We should have known something special was about to take place earlier this year, when at the end of the 2018 Free 4 All Ethan Erwin went toe-to-toe with some of the very best the Schmoedown has to offer. This rookie player previously debuted in a match against Yolanda Machado and won by TKO. It was a masterful performance for a first time player going 12 of 13 for 92%. It’s tied for the 3rd most accurate match in a debut of all time.
Ethan Erwin’s very next appearance on the Schmoedown stage was at the Free 4 All. Even though he was not able to win the event, he showed everyone that day why he should be feared. Drawing 29th out of 48 competitors he made it to the last table. By that time he endured 15 rounds and answered 76% of the questions.
In the season preview, Kristian Harloff prophesied the force of nature that was Ethan Erwin. It was on full display in his second singles match against Lon Harris. It should be considered for Match of the Year: it set records for the highest scoring three round match of all time and the second most accurate match of all time. On a personal note for Ethan Erwin he also set the new points record for a three round match with 24 points. All this in just his second career match.
When it came time for the Ultimate Schmoedown tournament Ethan Erwin went on a run like no other player before him. Now he finds himself in the main event for the Schmoedown Spectacular and he’s set to take on John Rocha for the Singles League title. I had the opportunity to sit down with Ethan Erwin and get his thoughts on his journey in the Schmoedown this year.
CLARKE WOLFE VS ETHAN ERWIN: AN ENDING UNLIKE ANY OTHER
TriviaSD: You are in the title match with John Rocha and you had quite a road to get there. First off, the start of your year was pretty good, you were 3-1 going into the tournament and then you roll through the tournament. You had one of these legendary matches against Clarke Wolfe. What was it like going through that match when it came down to the last question – really the last word what were you thinking throughout that entire match?
Ethan Erwin: I said this in all the interviews and the pre interviews: I was terrified to play against her. She knows everything. There is not a single category I would think she is weak in. It really did come down to that last word and I thought it was over. I thought I lost. I said, you know what, that was a tough question she got. I gave a double thumbs up and started pushing away from the table. I was done. She won, great. Then when they announced my name I was confused. She and I were both kind of confused. By the way – I didn’t realize the rules were that strict because I was like, she knew the movie. I was actually surprised. Look, is that how anybody wants to win on a technicality? No, but obviously, it was a nice feeling to win but it’s not the optimal way to win. It was awesome playing against her. The opportunity to play against her, to play against Dan Murrell, to play against Chance, to play against everybody I’ve played against, Drew McWeeny, Lon Harris, Yolanda Machado, it’s been great. But not Andreyko. I hate him. (He kids.)
UP AGAINST ONE OF THE GREATS ON THE SCHMOEDOWN’S BIGGEST STAGE
Let’s talk about this title match against John Rocha. What do you know about him, what do you like about him? What do you think you got to do here to give yourself a one up on the current champ?
It’s funny. He and I, I think have incredibly similar strengths so it’ll be trying to figure out my own weaknesses to exploit it against him. He and I are both strong on Westerns, on War, on Biopics, Action. It’s going to be a real battle. He’s great. He’s been doing this a long time. I’m stoked just to be able to go up against him and to be able to sit at that table. It’s exciting for me and frankly I just saw that there’s a poster with my face on it which makes me feel like I made it.
What do you think it’s going to be like in this setting? You’ve never really played a match with this many people, with this many eyes on you. There’s always been a studio audience but you are at the highest level the Schmoedown currently has. Do you take that into any kind of consideration how you will react? Any jitters or nerves? Anything like that?
Not really. I’m nervous in the sense of now there’s actually something on the line – there’s a belt. Previously, I was like, “Hey this is fun.” Now, there is this potential to go to New York for the live show. I actually don’t really feel more nervous for this one than the first one or even the Free 4 All because I’m really just playing against myself. And as good as Rocha is – at the end of the day it’s about what I know and don’t know. If I know it, great. If I don’t know it, I don’t know it.
A ROOKIE’S PERSPECTIVE
Now, this is your first full year in the Schmoedown. You had an amazing showing at Free 4 All. You went 3-1 in the regular season. You rolled through the tournament to get to this point. What’s it like to be someone who joins the league that has come a long way since its beginning, seeing how the game is played and how everything is run? What makes it so tempting to come back and keep being a part of this?
I just like doing it. First off it is incredibly exciting and it’s weird to say that I’m proud of Kristian and Mark. Having been a part of their shows since they were doing it in like Kristian’s bedroom and now to see them here in this building that they got in Burbank, California. To see this is incredibly inspiring. Honestly, to see what they’ve been able to pull together and the following they have and the number of people and how passionate they are is the reason I keep coming back.
