This year’s Schmoedown Collision is right around the corner, and with the rematch between the Odd Couple and the Shirewolves headlining the event, it feels like a good time to countdown the Top 10 Schmoedown Rematches! Specifically, I’m looking at players/teams that have faced off more than once in the same division.
This is my personal list, and, as a little disclaimer, I’ll add that, where players have faced of more than twice, I’ve limited my selection to just one match between the same player/team!
Honourable Mention: Action vs. Top 10 2
I’ve cheated a little bit, and started this list with an honourable mention: in my opinion, Action vs Top 10 2 isn’t quite in the Top 10 Best Schmoedown Rematches, but I suspect that a lot of people might disagree with me, so I thought that I’d include it, so that I could offer a brief explanation as to why.
Part of the 2017 Spectacular, Action vs. Top 10 was the big storyline rematch. In the Ultimate Schmoedown, Team Action had eliminated Top 10 at the semi-final stage, but their subsequent loss to Above the Line gave Top 10 an opportunity to demand a rematch. Rocha and Knost weren’t happy with the first match, in which Top 10 saw their opponents spin Spinner’s Choice, while they spun Opponent’s Choice. Action, however, weren’t keen on the rematch, and so inserted the stipulation that, should Top 10 lose, Rocha and Knost would be forced to break up.
The reason this one doesn’t quite crack the top 10 is because the match itself was fairly one sided. Action didn’t play a good game, and by the time the match reached the third round, it was essentially already over. Ghai missed the two point question, and Top 10 took the TKO victory. That being said, the match will always be remembered for the unforgettable events that followed. Furious with the result, Ghai tackled Rocha, in a moment that lives in Schmoedown infamy. More notable for the surrounding storyline than the match itself, Action vs Top 10 2 just misses out on a spot on the list.
10. Samm Levine vs. Rachel Cushing 2
I think that the fact that this match ended in a Samm Levine TKO means that some people often forget just how competitive Levine’s first defence of his belt actually was. Having performed a self-described miracle in overcoming Cushing in the semi-finals of the Ultimate Schmoedown, Levine faced the prospect of a rematch with a Rachel Cushing who had just put up one of the all time best Schmoedown performances in her triple threat #1 contender demolishment of JTE and Kalinowski.
The pair were tied at the end of round one, both went perfect in round two, and it was only at the end of the betting round that Levine was able to establish a one-point advantage. It was only Levine’s five-point run in the speed round that gave him enough of an advantage to win via TKO, which is what keeps this match from climbing higher up this list. That said, this was still an incredibly competitive rematch, and one that should not be overlooked.
9. Marc Andreyko vs. William Bibbiani 2
When Andreyko and Bibbiani debuted in a match against each other, both were touted as the next big thing, as future champions, and while neither had followed this expected career path immediately, when the pair met again, it was in a bout in which one of them would walk away as the new singles champion. This was a great rematch for the dedicated Schmoedown fan, a reward to fans with detailed knowledge of each player’s journey throughout the Schmoedown. Both Bibbiani and Andreyko demonstrated their growth as competitors and personalities since their debut, making for a really great match.
For me, the two most notable things about Andreyko vs Bibbiani 2 were the four point swing on Andreyko’s incorrect round two answer (“Bud,” which Bibbiani stole with the correct answer, “Bub”), in which the difference of a single letter cost Andreyko the match, and the final round, in which Bibbiani was down a huge four points. Bibbs scored a perfect ten points, enough to force Andreyko to answer his five-point question, which, when missed, cost Andreyko the match. After all the talk about Bibbs’ struggles in the final round, this was a performance to silence the doubters and win him a title.
All of that, and I didn’t even mention the amazing MST3K entrance!
8. Top 10 vs. Schmoes 2
A match that surely makes the list of any team Top 10 fan, this was a corker. Top 10 had defeated the Schmoes to win the team belts in a huge KO victory, but, having seen the Patriots take that belt straight off of them, Rocha and Knost found themselves in a rematch with the creators of the game in a #1 contender match. This was just one of those all around great matches, from the promos to the energy in the room. Things got interesting in the third round, in which Rocha had to dig deep to hit a five point question and keep his team’s hopes alive. The Schmoes went on to miss both their three and their five point question, either of which would have won them the match. While Top 10 weren’t able to go on and take the title off the Patriots, this was an underappreciated Schmoedown match that was only enhanced by its rematch status.
