The Schmoedown certainly lends itself to drama, and none more so than within the team division.
Barely a week has gone by within 2017 without a new partnership forming or an established one splitting up, and Spectacular managed to take things to a whole new level.
Since the start of the Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, as many as six teams have been confirmed as being broken up or have huge question marks over their heads. Factor in the Schmoes seem to have unofficially decided to withdraw from team competition, and it is a division that certainly has a lot of issues to sort out ahead of Season Five.
With that in mind, and so as not to miss out on commenting on any of these potentially big storylines before the 2018 season starts in late January, here’s a special theory-based article on what we might see within the team division in the opening months of the campaign…
DAGNINO & NAPZOK
What’s the situation?: Whether they like it or not, Tom Dagnino and Ken Napzok are set to debut as a team in early 2018. Challenged to a match by Rachel Cushing and her as-yet unidentified new team-mate, “The Crusher” is hopeful that this match will act as closure for Napzok’s decision to split up the Nerd’s Watch.It remains to be seen whether the Lion’s Den’s newest double act will continue after their upcoming bout
So what’s going to happen?: Given the personalities involved, for this writer it would feel like a missed opportunity if a partnership of Dagnino and Napzok were given just one uneventful outing, even if they fall to the defeat that many are expecting. With that in mind, I see two possible scenarios…
Either, the match is scheduled for early February, meaning it would coincide perfectly with the end of a certain Bobby Finstock’s ban from Collider Studios. The infamous beard mask was suspended for 12 months on February 3 in 2017, and as such it could be set to make a reappearance in the weeks to come.
However, I do not think Dagnino himself will be the one taking on the Finstock persona. After Marc Andreyko donned the mask to face off against Josh Macuga it was established that anyone can become Finstock as long as they have the right headwear. So how about this for a WTF moment at the start of this match – one word: Kenstock.
Now that you’ve stopped freaking out about that possibility, the other option for what can be done with this team is for them to continue within the league. The Den have already suffered from the issues that arise when there are two teams within a single faction, but even Dagnino and Napzok would likely admit that they are not a threat to the Patriots.
Instead, they could team up to cause chaos within the league and perhaps settle some scores with teams lower down the rankings. What I’m trying to say is that I want them to play the Wildberries and I want it to happen as soon as possible!
There are obviously other teams that they could face at a similar level, but if you wouldn’t want to see Macuga, Napzok, Dagnino & Eliot Dewberry all at the same table then in all honesty I don’t know what you do want from the Schmoedown!
What’s the situation?: With Napzok having literally left her in the lurch in the final weeks of the 2017 season, Cushing is not about to allow her status as one of the league’s few legitimate triple-threats slip away and already has a new team-mate lined up for 2018.
So what’s going to happen?: I know what you want me to say. It’s Clarke Wolfe. And given they chose not to reveal the identity of “The Crusher’s” new partner during Spectacular adds credence to the theory that two of the Schmoedown’s strongest female competitors will join forces in the new year.
However, at the moment within the Schmoedown, “The Classy One” seems to be the solution to every unanswered question with the world of movie trivia (apart from Remember the Titans!).
Many felt she was going to be the player Emma Fyffe was representing in the Manager Bowl, and after that did not come to pass, I’m getting the feeling that fans again will be left slightly disappointed when it comes to “The Crusher’s” new partner.
Instead, as with the Fyffe reveal, all roads may well be leading to Marc Andreyko. The Patriots have shown that two strong competitors can put a rivalry within the singles division behind them to make a formidable team, so why wouldn’t “The Android” and “The Crusher” be able to do the same?Andreyko’s kind words for Cushing during Blofeld’s Cat’s win over the depleted Nerd’s Watch suggests there is already an underlying respect there, and it would make for a nice awards season tie-in for two of the Schmoedown’s premier Oscars experts to team up.
Many hoped Fyffe would end up managing Cushing at Spectacular, and in a roundabout way I wouldn’t be shocked if she was by the start of 2018.
What’s the situation?: With Mark Reilly opting to retire following the Wolves of Steel’s run to the Ultimate Schmoedown semi-finals, Clarke Wolfe has been left somewhat in the lurch.After an up-and-down 2017 for the previous season’s Rookie of the Year, she has vowed to search for a new partner as she continues her quest to get her hands on that belt she so desires.
