ACTION CIVIL WAR PREVIEW: Ben Bateman vs. Andrew Ghai – WHO YA GOT?!

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Hello Schmoedown fans, Tim here previewing the huge main event of the Houston live show as we continue the Road to Collision!

This is not just a critical point on this road to “The Midsummer Showcase,” it’s also the heart of one of the major storylines of “The Magic Season.” Two brothers, broken apart for different aspirations and supposed betrayals, now go face-to-face to prove who is the bigger Action Man.

Just the two of them, inside a legitimate wrestling ring, surrounded by hundreds of fans, watched by many more around the world, and in Booker T’s World Gym Arena in Houston, Texas! With special stipulations set, it is one of the highly anticipated matches from the beginning of this season.

It’s an Action Civil War between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai!

To understand the gravity of this main event, we have to go back to last season. After their odd loss to The Shirewolves at the second live event in Los Angeles, Team Action moved on into the Singles Division. Bateman traveled his own path while Ghai dealt with a sticky situation he had with Dan Murrell. But in that Collision matchup, Andrew Ghai did the impossible and KO’ed the returning, yet rusty Dan Murrell in what would be dubbed “The Upset of 2018.”

It wasn’t long until Andrew Ghai upset yet another legend, Mark Reilly, and then came face-to-face with John Rocha in a #1 Contender Match. Unfortunately for Ghai his road ended there, as Rocha defeated him and then became a two-time champion.

Ordinarily, that’s when Team Action would’ve reunited for another go in Teams, but Kalinowski and KOrruption created an Anarchy Tournament that split Team Action apart. Ghai ended his whole season early but Bateman continued to compete with his Anarchy team Who’s The Boss, consisting of him, Mark Reilly, and manager Tom Dagnino. They won that tournament and then Bateman proceeded to the Singles Tournament where he was quickly stopped by Clarke Wolfe.

After that, it was a Team Championship match between Bateman and Reilly versus Cushing and Wolfe at Spectacular. This was one of those matches that defined the season, but left Bateman and Reilly just short of claiming the team titles. Soon, Andrew Ghai came over to congratulate him and asked if they still want to reunite as Team Action. Ben said no because he thought of Reilly and Dagnino as his new team, but he said that he still wanted to be friends.

It would appear that all was settled between the two, until Andrew Ghai slammed his now-former-friend onto William Bibbiani’s coffee table and called him a betrayer, to their friendship and to Ghai personally. Team Action, it appeared, was no more. Because of this altercation and the ensuing hijinks at the Schmoedown Awards show, Chairman Kristian Harloff suspended Ghai for the entirety of this season.

However, Ben had something to say about that.

At the start of this season in New York, Ben Bateman made a grand entrance – his first appearance since Spectacular – to say a few words right after Harloff announced Ghai’s suspension. Bateman explained his frustration and heartbreak at how Ghai perceived him as a traitor instead of a friend, and that Ghai deserved to be punished… but by him, not Chairman Harloff.

Bateman explained that a suspension was not enough for Ghai to learn his lesson, and demanded to face Ghai in a match to prove him wrong. Chairman Harloff was not on board with the idea because of the possible backfire: if Ghai won, he would be a Top 10, possibly Top 5, contender in the Singles Division where he could be up for a title shot again, and start calling shots for what he wants in the Schmoedown. That was the antithesis for Chairman Kristian Harloff’s plan for Andrew Ghai. Regardless, with agreement from the audience, Harloff shortened Ghai’s suspension to one month and allowed the match to happen.

When Andrew Ghai returned to the Schmoedown, with the acquisition of Robert Meyer Burnett as his hype man and Drew McWeeny as his partner, he was more than ready to take on his “traitorous ex-brother” right away. Then, the commissioners decided that they wanted to see them in a teams match as a prelude to this main event in Houston. It would be Bateman vs. Ghai with the partners of their choice, where the winner would determine the stipulations for their ultimate showdown.

For their partners, Bateman chose Tom Dagnino (very confident that he could take down his brother) and Ghai chose Burnett… before whispering to Emma about something else. In the matchup, where the prelude to the next big rivalry unfolded. Bateman and Dagnino entered, and then Ghai and Burnett entered but a switcheroo was executed: Drew McWeeny was his partner instead of Burnett.

