league and what he apparently believed it should stand for.
Emboldened by removing the chains holding John Rocha back from making a run at the singles belt, Kalinowski is now threatening to run amok across the Schmoedown by making decisions that only benefit himself and those who align themselves with him.
His own challenge of Knopic, coupled with Ken Napzok being allowed to again attempt to win the Star Wars belt – despite having been embarrassed in his last appearance (his eighth straight defeat, stats fans!) – is proof that Kalinowski is out of control.
There is no precedent for the losing tournament finalist to get an immediate title shot in any other division. At the very least he should play a No.1 contender’s match beforehand, whether that is against deposed champ Jason Inman or another worthy competitor.
Furthermore, Knopic only a few weeks ago proved that she can beat Kalinowski. Why should she have to do so again just because he is so desperate to prove he is the one now running the whole shebang?
Kalinowski is no longer the man of the people he pertained to be at the start of this whole “crusade”. He has become a spoiled brat who needs putting in his place. I, for one, hope Knopic does exactly that!