HIGHWAY TO BELT: Five Schmoedown Teams With Their Eyes on the Prize

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In the history of the Schmoedown there have been only five different team champions. While the singles league is more volatile (there have been twice as many singles reigns), the team league has been relatively stable across the seasons. All of this means that it is perhaps the hardest title to claim: in fact, the team belt has been defended more times than there have been separate singles champions (8 teams defences, 7 singles champions).

In Season 6, with the Shirewolves as the current champions, there is no shortage of teams who are looking to become the 6th holders of the team belt. Let’s have a look at those currently in and around the title picture!

Critically Acclaimed

Because of a combination of reduced play time and the enforced separation of the Anarchy tournament, Critically Acclaimed have managed to fly under the radar after their defeat at the hands of Late to the Party. Since then, however, William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold have put together an impressive run, beating Superhero News, MODOK and the Harris Brothers. In doing so, they’ve earned a shot at the Shirewolves and the belt.

This isn’t the only thing that’s happened for Critically Acclaimed since the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown: Bibbiani is now a former Champion, and there’s a certain pedigree that comes with that experience. Of all the teams that this article will discuss, Critically Acclaimed are the ones with a title shot lined up, and so it seems right to assess their chances.

Personally, I think Bibbiani is a match for anyone in the Schmoedown, and while Witney is undoubtably a great player, I think that his inexperience in title matches might just be the difference maker that gives the Shirewolves the edge. Hopefully the pair are putting in the time to practice with the buzzers and watch some ole team title matches. I certainly think that Critically Acclaimed will hold the team belts at some point, but, unlike the singles league, the team league favours the defending champion, and I suspect that it might be too much of an ask for Bibbs and Witney to take the gold on first ask.

Who’s the Boss

Speaking of teams that weren’t able to win the title on their first go round, let’s look at Who’s the Boss. Having amassed a 4-1 record last season, Bateman and Reilly have earned a #1 contender match against the winner of The Odd Couple vs Scream Queens. But can the pair win the team belts this season?

Well, they seem to have everything going for them: there’s a former champion on the team, a master of Schmoedown strategy, and they’re managed by the guy that managed the Patriots over the most successful title run of any Schmoedown team yet.

Not only has Who’s the Boss done everything right in the formation of their team identity, they’ve also played like champions, having brushed aside everyone they’ve played, including a huge KO over the Harris Brothers. Well, almost everyone: the pair fell just short of beating the Shirewolves, putting in a performance that is unlike any I can think of. Who’s the Boss did practically everything right in that match. It’s hard to see how they could have done any better, yet they still lost.

Are the Shirewolves simply opponents that Who’s the Boss can’t beat? Maybe, but if Bateman and Reilly believed that, they’d stop playing. Of course, there’s also the fact that both Reilly and Bateman look likely to become more and more involved with various different storylines as the season progresses. Should they get another shot at the title, whoever holds it at that point, there’s bound to be fireworks.

The Odd Couple

Marc Andreyko and Jeff Sneider are undoubtably great Schmoedown players. Sneider was a part of the longest reigning championship team of all time, while Andreyko has a strong case to be named the best player yet to win a belt (Bateman is his only real competition). What is exciting about their combination as a team is the way that each member of the pair improves the other’s game. As Andreyko made clear throughout last season’s Anarchy tournament, he feels that Sneider has shown him how to play, and that, as part of the Odd Couple, his tactical knowhow has improved. At the same time, it is clear that Andreyko fills in the gaps in Sneider’s knowledge. They’re a frightening combination.

Their run to last season’s semi-finals was a demonstration of this team’s ability: the pair took care of Seb’s with ease, and then proved that they could grind out tough victories in a tight meeting with the Paddington 2. Only a surprise defeat to the Harris Brothers halted their progress, but the pair have what looks like a very winnable match coming up against the Scream Queens. Win that, and the Odd Couple will play Who’s the Boss in a #1 contenders match.

We’ve yet to really see the Odd Couple tested against a top team like Who’s the Boss. However, the revelation that Roxy Striar will continue to manage the pair is a definite boost to their title hopes, and could provide the lift to see the Odd Couple make a title run.

Scream Queens

Of the teams with a path to the title, the Scream Queens are the obvious underdogs. So far, they’ve gone 2-0 in the team league, without really facing any tough opposition. That will change when they face The Odd Couple, and, should they pull off the upset, there’s no reason that Foutch and Corrigan couldn’t surprise some more people. And while a title run would mean matches against not just the Odd Couple, but also Who’s the Boss, followed by a title clash with either the Shirewolves or Critically Acclaimed, I am of the opinion that Hayleigh Foutch is a very impressive player that is a likely star of the future. Win these matches, and she’d not only be a star right now, but put herself in the early running for a few Schmoedown awards.

The big question for the Scream Queens is can Corrigan perform? From her limited game time, she hasn’t been on the same level as Foutch, and the team has an obvious weakness in that Corrigan’s knowledge base is horror, something that Foutch already has covered. Hopefully the Scream Queens have been in training, and will surprise a lot of people in the new season, but if not, I’d love to see a Witching Hour team of Foutch and Nemiroff, a player with great energy who is yet to show her best in the Schmoedown.

The Founding Fathers

While the Founding Fathers are not in the title picture right now, I’ve included them on this list for obvious reasons. Murrell and Rocha are the most decorated players in Schmoedown history, having won 6 separate belts between them. To put their achievements into context, no other Schmoedown team has won more belts between them than the 3 that Rocha and Murrell have each won individually. With that sort of pedigree, the pair will be looking to add Murrell’s first (and Rocha’s second) team title to the collection this season.

The Founding Fathers will probably eye a first match against a team like the Paddington 2, or Erwin and the Machine’s new team, or perhaps whatever new team comes out of the current faction forming with Ghai, Burnett and McWeeny. Expect to see the Founding Fathers clash with rivals like KOrruption this season, and with the storyline drama going on within the Horsemen, we could see a battle with Who’s the Boss at some point. After all, while we know that the Founding Fathers have the quality to win the title this season, we’re yet to see whether or not Rocha has the leadership qualities to hold the Horsemen together.

With the calibre of teams looking to win the team belt this year, the league looks to be as exciting as ever. Will the Shirewolves continue to defend their titles? If not, who will take the titles from them? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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