I talked to Commissioner Emma Fyffe about this switch-up and its legality on the patreon discord, and she responded that Ghai did not technically break any rules because he whispered to her that Burnett is actually his manager. As weird as it may have been, the match continued as planned. It was a close affair with Bateman and Dagnino having the lead at the end of Round One, and Ghai and McWeeny having the lead at the end of Round Two. In the end, it was McWeeny with a winning answer that gave Ghai’s faction “The Family” the victory and the control over the stipulations for the upcoming singles match.

This defeat was the first of many daggers for Ben Bateman and Who’s The Boss as they proceeded to falter against The Odd Couple in the #1 Contender match in Chicago, and his teammate Mark Reilly eventually falling to Jeff Sneider in Singles. With that win, Andrew Ghai demanded that their match take place in Booker T’s wrestling ring in Houston, Texas and that if Ben wins then he can pick Andrew’s next opponent. However, should Andrew win, then Ben Bateman will not be in the upcoming Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. That would be a crippling blow to Bateman’s season.

With all the dastardly things he has done this season and last, Andrew Ghai has the psychological edge over Ben Bateman. His confidence level, despite being very despicable in nature, has to be bursting over the top. From what we have seen in his singles matches, Ghai is a really good competitor on his own. For him to send Bateman packing from the Singles Division this season, he’ll need to not rush through the questions and pack some seriousness in this match. He’ll have a great time because of all he did this season to make Bateman miserable, but he cannot overlook the potential for Bateman to fire back.

As always, expect Ghai to use that Action psychological warfare coupled with the psych-out advantage he has from the team victory to keep the edge over Bateman. Ghai will need to deliver what he setup in this match, because Bateman will come in hot.

With everything Who’s The Boss have faced in defeat, along with knife-twisting from Andrew Ghai in his video at Chicago, Ben Bateman may be in his rawest form as a Schmoedown competitor. With nothing yet gained for his team from this season, Bateman is the underdog for this main event in Houston despite being higher rank than Ghai in the Singles Division.

As much as Bateman will play his own mental wargame against Ghai, he will still be at the whim of Ghai’s momentous devious tactics. Whatever happens in the main event, Ben Bateman must remain focused in every round, every category, and every question. As for his strategy of using the repeats to stall for more time to reinforce his answers, he needs to make better than the use of it than he did in Chicago; he cannot waste them too early in the match and fall prey to Ghai’s possible goading to waste those repeats.

It’s do-or-die for Bateman’s season, and he cannot let this match slip through his fingers.

One more thing… there are some extra stipulations in this main event.

The Two-Time WWE Hall-of-Famer Booker T, the owner of the venue, has stated that this matchup will be a pure one-on-one match between the men of Action. He demanded that Mark Reilly, Tom Dagnino, Robert Meyer Burnett, and Drew McWeeny to not be at the arena. An interesting stipulation because that means there will be no managers to assist either of the competitors.

Also, Booker stated that there will be no suspensions or fines to be laid on from whatever happens in this matchup, saying that “some gotta get slapped around.” So, will there be some of that violence Chairman Harloff and his Commissioners are trying to avoid?

Who knows? Especially since Booker T believes Andrew Ghai’s story that he was betrayed by his Action brother and is picking him as the victor! What’s more interesting is that Booker T will be with Andrew during his walkout to the ring. I do not want to make accusations, but there could have been some collusion between Ghai and Booker T when Ghai made the stipulations for this matchup in Booker T’s wrestling ring.

Regardless, this is the match everyone is looking forward to this season. the main event is so massive in hype and scale, it could not be contained in Los Angeles, New York, or even in Chicago. It has to be contained in the great state of Texas (where storied rivalries and historic battles ring throughout time), in Houston, and in the wrestling ring of Booker T’s World Gym Arena!

Andrew Ghai may have the upper hand in the mental game, but Ben Bateman should be the favorite to defeat his former teammate and keep his season alive. Will Bateman finally get the upper hand after his recent strings of misfortune, or will Ghai finally humiliate Bateman and continue his climb to Schmoedown dominance?

No matter what happens, this will be a match worth retelling to future generations of Schmoedown fans.

Get ready everyone for Action Civil War in Houston, Texas!

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