The Collision marks the halfway point in the Schmoedown year. Soon we’ll be seeing tournaments, another title defense or two, and eventually the fourth annual Schmoedown Spectacular!
But today, let’s go back through the first half of the year, and take a look at the ten best matches of the season so far!
Before we go on, a few things to note: One, this is purely my opinion. Some of you may not agree with my choices or my rank placement, but this is all subjective. Two, I’m not including the Free-For-All, since it’s kind of its own thing.
With that out of the way, let’s get started with…
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article contains no spoilers about Schmoedown Collision III. Although one of the matches does get a shout-out for its awesomeness, the events and the winner of the match are not revealed!
10. FOUNDING FATHERS VS. MILDBERRIES
Say what you will about Josh Macuga and Eliot Dewberry’s trivia skills, but they are undeniably the most entertaining team in the Schmoedown, and this match was no exception. The idea of the Mildberries is hilarious in its own right, and Macuga and Dewberry play it up to the highest level.
Of course, they revert right back to their Wildberry selves, and Macuga even throws and flosses Dan Murrell’s singles belt, resulting in his two month-long suspension. However, I dare you to find me a single Schmoedown fan that wasn’t losing their minds laughing at it. The Founding Fathers took home the win like we all knew they would, and although the trivia battle itself wasn’t very memorable, everything surrounding it was.
9. ALEX DAMON VS. JOSEPH SCRIMSHAW III
Star Wars matches are becoming more of a rarity in the Schmoedown, mostly because the questions are so deep cut, and the division has a smaller number of players. However, two players that remain strong in the division are Joseph Scrimshaw and current champion Alex Damon. The two have faced off against each other twice, once in a five-way that both lost, and once in a triple-threat that Alex won. This was the first time the two went head-to-head, all for Alex’s belt.
The amount of knowledge the two have about a series of eleven films is extremely impressive. When I was playing along, I think I got one question right in the first round, whereas both Damon and Scrimshaw got perfect rounds. Ultimately, Damon took home the victory with his second title defense, and it may be awhile before he goes for his third.
8. BEN BATEMAN VS. ANDREW GHAI
It took so much of my strength not to rank this match higher, but ultimately, an incredibly important factor of the game is the actual trivia. A 19-5 KO by Bateman does not necessarily make for the most interesting trivia match, and those who watch the Schmoedown primarily for that aspect would very likely walk away from this matchup disappointed.
For those who watch for the theatricality and storylines, however, this match was everything the Action Army Civil War was building up to be. The match was supposed to be one-on-one, with no managers or stablemates, but when we saw RMB and Roxy Striar side themselves with Ghai, while the Horsemen allied with Bateman, we knew we were in for a treat.
This match also ended with one of the biggest storyline shakeups in the history of the game, when Bateman hit Ghai with a chair, and then he and Tom Dagnino joined the Five Horsemen. We were all, in a word, shocked. Rocha and Bateman had been enemies since Action entered the game, suddenly they were partners? No doubt as the season goes on, this relationship, as well as the Civil War, will continue to expand.
7. SHIREWOLVES VS. CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED
On the flip side of Bateman/Ghai, this is the kind of match you watch if you want to see a match between teams with insane trivia knowledge. The match broke the record of the highest-scoring team match in history, with a final score of 35-33, with the Shirewolves getting their second defense. The only thing that holds this match back a bit is that speed round challenge debacle.
Now, I usually like a really good balance of trivia and storyline, so some of you may be wondering why I put this match over Bateman vs. Ghai, and that’s fair, because I myself went back and forth between these two. And the thing that put this match over for me was the entrances. I absolutely love the Gremlins 2 homage with Leonard Maltin that Critically Acclaimed does, and the Shirewolves’ entrance of them shooting the trolls was brilliant.
6. WHO’S THE BOSS VS. THE ODD COUPLE
This match…where do I even begin with this match? It has so many elements to it that I love, and one that I cannot stand, which is why it didn’t quite crack my top 5, but let’s get in to it. This match had huge stakes, and both teams seemed up to the task. The battle of wits was great, with the head games being a huge factor, as they always are when Jeff Sneider is involved. The Slap Heard ‘Round The World is still maybe my favorite moment of the year, and Andrew Ghai’s promo at the end is still epic.
So what is the one part about the match that bugs me? Well, it’s simple: the end. It kind of pained me to watch Bateman try to use a JTE when the team didn’t have any left. Yes, I know that the lights can get to you, but the JTE “stall” strategy is and always will be Bateman’s signature move. To see him screw up his own strategy was really disheartening for me.
