One of the stars of Season Four of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, it’s fair to say things did not go the way Mike Kalinowski would have wanted during the Season Five premiere.
With a title shot on the line, “K.O.” managed to pick up just four points before being knocked out by Rachel Cushing and JTE, leading to one of the league’s favourite babyfaces storming out of the studio and neglecting his post-match interview duties.
While a team match with an as yet unconfirmed partner looks to be next on the horizon for Kalinowski, there is no doubt that he will be looking to get back on the singles horse sooner rather than later. But who should he be facing? The blog breaks down his options…
THE RANKINGS OPTION: CLARKE WOLFE (5-4)
With an overall record of 4-3, Kalinowski is one of just nine active players who have competed in more than one match to hold a positive record, and as such his options in terms of booking an opponent who holds a similar standing is difficult.
That task has been made even harder by the likes of Jeff Sneider, Mark Ellis and Drew McWeeny all having their season debuts scheduled in the past few days, but there remains one competitor in the upper echelons of the rankings who has been sat waiting patiently to learn their next step.
Clarke Wolfe had an up and down year in 2017, with her best performances arguably coming within the team division as Wolves of Steel fought for the title before making a run to the Ultimate Schmoedown semi-finals.
Despite not having competed since defeat to Brianne Chandler in October, the formation of the Shirewolves and the anticipation surrounding her partnership with “The Crusher” seems to have given “The Classy One” some momentum heading into the new campaign.
Taking on a fellow high-flyer in the shape of Kalinowski would be a mouthwatering match-up, with the winner likely to be eyeing up one more win before being offered a title match.
Pitting two face competitors – presuming “K.O.” is not for turning by “Miss Movies” – up against one another might not get the juices flowing for fans of the storylines, but it would certainly promise to be a tight encounter.
THE STORY OPTION: STACY HOWARD (2-1)
Full disclosure – this is the match that this writer would like to see, as not only does it make clear sense from a story point of view, but Stacy Howard’s current 2-1 record means she is another current member of that handful of players to be starting the season in the black.
Of course, should this be the match that “K.O.” books for his next encounter, then the build-up will be dominated by the fall of the MissFits, as Chandler leads out her new stable-mate – and potential team-mate(?) – to take on her former partner in crime.
There is the potential that the team match which “Miss Movies” spoke about as she filled in for Kalinowski during the premiere’s post-match interview will involve the newly-formed Viper Squad, but that should be no reason not to schedule this encounter alongside it as the rivalry between the long time allies intensifies.
In terms of Kalinowski and Howard as duelling competitors, they would both be coming into this match having been unceremoniously crushed by the new No.1 contender, and from their outings thus far they do seem pretty evenly matched. Throw in the wider implications to the storyline and this match makes total sense.
THE WILDCARD OPTION: LON HARRIS (1-0)
Now, this one does need a bit of forward thinking, as the wildcard options for someone with all the experience of Kalinowski are rather limited right now.
However, one player who many are excited to see return to the ring in the days to come is Lon Harris, who is set to face off with Cody Hall on Friday having dispatched Marc Bernardin on debut.
“The Professor” heads into his first match of 2018 as the heavy favourite, and if he can indeed take his record to 2-0, then he could be the ideal adversary for a reeling “K.O.”.
Quite how Harris will deal with a competitor who spends their time dressing up in superhero costumes rather than studying all aspects of classic cinema remains to be seen, but it would certainly be entertaining were it to come to pass.
Who do you think Kalinowski should face next in his singles career? Have your say in the comments below!
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