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"When you speak things into action, into the universe, things happen. If you commit, you focus and you fight, even when you’re down."
John "The Outlaw" Rocha
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Warning: Unmarked spoilers for all previous matches below. Tropes related to live events or Patreon releases will not be added until/unless those matches are made publicly available on YouTube.

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown is a movie trivia-based competition series currently airing on the Schmoedown Entertainment Network YouTube channel, previously airing on the Collider Videos channel. It features legitimate trivia competition, but also features WWE style storylines and characters. The show was founded by the Schmoes Know, Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis. The competitors answer movie trivia questions from an array of randomly selected categories and receive points for correct responses. The competitor with the most points at the end of each match wins, sometimes mathematically eliminating their opponent prior to the final question or round. There are four leagues: Singles, Teams, Innergeekdom (which revolves exclusively around nerdy film franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter, and others), and Star Wars. Each division has a champion and rankings/tournaments to decide who will next challenge for the belt.

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Storylines before and after matches mimic the storylines in 80's/90's professional wrestling, with characters defined as a Face, Heel, or Tweener. Characters would also sometimes align themselves with factions to heighten the drama and flesh out storylines. The outcomes of the matches dictate where characters go in these storylines.

Beginning in 2020 with Season 7, players participated in a draft at the beginning of the season where nine managers formed new factions that consisted of up to ten players with the option of trading them throughout the season. Each win would accumulate points for that player's faction with the winning faction obtaining a secret prize at the end of the season.

The current champions for each of the four divisions are (as of September 17, 2021):

  • Singles Championship: "Lady Justice" Marisol McKee
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  • Teams Championship: Shazam (William "The Beast" Bibbiani and Brendan "The Kid" Meyer)
  • Innergeekdom Championship: Mike "The Killer" Kalinowski
  • Star Wars Championship: "The Major" Thomas Harper


The series contains examples of the following tropes that were written by hand or on a computer:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Thadd Williams reaches this by the end of his tenure as commissioner, as it was an open secret that Mike Kalinowski was the one really pulling the strings and Thadd took too long to put his foot down.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Andrew Ghai has flirted with Clarke Wolfe on a couple occasions to her disgust.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Parodied, then subverted with Nick "The Producer/Seducer" Scarpino in his debut Singles match against Marc Bernardin. He makes his entrance with numerous women from the Schmoedown following him, only for them to switch allegiance to Bernardin after he defeats Scarpino.
  • All-Loving Hero: William Bibbiani after going through his Heel–Face Turn qualifies, as he is affable to everyone on the show and can deflect criticism without stooping to the level of his opponents who denigrate him. Brendan Meyer also qualifies, which helps make them compatible teammates.
    [During the third Free-4-All]
    Ghai: "How'd that title match go?"note 
    Bibbs: "Oh, it was really good, actually. It was the highest scoring Team title match in history."
    Ghai: "Oh...that's good!"
    Bibbs: "Thank you.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Roxy Striar delivers one to Ben Bateman at the Chicago Live Event after the Odd Couple defeats Who's the Boss.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: During Time Machine vs the Loony Bin, VideoDrew is not pleased with a question Time Machine receives about Jerry Maguire.
  • Asshole Victim: Ghai at the Houston Live Event qualifies. Bateman brutally defeats him via knockout and then physically knocks him out with a chair. However, this was only to pay him back in kind for tackling him at the end of the previous season and attempting to hit him with the same chair first.
  • Attention Whore: After reaching his Rage Breaking Point during Ghai vs Murrell, Murrell accuses Ghai of acting like one, though Ghai fires back and they begin shouting over each other.
    [Murrell scoffs at an easy round one question about Jack Ryan]
    Ghai: "Is that face 'cause you don't know it? 'Cause you should."
    Murrell: [aggravated] "My God, you're already the center of attention and you still have to talk."
    Ghai: "I don't know if I am anymore, I feel like you are now."
    Murrell: "That's why you keep talking!"
    Ghai: "I don't like it!"
    Murrell: "I know!"
    Ellis: [commentating on the match with Harloff] "Is he- is he in Murrell's head?"
    Harloff: [laughing as he tries to count down] "I think they're both in each other's heads."
  • Bad Future: A future version of Bibbs, complete with an eyepatch and sword, travels back in time to Sneider's postgame interview after he defeats Rocha to tell him that they (Bibbs and Sneider) have to face off against each other in a number one contender's match, or else everyone in the Schmoedown will die, which Sneider readily accepts. Outside of kayfabe, this was Bibbs' way of cashing in the contender's match he earned for being that year's Free-4-All MVP.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Team Action were a villainous version of this, always donning suits in their matches and having gone on an impressive run in the 2017 Teams tournament, though they received mockery for their suits appearing too tight on them.
    • The Founding Fathers wore suits in their debut match against Wait, I Know This in the third 2018 Live Event and came away with a TKO victory.
    • Bibbs wears them every now and then and is one of, if not the, most knowledgable competitor in the league's history. His former partner Witney Seibold, whom he had a Teams title shot with, also counts.
    • Lady in a Power Suit: "Classy" Clarke Wolfe wore suits on a few occasions and was one of the greatest female competitors in the show's history.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The announcers, especially Harloff, will sometimes pause or make a face after a competitor answers a question as if the competitor got it wrong, only to announce that it was correct or that they won the match.
    • When the Shirewolves meet with Emma Fyffe after she asked them about becoming members of the Fyffe Club, Cushing states that joining it next month won't work for them. Disappointed, Fyffe is about to respond when Wolfe clarifies that they want to join right then and there.
    • Finstock does two Bait-and-Switches in a row in the cut scene where Who's the Boss meets up for the first time prior to their debut match:
    Finstock: [walks into the room as Reilly and Bateman argue] "Hold on."
    Reilly: [exasperated] "Oh, Jesus Christ. What a week I'm having!"
    Finstock: "I have a super serious question here that's gonna change the whole complexity of the game...who ate my meatball sandwich?"
    Reilly: "Ah, there it is."
    [Bateman pinches the bridge of his nose]
    Finstock: "Look, this is serious business here, I'm hungry. ...Look, also- you know what?" [points his index fingers at Reilly] "I'm a really big fan..." [swings around to point at Bateman] "...of you."
    [Bateman smiles and nods his head]
    Reilly: "Of course..."
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Macuga was to play against Finstock in a stipulation match where the loser would be banned from the league for a year. However, the Lion's Den tries to pull a fast one by having Marc Andreyko don the Finstock mask with Dagnino claiming that "Finstock" is merely a persona that anyone could portray. Harloff attempts to shut this down and have Dagnino actually play, but Macuga allows it and comes away with an unexpected win over "Findreyko."
    • As part of the Action Civil War, Bateman and Dagnino anticipated facing Ghai and Robert Meyer Burnett in a Teams match, but Ghai sneakily swapped out RMB for McWeeny with Emma Fyffe prior to the match, leading to a nasty surprise for Bateman and Dagnino the day of. All things considered, the match is shockingly close, ending with a score of 35-30 in favor of the Family.
  • Battle Couple: Robert and Vanessa of Late to the Party are dating in real life and were teammates before they were split up after getting drafted by different factions.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Discussed by Dewberry during his Heel-Face Turn after Hayberg abandons him after their defeat to the Wolves of Steel.
