Sunday, August 6, 2017

Scenic City Invitational Night Two Report from Ooltewah

Photo courtesy of Corey Tatum
From Larry Goodman:

Matt Riddle is your 2017 SCI Champion, defeating Anthony Henry, Curt Stallion and Joey Lynch in a the four-way finale. 

All three of the SCI events have been fantastic. This was the best one yet. 

It came down to homegrown star Lynch and Riddle in the finals. Lynch was the breakout star of the 2016 tournament and that was no fluke. 

For Henry, it was close but no cigar again with stellar performance on both nights. Henry has been in all three SCIs. After having the match of tournament in year one (vs. Jimmy Rave), he has advanced to the finals the last two years. 

Just as Lynch was the breakout star from the 2016 tournament, Stallion was that guy this year. He killed it both nights, going toe-to-toe with Riddle in the finals.

Defending SCI Champion Gunner Miller proved that he has taken his game to another level. He was arguably in the two best matches of the weekend. His semifinal match with Riddle had fans and workers alike buzzing for the rest of the night. 

The pacing of both shows was a key ingredient to the greatness of this SCI weekend. All of this incredible action, and neither show went more than two and half hours. 

Attendance was more less the same as night one, around 500. The attendance pattern differed from previous years when the second night far outdrew the first. 

The event raised $10,000 for the East Hamilton baseball program. That amount will be matched by the Unum insurance company, which is based in Chattanooga. 


Pre-show:

(A) Corey Hollis pinned Dominic Garrini in 4:14. Garrini was the clear fan favorite. Hollis clipped the knee and worked it over. Garrini went for a triangle choke. Ref Triston Michaels got mixed up in it. Hollis kicked Garrini low behind the Michaels’ back to pick up the win. The crowd hated on Hollis. 

(B) The Movement (Talon Williams & Chip Hazard) defeated Tough Guys Inc. (Brutal Bob Evans & Tough Tim Hughes) in 8:10. Tough Guys dominated early with their wacky high energy schtick. Movement finally put some points on the board isolating Hughes. Hazard accidentally clobbered Williams. Evans cleaned house American Dream style. Hughes hit a rocket launcher senton and got shafted via outside interference. For the sort of fan that likes this kind of match, it was the kind of match that sort of fan likes. The finish was screwed up as the ref saw the cheating. 

Tough Guys punished referee Gary Greene severely after the match.

Tournament Semifinals:

(1)Matt Riddle defeated defending SCI Champion Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) in 5:19. The electric feel of this match was unrivaled during the SCI weekend, and something I have rarely experienced at an indy show. Riddle clocked Miller at the opening bell and locked in the Bromission with the building going crazy. Miller got to the ropes but was clearly in deep trouble. Riddle brought out the forearm attack, then an exploder suplex, then a running senton for a near fall. Miller got his knees up on a second senton to completely turn the momentum. Miller used a pair of overhead belly to belly suplexes to set up the CTE. Bullseye. Miller went for a jackhammer but Riddle countered with a guillotine choke. Miller managed to set Riddle on the top turnbuckle and hit a superplex. Miller hit the jackhammer and the “Bro” chant was deafening when Riddle kicked out. Riddle slid out to avoid getting speared. Back inside, Riddle went for a springboard move and Miller speared him in midair. Miller went for the Jackhammer again. Riddle fought it off and reversed into a tombstone piledriver to score the pinfall. Match was laid out to perfection. It was the most riveting five minutes of wrestling I’ve seen live in a long time. 

As much as they loved seeing Riddle win, the crowd chanted “Gunner” after the match out of respect and appreciation. 

(2) Curt Stallion defeated Arik Royal in 7:17. Royal didn’t wait for the bell. Crowd not liking him one bit. Stallion fired back with a stinging chop but Royal quickly knocked him on his ass. Royal crushed Stallion with a Thesz press variation off the apron. Stallion hit an insane backflip dive that flirted with disaster. Royal put his size advantage to good use with his power game. Crowd was 1000% behind Stallion, who fired back with chops and blasted Royal in the chin with a headbutt. Stallion popped up after taking an exploder suplex and hit a spinebuster slam. Head kicks and face washing ensued. Stallion pulled Royal up and immediately dropped him with a DDT. A stiff exchange left both men reeling. Another sick heabutt by Stallion. Moments later, Royal inexplicably went to the top rope with his back turned to the ring. Stallion followed and hit a super dragon suplex for a spectacular if illogical finish. Perhaps Stallion’s headbutts messed up Royal’s mind. A good match and big win for Stallion in any case. 

(3) Joey Lynch defeated Jason Kincaid in 8 minutes give or take. Handshake to start with the crowd support skewing heavily towards Lynch. Lynch off to a hot start with a release german into the turnbuckles and a moonsault for a two count. Lynch’s aggressiveness got the best of him, as he crashed into the guardrail when Kincaid dodged his tope. Kincaid unleashed some of his unorthodox arsenal of combination moves. Lynch saw Kincaid setting up for a coast-to-coast slingshot dropkick and bailed. Kincaid proceeded to hit the move with Lynch on the floor on the opposite side. Lynch did a Spanish Fly but was slow to cover and Kincaid got a foot on rope. Kincaid shook off a DDT and laid Lynch out for the double stomp off the ringpost. Lynch evaded the move, nailed Kincaid with a tornado kick and hit another moonsault for the win. Their styles meshed well. A more exciting and interesting match than either one of them had on night one. 