So what’s going to happen?: As mentioned previously, the rumours of a team-up with Cushing will not go away. Wolfe – rather than Napzok – has actually been credited with first discovering “The Crusher’s” movie trivia capabilities, and with both competitors having turned down the chance to join the MissFits, they do seem the perfect fit.
But, if I am right in my predictions and the Schmoedown’s two highest ranked female competitors do not join forces, then Wolfe should still have her pick of the remainder of the free agents.
There are many viable options, but given what was said by a certain competitor regarding their move into teams after their last match, there seems only one viable option – Marc Bernardin.
“The Magic Man” revealed following his defeat to Lon Harris that he is keen to form up a Schmoedown partnership in 2018, and even mentioned Wolfe by name when considering possible team-mates.
The pair know one another from outside the ring, and a relative veteran such as Wolfe could be the perfect partner for a promising rookie to join forces with as they continue to learn the intricacies of the game, much like we saw with Above the Line to devastating effect in 2017. ‘The Magic Wolves’, anyone?
What’s the situation?: Six Degrees, it seems, are no more. Brianne Chandler’s decision to join forces with Mike Kalinowski saw her leave both partner Stacy Howard and manager Jay Washington behind, and though she urged the former to join her in presumably leaving the dark side behind, Howard had little interest in her offer.
So what happens next?: The MissFits, as a faction, are surely coming to an end. The competitor for whom the faction was named after has departed, and with “The Urban Gladiator” having proven in recent months that he can be more than just a manager with his performances in the ring, it would not be a shock to see Howard and Washington go their separate ways sooner rather than later.It does, however, seem Howard wants to retain her heel persona, and as such I’m ruling her out from being Cushing’s partner despite their great friendship outside of competition. “The Crusher” is the ultimate babyface, and while pairing her with a heel would make for an interesting dynamic, it’s not the step I would take right now.
Instead, I’m predicting Howard will in fact look to another team whose own final match also came within the Ultimate Schmoedown – Reel Rejects.
Following a defeat to Top 10 that left them with a 1-4 record, then-commissioner Kristian Harloff announced that he would be looking to split everyone’s favourite underdogs up in a bid to find them new partners and give them a fighting chance of competing towards the top of the rankings.
Both “The Mad Hatter” and “Glorious Greg” have been known to lend a hand to Six Degrees when it comes to their entrances in the past, and I’m predicting a Howard-Humphrey team-up for 2018, with Alba acting as a manager.
It’s easy to forget that “The Mad Hatter” proved to be the MVP of the Free 4 All before losing to Andreyko on his singles debut, and partnering him with one of the league’s brightest newcomers should allow him to further rise to prominence and gain some confidence within the ring.
DC MOVIE NEWS
What’s the situation?: Having sparred with Brianne Chandler for much of the year, Mike Kalinowski has now joined forces with “Miss Movies”, though it is unclear as to whether they will be teaming up in the ring, creating a new faction or Chandler is just the latest member of The League.It has led many to believe that this joining of forces could lead to the end of DC Movie News, with “K.O.” having just a couple of weeks earlier hinted that he would have to think about his future within teams following Adam Gertler’s disappointing performance in defeat to Top That.
Kalinowski has moved to end those rumours on Facebook in the aftermath of Spectacular, but with Schmoedown puppet-master Kristian Harloff seemingly having other ideas, the future of DC Movie News remains up in the air. ‘Mr & Mrs Schmoedown’ have had the last laugh, for now…
So what happens next?: Given all the other shuffling around in the team division and with DC Movie News’s only losses having come against two of the strongest teams within the league – Above the Line and Top That – it would be foolhardy to split them up.I do anticipate it to be a little time until we see them compete again, but after Team Action’s loss at Spectacular, the grudge match that was promised for periods last season may well come to a head once Andrew Ghai’s suspension has run its course.
As for Chandler, for now I believe she is joining The League as a strategist who may compete every now and again. Not even Harloff studies the intricacies of the game to the same level as “Miss Movies”, and any competitor would be wise to have her in their corner. No doubt we’ll see her clash with Howard somewhere down the line, but for now expect to see more of her on the sidelines than in the ring.
ROBERT MEYER BURNETT
What’s the situation?: Almost the forgotten man of Spectacular, Robert Meyer Burnett saw his Blofeld’s Cat team-mate Marc Andreyko leave the Lion’s Den before “The Captain” himself was unceremoniously given the boot by Tom Dagnino.
