Tonight, we had one of the great Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship Matches of all-time as the current champion, Ben “The Boss” Bateman defended his recently won championship against the G.O.A.T, the 3-time former Movie Trivia Schmoedown Champion, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell at a live Schmoedown event in Atlanta, Georgia.
SPOILERS from this point on…
In an epic battle, trivia vs. gamesmanship, old guard vs. new guard, faction-mates inside the Finstock Exchange, Horsemen, Dan Murrell reclaimed the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship in sudden death overtime, 27-26, to become a four-time singles champion.
Dam Murrell is certainly the greatest player of all time and should be the first player named to anyone’s list of Schmoedown Mt. Rushmore.
Ben Bateman has become one of the more strategic planners of the league. There has not been an angle to a match that he has not considered. He had been on a massive run at the end of season six of the Schmoedown as he won the Ultimate Schmoedown tournament and won the singles title against former champion Paul Oyama in a dominant performance at the Spectacular in December.
Ben had a lot of history going against him tonight. Not only was he staring across the stage at someone who is widely regarded as the best to play the game, but Dan had some other seemingly insurmountable facts. Dan Murrell is undefeated at live events (including last year’s Free-4-All). Dan Murrell had never lost a match in which he was challenging for the championship. His career record was a masterful 13-5 with 8 KOs.
However, Ben Bateman has a drive to be the best ever and he knew that, if you want to have a chance to one day call yourself the G.O.A.T., you had to defeat Dan Murrell.
There was also some controversy leading up to the event as Ben Bateman complained that, since they were in the same faction, letting Dan be managed by active player, faction-mate, team partner and one of the all-time greats, “The Outlaw” John Rocha was unfair. Bateman claimed that Rocha’s knowledge of trivia would give Dan an advantage if dealing with a challenge, whereas the actual faction manager, “Bobby Gucci” Tom Dagnino would be unable to help at the same level. This played out on SEN Live and other online shows, teasing a rift inside the Finstock Exchange.
The level of hype for this match had been unmatched. Since Dan defeated William Bibbiani and “The Kid” Brendan Meyer at the last live event in a triple threat number one contender match, Schmoedown Chairman Kristian Harloff has been pushing the narrative that this could be one of the greatest championship matches ever seen in the Schmoedown. They pushed this match for the last month a great deal on his Schmoedown Entertainment Network (SEN). This was a case where the match delivered on the hype.
Dan had a perfect round one and led 9-6 going into the wheel round. After the second round, Dan’s lead had slipped to 15-14. Dan Murrell had spun the category Anne Hathaway and he missed a question about Colossal. This was a huge swing in the match because, in hindsight, we know that, had Ben been able to steal that one point miss, the end of this match would turn out differently. This was going to be a theme of the night.
In the third round, which is the betting round, Dan spun Opponent’s Choice and Ben chose Tyler Perry movies. Ben bet 3 points and got the question right. Dan, however, missed the question. In a key moment though, Dan had risked zero points on the question. It is not something you see often (in fact, I am not sure I ever remember someone actually betting zero points). Last year, in a live show, had Jeff Sneider bet zero points in the category of Harry Potter against Paul Oyama, he would have won the championship instead of losing in sudden death. Dan’s choice to not even risk one point was a second major moment in this match.
In the fourth round, with Bateman leading by two, 17-15, Ben destroyed Dan in the speed round. Ben got 4 out of the five questions right. The problem though was that Ben missed a MCU question about Black Panther and he lost that point. If he had not blown that question, again, the end of this match would have changed. Dan has not shown to be as strong in the speed round and that may be the chink in his armor.
With Ben up five points, the final round started. Dan got his 2 point and 3 point question to tie the score. Ben answered his 2 point question, sending it back to Dan. Dan’s five point question was in the world of Rom-Coms and I know that is not one of Dan’s strongest categories. That worried me, but Dan was able to answer the question, taking the lead, 25-22.
Ben answered his 3 point question to tie the game. Then it came down to Ben’s five point question. Unfortunately for “The Boss,” he drew a terribly difficult question about Judd Apatow and he was unable to answer it. This took the match into sudden death, as many had predicted. When you have two men this skilled, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
I have seen complaints that the five point questions were not equal in difficulty, but that is part of the game. Ben chose his numbers and luck just happened to go against him and he got a very tough five point question. It happens all the time.
On the second question of sudden death, on a question about Charlie Sheen’s co-star in the comedy Men at Work, Dan answered it correctly while Ben missed it and we had a new champion.
While Ben may be the future of this league, Dan Murrell continues to show why he is seen as the top performer in the game. The term G.O.A.T. has been overused recently, but there are few competitors in any competition that can make an argument for such a distinction more than Dan Murrell, who, by all accounts, is one of the nicest, most respected and honorable people in the online space. He is well-spoken, honest and totally respectful. He is the clear definition of a “face.” Kristian Harloff has said before that he would love to turn Dan Murrell “heel” (using wrestling kayfabe terms), but Dan has told him that he would not feel comfortable doing that. That is because Dan Murrell is a good guy from the top of his FSU hat right on down through the flannel and jeans.
Dan has been teasing entering the Innergeekdom division as well. He is currently Dan Two-Belts… could a trio be in his future?
Congratulations to the NEW Movie Trivia Schmoedown Singles Champion of the World… Dan Murrell! Thanks to Ben Bateman for a match of all-time. He’ll be champion again.