Saturday, August 5, 2017

Scenic City Invitational Night One Report from Ooltewah

From Larry Goodman:

Night One of the 3rd annual Scenic City Invitational was everything it was cracked up to be and more. 

Tank’s 21 year career came to an end and he went out in style, losing to Matt Riddle in his hometown in an excellent match to close out the first round of the tournament. 

It was an emotional night for Tank and the Chattanooga wrestling community. Love was in the air.

Each of the eight first round matches offered something different. The show built from beginning to end with several standout matches along the way. 

Over 500 paid at East Hamilton High School in Ooltewah, TN (just outside Chattanooga) with fans coming from as far away as Canada and Australia. That's double last year's first night attendance. Promoter Josh Massey partnered with the school again this year with proceeds going to benefit the school’s baseball program. Massey was ably assisted by Scott Hensley and Dylan Hales. 


(1) Joey Lynch pinned Matt Lynch in 7:54. Match was just OK by SCI standards. Matt was not at his best after completing a cross county drive, then getting his bell rung during the match. After a competitive brotherly opening, Matt pie-faced Joey and roughed him up on the outside. Crowd popped when Matt punched Joey in the face as he came through the ropes on a tope. A spinkick sparked Joey’s comeback. Matt blocked Joey’s Canadian Destroyer and hit a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Matt stayed one step ahead of Joey until he didn’t. Joey hit the Destroyer for the apparent pinfall. The bell rang but referee Triston Michaels signaled Matt got a shoulder up. Joey immediately hit a moonsault for the win.

Joey offered a handshake. Matt accepted. Crowd liked it. 

(2) Jason Kincaid pinned Torque in 8:25. This was a showcase for Kincaid’s uniquely innovative arsenal of offensive maneuvers. He was on a different level than Torque, who never looked like a legit threat to win. A few samples from the Kincaid highlight reel: headstand into an arm drag and nip up, ropes walk double jump arm drag, a double underhook suplex into a headscissors, and a powerslam into a double stomp. Kincaid ate Torque’s boots on an attempted double stomp launched from the ringpost. Torque’s offensive burst led to a slingshot sliced bread for a near fall. Torque got crotched up top and Kincaid finished him with a stunner from a Razor’s Edge position. 

Afterward -- show of respect and a huge Kincaid chant. 

(3) Arik Royal defeated Dominic Garrini in 6:58. Royal’s arrogant bad ass entrance got heat. Garrini brought a different dimension with his Jiu Jitsu credentials. He was added to the tournament when Martin Stone had to drop out due to a WWN schedule conflict. Garrini, who was giving away a ton of size, controlled the early going with grappling. Royal answered with his power game and trash talk. It was back and forth- Garrini working for submission and Royal trying to overpower the smaller man. In the end, Royal escaped Garrini’s triangle choke and hit a massive spear that sent Garrini airborne. I really enjoyed this match because it was so different. The contrast of styles worked. 

(4) Darby Allin defeated Joey Janela via pinfall in 11:09. Janela was really over with the ringsiders. They were chanting “please don’t die” at Allin before the bell even rang. Allin did this very cool outside-inside monkey flip complimented by a tremendous flying bump by Janela. Frustration set in early for Janela. He started tossing chairs into the ring. That did not end well for him. The action spilled to the outside. Janela seated Allin in a chair and hit him with a running kick to the face. Janela tried it again and Allin blasted him into the guard rail. Janela gave Allin a wicked hammerlock slam on the apron. Back inside, Allin gave Janela a monkey flip while he was seated in a chair and Janela landed still sitting in the chair. Amazing. Janela duct-taped Allin’s arms behind his back and Allin did a tope with his arms taped behind his back. It got the pop of the night but not for long. They brawled into the seating area with security guys getting knocked down along the way. Allin did a coffin drop off a 10 foot ledge onto Janela and a bunch of security guys. Sent them all sprawling and the building exploded with a “SCI” chant. A spot like that usually looks so staged but this one didn’t. Back inside the ring, Allin showed superhuman resiliency, kicking out of Janela’s cradle piledriver onto a chair. For the finish, Allin slammed Janela off the top onto to two chairs set up back-to-back. What a horrible bump to take. They turned a blind eye to the rules that applied to all the other tournament matches to insanely entertaining effect. These guys put on one hell of a show. 

(5) Curt Stallion pinned Jason Cade in 13:07. Stallion brought the intensity. Cade brought a shit eating grin and a nonchalant attitude. Cade got the upper hand by hiding behind the ref to throw Stallion off stride. Cade hung Stallion over the guard rail and hit flying ax kick to the back of his neck. Stallion was in a bad way. Cade worked over Stallion’s back. Stallion delivered a sick jumping headbutt as Cade was perched on the top rope and followed with a terrific superplex. Stallion turned on the jets. Stallion with a DDT and double stomp as Cade sat up. Cade with a reversal into a Tiger driver. Stallion back with an Air Raid Crash neckbreaker across the knee for a two count. Cade kicked the crap out of Stallion. Stallion got his knees up as Cade came off the top and shook the ropes Ultimate Warrior style. Cade kicked out of a powerbomb at one but Stallion’s heat seeking missile headbutt put him down for the 1-2-3. Good match that I expected Cade to win. Stallion proved that he belonged in the next round. His work ethic is beyond reproach. 