  • Being Good Sucks: Discussed by Stacy Howard during her unexpected Face-Heel Turn after defeating Jonathan Voytko, stating that she was done with being the nice girl.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Rachel Cushing and Kevin Smets are two of the quieter personalities in the league and often have their managers smack talk for them. In Cushing's case, she was initially uncomfortable with having the spotlight on her when she entered the league. However, they are two of the most fearsome competitors in the show's history. Cushing is as a former Teams and IG champion and has the highest accuracy rate of all time in the Singles Division. Smets is the current IG champion and has the highest IG accuracy rate of all time. Ironically, they were friends prior to being on the show and are in the same line of work in Real Life.
    • Chance Ellison initially didn't talk when he made his debut, only shrugging in response to Ken Napzok's questions. He also has the second highest accuracy rate in the Singles Division (only behind Cushing), the highest first round accuracy rate of all time, is a former Teams champion, and is the youngest person in the show's history to ever hold a belt. This has been downplayed more recently though, as he has begun talking more and more, though Kalinowski and his managers, current and past, still handle most of the smack talk for him.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Applies to numerous competitors and teams, particularly Josh Macuga, his team the Wildberries, and the Reel Rejects, who are known more for their antics than their trivia knowledge, but who sometimes pull out unexpected wins and upsets. Prime examples include when John Humphrey of the Reel Rejects lasted long enough in the inaugural Free-4-All to win MVP, as well as when Macuga's partner Eliot Dewberry surprised everyone with a perfect round one in their match against Late to the Party and ultimately pulled out a well-needed victory.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Invoked and then double subverted by the Horsemen during the Houston Live Event when they enter the ring in support of Bateman, even though he was handily beating Ghai. However, after losing the match, Ghai attempts to hit Bateman with a chair before being stopped by Booker T. Rocha then grabs Ghai to prevent him from leaving the ring, allowing Bateman to hit Ghai with the same chair himself.
  • Bigger Is Better: Bibbiani's philosophy when it comes to his entrances. He's utilized special effects in his entrances more than any other competitor and would make them even more elaborate if he was allowed to/had the budget to do so.
  • Breakup Breakout: In-Universe. After Ken Napzok betrayed his Nerd's Watch partner Rachel Cushing to join the Lion's Den, Cushing teamed up with Clarke Wolfe to form the Shirewolves and they claimed the Teams belts, becoming the first women in the show's history to ever win a championship. Cushing would also go on to win the Innergeekdom championship, becoming the second person to ever be double-belted and the first woman to do so. Meanwhile, Napzok lost the Star Wars belt on his first defense and hasn't won a match in any division since, including suffering a loss to the Shirewolves with Tom Dagnino in a Teams match. Aside from a couple of Star Wars matches, he has since stuck with managing, though he has been forced to step down from it and will begin competing again in Season 7.
    • Downplayed with the Wolves of Steel. After Clarke Wolfe and Mark Reilly went their separate ways, Wolfe found great success with the Shirewolves as stated above and was the runner-up in the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament, the furthest she ever made it in a Singles tournament. Meanwhile, Reilly's first Singles match after coming out of retirement was against Andrew Ghai, which resulted in a very unexpected TKO loss. He was then forcibly paired up with Ben Bateman to form Who's the Boss as part of the 2018 Anarchy tournament with Tom Dagnino as their manager, much to Reilly's chargin. However, he and Bateman went on an impressive run through the tournament, ultimately winning it and facing the Shirewolves in a championship match. Despite losing the match, Who's the Boss had an impressive showing and are currently one of the highest ranked teams to date.
  • Brick Joke: Finstock's laments his missing meatball sandwich at the beginning of the Anarchy tournament. The joke reaches its conclusion at the end of the season when RMB is shown eating it as he burns Finstock's mask.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Subverted. After Ghai and Bateman's mockery of Murrell at the end of the second 2018 Live Event, everyone assumed Ghai was in for a world of hurt when Murrell actually showed up as a new member of the Horsemen and challenged Ghai to a match. Ghai shocked everyone and handily beat Murrell.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Rocha used to constantly berate his enemies and crash their interviews prior to his Heel-Face Turn. However, he eventually brought Murrell and Reilly, two of his biggest rivals, into his faction and remains faction-mates (and teammates with Murrell) to this day.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tom walks around hunched over at all times, wears a cloak that covers most of his face, and constantly asks everyone if they want to see a dead body. He also has the highest accuracy by an individual of all time in the Teams Division note , had perfect round ones in his first four matches, and was a round one pick in the inaugural draft.
  • Cassandra Truth: Reilly does not initially believe Bateman when Bateman says he didn't steal Reilly's dog Kal, but it's pretty understandable considering Kal was found in Bateman's car and Bateman himself was a heel at the time who liked to ridicule Reilly's faction.
  • The Chessmaster: Kalinowski appears to be playing this role after his Face-Heel Turn during Season 5. Later subverted when it turns out he was merely Harloff's Unwitting Pawn the entire time in order to carry out a plot to force Thadd Williams out of the role of commissioner.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The show's more colorful characters qualify, particularly Finstock, Marc Edward Heuck, VideoDrew, Tom, and Rick Hong.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Zig Zagged with the Loony Bin prior to their breakup. Though VideoDrew counts as a Cloudcuckoolander herself, she kept her partner Tom in line whenever he would lose focus prior to and during a match. Harloff even lampshades this at one point, referring to her as Tom's keeper. After the draft split them up, Kate Mulligan began filling this role for Tom as his manager.
  • Cool Shades: Many competitors wear them, but especially heels. Sometimes this is a strategic move for competitors to maintain a poker face during matches.
  • Cosplay: Numerous competitors, especially Chandler, Howard, Cushing, Wolfe, Reilly, Kalinowski, Inman, Jeannine, Jacobsen, Modok, and Late to the Party love to dress up as characters from different movies and other forms of media as part of their entrances.
  • Creator's Pet: In-Universe. After losing to Kalinowski in their first Singles match against each other, Chandler accuses him of being one in her postgame interview and that he's being constantly shoved down everyone's throats.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Average or below average players with one specific strength that they cannot be bested in fall into this.
    • Scott Mantz was a decent competitor, but he's known as Mr. Movie Release Dates for a reason and even has his face on the wheel slice for it.
    • Devon Stewart from the Kingsmen and Inky and the Brain wasn't the strongest competitor, but was a beast in Will Smith, which he and he teammate would happily take in the second round whenever they landed on the wheel slice for it and would promptly put up a ton of points.
    • Kevin Smets is widely considered one of the greatest IG players of all time and is legendary for his intense study methods, but he only scored one point in the third Free-4-All before getting eliminated. This has turned out to be enforced by Kaiser, who stated on Schmoedown Backstage that he refuses to let Smets study for Singles until he loses the IG belt.
  • Cultured Badass: Prior to his Villainous Breakdown, "The Professor" Lon Harris qualified, as he was a fierce competitor who was nominated for Rookie of the Year in 2017 after one match. He would also often demean other competitors (and the show at-large) for not having as refined tastes in film as himself and tried (often in vain) to educate them. His brother, Jonathan, also qualified when they were teamed up as the Harris Brothers.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Applies to any KO victory where a competitor mathematically defeats their opponent before heading into the final round of a given match.
    • Who's the Boss KO'd the Harris Brothers in the betting round note , the fastest any competitor or team has ever been knocked out in a five-round match.
