John Rocha. Rachel Cushing. Samm Levine. William Bibbiani. Mark Reilly. Jeff Sneider. JTE. Mike Kalinowski.
Some of the greatest Schmoedown singles competitors of all-time. And yet not one of them is competing in this year’s Ultimate Schmoedown singles tournament!
‘Well what’s the point?!’, you might ask. Well I’ll tell you!
While those competitors might be some of the best movie trivia minds the Schmoedown has ever seen, the fact that they can sit this tournament out and there can still be eight competitors with 33 singles wins, three Schmoedown title victories, two Ultimate Schmoedown finals appearances and countless questions answered correctly between them on show for you fine folk only illustrates the depth of talent available to commissioner Thadd Wililiams right now.
With the gauntlet to find the eighth and final competitor out of the way, we can get down to the real business of finding the new No.1 contender. And if you’re not already excited, then check out this line-up…
MARC ANDREYKO (5-3) vs DREW MCWEENY (4-3)
Two established heavyweights of the game kick-off the tournament proper, and after first-round exits for both last season, the 2018 edition offers the opportunity to put those wrongs right and end the year on a high.
For Marc Andreyko, winning the tournament would put him well in the picture in the race for Player of the Year. “The Android” has undergone something of a renaissance since swapping the Lion’s Den for the Fyffe Club, finding a consistency in his game that was not there previously.
While there are still gaps in his knowledge, Andreyko’s run to his first title match illustrated that he should no longer merely be considered an also-ran within the singles division, and instead a bonafide contender to continuously challenge those with hardware around their waists.
He heads into the tournament in decent form following his run to the Anarchy semi-finals alongside Jeff Sneider as part of The Odd Couple, and is rightly considered one of the favourites.
Standing in his way, however, is one of the most fearsome competitiors within the world of movie trivia.
Drew McWeeny’s current 4-3 record does not do justice to his supreme talent for recalling obscure cinema-based facts, and with Bibbiani now able to count himself among those to have won the singles title, it could be argued that “The Godfather” is the Schmoedown player whose raw win to loss ratio least reflects his overall ability.
Despite only picking up the one victory alongside Brianne Chandler as one half of Take The Cannoli during Anarchy, he showed few signs of fatigue following the shock loss of previous partner Samm Levine. If he can find his groove then few will be able to slow him down.
ETHAN ERWIN (3-1) vs CHANCE ELLISON (0-0)
While Mara Knopic remains the frontrunner to claim Rookie of the Year for Season Five, the winner of this match will likely emerge as the Innergeekdom champion’s main contender for that honour come award season in early 2019.
The only two 2018 debutants to qualify for this year’s tournament, Chance Ellison’s inclusion also means that for the first time since the inaugural Schmoedown campaign that a competitor will make their singles debut in a tournament match.
“The Cobra” certainly proved his credentials alongside Mike Kalinowski in KOrruption’s run to the Anarchy semi-finals, and while the wider Schmoedown community are yet to be convinced that he is anything more than an overrated fan competitor, the tournament provides him with the ideal jumping off point to make a real splash.
Across the table sits a man who many believed would have earned the belt himself by now after the stunning start Ethan Erwin made to Schmoedown life during the first half of the season.
“Big Time’s” opening three victories – including wins over McWeeny and Lon Harris – served notice of his ability while his showing at Free 4 All II further showcased the fact that, in terms of pure knowledge, he is almost unmatched.
As with most, however, the intricacies of the game played their part in his downfall to Andreyko just as the belt began to come into view, and as such he finds himself back among the ranks leading into the season’s showcase run of singles bouts.
With Jay Washington now in his corner as manager, Erwin officially has some experience of the nuance of the Schmoedown to fall back on, and if he can put that to good use then he will take some stopping.
CLARKE WOLFE (6-5) vs BEN BATEMAN (4-3)
Is there a hotter player in the Schmoedown right now than Ben Bateman?!
“The Boss” has won his last six matches across teams and singles, and all within the space of just over a month. Such performances have led him to the final of the Anarchy tournament alongside Mark Reilly as part of Who’s The Boss? while his performances in swatting aside Jeannine and Lon Harris in the gauntlet only served to confirm he is no flash in the pan.
Under the tutelage of Finstock, Bateman seems to have rediscovered the performance levels that saw him lead Team Action to the tournament finals in 2017, and while his delaying tactics could yet come back to bite him along the line, his hubristic nature is only helping him along the way for now.
Clarke Wolfe, meanwhile, may need to shake a little bit of singles ring rust off as she looks to become the second ever competitor to hold more than one belt at the same time.
While much of her time in 2018 has been spent securing the team titles as part of the Shirewolves alongside Rachel Cushing, it has meant that her singles career has taken something of a back seat.
“The Classy One” has competed solo just twice since the turn of the year, beating Mike Kalinowski before losing out to Samm Levine with the belt on the line.
Having also lost to Brianne Chandler in the first round of the 2017 tournament she has demons to overcome, though the new confidence of arriving at the table with a belt around her waist could be the boost she needs to go all the way this time around.
DAN MURRELL (7-3) vs STACY HOWARD (4-2)
Perhaps on paper the most one-sided match of the first round, it promises to be anything but, though perhaps not all for the right reasons.
While Dan Murrell’s return to the Schmoedown was heralded as the G.O.A.T returning to take back what is rightfully his, things have not gone the way anyone expected.
Embarrassed by Andrew Ghai at Collision, “Dangerous Dan” was then installed as the overwhelming favourite alongside John Rocha to win the Anarchy tournament as part of the Founding Fathers.
But following their controversial quarter-final exit, there is now a fear that the two-time champion may have had his best days, and as the only Horseman in the tournament, there is a real responsibility to lead a faction that – with the exception of Rocha – has faltered somewhat since its reintroduction.
Facing Murrell will be a familiar foe, with Stacy Howard having already taken him on in opening match of the Anarchy tournament.
“Sassy Stacy” caused one of the great Schmoedown shocks of all time when she took down Mark Ellis during the 2017 edition of the singles competition, but her form since then has been patchy at best, despite wins over RB3 and Josh Macuga.
Murrell’s apparent ring rust, however, might be the opening Howard needs to cause yet another upset here, and as such she cannot be ruled out from plotting a route all the way to Rocha and the belt.