This week’s Friday Night Titans featured one of the greatest rivalries of the Innergeekdom division. Champion and the best IG player of all time Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski defended against Kevin “The Smasher” Smets.
This was the third time these two powerhouses of IG played each other. The first time was the infamous “Don’t Tell Peter” answer that temporarily halted Kevin Smets’ ascension, giving Mike the victory. In their second meeting, Kevin Smets dominated Kalinowski and took the IG title from him.
However, Smets’ momentum was stopped. First by Chandru the Chosen and secondly by a real life battle with prostate cancer. As Smets begin his recovery, inside his head, he was always hoping to return to the Schmoedown. Meanwhile, Mike Kalinowski was cementing himself as the greatest IG player we have ever seen, by regaining the championship for a third time and by defending it successfully against the best the Innergeekdom division could provide. He beat Chandru. He beat Robert Parker. He beat Amaru Moses. Despite being champion, these players all were expected to beat Kalinowski. They did not. Each time, Mike looked as if he was ready to falter, but each time he came back as IG Champ.
When Kevin Smets returned to the Schmoedown at the Spectacular, cancer free, a rematch with Kalinowski was what everyone had hoped for. Smets had to go on a journey to earn the rematch, defeating Chandru and then Saul, but the match was set up for episode 13 of Friday Night Titans.
And it did not disappoint.
Kalinowski, with his new face persona, was quipping throughout the match. He was having fun with the game. Kevin Smets was more intense, but did allow himself a few moments of levity as the game progressed.
Smets and Kalinowski were close through the first three rounds, ending up tied. The speed round was next. Kevin Smets nailed the first three questions like a machine and it looked as if the speed round would be the end of Kalinowski, but he showed what kind of champion he was by battling back and grabbing the final two questions of the speed round in a dramatic style.
In the end, Mike was given an extremely difficult 5-point question about 2012’s Dredd and Kevin Smets was crowned IG Champion once again.
Jenn Sterger carried out two extremely emotional post-match interviews because there was so much undertow of real life creeping into the story. Mike and Kevin are close friends outside the Schmoedown and they became even closer with Smets’ cancer that the respect and the love between them came out clear as day in the interviews. Both men added to their legacies with this excellent encounter.
Two underrated competitors were the undercard for Titans with Witney Seibold and Rachel Silvestrini matched up. Both of these competitors had yet to win a singles match, and they put on a good show. Both are remarkably knowledgeable. Seibold, in particular, were does plenty of podcasts with William Bibbiani, has always seemed to be underachieving in the Schmoedown.
Seibold got the victory over Silvestrini in a competitive match up that was fun to watch. Some of the most entertaining aspects of the match was the inclusion of Zaflertinflouse as manager. The character created by Kristin Harloff and Brett Sheridan on SEN Live, is completely wild and funny with his faux German accent and strange dance moves. He announced the formation of the faction, The House of Flouse. Even Witney cracked up several times during the match from Zaflertinflouse’s antics.