Daniel Makabe returns to the Scenic City Invitational as the tournament came back following a year off…

Quick Results
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: AC Mack pinned Big Beef in 9:26 (***)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Jon Davis pinned Logan Creed in 13:14 (***)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Daniel Garcia defeated Graham Bell via referee stoppage in 15:33 (****)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Jeremy Wyatt pinned Cabana Man Dan in 16:56 (***¼)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Alex Kane pinned 1 Called Manders in 11:32 (***½)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Arik Royal pinned Derek Neal in 13:11 (***½)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Jaden Newman submitted Brett Ison in 8:26 (***)
Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 – First Round: Daniel Makabe pinned Adam Priest in 14:53 (****¼)

The Scenic City Invitational has been running since 2015, and traditionally has been a mix of guys who are established on the scene along with those who you’d expect to be moving up imminently. It’s no different this year, as the tournament returns from a covid-enforced year off – with Daniel Makabe also returning looking to make it back-to-back SCI wins.

This one’s from the TWE Arena in Red Bank, Tennessee… Dylan Hales and John Mosely are on commentary.

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: AC Mack vs. Big Beef
Mack was a finalist last time around, but he’s got a tough opponent in the touted Big Beef.

Beef strikes first, taking Mack into the corner for some boot chokes, before a big dropkick dumped Mack for just a one-count. Mack’s roll-up surprises Beef for a two-count, but the big man’s back with a shoulder block… before a hip attack from Beef proved successful as Mack had blocked a Saito suplex.

Mack begins to evade Beef, but struggled to take him down with clotheslines before an elbow and a leg lariat finally did it. A charge from Mack sees him bounce off of Beef’s knee, before he was met with some more ahead of a splash into the corner. The Saito suplex followed for a two-count, with a regular suplex getting another two-count, before Beef crashed and burned to the outside as he went for a crossbody to Mack in the ropes. Beef climbs back onto the apron, but Mack meets him with right hands, only for Beef to fold Mack in half with a powerbomb for a near-fall.

Another missed splash from Beef sees him eat the buckles, before a diving leg lariat from Mack crashes into the big man. From there, Mack caught Beef with a Mack 10, and even though the landing wasn’t great, it was enough for Mack to get the win as he seemed to exit with a bothersome leg injury. An enjoyable sprint to get the tournament underway, but Mack took way more damage than he’d have wanted. ***

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Jon Davis vs. Logan Creed

Both men come out swinging as Creed and Davis went in the corner, but for the most part those early strikes didn’t connect. A side headlock restrains Creed, who pushes off… but a shoulder block had little effect. Second time had a little more luck, before the stakes were raised with boots and kicks. Creed misses a charge into the corner, but heads up top for some headscissors, which Davis returned in kind ahead of a lucha-roll for a near-fall. The pair begin to trade chops, then kicks, before Creed took out Davis’ knee for a push-down stomp that nearly won it.

Davis gets taken to the corner for some throat thrusts, but Creed misses a splash as Davis returns in with a boot and a Saito suplex to take Creed to the outside. Joining him outside, Davis throws some chops, only to get caught with a chokeslam onto the edge of the ring as Creed rolled him back in for a second chokeslam that gets a near-fall. The pair continue to trade strikes as Davis pulled ahead, then pulled up Creed for Three Seconds Around The World as the rack bomb almost won it. A Michinoku driver in response gets Creed a two-count, before Davis escaped Scorched Earth… and threw Creed into the corner.

A plancha from Davis wipes out Creed on the outside, before a trip back inside saw Creed boot Davis on the top rope. Creed teases an Exploder, but instead lands a fallaway slam off the top, before Davis returned with a pop-up powerbomb, a German suplex. Creed returns with a chokebreaker, but Davis shrugs it off and lands a lariat to win. This was a bit of a slugfest, with the two big lads breaking out some flying amid the heavy hitting, but it’s Davis who edged out to get into the next round. ***

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Daniel Garcia vs. Graham Bell
Garcia’s had a busy week, debuting on Dynamite on Wednesday – and will be challenging for the IWTV title on Sunday… can he add “win the SCI” to that before he heads to New Jersey?

After firing his bazooka during his entrance, Bell’s taken to the mat by Garcia to start, as the pair looked to feel each other out early on. Bell throws some chops before he Biel’d Garcia into the corner… but that follow up kick just enraged “Red Death”, who resumed the chops. A kick takes Garcia down ahead of a knee drop for a two-count, as did a back elbow, but Garcia was quickly up after that strike. A big kick nearly cut through Garcia, as did another, before a neckbreaker drew a one-count on Garcia. Ground and pound followed as Bell looked for a cross armbar, before he dragged Garcia into the ropes. Fighting back Garcia throws elbows to take Bell into the corner, but more kicks from Bell lead to a rear naked choke from Garcia. Those end in the corner as Bell threw some more chops, then the Violence Party of chops and forearms ahead of a hip attack and a cannonball for good measure.

