KNOCKOUT KINGS: The Unlikely History of Critically Acclaimed!

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The Shirewolves’ next opponents have been found: Critically Acclaimed! The dashing pair of William “The Beast” Bibbiani and Witney “The Beauty” Seibold just took down the second place finalists of the Anarchy tournament, The Harris Brothers, to set up a title match with Clarke Wolfe and Rachel Cushing.

Newer viewers of the Schmoedown can be forgiven for not knowing who this team is, since this was their first match together since June 2018! So it’s time to take a trip back through the history of the Schmoedown, with a story that begins way back in late 2016…

Faction Wars

William Bibbiani announced himself on the Schmoedown scene towards the end of Season 3 with a match against fellow debutant Marc Andreyko. In a fantastic show of movie trivia knowledge, Bibbiani managed a to answer all of his questions correct on his way to a victory over “The Android,” breaking the points record for the Singles Division in the process. Following the match, John Rocha invited him to become the 3rd member of his faction, with Robert Meyer Burnett joining a just few weeks later to complete the Four Horsemen.

His time in the Horsemen was not a good one though. While he beat Eliot Dewberry via TKO, he opened Season 4 with a loss to JTE (who had not won a Singles match since Season 1) and he also fell to Kristian Harloff during the Chairman’s revenge tour. Meanwhile, his relationship with John Rocha soured. As the months went on, Bibbiani had his head turned by Ricky Hayberg and famously left the Four Horsemen at Collision, announcing that he was creating a new faction with Ricky – The Growling Commandos – and bringing in his podcast co-host Witney Seibold to become his new teammate, thus creating the team of Critically Acclaimed.

The Debut

Announcing that “We’re smarter than you!”, Critically Acclaimed moved quickly to prove it. Their first match was against Only Stupid Answers, and Round 1 saw them take a monumental lead with Bibbiani going 7/8 and Seibold getting a perfect round on his debut in the league, and hitting his bonus question. While Only Stupid Answers pulled it back slightly in Round 2, they were only able to hit their 2-point question in Round 3, handing Bibbiani and Seibold a 23-19 TKO victory.

Bracket Busters

Critically Acclaimed’s next match came in the opening round of the 2017 Ultimate Schmoedown against fans and reactors Late To The Party, who entered into the match with 0-1 record, following a loss to Team Action. This match saw Critically Acclaimed have their worst Round 1 performance as a team to date, finishing 10-7 up. Late To The Party got maximum points in Round 2 with a spin of Comedies, but on their spin of Hitchcock, Critically Acclaimed could only manage 8 points, while their opponents also managed to steal a point. Round 3 was a close affair but Late To The Party held on, winning by one point. It was the 2017 Upset of the Year, and it broke fans’ brackets around the world.

Back with a Vengeance

Bibbs and Witney returned in Season 5 with a match against Superhero News, with Hayberg quitting as their manager in the middle of the opening promo. Critically Acclaimed came out of Round 1 with a lead of 3 points, which had doubled by the end of Round 2. This lead proved unassailable as Superhero News could only answer their 2-pointer, resulting in a 25-21 TKO victory. They looked to quickly back this up with a match against M.O.D.O.K. and although both teams had identical entrances, their performances were vastly different, with Modok falling 4 points behind in Round 1. They pulled back 2 points in Round 2, but were unable to answer any of their questions in Round 3, giving Critically Acclaimed their second consecutive TKO victory, this time by a score of 19-17.

An Enforced Split

Critically Acclaimed were on a roll and looked set for a Number 1 Contender match in the near future, until it was announced that teams would be split up as part of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy tournament. Bibbiani was given a new Anarchy partner in Matt Knost and under the management of Emma Fyffe they went 1-1 in the tournament as the Cinemaniacs, losing to eventual tournament winners Who’s The Boss. Witney was paired with Mark Edward Heuck as The Self-Righteous Brothers, with Jonny Loquasto managing. They lost to Take The Cannoli in the opening round, but the 35-31 score had Critically Acclaimed fans worried that Witney would chose to stick with his new partner.

While their new teams had limited success, Bibbiani also used this period to cash in his Free 4 All MVP award for a Number 1 contender match with former teams champion Jeff Sneider. He KO’d “The Insneider” and defeated Marc Andreyko to win the Singles title that had been vacated by Samm Levine’s retirement, although Bibbs lost the belt to his old rival John Rocha two months later.

Contenders

And so that brings us to 2019. Season 6’s first match in the Teams Division was a Number 1 Contender Match between Critically Acclaimed and The Harris Brothers. Though Lon Harris managed a perfect Round 1 and the bonus question, the score going into Round 2 was still tied at 12-12. Bibbs and Witney opened up a 4 point lead in Round 2 and when it came to Round 3, The Harris Brothers went 0/3 to give Critically Acclaimed the 24-20 TKO victory and setting up a Championship Match with the Shirewolves in March.

The Future of Critically Acclaimed

Who will win the Championship Match? The Shirewolves will likely be the favourites as they have the 5-0 record and the extra title match experience, but Critically Acclaimed are not to be underestimated. Though Witney is the only one to have managed a perfect Round 1 in this team, both he and Bibbs managed the feat during the Anarchy tournament.

Critically Acclaimed’s 4-1 record is also better than all current teams bar the Shirewolves and Who’s The Boss (4-1), but Bibbs and Whitney’s haul of 4 KOs/TKOs beats Who’s The Boss’ 1KO and the Shirewolves’ 2KOs.

One thing you can almost guarantee though: these are two of the premier teams when it comes to entrances, so we will probably get as much excitement from the entrances as we will from the match itself!

Beyond that, I’m sure Bibbs while be looking to get back in the hunt for the Singles Title, having not been involved in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, while Witney will be making his long-awaited Singles debut against David Del Rio on February 22nd!

Best of luck and a hearty “Growl Growl” to both of them!

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