Sunday, August 5, 2018

Scenic City Invitational Night One Report from Soddy Daisy

From Larry Goodman:

The fourth annual Scenic City Invitational got underway in Chattanooga with the opening round matches. 

Truth be told, ths year's night one fell short of last year’s night one across the board.

Tournament organizers Scott Hensley and Dylan Hales had formidable challenges this time around. The originator of the tournament, Josh Massey decided to go to the sidelines. The evolution of independent wrestling has made it more difficult to book top flight competitors. Matt Riddle, last year’s winner and the most popular wrestler at the last two SCIs, and Anthony Henry, who has great matches in every SCI thus far, were unable to accept invitations due to EVOLVE commitments. In addition, 2016 tournament winner Gunner Miller and Georgia’s perennial Technical Wrestler of the Year, Kyle Matthews were forced to drop out of the tournament due to injuries.

Several of the matches were very good (Joey Lynch vs. Curt Stallion, Corey Hollis vs. Ike Cross and PCO vs. Cyrus the Destroyer). Stallion vs. Lynch came the closest to the magic of night one matches from the past like Jimmy Rave vs. Henry (2015), Chris Hero vs. Matthews (2016) or Shane Marx vs. Miller (2017).

Clearly, Matthews’ plan to end his career at the SCI would have been one of the major stories of the tournament. the semifinalist are Joey Lynch, rising hometown hero, another rendition of the insanity tha is Jake Parnell vs. Gary Jay, PCO as a sentimental favorite and technical wizard Fred Yehi. 

Attendance at the Soddy Daisy High School Gym was around 300, down from 500 last year .The ringside area was filled to the brim with hardcore SCI supporters. It was the local fans that failed to turn out appreciable numbers. The tournament, however, is in great shape financially due to the increased level of sponsorships.

Joey Lynch defeated Curt Stallion in 13:15. Dueling chants for two crowd favorites here. Chattanooga is Lynch’s hometown. Stallion has won the SCI faithful over with his gutsy tournament performances. He went to the finals last year. Grappling to open. Stallion started to show heelish tendencies. We got the first of many super stiff striking exchanges. Stallion got a sharpshoot applied but Lynch made the ropes. Lynch broke out a slingshot tornado DDT flowed into a falcon arrow. Lynch went for the front flip piledriver and Stallion countered with an Air Raid Crash across backbreaker. After a blitz of strikes. Lynch got a near fall with a TKO. Stallion was in shock when Lynch kicked out after getting nailed with one of his killer headbutts. Stallion called for the Stan Hanen lariat. Lynch didn’t let it happen. Lynch hit his vaunted moonsault and Stallion kicked out, bringing his fans to their feet. Both were down after a ridiculously stiff exchange of strikes. Stallion hit an avalanche half and half suplex and covered for the sure win but Lynch reversed it. An excellent match -- fast-paced, everything crisp and stiff and a great swerve finish. Nothing else got to this level for the rest of the night.

Postmatch- a great show of mutual respect between the competitors.

(2) Jake Parnell defeated Darius Lockhart in 10:10. Crowd was attentive but quiet with occasional “Warhorse” chants for Parnell. The striking did not compare well with match number one. Lockhart blocked Parnell’s half and half suplex and hit a cradle suplex for a near fall. Parnell then hit the half and half suplex and pinned Lockhart after a top rope double stomp to the back. Match was OK but never went into high gear. I found myself wishing Lockhart had been paired with strong technical wrestler.

(3) Corey Hollis defeated Ike Cross in 7:49.
Hollis did what he does so well these days – acts like a dick and get legit heat. He’s still wearing the patch over his eye from the finish of the I Quit match in May with John Skyler. Cross brought a halt to Hollis’ Zybysko stall and impressed with spectacular offense and incredible athleticism. Hollis sent Cross flying past the post straight to the floor. While SCI personnel rushed to ringside to check on Cross, Hollis got on the mic ordering the ref to count him out. Hollis continued to talk trash as he dished out a beating. For the finish: Cross speared Hollis, who tried to crawl out of the ring. Cross refused to let Hollis get away and went for another spear. Hollis pulled the ref in front on him. Cross put on the brakes and Hollis kicked him the groin for the 1-2-3.

Postmatch – crowd applauded Cross’ effort.

(4) PCO defeated Cyrus the Destroyer in 9 minutes. PCO was over huge. It was mind boggling to see PCO, 50, work a seriously physical match versus a 350 pound opponent. PCO got the monster up for a choke slam and thought he had the three count with a swanton bomb. PCO went for a discus lariat and Cyrus countered with an exploder suplex. Cyrus went for a Black Hole Slam but didn’t get all of it. PCO connected with a tope suicida. Cyrus reentered with a slingshot senton.Cyrus initated a slapfest. PCO popped the crowd with a release german suplex. Cyrus appeared to have it won with a Vader Bomb but PCO managed to roll a shoulder. At this point, Cyrus was bleeding from the forehead. Cyrus missed a diving headbutt. PCO used a superkick and a short DDT to set up a moonsault for the pin.

(5) AJ Gray defeated Too Cold Scorpio in 11:36.
I waxed nostalgic for Scorpio’s entrance. He came out to his original music and received a “whoop there it is” chant. The schtick in the opening minutes was entertaining. The wrestling not so much but his was foregiving crowd. Both were down after Scorpio missed a front flip leg drop. Gray kicked out Scorpio’s moonsault and pinned him with a frog splash.

Postmatch -- show of sportsmanship

(6) Gary Jay defeated Cain Justice via knockout and referee stoppage in 3:51. The hardcore fans popped huge for Jay’s intro. At the bell, Justice was all over him with a barrage of kicks. Justice came back with a trio of suicide dives. The striking was stiff here. Justice used a judo toss to set up a double wristlock. Jay reversed out of it and caught Justice with a knockout blow. The action was fine and the unexpected finish made it different.

(7) Fred Yehi defeated Mance Warner in 12:43.
A meandering match that didn’t flow or build. The most memorable moment saw Warner threaten to end Yehi’s life with a superplex into a steel coffin of chairs at ringside. Yehi countered by stuffing Warner’s arm inside the ringpost. Yehi pinned Warner with a powerbomb. I didn't get Warner. He isn’t anywhere close to being in Yehi’s league as a wrestler. Match left me wondering why they didn’t do Yehi vs. Lockhart.

(8) Gentleman’s Agreement with Referee’s Discretion Rules: Nick Gage defeated Kerry Awful in 7:53 To quote the English philosher Thomas Hobbes: nasty, brutish and short. Awful’s entrance included a squad of carnival characters and partner Iggy as his barker. Gage looks like a psychopath. The SCI hardcores were really up for this with chants of “MDK” and “666”. A whirlwind of violence ensued. Gage suplexed Awful into the bleachers. They did the deal where they sat down in chairs to trade blows. Awful cut it short by stomping Gage's foot and delivering a diving headbutt to the groin. Gage suplexed Awful into a row chairs. Awful took a chairshot to the head that fortunately could have been a lot worse. Back inside, Gage reversed Awful's piledriver.with a flatliner into a chokebreaker. Awful applied a figure four and tried to break Gage’s fingers. Gage won it with a second chokebreaker followed by a piledriver.

Night two has the semifinals: Hollis vs. Gage, PCO vs. Lynch, Parnell vs. Jay and Yehi vs. Gray and a four way finale, plus three other matches and the retirement of Kyle Matthews. There is also a Future Showcase Tournament at 2pm with O’Shay Edwards, Marko Stunt, Alan Angels, Kevin Ku, Josey Quinn, Jaden Newman, Austin Jordan, Sean Legacy and Mr. Brickster.

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