One of my delightful discoveries this year was the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. I knew about it in the past from Miss Movies, herself, Brianne Chandler, but I didn't actually get around to watching it until this year. And boy is it a ton of fun! With a great movie trivia show as it's cornerstone, Kristian Harloff and everyone involved have steadily been driving it toward WWE territory with big entrances, rival factions, and fun ongoing storylines (huge props to this last one since the winners of the trivia matches obviously aren't pre-determined in the same way a wrestling match outcome would be so they have to be incredibly adaptive on the fly and run with it). So as I continue making Top 10 of 2017 lists, I wanted to dedicated today to my Top Ten Movie Trivia Schmoedown Competitors of 2017.
10. Nick Scarpino - The Producer/Seducer isn't always the strongest competitor, but he always seems to have a ton of fun with it and brings some entertainment with him. And as a Kinda Funny fan and Best Friend, I couldn't not include him here.
9. Top That - Formerly Team IGN, I loved the little rivalry I had with my friend Lauren Wilson, who works for Nerdist/Geek and Sundry. When Team IGN debuted against Team Nerdist, we both backed our respective corners (with me having done a little bit of freelance work for IGN) and I was so glad Jim and Eric came out on top. When Eric moved over to Marvel, I was worried it was the end of the team but fortunately they were reborn as Top That and I look forward to seeing how they do in 2018.
8. Sam Witwer - Man that Star Wars Iron Man Match at the Spectacular was a hell of a thing. Sam had a solid lead going into those final couple minutes but Ken Napzok stayed strong under pressure and brought it down to the wire, with Sam coming through on the final question. Sam's encyclopedic Star Wars knowledge makes me feel like I've never even watched the movies.
7. Ken Napzok - Despite losing his Star Wars belt in that phenomenal match, Ken places above Sam here for his breadth of knowledge. His work with the Nerd's Watch was great fun, he's always great at the announcer's table, and his heel turn to the Lion's Den at the end of the year was a thing of beauty for wrestling fans of the Schmoedown. And I hope Rachel and her mystery partner beat the crap out of him in 2018.
6. Mark Andreyko - One of the few people I knew about prior to watching, Andreyko is another one who is always fun to watch. I'm grateful for his end of the year turn to the good away from the Lion's Den because I just like him too much to boo him as a heel (I'm also a big fan of Love is Love). And of course who could forget the iconic moment in the Free-for-All when he single-handedly knocked out four of the league's best and brightest and cleared the table. XX5XX was a thing of beauty.
5. The Patriots - Incredible heel champs with the knowledge to back it up. JTE and Sneider held the titles for the entire year with successful defense after defense and a huge come from behind victory at the Spectactular against Above the Line to retain. They are the team everybody loves to hate and the only reason that idiot Finstock has any kind of pull with The Lion's Den.
4. Rachel Cushing - Rachel has been a joy to watch from her strong showing in the Inner Geekdom Fatal Five-way and beyond with the Nerd's Watch, she has shown herself an incredible competitor from the trivia aspect. But watching her grow and get more and more comfortable with the antics of the wrestling side of things has been one of the Schmoedown highlights of the year. The easy winner for Rookie of the Year, I look forward to seeing where she goes this year.
3. John Rocha - Rocha was great as the cocky heel champ, but I absolutely love his later run in the year after he managed to turn face. The rivalry with Team Action was a ton of fun and I just love how he fully embraces the wrestling side of things. He's also one of the ones I really came to enjoy watching outside of the Schmoedown this year with Collider's Game of Thrones show in particular. With other former champs stepping down and away for the time being, I appreciate that Rocha's hunger for the belts has never faded.
2. Samm Levine - From a performance perspective, Samm is easily the player of the year, having won the Free-for-All, both the Singles and Teams Ultimate Schmoedown tournaments, and ending the year by winning the Singles Championship. He'll no doubt go down as one of the all-time greats in this league. But, alas, my number one goes to...
1. Miss Movies - I had the incredible pleasure to meet Brianne in a Kinda Funny Buffalo Wild Wings community meetup in 2016. We talked a bit about her background and I realized I had seen her as a Guest Fact Checker on Movie Fights. We hit it off and became friends through the community, and she was even kind enough to have me on for a mini-Film Therapy Session with her in Disneyland later that year.
I finally started watching the Movie Trivia Schmoedown to support her and immediately adored just how much time and effort she put into everything she did with it. From reading a seemingly-endless supply of movie trivia books to going all out for her entrances, Miss Movies seemed to fully embrace what Kristian was trying to do. She saw an opportunity to turn heel and ran with it, full speed ahead. And like the best of the best wrestlers, she seems intent on re-inventing herself if need be, dismissing her own faction The Missfits and appearing to align herself with arch-nemesis Mike Kalinowski moving into 2018. She's a friend, yes, but even if she wasn't she'd be high up on this list because of how she has fully embraced and embodied what the Movie Trivia Schmoedown can be. She is the Greatest Showman!
Thanks to everyone involved with the Schmoedown for providing so many hours of entertainment in 2017! I can't wait to see where you take the show next!