Guest Column: 2017 SCI Tournament Preview

This was written by Glorious Gabby who is doing some behind the scene work with SCI along with other promotions. Please give her a follow on twitter at

On August 4 and 5, Chattanooga, TN will be a hotbed of good wrestling and unique matchups as the Scenic City Invitational returns to East Hamilton High School. The phrase “third time’s the charm” comes to mind when thinking about the Scenic City Invitational, but even that doesn’t seem to quite appreciate how good it has been since its inception.

The Scenic City Invitational looks to be continuing its tradition of pairing local talent with international stars and up-and-coming talent from across the United States. The two-night event will feature 16 competitors feeding into semi-finals, and then a four-way elimination match to determine the winner.

Here are the first round match-ups:
• Matt Lynch vs. Joey Lynch
• Torque vs. Jason Kincaid
• Dominic Garrini vs. Arik Royal
• Curt Stallion vs. Jason Cade
• Anthony Henry vs. Gary Jay
• Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela
• Shane Marx vs. Gunner Miller
• Matt Riddle vs. Tank

Looking at the field for this year, the first thing that stands out is the stacked field of first-time participants. Martin Stone, known to WWE fans as Danny Burch from his matches in the United Kingdom Tournament, is taking the indie wrestling scene by storm with his hard-hitting style and natural charisma. There’s a reason he’s being booked everywhere. Curt Stallion is having a breakout year between his Glory Pro matches with the likes of Kyle O’Reily and the aforementioned Stone and his performance in the Ring of Honor Top Prospect Tournament. He is, for lack of a better word, a delight to watch. He engages the crowd and wrestles like it’s easy.

Fellow first-timer Jason Cade has been having a great 2017 so far, making a name for himself with fun matches in WrestleCircus, PWG and WrestleCon. Cade is full of personality, and pairing him with Stallion bodes well for the crowd. Jason Kincaid enters the SCI after being the first ever Crown of Glory Champion at Glory Pro and making a name for himself in EVOLVE with his unique, zen-like charisma and swift aerial style in the ring. He’s a fantastic character who moves like a pixie and hits like an ogre. Arik Royal, known for his work in CWF Mid-Atlantic, had to win a match to earn his spot in SCI.

Joey Janela’s year speaks for itself (for the love of God, his “spring break” show Mania week was the talk of wrestling twitter), and Midwest wrestling legend Gary Jay is on a hot streak of very good matches. Janela is a crazy good entertainer whose ring resume gets better and better every time he performs. And Jay is an absolutely stunning performer who deserves to be seen everywhere. Torque is currently building a resume of great matches in the Georgia scene. Shane Marx has a fantastic presence in the ring, and looks to make a splash with a first-round match against last year’s SCI winner.

Matt Lynch faces his brother and tag partner Joey Lynch in the first round. Joey is a SCI veteran, having made it past the first round last year and has the potential to finally break the finals this year. His brother shouldn’t be counted out either by any means. Jujitsu purple belt and certified badass Dominic Garrini has the potential to go very far in the tournament. Anthony Henry got so close to SCI glory last year, and as he continues to cement 2017 as a banner year for his career, he might not have to deal with a repeat loss in the finals.

Matt Riddle needs no introduction, as the current WWN and former Progress Atlas Champion’s resume of classic matches continues to grow and grow and grow and grow. In 2017 alone, he has faced the likes of Michael Elgin, Tomohiro Ishii and Keith Lee. He photobombed NXT: Takeover. He made it to the semifinals at last year’s SCI and presented the trophy to the victor. He’s a natural contender for a win, but he faces a massive challenge in the first round: Tank, a southern pro-wrestling legend and veteran of the business currently on a retirement tour. The winner of the 2017 Scenic City Rumble, Tank got to choose his first opponent, and he pulled no punches in selecting Riddle.

And, of course, last year’s victor, “The People’s Captain” Gunner Miller, looks to be a two-time victor. The 26-year-old former football player took the SCI by storm in 2016, eliminating Chris Hero (oh no!) and Jimmy Rave in the final match. He’s a phenomenal talent who took advantage of the boost given by the SCI victory, and another win would certainly make a statement. And judging by the man’s Twitter, he does not intend to go quietly into the good night.

The event will also feature a street fight between AWE’s Hierarchy and the Carnies and a tag match between The Movement and Tim Hughes and Kongo. The second night of the event will have a five-man scramble with Tyson Dean, Drew Adler, Bob Evans, Kevin Ku and Kyle Matthews to earn an alternate spot in the SCI and choose their entry number for the 2018 SCI.

Southern wrestling has a long and storied history and the indie scene is bursting with young and hungry talent. The Scenic City Invitational gives a spotlight to deserving talent and brings big names to the South while also giving performers from other areas a chance to be seen elsewhere.

Tickets for SCI can be purchased by contacting Dylan Hales on Twitter. SCI’s FanFest will take place on August 3-5 and feature a wide variety of activities, including karaoke, promo contests and a panel featuring Tank. More information can be found on their official Twitter: @SCITournament.

Also listen to our podcast preview with Dylan Hales below

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