As this season draws to a close, the season’s biggest stars are preparing to do battle at the Schmoedown Spectacular. 2018 was a big year for rookie sensations like Mara Knopic and Ethan Erwin, while personalities like Lon Harris and Emma Fyffe have had a breakout season. But what about next season? Which Schmoedown players will take the community by storm in 2019?
In this article, I’ll be counting down 10 competitors that I think are going to have a breakout 2019, with the potential to go on and become the Schmoedown stars of the future. (One note: to qualify for this list, a competitor needed to have played less than 5 times in 2018.)
10. Bryan Bishop
Racking up one singles appearance in 2018, Bryan Bishop is something of an unknown quantity. However, not only did he put in a respectable performance as part of team Sick in the Head, Bishop showed that he has what it takes to deal with the pressures of the Schmoedown: to hold your nerve in a title match is impressive, to do so in your debut is phenomenal.
The fact that so little is known about Bishop sees him place 10th on this list, but it is clear that he has potential. And while his one-time partner Brianne Chandler is more likely to continue to play as part of team Take the Cannoli, a decent Free For All showing could provide Bishop the springboard he needs to launch a successful 2019 in the Schmoedown.
9. Witney Seibold
One of only two players on this list that did not make their rookie appearance this year, Witney Seibold is perhaps the Schmoedown’s worst kept secret. As part of Critically Acclaimed he holds an impressive 3-1 record, and has repeatedly demonstrated that he is more than a match for his more experienced partner, William Bibbiani. During Anarchy, Seibold showed himself more than capable of being the leader in a Schmoedown team, as the Self-Righteous Brothers put on an incredible show only to fall just short against Take the Cannoli.
Despite his impressive team performances, a strong showing at the Free For All, and his willingness to engage in the theatrical side of the Schmoedown, Seibold has yet to enter the singles league. Hopefully 2019 will be the year where we stop waiting to set up the perfect match, and let Seibold play in singles. Critically Acclaimed have a #1 contender match to play at the start of next season, and perhaps this will finally be enough to earn Seibold the singles match that would surely kickstart his Schmoedown stardom.
8. Jon Harris
While some commenters were keen to point out that Jon Harris was the weak link in the Harris Brothers, but their run to the tournament final saw the pair take the scalps of the Odd Couple and the Paddington 2, and was an demonstration of Jon’s Schmoedown abilities. It’s worth remembering that he was thrown into the tournament: with time to prepare and a proper understanding of the format, Jon Harris has the potential to develop into a star in his own right.
After all, Jon was more than a stand-in for the Harris Bros. He immediately took to the character element of the Schmoedown, and often came up with the funniest line of the match. The Harris Bros are the other team in the #1 contender match that I mentioned, so perhaps we could see all four of the players involved in singles matches: Lon vs Bibbs and Jon vs Witney could be a ton of fun, and if Jon is able to help his team pull off a few more upsets, it won’t be long until he makes his own mark on the Schmoedown.
7. Mike Carlson
Had Carlson played more than two matches this season, I’m willing to bet that he’d already be a Schmoedown star, such was the impact that “The Answer Man” had upon his arrival to the Schmoedown. Despite losing both of his Innergeekdom matches, Carlson has played well, and clearly has the ability to get a win down the line.
However, Carlson’s appeal is less about the trivia, and more about his brilliantly funny Schmoedown persona. The apathetic “Answer Man” is never short of a great line or two in his pre-interview, and has been the funniest person in the room in his two matches so far. If, as he requested, we get to see him in ‘the main one’ next season, expect Carlson to very quickly become a fan favourite.
6. Sean Gerber
Sean Gerber may not have made it into the conversation for this season’s Rookie of the Year, but I do feel that he has been massively underestimated by the Schmoedown fanbase, and is in fact a player with a lot of exciting potential. Unlike a lot of players on this list, it’s not so much Gerber’s performance that has impressed me, but his attitude. Here’s a quote from his pre-game interview from Critically Acclaimed vs Superhero News:
“If you’re going to be intimidated by playing against some of the best players in the league, why are you here? These are the matches that you have to want. We want to be champions, you don’t get to be champions unless you can beat the best teams in the league, so I’m excited about the opportunity we have in front of us with Critically Acclaimed right now.”
Unlike a lot of the players that sit below the elite level, Gerber does not want to simply exist in mediocrity; he wants to play the best. Even in defeat, Gerber wasn’t downcast, instead focussing on the tactical elements of his game that he could have tightened up. We saw the same attitude in the Free For All: Gerber drew #1, and rather than feeling sorry for himself, came out amped up, and impressed by lasting 6 rounds.
