Two weeks after WWE presented its 30th Royal Rumble, another high stakes battle royal comes to Tennessee this Saturday to raise money for Ooltewah High School.
The Scenic City Rumble brings together 30 of the top indie wrestlers in the Southeast, all battling for a spot in the prestigious Scenic City Invitational, an annual two-day tournament in August featuring talent from all over the United States. The event has attracted fans from as far away as Australia, and has raised $10,000 for East Hamilton High School.
“With the stuff that we do, we’re raising money for a good cause and we’re getting a platform to show the local guys and beyond some really great professional wrestling,” said Scott Hensley, co-promoter of the Scenic City Rumble. “It’s like being gifted a giant canvas to paint on, and then when we paint, it makes money for these completely unfunded programs.”
Hensley, a ring announcer and referee, has partnered with indie veteran Ace Rockwell to make their fantasy booking a reality, presenting the most intriguing matchups between the best talents along the East Coast. The Scenic City Rumble serves as a great melting pot of established names, rookies and competitors on the cusp of stardom. Kyle Matthews, a recipient of the Future Legend Award by the Cauliflower Alley Club, won a scramble on the second night of the Scenic City Invitational to earn whichever number he wants to enter the Rumble in.
Depending on when he enters, he’ll have to contend with former ROH Tag Team Champion Sal Rinauro, the nearly 7-foot tall Logan Creed, the agile monster Octavius Black, former Chattanooga football star Gunner Miller, and Corey Hollis, a well-traveled grappler who actually participated in Broken Matt Hardy’s Tag Team Apocalypto.
“We cater to two different audiences,” Hensley explained. “Something that’s an attraction to casual fans who don’t really know much about wrestling, and then we also make it something exciting that people will travel in to see. We tell stories that carry from event to event so there is a continuance for hardcore fans, but it also wraps up for casual fans.”
In other action on Saturday, Cabana Man Dan takes on the young whippersnapper known as “King” Bailey Blake. Having wrestled in CHIKARA and IWA Mid-South, Cabana Man Dan paved the road for Alabama wrestlers to expand their horizons, Hensley said. His Flip Flop Chop, one of the rare times a referee will allow a foreign object, has become a fan favorite. On the other hand, Blake has natural instincts in the ring to the point that veterans in the locker room believe he could make it to the big time.
And in one of the most anticipated bouts on the card, Joey Lynch was scheduled to face the biggest star Scenic City has ever had: former WWE Tag Team Champion Joey Mercury. “Mercury has always been a smaller guy who had scratch and claw his way to the top,” Hensley said. “Well, Lynch is the blue-collar Chattanooga guy, one of the smoothest and crispest guys you’ll ever see in the ring.”
However, Lynch suffered a leg injury and has been scratched from the match. His replacement: Kyle Matthews, who could make history by slaying Matthews and then going on to win the second Scenic City Rumble.
Scenic City Rumble takes place at Ooltewah High School in Ooltewah, Tennessee on Feb. 10.
For tickets and more information, message Dylan Hales on Twitter @DylanWaco.