So what happens next?: He may have had a disappointing year in the ring in 2017, but Burnett remains one of the most fascinating characters within the Schmoedown, particularly after his faction swapping antics midway through last season.
Kicked out by one team-mate, left behind by another and dumped by the faction he was invited to join just months earlier, Burnett has become the Schmoedown toy no one wants to play with, and as such I foresee a key arc for one of the loudest voices in movie trivia in 2018.Given the lack of Innergeekdom matches compared to singles and teams, it is unlikely we will see Burnett compete any time soon. Instead, I expect him to be the focus of one of the most humorous series’ of backstage clips the Schmoedown has seen as he looks to find a new faction to join in early 2018.
Picture it for me – Ben Bateman is stood in the Collider corridors waiting to make his first singles appearance of the new season (hopefully against Matt Knost!). All of a sudden, Burnett appears wearing his best suit and shades before striking up a conversation using vernacular that we’re not used to hearing from one of the Schmoedown’s more worldly competitors.
Eventually he asks a bemused Bateman whether he would be interested in adding a new competitor to the Action Army – a player who could potentially replace Ghai while he is banned from competition as well as giving them a presence within Innergeekdom.
With a snigger and shrug, “The Boss” agrees to allow Burnett to walk him out for his upcoming match, given it would particularly perturb “The Captain’s” former stablemate, Knost.
Fast forward to the end of the match, and Bateman is leaving the studios, Burnett chatting away and still using phrases that are not becoming for a man of his age. As they reach the doors, Bateman turns to “The Captain”, laughs in his face and tells him exactly where to go. Made a fool of once again, Burnett is left raging but still vowing to find someone to take him in.
Over the next weeks we see the former Innergeekdom champion making his way through different heel factions in a bid to earn their respect. He attempts and fails to join the MissFits (if they still exist!). He goes back to the Horsemen but is quickly ushered away by Knost and John Rocha. Even the Growling Commandos say no despite Burnett arguing that it would make Chris Clark’s year to see them all together as part of a single stable.
With all the heels having turned him away, Burnett has an epiphany and chooses to turn to the light side in a bid to find a way back into the Schmoedown. He attempts to join The League, citing his superhero knowledge as part of his application. Again he is dismissed – and yes, “Miss Movies” will be reprising her famous catchphrase for this moment.
Eventually we see him arrive into the Heroes studio, bruised and beaten from all the rejection. Jon Schnepp vows to take him under the Heroes umbrella, but only if “The Captain” is able get on with his arch-nemesis, Hector Navarro (you said it in the voice, didn’t you?!).
Burnett begrudgingly accepts, only for news to filter through that Heroes have a match scheduled for two weeks time, and Schnepp cannot make it.
That’s right, my frankly quite ridiculous prediction is that at some point midway through the 2018 season we will see Burnett and Navarro compete together as Heroes, with the former seething throughout and just about holding his tongue. What happens thereafter I’ll leave to your imagination, but I’m so invested in this story now that if it doesn’t come to pass I might just pack up and go home!
What’s the situation?: Andrew Ghai is suspended from the Schmoedown for the first three months of the 2018 season following his attack on John Rocha in the immediate aftermath of Top 10’s win over Action at Spectacular.
So what happens next?: Even with Ghai suspended, there is absolutely no way Action will be split up and they will almost certainly be back competing together again once he is free to return.
However, I do believe that this is the beginning of the end for Bateman and Ghai as a Schmoedown duo. Over the course of 2018 I envisage rows beginning to bubble up between the pair, and I would not be surprised if the latter were again to engage in some sort of physical violence towards the end of the season, leading to “The Boss” saying enough is enough and leaving him behind. Just something to keep an eye on over the length of the season…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – #Team Champs2019. You read it here first (unless you saw it on @SchmoedownBlog last year!).
With all that in mind, here are some matches that I’d like to see scheduled in the team division for the early part of 2018…
Top 10 vs Top That CONFIRMED
Above the Line vs MODOK CONFIRMED
Cushing/Andreyko (?) vs Dagnino/Napzok CONFIRMED
Action vs DC Movie News
Critically Acclaimed vs Magic Wolves (Wolfe & Bernardin)
Howard/Humphrey vs Late to the Party
Dagnino/Napzok vs Wildberries
Trek vs Heroes (Burnett & Navarro)
What do you make of the current state of the team division and which new partnerships will form in 2018? Have your say in the comments below!