By Jared Prestwidge
Well knock me out and call me Umberto Gonzalez, it’s tournament time once again! For the next couple of months, us Schmoedown fans have the privilege to watch the top 16 competitors in the league go at each other for the right to challenge champion Kristian Harloff for the belt at Spectacular.
The first round is now over, and even I was taken aback by some of the results. Of the eight competitors that came away with victory, five of them were the lower ranked. If anything is to be taken away from these past few weeks it is that the Schmoedown is a lot tighter in terms of skill than we may have first thought, and that can only mean great things for the league going forward.
With that being said, let’s dive into the highlights of the first round of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament…
BEST ENTRANCE: Stacy Howard AND Mark Ellis
So, I’ve seen laser beams shoot out of a man’s eyes. I’ve seen Galadriel herself appear from behind the red curtain. I’ve seen Pennywise the Dancing Clown resurrected in full glory courtesy of the Schmoedown. But I never thought I’d see two opposing competitors construct a narrative using both of their entrances!
Stacy Howard as Jack Burton knocking out a baby carrot, only to have Mark Ellis come in with his scrubs to save the day? It was beautiful! This kind of on-screen chemistry has my Schmoedown Blog instincts flaring up. Team ORANGE ladies and gentleman, you heard it here first…
BIGGEST UPSET: Brianne Chandler defeats Clarke Wolfe
As I stated earlier, this round has shown that the Schmoedown is a lot more competitive than rankings may have you believe. The #15 seed Brianne Chandler defeating #2 seed Clarke Wolfe is a perfect example.
With fewer questions available in round two when compared to team play, missing any question in round three can almost certainly spell your doom. On top of that, Chandler played the best game of her career, further giving credence to the “DGAF attitude = Schmoedown victories” notion.
The victory also opens up another opportunity for “Miss Movies” to settle a score, as she’s set to take on nemesis Mike Kalinowski for the third time in round two.
BEST MOMENT: Drew McWeeny vs JTE – Sudden Death
What a match. What a round. What a moment!
As much crap as the Schmoedown community gives JTE, you can always rely on him to pull out all the stops in the name of entertainment, win or lose. The sudden death round has kicked the buzzers to the curb, and it’s all the better for it. We got six nail-biting questions before we found our winner, and it went the way of “Little Evil”.
What’s going to happen in “Patriots: Civil War”? Will McWeeny get revenge and strip the team titles away from JTE and Jeff Sneider at Spectacular? It’s this writer’s opinion that McWeeny vs JTE will prove a key moment that will bleed through the remainder of the 2017 season.
BEST PERFORMANCE: Rachel Cushing
And here I thought Rachel Cushing’s singles career would go by the wayside for the time being, due to having so much going on with both teams and Innergeekdom already. It turns out I was wrong (again!).
As the great Frank Janisch revealed in his post-match stat breakdown, “The Crusher” missed only one question out of 14 for a 93% accuracy rate. And after a couple somewhat disappointing performances in the team league, here we saw an in-control and methodical competitor that saw off a more than capable opponent in the shape of Marc Andreyko without breaking a sweat.
The left side of the bracket is stacked with deadly competitors, but if anyone can pull through and make it to the top of the mountain, it’s Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing.
I’m going to be honest here, I only picked three out of eight in this first round. My bracket is down in the dump somewhere along with the Young Bucks faction and Tuff Beats. But predict I must, and my picks will help you one way or another, it just depends on which side you stand…
Jeff Sneider TO BEAT JTE
Mike Kalinowski TO BEAT Brianne Chandler
Rachel Cushing TO BEAT Stacy Howard
Samm Levine TO BEAT John Rocha