WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR LAST FRIDAY’S MATCH
This Thursday marks the kickoff of tournament season in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, and we begin with the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. 16 competitors battling it out, all for a shot at that coveted singles title.
And today, we’re going to break down each of the players in the tournament. We’ll look at their season, what they need to do to win, and at the end, I’ll share my predictions.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
One of the heavy favorites to win the tournament, Erwin is looking to get his season back on track. Last year, he cleaned through the tournament, and worked his way to a title shot at Schmoedown Spectacular III. However, his singles record this year stands at 0-2, after losing the belt to Dan Murrell in New York, and losing a #1 contender’s match to William Bibbiani.
Erwin will try to get some redemption in New York, when he goes back there this Saturday for his first round match. A big win at a live event, with hundreds of Schmoedown fans cheering him on, may be exactly what “Big Time” needs in order to work his way back up to the belt.
This season, Kalinowski dove head-first into singles after an almost year-long hiatus from the division. Although he recently came close to getting a singles title shot, he couldn’t quite reach it, making his mission of being the first player to hold all three belts even more difficult.
Although the pursuit for #MikeyThreeBelts may take longer than hoped, it seems like nothing can deter “The Killer” from his quest. Kalinowski has a drive behind him that we haven’t seen the likes of since the early days of Rocha, and he is making a very good case for Player of the Year. If he goes far in the tournament, it’s likely going to be a lock. If he gets knocked out early, he’ll have to settle for one, maybe two, pieces of hardware.
Witney “The Beauty” Seibold was placed on a pedestal when he was announced to be competing in singles. Half of the former Critically Acclaimed, fans had been clamoring for Seibold to enter the singles division for years. So it came as a shock to nearly everyone when he lost to David Del Rio in his debut match.
Since that match, he disbanded from William Bibbiani, joined up with his old Anarchy partner, and now seems to be ready to remind everyone why they built him up in the first place. This tournament is exactly what Witney needs to build his Schmoedown career back up.
Mark Reilly has also had quite an interesting season. He started it off strong with a win against Drew McWeeny, but faltered early with two consecutive losses to Jeff Sneider, one in singles, and one in teams at the Chicago live event. However, a lot has changed for “Yodi” in that time.
He was a major factor in helping to merge his Who’s the Boss teammate and manager (Ben Bateman and Tom Dagnino) with his stablemates in the Five Horsemen (Dan Murrell and John Rocha), and now he has arguably the strongest faction in the league behind him. If Reilly does well in this tournament, it’s going to be very good for the Horsemen, but if he stumbles early, we may see a shift to focus on teams.
Managed by his brother and partnered with JTE, “The Professor” is one of the most up-and-down players in the Schmoedown. Some days he’s unstoppable, some days he needs more questions on German Expressionist films.
With the first round of the tournament, however, Harris is likely feeling confident considering his opponent, Paul Preston, is a competitor he just recently beat. If the rematch goes the other way, his time may be better spent either working with the Evil Geniuses or preparing for final exams.
LIZ SHANNON MILLER
“Lightning” Liz Shannon Miller exploded onto the scene of the Schmoedown with an astounding 3-0 record and a serious campaign for Rookie of the Year. However, she was slightly halted at this year’s Collision with a loss to the current champion, Paul Oyama.
Miller was hyped up to be someone who knew more than Ethan Erwin, and while her initial run has shown some of that, I believe we’ve yet to see the full extent of Liz’s knowledge. This tournament could be a perfect way for her to show off that talent, but if she goes out early, it may be a while before we see her back.
I’ve said this before in other articles, but I’ll say it here too: it’s been a mixed bag of a season for “The Beast”. While he started off with a bang, breaking the singles scoring record, he lost his title match to Murrell and his longtime teammate in Witney Seibold. I thought for the longest time that Bibbiani was going to use his #1 contender’s for singles, but he appears to be sitting on it.
Bibbiani is rebuilding, however. He’s got a new teammate in Brendan “The Kid” Meyer (more on him later), and SHAZAM! seems to be doing quite well. Winning the tournament could be exactly the push that Bibbiani needs to make this his season.
Another legend who’s looking to reignite his season in this tournament, Rocha has been largely absent from singles play since competing in the triple-threat earlier in the year, and in teams, he and his partner Dan Murrell had a loss to Korruption. And while Murrell has the Free-For-All prize in his back pocket, we all know that the singles belt is the one Rocha vies for the most.
We need to see the Rocha that we saw before last season’s tournament. The one who was ready to get that belt, and from the looks of it, that’s the “Outlaw” we’re going to get. I can see Rocha’s determination to win this coming partially from wanting to annoy the tournament commissioner, Robert Meyer Burnett. But also, what does Rocha say? All the belts, all the records, and he’s ready to set some records.
And guess what? We’re only halfway through the competitors.
Haleigh Foutch is another personality that Schmoedown fans have been wanting to see get into the singles division for a long time now. She was a fan favorite when she rose in the ranks with the Scream Queens, and she recently debuted in singles, although she just barely lost to Eric Zipper in Sudden Death.
