Anarchy may be the talk of the town right now, but the Ultimate Schmoedown singles tournament will kick off with a bang. We know the names of the 11 players in contention for that coveted seat at Spectacular III, so today I’m going to take a deeper dive on who those players are and what’s at stake for them in this tournament.
I don’t think I’d be shocking anyone when I say that Dan Murrell’s return to the Schmoedown was not as smooth as people thought it might be. After losing in a TKO at Collider Collision to Andrew Ghai, Murrell was thrown into Anarchy with his fellow stablemate in The 5 Horsemen, John Rocha. They cleaned up at the live event, winning in a TKO, and it seemed like the unbeatable Murrell of old was back. Their next match against Kalinowski and Chance Ellison (more on him later), however, resulted in a devastating and controversial loss for him and Rocha.
Despite the loss, I believe that the Murrell of old is truly back, and if he’s focused and on his A-game, he could clean up in this tournament. If not, however, we might be in a situation where people are questioning whether he really is the G.O.A.T.
Talk about a player whose record doesn’t accurately reflect his ability. Ben Bateman is considered by most to be the stronger member of Team Action, and he has so far been dominant in teams with his Anarchy partner Mark Reilly. His singles record is 2-3, though, so the question of this tournament for him is whether he can prove he doesn’t need a teammate in the game.
If he goes far in the tournament, I think we’ll definitely see more of his singles career next season, but if he gets knocked out early, he might have better luck with either Team Action or Who’s the Boss.
At the beginning of 2018 Ethan Erwin seemed to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year, and it wasn’t hard to see why. He had a nearly perfect game in his first match, made it 14 rounds in the Free 4 All, and beat The Godfather. However, he lost his #1 contender match against Andreyko, and around then a certain Brown Dwarf Star was making her rise.
If Erwin has a good run in the tournament, his name would be back at the top of the list, probably about even with Knopic, as the Rookie of the Year.
I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been a great season for The Godfather. Yes, he had a great run with Above the Line during the first half of the year, but he had to give up the belt, lost in the second round of Anarchy, and has only played 2 singles matches this year.
This tournament could be exactly what McWeeny needs in order to remind us why we touted him as the next Murrell.
Clarke Wolfe has been truly dominant this year. Her run with Rachel Cushing in the Shirewolves has been really incredible, leading to her finally getting a belt after two years in the game. Not only that, she was one Croods away from becoming the singles champion and, in my opinion, there should be more talk about her for Player of the Year. However, Wolfe has historically had rotten luck in the singles tournaments, losing in the first round to Macuga in 2016 and losing to Brianne Chandler in the first round last year.
If she breaks the tournament curse and continues to play at the level she’s been playing at this whole year, we might have the next double-champion on our hands.
Another Fyffe Club member who was so incredibly close to getting a belt. In his match against William Bibbiani, he was one actor away from winning his title match but lost the match by one point. In my opinion, Andreyko may wind up being the sleeper success of the tournament. He’s 3-1 this year in singles, beating Bateman, Stacy and Jeannine in a triple-threat, and Erwin.
Not only that, he proved in Anarchy that he has a great understanding of the game itself, which can be an incredibly useful skill.
The professor’s recent success story has come in his Anarchy run. After unfortunate circumstances took his initial partner, JTE, out of the tournament, he teamed up with his brother Jonathan, and the two of them plowed through their competition, making it all the way to the finals of Anarchy. But people also forget he played one of the best singles matches of the year against Ethan Erwin, and he’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the game.
If only the Schmoedown had a German Expressionist wheel slice….
This tournament is going to be an opportunity for Ellison, aptly nicknamed The Kid by several competitors, to prove himself as a standalone act. He’s been great in the tournament with Mike Kalinowski, but teams is a different game than singles. If he doesn’t know a question, he won’t have anyone to confer with who might help jog his memory. In singles, it’s just you and the person across the table from you.
If he is as successful in this tournament as he has been in Anarchy, however, he could be another person in serious contention for Rookie of the Year.
I guarantee that Kristian, Mark, or whoever is calling his first match will say something along the lines of, “if the Macuga Magic comes out…” Well, I’m going to say it too, because it’s true. The Macuga Magic has seemingly been coming out to play a lot this season. He beat Nick Scarpino and had two wins with The Wildberries (WILDBERRIES!), but he also lost to Stacy Howard and The Evil Geniuses. Macuga is currently 8-9, so following the mathematical Macuga formula, he should win at least one match to maintain his 50-50 record.
I think Macuga probably has the least at stake in the tournament because his motto seems to be “drink and maybe answer some questions,” but even if he only lasts one round in the tournament, he’s going to be supremely entertaining to watch.
JEANNINE THE MACHINE
The Machine is another rookie who came into the league and played incredibly well. While she lost the triple-threat match at Collision, her record is still 2-1. Depending on how well the three rookies perform in the tournament, this could be the deciding factor for who Rookie of the Year will be. I also think if she does very well, she will prove that she can hang with the top competitors in the Schmoedown. Her previous wins have come against Bonnie Sommerville and Emma Fyffe, who, while not bad competitors by any stretch of the imagination, are not people who play often.
This tournament is a big make-or-break moment for her.
One of the most underrated singles players, Stacy has proven herself time and again against some of the top competitors in the game, beating Mark Ellis in her first singles match during the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament. She’s also sneakily one of the most entertaining people in the Schmoedown, as she demonstrated during the third live event.
In a poll posted in the Schmoedown Facebook group, she had the fewest votes as the choice to win this tournament, and this could be an opportunity for her to prove why her record is as good as it is.
- Mark Reilly – Yes, he lost in the first match of the Action-Horsemen bracket, but so did Bateman, who is in the tournament.
- Rachel Cushing – Her focus may currently be on the Shirewolves; still, she hasn’t played in the singles league since the beginning of the year when she lost to Samm Levine.
- Mike Kalinowski – Depending on how Korruption does in Anarchy, if he were in this tournament and won it, he could have had three matches at Spectacular, which might be too much for one person. Still, I have a feeling his fingerprints will be all over this tournament.
- Jeff Sneider – After his loss to Bibbiani and his departure from the Lion’s Den, it seemed like Sneider was ready to get back into singles. But, alas, he is absent from this tournament.
THIS WRITER’S PICK TO WIN
As much as I love a good underdog story, and I would love to see someone like The Machine or Chance Ellison take the whole thing, I can’t deny that Dan has been hungry to get back on top. His performance in Anarchy proved why we still consider him the greatest player of all time, and the more he plays, the more he seems to settle back into the Schmoedown and adjust to some of the new rules. And I think he’s only going to get better from here on out. I’m picking Murrell to win the whole thing, and to have another rematch with Rocha at Schmoedown Spectacular III.
Who do you think will take the whole thing? Who ya got?