THE PERFECT BRACKET: Interview with Anarchy Bracket Winner Max Gross

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Hello Schmoedown fans! If you remember before the start of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy Team Tournament, there was an open invite for all to send their bracket predictions to the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy Bracket Challenge, to show how well they know the teams and to predict who will come out on top. The one who submits the earliest perfect bracket is declared the winner!

The only thing is, no one has ever won a tournament bracket challenge… until now.

That’s right, we have a winner, and his name is Max Gross. He is the first ever bracket challenge winner in the Schmoedown, and I had the honor of speaking to him regarding his reaction to being the winner and going deep into his brackets, aka the first ever perfect brackets in Schmoedown history!

Tim Sim: First of all, on behalf of the whole Schmoedown website writing team, congratulations Max on winning the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy Bracket Challenge.

Max Gross: Thank you very much. I am honored to have won.

My first question is what made you fall in love with the Movie Trivia Schmoedown? When did you hear about it and when did you get hooked on to it?

My first match that I ever saw at all was a year-and-a-half ago. I was just on YouTube and I scrolled passed the video that had Sam Witwer and Freddie Prinze Jr. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I saw them in the Star Wars Trivia Schmoedown match and it was them versus John Campea and Ken Napzok who I heard of because I’ve been following Screen Junkies for a long time, so I knew who Ken was already. I watched it and it was just incredible. I immediately fell in love with it and then the next match I saw was the first Free 4 All and it was just it was so much fun. So since then, I have not missed a single episode.

Have you had experience with bracket challenges before in other competitions such as March Madness and even previous Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments?

A few times I did the March Madness bracket even though I don’t follow basketball. I also did the Ultimate Schmoedown bracket last year and I got like just about everything wrong. There were so many upsets last year, but yeah this is the first time I’ve ever had any success this year.

So, when you are talking about doing brackets in the Ultimate Schmoedown last year, did you do just Singles, Teams, or both? 

No, I did both.

Okay, so let’s move on to your reaction. You are the first ever bracket challenge winner in the history of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. When Kristian Harloff messaged you that you are the winner, what was your immediate reaction? Can you describe your feelings about it?

Well I was really excited, but I was surprised more about when I thought that I had a perfect bracket at all. To get then the message that I won was really, really exciting and especially when Kristian said that I was the first person ever to have won. I felt really good for the rest of the day. That was a good high to have for the rest of my day.

So, it was elation all over for the entire day, right?

Oh yeah.

Okay, so I have your brackets pulled up on my phone so let’s get to the first ever perfect brackets in Ultimate Schmoedown history. I want to first talk about the two finalists you had to go all the way: Who’s The Boss and The Harris Brothers, but back then the Evil Geniuses. What were some factors that made you to pick these two to go all the way to the Finals?

Starting with the right side, I was really unsure between the Evil Geniuses and The Odd Couple. They both seemed great that I really didn’t know who was going to take it. But then, what eventually made me choose the Evil Geniuses was that because I knew JTE and Lon work together on a daily basis. I felt that they would have better chemistry, and they know each other better that they would be given the edge over Sneider and Andreyko. Obviously, all of that went to hell completely as soon as JTE got injured. After that, it was all complete luck that Jonathan was really, really good at trivia.

Yeah, we will get to that later on when we go deep into your brackets. So, what about on the left side with Who’s The Boss? What did you see that made you think that they can go all the way?

As soon as they were picked from the hat, I knew immediately that they were going to take the whole thing. I haven’t had a doubt in my mind because I felt like knowing both of these players as a fan. I knew their strengths, I knew their weaknesses, and I thought immediately how well those two players would complement each other, and not just that they would complement each other’s skills well. The only thing that made me nervous was the storyline aspect of it with them like trying to put in “Oh, I hate you” like Reilly not liking Bateman because he’s a heel and stuff like that; but I figured that if they could get past that or like ignore that while during gameplay, their chemistry and their strength complement each other so well.

I really don’t know who at all could beat them, especially when I saw Reilly doing an episode of The Reilly Roundtable with Bateman before the tournament started. Watching them talk about strategy and stuff like that just reinforced everything that I had already thought before. I knew they had to win the whole thing.

So let’s go deep into your brackets. The 1st Round winners you have are what most of the bracket entries had. It was interesting because that scenario was too perfect in my opinion for these eight teams to make it through, especially with the fact that there will be upsets in tournaments in the Schmoedown like years before.