(6) Defending SCI Champion Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Shane Marx in 8:37. This may have been my favorite match on a night there were many candidates to choose from. Miller has never looked sharper in the ring. He’s always had the physical tools. Now he’s putting it all together- the timing, the body language, the heelish demeanor, the crispness of every move. Marx was the perfect opponent. For a guy that was an unknown to most of the crowd, Marx got over great as a babyface so the match had the heel/face dynamic going strong. Miller’s overhead suplex popped the crowd. A corner clothesline really took the wind out of Marx’s sails. Miller took to methodically grinding Marx down. A release german and vicious crossface foreams added to the misery. Marx said bring it. Marx fired up. Marx staggered Miller with a clothesline and put him on the canvas with a second, then hit a belly to belly suplex for a near fall. Miller came right back with a floatover DDT. They traded spinebusters. Both men down with the crowd chanting “SCI”. Miller ran into a superkick and dropped like a bad habit. Marx with a sense of urgency on his falcon arrow but Miller kicked out. Marx went for his DVD finisher. Miller escaped, hit the CTE (Pounce) and got the pin with his new finisher, the Jackhammer. 

(7) Anthony Henry defeated Gary Jay via submission 11:32. Jay had the contingent of AWE fans behind him. Henry acted like an asshole. They dodged a few strikes in the opening minute. That was about the only time. You had two of the hardest hitters around and they beat the living daylights out of each other. Jay did his wild and crazy tope. Jay seated Henry in a chair and circled the ring to deliver a chop. Henry powerbombed Jay on the rail (damn!) and circled the ring to build momentum for a wicked kick to the head. Henry tried it again and Jay upended him into the guardrail garnering another “SCI” chant. With Henry on the apron, Jay did a top rope double stomp from behind, driving Henry’s face into the apron. Back inside, Henry hit a pop up powerbomb and two variations of the neckbreaker. Jay did a double stomp to the back of the head set up by a rabbit forearm. Finally both were down after non-stop action to this point. Henry muscled Jay up for a Saito suplex. Double clothesline and both down again. Jay did a Michinoku Driver for a close near fall. Henry did a super back suplex. Jay’s top rope double stomp failed to connect. An incredible exchange of stiff strikes brought the ringside fans to their feet. Henry killed Jay with a spinning backfist. Jay kicked out at one. Henry locked in a submission and Jay tapped right away. Awesome finish. The pace of this match was unreal. Devastating move upon devastating move with not much selling in between. Crowd loved it. 

Postmatch -- uber show of mutual respect and a “Gary” chant. 

Ring announcer Hensley said this was Tank’s last weekend in pro wrestling after a 21 year career that included matches with the likes of Terry Gordy, Abdullah the Butcher, Gypsy Joe, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. 

(8) Matt Riddle defeated Tank via pinfall in 8:30. Tank’s entrance got the longest, loudest ovation of the night. Different scenario for Riddle this year compared to last when he was the darling of the tournament. The fans weren’t against him but Tank was their guy. The opening was off the chain. Tank hit the GTS and the chokebreaker and almost had Riddle pinned in the first 30 seconds. They battled outside the ring. Tank poked Riddle in the eyes to get control. Riddle hammered Tank for all he was worth. As Tank tried to reenter, Riddle’s springboard knee strike sent him back to the floor. Tank was back in at eight. Riddle nailed Tank with running forearms from every conceivable angle. Riddle tried to get Tank up for an exploder suplex and a gutwrench. Not gonna happen. Riddle resorted to a plethora of sentons to soften Tank up. Tank broke out of Riddle’s triangle choke and hit a cannonball. Riddle barely kicked out before the three count. Tank hit a spinning backfist and a Saito suplex. Riddle popped up. Riddle with rapid fire strikes but not doing much damage. Tank caught one of Riddle’s kicks and took a bite out of his bare foot. Riddle rocked Tank with a jumping knee strike but still couldn’t pick up the 350 pounder. Tank kicked out at one after a stiff kick to the head. Tank was taking blow after blow. Tank tried for the GTS but couldn’t get it. Riddle landed a kick to the back of the head and a flying knee strike for the pin. 

A huge “thank you Tank” chant erupted as soon as the match ended. Wrestlers filled the ring and applauded. Tank made the rounds hugging each and every one of them. A second and even louder “thank you” chant ensued. Tank took off his boots, kissed them, and left them in the ring as wrestlers surrounded the ring pounding the mat. Tank’s family joined him the ring. 

Tank will address the fans tonight. 

Tonight’s second round matches are Allin vs. Henry, Stallion vs. Royal, Miller vs. Riddle and Kincaid vs. Lynch. Plus non-tournament action: Corey Hollis vs. Garrini, Hierarchy (Murder One & Adrian Armour & O’Shay Edwards) vs. Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy & Tripp Cassidy), The Movement (Talon Williams & Chip Hazard) vs. Tim Hughes & Kongo and a scramble match with Tyson Dean, Bob Evans, Kevin Ku, Kyle Matthews, Drew Adler and Jay. 

NOTES: Georgia wrestling notable on hand for the occasion included Hollis, Dave Wills, Matt Hankins, Charles Anschutz, Dany Only, Brian Blaze, Darryl Hall, Matthews, Matt Hankins, Drew Delight, Rush, Awful, Iggy, Steve Daves, Andrew Alexander, Chris Crunkk, Joey Sparkz, Jessco Blue, Terry Lawler, Bane Lynch, Shaun Tempers and Bobby Hayes…Rick Michaels, Jacey North and Jay Clinton handled the production...DSCW promoter Woody Hullender ran the sound...The announce team was Dan Wilson, Brad Stutts and Cecil Scott.

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