Corey Hollis won the Scenic City Rumble, earning a coveted slot in the Scenic City Invitational field and the right to pick his first round opponent.
But Hollis wasn’t the only one to make the grade for the 2018 SCI.
Kyle Matthews started first in the Rumble and went all the way to the apparent victory. Matthews had already been announced as the winner when Hollis came out of hiding to eliminate him. Tournament officials decided the circumstances warranted Matthews getting into the SCI as well.
Matthews had earlier announced that he would end his wrestling career at the SCI.
The other major news was the addition of a Sunday show to the SCI weekend. “Matinee at Memorial Auditorium” will take place at the 3000 seat venue in downtown Chattanooga with a 2 pm bell time.
The Rumble drew 225 at the Ooltewah High School Gym. The show was a fundraiser for the school’s athletic program. Attendance was hurt by the miserable driving weather as many Scenic City fans come from outside the local area.
Crowd reactions were muted for most of the evening -- big pops for select spots but no real sustained heat except for Joey Mercury’s heel turn. The finish of the Rumble did what it needed to do - develop an emotionally compelling story for the SCI.
(1) Drew Adler defeated NCW Heavyweight Champion, TWE Pure Champion and PWA No Limits Champion AC Mack in 8:05. Mack forced ring announcer/promoter Scott Hensley and the ref all three titles overhead while he introduced himself. Mack capitalized on a mistake and worked over Adler’s knee. Well-executed near falls by both men led into the finish. Adler fought off the Mack 10 to hit a jumping knee strike for the pin. Match was fine. Mack forced ring announcer/promoter Scott Hensley and the ref hold up all three titles.
(2) “Cabana Man” Dan defeated Matt Kenway in 5:44. A comedy match with the crowd supporting Dan and his flip flops no matter his tactics. The unplanned highlight was Dan taking a spectacular big bump to the floor. The crowd got the flip flop chop they had been waiting for. Dan then pinned Kenway after a flying flip flop kick to the face.
(3) SFCW Tag Team Champions The Approved (Adrian Hawkins & Bobby Moore) defeated Ike Cross & Jaden Newman in 9:25. A showcase of Cross’s athleticism and resiliency in the early going. Distraction by Hawkins set up the heat on Newman. A springboard ace crusher by Newman got a big pop. Cross was running wild with the hot tag when Newman made an ill-advised tag. Boom! Discus elbow by Moore and german suplex by Hawkins and Newman was done. Cross wasn’t too happy with him.
(4) Kyle Matthews defeated Joey Mercury in 13:35. Mercury wrestled in jean and Doc Martens. He started out as Mr. Nice Guy, made an ugly about face and administered a beating with Matthews taking all kinds of nasty bumps on the floor. Mercury got on the mic and said he didn’t know he would be wrestling at a Type II Diabetes convention. He demanded the fans get off their wallets and give him picture money during the intermission, ugly kids and internet marks included. Matthews fired up and blasted Mercury with a barrage of offense finishing with the Slurpee Kick. Mercury’s turn was a beauty and generated genuine heat.
Mercury chased Darryl Hall to the back with a chair after the match.
2017 Rumble winner Tank asked Matthews what number he wanted in the Rumble (Matthews earned the right to pick his spot by winning the scramble match at the 2017 SCI).
Matthews announced the SCI 2018 would be his last matches. He didn’t want be given anything, he wants to earn it by entering number one in the Rumble and he planned to end his career as the winner of the SCI.
(5) Anarchy Triple Crown Champion Gunner Miller defeated Matt Lynch in 8:52. Lynch showed a lot of heart but was hopelessly outgunned by the 2016 SCI Champion and 2017 Georgia Wrestler of the Year, who has developed the ring presence and polish to go with the physical skills that were always there. Lynch took the most brutal bumps of the night – a pair of overhead belly to belly suplexes over the ring barricade good for a “holy shit” chant. Miller took Lynch to suplex city and chopped the hell out of him with everything looking solid. Lynch escaped the jackhammer and got a near fall with a german suplex before going down to defeate via spear and jackhammer.
(6) Curt Stallion defeated Landmark Heritage Champion Billy Buck (with Kevin Blue & Chris Spectra) in 9:53. A hard hitting back and forth match with each man attempting to impose their style. Referee Dee Byers ejected Blue and Spectra for interfering. Buck dodged a killer headbutt and rolled Stallion up. Stallion reversed to a crossface. Buck raked the ref’s eyes so he didn’t see him tap. Two great false finishes- Buck with the Buckshot but Stallion got a foot on the ropes and Stallion with a Air Raid Crash style neckbreaker. Finish saw Buck have Stallion beating after a pair of piledriver when Stallion connected with a last gasp headbutt for a terrific finish They worked their asses off and ahd had the most competitive match of the night. It got a “that was awesome” chant .
(7) Corey Hollis won the 30 man Rumble in 36 minutes. It was Team TAG (Buck, Blue and Spectra) vs. Mathews, Cross and Jacob Ashworth as the final six and boiled down to Matthews against 2 on 1 odds. He nailed Blue (who also started first) with a slurpee kick to score the apparent final elimination. Crowd was celebrating heroic victory when Hollis reappeared to toss Mattjhews out. Hensley said Matthews would also receive a spot in the tournament due to the circumstances. Hollis went off. He knocked promoter Dylan Hales and Hensley down, kicked producer Rick Michaels in the groin, then ran away when he saw Matthews brandishing a chair.
Among the highlights/lowlights: a confrontation of butchers – Bill the Butcher and “Butcher” Bobby Hayes. Anybody foolish enough to get between them got tossed out. This continued long after both men were eliminated Ashworth to the point of diminishing return. Logan Creed did a suicide dive onto massive pile of guys to eliminate himself. It was a tremendous visual and completely stupid in the context of what was at stake. Hollis was joined by Brady Pierce, a victim of Hollis’ evil influence, to score a series of eliminations. David Ali got tossed out but landed on the back of Brad Cash and was able stay in the match. He probably wished he hadn’t, as he later took a fallaway slam over the top rope from Creed and nobody caught him. Creed eliminated a bunch of guys. He got the 400 pound Geter out all by himself. Mr. Sports Entertainment never even made it to the ring thanks to Pierce. Mack was the final competitor to enter and let his alligator mouth override his hummingbird rear end, being immediately eliminated by Buck’s superkick for one of the loudest pops of the match.
Order of entrance: Matthews, Blue, Hayes, Newman, Kavron Kanyon, Kenway, Lynch, Hawkins, Aiden Wright, Adam Priest, Ali, Butcher, Ace Haven (with Amy Haven), Cash, Ashworth, Hollis, Mr. Sports Entertainment, Pierce, Creed, Cabana Man Dan, O’Shay Edwards, Octavius Black, Geter, Mike Outlaw, Moore, Cross, Lamar Diggs, Spectra, Bret Ison and Mack.
Order of elimination: Priest, Kanyon, Wright, Kenway, Newman, Butcher, Hayes, Mr. Sports Entertainment (although technically never eliminated), Hawkins, Lynch, Haven, Cash, Cabana Man Dan, Ali, Pierce, Edwards, Black, Geter, Creed, Ison, Outlaw, Diggs, Mack, Ashworth, Spectra, Cross, Buck (via collision with Blue), Blue and Matthews.