That match proved Foutch was a force in the league, but she’s got a difficult road ahead of her in the tournament. In the first round, she’s going up against Ethan Erwin live in New York City, so two questions arise: will the pressure of the live crowd get to her? And will she be intimidated by going up against a Schmoedown beast like Erwin?
JEANNINE THE MACHINE
The definition of “The People’s Champion,” The Machine has had a pretty strong year overall. She came within inches of beating Chance Ellison at the first New York live event, she beat her former stablemate Stacy Howard, she had a loss to Mike Kalinowski, but a win with her new teammate Ethan Erwin.
Well, in the tournament she may get her chance at redemption, as her first matchup pits her against Kalinowski, meaning this match is important for The Machine for two reasons: it will advance her in the tournament, and she’ll get to shut her enemy up.
A fan-favorite, also trying to make a run at Rookie of the Year, “The Kid” started his Schmoedown career with a loss, but a loss to someone who would go on to be the champ. And in fact, during the Free-For-All, Meyer lasted longer on the table than Oyama did. After his performance in that event, Meyer’s talents were picked up on by Bibbiani, and after Witney left Critically Acclaimed, Bibbs took Meyer under his wing.
It turns out, Meyer’s first match in the Ultimate Schmoedown is against Witney Seibold, so it will be another personal first round matchup. Meyer will not only be fighting to continue in the tournament, but also for his new partner, William “The Beast” Bibbiani.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that “Sassy” Stacy Howard has taken the title of Best Guesser away from Josh Macuga. Although she hasn’t had the best season in terms of wins and losses, she made one big move that I think has paid off: she left The Viper Squad to join KOrruption, and it seems as though she has found her place among them, especially with her partner Tim Franco.
Stacy is an interesting player when it comes to tournaments, especially the first round. She pulled off a major upset in 2017, beating Mark Ellis, but lost in a knockout last year to Dan Murrell. She’s facing another league legend, Mark Reilly, in the first round of this year’s tournament, so it’s honestly a toss-up. It may ultimately come down to a few lucky guesses.
There’s an period of time going on in the Schmoedown right now where you can’t escape Paul “The Powder Keg” Preston (but who’s complaining?). Every week it seems like he’s competing in another match. His record stands at 2-1, having made his singles debut only three weeks ago.
As stated earlier, in his first round match he’ll face off against the only person to have beaten him in singles, “The Professor” Lon Harris. If Preston gets the win over Harris it will be quite the redemption arc for him, and it will mean even more “Powder Keg” in all of our lives.
After his recent loss to Mike Kalinowski, Ben Bateman’s record stands at 5 wins, 5 losses. He’s batting 500, which is shocking for a player of his caliber. With the way “The Boss” strategizes, studies, and performs, one would think his record would be better. However, any time it seems as though he’s right there at the belt, he can never quite get it.
This tournament is Ben’s opportunity to finally break free of the moniker of “the best player to never win a belt,” and become a champion. But he’s got to go through Liz Shannon Miller in the first round, and his road doesn’t get any easier from there. Let’s also not forget, he still has a wild card in play from Houston, where he can make his old teammate Andrew Ghai go up against any player of his choosing. While Ghai may not be in the tournament, it will be interesting to see if that comes into play by the end of this season.
“The Cobra” has also had quite the season. He started it off with two big wins in singles and teams, got a title shot in teams, but lost in singles to his fellow former fan league competitor, Oyama (side note: Oyama beating people seems to be a recurring theme in this tournament).
Chance was one of the first competitors to be brought up from the fan leagues, and he exploded onto the scene with KOrruption, but he has been overshadowed by fellow fan league competitor Oyama, who’s going 5-0 in his rookie season. If Chance wins this tournament and goes up against Oyama for the belt, it could be an amazing answer to the question of the best fan leagues player.
Rachel Silvestrini is a bit of a wild card in this tournament. While we’ve seen some of what the “Shining Star” can do in singles and teams, she’s another competitor I think we’ve yet to see the full extent of, and this tournament could be a great way for her to really make a name for herself.
Her singles record stands at 0-1, and she’s going up against Rocha in the first round. If she wins it would be a major upset, and I think we could see that confidence carry her through the tournament. But even if she goes out early, she’s definitely a competitor to watch in the future.
THIS WRITER’S PICK TO WIN
When I was filling out my bracket, I went back and forth on so many of the matchups, especially when it was getting into the later rounds. By a certain point in the final four, I was ready to flip a coin on matches, but ultimately, I settled on what I think is a pretty solid bracket, and ultimately, I had to go with the competitor who isn’t necessarily being underestimated, but isn’t being talked about enough. I think sometimes we forget this competitor was a champion, and that’s not right, because not only was he a champion, he was the first champion.
Yep. I’m picking Mark “Yodi” Reilly to win the Ultimate Schmoedown in a knockdown, drag-out fight against Ethan Erwin in the finals. I think that Superman will fly above the rest.
Who is your pick to win the tournament? What upsets do you think we’ll see in the first round? Leave a comment with your answers, and let’s get ready for tournament season.