Then again, my brackets got immediately busted when some of my 1st Round upsets didn’t go through. So, was there anything obvious that these eight teams would make it to the 2nd Round? Any other remarks you can give about this round?

Well just looking through it now at these teams that made it, I was also expecting there to be some upsets to bust everyone’s brackets. The real thing that I was more worried about was Silvestrini and Stewart because I didn’t know what to expect. It was that team and KOrruption that had someone that I was very familiar with and then someone that I was not familiar with. [I’d] seen a few little videos of Chance, so I put them over.

Other than that, I guess the others would be Whitney Seibold and Marc Heuck of Self-Righteous Brothers, and Matt Atchity and Alonso Duralde of The Paddington 2. Both these teams also had people I didn’t know, and I guess I kind of just more went with the person on those teams that I did know. I essentially treated them as singles matches because I had no frame of reference for the other player.

I can see your point. So, let’s move on to the 2nd Round where many argued it’s where the real tournament began. I want to go over each of the four matchups in detail and see your perspectives on why you chose the winners. Our first one is The Odd Couple winning over The Paddington 2. What led you to pick the winners in that match?

That was partially because I didn’t know who some of those competitors were. My only experience with Duralde was from scrolling through Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. I know how he would felt being new to the Schmoedown would put them at a disadvantage while Snyder and Andreyko are like two real vets to not only play the game for a long time, but have played with each other from being in The Lion’s Den. I felt that they [would] be able to take it just because of their familiarity with each other.

So, in the next match, what did you see in Who’s The Boss’s victory over The Cinemaniacs?

For them that’s the kind of what I was saying before. I just couldn’t see Reilly and Bateman lose that. I was a little nervous about that one because Bibbiani and Knost are both really good, but I just felt like the chemistry between Reilly and Bateman was too strong for any of these other teams to take on, so I had to still go with them. I was very sad to see Bibbani and Knost eliminated because they were really entertaining.

This next matchup now was once Evil Geniuses, but now The Harris Brothers pulling off the first major upset in this tournament over Take The Cannoli’s Drew McWeeny and Brianne Chandler. Before we go over your perspectives on the winner, I like to ask you if you had any concerns with Jonathan Harris coming in to take over for the injured JTE. Did you thought that your brackets were done when the news broke out?

Oh yeah, I thought that I was completely done. I had no faith in a new guy coming in and beating a team that had just tied his own record for points scored in a match. So, I thought it was an insurmountable challenge for a rookie to beat that kind of a team.

So, what was your reaction when your chosen winners were able to pull off the upset?

I mean I was shocked and really surprised at how well The Harris brothers played but also because I felt both McWeeny and Chandler did not have their best days. I was also disappointed because I felt like they should have played better.

One last thing about this match, had JTE haven’t been injured would you take Evil Geniuses over Take The Cannoli easily?

Yeah.

Now in the final 2nd Round matchup, Kalinowski and Ellison of KOrruption pulled off the victory over Rocha and Murrell of Founding Fathers who were arguably the top seed team in this tournament. Albeit, with some controversy over the Sudden Death ruling of “O. Russell.” Give me your thoughts about that and the winners of that match.

That was the match I was looking to be the upset. From knowing Rocha and Murrell, obviously I agree that they were probably the favorites to win the whole thing, but I felt like that in my experience the team that is picked to win the whole thing never actually wins and there’s always a crazy upset. So, looking at these teams, I thought that Kalinowski and Ellison as being both more unknown would be the one to pull the upset. I just had a gut feeling about it.

It was definitely the most nerve-wracking match to watch. I was definitely rooting for Murrell and Rocha, even though I haven’t had them deep in my brackets. I was at the edge-of-my-seat the whole time, especially in Sudden Death. I thought that Chance’s answer was incorrect because it was a completely different name that he wrote. That just my opinion that “O’Russell” is one name and “O. Russell” are two different names. I understand that wasn’t the challenge. They gave him the point and then no one challenged it which I would have if I had been there, but obviously I am not in that position. I can’t really complain about it.

Now let’s move on to the Semifinals with these four teams left. In the first Semifinal The Harris Brothers were able to pull off the upset over The Odd Couple. What are your thoughts about it?

