Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Scenic City Invitational 2018 Night 1 8/3/18

Curt Stallion vs. Joey Lynch

PAS: These are two of signature SCI guys, who haven't done a ton for me when I have seen them before. This was a solid US indy near fall, highspot match. Not a style I love, but it is a good type of match to start a show off with. I liked Stallion's in ring tope, stomps and top rope german suplex (although that move was so nasty that it was silly for Lynch to get the roll up after it hit. There were also too many variations of stuff for my taste, every regular move had a spin or ended on a knee. It had a nice pace though, and I never got bored, I imagine I will like other stuff much better.

ER: Yeah not my thing. That kind of get your shit in, GIF wrestling with improbable momentum shifts and a bad finish, with both men holding each other up with an embrace after it's all over. The more I see Lynch the more my thoughts are confirmed that he will have one match, exactly one match, and he will hit all of the dance step timing spots that he knows in that match. I liked a lot of Curt Stallion in this, thought he had some cool offense (that flying headbutt tope in the ring is a great spot) and is super smooth through potentially complicated sequences. But Lynch does little for me. Stallion felt like a guy with good ideas, stuck in a match with southern indy Kurt Angle. It's not like his stuff looks bad (although that thigh slap kneelift never gets quite high enough, and he overshot a moonsault that was supposed to be a dramatic moment of the match, and the fans kind of gave him credit for hitting it flush anyway), it's just that he has his stuff he's going to hit and he usually just opts to go to it. So Stallion will hit a nice DDT or big vertical suplex for a 2 count, and Lynch will just decide that he also wants to do a couple suplexes, so then stands up and does that. The Kurt Angle "my opponent is taking too much time selling" was strong. He also had that Kurt Angle "half ass the first part of this sequence to get to the good part", like when Angle would barely throw a clothesline that was supposed to miss because he was thinking about getting into position for the throw coming right after. Lynch does that a lot, barely hit one kick because he needs to be in position to spin around with another kick. He did hit a nice superkick down the stretch, and I loved how Stallion leaned cheek first into it, but man did I hate that finish. Stallion hits a big suplex off the top, Lynch takes it flush...then just rolls Stallion up with a crucifix. Man that's dumb. Stallion thought he had a good plan by hitting the biggest move of the match, but what he didn't realize is that big moves don't damage Lynch at all. Stallion should have scouted that.

Jake Parnell vs. Darius Lockhart

PAS: Darius is a guy I have liked a lot in CWF, and this is the first time I have seen Parnell. This was another solid opening round match. Lockhart opened the match flummoxing Parnell with WOS spots, including rolling Parnell up into a ball, and doing multiple somersaults to escape. Parnell took over with a double stomp off the apron to Lockhart's back and it proceeded into more of an indy juniors match. There were a couple of big shots I really liked, Parnell hit a really stiff crawling JYD headbutt and Darius landed a big straight right to Parnell's jaw, some of the other stuff didn't hit as cleanly. I liked some of Darius's wobbly leg selling too, especially right before the finish. Nice showing for both.

ER: I think this was a better version of the match before it, with really the only difference being the order of moves. I thought this one built much better and had a better finish (although that wouldn't have been difficult, just have the hurtiest looking move finish the match). I'd never seen Parnell and came away overall impressed. I liked this silly stooge elements like whiffing and hitting the match while trying to catch up to a somersaulting Lockhart, and liked his use of non-canon offense for a guy his size. He hits several hard splashes in a row, which isn't a move used a lot by non-fat guys (Cecil Scott says Parnell goes 195), but a splash in theory would hurt no matter the size of the guy doing it. It's still a body crashing onto a body. So I dug Parnell's aggressive falling splashes with a senton chaser. He also had a nice northern lights suplex, took a nasty hammerlock DDT, threw a great shotgun kick that ended with him kind of tied up in the ropes, went amusingly wobbly on a big stiff arm right cross from Lockhart, all nice stuff. Finish was indy fun and looked like a finish, with Lockhart getting absolutely dumped by a half nelson suplex (and then making the best of the planned spot, which needed him on his feet, and I thought Lockhart handled getting loopily to his feet well) and blitzed by an awesome burning lariat, finished off with a double stomp. This felt the right time, right pace, good match.

