“I’m not here to make friends. I’m not here to make money. I’m here to deregulate.”
Ben Bateman spoke these words during his match with Dale “The Dude” Gibbs and has been one of the Schmoedown’s greatest heels. He insulted every competitor he faced, called people the wrong name, and demanded a belt because he thought he was better than everyone. Not even a three-month suspension of his former partner Andrew Ghai could change his behavior.
A drawback to being a heel is that everyone immediately suspects you of any wrong doing. During the Collision, Commissioner Thadd Williams was put in-charge of finding Mark Reilly’s dog Kal, who mysteriously vanished. When Kal was found in Ben Bateman’s car, it was no surprise that Thadd banned Ben from the Collision without searching for more evidence.
When Ben and Reilly teamed up as Who’s The Boss? in the Anarchy Tournament, everyone knew there was going to be hostility between them. Stealing a person’s dog is a despicable act that is only met with hatred. However, despite appearing joyless in his situation, Reilly went along with the program while Ben continued to mock everyone, including his new partner.
After two matches together, Ben and Reilly worked well as teammates, but their manager Finstock wanted them to be better. He uncovered a video of Mike Kalinowski placing Kal in Ben’s car during the Collision. Both competitors were suddenly united to defeat Mike and his team: KOrruption. After Who’s the Boss won the match, Tim Etheridge suggested that Mike’s actions had driven Reilly to the Darkside. The Schmoedown’s Superman called Mike a “little ninny bitch,” ignored shaking his hand, and took personal pleasure in defeating him in the match.
While his behavior hasn’t been positive, Reilly continued to support his stablemate Dan Murrell alongside Rocha in the Singles Tournament. In the post-interview of Wolfe vs Bateman, The Wolves of Steel reunited on screen for the first time since last year’s awards. They both were pleasant to each other, but Clarke was interested to hear what Reilly’s thoughts were on facing each other at the Spectacular. He made it clear he was just interested in winning the belt and civilly added if the roles were reversed, she would be come after him.
Reilly appeared to be the hero we know and love after talking to Clarke, but one person did change over the year. Ben Bateman hasn’t been mocking his opponents as much as he used to. He also has been complimenting them on their performance and he stopped calling Jenn Sterger “Jessica.” Ben even admitted to Clarke that she was one of the top fifteen competitors in the Schmoedown, which was something Andrew Ghai would never say to an opponent. While Ben still smack talks his opponents during the promos, they haven’t been as harsh as it was in the past.
Schmoedown fans shouldn’t be asking if Reilly is turning heel, but rather… is Ben heading towards the light? Has our greatest hero changed the mind of a ruthless villain? Or is Ben accommodating Reilly to win a belt? Please leave a comment on where you stand.