If the match between William Bibbiani and Scott Mantz was not entertaining enough, Schmoedown history was made in the immediate aftermath as a long-term rivalry finally came to an end while another deepened further.
Rivalries have existed in the Schmoedown since the very beginning. In fact, the invention of the game was inspired by an exhibition match that took place between two former interns at odds, JTE and Cobbster. While that feud was both short-lived and amicable, there have been many more since the debut of the Ultimate Schmoedown that have been quite the opposite.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five biggest Schmoedown rivalries that have now been put to bed…
ETC VS SCOTT MANTZ
Born from the upset that coined the phrase “Scott Mantz Math,” ETC vs Mantz might be one of the only feuds in the Schmoedown that had almost nothing to do with actual movie trivia. While neither Ricky Hayberg nor Eliot Dewberry will likely ever claim to be more knowledgeable about movies than “The Mantz Man”, it never stopped them from talking smack against him in every interview, no matter if they were his opponent or not. Whether it was his constant appearances at gas station pumps or New York taxis, ETC loved to bring up his name – and their win against him – at any and every opportunity.
Mantz finally got his revenge at the Schmoedown Spectacular when he and Jason Inman TKO’d them in a No.1 contenders’ match (Side note: How the hell did ETC end up in such a high position again?). And with ETC breaking up, Dewberry making a face turn, and Hayberg now backing up Bibbiani in his quest against John Rocha, it looks like the rivalry has come to an end. It will be interesting, however, to see how Dewberry and Mantz interact when they face each other in the upcoming fatal five-way qualifier.
KRISTIAN HARLOFF VS ANDY SIGNORE
Right before Dan Murrell and John Campea kicked off the debut match of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown at Collider, Andy Signore had some choice words about the impartiality of the Commissioner after a misunderstanding about how Twitter polls work. Once this amusing argument turned into an official challenge, Signore finally stepped into the ring – led by JTE and Ken Napzok – and defeated Harloff at his own game.
After starting his revenge tour with a bang by beating Josh Macuga, Harloff set his sights back on Signore and finally brought him in for a rematch. But “The Judge” had some surprises up his sleeve and turned it into a tag-team match, bringing in Murrell to fight with him against the Commissioner and his temporary team-mate and then-singles champion, “The Outlaw”.
Despite the “surprise,” Harloff and Rocha were able to defeat their formidable opponents, prompting Signore to return again on Friday and give Harloff an actual rematch. To his own surprise, The Commissioner beat “The Judge” via TKO. The two ended the match amicably, with Signore hinting at a possible return. But with Harloff flirting with retirement after his title match, it looks like the score will remain tied for now.
JOSH MACUGA VS BOB FINSTOCK/TOM DAGNINO
While the Commissioner was off on his revenge tour, Macuga was seeking some vengeance of his own. Humiliated after being publicly dumped by his Megapowers brother Finstock (despite being the better competitor by a longshot), “The Wild Man” challenged Finstock to a ‘loser leaves town for a year’ match.
But Finstock surprised everyone when he came out as Tom Dagnino, and instead had recent Lion’s Den recruit, Marc Andreyko, wear the Finstock mask and play in his name. While the Commissioner was quick to dismiss this loophole, Macuga refused, claiming that he could beat anyone in the Lion’s Den. And after a back-and-forth match, “The Wildman” shockingly nailed his five-pointer, while “Findreyko” missed his. The room erupted as Finstock was officially banned from the studio for a year.
But Macuga’s revenge didn’t stop there. He went on to challenge the one member of the Den that he had yet to defeat: Jeff Sneider. This match also came with stakes. Win or lose, Tom Dagnino could return – without his Finstock mask – and he would have to face Macuga in a five-round match so he could taste humiliation. On top of that, if Macuga beat Sneider, he and any partner of his choosing would get an automatic shot at the title against the Patriots.
While Macuga wasn’t able to defeat “The Insneider”, he did get his match against Dagnino. But instead of being the wipeout everyone thought it would be, the two of them had some sort of Freaky Friday-style switch up, where Dagnino missed the final question when victory was there for the taking. It was an end to their rivalry, but not nearly as satisfying as either party had hoped.
DAN MURRELL VS MARK REILLY VS JOHN ROCHA
As far as rivalries go, this should really be considered Murrell vs Rocha and Reilly vs Rocha, since Murrell and Reilly have always been on good terms. In fact, they initially started out as a team back in the 2015 Ultimate Schmoedown, and after an impressive debut match, the Commissioner made a prophetic statement about how these two could one day be playing each other for the single’s title. Little did he know, “The Outlaw” would also be in that mix.
(Art by Brian Ward)
These three have a history that can only be described as a game of tag on the playground. Rocha beat Reilly and Murrell as a team. Then Murrell beat Reilly. Then Rocha beat Reilly. Then Rocha beat Reilly again. Then Rocha beat Murrell. Then Rocha beat Murrell in the team format again. Then Reilly beat Rocha. Finally, at the Collider Collision, it was settled in a five-round triple threat match, which ended with “Dangerous Dan” walking away with the title and all three gentlemen exchanging respect.
With “Yodi” now taking an indefinite break from the game and Rocha working his way back up to contention, Murrell can now focus on fighting off new contenders making a move on his belt.
SCOTT MANTZ VS JOHN ROCHA
For a while, Rocha vs Mantz was the flagship rivalry of the Schmoedown. Their dispute actually started over at Screen Junkies during an episode of Movie Fights before translating onto the Schmoedown screen when Mantz challenged Rocha to a singles match moments before he and Knost took on Team Champs. When this supposed exhibition match turned into a fight for the shot at a title match, the anticipation only increased.
Their first head-to-head, where “The Outlaw” infamously suffered his Bespin moment, still follows Rocha around to this day. Their rematch, however, which happened to be a qualifying match for the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, ended in Rocha’s favor.
After winning, instead of graciously shaking his opponent’s hand, he threw his beloved Bespin shirt in Mantz’s face and declared to the world that he was coming for the belt. And in that moment, “The Outlaw” we all know (and some of us love) had officially arrived.
Following that clash, the rivalry between these two faded into the background, with Mantz focusing on team matches alongside Inman and Rocha making a run for the singles belt. They still trashed each other during interviews and at various cons, but never went head-to-head in actual competition outside of Movie Fights. At last, after making a face turn, Rocha stepped into Mantz’s post-match interview after his loss to Bibbiani and extended an olive branch – the two hugged it out, ending the rivalry at last.
Not too long ago, Tom wrote an article on who Rocha should recruit to complete the now broken Four Horsemen, and Mantz was one of those candidates. While Rocha has yet to fill those two vacant spots, this reconciliation does open doors for a potential alliance in the future. Until then, we’ll all be crossing our fingers in hope that Mantz wins the upcoming fatal five way, giving us a friendly, but hopefully still entertaining, end to this wonderful trilogy.
While it hurt to say goodbye to each of these beloved, long-lasting rivalries, it certainly helps that ongoing feuds like JTE vs Napzok, The Four Horsemen vs The Lion’s Den, and Burnett vs Navarro have only gotten more enjoyable with time. Not to mention, there are always new rivalries around the corner; in the last few months, we’ve been able to witness battling managers (Dagnino vs Washington), former teammates-turned-enemies (Bibbiani vs Rocha), and new factions of good and evil (The League vs Team Action/Six Degrees). Rivalries may come and go, but the Schmoedown will never be free of them. Thank goodness.