Corey Hollis vs. Ike Cross

PAS: This was really great. Hollis is a great sleazy veteran heel, kind of like a 2000s Tony Anthony, perfect guy to guide a green kid through a match Cross is a phenom, he is 6'3 or so, built like a NFL Free Safety, cut, and agile as shit. Match starts with a Cross explosion, he has this massive takedown, a great tope, and a crazy springboard spinning headbutt, he just launches off a springboard. Hollis takes over when he hurls Cross to the turrnbuckle and Cross flies out and lands on his head. We get some Hollis shit talking, and control, until Cross obliterates him with a spear. Cross misses a Superfly splash where he got more height then prime Snuka, and Hollis sneaks a low blow in for the win. Cross will be a big star somewhere, he seems about as can't miss an prospect as I can remember seeing. It almost felt like watching Sting for the first time.

ER: I was super excited to see Cross for the first time, and man oh man did he deliver. I don't ever remember being this excited by Sting. Phenom really does appear to be the best word to describe Cross, and I agree that he's as close to a can't miss wrestling prospect as you can get. Hollis was the absolute perfect opponent for him, the kind of guy who can stall and create space between all of Cross' best stuff, so the moves don't get all stacked up on themselves. Cross launches Hollis with one of the highest backdrops I've seen (really reaching that rarified Rick Rude/Todd Morton air), hits a super fast dive, hits a double leg that looked so strong that he probably could have ran around the building with him a couple times before slamming him, hits a springboard elbow that gets such height that it looked like he could have leapt across the entire ring. Hollis is great at slowing things down and expertly tosses Cross into the ringpost, and Cross takes an awesome painful bump into the post and then down to the floor, really made it look dangerous. Hollis knew how to play the match, focused on setting up big Cross spots, and made his own little things look good, like his pinpoint stomps. A dirtbag like him needs good looking stomps, those kind where he's holding the top rope while lacing into a guy's sternum. Finish was perfect for this match, as how do you stop a runaway train? You distract the ref and punch that train in the balls. Loved this.

Cyrus the Destroyer vs. PCO

PAS: Fun big boy battle, full of thumps and some pretty impressive agility by both guys. Cyrus's Eddie Guerrero flip senton which was totally nuts for a guy 400+ pounds, and PCO's moonsault looked awesome. I think the secret to an entertaining PCO match is the pace. If he works really slow you can see the seams, but if the pace is pushed it can be really entertaining. This was a quicker pace and was just as focused on big bombs as it was on highspots. Really what you wanted this match to be when it was signed.

ER: Not bad, but it kind of bums me out that I've been low vote on PCO since his comeback. I fully respect how he's reinvented himself and created this buzz, but I never seem to end up enjoying the matches as everyone else. This was fine, but if you had told the match was "big fat guy vs. old tough guy" without telling me the names, I'd be starting a 5 stars before the first guy made his entrance. Fat guys and old tough guys are my bread and butter, and I liked this, but didn't love it. PCO is kind of a stiff, doesn't always get into position for things very cleanly, sometimes just stands there with bulging eyes, but he also works plenty stiff and takes/does some crazy offense, so I clearly understand what the appeal is. I really liked Cyrus in last year's Anarchy WarGames, a big guy who has no problem taking a crazy bump, and I liked him here. And Phil is right about the pacing being important in a PCO match, he's someone who actually benefits from a go go go match, just keep moving him to the next set piece or explosion, and that's what they do here. I weirdly think the PCO thing I liked the most here was a kick he threw to a bent over Cyrus. Cyrus was in position to give a backdrop and PCO hit a great extra point kick right across Cyrus' chest and stomach, a really nice kick. I mean, a 50 year old cannonball and moonsault are obviously going to always look impressive, but there's something to be said about a kick that many wrestlers don't go all in on. Cyrus hit a bananas slingshot senton, and it sucks that with his size and that move, 20 years ago it probably would have at minimum got him Roadblock's spot on the WCW roster. Cyrus gets great welts and bruises on his forehead (from his nice headbutts? From stiff PCO shots?) and commits to missing a big IZU falling meteorite off the middle rope, all things I'm into. There were some things I thought didn't quite work, the two PCO chokeslam spots came off a little flat, but overall this was fine. PCO is seeming like someone who would come off better live than on tape. I'm optimistic though.

AJ Gray vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

PAS: Scorpio is basically wrestling's John Witherspoon at this point I expected him to ball up his fists and tell AJ Gray that "These is all you need to be a man.. You win some, you lose some... But you live to fight another day" I loved his Uncle at the cookout dance moves, and his real willingness to lay in bruising shots. He hit Gray with a jump kick that put a cleft in his chin. Gray seemed to hold back a bit at the beginning, but once he knew who he was in with, he let them go. There was some awkwardness in this match which kept it from being a real MOTY list contender, but it really felt like a battle and Scorpio still has a gorgeous moonsault and some real pepper in his blows.

