Only three players have ever come back from a 6-point deficit heading into the final round. Cody “The Olympian” Miller did it against JTE in Season 3. Josh “The Wildman” Macuga did it against Finstock in Season 4. And now, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell continues to prove why he’s the Greatest Player of All Time by adding his name to the list.
Murrell (16-5) overcomes all odds and defeats his factionmate, Ben “The Boss” Bateman (11-7), 29-28 to earn his sixth career Singles title defense, and his second defense during his current title reign.
“Bateman is like-it’s like The Terminator,” Murrell said coming into the match. “I’m the T-800, I’m the dusty old tank. And, he’s the T-1000. If you knock him down, if you blow him into pieces, he melts himself down and reforms and comes back at you. You can’t escape the guy. So, I know that he has learned, he’s a learning machine. He’s learned from the last encounter and I better be ready.”
What the champion neglected to mention is that the T-800 beats the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and that’s exactly what went down in this one.
The match was exactly what many expected it to be at the end of the first round, with the score tied at 7-7. Given the option, Murrell did as he always does in Round Two, differing to his opponent who spun the category of James Bond. The Boss didn’t fare as well as he would have liked picking up 6 PTS off a 3/4 performance and relinquishing a 1-point steal to the champion. Luckily, Murrell faired similarly in the category of Alfred Hitchcock, picking up 5 PTS off of a 3/4 performance to keep the game tied at 13-13.
Just like when the pair faced off for the first time in Atlanta, the betting round is where the momentum really swung in favor of Bateman. The Boss was able to secure a 5-point swing in Round Three after he knocked down the Hitchcock question and his opponent missed. Bateman then capitalized on this momentum boost in Round Four as he went 9/9 for 9 PTS in the speed round to gain a 25-19 lead on the champion.
“Look man, we are taking it one question at a time and that’s all there is to it,” Bateman said heading into Round Five. “We wanted to be up six. That’s all we wanted was we wanted to be up six.”
Nevertheless, champions close matches and that’s exactly what Murrell did in the final round. The champion knocked down all three questions in Round Five to go up four points on his opponent and avoid the technical knockout. Unfortunately for as good as The Boss was playing to that point he couldn’t match his opponent. Bateman missed a difficult 2-point question, and couldn’t come up with the 5-pointer to win the game and become champion once again.
Murrell was speechless following the 29-28 win.
“I did [think Bateman knew his 5-pointer]. I didn’t know the answer to that question and that answer made complete sense to me,” Murrell said. “I mean, literally, I finished answering my questions [and] Mara [Knopic] walked in here ready to console me because I did not expect to win this.”
On the opposite side of things, Bateman was frustrated not only in himself but also in how alone he felt going into this match.
“I put everything I had into this match, man,” The Boss said following the match. “I did. I put everything I had. I stamped a guarantee on it, and once again, it barely slips through my fingers. On a 2-point question on a major franchise! Now, I’m doing all of the work over here. I’m doing all the work. I mean, I’m putting everything I have into this, … and where’s my manager? He’s advising me to bet less points in Round Two. Good job Gucci! Where’s John [Rocha]? He’s on my show with me every week, [and] I haven’t heard from John for strategy all week. I haven’t gotten a text from Mark Reilly, I’m sitting here by myself. I got the Barbarian putting in tons of work because that guy is on my team. But, I did this myself.”
Bateman is done for the season following the loss and the announcement earlier this week that the Founding Fathers would be entering the Teams Tournament for the Finstock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Dan Murrell advances to Schmoedown Spectacular to take on the winner of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament and attempt to make history by becoming the first person to ever defend the Singles title three times.