7. Samm Levine vs. Clarke Wolfe 2
I think that the magnitude of the Levine vs. Wolfe title match gets somewhat lost in the shuffle. Levine’s previous team match saw him become the first double-belted champ, while his following match turned out to herald his retirement from Schmoedown competition. Sandwiched in between the two is perhaps the closest singles title match that the Schmoedown has seen. Levine vs. Wolfe was huge for the defending champ: he already had one singles loss to Wolfe, and while his team defeated the Wolves of Steel in the previous season’s Ultimate Schmoedown, there was no doubting that Samm had a serious defence on his hands.
This proved to be the case when the match went to Sudden Death, after neither player could come up with a third round answer. The match had already featured plenty of drama, including a traditional Samm Levine challenge. Then, four questions deep into Sudden Death, Levine managed to win the match on an animated question, which had notoriously been his weakest category. This was something that would have seemed ridiculous to suggest back when Levine first started competing in the Schmoedown, but the champ’s dedication to studying meant that he was able to pull out one of the closest victories in Schmoedown history.
6. Clarke Wolfe vs. Josh Macuga 2
JTE vs Cody Miller. Bibbiani vs JTE. Critically Acclaimed vs Late to the Party. Ellis vs Howard. Murrell vs Ghai. These are some of the greatest Schmoedown upsets, but none of these matches were rematches. In the Schmoedown you don’t get too many upsets, because the league is structured in such a way that similarly ranked contestants usually play one another. Which is to say, in most matches, there isn’t a huge underdog. Even looking back at that list of upsets, you can retroactively remove Bibbiani vs JTE with the knowledge that JTE went on the most dominant championship run of all time, while Ellis vs Howard surely can’t be considered a huge shock in the context of the decline of Ellis’s Schmoedown playing career. Murrell vs Ghai was a shock, for sure, but factors like ring rust can be applied if one is looking for an explanation.
What’s different about Macuga’s upset victory over Clarke Wolfe is that she’d already beaten him, and while it wasn’t a demolition, it’s fair to say that Wolfe didn’t have to break a sweat. As such, the pair wouldn’t play again under normal circumstances. Wolfe had just come off a loss in a team title match, whereas Macuga was… well, Macuga. He’s never been great at this. However, the Ultimate Schmoedown is an exception to the Schmoedown rule of similarly ranked competitors playing one another, and so Wolfe vs. Macuga 2 was a case of a highly seeded player versus one of the bottom seeds. And Macuga won. The rematch that was arguably the greatest upset in Schmoedown history.
5. Robert Meyer Burnett vs. Hector Navarro 2
Another underrated match, Burnett vs Navarro remains the origin of RMB’s legendary rivalry with Navarro. Burnett had won the Innergeekdom belt in the inaugural fatal five way, a match in which he just edged out Navarro. For his first defence, Burnett faced the prospect of a rematch with Navarro, and their rivalry was born. The pair are a perfect contrast: Navarro is relaxed and funny, with a line in sneaky good trash talk (see: “Robert Meyer Burnett has been flappin’ his old-ass gums”), while Burnett is full of explosive and nonsensical heelish rage.
Featuring a great cameo by future champ Jason Inman, the match itself was incredibly tight: Burnett took a one point lead out of the first round, and while the champ built up a four point lead by the end of the third round, Navarro cut that lead back down to one by the end of round four. This set up one of those classic Schmoedown title moments, where no one knows the winner for sure until either “the new” or “and still” is announced. Burnett missed his final five-point movie release dates question by a single year in a rematch that wasn’t just the birth of a long-standing rivalry, but was also a really great match.
4. John Rocha vs. Mark Reilly 3
I’ve described a lot of my picks on this list as underrated, but there are few matches that deserve that title more than Rocha vs Reilly 3. The pair had met twice before, and Rocha had come away with the victory both times, and now, in his first title defence, Rocha was facing Reilly again. I love this match for the phenomenal build-up: Rocha’s promo work here is some of the best I’ve seen in the Schmoedown, as the Outlaw reached the peak of his heel persona. The reason that this match seems to be forgotten is because, per the storyline, Rocha was supposed to win. Having been on a fan-favourite journey since his singles debut, the Outlaw had been on a path to the title, and, having won the strap, this was supposed to be his first defence. The fact that Reilly won seems to overshadow both a great match and an impressive triumph of heel over face.