ER: I laughed at Phil's uncle at a cookout line, because I was watching Scorp dance and immediately thought of Sam doing the Detroit Hustle on Detroiters. This match had some problems, but they were mostly cosmetic. Gray doesn't really get up to deliver a rana, they flub a powerbomb reversal spot (but recover well enough), Scorp damn near Picasso's Gray with a Tumbleweed that falls short, Gray kind of awkwardly hold up on a frog splash, things like that. They were all over the match, but it's one of those things where if you had them go out another night and work the exact same match, all that stuff likely hits fine. So I don't get too hung up on cosmetic stuff like that, because I really dug the actual bones of the match. They worked a slower pace strikes match, with flying peppered in, which is a nice combo that most guys couldn't pull off. You need some heft to pull it off, and these two have heft. I love all of Scorpio's kicks (especially those no nonsense yakuza kicks), and this was a rare instance of me not shutting my brain off during a standing exchange. This captured the vibe of what I imagine most wrestlers are trying to capture when doing stand and trade, and the key to it is simple but difficult, because it just has to naturally happen. One guy drills another guy and it's probably the hardest shot of the match up to that point, and the other guy gets that "oh that's where this is, huh?" and drills him back. The back and forth has some meaning, some heft. The elbow strikes landed hard, the kicks and misses were great, and I thought for sure Scorp's moonsault was it (how far across the ring did he opt to set that up!?). Gray had an awesome sell on that short Tumbleweed, but, there's a great chance he was just feeling that numb heat that happens when someone flips halfway across the ring and nearly lops your ear off. Obviously I'm pissed we got robbed of Scorp vs. Cain (or Scorp vs. basically anybody), but wouldn't mind these two running it back.

Cain Justice vs. Gary Jay

PAS: This was a short sprint with a great flash KO finish, that still left me a little bummed. Jay is a guy who works a hard hitter gimmick, with some really stiff chops and Justice is a CWF boss and my favorite young wrestler in the world. Match starts fast with Cain Jumping Jay at the bell, and never lets up. Jay hits a trio of tope's in a row, before torching his chop hand on the ringpost, we have some arm and hand work by Justice interspersed with some shots by Jay. Match comes to an abrupt end when Cain goes for a move off the ropes and gets caught with a driving right hand to jaw, which led to a quick ref stoppage. It was a cool finish and I liked a tourney match having that kind of unpredictable finish, but I can't help but being disappointed that Cain was out of the tourney in four minutes. He was the guy I was looking forward to the most, and hoped he would get a mini run in the tourney, or at least a showcase match.

ER: Well color me a tad disappointed. Let me say that I really, really, really liked the finish. Also, I really, really, really didn't want to see this finish in this match, when it happened. That's tough to reconcile. I think the ending might have been the best part of the match, and yet I also didn't want it to happen. It wasn't the best I've seen either guy: Jay had a few of those thigh slap moments where the shot doesn't actually land, so you end up with a thigh slap on a high lariat or a missed big boot, and while Cain bumped great for both (big flip bump on the lariat and a great staggering slow drop on the boot), it felt a little bit too much behind the curtain. I also thought Cain went to the "take a move, bob back up with glazed eyes sell" wayyyyy to often. He was doing that after almost every move which started to come off more comical than "I just took a big move". Cain jumping him to start was great, I thought Cain was throwing some of his best shots, and I loved Jay hitting the post leading to Cain doing some hand work. Finish was great, but yeah, too many guys I wanted to see opposite Cain, when I'm not sure there would be other opportunities for those match-ups.

Mance Warner vs. Fred Yehi

PAS: Yehi has had a hell of a year, leaving WWN, where he was getting a bit stale, and having cool matches with a different variety of folks. Warner is a fun brawler, kind of works a little like a more athletic Roughhouse Fargo. He has some really fun expressive punches and takes big bumps. Yehi is one of the most innovative wrestlers in the world, in a really cool way, and there is this awesome spot where he jams Warner's arm into the hollow top of the ringpost and mangles it with punches and yanking it back and forth. Totally something I have never seen before and a contender for spot of the year. Whole match had a great energy to it, and I really enjoyed the finish run with Warner faking an eyepoke and hitting a DDT, and Yehi hitting a great folding powerbomb. My favorite match of night one.

