Here we go again. Just when Schmoedown fans thought they’d had enough drama for one tournament season with the team competition, the singles bracket has thrown up yet more talking points and controversies, as well as more than a few upsets.
And while eight competitors are gearing up for their second round matches, another eight must skulk away into the shadows. Those who lost out in round one are unlikely to be seen again until the 2018 season, but no doubt the Commissioner is already working on their potential next opponents.
As regular readers know, we at the blog are not afraid of giving him a helping hand when he is deliberating over his schedule, and as such here’s my picks for who those who toppled out of the tournament should be looking to take on next time they take to the ring…
MATT KNOST (2-3)
With the Schmoedown going back to two episodes a week after the madcap nature of the team tournament, Matt Knost’s exit from the singles competition seems a long, long time ago.
The lesser-heralded Horseman almost took Jeff Sneider all the way in his first round match, and though the way his match ended left a sour note for some, “Mighty Matt” again proved that he is far more than just John Rocha’s crutch to lean on when required in team matches.
Defeat to Sneider brought to an end a two-match winning streak for Knost, but with his record much improved since the start of 2017, he looks well set to kick-off 2018 with the rankings well in his sight.
In terms of his potential next opponent, the first person that comes to mind is another who is not only eyeing a place as a ranked competitor but also has a magpie-like lust for silverware as they continually inquire as to the whereabouts of the belts.
As detailed in a previous post, Ben Bateman is serious about making a name for himself in singles competition after Team Action’s success in the second half of the year, and with there already being bad blood between Top 10 and Action, it makes sense from a story point of view to continue the beef.
“The Boss’s” loss in the singles tournament qualifier sees him sitting with a record of 0-1, and thus from a rankings perspective a match against Knost would also not be too outlandish. Just as long as Rocha refrains from using the term ‘baby butts’ in any promo material he is involved in, this is a match many would look forward to were it scheduled for early 2018.
JOSH MACUGA (7-8)
Oh, Josh Macuga… What is there to say about “The Wildman” that has not already been said multiple times before? Once the darling of the league, Macuga’s form has nosedived in 2017 and at present it seems that any tilt at the singles belt is now beyond him.
Personally, I would not be too upset were Macuga to announce he was to be taking an extended break from singles play. Having recently joined forces with Eliot Dewberry to form the Wildberries, growing that brand should be the most pressing matter for “The Wildman” at this time, and this writer is keen to see them back in team action as soon as possible.
However, if Macuga does want to continue singles play and try start another run towards the belts, then another round one loser could provide the perfect opponent…
JASON INMAN (2-3)
Ahead of the tournament qualifier, many felt it could be the final time we saw Jason Inman compete in singles competition, with his pursuit of glory in both teams and Innergeekdom set to take away much of his focus.
But after upsetting the odds to see off the likes of Scott Mantz, Ben Bateman and Robert Meyer Burnett before putting in a respectable showing against John Rocha, the Team Trek favourite’s thirst for singles play seems to have been revitalised.
Like Macuga, Inman has a negative record overall, and both players seem well matched. With this writer hopeful that “The Wildman” could turn heel after joining forces with Dewberry and having his fantasy segment stripped away, that would add an extra dimension against one of the league’s ultimate good guys.
It might not be the highest-scoring match fans have ever seen, but it would certainly be a tough one to predict, and as such should be considered by the Commissioner.
MARK ELLIS (5-4)
It is fair to say that no Schmoedown competitor has had a worse year within the ring than Mark Ellis. Three defeats from three matches across singles and teams as well as a disappointing Free 4 All showing, it seems “Baby Carrots” may be on his way out of the Schmoedown.
With the Commissioner also set to stand down from competition once he loses the belt, it would be a risk not to have either of the founding fathers of the Schmoedown competing anymore, but it seems having Ellis continue to compete would only further sully his overall record.
Of course we can never write off “Baby Carrots” totally, but for now this writer is not going to predict another opponent for Ellis, as we may have reached the point where there will be no next match for everyone’s favourite vegetable-themed competitor.
CLARKE WOLFE (5-4)
Another veteran of the league to come up short in their first round match, all the drama surrounding Clarke Wolfe’s future after the break-up of the Wolves of Steel and the overtures that followed from the MissFits.
It seems “The Classy One” needs a little time away from the ring to regroup while she has also suggested she will be on the lookout for a new team-mate. However, when she does make her return, it might be worth her asking to be scheduled in a match where she might not be considered the favourite.
Tournament defeats to Josh Macuga and now Brianne Chandler suggest Wolfe can struggle to deal with the pressure of being the overwhelming favourite to claim victory, and her pursuit of the belt might be better suited to her taking the most difficult route possible.
With that in mind, her next opponent should probably be someone like…
DREW MCWEENY (3-2)
Backed by many (ahem, me!) to win the whole tournament, Drew McWeeny’s momentum from the team tournament could not transfer over to singles play as JTE won a match for the ages deep into sudden death.
Though “The Godfather” may still end the year with a belt over his shoulder from the team division, he remains a strong contender to claim the singles title somewhere down the line, and it would not be a surprise to see him finally go on a run in solo play in 2018.
In terms of potentially taking on Wolfe, their rankings match up pretty well, though McWeeny could yet fall out of the top ten rankings list should results go against him in the remainder of the tournament.
Taking on such a heavyweight would ease any pressure “The Classy One” might put on herself while scheduling a bout between two such competitors would certainly give fans something huge to look forward to in the new year. The only risk would be having the loser slip to an even record, but that could allow some of those further down the rankings a shot at taking down a giant of movie trivia somewhere down the line.
WILLIAM BIBBIANI (3-3)
It’s fair to say William Bibbiani’s first dalliance with Schmoedown tournaments has not gone to plan. First round exits in both the team and singles competitions has seen many fans cool on “The Beast’s” potential to potentially challenge for the belt.
Of course, the John Rocha grudge match remains the elephant in the room when it comes to scheduling opponents for Bibbiani, and I am in no doubt that it will take place at some stage in 2018 given how much the Commissioner and those who impact the storylines within the Schmoedown have pushed it since the break-up of the Horsemen.
And while should “The Outlaw” lose to Samm Levine in round two I would actually, for the first time, be happy if Bibbiani vs Rocha was pencilled in given the latter would need to restart his three-match path towards being allowed to challenge for the title again, but for now I’m basing my arguments on definitive records.
Now, when Bibbiani initially lost out to Levine, I originally knew who I wanted him to play next. I even tweeted as much, with “The Beast” himself getting involved with the conversation. That person was Drew McWeeny.
However, with the tournament since continuing my thoughts have now changed, and you’ve probably guessed who I would like to see Bibbiani take on in his first 2018 match…
MARC ANDREYKO (2-2)
It was the match that launched the legend of “The Beast” almost a year ago to the day, but in the 12 months that followed, neither Bibbiani nor Marc Andreyko have quite lived up to the expectations placed on them following one of the greatest matches the Schmoedown has ever seen.
With that in mind, having the pair face off yet again to kick-off the 2018 season would be a nice restart for both players after inconsistent years. It would certainly whet the appetite of fans given the memories of their first meeting, and with both having equal rankings it would allow one to start climbing back up the rope towards the belt.
And there you have it – what do you think some of the round one losers should do next within the Schmoedown? Have your say in the comments below!