SPOILERS FOR MOVIE TRIVIA SCHMOEDOWN LIVE EVENT IN NEW YORK
Last night, the Movie Trivia Schmoedown kicked off their seventh season with a live show in New York with a pair of matches. Drew Ghai defeated Robert Meyer Burnett in the undercard and, in the main event, there was a triple threat match with William “The Beast” Bibbiani vs. “The Kid” Brendan Meyer vs. “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.
The greatest of all time (aka The Goat) Dan Murrell won what is arguably one of the greatest triple threat matches of all time, 27 points to 26 points (The Kid) to 25 points (Bibbs).
There is something truly special about Dan Murrell. He is my personal favorite Schmoedown competitor among a group of wonderfully entertaining people, but it is more than my own like or dislike. He exudes respect. He is as honorable of a man as you are going to find.
I was introduced to Dan Murrell on Screen Junkies’ Movie Fights Live program. This debate show took movie topics and the competitors would argue their choices for the topic. Dan Murrell was the fact checker on the side couch. He would keep the debates in control, filling in information for the audience. Covering the social media as well, I would love every time that Dan Murrell would give me a shout out from my Tweet about the show. He also would step in to fight some weeks and he became the Movie Fights Live Champion because of his intelligent, cohesive and complete arguments.
It is about this time when the Schmoedown started its expansion and the first match they promoted was Dan Murrell vs. John Campea. They promoted this intriguing match as AMC vs. Screen Junkies and they did them with a series of trash talking videos, first from John Campea, and then by Dan Murrell. I remember being very excited to watch this match, with my allegiances solidly with Dan.
Murrell dominated that match-up and he started his first run in the Schmoedown, becoming the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Champion. Through some great rivalries with “The Outlaw” John Rocha and Mark Reilly, Murrell cemented himself as a champion. He eventually stepped aside, going into a retirement that we all hoped would not be permanent.
Thankfully, it was not.
Murrell was re-introduced as a new member of the Five Horsemen, along with former rivals Rocha and Reilly. After a major shock of losing to Andrew Ghai, it seemed as if Dan might have had the Schmoedown pass him by. However, he did not just step away again never to be seen again. Instead, he began to figure out what it took to compete in the new world of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. It would not be wrong to say that Ghai’s heel antics disturbed and bothered Dan, and he had to figure a way to change the way he played the game.
Dan Murrell is always up for a challenge.
There were ups and downs in the next few months, but he found his footing and Dan defeated the seemingly unbeatable Edwin Erwin at the New York live event last year, scoring a perfect game.
Last year was hugely successful for Dan Murrell as he defended that title once, won the Free-4 -All, won the team titles with John Rocha and ended the year announcing a new challenge: entering the Innergeekdom division of the Schmoedown.
However, fate entered the orbit of that man referred to as The GOAT. Season 7 was scheduled to start with another live event in New York featuring the Innergeekdom championship on the line as champion Kevin “The Smasher” Smets defended against Dan’s lady love, Mara Knopic. Unfortunately, health issues for Mara forced that match to be delayed. Schmoedown Chairman Kristian Harloff approached Murrell to headline the event in a triple threat match.
Even though it meant he had to delay his entry into Innergeekdom, Murrell accepted the challenge. The winner of the match would be the number one contender for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship and would receive a championship match in Atlanta on February 29th vs. current champ Ben “The Boss” Bateman, who happened to be a member of the Finstock Exchange along with Dan.
The level of play in this triple threat match was remarkably high, with each competitor only missing one question each. Dan and The Kid missed theirs in the first round and William Bibbiani missed his in the second round. The problem for Bibbs was that the question he missed could be stolen by his opponents. Both Dan and the Kid got that steal and earned an extra two points.
That was the complete swing of the match. Bibbiani had a perfect round one and was ahead 9-7-7 going into round two, but that steal gave Murrell the lead and put the entire game into his own hands. All he had to do was answer his three questions in round three correctly and there would be nothing that Shazam (Bibbiani and The Kid’s team name) could do about it.
Not that there was not controversy and awkwardness in the match. There was a series of challenges made that took away from the momentum of the match, but, many times, the strategy of the challenge is used as a way to change momentum, not for actually questioning the validity of a question. Bateman is the current master of this strategy, something he criticized Bibbiani for on an episode of SEN Backstage.
You can see Dan get frustrated every time a challenge was made. It made me think of the old days on Movie Fights when Angry Dan would come out and would blast whoever needed blasting with an epic rant. But as the mind games were playing out around the stage, Dan did not let it get to him. I kept saying to my screen, just answer your questions, Dan (not that he could hear me, but it was my way of supporting him).
There was one challenge in particular, coming from Bibbs, who I love by the way, about Dan’s answer for the actor who played the owner in Jurassic Park. Dan answered Sir Richard Attenborough and Bibbs challenged that it should have been “Lord” Richard Attenborough instead. This was the one time in the match that the crowd turned on Bibbs, but I believe he was being honest in his challenge. However, there is no doubt that it was meant to try and shake Dan as well. The challenge was denied and Dan got the points. Interestingly enough, Dan turned out to be right, as Attenborough had not received the title “Lord” until about a month after Jurassic Park was released.
Dan weathered all the ridiculousness of the challenges without letting it knock him off his track and, coming down to his final 5 point question, if he answered it correctly, he would win. It came in the dastardly category of Movie Quotes, one category that typically could be very difficult. Not this time as Dan knew the answer and wound up winning the match.
In the post match interview, Bibbiani was asked if Dan Murrell was his Kryptonite. He responded that if that were so, it would only affect him, but Dan Murrell affects everyone. He compared Dan to a deadly weapon that should be registered with the government and only be used in self-defense, not against good, nice people like the Mouthy Mercs. Then he turned, pointed to the Kid and said, “How could you Dan Murrell this?”
Dan always carries himself with such dignity and he clearly respects everybody involved in everything that he does, it is almost impossible not to root for the man. He is the ultimate “face” character. Actually, he is not a character. “Dangerous” Dan Murrell is simply who he is. A deeply competitive man who carries himself with class as every competitor, in whatever competition you are involved in, should.
The match next month: Ben Bateman vs. Dan Murrell for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Singles Championship could be one of the best of all-time. Dan has a chance to become a four-time Singles Champion and be double-belted. There is something about a live crowd that brings the best out of the GOAT. He is currently undefeated at live shows.
It is as if every year, the GOAT adds to the list of accomplishments that only solidifies him as the greatest of all-time. And that is not just movie trivia.