Throughout the match, Rocha went about building up what seemed like an unassailable lead: Reilly spun Opponents Choice, while Rocha got Spinner’s Choice. Everything was going the Outlaw’s way, yet Reilly did enough to force Rocha to answer his five-point question. He missed, and Reilly retook the belt that he had won before anyone else. This match has everything that makes the Schmoedown great: story, history, a face vs a heel, a title being won or lost on the final question, and an impressive comeback. A great rematch, and a great example of what the Schmoedown is at its best.
3. Mike Kalinowski vs. Rachel Cushing 2
Kalinowksi vs Cushing 2 is unique among the matches on this list in two different ways. Firstly, it is the only pairing of competitors that look likely to play another rematch anytime soon, and secondly, it is the only match on the list in which the previous clash really didn’t matter all that much (Levine vs Wolfe 2 is probably the only match that could come close to claiming the same). In the time in between the first bout between Kalinowksi and Cushing, both had changed so much as competitors that the match really could not inform the rematch: Kalinowksi had gone from face to heel, Cushing had won the Team belt, and both players had vastly improved their Innergeekdom knowledge (most notably Kalinowksi, for whom studying Innergeekdom had seen him win the belt).
Not that this match needed history. At the end of the second round, Kalinowksi had missed a total of three questions, worth four points. He was down eight points, with Cushing pitching a perfect game. Mike followed this up with what might be the greatest comeback the Schmoedown has seen, and by the end of the fourth round, the game was tied. Both players went perfect in the third round, leaving the game tied at a massive 30-30. Only Sudden Death could separate the pair, in which the difference of a single letter (“Ninco” vs “Ninca”) meant that Rachel Cushing was crowned the league’s second double belted champion. In terms of gameplay and trivia, this match is one of the very best, and this is made only more impressive by the ridiculous specificity of the Innergeekdom questions. The appearance of Kristian’s daughter in Rachel’s post-match interview is the icing on the cake, and it is fair to say that, if the pair do meet again at Comic-Con later this year, we could be in for another match for the ages.
2. The Patriots vs. Above the Line 2
Speaking of double-belted champions, this was the match in which Samm Levine was crowned the first of them. I’ve picked Patriots vs. Above the Line 2 over their Iron Man rematch because the third clash of these teams just wasn’t as competitive. This was the match in which the Patriots’ perfect 9-0 record, with six title defences, came to an end. The match itself was a mirror image of their first, in which Above the Line had led throughout, only to lose the game by failing to answer their five-point question. Here, the Patriots held a four-point lead at the end of the third round, only for Above the Line to mount a comeback and force the Patriots to answer their five-pointer. In missing it, the Patriots lost the match the same way that Above the Line had just months earlier.
Everything in this match was about history: the end of a historic run, the various battles between the two teams across the Schmoedown, and the promise of a final match to come. Featuring plenty of fire and controversy (I imagine Sneider is still unhappy about the “Thing” vs. “The Thing” ruling), this is a match that will long remain one of the most significant in Schmoedown history.
1. Ken Napzok vs. Sam Witwer 2
Of course, one of the greatest Schmoedown matches of all time takes the #1 spot for the greatest Schmoedown rematch. Ken Napzok had won the Star Wars belt in a five-way match that had included Sam Witwer, and for his first defence, he was facing the man that had essentially been his main rival in the division. On top of that, at the end of Witwer’s #1 contender match, Napzok had been revealed as the newest member of the Lion’s Den, in what remains one of the Schmoedown’s best heel turns. In terms of anticipation and storyline, this match has the lot.
More importantly, this was just a damn good face-off. It was the debut of the Iron Man version of the Schmoedown, and the format has never been better than it was in this match. Throughout, Witwer looked to have the title within his grasp, maintaining a healthy lead over Napzok. In the speed round, however, Napzok mounted a furious comeback, the upshot of which was that the pair were tied with a second or so left on the clock, leaving Witwer to win the match with a last gasp answer. The reason this match tops this poll and remains one of the best that the Schmoedown has ever produced is because it remains a perfect combination of story, stakes, and drama. And if Witwer ever returns to the Schmoedown, a rematch with Napzok is not outside the realm of possibility….
Let me know which rematches you feel I missed out (Scott Mantz vs. John Rocha 2 and Ethan Erwin vs. Dan Murrell 2 came incredibly close!), and let me know which rematches you are hoping to see in the future.
Enjoy this year’s Collision! I’ve got a feeling that the main event might find a place towards the top of this list….