    • The most prominent example in a three-round match, or any match ever, occurred when the Odd Couple KO'd Only Stupid Answers after their turn in the second round before Only Stupid Answers could even spin the wheel and answer a single round two question!
  • Dark Is Evil: Wearing black (especially leather) is paramount for joining Korruption. During Final Exam vs The Experiment, Harloff and Ellis point out the white shirt Dewberry is wearing in contrast to the rest of the faction's dark colors, further solidifying how out of place he is in the faction.
  • Dark Mistress: Shannon Barney, Mike Kalinowski's girlfriend in real life, starts out as this near the end of Season 6 when she supports Korruption in Napzok and Hancock's absence, but has come into her own as her own character upon becoming an official manager in Season 7.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many stoic competitors will often fall into this, especially when faced with a Large Ham opponent, the most prominent examples being Matt Knost and Marc Andreyko.
  • Defeat as Backstory: The genesis of John Rocha's character arc, the longest by far in the show's run, can be traced to his Singles debut match against Scott Mantz where he unexpectedly lost on a Star Wars question that many thought he would hit, to the point that Mantz didn't truly believe he won initially. This moment would give Rocha the motivation to work harder to achieve greatness within the Schmoedown, much of which he has accomplished through winning the Singles and Teams belts twice each.
    • Current IG champion Kevin Smets originally auditioned for the show through the Skype audition Patreon tier in 2018, but was rejected by Harloff and sent to the fan leagues. This drove him to study even more diligently than before, which paid off when he blasted through competitors in the fan leagues and finally made his debut the following season, going on a massive run that culminated in winning the IG belt at Spectacular IV, as well as IG/Star Wars Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Occurs when a competitor or team who goes on an impressive run (generally five or more consecutive wins) and wins a championship match, especially without any losses on their record, finally succumbs to a loss.
    • Mark Reilly went 5-0 in Singles at the beginning of his Schmoedown career, winning the incumbent 2014 Ultimate Schmoedown Tournament to become the first ever champion. He had one successful defense afterwards, but then lost the belt to Dan Murrell.
    • Similarly, Dan Murrell was 5-0 at the beginning of his Singles career, having won the belt on his third match, but narrowly lost to Rocha on his third title defense and Rocha's first Singles title shot.
    • The Patriots are the definitive example of this trope, having gone on an unbelievable nine game winning streak with six successful defenses before finally losing to Above the Line in their rematch.
    • Averted with Samm Levine, who had an impressive run in Singles and Teams with Above the Line and successfully defended both belts (twice in Singles), but then retired after defending the Teams championship with both championships and his legacy intact.
    • The Shirewolves, the first female champions in the show's history with the highest Teams accuracy rate at the time, were on a 6-0 run, having won the belts on the fourth match and defending them twice, before losing to the Odd Couple.
    • Paul Oyama had an impressive 6-0 starting record in his rookie season and became only the fourth Singles champion to ever successfully defend the belt. He was also undefeated in the fan leagues prior to making his debut in the league. However, his team with Eric Zipper, the Loose Cannons, lost their second match and Oyama succumbed to a KO loss against Ben Bateman on his second defense.
    • Downplayed with Kevin Smets, who had only won three matches prior to his first match against Kalinowski that he ultimately lost, but he had defeated his first three opponents so decisively and had such a high accuracy rate that he appeared unstoppable.
  • Defector from Decadence: Andreyko becomes one at the end of Season 4 when he tires of the Lion's Den's antics, even though they were the most successful faction in the league at the time.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Somewhat Played for Laughs when Bibbs appears to experience one during the postgame interview with Fyffe after losing to McWeeny where he catatonically gives her monosyllabic answers to all of her questions, as his record went below .500 as a result of the loss. However, he comes back from it after becoming the MVP of that year's Free-4-All.
  • Determinator: Many players who will stop at nothing to succeed in the league qualify, particularly Bateman, Rocha, Kalinowski, and Smets, who are all very vocal about the goals they wish to accomplish in the league and how diligently they study.
    • The most definitive example may very well be William Bibbiani, who is also one of the most passionate players in the show's history, but is also a Determinator by way of the work he puts into his entrances and for his success in the second and third Free-4-Alls where he won MVP in both of them.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Double Subverted by Andrew Ghai. After tricking everyone into believing Dan Murrell was coming out of retirement at the second Free-4-All, Ghai begins a campaign of mockery against Murrell over the next few months, claiming to have "killed" Murrell himself. This culminates at the end of the second 2018 Live Event where Ghai continues to mock Murrell and goes as far as having Bateman dress as him and ridicule him further, only to come face-to-face with Murrell himself after Murrell is revealed as a member of the Five Horsemen and challenges Ghai to a Singles match to get him to shut up. However, as stated below, Ghai unexpectedly pulls out the victory and pulls no punches in continuing his smack talk against him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Downplayed with Ghai's TKO victory over Murrell. Though Murrell had been defeated in Singles prior to this match, no one thought a competitor of Ghai's caliber could ever defeat someone like Murrell, who is widely considered to be the GOAT of the Schmoedown, never mind via TKO.
  • Dirty Coward: Thadd Williams is one during his time as commissioner once Kalinowski starts blackmailing him into doing his bidding, refusing to disobey him out of fear to the chagrin of everyone else. He only grows a spine once Chandler presents him with a document claiming that the Shirewolves and Who's the Boss won't compete at Spectacular until he stands up to Kalinowski, after which he refuses to give Korruption an unearned Teams title shot at Spectacular, despite Kalinowski's threats.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Andreyko at the end of the first Manager Bowl when he is revealed to be the first competitor Emma Fyffe will be managing.
    • Tim Franco when he is revealed as Stacy Howard's new partner as part of Crimson Fury before their match against Late to the Party, especially as he was previously aligned with LTTP and they had no idea, even outside of kayfabe, that it would be him.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Defied by Ben Goddard prior to his debut, as everyone originally called him "Bagel Boy" with fans chanting it at the 2020 Brooklyn Live Event when he came on stage. However, he protested the nickname and he and everyone else has settled on "The Bandit."
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Invoked by Team Action in their match against the Nerd's Watch where they walk out with their moms arm-in-arm with a more gentlemanly demeanor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In addition to the above example, Ghai is shown giving affection to his dog Snickers in the video he made deriding Bateman after Who's the Boss loses to the Odd Couple.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As cocky and despicable as Bateman was prior to his Heel-Face Turn, he feels insulted when he is accused of stealing Reilly's dog and professes that he would never hurt an animal.
  • Evil Is Easy: Korruption (the faction) operates on this, especially during Season 5 when Kalinowski gets himself and Napzok title shots at Spectacular III without actually earning them.
  • Evil Is Petty: Dagnino locks Fyffe in a closet prior to the inaugural Collision just to have Grace Hancock act as the postgame interviewer. Harloff eventually finds out and penalizes them for it.
    • Kalinowski steals Reilly's dog Kal and frames Bateman for it for little more reason than For the Evulz.
    • Hancock deliberately misleads Zipper into believing that she wants him to join Korruption, only to taunt him for thinking such a thing and throw him to the curb.
    • During the draft, after Winston Marshall drafted Josh Macuga with the express intent of reuniting the Wildberries, Shannon Barney immediately drafts Eliot Dewberry just to upset those plans. She additionally begins manipulating Dewberry into believing Macuga no longer cares about him.
