Here’s what went down at the first night of the 2nd annual Scenic City Invitational in the Chattanooga suburb of Ooltewah.
The show consisted of 8 opening round matches ranging from good to great. They did a terrific job in the variety department.
Every match had a distinct story and style. I can’t see there were any big upsets. The top tier matches in my mind were Lio Rush vs. Anthony Henry, Joey Lynch vs. Ray Fury, Matt Riddle vs. Corey Hollis and Chris Hero vs. Kyle Matthews.
Attendance at the East Hamilton Middle High School Gym was 225. However, the paid attendance was over 350 thanks to the efforts of the school’s baseball team. Almost $4000 was raised for the team. That was up from 150 for the inaugural SCI. Most of the ringside fans drove more than an hour, many of them coming from other states and as far away as Montreal.
SCI is the brainchild of Josh Massey (fka Ace Rockwell) who co-promotes the event with Empire Wrestling The tourney trophy is named for revered DSCW promoter Greg Hullender. Scott Hensley played a pivotal role in bring the the inaugural event to fruition. Allan Barrie and Dan Wilson joined the team this year.
As was the case in 2015, WHOO Wrestling (Barrie with Jacey North on the handheld camera) will come forth with a VOD/DVD release of the show. Barrie is one of the commentators along with Wilson, Brad Stutts and Emil J.
Ring announcer Hensley opened the show with a 10 bell for local wrestlers Jay Farley and Kenny Arden.
(1) Jimmy Rave defeated John Skyler in 15:16. Rave was pelted with TP before the match. First pivotal spot saw Skyler block Rave’s pet STO on the ring frame and spear him. Skyler showed arrogance after a senton backsplash. That didn’t sit well with the crowd, which hadn’t shown much favoritism thus far. They were all Rave after that. Some nifty counter wrestling in the mix here. Skyler with the slingshot spear for a near fall. Rave converted on the apron STO. Skyler thought it was over after a super Finlay roll but Rave got a foot on the ropes. Skyler recklessly rushed in and got caught with the smallest package in pro wrestling. A fine way to open the tournament.
Postmatch - Skyler thought long and hard before refusing to shake Rave’s hand.
(2) Joey Lynch defeatd Ray Fury (with Drew Game) in 14:10. Crowd behind Lynch from the get go and he got off to hot start. Fury capitalized on ref distraction by Game. Game decked Lynch on the outside for more heat. Fury sprung through the ropes with tornado DDT for 2. A crazy twisting superplex by Fury left both men down with the crowd chanting for Lynch. Comeback time. A Silver King dive by Lynch got a big pop. Lynch reeled off a series of near falls. Fury dropped Lynch on his head from an electric chair position but Lynch kicked out of the pin. Lynch hit a variation of the GTS flowing into a german suplex for a near fall. Lynch then kicked out of Fury’s DVD finisher and won it with a Canadian Destroyer followed by a moonsault. The progression of the near falls built beautifully to the finish. This was Rockwell’s darkhorse pick as the night one match he was most looking forward to and with good reason as played out.
Handshake after the match and a HUGE ovation for hometown favorite Lynch. This and the finish of the main were the emotional high points of the night.
(3) Billy Buck defeated Drew Delight in 11:09. The veteran Delight was angry man with a big mouth and penchant for taking shortcuts, and Buck was handing him his ass. Delight swept Buck’s leg and dumped Buck on his head at the 3 minute mark. The “Little Mermaid” chant directed at Delight’s ring attire only made it worse. Delight swept Buck’s leg off the ropes to take over and executed a classic Eddie Gilbert hot shot. Buck rallied hard but Delight evaded his signature superkick. Delight was in disbelief when Buck kicked out of his sitout facebuster off the ropes. Delight superkicked Buck who answered with a superior version that put Delight down and out. The Southern wrestling style with a crystal clear heel and babyface provided a decidedly different flavor from the rest of the show.
(4) Anthony Henry defeated Lio Rush in 15:32. The shook hands before the bell. Henry immediately kicked Rush in the head for a near fall and they were off and running, working at an incredibly fast pace and hitting all their stuff. Lots of action on the outside. Henry seated Rush in a chair and sprinted around the ring to build momentum for kick to the face. Dueling chants. They traded chops. Henry gave Rush a free shot at his chest and Rush punched him in the jaw. Rush pulled off an amazing satellite DDT. Henry gave Rush a TKO hotshot and followed it up with a tope suicida. A furious exchange left both men on the canvas. This got a huge appreciation pop and another dueling chant. Henry gave Rush a sick german suplex on the edge of the ring frame. A Henry frogplash for a near fall. Rush answered with an insane tope, flip dive to the outside and a frogsplash of his own but Henry kicked out. They traded slaps and chops building to the finish, a GTS from a Razor’s Edge position. What a match. Hard to imagine a better way to take the show into the intermission. That said, the finish of Henry’s match with Stryknyn last week at Why We Wrestle was even better.
Postmatch – a “both these guys” chant and a handshake by the competitors.
