Friday, September 18, 2015

The First Four Names for the Ted Petty Invitational Look Pretty Good

Heidi Lovelace is one of the first four wrestlers announced for the TPI
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The Ted Petty Invitational Tournament, held by IWA Mid-South, is one of the oldest, most prestigious, and most infamous slates in independent wrestling. While historically it has been one of the best star-making vehicles out there, won by such luminaries as AJ Styles, Mike Quackenbush, and Matt Sydal, it also has not been run since 2008. Every year it's been announced since 2009, it has been cancelled. However, the promotion seems to be running its shows as scheduled, so this year's slate may just happen. Traditionally, the tournament has contained 24 wrestlers ending in a three-way match in the finals, but this year, that number is halved. Anyway, the first four competitors announced are pretty slick.

The first name announced is former IWA Mid-South Champion and certified HOSS Kongo Kong. Kong has one tournament under his belt, the Scenic City Invitational, but IWA Mid-South is more his home turf. He should be considered a favorite to win. The second name is another homebody but one who has been well-traveled during her short career so far. Heidi Lovelace will populate her home base of Indiana to attempt to become the first woman to win the tournament. She'll bring back experience from her travels in SHIMMER, STARDOM, and of course, Chikara.

The third name is the doozy. Timothy Thatcher, the current head of the #grapplefuck gang, will make his IWA Mid-South debut in the tournament. Thatcher started out as an English expat in Northern California whose grappling prowess allowed him first to move south to Hollywood, and then east for Beyond Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, and EVOLVE. The fourth name is another wrestler who is not a stranger to IWA Mid-South and who also has world travels under his belt. Jonathan Gresham will compete in this year's tournament as well.

Four names have been announced, and eight more are on the docket. I expect some native IWA Mid-South guys to get the nod like Hy-Zaya, Champion Shane Mercer, and Reed Bentley, but it'll be interesting to see what guests get brought in as well. The TPI has always had a healthy dose of the big names around the indie scene coming in. With King of Trios, the SCI, the X-16, and of course, Battle of Los Angeles all blowing the scene up this year, the TPI is going to have tough acts to follow, but these first four names portend a good future for the slate, if it indeed happens.