A year is a long time in any sport. It’s hard to imagine now, but 12 months ago the majority of Schmoedown fans had never heard of Rachel Cushing, Samm Levine was merely a mid-level competitor and Mike Kalinowski was a heel nicknamed “The Killer”.
Oh, and the infamous Bobby Finstock was – at least for a few more days – still able to walk the Collider corridors!
Come 3 February 2017, however, the masked leader of the Lion’s Den was banished from the movie trivia world for a year, dragging his heels after his ploy of having Marc Andreyko take his place in the ring foiled by an inspired showing from Josh Macuga.
As luck would have it, Finstock’s suspension is up just a day after the premiere episode of Season Five airs, opening the door for Tom Dagnino to again release his alter-ego on the movie trivia world.
Those in the know have been keeping their cards close to their chest in terms of whether Finstock will in fact be returning, so in true blog style, we’re here to break down the whole issue…
FINSTOCK’S RETURN – THE PROS
Is it too basic to say ‘Finstock = Ratings’? Probably given how the Schmoedown has been able to build its own stars in the masked man’s absence.
Nonetheless it is clear, with the amount of discussion going on regarding his return, exactly how popular the Finstock character is.
No matter how similar the ‘Bobby Gucci’ persona is to that of Finstock, there was always that extra air of mystery – and comedy – that came with Dagnino’s face being covered by a knitted beard. Having to see new personalities work out exactly how to react to such a character was always a thrill, and given the wealth of new talent that is about to be thrown into the world of movie trivia it could make for some interesting encounters.
In terms of game play, though Dagnino does not enter the ring all that often, should he want to make a serious play for the belt or even help out those in his stable by taking on their rivals, then he may well be better served reintroducing Finstock.
Though Finstock’s overall record of 2-4 is nothing to write home about, it is far superior to the 0-3 record he has picked up since becoming “Tricky Tom”. Obviously managing those within the Lion’s Den is his main concern, but boosting his record ever so slightly might be something to bear in mind somewhere down the line.
FINSTOCK’S RETURN – THE CONS
Speaking to Take 3 Productions this week on their ‘Reactor’s Summit‘, Dagnino raised a good point regarding the Schmoedown, and whether it has now outgrown the Finstock character.
With the upcoming Patreon promising to take the movie trivia world we have all become so fond of to the next level, is there a place there for a grown man wearing a knitted mask while the production values of the show sky rocket around him? Possibly not.
Of course they could make it work, but with ‘Bobby Gucci’ now so enveloped within the current fabric of the Schmoedown, it would feel wrong to brush him under the rug and forget he ever existed just so Finstock could be reintegrated into the show.
Furthermore, there is the case of the golden Gucci bag, within which holds the key to Dagnino’s masterplan to shake up the Schmoedown. Those who spent time behind the scenes at Spectacular have revealed that the bag’s contents would likely have been revealed had “Tricky Tom” triumphed in the Manager Bowl, and the man himself has confirmed that it very much remains in play heading into 2018.
Of course many have speculated that the mask is in fact inside the bag. However, given how much Dagnino has previously talked up a plan for which turning Ken Napzok was just the first stage, it seems unlikely that such a drawn out reveal would eventually lead to Finstock’s return.
Instead we need to see it played out in full, and if that means no Finstock for the time being, then so be it.
FINSTOCK’S RETURN – THE IDEAL SOLUTION
Love him or hate him, Bobby Finstock remains a key character in Schmoedown folklore, and with the highly-anticipated Season Five premiere falling almost exactly on the day he is free to return, one hopes those behind the scenes have something planned to commemorate him on Friday, even if his actual return will have to wait.
In terms of what this writer would like to see, a behind the scenes clip of Dagnino opening a closet and pulling out the mask would be the perfect end to what promises to be an already momentous episode. Even with the Schmoedown moving into a new era it cannot forget its roots, and Finstock remains a key part of that.
Even if Dagnino places the mask back in the closet and chooses to remain himself, knowing that the threat of him returning at some point down the line is still a possibility will keep fans theorising and speculating for as long as he is away. It would be a missed opportunity were his new-found freedom just ignored without explanation.
As for the future of Finstock even if he does not make an immediate return, the decision to place Andreyko under the mask has set about a precedent that anyone the garment can represent Finstock moving forward.
Along with many others I have previously theorised that we could see Kenstock/Napstock (take your pick!) at some point along the line while making it clear that the mask remains on the premises – even if it is not being used – opens the door for a non-Lion’s Den affiliated competitor to steal in and take it for themselves.
(Writing this I now have an image of Robert Meyer Burnett wearing the Finstock mask in a desperate attempt to reinvigorate his career and seek revenge on the Den! My mind works in mysterious ways…)
Either way, one just hopes that the legend of Finstock continues on within the Schmoedown world, even if Dagnino himself chooses not to don the mask himself.
Do you want to see Finstock return after his ban from the Schmoedown? Have your say in the comments below!
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