  • Fallen Hero: Drew McWeeny after he aligns himself with the Family. Despite being part of an unambiguously heel faction, McWeeny's character remains largely unchanged, as his primary concern is winning his belt back rather than, as Ghai and RMB often do, unnecessarily provoking his opponents.
  • Female Fighter, Male Handler: Applies to female competitor/male manager pairings, particularly Jay Washington and several of his former competitors, including Brianne Chandler, Stacy Howard, and Jeannine the Machine.
  • Fiery Redhead: Stacy Howard at her sassiest.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Reilly was not pleased to be paired up with Bateman and managed by Dagnino to form Who's the Boss for the Anarchy tournament, but as they begin winning matches and Reilly discovers that Bateman didn't actually steal his dog, they warm up to each other and resolve to stay together even after their title shot loss. This is best demonstrated after Ghai attacks Bateman for sticking with Reilly and Reilly charges to Bateman's defense.
    • Downplayed with the Odd Couple (Sneider and Andreyko with Striar managing), as their personalities initially clashed before Striar got them to work together better, but they still respected each other from the beginning and Sneider at least was happy to have Andreyko as his partner.
    • Subverted with the Cinemaniacs (Knost and Bibbs with Fyffe managing), who never found their groove before their defeat to Who's the Boss, and the Evil Geniuses (L. Harris and JTE), who are split up after their debut match due to Real Life events.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The members of each iteration of the Horsemen fall into this, but this doesn't apply to the third iteration members as they exist within the Finstock Exchange.
    • First Iteration:
      • The Cynic: John Rocha
      • The Optimist: William Bibbiani
      • The Realist: Robert Meyer Burnett (a louder one at least)
      • The Apathetic: Matt Knost
    • Second Iteration:
      • The Cynic: John Rocha
      • The Optimist: Mark Reilly
      • The Realist: Jason Inman
      • The Apathetic: Matt Knost
      • The Conflicted: Dan Murrell (primarily around the time he lost to Ghai, as the league had changed drastically since his retirement and he was taken aback by these changes)
    • Third Iteration:
      • The Cynic: John Rocha
      • The Optimist: Mark Reilly
      • The Realist: Dan Murrell (as he was fully adjusted to the league at this point)
      • The Apathetic: Tom Dagnino
      • The Conflicted: Ben Bateman (more so at the beginning of this iteration of the faction, as he was previously hesitant about joining and unsure of Rocha's approval of him)
  • Fratbro: The Movie Guys are practically the epitome of this trope, complete with visors, a love of protein powder, and letting everyone know how great they are. Slightly downplayed in that they're both great players, particularly Paul Preston, though Adam Witt got a chance to further flex his knowledge in his debut in the Star Wars Division.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite some palpable animosity between Fyffe and Dagnino, the Fyffe Club and Who's the Boss had a grudging respect for each other leading up to and after Shirewolves vs Who's the Boss. This ultimately leads to a Defeat Means Respect moment where Dagnino speaks of Fyffe without calling her a loser in the postgame interview.
  • Funny Background Event: Back when Macuga did the fantasy updates after each match, Cody Hall would do increasingly ridiculous things during them, though sometimes it was very much in the forefront of the video, such as when Hall dies on-screen due to the heat and Macuga throws his blazer on him.
    • Before Final Exam vs The Experiment starts, everyone is focused on Lon Harris for his new persona, the Delinquent, not noticing Marc Edward Heuck coloring his nails with his marker.
  • Genius Bruiser: Kevin "The Smasher" Smets is incredibly ripped and an avid runner, as well as one of the most terrifying IG competitors in the league's history and the current IG champion.
  • Good Is Boring: Lampshaded frequently by Heels in regards to Faces. Jeannine the Machine is a prominent example when she was a Heel, as she frequently disparaged Mike Kalinowski as being bland and often referred to him as "White Bread."
  • Good Is Not Soft: Many Reformed, but Not Tamed competitors, often referred to as faces with an edge, qualify, especially ones who have experienced a Heel–Face Turn, such as Rocha and Bateman.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Subverted (and maybe even unintentionally) by Murrell at Spectacular IV. After he and Rocha successfully defend the Teams belts, he asks for Knopic, a former IG champion and his longtime girlfriend, to come to the stage for an announcement. It initially appears as if he is about to propose (and Shazam and many fans thought as much), only for him to announce that he is planning to compete in IG next season.
    • Subverted again by Winston Marshall in Rogue 2 vs The Wicked where, after both teams have made their entrances, he tells Striar that he has something very important to ask her and gets down on one knee as romantic music plays, only to offer her a paper "L" and ask if she will accept this loss. Jared Haibon, one half of the Wicked, swiftly grabs it out of his hand and rips it up. This was very likely a nod to Haibon himself.
  • Handicapped Badass: Rachel Cushing and Mara Knopic both qualified in their IG match against each other. Despite Cushing being very sick and Knopic being in pain from a car accident from the day before, both insisted on competing in their scheduled match, which resulted in the longest sudden death round in Schmoedown history with eleven questions before Knopic finally won.
    • Rocha became seriously ill prior to Spectacular IV where he and Murrell had a Teams title match against Shazam, but he showed up and the Founding Fathers prevailed, giving Rocha his first successful title defense.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: This is Matt Atchity's signature look on the show, sometimes even complete with a lei.
    • Bibbs has occasionally donned this looked as well.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Kalinowski's Face-Heel Turn could be characterized as this.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Downplayed with Brianne Chandler. She and Stacy Howard begin their run with Team 6 Degrees as unambiguous Faces. Chandler then makes a Face–Heel Turn with Howard upon forming the Missfits with Jay Washington. However, she then turns back to being a face upon leaving the Missfits to align herself with Mike Kalinowski.
    • Howard is also a downplayed example, as she starts off similarly to Chandler, but then briefly acts like a face again during the Anarchy tournament when paired with Winston Marshall and managed by Coy Jandreau, but reverts back to her original persona right after the tournament.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Many competitors, especially heels, qualify as this, with Korruption being the definitive example. Parodied and subverted by Inky and the Brain in their entrance in their match against the Movie Guys where they walked out to Korruption's theme music in black leather jackets with a serious demeanor, only to burst out into a cheerful dance with the music switching to "Walking on Sunshine."
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Reilly has his dog, Kal, who appears in Who's the Boss vs Korruption and a few other cut scenes.
    • Inverted with Ghai and his dog, Snickers, but later played straight after his Heel-Face Turn.
  • Honor Before Reason: At the end of the Family vs the Paddington Two after the Paddington Two is declared the winner, Atchity challenges that the Family's question about The Dirty Dozen was written erroneously. This ultimately leads to the Family getting a new question that wins them the match.
  • Iconic Item: Rocha always wears a cowboy hat and used to often wear a V for Vendetta mask. Played for Laughs by Greg Alba when he donned the same items to mock Rocha after Rocha won Best Entrance by an Individual the previous year, which Alba felt slighted by.
    • Dagnino has the sock mask that would distinguish himself from the "Finstock" persona. It was initially shown that RMB burned it at the end of Season 5, but a post-Heel–Face Turn Ghai gives it back to him, revealing he'd never trust RMB with the real thing.
    • Reilly has a leather jacket with the Superman logo on it.
    • The Barbarian has Elvis, his "living" fur pelt he always wears on his shoulder and constantly strokes.
