Have Top 10 officially hit rock bottom?!

By Sarah Hussain

It’s no secret that John Rocha and Matt Knost have had a rough time in the Schmoedown lately. By last Tuesday, they had lost a combined total of three title matches in the span of four months, were betrayed by one of their own Horsemen, and ended up losing another team-mate to their rival faction, the Lion’s Den. Any die-hard fan of these two, such as myself, would be feeling dejected at this point, right?Top 10Wrong. The truth is, Rocha and Knost are in the best position they’ve been in since they won the team belts last year. They’re no longer the heels they used to be – they’re the underdogs now. And if Knost’s TKO against Tom Dagnino was any indication, they’ve now passed their lowest point (which they hit on July 4th in this writer’s opinion) and are officially on an upwards climb.Rocha and Knost came out swinging when they made their Schmoedown debut back in 2015. Viewers had already fallen in love with them due to the success of their podcast, the Top 10 Show (which just happened to make its long awaited return back to SK Plus this past week). But after seeing them achieve the first knockout of the tournament against Team Screen Junkies, defeat powerhouses and future rivals Dan Murrell and Mark Reilly of Team Champs, and then come back to the league to beat current number one contenders Rotten Tomatoes, it was clear that the team belts were in their future. Sure enough, in October 2016, they knocked out Team Schmoes and finally tasted gold. And despite losing the belts three months later to the Patriots, they never left the conversation when it came to who would be the one to finally defeat those villains, and for good reason.

Anyone who listens to the Top 10 Show knows that the beauty of Rocha and Knost’s partnership isn’t in their similarities, but their differences, both in film taste and demeanor. They contrast each other splendidly; Rocha is the aggressive showman while Knost is the laid back one with the quips. But when it comes to winning, they are both equally hungry and passionate about getting the win. They’re a dynamic duo, which is why…

Losing William Bibbiani and Robert Meyer Burnett is a blessing in disguise

This isn’t a dig against either of these gentlemen. They’re both great competitors and to be fair, they’re better off without the Four Horsemen too. But they’re not the ones who people are doubting right now.

Now the Outlaw had mentioned that if the two of them ever changed their minds, he would happily take them back. Big mistake. The truth of the matter is, “The Beast” and “The Captain” never belonged in their faction to begin with. First of all, they clash with what makes Top 10 so great. Remember that wonderful contrast that Rocha and Knost have? Well it was completely thrown completely off balance when they brought in two competitors that both matched Rocha’s style.

But more importantly, while Bibbiani and Burnett embraced the Horsemen at first, they were never as passionate about it as Rocha and Knost were. Does anybody even remember the way these two were recruited? Let me refresh your memory:Bibs 1Bibs 2Bibbiani was recruited after he set the singles points record in his very first match and had the words “Future Champion” written all over his face. And who recruited him? The Outlaw. The guy who also wanted the singles belt – all the belts, in fact – for himself. If that sounds like a conflict of interest to you, that’s because it is. Which meant that Bibbiani either had to stand back and let Rocha have all the glory, or eventually get in his way. And sure enough, just four months later…Sarah 1Now let’s move on to Burnett. He was recruited after a fluke win (that’s right I said it) against the superior Hector Navarro after the first ever Innergeekdom match. Notice a pattern here?Sarah 2Sarah 3Sarah 4Rocha and Knost had their pick of the litter for stablemates back when they were the team champs and well, how do I say this nicely? They blew it big time. They picked two competitors who were at the height of their powers and therefore had nowhere to go but down. But worse than that, they picked the most disloyal team-mates possible, both of whom blamed the Horsemen when the game wasn’t going their way. And ironically enough, both of them left to join stables run by former competitors who abandoned their own superior team-mates. Unfortunately now, with the Growling Commandos, the Young Bucks, the League, the Night’s Watch, and the Lion’s Den all formed, and with Rocha and Knost down two title shots, it doesn’t look like they have a belt in their immediate future.

Which leads me to my final point here:Sarah 5The fact is, the Four Horsemen shouldn’t have been a thing in the first place. The Outlaw’s whole mantra is “all the belts, all the records,” and it’s a great one. But it doesn’t fall in line with the mission of the Four Horsemen, which is supposed to be a stable of champions. These last seven months have shown that you can’t have that many alphas in one group without butting heads. So stop going after current champions and one-match wonders. Don’t join forces with the Wolves of Steel or the Nerd’s Watch. Any chump off the street can go after an existing powerhouse. Don’t waste an already ranked competitor’s talents. If you’re want to be a faction, find competitors with the potential to be great. Choose chemistry and character over spectacle and star power. You guys may be called Top 10, but you need to start from the bottom, take your time, and work your way back up.

Let’s look at the Crying Den for a second. When they formed, JTE had just lost to an Olympic Gold Medalist, Sneider was coming off his second singles loss, Marc Andreyko had lost his debut match against Bibbs, and Dagnino was still going by Bobby Finstock. After Spectacular, the Patriots defended the team belt three times, JTE got his first singles win since 2014 (and a TKO to boot), Sneider was one match away from a singles title shot, Andreyko had one of the best knockouts in the history of the Schmoedown, and Dagnino…still sucked at trivia, but he had become arguably the most successful manager in the league. The point is, the Den formed as a stable of solid players that could become champions, and look at them now. It’s no wonder that they were still willing to recruit Burnett! On the flip side, look what happened when they took in Dan Murrell after his singles win against Mark Ellis. He lost the belt and immediately dropped their asses. Sound familiar? But the Den learned from this and recovered, so why can’t Rocha and Knost? What they need to do is build a solid stable of support, starting with one secret weapon.

Ditch the blindfold for a new pair of glasses

Don’t get me wrong. That blindfold was a stroke of genius…before the whiteboards came into the picture. But what it really did the first time around was help Rocha focus on the game, because when the chips are down, he gets frazzled easily. He needs someone to calm him down, and his teammate can only do so much. They both need someone who can be an asset to the stable without his or her own ego getting in the way. Someone to keep them in check when they’re about to give up. Someone to lift the management position off Rocha’s shoulders. Someone who knows the Schmoedown inside and out.

Bottom line? They need the Fyffe.Sarah 6Emma Fyffe is the perfect solution. First off, there’s no conflict of interest here since she’s not yet active in the singles league while the Night Sisters have struggled in both their matches. She’s there for almost every match and has the intel on all the players, given that she does the post-match interviews. And she’s an expert in the one area that they (Rocha in particular) have had the most trouble in – the Innergeekdom categories. Now, Fyffe isn’t currently in contention for the title, but she could be on her way, which is exactly what this stable of future champions needs. And if not, she can be the one to coach Rocha so that he doesn’t get screwed over by the next Bespin or Judy Greer that comes his way.Sarah 7The Fyffer is loyal. She’s not going to drop the Top 10 when the game doesn’t go their way. She’s certainly not going to fall for whatever Dagnino or Ricky Hayberg are selling. Plus, she and the Outlaw are on good terms now. All three of them have an utter hatred towards the Den. How great of a storyline would it be to see these former enemies bury the hatchet to team up against a bigger rival? It’s a match made in Schmoedown heaven.

What do you think Top 10 should do next? Have your say in the comments below!

Thanks very much to Sarah for reaching out and offering to write the above piece. If you are interested in contributing DM me @SchmoedownBlog or drop me a comment on the blog or on Facebook – Tom

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