So that epic, and in my opinion awesome, slap got me thinking about the concept of kayfabe in the Schmoedown. It’s probably a moment that towed the line between reality and story maybe more than anything I’ve seen in my time as a fan and competitor and it added a very real feeling and exciting element to an already entertaining storyline.
For those of you don’t know, Kayfabe is defined as follows: “the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic.” I figured I’d reflect on my general thoughts on the concept, my experiences with it and how it effects the fandom.
For me personally, I have always enjoyed trivia so I started as a casual Schmoedown fan, sporadically watching while randomly scrolling through YouTube. But it was the build up of the Dan Murrell vs. John Campea Match that got me coming back consistently. Their clap back videos and trash talk felt so real and heated. I found myself choosing a side, booing my perceived “villain” and getting hyped while watching beyond just the questions. Growing up as a soap opera fan, e.g The Young and the Restless, and somewhat of a wrestling fan, until my older brother tried to pile drive me and put me in a figure 4 headlock, I always had an appreciation for a dramatic storyline. That’s why I see kayfabe and the story aspects as equally special and as important as the trivia in the Schmoedown.
Competitors like Ken Napzok, Mike Kalinowski and Andrew Ghai have taken kayfabe and storyline to a level of entertainment that is unparalleled. Rivalries between factions, betrayals, blackmail envelopes, dog robbery, tackles. Not only can you play along with the trivia, but you can get invested in the people involved for a fuller and more fun experience. Not every competitor plays that deeply into those aspects but I think they appreciate it and understand what it brings to the show. When I came into this as a heel, I had a blast getting into twitter fights with the likes of Rocha and Kalinowski, smack talking in interviews, throwing shade at my competition.
I also remember getting hate from fans who didn’t like my character, thought I ran my mouth too much, thought me and Jay were annoying. I tried to get into a silly banter with a hater as “The Machine” which turned ugly in them telling me I was culturally insensitive and a dumb American for only speaking one language. When I made them aware I was actually a citizen of Canada they told me they wished Trump would build a wall around Canada as well to keep me in.
All this to say, while kayfabe has made the Schmoedown an amazingly entertaining and unique thing, some fans maybe need to take the time to understand the fun of it and compartmentalize it all; and while it’s perfectly fine to watch just for the trivia, I feel like the story is just as integral to making a match more interesting. If you know the history between two characters you can easily be more invested, choose a side, speculate about what winning or losing for each competitor means for their future in the league.
You hear us competitors say all the time how at the end of the day we all have nothing but love and respect for each other which is all true. But we also do this because we enjoy the competition and the ability to entertain this awesome community. Kayfabe And story play a huge part of that. I hope fans continue to enjoys what we do, and discover just how much a character and the flair of kayfabe can add to the enjoyment of fully experiencing the creativity of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.
– The Machine