    • RMB has a decadent black and gold coat.
    • Oyama had a signature black and red jacket and Cool Shades, but tossed them upon forming Final Exam to create a new image for himself.
    • Kevin Smets always wears a hoodie with the hood up.
    • Rachel Silvestrini often wears a floral hair accessory.
  • Iconic Outfit: Murrell's, both on the show and in Real Life, consists of a plaid shirt, glasses (usually prescription, but sometimes Cool Shades and occasionally none at all), and a Florida State University hat. Played for Laughs twice, once when Bateman donned this outfit to mock him with Ghai after the second 2018 Live Event, and again during the third Free-4-All when Humphrey donned it as a tribute.
    • Team Action previously wore suits at all times. However, they each only occasionally wear them now and have both taken to dressing more casually, though Bateman still consistently wears a blazer.
    • Witney Seibold also always wears a full suit and Bibbs would follow suit whenever they would play together.
    • Macuga doesn't have one specific outfit, but he is known for wearing outfits, especially blazers, with crazy designs on them.
  • Idiot Houdini: How many view Tom Dagnino. Despite his incomprehensibility and poor decision-making, he is widely considered to be the most successful manager of all time, having numerous competitors under his management win more belts than any other manager in the show's history.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In their promo for Who's the Boss vs Crazy Eighty-Greats, Finstock and Bateman compliment each other ad nauseam and talk about how excited they are to work with each other while dismissing Reilly as a has-been...while Reilly stands right next to them, which leads to a Dude, Where's My Respect? moment where Reilly chews them out and states that he'll work with Bateman, but demands that he show some respect.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Brendan "The Kid" Meyer is unfailingly kindhearted and friendly towards everyone and has been referred to as pure on multiple occasions, usually by Ellis.
  • Insufferable Genius: The Harris Brothers were staunch academics who had finer tastes in cinema compared to every other competitor and made sure everyone knew it.
  • It's All About Me: Ghai (pre-Heel–Face Turn) and Kalinowski (post-Face–Heel Turn) embody this trope to a T.
    • Finstock has also often been accused of this, particularly when Napzok discovered that he wanted to trade Sneider after the Patriots lost the Teams belts, leading to the dissolution of the Lion's Den.
  • Jerk Jock: As evidenced by their team name, the Patriots have this persona and their early entrances involve JTE tossing an imaginary football to Sneider with Sneider spiking it.
  • Karma Houdini: In-Universe, Harloff views Ghai as one after Bateman insists that Ghai not be banned from the league for tackling him and acting up at the 2018 Awards, after which Harloff relents and only bans Ghai for a month.
  • Kick the Dog: As a more downplayed literal example, Kalinowski doesn't so much as kick Reilly's dog than kidnap him and leave him in Bateman's car long enough to incriminate Bateman.
    • Happens twice to Bateman in a relatively short time span. After Who's the Boss loses to the Shirewolves at Spectacular III for the Teams championship, Bateman resolves to stay partnered with Reilly, prompting Ghai to tackle Bateman through a table. A few months after at the Chicago Live Event after Who's the Boss loses to the Odd Couple, Sneider and Andreyko rebuff Bateman's handshake offer, Roxy Striar slaps him straight across the face, and a video of Ghai mocking Bateman is played.
      • Kick the Son of a Bitch: However, Bateman quickly pays Ghai back in kind by gaining a KO victory over him at the Houston Live Event and, after Ghai unsuccessfully attempts to hit him with a chair, takes the same chair to knock him out cold.
  • Knight Templar: Kalinowski throughout the entire Korruption debacle in Season 5. He frequently proclaimed that what he was doing was what was best for the league, regardless of how vehemently everyone else disagreed with him.
  • Large Ham: Many competitors fall into this, the biggest examples being John Rocha, Andrew Ghai, and Robert Meyer Burnett.
  • Lighter and Softer: Invoked beginning in Season 7. In an attempt to make the show more kid friendly, Harloff has forbidden all cursing, though a few competitors have slipped up.
  • Life of the Party: The Wildberries are the embodiment of this trope, though Tuff Beats, LTTP, and the Movie Guys, particularly with their entrances, also qualify.
  • Loser Leaves Town: Josh Macuga fought his former tag team partner Finstock in one of these. Despite Marc Andreyko taking up the mantle of Finstock, Macuga triumphed.
  • Make Way for the Princess: Invoked by Chandler in her match against Wolfe where she enters dressed as Regina George with her own Schmoedown version of the Burn Book.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Rival competitors will do this every now and then to each other.
    • Team Action had a Running Gag of calling Jenn Sterger "Jessica" prior to their individual Heel-Face Turns and Striar once called her "Jessie" while she was temporarily aligned with Ghai.
    • Kalinowski derogatorily refers to Eric Zipper as "Zippity-Doo-Dah."
  • Master of All: Rachel Cushing and Mike Kalinowski are considered the definitive triple threats of the Schmoedown as they have had the most success competing in three different divisions (Singles, Teams, and IG), both having been double-belted with the Teams and IG belts and serious contenders for the Singles belt at various points in their careers.
    • With his announcement at the end of Season 6 that he wanted to compete in IG and having become the second person to be double-belted with the Singles and Teams belts, "Dangerous" Dan Murrell is on his way to becoming this if he goes on a run in IG.
    • Oyama, a former Singles champion who has also had success in Teams, has also revealed that he's interested in competing in IG and could become one as well.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Though most matches are one-on-one, there have been three-, four-, and five-way matches in the past, the most prominent being the Singles Title Match at the first Collision in 2017 between Reilly, Rocha, and Murrell.
  • Morality Pet: Reilly becomes one for Bateman and Dagnino during the Anarchy tournament, working hard (initially in vain) to keep them in line, but the fruits of his efforts begin to show at the end of the season after Bateman resolves to stay with Reilly at the cost of reuniting with Ghai, allowing the Who's the Boss trio to stay together. Bateman and Dagnino eventually turn fully by the beginning of the next season when Bateman calls Ghai out at the Brooklyn event.
  • Multiple Endings: Bibbs utilizes these in his entrance in his match against Sneider, Clue style. The first ending has Rocha anoint Bibbs as a member of the Horsemen, bringing the number of members up to six. The second has Chandler giving Bibbs her Free-4-All automatic title shot to skip over Sneider entirely. The final and definitive one has him simply walk to the table.
  • Not So Stoic: Drew McWeeny is generally very cool and collected, but after Above the Line successfully defends their belts against the Patriots, he lets out an enthusiastic roar while hugging Samm Levine that many consider one of the best moments in the show's history.
    • After Levine retires from competition and the league starts descending into madness due to Kalinowski's scheming and manipulation of Thadd Williams, McWeeny approaches Thadd several times demanding another opportunity to win his belt back, progressively becoming more impatient. At one point, he's shown pounding on the window of Thadd's office and yelling for him while Thadd is hiding in fear.
  • Once per Episode: Whenever Ellis calls a match and Comedy and Animated are categories used in the first round:
    Ellis: "In the category of Comedy, ha ha ha ha.
    [The audience laughs along with him.]
    Ellis: "Your next category is Animated. These movies are drawn by hand or on a computer."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jeannine the Machine and the Warfather are never referred to with their full names.
