NAME: John “The Outlaw” Rocha
MEMBER OF: Top 10
FACTION: The Horsemen
OVERALL RECORD: 6-4
FORM (Most recent first): LLWWL
By Sarah Hussain
Among all the players to come and go from the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, no single competitor has ever attained superstar status like John Steven Rocha.
The former champion made his debut in the 2015 Ultimate Schmoedown alongside Top 10 co-host Matt Knost, and while both members of the beloved podcast were received well by fans, by the end of the tournament, the breakout star of that year had clearly been Rocha.
While his first singles match will forever live in infamy as his Bespin moment, it changed the game for not only his singles career, but the game itself, resulting in the birth of “The Outlaw”, one of the greatest heels to ever bless the Schmoedown.
After taking down fan favourite Josh Macuga, avenging his loss against Scott Mantz, scoring an incredible victory over the Commissioner, and even beating former champion Mark Reilly, Rocha was narrowly defeated by Mark Ellis in the final match of the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown. But much like Bespin, that loss only made him stronger.
“The Outlaw” made his singles return at the Schmoedown Spectacular, and while his team belt had come and gone, it didn’t deter him from once again besting Reilly, giving him a clear route straight to Dan Murrell. In what was one of the most emotional Schmoedown moments yet, Rocha finally achieved what he had set out to do from the start: win all the belts, all the records.
However, after two team victories (one against Kristian Harloff and one alongside him) and a brilliant showing at the Free 4 All following his championship win, everything started to slowly go downhill for “The Outlaw”.
It began with his loss to Reilly, followed by an incredibly off-putting massacre by the Patriots, all building up to yet another title loss against Murrell and the subsequent break-up of the Four Horsemen. It got to a point where “The Outlaw” decided that a change was needed.
If the 2017 team tournament is any indication, Rocha is not ready to follow in the footsteps of his fellow former champions and retire. He’s hungry, determined, and ready to reclaim his former status as one of the greatest players in the game. And while Top 10 was halted once again in the semi-finals by Team Action, their first two matches proved that Rocha still has what it takes.
While most competitors have many identifiable holes in their movie trivia knowledge, Rocha is not one of them, even if he does express his dissatisfaction whenever a category is announced. He has excelled in genres like Spielberg, Biopics, and Westerns, a category that most people try to avoid. He certainly has his weaknesses, particularly the common ones like Movie Quotes/Taglines, Scores & Soundtracks, and Movie Release Dates – he could also benefit from a Back to the Future marathon, but that’s another story.
Rocha’s true downfall has always been himself, whether it’s allowing the crowd or opponents to get in his head, jumping the gun during the speed round, or focusing too much on theatrics and smack talk during the match. All of his singles losses have come down to the last questions, and unfortunately that’s when it’s been make or break for “The Outlaw”.
Rocha’s best match statistically and emotionally has always been the one against Harloff. While he certainly kept up the showmanship during that game, he also introduced his blindfold method, allowing himself to focus only on the questions being asked. With every question, he took his time and thought through the answer, and had some of his most impressive answers to date.
Regardless of how he does in the tournament, Rocha will enter and leave the Ultimate Schmoedown with a legacy that his competitors can only hope to achieve. He’s the first person to hold a belt in multiple leagues, the first to start a faction, and the first to take down the best of all time, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.
“The Outlaw” is one of the greatest characters to ever exist in the Schmoedown and has been a part of the best rivalries in the league’s history. He has the ability to be a heel while still being able to gain our sympathy and have us cheer him on. And while Rocha doesn’t have the singles belt anymore, he has defeated every person who has held it before or after him. It may be questionable whether he’s a face, heel, or something in between at the moment, but nobody can ever question that John Rocha is, and always will be, a Schmoedown legend.