Intermission with all the stars out at the merchandise tables.
(5) Chip Day defeated Odinson in 11:51. Day was greeted with a mix of toilet paper rolls and streamers. Odinson’s formidable power and strength advantage immediately came to the fore and he proceeded to dominate the match. Day likes to trade strikes and he met his match in Odinson. The crowd was pulling for Day but he wasn’t giving them much hope. At the 8 minute mark, Day managed to escape Odinson’s spinning F5 and shake the big man’s tree. A missile dropkick finally scored a knockdown. Day was wincing in pain as he made his comeback. It didn’t last. Odinson pounced Day clean out of the ring and called for his finisher. Day wriggled out of it and shocked Odinson with a roll up.
Jeff G. Bailey said he had made more stars that the Big Bang and was now repping Chattanooga’s own Gunner Miller. Bailey said some wrestler demand attention. Miller, a 3 year Division I football starting linebacker commands attention.
(6) Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Mikael Judas in 12:26. Not a bad match but no real chemistry and it didn’t connect with the crowd like the others. The fans didn’t seem to be familiar with Judas or know what to make of him. Then there was the issue of Miller in the heel role for the first time in his hometown. Miller had his scalp streaked with UTC navy blue. Judas used his massive advantage in experience to wear Miller down with a deliberate attack but was unable to put Miller away. Miller powered out ofJudas’ single leg crab and escaped the choke slam. Judas almost landed on his head on Miller’s overhead belly to belly suplex. Judas went for El Crucifijo (toss crucifix powerbomb). Miller escaped and hit the CTE.
(7) Matt Riddle defeated Corey Hollis via submission in 15:30. Riddle got the big “Bro” chant coming to the ring. Hollis was introduced as hailing from Full Sail University. The opening minutes was a showcase for Riddle’s grappling skills. A springboard knee strike sent Hollis out of the ring He crawled under the ring to get away. Hollis ended up on dream street from and took an awesome delayed face bump. It was all in the name of playing possum. Hollis worked over Riddle’s shoulder with Riddle selling it huge. Riddle back with a series of rolling gutwrench suplexes. Hollis kicked out of Riddle’s jumping tombstone piledriver. Hollis took Riddle to the outside and tried to get a cheap count out. Not happening. Hollis used a Pedigree for a close near fall and went up for the diving headbutt but Riddle got his feet up. Riddle locked in the Bromission and that was all she wrote. Riddle won’t be long for the indy scene. He gets it in a way many veteran wrestlers do not. He has charisma to burn and has added just enough high spots into his moveset to go with the superior wrestling. There’s never been a question about Hollis in-ring skills. It’s the little things he’s adding comedy touches and use of his facial expressions that are taking him to another level.
(8) Chris Hero defeated Kyle Matthews in 19:58. Handshake to open. Matthews frustrated Hero with his ability to counter out of the cravate holds. However, the size disparity was proving to be a big problem. Matthews made several attempts at the Hidaka lock but never got it fully applied. Hero knocked Matthews off the apron with a vicious kick to the face. On the outside, Hero chopped Matthews to death and decked him with a wicked forearm. Matthews struggled back in the ring at 9. Matthews got his knees up on a Hero senton but a second attempt crushed him. Hero was killing Matthews with strikes. The crowd was backing both men early but started pulling harder for Matthews as the tenacious underdog. Matthews hit a backstabber for a near fall and followed up a tope but Hero decimated him with another elbow smash. That looked like the KO. So did another inside the ring. Matthews would not stay down. Matthews surprised Hero with an inside cradle. Hero responded with a piledriver but Matthews kicked out and launched a last ditch rally. Dueling chants now. Three slurpee kicks from Matthews still didn’t do the trick. Matthews survived a tombstone piledriver before succumbing to devastating ripcord discus elbow. Great way to end the show. Just a tremendous display of heart by Matthews.
Afterward…a huge chant for Matthews.
The match ups tonight’s semifinals are as follows: Buck vs. Henry, Riddle vs. Rave, Miller vs. Lynch, Day vs. Hero. There will also be a tag a match featuring a reuniting of Tank and Iceberg vs. The Bruiserweights (Hollis & Skyler).
NOTES: Notables either in attendance or at the merchandise tables included Priscilla Kelly, Ryan Vega, SFCW promoter Charles Anschutz, Tank, Bane Lynch, Lionel Lucas Lazarus, “Mr. Entertainment” Jay Clinton, DSCW promoter Greg Hullender, UEW promoter Ben Thrasher, Shaun Tempers, Steve Dave, Amber Young, PCW booker Matt Hankins, Gabby Gilbert, Corey Coxx, Spoony Mack and Octavius Black…Robbie Griffin played the National Anthem on electric guitar…A merchandise auction raised over $200 for Ron Hall, Tiffany Roxx, and Shadow Jackson. The auction included two tickets to the Georgia Premier Wrestling supershow on September 17 in Jasper, GA featuring Carlito, Billy Gunn and Scotty Too Hotty.