As a recent cutscene showed, Reilly is actively petitioning Rocha to allow his Who’s the Boss partner, Ben Bateman, to join the Horsemen. The faction is currently light on numbers, and is looking to recruit. However, Rocha has made it clear that he has no interest in letting one half of the now defunct Team Action join him, something that has led many to suggest that Rocha may have to choose between letting Bateman join and seeing Reilly leave. But what about Bateman? Leaving aside the question of whether or not he actually wants to join the Horsemen, how might he go about changing Rocha’s impression of him? What can he do to convince his fierce rival that he deserves a place in what is perhaps the most prestigious faction in the Schmoedown? Here’s my list of five realistic changes that the Boss could make:
Convincing Rocha that he’s turned over a new leaf is going to be hard enough, but if Who’s the Boss comes with the Outlaw’s long-time and (perhaps) greatest rival attached, it goes from a tough sell to a nearly impossible one. Tom Dagnino is the greatest manager in the history of the Schmoedown, and may even be turning over a new leaf himself, but nothing he ever does could ever convince Rocha to work with him.
More than that, there’s no place for a manager in the Horsemen, since this is a role that Rocha already fills. If Bateman were to ditch his manager as a show of good faith, he could start to convince Rocha that he has abandoned his old ways, and is – in fact – Horseman material.
Win the Team Belts
While this is obviously something that Bateman wants to do anyway, winning the Teams Division belts would massively strengthen his Horsemen application. When the Five Horsemen were first revealed every member had won at least one title, at least at some point in their careers, and securing his first belt would turn Bateman from one of the best players to never win a belt to a clear contender for a faction that’s all about the silverware.
After all, if Who’s the Boss has the belts, Rocha will also less likely to want to risk losing Reilly, and might be more open to letting Bateman into the group. It would also help Bateman shed the ‘young buck’ tag that Rocha has so often labeled him with, since the only currency of the Schmoedown is titles. If nothing else, a belt means that Bateman would have to be taken seriously.
Join the Innergeekdom Division
A while back, Bateman mentioned that he had worked out the exact number of likely films that made up the Innergeekdom division, and was planning to work his way through them, with an eye on taking a run at the Innergeekdom belt at in the future. Obviously playing in multiple divisions is tough, and I have no idea if this is still an ambition of Bateman’s but if so, proving he has Innergeekdom credentials would massively strengthen his case to join the Horsemen.
With Inman on a break from the Schmoedown, Rocha just doesn’t have a player in his faction that might win the Innergeekdom belt, meaning that their mission statement of “All the belts, all the records” becomes a harder to achieve. If Bateman were able to prove that he is the player that can help the Horsemen achieve their ultimate goal, he could also make himself indispensable to the Outlaw.
Bateman found himself defeated by his former partner in his most recent match, but that’s not entirely his fault. Afterall, Bateman was saddled with Dagnino, and Ghai sneakily enlisted McWeeny to help secure a victory. In some respects, it’s even possible to argue that such trickery will only strengthen Bateman’s case: he was been forced to essentially play a handicapped match, designed to make it harder than ever to win. And he still came close!
That said, Bateman can’t fail to beat Ghai the second time out. The pair have a singles match coming up, and wouldn’t you know it, the Founding Fathers are playing on the undercard. Bateman will need to take this opportunity to demonstrate that not only is he no longer associated with Ghai’s particular brand of trivia-related evil, but he is also ready to take out the man that has tackled both Bateman and Rocha and defeated Dan Murrell.
A loss in a one-on-one duel with Ghai would do a lot of damage to Bateman’s Schmoedown reputation, so this match can only be called, for Batman, a “must-win.”
Don’t Turn Face
This is a more interesting point, since the narrative around Bateman seems to be that, now that he’s joined Reilly, he is undergoing a face turn that might convince Rocha to allow him to join the Horsemen. But Bateman isn’t a face, and more than almost any other player it’s important that he doesn’t become one.
Afterall, when you think about Bateman, it isn’t long before you’re thinking about the little jibes and clever tactics that make up his character. These aren’t just gimmicks, but an essential part of the Boss’s gameplay, which he would be wise to retain in some way.
Bateman is clearly moving away from being a heel, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be a face. Rather, he should model himself as a tweener (essentially, somewhere in between heel and face). In fact, Bateman might be following the journey of one of his early Schmoedown idols: John Rocha. The Schmoedown’s original heel has since moved into the middle ground, abandoning the shouting and attacks on his opponents, while retaining some of his edge.
I suspect Bateman might be about to do the same thing. He and Rocha really are very similar, and, like any two people that are alike, they despise each other.
It’s a long shot, of course. Rocha is nothing if not stubborn. But if Bateman can follow some or all of these tips he’ll give himself the best chance of joining the Horsemen. Of course, that’s before we even get on to the question of whether he even wants to join the Horsemen, but that isn’t the concern of this article.
Whatever happens, it promises to be an exciting storyline this season, that is absolutely going to blow up sooner rather than later!