Right so I thought when it was still JTE and Lon, I was still thinking their chemistry was going to be able to bring it bring them up and take it over Sneider and Andreyko. Obviously once JTE wasn’t there, even after they beaten McWeeny and Chandler I still thought I was completely done for against Sneider and Andreyko. Then once they had actually won, I had completely forgotten who I had to win that match in my bracket. I thought that I had Sneider and Andreyko in the Finals so when The Harris Bros won, I not only was I shocked at the result, but I also thought my bracket finally done. Of course, when I open it on my phone, I realized that I was wrong, and I somehow was still in it.

[Chuckles.] Yeah, moments like those can happen to the best of us. Now let’s move onto the next Semifinal with Who’s The Boss defeating KOrruption. What did you think when Reilly and Bateman defeated Kalinowski and Ellison?

Right at this point I was a little more nervous because Kalinowski and Chance were playing really well together. They were definitely playing better than I expected them to play, and I was a little nervous about this one. Obviously, I said before that I still just felt that Reilly and Bateman just working together made them seem like an unstoppable team. It became clear when Kalinowski was the one who stole Reilly’s dog, so Reilly didn’t hate Bateman. They are much more on the same page on-stage and off-stage where I was very comfortable with that one.

Now it all comes down to the Anarchy Finals. When that matchup was set with these two teams, was that the point where you thought you brackets can stay perfect to win the bracket challenge with Who’s The Boss winning? What feelings did you had before the Finals started?

So as soon as these two teams were in the Finals, that was when I kind of realized like that I just thought to myself, “Oh my God, I’m going to have a perfect bracket!” That’s because I thought that I was so confident in Reilly and Bateman and their teamwork as soon as they were in the Finals. And when The Harris Brothers were in the Finals I just thought, “Wow! I’m going to have a perfect bracket! That’s amazing!”

I started posting in the group page, trying to reach out and see if there’s anyone else that also had a perfect bracket, and no one was stepping up. People were responding with, “I almost had one if it wasn’t for this and whatever,” and I realized that I would seemingly be the only person who even had these two teams in the Finals at all. So, I started to feel like amazed and confident because I was still just so sure that Who’s The Boss was going to win.

And during the Finals when you saw Who’s The Boss defeated The Harris Brothers, you definitely felt that excitement. But to see them pull it off by a 3rd Round KO, the second one since Alex Damon’s 3rd Round KO over Bruce Greene to win the Star Wars Championship at the Collider Collision, it had to feel monumental. What was your thoughts when you saw Who’s The Boss defeating The Harris Brothers via KO in the 3rd Round?

Going into it I was confident, but I was a little nervous because of how well The Harris Brothers have been playing. It was a fun match, but it was a little disappointing because The Harris Brothers were not playing as strong as they had in their past two matches. It’s just a little sad to see a super strong team of Lon and Jonathan Harris just play a pretty bad game for them. It would have been more fun if it was more of a competition. I was happy that Bateman and Reilly were like dominating, but still I feel I would have liked it more if it was more intense but there’s nothing really anyone could have done about that.

Well that wraps up your perfect brackets. So, are there any teams you saw in the tournament that you want to see stay together next season?

That’s hard because a lot of the teams that I thought were great together, to have existing teams before Anarchy break up is scary. I feel like I would want Reilly and Bateman to stay together, but it also makes me sad to think that if they stay together then what happens to Team Action, unless they go the route of the Wildberries and Ricky Hayberg being their manager? Unless somehow Ghai gets involved with them, I feel like I’ll be sad to see Team Action disappear.

Other than that, what other teams I like to see together? I mean, although The Harris Brothers said that they want to come back, I would really like to see JTE and Lon Harris together though because that it was a team that I really, really like. Sneider and The Odd Couple were also a team I really, really love to see together and yeah that’s really it. A lot of the other teams were great, but those are the teams that I felt they should have a future if they stay together.

And last question, will you do another bracket for the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament Bracket Challenge?

Oh, of course I will! I have notes to ensure that mine will be the correct bracket. I will certainly be submitting one.

To wrap it up, who do you have in your singles bracket go all the way to win the Singles Tournament and face John Rocha for his Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship title at the Schmoedown Spectacular’s main event?

I have Marc Andreyko taking the whole thing.

And there you have it! Max Gross and his breakdown of his winning brackets in the Anarchy Bracket Challenge. We all wish him the best of luck as he submits his singles brackets in his attempt to win both bracket challenges.

If you want to prove that you can be better than him, then be sure to submit those singles brackets in time before the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament begins. Good luck to all as they attempt to join the “Perfect Bracket Club” alongside our first winner, Max Gross!

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