ER: I think this is the best Yehi has looked in 2018, and Yehi is a guy who looks great almost every time I see him. He was ruthless here, finding all sorts of cool ways to torture clear local favorite Warner. Everything Yehi threw out looked fantastic, and I fully agree that him shoving Warner's arm into the ringpost to tee off on the arm was amazing. The shots to the arm would have looked vicious without the help from the ringpost, but the post really added something special to the visual. Yehi's low dropkicks hit with a ton of force, his chops looked among best of the night, he had this nasty diagonal strike to Warner's neck, all brutal stuff. Warner has a nice way of tapping into the energy of the crowd, he gets a good local reaction the same way Chet Sterling does. I actually liked how he still used the hand and arm a few times, and Cecil Scott was excellent at pointing out that he's still using it by instinct, but it's not as effective. And Yehi was always there with a stomp to remind him, and he does all these great mean things like stopping short on a snapmare so it's just him yanking Warner's neck forward. Maybe the best thing about the SCI tournament up to this point has been the finishes. We have gotten a night of logical finishes without anybody taking anything stupid on an apron, everyone avoiding excess while treating appropriately big moves as big moves. Yehi running him into the turnbuckles, then hitting a folding powerbomb is a great example of this. He didn't need to spike Warner into the mat, he hit a hard snap powerbomb and then expertly folded the legs over to make it near impossible to kick out of. Simple, effective. There were finishes that could have come off cheap in the wrong hands (Hollis winning with a low blow, Jay winning with a punch) but these finishes have all felt nicely tailored to the wrestlers advancing.

Kerry Awful vs. Nick Gage

PAS: This was built up as a legendary brawler from outside coming in and taking on the craziest guy in the local town. I liked big parts of this, with Awful taking some big bumps, including a suplex on the bleachers and it had some real energy with the crowd brawling. I liked Awful just putting Gage's arm on a chair and stomping on it. I do wish the shots had landed with some more steam. Necro Butcher brawls always had hard punches in between the bumps and stunts, I though Awful's shots had a lot of windup and not much follow though.

ER: The things we've both said about PCO probably being a guy who plays much better live can likely be said even more about Nick Gage. I match up pretty exactly with Phil on this one, as we get several great moments and a nice concise finish, but some of the meat and potatoes of the brawl portion felt lacking. He's totally right about Awful having great body movement and windup, but were lacking that weight, never feeling like they were landing with the expected thud that the delivery promised. He's kind of like an inverted Dirty Daddy. Daddy shots always look and sound like he's killing a guy, he has these great chops and elbows, but he doesn't have a lot of flash before the landing. Awful has all the movement down, but falls short on the landing. I'm someone who has watched more Jerry Lawler than I can remember, and while I'm still regularly amazed at how great he can make every punch look, after getting used to how precise the landing is on the punches you start noticing all the other things he's doing with his body to give his punches style. You could practice for a year to get your worked punches to come in fast and land soft, but there's so many other working parts: you need to figure out what your non-punching arm is doing, you need to figure out your footwork, you need to get your head movement down, you need to properly recoil your body after a punch lands, etc. Awful has all of the other things, but doesn't really have the connection of the strike. It's kind of like how hard Lance Storm tried to work his chairshots in ECW. He was a guy who never wanted to stiff someone and certainly didn't want to brain someone with a chair, so he worked on the windup and actual physical delivery of the chairshot, and then would hold up on the landing. It would get roundly booed by the deviants who wanted nothing more than full force shots to the frontal lobe, but I always saw and liked what he was going for. Awful takes a few really great bumps here, getting backdropped into the bleachers and eating a suplex through a couple of chairs, Gage gets run into the ringpost with a chair around his neck, gets his arm jammed into a chair and stomped on, all that stuff worked great. The brawling really didn't work for me. The finish was a heck of an exclamation point, with Gage just drilling him with a stuffed piledriver to put an instant end to things.

PAS: Fun first night, nothing mindblowing, but I liked how this show had a real variety of wrestlers, old crazy guys, monsters, mat workers. A lot of indy tournaments just have a list of pimped indy workers all doing 2.9 wrestling, this had a real appetizer sampler feel which I enjoyed.


ER: I had a great time with Night 1. They kept things simple and quick, and each of the guys involved stood out in their own way. That's pretty special. We've all sat through enough marathon 4 hour indy shows, and I think it's incredibly refreshing to see that both nights of SCI total 4 hours. It keeps things fresh and moving, keeps the crowd alert, and shows that guys can still do some absolutely crazy things without doing absolutely stupid things. A nice, welcoming and fun night of wrestling, with Cross/Hollis and Yehi/Warner being quality additions to our 2018 Ongoing MOTY List. Night 2 review coming soon.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home