I love movies. It’s the only thing I really know about and to be able to actually have a venue where I can use that knowledge for something other than annoying my wife I feel very good about that.
As of late you have been managed by Jay Washington. Tell me what that relationship has been like because he was a bit boisterous or brash at times and you kind of reeled him in here and there. What’s it been like to be managed by Jay Washington?
I honestly think I’m Murtaugh to his Riggs. I think we complement each other. I didn’t really know him before. I had met him in passing at a few events but it’s been great. I love his energy. It actually gets me pumped, gets me excited and if I’ve had any positive effect on him I’m glad I’ve done that.
John Rocha vs Ethan Erwin will do battle for the Singles League title at the Schmoedown Spectacular III on December 21, 2018.
IS ETHAN ERWIN THE BEST ROOKIE OF ALL TIME?
After the record breaking match with Lon Harris, Ethan Erwin would go on to defeat Drew McWeeny in his next matc,h answering 11 of 15 for 73% accuracy and earned 20 of 26 possible points. That victory placed him in a #1 Contenders match against veteran player Marc Andreyko. The winner would face William Bibbiani for the vacant Singles League title.
Going into the match Erwin was riding a 3 game win streak. That was the second best 3 game win streak of all time, answering 84% of his questions. Meanwhile, Marc Andreyko was seen as the underdog in this match with a career accuracy rate of 69%. In their match Erwin for the first time in his career had a perfect 1st round, and the bonus, to give him a 9 to 5 lead going into the 2nd round. Even though he wound up emerging with a 15-12 lead going into the final round something happened that had not happened in his previous three matches. He missed a 2nd round question. Prior to this match Erwin was a perfect 12 for 12 and earned 23 of 24 points.
But things got shaky for Erwin in the final round, especially since Andreyko hit all three of his questions for 10 points. It had all come down to Erwin’s 5 pointer to send him into the title match against Bibbiani. While Erwin did miss the question and the opportunity to play William Bibbiani for the title, Erwin’s level of play had not fallen off. Even in defeat Erwin was 13 of 16 for 81% accuracy. That’s actually a better rate than Adreyko’s 75% (12 of 16) for the match.
THE MOST DOMINANT TOURNAMENT RUN EVER
Luckily for Ethan Erwin he would get one more shot to win the belt. In the Ultimate Schmoedown singles tournament, Erwin went on to dispatch Chance Ellison, Dan Murrell & Clarke Wolfe and win the 8 person tournament.
When all was said and done Ethan Erwin put up one of the greatest tournament runs the Schmoedown has ever seen. Looking at the three previous tournaments, Erwin’s accuracy and possible points earned (PPE%) are leaps and bounds above the previous tournament winners.
Looking at Erwin’s performance in the 1st round in the tournament he missed a total of 5 questions in his three matches. And looking at his accuracy in the 2nd round he missed just 2 questions and earned 18 of 24 points (75% PPE) available during his categories. You take this 3 match stretch and combine it with his previous 4 matches you not only have a great rookie season but you have one of if not the greatest season for a player in Singles League history.
HE MIGHT BE A ROOKIE BUT PLAYS LIKE A LEGEND
There was no gradual growth in Erwin’s play over the course of the 2018 season. He came into the league guns a-blazing against Yolanda Machado and has continued to play at an elite level all season long. When we compare Erwin’s play to the players that have lasted all year there is no doubt his numbers have reached an insane level.
Across the board Erwin’s numbers are at the top of the main categories. When taking into account his opponents, he has faced the toughest competition compared to the other 4 players listed above. And amongst all players this season in the Singles League who have played at least 3 matches, his Opponent’s Avg % ranks 4th out of 14 players.
And when we break down Erwin’s play in the 1st and 2nd round once again it’s clear to see that his numbers are at the top. Out of a possible 16 points available through rounds 1 & 2 Erwin has averaged 13.3 points which ranks first among players with at least 3 matches. (In the second slot is Ben Bateman who averaged 12 points.)
And when we rank accuracy rates through rounds 1 & 2 once again Erwin is at the top. Erwin’s accuracy rate for the first 2 rounds sits at 84.52% That’s a full 5% better than Dan Murrell who’s accuracy rate is 2nd best this season at 79.17% through rounds 1 & 2.
Win or lose at Schmoedown Spectacular III Ethan Erwin has proven to be one of the most feared competitors in a short amount of time. It’s not that he continues to win. It’s in the manner in which he plays that has everyone looking over their shoulder.