Sunday, August 7, 2016

Scenic City Invitational Night Two Report from Ooltewah on August 6

Photo courtesy of Corey Tatum
From Larry Goodman:

What a difference 24 hours can make. 

Coming off a lackluster first round match, Gunner Miller turned the dial all the way to the right like never before in a pro wrestling ring to win the second annual Scenic City Invitational. Miller set the tone by beating Joey Lynch in an electrifying semi-final match, then went on to defeat defending champion Jimmy Rave, Chris Hero and Anthony Henry in a spellbinding 30 minute main event that had the crowd going completely bonkers before it was over.

Congratulations to the entire SCI crew. As much as I enjoyed the 2015 SCI, this year’s version blew the inaugural tournament away.

Featured star entrants Hero and Matt Riddle were tremendous throughout. Returning SCI participants Joey Lynch, Kyle Matthews, Chip Day and Anthony Henry all gave performances that elevated their standing.

600 people were on hand at the East Hamilton High School Gym, doubling the attendance for the second night last year. More than half came from a distance to see this show and the response from the crowd made it clear they were not disappointed. 

 The two night event raised $7000 for the school's baseball team.

Pre-show: A highlight video was shown. Scott Hensley recognized Papa Hales for efforts above and beyond the call of fandom.

(1) Kyle Matthews & Mikael Judas & Chase Jordan defeated Ray Fury & Torque & Cyrus the Destroyer (with Logan Chase) in 11:20. A mix of first round losers and talent from Big Wood’s DSCW promotion. The crowd showed Matthews a whole lot of love, and rightfully so after the performance he turned in against Chris Hero the night before. Interference by Chase set Jordan up for a ferocious manhandling by Cyrus. The hot tag set up a confrontation of monsters Judas and Cyrus. The crowd reaction said it’s a match local fans want to see and I have a feeling Wood will make it happen. The finish was something else. Judas hit El Crucifijo on Torque, tossing him halfway to East Ridge.

Afterward, Chase got in the ring like a dimwit and took a stunner from East Hamilton baseball coach Steve Garland.

(2) SCI Semifinal: Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Joey Lynch in 6:14. A battle between the Chattanooga area favorites. Lynch had totally won the fans over the night before. Clearly, this was not the same Miller that showed up Friday night. Miller speared Lynch out of his boots and hit two deadlift german suplexes. Lynch landed badly on the second one injuring his neck. Lynch hit a corkscrew dive and the place was already coming unglued. Miller did a double powerbomb that liked to have driven Lynch through the mat. Lynch back with a picture perfect moonsault for a near fall. Lynch took a crazy full rotation bump on Miller’s top rope release german. Lynch got a near fall with a standing sliced bread before Miller shattered his tournament dream with the CTE. It was amazing how much they did in 6 minutes without it feeling like they cramming stuff in.

Post - Handshake and long farewellchant for Lynch.

(3) SCI 2nd Round: Anthony Henry defeated Billy Buck in 14:32. Henry was taking no prisoners. Buck wasn’t about to take a backseat to anybody. He gave Henry all he could handle and then some. A slapfest turned slugfest. Henry hit running knees from three different angles. Henry tried the deal he pulled against Lio Rush – sitting him a chair for a running kick to the head – but Buck had it scouted. Henry dragged two more chairs across the rail. Referee Brandon Bailey grabbed one of them. Henry whacked Buck’s knee with the other one. The crowd, however, didn’t turn on Henry for this devilishly clever tactic that potentially took away Buck’s greatest weapon, the superkick. The knee hindered Buck for the rest of the match. Henry applied an Indian Deathlock with Buck making the ropes. Henry sat Buck in a chair again and circled the ring to build momentum for the kick the face. Buck cut him off with a superkick. Both men went down on the floor and barely beat the 10 count. In the end, Henry kicked after taking Buck’s superkick and pinned him with a running knee to the temple. A compelling match with the crowd vocal for Henry and appreciative of Buck at the same time.

Afterward, a “thank you, Billy” chant. True to form,  Buck left selling both the knee and the shots to the mouth.

(4) SCI 2nd Round: Chris Hero defeated Chip Day in 13:10. Streamers and a “both these guys” chant before the intros. Day held his own trading holds with the master. Hero didn’t budge on Day’s shoulder block. Day invited Hero to hit the ropes. Hero tried to kick Day instead (as he did to Matthews the night before). Day was ready for it and lit Hero up with stiff kicks to the chest. Hero bailed. Day pursued and was getting the best of it until Hero planted a boot in his chest. Hero blasted Day with an elbow that liked to have unhinged his jaw. Day tried to fight back but his blows had nothing on them. Another KO elbow served a wakeup call. Day came roaring back and hit a missile dropkick for a near fall. Dueling chants here. Day came up empty on a jumping knee and a Hero elbow put him down for a near fall. Day was barely staying upright as he went toe to toe with Hero. Day with a Northern Lights Bomb out of nowhere! Hero kicked out. Crowd pulling hard for Day now with a chant of “Chip Day rocks”. Day took too much time going up top and ate and elbow. Hero was looking for a middle rope piledriver. Thank God that didn’t happen. Day hit Day of the Dead (flying double knees) for a close near fall. Day kicked after taking a piledriver before another KO elbow did him in. A killer match. Day passed the test with flying colors.

