ON THE RISE: Who Will Be the Comeback Player of 2019?

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With the results of the 2018 Schmoedown Awards now known to the public, a massive congratulations to all the winners but especially to our managing editor William Bibbiani, who picked up Comeback Player of the Year!

Bibbs came into the Schmoedown full of promise at the end of 2016 with a debut victory over Marc Andreyko, setting a new points record in the process, and was immediately snapped up by John Rocha to become the third member of the Four Horsemen.

However 2017 did not go as well as hoped. He was TKO’d by JTE (his opponent’s first win in Singles since 2014), then he TKO’d Eliot Dewberry, but then he lost to Kristian Harloff. As tensions rose between Bibbs and Rocha, he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold and initially things appeared to improve. He beat Scott Mantz and paired with Witney to create Critically Acclaimed, beating Only Stupid Answers by TKO. But everything went wrong in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedowns, as Critically Acclaimed went out in the first round against Late to the Party, while Bibbs lost to eventual champion Samm Levine in the first round of the Singles tournament, ending his season.

2018 saw a giant upturn in his fortunes though. Critically Acclaimed managed TKO victories over Superhero News and Modok before being split during the Anarchy Tournament – where Bibbs won another match while paired with Matt Knost, before losing to Who’s The Boss – and despite an early Singles loss to Drew McWeeny, he was the MVP of the Free 4 All, earning him a Number 1 Contender Match against Jeff Sneider. He KO’d the Insneider and won the vacant Singles Title with a second victory over Andreyko, becoming the 6th Singles Champion, a feat deservedly earning him his Comeback Player award (despite eventually losing the title to John Rocha).

As season 6 gets underway, we ask: which players are in a position to win Comeback Player of the Year at the 2019 Awards?

Drew McWeeny

This may sound an odd choice considering he went 3-0 this season with Above The Line, winning and defending the Teams Title. But beyond that, it has been a mixed year for McWeeny and not necessarily to the level you would expect. He went 1-1 with Take The Cannoli during the Anarchy tournament, but only 1-2 in Singles, beating Bibbiani but losing to Ethan Erwin and Marc Andreyko. Frank Janisch found that The Godfather’s accuracy in Round 1 was just 62.50% in Singles matches compared to 84.72% in Teams, a huge difference for someone of his calibre.

It’s recently been announced that McWeeny’s first match of the year will be against Mark Reilly. A win over the former champion could be a huge first step towards the Singles title and Comeback Player of the Year!

Ken Napzok

2017 saw the Pit Boss receiving some Schmoedown karma for the way he betrayed Rachel Cushing. Since abandoning his partner to join the Lion’s Den, he has lost the Star Wars title to Sam Witwer by the closest of margins, came 3rd behind Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw in a Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match, and lost 1v1 to Damon at Spectacular 3. Away from the Star Wars Division he went 0-2 last season, losing in Singles to Matt Knost and then in Teams to the Shirewolves.

Napzok is still one of the premier contenders in the Star Wars Division so I would never rule out another run to the title, while the right person beside him could see him get a good record in the Teams Division. However it does appear for now that he will be focusing on management rather than competing.

Stacy Howard

With a 2-3 record last season, 2018 was far from a bad year for Stacy Howard. She started the season well with wins over RB3 and Josh Macuga, but came 3rd in the Triple Threat match at Collider Collision against teammate Jeannine the Machine and Marc Andreyko. Her Anarchy partnership with Winston Marshall went 0-1 with a loss to the Founding Fathers and she also fell to Dan Murrell in the opening round of the Ultimate Schmoedown.

Stacy has the ability to beat the bigger names in the league and if she can start picking up those results and find a strong competitor to join her in the Teams Division, she could easily put together a record worthy of the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Robert Meyer Burnett

If the ending of Spectacular is anything to go by, the Captain is back this year! 2018 saw Burnett only compete once, in the Free 4 All, with a scheduling issue meaning he had to pull out of the Innergeekdom Tournament. The original Innergeekdom Champion, Burnett has lost all 3 of his matches in the division since. His only appearance in the Singles Division was a 4th place finish in the Fatal Fiveway qualifier for the final spot in the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown, while his 2-1 record as part of Blofeld’s Cat has an asterisk next to it courtesy of 1 win being in the infamous handicap match against Rachel Cushing.

A year off from competition may have done the Captain a world of good and if he can be competitive again in a strengthened Innergeekdom Division, then his knowledge of Star Trek could see him making a push for the title again, while he is also another competitor who has shown that he can do well in Teams with the right partner.

JTE

The winner of the 2017 Comeback Player of the Year award makes the list again. JTE opened the season with a loss to Rachel Cushing in a Triple Threat Number 1 Contender match, and his only other match in the Singles Division was his first ever loss to John Rocha at the first live event. His run with Jeff Sneider also came to an end, as they beat Top 10 with a little help from Jane Fonda but then lost twice to Above The Line to lose the title, before Sneider ended their partnership by leaving the Lion’s Den. It looked like JTE had a new chance of success being paired with Lon Harris during the Anarchy Tournament and their TKO victory over the Wildberries looked ominous for the league, but injury brought an early end to Little Evil’s season and he had to watch his replacement Jonathan Harris go to the tournament final, where they lost to Who’s The Boss?

JTE is one of the most experienced competitors in the league and while the Singles Division has certainly strengthened over the last year, I would still rate him as one of the stronger competitors in the league due to his breadth of knowledge and his experience playing the game. He is also a competitor strong enough to lead a team and if he can find a decent partner, then he could find the Team Titles – and Comeback Player of the Year – within his reach again.

Which of these competitors do you think has the best chance of winning the award? Or do you think I’ve missed someone? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

1 COMMENT

  1. How about Scott Mantz? Exlcuding his Patreon victory in Movie Release Dates, things in general have not been good for him last year. Team Trek lost to World’s Finest, he lost in a close match against Ben Bateman, and then his Anarchy partnership with Sean Gerber ended very briefly via TKO against Odd Couple due to not being under control. If Mantz is in the right mind this season, then 2019 could be his time.

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