5. MARK REILLY VS. JEFF SNEIDER
Whaddya know, one half of The Odd Couple versus one half of Who’s the Boss. The consequences of The Slap were felt in this match, as it would determine whether or not Roxy Striar would be allowed at The Odd Couple’s upcoming title match. Mark Reilly was there to defend his partner Ben, while Sneider was fighting for his manager Roxy.
The match itself was another incredibly impressive display of knowledge by both of the men, and it came down to Reilly’s 5-pointer, which he ultimately missed, making the final score 22-18. However, the knowledge displayed by two veterans of the game was impeccable.
4. MIKE KALINOWSKI VS. KEVIN SMETS
This one will no doubt be where I differ from most people. Kalinowski vs Smets was hyped to no end, so much so that it felt like the real main event at this year’s Collision. Both were on a quest for San Diego; Mike wanted his belt back, while Smets wanted to do what Mara Knopic did, and go 5-0 in his first Innergeekdom run.
The match delivered on all fronts. Although the beginning of round one was a little shaky, by round two it was on. I dare not give away who won, seeing as Collision just aired, but let’s just say that it was an incredibly emotional moment when Kristian shouted “AND YOUR WINNER”.
It seems almost impossible that I should have three more matches ahead of this one, but here we are. So let’s see what they are.
3. ETHAN ERWIN VS. DAN MURRELL II
Call me biased because I was at this live event, and maybe I am a bit, but that does not change the fact that this was one of the most incredible matchups ever in the Schmoedown. Every answer got a cheer, the standing ovation along with “you deserve it!” chants for Murrell is something I will never forget being a part of, everything about it was wonderful.
That coupled with the fact that Dan had to throw a perfect game to beat Erwin, and even then Erwin missed both his 3 and his 5-point questions, made this match one I’ll never forget.
Okay, now I’ll be perfectly honest; I really struggled with how to rank these last two. I constantly flipped back and forth, and even after this is published I’ll still be conflicted. However, at the time of writing this, my number 2 is…
2. TRIPLE-THREAT: WILLIAM BIBBIANI VS. ETHAN ERWIN VS. JOHN ROCHA
This is one of the most impressive displays of movie knowledge by three of the greatest players to ever compete in the league. Both Erwin and Rocha played their hearts out, with Rocha especially showing how well he knows the game itself, while Erwin was, as always, a machine of movie trivia.
However, neither of them could catch the beast that was Bibbiani, who broke the singles scoring record again with a whopping 27 points. Although this wasn’t the way Bibbiani broke the record (there were steals involved), that’s the final score one would end up with if they answered all the round one questions plus their bonus question correctly, all the round two questions without multiple choice, and all of their round three questions. Basically, you’d have to do what Bibbiani did in his first ever match, and pitch a perfect game, to beat the new record.
So why doesn’t the match with a near perfect game take the top spot? Well, I will explain when I discuss the number one match of the Schmoedown year. That of course is…
1. MIKE KALINOWSKI VS. RACHEL CUSHING II
There is so much that I could say about this match, but it’d all be recycled from what everyone says about this match. Going into it, everyone was split. Kalinowski really wanted to retain his belt, but Rachel wanted to be double-belted. It was the very definition of a toss-up.
As the first two rounds played out, Rachel absolutely dominated. I remember interacting with the YouTube chat, and we were all thinking “Wow, looks like Kalinowski’s going to get knocked out in the third or fourth round.” Going into the betting round, she was beating him by a score of 8.
Most competitors would have let that get to them, but not Kalinowski. Instead, he made an insane comeback in the third and fourth rounds, buzzing in for every single one of the speed round questions, and suddenly we were tied going into round five. We were all losing our minds online as we watched each of them answer all of their round five questions correctly, which meant sudden death.
To be quite honest, the sudden death is what really sealed the deal for me. Rachel won on the first sudden death question because of a spelling error. Mike wrote “Ninko” when he should have written “Ninka”. The fact that the match only ended because of a vowel is incredible. Had Kalinowski gotten the “a” at the end, I think it’s very likely the scores could have gone into the 40s.
This match is everything I love about the Schmoedown. It had high stakes, a face and a heel, and you thought you knew where everything was going, but then halfway through, you had no idea where any of it was going. Plus, Kristian’s daughter crashing the interview to hug Rachel is the sweetest moment in Schmoedown history. All of that combined makes this, in my opinion, the best Schmoedown match of the year.
What were your ten favorite matches of the year? Comment your lists down below, and let’s get ready for another six months of Schmoedown!