By the time Gerber’s season came to a close, he was playing on Team Seb’s, where he looked the better player sitting next to Scott Mantz. Throughout the season, Gerber has impressed me, showing that he will always be dedicated and passionate about the Schmoedown, even stepping into an Innergeekdom match at the last minute despite it not being his strength. Hopefully, 2019 rewards Gerber’s hard work with some wins, since his passion and dedication already rivals the likes of Rocha.
5. Alonso Duralde
After two false starts, it seems like Alonso Duralde has finally arrived in the Schmoedown. Last year, he played a match with What the Flick in which the team was defeated by the dreaded Movie Release Dates category, and while his performance in the Free For All was impressive, it went somewhat unnoticed since it coincided with John Humphrey’s epic run. However, in his two appearances with the Paddington 2 this season, Duralde has finally looked ready to step into the Schmoedown properly. Indeed, he be called the Christmas Movies exhibition match later this season.
Undoubtably a very knowledgeable player, Duralde is almost certain to play in 2019 as a part of the Paddington 2, and, if the opportunity presents itself, could have a decent run in singles as well. Less interested in the character side of things, Duralde could be the next big trivia name, following the likes of Dan Murrell, Drew McWeeny and Ethan Erwin.
4. Rosie Knight
From someone not interested in character to the Schmoedown’s next big character, Rosie Knight is yet to play an especially impressive Schmoedown match. Despite this, she is a likely star of the 2019 season, since she represents a new wave of Schmoedown competitors. Arriving on the scene as a ready-made heel, Knight looks certain to join a faction in the near future, with the Knights of Ken the most likely destination (although the Viper Squad is always hovering).
More excitingly, Knight has the potential to be the first player to compete in all four leagues: she’s already played in singles and teams, and claims to be a Star Wars specialist. I expect Knight to be involved in the storyline in 2019, and at the same time, don’t write her trivia skills off just yet. Many of the current greats arrived on the scene with less-than-stellar performances, including the members of Team Action, the players that Knight seems to be emulating the most.
3. Haleigh Foutch
Haleigh Foutch is, in my opinion, the most exciting under-the-radar Schmoedown player right now. In three team matches, Foutch has quietly impressed with a solid accuracy record, but is yet to play the singles match that would surely prove her impressive abilities. On top of that, Foutch is one of my favourite Collider personalities, and is surely poised to take the opportunity to take the Schmoedown by storm. Amongst the louder personalities of the Schmoedown, Foutch has quietly amassed a 2-0 record with her Scream Queens team. She’s surely a win or two away from being viewed as a serious belt contender by the broader Schmoedown community.
2. Marc Edward Heuck
In discussing the previous 8 entries on this list, I have largely had to separate out two different types of players: those that are exciting trivia players and those that are exciting characters. The top 2 spots go to the players that best combine both of these traits, starting with Marc Heuck. In a single appearance, Heuck announced his trivia prowess while demonstrating that he understands the theatrical side of the Schmoedown. He was introduced in an entrance that saw him summoned from the darkness, and this perfectly embodied exactly why Heuck’s arrival should excite every Schmoedown fan. I’ve previously pitched pairing him with Rosie Knight, although Heuck looks like the perfect partner for any smack-talking Schmoedown player: he’s like McWeeny, but he’s also playing a character. Watch out for Heuck in 2019.
1. Chance Ellison
Of course Chance Ellison is the #1 on this list. Bursting onto the Schmoedown scene as a part of team KOrruption, Ellison proved to be the highlight of a team in which he could easily have seen him overshadowed. Rather than being overwhelmed by the size of the storyline he was thrown into, Ellison rose to the occasion and made it as far as the semi-finals. He’s held his own this season, collecting a huge win over the Founding Fathers and playing Ethan Erwin closer than many expected.
As soon as Ellison arrived on the scene, his fellow competitors were incredulous, and before he’d even answered a question, Ellison was facing chants of ‘overrated’. No one seems to know exactly how Ellison knows as much as he does, but damn have we been impressed. He’s played one singles match and he’s competing in the next live event, for crying out loud. Chance qualifies for this list because he’s so new to the league, but honestly, in four matches, he’s already a superstar.
And that’s the list! Who else would you include? Do you have any personalities that are yet to feature in the Schmoedown that could become a star one day? Let me know in the comments below.