Except Garcia caught the cannonball and rolled Bell into a guillotine. He clings on and turned into a rear naked choke, but Bell backs into the corner, then climbed the ropes to fall back onto Garcia to finally break it up. Shrugging it off, Garcia scoots back towards Bell, charging in with knees before Bell pushed away a piledriver attempt. Garcia fakes out a strike and kicks Bell in the leg en route to a leg lace, but Bell rolls to the ropes for the break. Another guillotine from Garcia’s countered into the Hand Grenade (a Bloody Cross), but Garcia’s up at two as some more kicks take us past the ten-minute mark. A second Hand Grenade’s blocked as Garcia countered with a Sharpshooter, but Bell’s able to counter with an inside cradle for a near-fall in the ropes.

Chops reset things, as the crowd were eating this up, but an enziguiri from Bell seems to stop things… only for Garcia to get back up and eat a spear. Bell heads up top, but gets crotched by Garcia, who joins him up top for some elbows ahead of a goddamn spider German suplex! Garcia can’t free himself quickly enough as Bell’s back with a cannonball, then a F5 before going up top for an elbow drop for a near-fall. A Tiger Driver from Bell’s next, then another blistering kick, but Garcia’s up at one! Kawada-ish kicks follow, before Garcia swiped away an enziguiri and piledrove Bell… who hung on and grabbed a Stretch Muffler out of nowhere. Garcia breaks in the ropes, before he countered Bell’s re-application and tied up Bell’s arms and legs, stretching all of them in one go as the referee waved this one off. This was a lovely little style clash – with Garcia’s technical stylings not being undone by Bell’s big hits. A heck of a performance from Bell, but in the end this was a definitive win for Red Death. ****

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Jeremy Wyatt vs. Cabana Man Dan
Some had pegged Dan as one of the tournament favourites, but Wyatt’s coming in as a long-time holder of the Gateway Heritage Championship, having recently stormed past the 1,000 day mark with the belt.

Wyatt grounds Dan early as he looked to frustrate him with an armbar. Dan gets pulled up by the arm, then landed in the ropes as Wyatt made it clear what he was gunning for throughout the match. A crucifix from Dan gets him a quick two-count, before a hiptoss nearly dumped Wyatt on his dome. Dan throws in some pinning attempts before he chopped Wyatt in the ropes, following up with a spinning heel kick, only to get blistered with some chops. Wyatt’s hiptoss is blocked as Dan rolled through in for a seatbelt pin, before another armdrag grounded Wyatt once more. A clothesline takes Wyatt to the outside, with headscissors following on the floor.

Back on the apron, Dan looked for a springboard DDT, but instead took a Dragon screw in the ropes, before a neckbreaker hit for a near-fall as Wyatt started to take control. Wyatt tries a Regal Stretch, then rolled Dan over for a pinning attempt as he then looked for a piledriver… but Dan escapes and hits a knee, only to get brought back down with a side Russian legsweep. Wyatt capitalises on Dan’s bare feet, snapping the toes, before another drop toe hold led to Wyatt working away on Dan’s knee and toes. All he needs to do next is the head and shoulders and he’ll have done the kid’s song. Dualling leglocks follow, but Wyatt edges ahead, only for his knee breaker to get countered as Dan switched into a crossbody.

An enziguiri followed, but Sliced Bread gets blocked as Wyatt picks the leg and rolled Dan into a Figure Four. Dan tries to punch out of the hold, but eventually rolls it before grabbing the rope to break it. Having broken free, Wyatt heads outside and tries to pull Dan out with him, before failing in bids to chop block the knee away. Cabana Man Dan’s headbutt leaves both men down, but Wyatt’s able to pull him onto the apron… only for Dan to hit a springboard DDT back in. A STO’s next for a near-fall, but Wyatt quickly finds a way back in with a high angle half crab… but Dan’s able to break in the ropes. Dan tries to follow up, booting Wyat from the apron ahead of a slingshot Code Red, but it’s not enough, as Dan then went for a Sliced Bread… it’s blocked, as the pair trade roll-ups, until Wyatt kicked away a backslide and put away Dan with the piledriver. A disappointing exit for Dan, whose limbs were targeted from the off as Wyatt’s long game paid off. ***¼

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Alex Kane vs. 1 Called Manders
I feel this one comes close to being a Hoss Fight… but there’ll be a man throwing a lot of suplexes here!