(4) Anthony Henry defeated Darby Allin via submission in 7:20. Allin almost had Henry early with a La Magistral cradle. Henry took exception and pie-faced him. Henry landed on his feet on Allin’s monkey flip. Allin did the same on Henry’s german suplex. Allin busted out a sweet double jump lucha arm drag. Henry double stomped Allin’s bad elbow and connected with punishing corner Yakuza kicks. Allin back at him with springboard rana, a Yoshi Tonic and a springboard crossbody, the latter two for near falls. Henry went for a cross armbreaker. Allin clasped his hand to block and broke free with a rare (for him) display of power. Allin tried for superplex. Henry escaped and went back to the cross armbreaker. Allin defended so Henry switched to the crossface and Allin tapped. After what these guys did in night one, I was hoping they would both come out of this match alive. Allin showed his versatility this weekend with wild brawling one night and wrestling skill the next.

Tank’s retirement ceremony was a beautiful thing. Promoter Josh Massey was joined in the ring by Andrew Alexander, Shaun Tempers, Dan Wilson, Bailey, Iceberg and Aaron “Muji” Grant. Massey said he first met Tank when he was 12 years old playing little league baseball. Tank was umpiring and threw a coach out of the game for complaining. Tank came out to a huge standing ovation. Tank thanked his father for introducing him to wrestling via Saturday night TV. He said Mr. Wrestling II and Masked Superstar made him want to become a wrestler and he was fortunate enough to thank them both in person during his career. Tank thanked trainer Richie Dye for toughening him up and Bobby Hayes for teaching him how to wrestle. He thanked promoters Doug Watkins (for giving him his first shot with TWA in Rossville), Bill Behrens (for making him who he really was) and Ian Rotten (for making him the death match guy). The main thing Tank was thankful for in wrestling was that it brought him was his wife, Kim, who he met at a wrestling show in Dalton. She has supported his wrestling career and ridden the roads with him for 15 years. As he has at each stop on his retirement tour, Tank asked the fans to support independent wrestling. The “Thank you Tank” chant went on forever. 

(5) Kyle Matthews defeated Tyson Dean and Drew Adler and Gary Jay and Kongo and Kevin Ku in scramble match in 5:52. Ku (formerly Kevin Park in PCW), Jay and Adler did dives, then everyone hit moves on the big guy Kongo. Matthews prevailed after a slurpee kick on Adler. Good stuff from all involved. By virtue of the win, Matthews qualifies for the 2018 SCI Rumble and gets to choose his entry number. 

(6) Hierarchy (Murder One & Adrian Armour & O’Shay Edwards) defeated Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy & Tripp Cassidy) in a streetfight at 10:52. Another chapter in the war that rages on in Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment. Fans in the know where backing Carnies. Edwards replaced Joe Black who replaced Iceberg, both out due to medical reasons. Carnies cleaned house early. Hierarchy escaped an impending triple Boston crab of doom. Carnies did a sequence of crazy ass barrel roll dives that proved diving is not their thing. Cassidy threw a fireball at Murder. Carnies did a forced Canadian Destroyer on Armour off the second rope but Murder pulled the ref out to save the pin. Hierarchy’s junior member Slade Porter interfered. Iggy chased Porter up into the balcony. Armour set up a steel coffin of chairs inside the ring. That did not end well for Armour as Awful put him through the coffin with a senton off the ropes. Iggy dove off a 12 foot balcony onto a mess of guys below for the holy shit moment of the night. In the midst of the chaos, Armour pinned Awful with feet on the ropes. The AWE brand of insanity brought a distinctly different flavor of action to the festivities. 

(7) Matt Riddle defeated Curt Stallion and Anthony Henry and Joey Lynch in an elimination match to win the 2017 Scenic City Invitational in 20:45. Lynch and Henry started. They went tit for tat with spinal taps and forearms. Both were down nursing their wounds when it was over. Riddle and Stallion squared off for in intense chopathon. Lynch and Henry back in. Henry decided he wanted to wrestle. Lynch ended that notion. Stallion and Henry took turns against Lynch, although not really working together. Riddle tagged in and started lighting Henry up with kicks. Ditto Stallion. The action between Stallion and Riddle spilled to ringside. Lynch popped the crowd with a dangerous moonsault off the top turnbuckle. Henry landed running head kicks on everyone before taking one of the craziest bumps of the weekend on Riddle’s capture suplex over the guardrail. Back inside, Lynch kicked out of Riddle’s GTS/german suplex combo and crowd got behind him huge. Henry returned with a vengeance, dominating the other three to the point I had a hunch he wasn’t taking the trophy home. Henry did a top rope double stomp on Riddle but Stallion broke up the pin. Henry was busy hitting a Vertebreaker on Lynch and didn’t see Stallion’s vicious headbutt coming. Stallion pinned Henry at 16:17. Riddle and Stallion brought the fighting spirit bigtime, beating each other silly with strikes. Riddle eliminated Stallion with a tombstone piledriver at 18:06. Fans were on their feet for Lynch and Riddle. Lynch kicked out the tombstone piledriver and hit a Canadian Destroyer. Riddle returned the favor. Both were down with the fans chanting “SCI”. Lynch reversed a second tombstone and Riddle kicked out. Lynch tried to end it with the moonsault. Riddle caught Lynch and planted him with another tombstone. The place was coming unglued when Lynch kicked out again. Riddle locked in the Bromission and it was lights out. The finale was awesome conclusion to an awesome tournament. 

Afterward – mutual respect.

Tank came to the ring and presented Riddle with the trophy. Not before threatening to hit him with it first.

NOTES: Georgia wrestling notables that either missed night one or I failed mention included Jimmy Feltcher (Pro Wrestling Freedom) Shane Noles (Peachstate), Gabe Walters, Ryan Vega, Jaden Newman, Bill the Butcher, Nina Monet, White Trash and Shaggy.


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