Even though he’s only played one match so far, it’s clear that Ben “The Boss” Bateman is going to be one of the biggest contributors to this season, in terms of storyline and matches. His civil war with Andrew Ghai rages on, and he’ll be headlining two live events in a row.
The day before the Free-For-All, I was able to catch “The Boss” for a few minutes and ask him about everything… from the Free-For-All to The Five Horsemen.
TriviaSD: What’s going on, Movie Trivia Schmoedown fans, I am here with who I would say is the most competitive person in the league, Ben “The Boss” Bateman, how are you doing today?
Bateman: I’m killing it man, it’s an exciting day. Just got a few hours left before Eden… or the Free For All as some are calling it.
Yeah, so right off the bat, [at the time of this interview] the Free-For-All is tomorrow. How are you feeling? Are you prepared? Do you have a strategy for getting a high number vs. a low number?
Well, that’s not really something that as competitors in the league we really get to say much about. But my strategy is to go in, nice and relaxed. I felt like I had a really great end to last season. You know, a lot of momentum, and I played in that sham match to start the season… had a moment in New York, and I just sort of feel like this is… we’re getting going, you know, I have a few matches coming up, so this is the first one. This is a little more than a warm-up, that farce against “The Drews” was technically my warm-up and you know, I had a perfect round, so I’m feeling pretty good for 2019.
So something that you’ve used to your advantage and as part of your strategy is the JTE rule. Do you think not having them in the Free For All could affect your play?
We’ll have to see, I mean, I have to be honest with you, the strategy of using a JTE rule to get into my opponent’s head is something that I love employing, but it’s also partially for the reality of using those moments to fish for answers. I feel pretty confident in my ability to work on the same clock as the rest of the league. I also feel like that was a moment in my career, maybe I’ll come back around to a similar moment, but as it stands now that’s not the game I’m playing at the moment, you know? I’m really just in the business of winning right now, that’s… I need multiple belts this year so games aren’t really where my head’s at.
So obviously we know you want to face Rocha, but are there any other competitors that you’d like to face off against in the Free For All, and potentially beat?
There’s a number of people. I’ve got a bone to pick with Andreyko, you know, and I’m going to get to take him out in Chicago which is going to be nice… but I would also like to take out Andreyko [in the Free-For-All], that’s a satisfying win. Obviously Rocha, that’s a big one, and then truthfully either of the Shirewolves. At this point I feel they’re my arch nemesis, both of them, nemesi, whatever you want to call it. I’ve lost to both ladies three times now, never beaten either one of them.
So what’s your plan if you win the whole thing? I assume you’re going to go for the singles belt, but are you going to challenge right away or are you going to sit on it for a bit?
Well, there’s a few things. I mean, the singles belt is probably where I would go, you know, but there’s strategy involved. We need to take care of business in Chicago. Assuming we do, depending on who still has the belt, I mean there’s a lot of things I gotta take care of. Reilly’s been good to me, I gotta make sure I take care of my team. If everything goes according to plan, the way I expect it to, yeah I’m gonna absolutely challenge for the singles belt. I’m gonna challenge whoever’s in that spot, I don’t care, and I’m gonna go for it, and I expect there’s a decent chance that by summer, I’m a double-champion.
Yeah. So talk to me a little bit about your strategy for Chicago since you mentioned that a little bit earlier. What is yours and Reilly’s strategy for going up against The Odd Couple?
Well, I have a distinct advantage here because I’ve now played in multiple live venues of the Schmoedown. Obviously having a live event, playing to the crowd in New York, coming from a performance background, I thrive in that environment. I do a good job of keeping Reilly up and making sure that he stays calm. […] I’ve seen Sneider crumble, I’ve seen things get to Andreyko. You know, he gets agitated. I’ve seen this happen, so I’m not really… that’s gonna take care of itself.
As far as Reilly and I go, it’s about playing the game smart, playing the game well, you know? Picking our categories for the wheel smart, preparing those categories, making sure we know when you burn repeats. There are intricacies to my game with Reilly that some people haven’t noticed because they haven’t looked as closely as they should. I mean, you could even see it looking back at our Shirewolves championship match back in December; there’s a moment in Round 1 where I give a JTE rule seconds before he doesn’t write his answer [to a question] that I know he knows the answer to. And he’s too timid to call out for a JTE rule in Round 1 because that’s not his style. And I don’t mind burning my JTEs early, and you watch me call out the JTE rule, which gives him a second. He gets the answer right and I don’t. That’s the kind of understanding as players we have with each other as players and, you know, that’s what I expect it to be like in Chicago.
So if you do get the win in Chicago, you’ll be facing the Shirewolves for a second time. How would it feel if you got the belts off of them?
As good as any win I’ll ever experience in the Schmoedown, I think. Maybe even more than winning the singles belt. The fact that I lost to them at the first live event I ever played. It was such an embarrassing moment, the Giancarlo Stanton error. Then to play the game we played at Spectacular 3 and get so close and lose it on a question. Looking back to my run in the singles tournament versus Clarke Wolfe, looking back to Nerd’s Watch in overtime. They’re maybe the best team ever. You know, it’s them, Above the Line, the Patriots, there’s a couple teams that are in that conversation. The Shirewolves, their level of dedication, their level of commitment, how serious they take it, how seriously they took it to get to the position they’re in. Beating them would be as satisfying as anything I’ve ever experienced in the Schmoedown.
I’ve got just a couple more questions for you. The live event in Houston is the second live event in a row that you’re headlining, and you’re facing off against your old teammate, Andrew Ghai. Tell me a bit about how you’re feeling?
I mean, that’s an interesting match. We work together every week on multiple shows, there’s a relationship there that goes beyond our competition, but there’s also a real competition there. We’ve known each other for a long time, we know each others strengths, we know each other’s weaknesses. And as much as I thrive in a live scenario, he thrives more than anyone I’ve ever met in a live scenario. He has nothing to lose.
I’ve seen him take down perhaps the greatest player of all time before so who am I in that? I believe I’m great, but I don’t have a belt, so… it’s going to be an incredible event. I’m gonna beat him into the ground, but I’m taking him very seriously, and I can’t wait to put on a show. It’s an honor to headline two live events, it’s a huge deal to be at the point now in the Schmoedown where I’m considered a lead enough that Kristian will put me on the top of the bill for back-to-back matches. That’s amazing.
Definitely. So in a recent post-credits scene, we saw that the current singles champ Dan Murrell is now petitioning for you to join the Horsemen. Is that something that you would want to do?
No. The Horsemen, the idea of the Horsemen, being on that team, Rocha, all of it makes me sick. I have respect for those guys. I have respect for Dan, I have begrudging respect for Rocha, but no. I have no interest in joining that team. That’s old news.
So how would that affect your partnership with Reilly and Who’s the Boss, if he stays with the Horsemen?
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but Reilly’s a smart guy. As smart as anyone I know, and he’s gonna make the best decision for the people he cares about, so let’s see how that goes when we have to.
Alright, I have one last question for you, and I need you to be completely honest with me: who’s the boss?
We’re gonna show you in Chicago.
Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, I know the markets are closing in Beijing right now.
[Laughs.] Too much winner’s juice.
For sure. Thank you again, and best of luck to you tomorrow.