The Ultimate Schmoedown may be sneaking up over the horizon, but there remains a series of unknowns as we head towards the tournament. Who will complete the fatal five-way qualifier? What will Burnett & Andreyko’s team be called? Will Tom Dagnino and Jay Washington make it through both competitions without coming to blows?! Only time will tell.
But the main mystery talking point heading into the team tournament concerns Josh Macuga. Ever since the break-up of the Megapowers after “The Wildman” displayed a little too much loser behaviour, he promised to create a new partnership and return to the team division.
Fans have been waiting for hints as to who it might be, but it has taken until the extension of the team tournament to 16 competitors before we even got a sniff of Macuga’s new partner. They will face Wolves of Steel in the first round, but the match has proven difficult to predict given the uncertainty surrounding the mystery new player.
So who are the main options? Let’s break them down…
DAVID GRIFFIN – TEAM TV TALK
When Macuga was first left behind by Bob Finstock, he suggested that his return to the team league would see him represent Collider’s TV Talk. Given there was far more of a merry-go-round feel to the pundits on the show in early 2017 than there has been for much of this year, this led many to believe that David Griffin would be joining him in the ring.
“D-Griff’s” appearance – albeit a short-lived one – during the Free 4 All further fanned the flames with it seemingly a precursor to him becoming a regular competitor. But he has not been seen since, and with Macuga’s new team-mate being shrouded in mystery, the feeling is that perhaps the TV Talk team has been scrapped and he is planning something bigger for the tournament reveal…
MARK ELLIS – TEAM WILD CARROTS
To say fans have been disappointed at the news that the Schmoes would not be taking part in the tournament and could even be on an extended hiatus once the Commissioner hangs up his whiteboard and pen would be an understatement. However much both Harloff and Ellis try to push other competitors within the Schmoedown, they secretly remain almost every supporter’s favourite duo.
As such, the cry has gone out for “Baby Carrots” to be snapped up ahead of the team tournament. Some – including myself – thought he could temporarily fill in for Mark Reilly should his retirement affect the Wolves of Steel, but that has now been debunked by “Yodi” and Clarke Wolfe opting to have one last run at the belt.
So could Macuga now swoop in and claim Ellis for himself?! The pair have obviously worked on the Schmoes Know show for years, and they would certainly provide real entertainment with their on-screen energy and various quips. Whether Ellis wants to jump straight into a new team remains to be seen, but a number of fans would be thrilled to see him in action more often than not.
CODY HALL – TEAM FANTASY UPDATES
It says something for the work Macuga and Cody Hall have done in 2017 that the end-of-show fantasy point updates are now some of the most anticipated sequences of the whole show. For new fans the shouting of “The Wildman” may be just jibberish, but the entertainment he and Collider’s trusty engineer provide will likely have won them over.
Whether Hall fancies a return to the ring after chastening defeats to Kristian Harloff and as part of the B-Team against Team Champs during the first two Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments is unlikely, but there are fans who want to see him join with Macuga for more than just the fantasy updates. Whether they would have it in them to compete with the very best, though, seems unlikely.
NICK SCARPINO – TEAM WILD SEDUCTION
When Scarpino arrived for his singles match against Rachel Cushing wearing an “I 💗Macuga” t-shirt, many presumed that “The Producer/Seducer” was making his play to gain “The Wildman’s” attention and eventually become his team-mate.
Some fans have latched onto this, and with both having a love of showmanship it seems that their personalities would work together well within the Schmoedown. Scarpino’s 0-2 record in singles suggests on paper that he would not necessarily be the partner Macuga needs to make a play for the belt, but the former’s performance in defeat to “The Crusher” did suggest there is a chance of improvement as he gains more experience within the ring.
FRANK JANISCH – TEAM FANTASY STATS
Right – time for a some far-out theory s**t!
Back in May, Frank Janisch appeared on a Facebook Live video alongside Schmoedown Rundown host Aaron Turner to discuss both the singles and team rankings as well as answer Schmoedown-based questions.
During their chat, Turner pressed “The Stat Lord” on whether he would be visiting the Collider studios anytime in the near future. Janisch attempted to dance around the question but basically gave away that he would indeed be heading to LA.
Now, we all know that Frank was in fact at Collider for a number of recent matches, including the Collider Collision, with his interviews with various competitors appearing on episodes of the Rundown while he steadfastly – and admirably – refused to give anything away regarding the results of a number of key bouts.
So here’s my question – why would Frank be so guarded about his visit to Collider when it was for Rundown business? Surely this is something that the podcast would look to promote? Here’s where the aforementioned video comes back into it…
Janisch is later asked by a fan when he and Macuga will be teaming up to face Late to the Party. The query is quickly shut down with Turner citing that LTTP are in fact scheduled to take on Team Action, but he in turn poses his own question regarding his podcast co-host’s potential participation in the Schmoedown:
AT: Frank, do you care to comment on your Schmoedown team?
FJ: Er, I don’t have a… do I have a Schmoedown team?!
(Watch the video – it comes across as bit sheepish to me!)
Fast-forwarding two months, and Turner and the team at the Rundown have made it clear to fans they are in fact aware of Macuga’s team-mate but of course cannot reveal it. Janisch even went as far to say that he does not think the match between Macuga’s team and the Wolves of Steel will be close at all.
Given the strength of Wolves of Steel, that would suggest that “The Stat Lord” believes Macuga’s team-mate is not particularly strong. I am not going to sit here and claim Janisch himself would drag “The Wildman” down, but having always come across as relatively modest, it would not surprise me if he was to play his own chances down.
Now, obviously this theory is likely not worth the screen it’s been written on, particularly with Janisch not living in LA. But I’m putting it out there, just in case, and you can all come bow at my feet if I’m proven correct!
Either way, we’ll find out soon enough who Macuga has up his garish suit sleeves. Hopefully they can keep it a secret until the match itself as the people’s champion begins his latest path towards a potential belt.
Who do you think will team up with Macuga for the Ultimate Schmoedown tournament and beyond? Have your say in the comments below!