My personal experience with going to wrestling shows is not vast and spanning many of the known big events or crazy weekends that people frequent, such as your WrestleMania weekends, G1 Specials, BOLAs and so on. Sure, I’ve been to a fair share of WWE shows, and even a PPV or two, but those shows are fairly impersonal as just being a spectator in a sea of people, sat up in the near-nosebleeds most of the time. Nothing to write home about, usually. That was really the extent of my experiences up until November of last year.
I’ve been aware of Beyond Wrestling for years now, but never had the chance to catch one of their shows live until they ran their first Worcester, MA show, ‘Insatiable’, in November. The show being about a ten minute walk from my girlfriend’s house made going a no-brainer, especially with a roster that it had, I had never seen guys like Chris Hero or Keith Lee in person before, so I had no questions about buying tickets immediately. My girlfriend is as just a big of fan of wrestling as I am, and our live show experiences were pretty much the same, so that first show was pretty mind-blowing. Standing around the ring as the matches went on, hanging out with the wrestlers who walked around the bar selling merch. We loved it, and we’ve been Beyond fans ever since, and we’ve become fans of so many wrestlers we weren’t aware of, from more local guys to bigger names on the independent scene.
Americanrana ’17 being in Worcester was just about perfect, the city we started attending in hosting the biggest show of the year was music to our ears, and the show was much more than I could have asked for. The match card itself was stacked full of crazy matches, every match was one that came with its own weight in high anticipation. The opener of the main show had Team PAWG (LuFisto & Jordynne Grace) against Doom Patrol (Jaka & Chris Dickinson), and the match just about blew the roof off the White Eagle Club. Four people who had been killing it in each show we attended (and obviously far past that over the years) had the crowd going crazier and crazier as it went on. What was shown within that match was palpable to the massive crowd that packed the building, and the speeches that Jaka and Dickinson delivered post-match, really set the scene for what would be a great night ahead of people who poured their heart and soul into this show.
The crowd was great, full of people who were pumped, cheering, and singing throughout the night to the wrestler’s themes, and giving each talent their attention and admiration. From the technical and flashy match-up of Brian Cage vs. Jonathan Gresham, to the outright absurdity of Chuck Taylor facing Swoggle in a TLC match that left everyone in stitches (and left the ring filled with broken tables and thumbtacks), everyone was a participant that night in making that show great, and I think that’s what I really loved about the night. How personal it felt, how different it was from a usual wrestling show, the camaraderie between wrestlers and fans and the love that was put into the show by all involved. Beloved Beyond guys like John Silver and JT Dunn tearing it up together in a match that had everyone biting on the near falls and getting super into it. Even if you were a stranger in the crowd, it didn’t matter, you could turn to the guy next to you and be like “yo holy shit” and have a good time with people you never talked to once before.
EYFBO vs. Lucha Brothers was the show stealer of the night, as you’d expect, the match absolutely ruled, and the atmosphere for it was nuts. You knew it was a big deal, EYFBO are favorites in Beyond, and they’ve had a meteoric rise recently since being featured on TV. The aura that Penta and Fenix bring to a match is insane, from their entrance until they walk out, it’s hard to match their kind of presence, but I’ll be damned if EYFBO didn’t do exactly that every step of the way. The atmosphere of the match carried over into the next match, Dijak vs. David Starr, which had a huge fight feeling to it, given Dijak’s imminent departure from the indies, and David Starr being the international ace, as well as being Mr. Americanrana himself, it was a perfect match-up, and it had all of us jumping at each big move that was hit, that match had the best nearfall seqence of the night that nearly made me go deaf from the people around me losing their shit. Starr gave Dijak a very beautiful farewell speech, heralding Dijak stepping up after guys like Biff left. The night was full of moments like that, the guys grabbing mics to deliver some heartfelt words to the crowd, words you could really feel as they echoed throughout the building, a lot of heart and soul being laid out for the crowd of hundreds.
The crowd being wild all night didn’t stop until the final bell rang, but there was some stunned silence and confusion during the Da Hit Squad vs. RPG Vice, as Monsta Mack and Trent seemed to genuinely want to murder each other, to near uncomfortable levels, genuine vitriol being spewd The whispers around me of “..what is going on? is Trent gonna die?” fueled the worried but cautiously excited atmosphere of the incredibly tense match. It turned out great in the end, but it was wild to see such genuine concern on so many’s faces. Riddle and Janela topped the card off with a great main event that saw Janela finally slaying the unstoppable Riddle, who had been tearing through Beyond’s best over the months, and claiming the title of Beyond’s ace.
From the opening bell, to the afterparty held at the same bar that my girlfriend and I started our Beyond attending, drinking the night away with newfound friends, it was a special night that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It was a special night, and I’m not sure special really covers how it all felt, it was made of moments, made of the love poured into the show by wrestlers and fans alike. I can only imagine this love will carry over to the rest of their shows, and we will be making damn sure to attend every one we can. Though we may be new, and though this was our first Americanrana, it felt like one that should be talked about, viewed, and appreciated as much as possible. Whether you were there yourself and know that feeling I’ve talked about, or whether you’re gonna tune into the VOD, it deserves the love. As sappy as this has been, trust me I know, this was special to me for many reasons that connect to my own personal life, and I’ve been appreciative to Beyond Wrestling since November 20th, 2016.