Monday, August 7, 2017

A Winner Is BRO

Photo Credit: Dylan Hales
The third annual Scenic City Invitational came and passed this weekend, and from all reports, it was a veritable hoot. Southern Indie legend Tank made his farewell to wrestling, Kyle Matthews won the right to pick his spot for the Scenic City Rumble in spring '18, and much cheesecake was eaten by fans and wrestlers alike at the local haunts. However, the weekend belonged to the Altered BRO himself, Matthew Riddle. In his second SCI, Riddle took home the trophy, besting Tank, 2016 tournament winner Gunner Miller, Curt Stallion, Joey Lynch, and Anthony Henry to win, the last three in the final, four-way elimination match.

The big story isn't so much that Riddle won, because honestly, he's the biggest unsigned, non-New Japan wrestler right now. He deserves his rep too, because the next bad Riddle match I see will be the first. It's that the tournament seems to have arrived. The Scenic City Invitational is pretty much the platonic ideal of what an exhibition tourney should be. It featured hungry, local talent, up-and-coming guys, veterans, and big names from around the country. With Chris Hero's inclusion last year and all the festivities this year, the SCI feels like a fixture on the calendar, along with things like the Battle of Los Angeles, King of Trios, and the JT Lightning Invitational. The more corners of the country, the world that have signpost events, the better.

So while the SCI isn't necessarily attached to a promotion anymore since Empire seemingly has closed (even then, Empire wasn't exactly running the tournament, it's always been independent), that doesn't mean the wrestlers local to Chattanooga/Georgia go into stasis once the weekend's over. Southern Underground Pro Wrestling in Nashville, Anarchy Wrestling in Cornelia, GA, Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, and other promotions are booking these guys locally. EVOLVE seems to have a pipeline from the South for them nationally. Expand your horizons and check everywhere you can out, whether it's the South or even in your backyard. You never know where the next "it" region of wrestling is going to spring up. Hell, maybe you can be the evangelist that starts the buzz.