    • Downplayed with Nerd Chronic, the Barbarian, and Jackass BC, as their real names are generally known and sometimes referenced to on aftershows, but they're exclusively referred to by their nicknames on the show.
  • Only Sane Man: Postgame interviewer Jenn Sterger often plays this role, as well as being a Deadpan Snarker, when dealing with weirder or more unruly competitors and their factions.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Immediately after Bibbiani leaves the Four Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos, RMB promptly and unexpectedly abandons them as well to join the then-prosperous Lion's Den in an attempt to reclaim his glory as the Innergeekdom Champion. It...doesn't result in the success he hoped for.
  • Parent-Child Team: Invoked by legendary film critic Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie when they competed as a team, the Maltin Falcons, in one match.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ghai tries to enforce this storyline during the back half of Season 4 by claiming that Rocha is his Disappeared Dad, but the storyline doesn't go very far and Harloff expresses during their Singles match that he never liked it.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Numerous teams that consisted of real-life friends have broken up over the years as part of the show's kayfabe and necessity to shake up the division and have new teams form.
    • Chandler leaving the Missfits and effectively splitting up 6 Degrees to align herself with Kalinowski while Howard stayed with Washington.
    • Hayberg leaving ETC to manage the Growling Commandos while Dewberry turned Face and formed the Wildberries with Josh Macuga.
      • Subverted later when Hayberg is assigned to manage the Wildberries during the Anarchy tournament and enthusiastically embraces the team.
    • Bateman staying with Reilly to continue on with Who's the Boss over reforming Team Action with Ghai, prompting Ghai to tackle him through a table and end their friendship.
    • Witney Seibold leaving Critically Acclaimed after beliving that Bibbiani was forming a partnership with Brendan Meyer and ultimately reuniting with his Anarchy Partner, Marc Edward Heuck, to reform the Self-Righteous Brothers.
    • Eric Zipper leaving the World's Finest after becoming frustrated with his and Winston Marshall's lack of success in the Teams Division and believing that he was going to be able to join Korruption, only to have them laugh him off and ultimately joining the Dungeon and forming Loose Cannons with Paul Oyama.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After discovering that Bibbiani is mentoring Brendan Meyer, Seibold angrily confronts Bibbs, assuming he is abandoning their team, Critically Acclaimed, in order to form a new team with Meyer. Though that wasn't Bibbs' intention, Seibold breaks off their partnership to reunite with Marc Edward Heuck to reform the Self-Righteous Brothers. In a bit of irony, this results a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in which Bibbs actually ends up forming the team Shazam with Meyer and goes on a huge run with him in the 2019 Teams tournament and getting a title shot whereas the Self-Righteous Brothers lose their first match in the tournament.
    • Tom Dagnino has become the poster child for this trope. The Finstock Exchange became rife with conflict at the beginning of Season 7 during the draft. Despite all four of the other Horsemen being protected members of his faction, Dagnino opted to announce each member one at a time as his official pick for each of the first four rounds, which came off as a major slight to Rocha (even outside of kayfabe), who was announced last and ended up officially as the faction's fourth round pick. Rocha was angered to the point of announcing that he was considering leaving the faction and many believed that this drama could have been avoided had Dagnino announced the Horsemen collectively as his first four picks and communicated his plan to the team.
      • Dagnino again regarding the manager debacle with the Bateman vs Murrell title match. As Bateman and Murrell are part of the same faction, Dagnino would be unable to manage both players during the match and had to decide how management would be handled. Initially, he abruptly announced that neither player would be managed, prompting further discord in the faction (especially on Rocha's end) as he did not inform the competitors of this decision prior to the announcement. Ultimately, it was decided that Dagnino would manage Bateman and Rocha would manage Murrell, but much strife and mockery towards the faction resulted from this dispute.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Everyone involved in the show counts, but especially every competitor who has ever been a champion.
  • Positive Friend Influence: Subverted with the Nerd's Watch. When Napzok begins going to the dark side, Cushing attempts to bring him back to the light and convinces him to participate in a Teams match against Blofeld's Cat, which Napzok seems receptive to, only to bail on her just before the match and happily join the Lion's Den.
    • Played straight with Who's the Boss, as Bateman and Dagnino's Heel-Face Turns can be attributed to Reilly's influence on them as they go through Anarchy, showing that they can be successful without denigrating their opponents.
  • Post-Game Retaliation: After Team Action loses to Top 10 in their rematch at Spectacular II, Ghai pretends to start shaking Knost's hand, only to lunge at Rocha and tackle him to the ground. He is banned from the league for three months as a result.
    • Attempted by Ghai again after he loses to Bateman at the Houston Live Event when he attempts to hit Bateman with a chair that RMB hands to him, but he's stopped by Booker T and Bateman himself attacks Ghai with the chair after Rocha prevents Ghai from leaving the ring.
  • Power Trio: Kalinowski attempted to create one with the original incarnation of Korruption (the faction) with himself, Ellison, and Napzok, stating that they would be the future champions in every division. It didn't work out.
  • Rage Quit: The above Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure examples of Hayberg and Zipper qualify.
    • Christian Ruvalcaba when he angrily bails on the Young Bucks, a short-lived faction that included him, RB3, Hector Navarro, and the Reel Rejects.
  • Read the Fine Print: Thadd utilizes this to maintain his commissioner-ship even after Harloff loses the Singles belt and anticipated resuming his role as commissioner. Harloff eventually pays him back in kind by the end of the next season.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Several teams qualify as this trope when one competitor is louder and more intense than the other, such as Top 10 with John Rocha and Matt Knost and the Family with Andrew Ghai and Drew McWeeny. Some manager/competitor pairings also qualify, such as Jay Washington and Ethan Erwin.
  • Redemption Rejection: After dismissing Washington as her manager and turning Face, Chandler offers Howard the opportunity to come with her, which Howard rejects in favor of staying with Washington.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: After Matt Knost and Jason Inman retire, effectively leaving the Five Horsemen two members short, Reilly suggests Bateman as a new member to Murrell and Rocha, which Rocha angrily rejects, disbelieving the possibility of Bateman genuinely turning Face. Later averted when he allows both Bateman and Dagnino into the Horsemen during the Houston Live Event, attributing his change of heart to Bateman's willingness to spin away from Spinner's Choice during his match against Ghai.
  • La Résistance: Subverted by Chandler, who convinces Thadd that numerous competitors won't show up to Spectacular III until he begins standing up to Kalinowski. She also tells Fyffe and Dagnino that the other each agreed to this. No formal resistance actually forms, but the ploy works: Fyffe and Dagnino each agree that they and their teams won't show up unless Thadd grows a spine and Thadd rejects Kalinowski's next demand.
  • Retired Badass: The Shirewolves qualify, having been two-time Teams champions and having formally retired from competition midway through Season 6 after their match against Korruption, but are no less badass and still involved with the show with both as commentators and Wolfe as the commissioner.
    • Zig Zagged with Levine, the former double-belted Singles and Teams champion who retired midway through Season 5 and returned as Singles commissioner at the beginning of Season 6, but was incredibly apathetic towards the job and ousted from it at the end of the season. However, he is now a manager starting with Season 7 and it remains to be seen how well he'll do in the role.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: Mark Ellis was the winner of the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament, but he lost his Singles title shot against Murrell at the first Schmoedown Spectacular and hasn't won a Singles match since. Meanwhile, Rocha, the runner-up of the tournament, won a number one contender's match against Reilly at the Spectacular and went on to beat Murrell for the title the next season among other accomplishments.