(5) SCI 2nd Round: Jimmy Rave pinned Matt Riddle at 19:28. Rave stalled in the face of Riddle’s daunting mat skills and got the “run, Jimmy, run” chant. Rave was able to counter an early cross armbreaker attempt and went to the ropes when Riddle tried for a Kimura. Rave capitalized when Riddle spilled out of the ring. Rave kept Riddle grounded. Riddle tried for the Bromission and Rave immediately went to the ropes. Rave stomped Riddle’s bare foot to regain control. Rave poked the eyes and spit in his face when Riddle fired back. Riddle brought out the suplex attack. Rave reversed Riddle’s kicks to the chest with a dragon screw legwhip. Riddle’s springboard knee sent Rave to the floor. They battled on the apron with Riddle appearing to have the upper hand. NOT as Rave scored with the STO on the ring frame. Bigtime “Bro” chant as Riddle beat the 10 count. Superplex by Rave. Fishermanbuster by Riddle. 5 minutes to go. Riddle with a barrage of strikes. Rave somehow got the crossface and had Riddle on the verge of tapping. Riddle hit a jumping tombstone piledriver with Rave rolling a shoulder at 2.9. Riddle went back to the Bromission but Rave got to the ropes before he got if fully applied. Rave fought off another Bromission. Riddle kicked out of the small package for an explosive pop. Riddle finally got the Bromission locked in. Rave couldn’t’ escape but was able to turn Riddle’s shoulders to the mat. The bell rang with no clarity as to the winner. Referee Brandon Bailey ruled in Rave’s favor via pinfall. A really fine match with Riddle forcing the wily Rave to dig down deep to survive. Riddle  was insanely over. The finish elicited a genuine emotional response from the crowd.

Postmatch – a hearfelt show of mutual respect between the competitors and a “thank you Bro” chant.

(6) Devil’s Rejects (Tank & Iceberg with Reverend Dan Wilson) defeated The Bruiserweights (Corey Hollis & John Skyler) and Drew Delight & Rush in 14:49. Hollis reprised his Evan Anderholm bit from RAW -- “We get a 1000 dollars and if we win we get 5000 dollars.” Delight and Rush crashed the party to make it a three way. Delight said Tank and Iceberg might have been the toughest a decade ago but now this town belonged to them. Match was mostly comedy. The four heels attacked Rejects before the bell. That did not end well. The cooperation between the heel teams inevitably broke down. The coolest spot of the match saw Hollis and Skyler simultaneously execute a tope and a slingshot spear on the Rejects. Berg hit a slice and dice leg drop on Rush for the win. Match had a bunch of entertaining moments. ICrowd reaction was spotty. I think less would have been more here.

(7) Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Jimmy Rave and Chris Hero and Anthony Henry in 29:11. Miller refused to shake Rave's hand due to residual bad blood from last year. All four being very cagey in the opening minutes. Lots of tagging out without touching the opponent. Henry and Hero jumped down off the apron forcing Rave to square off with Miller. There were no eliminations until almost 20 minutes into match. Everyone got multiple opportunities to shine. The striking was wicked stiff. It was 12 minutes into the match before Hero got the first two count with a knockout elbow. Rave popped the crowd with the apron STO on Hero. The crowd sensed they were seeing something special when Rave and Hero squared off. Miller did a spectacular plancha over the top rope that had the ringsiders on their feet chanting “SCI”. Maybe the biggest pop of the show. Everyone was getting killed with strikes with Hero and Henry doing the most damage. Henry destroyed all three opponents with running kicks while they were seated in chairs. Rave was hitting on all of his signature moves but couldn’t put anyone away. Miller blasted Rave with the CTE. When Miller went to cover, Rave caught him with the small package but Miller reversed it to eliminate the defending champion and avenge the loss from 2015. As Miller and Hero were trading blows, Henry nailed both of them with a missile dropkick. Henry gave Hero a tornado DDT, kicking Miller in the head in process. With Miller on the apron, Hero kicked him right in the face three times. Miller just shook his head and wouldn’t go down. A double kick from Hero and Henry finally knocked Miller to the floor. Henry cut off Hero’s roaring elbow with a superkick for a very close near fall. Henry tried for a flying huracanrana off the top. Hero caught Henry and planted him with a tombstone at 26:16. Hero nailed Miller with two KO elbows. Each time Miller managed to kick out but just barely. The crowd chanted “Hero” sensing victory was near. Miller countered a ripcord elbow smash with a german suplex. Hero popped right up and Miller speared him for a close near fall. Miller tried for the CTE and got hammered with a roaring elbow. Hero went for the kill shot and Miller blasted him with the CTE to win the tournament. This was a great match all the way around. One can only hope the final match of the tournament is the best match of the tournament. It was this year. The constant twists and turns had the crowd going nuts with multiple chants of “SCI” and “Scenic City”.

Riddle congratulated Miller on winning the Greg Hullender trophy…and issued a challenge. Hero went to one knee to shake Miller’s hand, then raised his hand. Promoter Josh Massey (fka Ace Rockwell) came to the ring to hug Miller.

NOTES: Massey announced that thanks to Coach Garland, the SCI had been invited back to East Hamilton next year…Hensley auctioned off poster signed by all 16 competitors for $200 to photographer Rob Brodhecker…Empire booker Andrew Alexander addressed the crowd during intermission. He put Matthews and his new t-shirt over and announced the return of Empire’s Crazy From the Heat summer spectacular on August 28 at 6pm at Rossville Rec Center…David Young, Adrian Armour, Murder One, Charles Zanders, Andrew Aries and David Pierce were in the house. Apologies to Shaggy, Chase Jordan, Eli Thompson and Gabe Walters for omitting them from the Friday night roll call of wrestling luminaries in attendance…Ken Wallace came out of semi-retirement to referee this tournament...Hero conducted a seminar Saturday afternoon before the show.

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