We’re swinging early as Manders caught Kane with a chop, before the shoulder tackles led to yet more chops as Kane took Manders into the corner. Manders looked to hit a slam, but Kane escaped and hit suplex number one in the form of a German. A second one – a belly-to-belly – followed, before Kane missed a splash on the apro. Manders capitalises with chops before he threw a bin over Kane’s head, which somehow isn’t a DQ… so Kane chucks it right back at him! Manders lawn-darts Kane into the wall, before he cleared the front row and threw Kane into the crowd. Back inside, Manders measures up for a flying shoulder tackle off the middle rope, but Kane kicks out, only to get caught in an Exploder. Wait, does that take away Kane’s suplex counter?

Kane throws an Exploder of his own as the pair trade throws, leaving both men on the proverbial jelly legs. They trade JYD-ish headbutts on their knees as the pair fought back to their feet, slapping the tar out of each other as they went, before some Dusty punches from Manders ended with Kane clotheslines. Kane throws a ripcord Angle slam in next for a near-fall, but Manders is right back with a folding powerbomb for a two-count of his own. A lariat’s next, but Kane still kicks out as we’re back to the strikes. Chops send clouds of sweat into the air, as Kane looked to set up for the Mark of Kane… it’s blocked, as Manders came back with an Oklahoma Stampede for a near-fall.

Manders slams Kane, then went up top for a moonsault, but Kane rolled away and returned with a spear, before an X-Plex and the Mark of Kane landed for the win. A lovely sprint of a match as both men swung for the fences – with Kane outlasting the cowboy Manders to book his place in the semis. ***½

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Arik Royal vs. Derek Neal
A battle of the ACTION and New South champions, both men brought their gold to the dance here…

Royal seemingly was on the fan’s side here, as we started with the pair locking up and rolling into the ropes, with no clear advantage gained. We wash, rinse, and repeat, with the pair locking up, going through the ropes and to the floor as they headed around ringside in the tie-up, then rolled back in, still locked-up…

Breaking free, Neal stings Royal with a chop, but Arik throws several back in return, taking Neal to the corner ahead of a big back body drop! Heading outside, Royal hits a seated senton to Neal on the floor, before the pair clobbered each other around the front row. Neal misses a chop, and cracks the ring post as Royal took advantage, but a bell clapper back in the ring has Neal back on top, as he booted Royal into the corner. Punches out of a headlock keep Royal on the back foot, while a suplex followed for a quick two-count as Neal continued to push ahead, striking Royal into the corner.

Royal returns those shots, then turned up the speed to catch out Neal with an O’Connor roll out of the corner, only for Neal to kick out and land a lariat in return. A kneedrop’s next for a two-count, as Royal again fought back, but gets met with backdrop suplex as Neal almost took the win. Neal takes things into the corner from there, then hit another knee drop as Royal was dropped, but Royal’s able to withstand things and return with some rapid-fire uppercuts that took down Neal. Neal rakes the eyes and came back with a sleeperhold, but got backed into the corner. Royal chucks Neal across the ring with a suplex, then an Exploder, before a Bossman Backbreaker nearly got the win. Royal measures up Neal for the Kobe, but Neal sidestepped before he battered Arik with a knee… but it’s still not enough!

From there, Neal tries to haul up Royal for a suplex, but Arik punches free, then sidestepped a Neal dropkick before landing the Kobe for the win. A good hoss fight here, with both champions showing their strengths, but in the end it was Royal who squeaked past this keenly-fought match. ***½

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Jaden Newman vs. Brett Ison
Newman looks jarring without the full goatee…

He jumps Ison before the bell, hitting a tope and a Sasuke special, knowing he’d have to strike while the iron was hot. Ison sweeps the leg as Newman went for a PK on the apron, and now the bell goes with Ison dropkicking Newman through the corner. A kick from Newman’s shrugged off, as Ison headbutted Newman into the corner, then chopped him as Jaden kept trying to fight back. Chops in return just sees Brett punch out his opponent, with a snapmare and a low dropkick following for a two-count. Ison goes for a slam, but Newman comes back with a flip cravat neckbreaker, only for Ison to kick him in the bad arm, forcing Jaden to powder outside. Back inside, Newman manages to hit a swinging DDT, then a dropkick into the corner… another follows, before Ison spun him to the mat with a diving boot.

