The Schmoedown is, more than anything, a show. And what does a show need? Showmen. Show-people? Regardless, the theatrical aspect of everyone’s favourite movie trivia game has produced some great quotes, be it zingy one-liners or momentous speeches. Here, I’m going to rank my top 10. It’s worth knowing that I’ve limited competitors to one appearance on this list, for the sake of variety.
10. Jason Inman
In the early days of the Collider era, while the Schmoedown was still developing its identity, there was less planning and scripting. In amongst that, there was a lovely off-the-cuff zinger. In a match against Sneider, Inman spins war in the second round, and Sneider asks him: “You wanna go to war with me, Inman?”, to which Inman replies “As the only person in this room that’s actually been to war, sure.” Sneider quietly follows this up with a delightful “oh f*ck.” This was a burn good enough that, when the Patriots spun War against Above the Line, Inman can be heard referencing the line from the crowd: “Are you gonna go to war, Sneider?”
9. Jay Washington
The first of a number of catchphrases to appear on this list is Jay Washington’s oft-repeated line: “There are only two things you can do about it, and that’s nothing, and deal with it, damn it.” It’s a line that demonstrates Washington’s in-your-face, couldn’t-care-less attitude. Now if only he could earn the wins to match it.
Say the name JTE, and what comes to mind? While answers to this question will vary from “Japeto” to “the jungles rule the kingdom”, they are united by a common theme: mispronunciation. Despite being one half of the Schmoedown’s most successful team, the name JTE is still synonymous with Schmoedown clangers. The best of these remains the first one, where, having been asked the question “Which dinosaur was sick in Jurassic Park?”, JTE pauses, thinks, and then answers: “Trisanatorastops.”
7. Scott Mantz
Another Schmoedown catchphrase, this one belonging to sentient ball of energy Scott Mantz. The reason that I am a particular fan of his repeated cries of (sing it with me) “Movie Release Dates!!” is because of the way that it has come to represent everything great about the Mantzman. Somehow, the phrase manages to convey the passion, energy and joy that makes Schmoedown fans fall in love with Mr Movie Release Dates.
6. Tom Dagnino
When selecting a Dagnino quote, I initially scoured his matches for his sharpest barb, his best putdown. But that isn’t what the man in the Finstock mask is all about. He’s about nonsense, and my favourite of his nonsensical utterances comes from his interview after Who’s the Boss beat the Cinemaniacs. After Rocha crashes the interview, Dagnino asks “Who’s next for us? Rocha? I’m not playing the Dope. I don’t want to play the Dope. I’ve beat the Dope. Rope-a-dope.” What I love about this is just how sincere Dagnino is, despite the fact that, moments beforehand, it had been explained that the Founding Fathers would need to beat KOrruption if they were to face Who’s the Boss. Dagnino’s confusion, on contrast to the bemusement of those around him, is priceless.
5. Ken Napzok
In my opinion, Ken Napzok is the best person ever to be handed the Schmoedown microphone. He’s cut numerous great promos and delivered multiple enthralling speeches (especially after his heel turn). The best of these came after the Patriot’s second match against Above the Line: “We are money! We are the straw that stirs this entire drink, and the system wants to fight us? Well load the fuel into the rocket ship, because no one’s gonna circle the wagons like the Den.” Not only is this a simply phenomenal bit of mic-work, but the then-hype man for the Den is doing his job. The Patriots are understandably dejected after their first ever loss, but here, Napzok gives them something to smile about.
4. Team Action
The final Schmoedown catchphrase to make the list belongs to Team Action: “Where’s the belt?” While the pair have since had an interesting season away from one another (with great quotes to match), I couldn’t leave out their in-your-face heel mantra. In keeping with their personas, this refrain is all about a disregard for everyone else in the league: the pair only care about winning Schmoedown gold.
3. Mark Reilly
The Schmoedown is full of heels. Often the more popular adopted persona, it’s often said that villains have all the fun. And while they might have the better quotes, Mark Reilly proves that faces have a place on this list too. After beating his then-partner Clarke Wolfe in a #1 contender match, “Yodi” saw his post-game interview crashed by his next opponent, the Champion John Rocha, then at the height of his heel-ishness. In the face of Rocha’s bluster, Reilly exclaims “You know what this competition needs? It needs a frickin’ hero!” At the time, Reilly was our Superman. Now that he’s a part of Who’s the Boss, things might be heading in a different direction…
2. John Rocha
John Rocha is a huge part of the Schmoedown’s success. He was the first to take on a persona, the first player that fans could truly root for or against, and he remains many people’s favourite competitor. With that comes a bevy of quotes to choose from, and while I did consider his old mantra of “All the belts, all the records”, instead I have opted for something Rocha said after defeating Mark Reilly at the first Spectacular: “When you speak things into action, into the universe, things happen. If you commit, you focus and you fight, even when you’re down.” For me, this embodies everything that makes Rocha a Schmoedown favourite: his determination, his passion for the game, and his fighting spirit. Love him or hate him, we all know that the Outlaw will never give up.
1. The Shirewolves
This will almost definitely be a controversial choice for the #1 spot, but I have to be honest and pick the Schmoedown quote that had the greatest effect on me. That honour has to go to what the Shirewolves said in their post-game interview after winning the team titles against Sick in the Head.
Wolfe: “This means so much to me…uh…this means a lot to be the first woman to hold a belt…it really does, because we see it all the time, like, you know ‘oh there should be a woman’s league’. There’s no woman’s league! There’s no woman’s league, we are the league, we’re in the league.”
Cushing: “We f*cking earned this.”
It might not be pithy or snappy, but for me, this is the most moving and important thing that anyone has said in the Schmoedown. The pair are visibly moved, and the usually unflappable Wolfe is close to tears. Most importantly, they’re right. More than anyone else, the Shirewolves have been accused of getting an easy ride, and, despite holding championship belts, are constantly underrated. Cushing has played for the title in two leagues, and come close in a third, while Wolfe has consistently been in the Schmoedown title picture, and yet a contingent of fans still seek to undermine them at every step. This post-game interview was their moment to stand tall and pour cold water on all of that nonsense, so of course this takes the top spot.
That was my pick for the top 10 Schmoedown quotes, but there have been so many great lines over the seasons that I’m sure you don’t agree with every pick on the list. What have I missed out? Let me know in the comments below.