    • Downplayed with the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament. Ethan Erwin won the tournament and went on to defeat Rocha for the belt at Spectacular III. However, Murrell, who lost to Erwin in the semi-finals of the tournament, would go on to defeat Marc Andreyko, the other losing semi-finalist, to earn a number one contender's match against Clarke Wolfe, the actual runner-up. Upon defeating her, he earned a title shot against Erwin and defeated him at his first defense, avenging his loss and eventually going on to defend the belt himself to further solidify his legacy.
    • Also downplayed with the inaugural Innergeekdom Tournament in 2018. Mara Knopic beat Kalinowski to win the tournament and ultimately defeated Jason Inman to win the championship, becoming the first individual female champion and first female IG champion. However, Kalinowski (through unscrupulous means) got an automatic title shot against Knopic after she won the belt and defeated her for it at Spectacular III. Though he could not defend the belt, he soon won it back the following season to become the first person to win the IG belt twice.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Each of the above examples of Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure qualifies.
    • In Critically Acclaimed's promo prior to their match against Superhero News, Hayberg bails on them as their manager.
    • After the Family loses to Korruption in a number one contender's match, McWeeny officially retires out of frustration of not winning back the Teams belts, despite Ghai's pleas to stay.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Harris Brothers constantly invoked this to show off their superior intellect prior to Lon's Villainous Breakdown after he and Simon Thompson lose to the Paddington Two.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Reilly wins his number one contender's match to face Rocha for the Singles belt in Season 4, Rocha crashes his postgame interview to smack talk him, only for Reilly to snap and chastise him for having no class or respect, even calling him expletives that had to be bleeped out.
  • Signature Move: Rachel "The Crusher" Cushing, after entering the ring, would hold one hand out and smash her other hand on top of it, signifying that she was ready to "crush" her opponent(s).
    • Pre-Face-Heel Turn Mike Kalinowski would point his finger, flash his Eternally Pearly-White Teeth, and wink at the camera. After Team Action beat DC Movie News, Ghai mockingly imitated this move and, in the postgame interview after turning heel, Kalinowski subverted his own move and flipped his hand around to give the middle finger, a move he'd use several times throughout the rest of the season.
    • Paul Oyama always checks his watch in a dramatic faction as he enters the ring.
    • Ben Bateman always blows a kiss directly to the camera when he enters the ring. He also used to sometimes carry a briefcase with him that contained a nameplate, picture of himself, and a flask to set on the desk.
      • Within gameplay, Bateman has become infamous for waiting until the last possible second to answer questions and sometimes fakes not knowing them, much to the chagrin of his opponents and some audience members. Though the tactic clearly has the advantage of throwing off his competitors, he has also rationalized using it, pointing out that it's beneficial to use all the time allotted to review the answer in your head and not answer too quickly, as many competitors have jumped to answer questions without fully thinking them through and ultimately missing them.
  • Silent Partner: Adam "The Silent Assassin" Gertler fills this role as a part of DC Movie News with Mike Kalinowski, though he would speak during matches when he needed to answer a question out loud.
    • Downplayed with Chance Ellison as part of Korruption, as he started out very quiet whereas Kalinowski and Napzok would do most of the talking, but he has begun speaking more during matches and promos since his debut.
  • The Slacker: Samm Levine fills this role during his time as commissioner of the Singles Division, much to Teams and IG commissioner Emma Fyffe's chagrin when she wants to get work accomplished whereas Levine would rather just plan where to get lunch.
  • Special Guest: Actors of various degrees of celebrity will compete, usually to promote a film or show, or in rare instances as regular competitors, like former Singles/Teams champion Samm Levine from Freaks and Geeks and Inglourious Basterds, and former Star Wars Champion Sam Witwer from Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
  • Sudden Death: If competitors are tied at the end of a match, they go into a Sudden Death round. Though the exact rules have changed over the show's run, the current version of Sudden Death has the competitors answer questions just like in the first round with the first competitor or team gaining a lead winning the match. Regardless of how many repeats each competitor had remaining at the end of the match proper, they are each given one to use for the entirety of the Sudden Death round.
  • Swapped Roles: Played for Laughs with Shazam's award-winning entrance in their match against the Odd Couple where they magically become the announcers and make commentary at the desk about Ellis and Napzok, who were calling the match.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: A villainous version is enforced by Ghai during his match against Murrell where his constant smack talk during the match got under Murrell's skin and riled him up by the end of the first round.
  • Tempting Fate: Prior to Rocha's arrival at the Spectacular before the Teams title match, Murrell offered taking on Shazam by himself so the Founding Fathers wouldn't have to forfeit the belts. He would end up taking on the members of Shazam in a three-way Singles number one contender match less than two months later. The irony wasn't lost on the editors, as a promo for the match played the scene where he said he'd take them on by himself during Spectacular.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After the first iteration of Team Box Office Breakdown loses their title match to Team Schmoes, it's revealed that JTE reached out to Clarke Wolfe to inquire about becoming partners, which she ultimately rejects. Everyone vilifies JTE for this move, viewing it as a betrayal to Finstock (who forms a new team with Josh Macuga), and begins referring to him as "Little Evil." Initially frustrated with the ill treatment, JTE eventually embraces the new identity and makes a Face-Heel Turn, soon going on a historic Teams run with his new partner, Jeff Sneider.
  • Third Time's the Charm: Reilly lost to Rocha the first two times he faced him in Singles, but finally defeated him the third time in a championship match.
    • The Founding Fathers lost to Korruption the first two times they played, but finally defeated them the third time, also in a championship match, and put up the most accurate performance in a Teams title match of all time doing so.
    • Played with regarding Murrell's championship bouts. He is one of the greatest players in the league and unsurprisingly played great games the first two times he challenged for the Singles belt, but he played with 100% accuracy in his title match against Erwin, which set the record for the most accurate performance in a Singles title match of all time.
    • Applies to the iterations of the Horsemen:
      • The faction first formed at the end of Season 3. The first iteration had high expectations, as it consisted of John Rocha and Matt Knost of Top 10, then the Teams champions; William Bibbiani, who had broken the points record in Singles in his debut; and Robert Meyer Burnett, then the IG champion. However, Top 10 lost their belts the night the faction formed to the Patriots, Bibbs suffered a huge loss to JTE in his next Singles match, and RMB lost the IG belt on his first defense to Hector Navarro and lost his next match to Jeremy Jahns. The only bright spot of this iteration was Rocha winning the Singles belt, though he lost it on his first defense to Reilly. Bibbs and RMB officially abandoned the faction midway through Season 4 to join the Growling Commandos and the Lion's Den respectively. Rocha and Knost experienced a Heel-Face Turn around this time as well.
      • The second iteration had even higher expectations with Rocha and Knost, the former Teams champions and Rocha as a former Singles champion; Mark Reilly, a former two-time Singles champion; then-IG champion Jason Inman; and Dan Murrell, also a former two-time Singles champion. Unfortunately, Murrell and Reilly each lost their first Singles matches as Horsemen to Andrew Ghai via TKO; Inman lost the IG belt on his next defense to Mara Knopic; and Knost, Murrell, and Rocha didn't make it farther than the quarterfinals in the Anarchy tournament. On the bright side, Rocha successfully defeated Bibbs to become a two-time Singles champion (though he lost the belt on his first defense to Ethan Erwin), Murrell earned a number one contender's match at the end of the season, and Reilly had a Teams title match at Spectacular after winning the Anarchy tournament with Ben Bateman. However, Knost and Inman retired at the end of Season 5, leaving just the three remaining members.
