|August 14, 2020||Singles Division||2020|
This is why he is the Greatest of All Time.
“Dangerous” Dan Murrell battled through five rounds of Sudden Death to edge out Ethan “Big Time” Erwin 32-31 and retain the Singles Championship.
“Dan won fair and square. No one can talk anything about it,” manager Bobby Gucci said following the match. “Dan, congratulations. You’re the best. Like I said earlier, you know you’re the best. Mara knows you’re the best. I know you’re the best. The Finstock Exchange knows you’re the best, and guess what? Now the whole world knows it too.”
This win marks Murrell’s fourth non-consecutive title defense. He is 8-4 in title matches in his career, but this one is different. In a tight match from launch, Murrell (15-5) had to break the 5 round points record to win, a record he set earlier this year when he beat Ben “The Boss” Bateman for the title in Atlanta back in February.
The champion had a bit of a slow start, as he fell behind Erwin (10-5) 7-6 at the end of Round One. Big Time elected to put the pressure on Murrell by spinning first in Round Two, but his plan backfired as he was only able to capture 4 PTS after going 2/4 in the category of Spike Lee. To make matters worse, Murrell was also able to capitalize on a 1-point steal, which he used to propel himself through a 3/4 performance in Fantasy/Sci-Fi for 5 PTS. Nevertheless, the challenger was able to poach a 1-point steal as well, which tied the game at 12-12 heading into the betting round.
Murrell took a risk in Round Three, and it paid off, as the champion decided to bet 2 PTS in the category of Movie Release Dates, besting Erwin’s 1 PT bet to gain the 14-13 advantage heading into Round Four. However, the advantage would not last long as Erwin went 10/10 for 10 PTS in the speed round, while Murrell erred on the side of caution, securing only 9 PTS off a 9/9 performance. This turn of events kept the score tied up heading into Round Five.
“You know, we thought that he [Erwin] may slip in the speed round, and he did not,” Gucci remarked. “Betting the extra point in the betting round again proved Dan right. That’s the way we did it. that’s the way it went in Atlanta when, you know, he won the title back, you know, off Bateman. That’s the strategy we used here.”
The score would remain tied at the end of regulation. Erwin played reminiscent of his last match against John “The Outlaw” Rocha, as both he and Murrell hit their 2- and 3- point questions, but miss the 5-pointer to send it to Sudden Death. Yet this time, it would be Erwin’s opponent who pulled out the overtime win. After 5 questions, Murrell finally squeaked out an advantage, winning 32-31, and adding 3 PTS on the Finstock Exchange’s total to tie them with Korruption for first place.
It was a question that had sentimental value to him.
“That is mine and Mara’s song,” Murrell said stunned following the match. “But, in the moment, I was running through every lyric in that song in my head to make sure I wrote the right one down.”
Murrell went 26/32 in the match with a PPE% of .711. His opponent, Ethan Erwin actually played the better game with an identical accuracy rate, but a higher PPE% at .721.
“I thought going into Sudden Death there was a chance,” Erwin discussed in his post-match interview. “But, look, he had that – I definitely did not – and, I’m proud of him. Like, it was great! I’m glad it wasn’t a drubbing either way. It went down to the wire. I feel really good about it.”
Following the loss, Ethan Erwin will enter the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament. He is set to play either “Spicy” Sabrina Ramirez in a Finstock Exchange rematch, or Vinnie Mancuso depending on who wins the play-in match.
“It’s a great consolation prize to now get to go through the tournament,” Erwin said. “I don’t even know how many points I could have gotten had I won this, but I can get more doing that.”
As for the champion, Murrell is not out of the woods yet. He and his partner, John “The Outlaw” Rocha have to defend the Teams Championship against rival Korruption on Friday night.
“Here we go,” Rocha challenged Korruption after the match. “We’ll see who’s really the champs once and for all between the two of us, and I can’t wait – I CAN’T WAIT – to get in the ring with my boy Dan Murrell to take these guys on.”
In terms of Singles, however, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell does get some rest as he awaits the winner of Ben “The Boss” Bateman, who he won the title off of, and Andrew Ghai, one of only two people to ever knock him out.
“Each one comes with their own challenges,” Murrell discussed when asked about the upcoming match. “I know Bateman took me to overtime in my last title match. It would be great to do one of these without going into overtime again, but the league is such right now that that is probably not a very realistic wish. But, you know, what happened with Ghai, obviously. I can’t lie and say that that wouldn’t be rolling around in my head in some way if we were to play a second time for even bigger stakes because, in a weird way, knowing what he’s capable of is even scarier than not knowing what he’s capable of. And so, I truly do not have a preference because I know that both of them will be coming into it hungry and with a lot of ammunition to know that they can take me out.”
Bateman and Ghai face off on August 28 in a massive event that also sees Kevin Smith taking on Chris Jericho.