Ison and Newman trade chops and punches as they get back to their feet, but it’s Ison who pulls ahead with a deadlift backdrop driver. A knee waffles Newman after that, but a lateral press only gets a two-count as Ison looked to be getting irritated. Newman comes back with elbows, then hooked his way into a trapped-arm backcracker for a near-fall. Getting back to their feet, Ison dumps Newman with a backfist… but it’s still not enough as Newman ends up returning with a drop toe hold and a Hangman’s Clutch for the surprise submission. Having only seen Newman as an annoying/chickenshit heel in ACTION, this was a nice surprise – seeing him outlast the heavy hitter Ison, and making him submit to boot. A feather in Newman’s cap as he made it through to night two. ***

Scenic City Invitational Tournament 2021 First Round: Adam Priest vs. Daniel Makabe
One wrinkle I missed from Priest’s return in ACTION, is that he’s apparently claiming to have a steel plate in his arm. Full on 1993 Lex Luger!

It was a Whitecaps day for Makabe, who started with a handshake as Priest went for a headlock, and around the back to swap positions, only for Makabe to tease going for the injured arm as Priest quickly backs off. A takedown from Makabe’s kicked away as Priest again backed into the ropes, before some bodyscissors from Makabe and an inside cradle led to some pinning attempts. From the kick-out, Makabe tries for a double armbar, but Priest rolled him up for a two-count before they went to the ropes. Makabe returns with a side headlock, but he’s pushed off… and came back with a shoulder block before Priest tripped him up… but Makabe grabs an arm triangle on the apron and pulled the Danielson as the ref admonished him.

Chops follow on the outside, as Priest gave as good as he got, but Makabe was wearing out the most recent HOSS tournament winner before they went back to the ring. Priest’s caught with another roll through, but Makabe instead ties up Priest for a deathlock’d STF that quickly ended in the ropes. Makabe tees up for a Big Unit punch, but Priest ducks and pulls Makabe by his neon shirt into the turnbuckle, before an enziguiri sent Makabe crashing head-first through the ropes and into the wall. That opened things up for Priest to fight back, targeting the neck of Makabe with uppercuts, before an overhead chinbar stretches Makabe on the mat.

Priest lets go of the hold to land a snap suplex, before Priest then tried to tie up Makabe in an abdominal stretch. Elbows to the neck, then a cravat-assisted legsweep have Makabe down for a near-fall, before Makabe took things back to the corner for some chops and uppercuts of his own. An elbow waffles Priest as Makabe again went for a Big Unit, but got met with a knee breaker as Priest countered back with a Figure Four in the middle of the ring. Makabe’s able to make it to the ropes, but gets whipped into the corner by Priest, who then wrapped Makabe’s arm around the ropes for extra torque. Makabe’s almost hobbling into the corner from another Irish whip, before he reversed anther as a corner dropkick caught Priest by surprise… with a backdrop suplex following to buy some time.

Back to their feet, Makabe lands some armdrags before he wangled his way in for an Octopus stretch… Priest slips free, but ends up eating the Big Unit punch for a delayed two-count as Makabe’s leg was starting to bother him. From there, Makabe rolls Priest into a Makabe Lock, but the bridge breaks as Priest rolled back for a pinning attempt… so Makabe just stings him in the corner with more chops. Heading up top, Makabe stings Priest again ahead of a top rope ‘rana… but Priest pushes him away and flew himself with an Alabama Jam! Makabe kicks out at two after that flying legdrop, then caught Priest with a Dragon screw… an enziguiri offered as response, as did a German suplex, before Priest’s search for another German suplex ended with Makabe hitting one of his own.

Priest swings and misses on a clothesline as Makabe hits a bridging German for a near-fall… then kept close to Priest as he looked for another Makabe Lock. Priest maneuvers around to unsight the referee, so he could mule kick Makabe, but the resulting cover gets a near-fall as Makabe grabbed an arm and barred it, before repositioning himself to roll Priest over for the match-winning pin. I absolutely ADORED this match – Priest coming in with the arm injury gave Makabe the obvious target, but Priest’s bag of tricks kept him in it until the bitter end. A worthy main event. ****¼

Post-match, ring announcer Scott Hensley hit the ring to reveal the matches for night two’s semi-finals. We’ll have Daniel Garcia vs. Jaden Newman, AC Mack vs. Jeremy Wyatt, Jon Davis vs. Alex Kane… which means… Arik Royal vs. Daniel Makabe as those guys went three years waiting for their match, only to get it twice in the same year! Royal hits the ring after the announcement for a staredown to close the show out with. Bring on night two!

I’ve missed watching tournament weekenders like this – while not every name in the SCI field may be familiar to a lot of fans of independent wrestling, the sheer variety on offer here made this a cracker of an opening night in the tournament. Something for everyone on offer, with nothing going long? I think that might be a winning formula for indie shows…