      • The third iteration consisted of Rocha, Murrell (who had won back the Singles belt by this time to become a three-time champion), Reilly, Bateman, and Tom Dagnino. Despite serious reservations, Rocha relented to Reilly, who wanted his new partner and manager in the faction, and allowed Bateman and Dagnino in about midway through season 6. Shockingly, this iteration would be the most successful. They had a rough start with Murrell losing the belt to Paul Oyama and Bateman losing a match to Mike Kalinowski that would've earned him a number one contender's match. However, things soon turned around with Rocha and Murrell, now teamed up as the Founding Fathers, winning the Teams belts from Korruption after Dan cashed in his Free-4-All title match; defending those belts at the Spectacular; Bateman winning the Singles tournament; and him ultimately winning the Singles belt from Oyama at Spectacular, leading to the greatest success the faction ever experience before it folded into the Finstock Exchange.
  • Token Evil Teammate: "Lights Out" Laura Kelly after being drafted by SWAG.
  • Token Good Teammate: Lampshaded by Andreyko when he refers to himself as the "nice lion" while still a member of the Lion's Den, as he is considerably more tactful than the other members while still condoning their schemes and defending them when he feels they've been wronged.
    • Reilly was initially this for Who's the Boss prior to Bateman and Dagnino's Heel-Face Turns.
    • Dewberry is currently one for Korruption. His discomfort being in the faction and being partnered with Marc Edward Heuck is palpable in their first match.
    • Britney Young is currently one for the Dungeon. In her promo for her Singles debut, Kaiser chastises her for complimenting her opponent and asks if she could later practice hitting Macuga with a folding chair.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Ghai has more or less acted the same as he did prior to his Heel-Face Turn, but he has had a few particularly nice moments since his turn that would have been greatly out of character for his previous heel persona. The best example thus far has been in the scene where he approaches Dagnino, whom he previously antagonized for his alignment with Bateman, and presents him with his signature sock mask that was believed to have been burned by RMB.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: "Bob Finstock" and "Tom Dagnino" (and "Bobby Gucci") refer to the same individual, though each of "them" technically has a different record within the show and came out as separate competitors in the second Free-4-All. Played with when Dagnino has Marc Andreyko don the Finstock mask in order to play in a match as "Finstock" (jokingly referred to as "Findreyko") against Josh Macuga.
  • Unexpected Character: Played with during the second Free-4-All when Dan Murrell's entrance music began playing and Harloff outright announced his name, only for Andrew Ghai to emerge from behind the curtain, claiming to have "killed" Murrell. Though Murrell's return would have been a pleasant surprise, Ghai's appearance also qualifies, as no one expected him to pull this kind of stunt, even though his suspension for tackling Rocha had officially ended at that point.
    • Played straight at the end of the second 2018 Live Event with the reveal of the new Horsemen, including Jason Inman, Mark Reilly, and Dan Murrell himself.
    • Brett Sheridan during the third Free-4-All, as he had been working the entire event and was unexpectedly announced as the 39th competitor.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Bateman likes to refer to booze as "winner's juice" and was frequently drinking out of a flask during the Anarchy tournament.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During William Bibbiani's more outlandish entrances, some of his competitors have opted to deliberately ignore his antics in order to not give him the satisfaction of reacting to them, including Lon Harris and John Rocha.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Robert Meyer Burnett seems prone to these, having experienced them when he lost the IG belt to Hector Navarro, got kicked out of the Lion's Den, and was called out by Ghai.
    "NAVARRO!!!"
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The fate of Tuff Beats after they lost their "loser breaks up" stipulation match against 6 Degrees. They got a KO win in their debut against Double Jeopardy and even won Baby Face Team of the Year in 2016, but lost three consecutive matches that culminated with their breakup. However, Perri Nemiroff has come back on occasion to compete in exhibition matches.
    • The Knights of Ken was a very short-lived faction consisting of Napzok and Mark Donica after they defected from the Lion's Den, only to get split up during Anarchy when Napzok is assigned to manage Korruption.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Occurs frequently with teammates or faction-mates when one turns face or heel and the other doesn't follow, which often leads to them facing off against each other at some point:
    • Chandler with Washington and Howard after she experiences a Heel-Face Turn.
    • Napzok with Cushing after he has his Face-Heel Turn and joins the Lion's Den. He and Dagnino face the Shirewolves in the latter's debut match with the Shirewolves coming out on top.
    • Kalinowski with The League and Chandler after he has his Face-Heel Turn.
    • A more downplayed example occurred with Wolfe and Reilly after Reilly comes out of retirement in Season 5. Wolfe was displeased with the short timespan of his retirement that had caused their partnership to break up, but they ultimately still respect each other.
    • Ghai and Bateman after Bateman stays partnered with Reilly and starts going through a Heel-Face Turn, which culminated in the Action Civil War where they and their new factions faced off against each other four times throughout Season 6 (specifically Bateman/Dagnino vs The Family, RMB vs Dagnino, Bateman vs Ghai, and Who's the Boss vs The Family; the Family prevailed winning three out of the four matches).
    • Howard with Washington and Jeannine after Washington begins focusing more of his time on Jeannine and Ethan Erwin, which eventually culminates in his and Jeannine's Heel-Face Turns. Howard remains a heel and joins Korruption, much to Washington's chagrin. Jeannine and Howard would eventually face off with the former coming out on top.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Finstock wears these every now and again and you can bet that they will be commented on whenever he does, particularly how noticeable his privates are. Played for Laughs after Who's the Boss defeats Korruption in their postgame interview:
    Bateman: "Jessica, we're winners, okay? I'm a winner, this guy's a winner [in reference to Reilly], Kal's a winner, his balls are winners, okay?!"
    Finstock: "A proven winner."
    Bateman: "This match showed us everything you needed to see."
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After Kalinowski begins blackmailing Thadd Williams into doing his bidding throughout Season 5, his demands become increasingly unreasonable, including demanding title shots for himself, Napzok, and Korruption (the last of which is ultimately not granted) without having earned them.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: After Ghai tackles Bateman for staying partnered with Reilly, Reilly and Dagnino come to his aid, but Dagnino's immediate concern is where his mask is, which Reilly chastises him for.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Andreyko bails on the Lion's Den to align himself with Fyffe to form the Fyffe Club, Finstock and the rest of the faction promptly toss Robert Meyer Burnett out for being the weakest link of the faction and (at the time) the only non-champion.
    • Chandler provides a heroic example where, after Washington loses the Manager Bowl at Spectacular II, she dismisses him as her manager and aligns herself with Kalinowski.
    • After Kalinowski is defeated by Smets at Spectacular IV and loses the IG belt, he and Chance Ellison denounce Ken Napzok and Grace Hancock as their managers and opt to have Korruption managed by Shannon Barney.
    • After Bonnie Sommerville suffers a loss against Brett Sheridan, bringing her record down to 0-3, manager Shannon Barney initially seems sympathetic, only to quickly turn around and trade Sommerville to the Burning Droogs for rookie Claudia Dolph.

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