Beyond Wrestling Seven Years of Bad Luck on March 19, 2017
Watch: Beyond Demand
Electric Haze – Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Ace Romero & Brian Milonas vs. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz)
Delightful little opener here. EYFBO, giving up several hundred pounds to their opponents, know that if they let Romero and Milonas get a head of steam then they’ll be decimated by the big men. Therefore they try to outspeed and outmaneuver the hosses, with mixed results that are a joy to watch. Romero is one of my favorite guys on the indies today and he shines here with a pair of opponents who aren’t afraid to bump or throw hands. Milonas, too, rises to the occasion, working better at this fast pace than I would have guessed. Pinballing around the ring, EYFBO show off why they’re one of the better teams in the world right now, stringing together some eye-opening double team maneuvers for the win in this very enjoyable six minute match.
Chuck O’Neil vs. Dave Cole
Curiously, Chuck “Cold Steel” O’Neil has become one of the more hated villains in Beyond Wrestling over the last few months. He spends roughly 70% of this eight minute match beating down Cole with a variety of vaguely MMA-inspired submissions and typical indie offense, with the remaining 30% of the match being dedicated to berating the crowd that boos him relentlessly. It’s more aimless and unpolished than I’d like my wrestling to be, but it’s a fairly inoffensive match that doesn’t waste my time. Cole gets some momentum going late in the game, but he has no choice but to tap when O’Neil traps him in a flash cross armbreaker.
Alpha Sigma Sigma (Anthony Greene & Big Daddy Beluga) vs. Jordynne Grace & Chris Dickinson
Initially this was meant to be a tag team match between AΣΣ and PAWG, the team of Jordynne Grace and LuFisto, but a concussion forced the Canadian veteran out of action and Grace chose to forego this match alone. With her hard-hitting, athletic style, Grace does well to take it to the New England boys on her own, but eventually the numbers game catches up to her and AΣΣ even things up. Inexplicably, Chris Dickinson runs out to the ring and is tagged in by a confused Grace, one month after the Dirty Daddy tried to powerbomb her following his defeat at the hands of Jonathan Gresham, Grace’s boyfriend. Together they make quick work of their opponents and Grace picks up the victory with a Michinoku Driver. Solid stuff here. Grace is always great in the ring, and even with two opponents who do little more than gyrate their hips she’s able to create a match that I appreciate, and hey, those gyrating boys weren’t bad either.
Following the match, Grace tentatively embraces Dickinson, wary of his next move. Her suspicions are confirmed when Dickinson boots her in the midsection and attempts to Pazuzu Bomb her across the ring before he is thwarted by an incensed Jonathan Gresham. The two of them brawl and have to be separated by Dickinson’s long-time partner Jaka, who gets into his own scuffle with Gresham after Dickinson leaves.
Brandon Watts vs. Jaka
Before Gresham and Grace can even leave the ringside area, the recently-returned Brandon Watts hits the ring and attacks Jaka, leading to an impromptu match. It’s a fun bit of storytelling, because Jaka was on commentary for the previous match and was concerned as to what his booking would be for the night when Dickinson allied himself with Grace, as Dickinson and Jaka were initially meant to be teaming together later in the show. Beyond has started to incorporate this sort of thing a lot into their shows as of late, one match bleeding into another organically. I quite like it, as it keeps things fast-moving and fresh. Speaking of fast-moving: this match! Watts’ highflying and solid babyface selling mesh well with Jaka’s strike-heavy offense. Due to the pacing and repeated momentum swings, this match feels longer than its nine minute run time would suggest, though there’s little dead air here and Jaka hits four or five headbutts, so I’m happy. Eventually Jaka gets the three with a chokebomb in another solid, speedy, slightly-above-average match.
Matt Riddle vs. Matt Tremont – Barbed Wire Deathmatch:
File this match under “evidence that God exists”. Usually when a non-deathmatch wrestler dips their toes into the wild world of ultraviolence, they do so with a certain level of tentativeness and restraint, which often hampers the quality of the match. The best people (i.e. the most insane people) jump right into it with total abandon. Riddle came into this match closer to the latter than the former. Decked out in a sweet braid and his usual gear (meaning shorts and nothing else), he did not fear the barbed wire as many would. When the Bulldozer grinds a barbed wire bat into his forehead, Riddle doesn’t shy away from it, and later when he eats a death valley driver through a barbed wire board real hard, clearly feeling it, he kicks out instead of passively letting the match end. Tremont still takes the brunt of the damage here, this sort of match being his wheelhouse, but Riddle most certainly came to play and earns his stripes in this one. His perseverance pays off, as he picks up the win with a fisherman suplex off the second rope through a barbed wire contraption. With two big personalities, lots of enjoyable deathmatch action, and a clever spot revolving around Riddle’s lack of footwear, this match is quite a lot of fun and something I highly recommend.
After the match, Donovan Dijak attacks Riddle, looking to weaken his WrestleMania weekend opponent even more following this Pick Your Poison match in which Dijak chose to have Riddle face Tremont. Chuck O’Neil rushes out to save his friend and Mikey Webb, Dijak’s tag partner who is booked against Dijak later in the card in the other half of the Pick Your Poison stipulation, likewise comes out to even things up. When Webb tries to stop Dijak from attacking O’Neil, the massive Massachusetts native turns on his friend, grabbing him by the throat briefly before storming out of the ring.
JT Dunn vs. Rex Lawless
I’m hardly a JT Dunn fan, though usually my complaints about his matches don’t stray far from “eh, a pretty typical indie match”. That’s basically what we get here, though the charisma and the big man offense of the Pectoral Poseidon adds a little spice to an otherwise flavorless match. Still, keeping with the theme of the night, this was quick and far from overtly bad, so I can’t complain too much. Dunn put his opponent away with a rolling elbow to the back of the head.
Kikutaro, Colt Cabana, & Dick Justice vs. Massage NV (Dorian Graves & VSK) & Johnny Cockstrong
Look at these six names. You know what you’re getting in this match with those six names. If you like their usual efforts, then this match will probably leave you satisfied. If not, I’m sure you’ll hate it. It goes a bit long, at least in comparison to the matches that preceded it, but from Rich Palladino’s introductions to Dick Justice hitting the Boss Man Slam for the win, I found it to be a mostly enjoyable affair.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Freddie vs. John Silver vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams:
The winner of this match earns a spot on Caffeine, the Beyond Wrestling show on WrestleMania weekend.
One of the reasons I like Beyond so much is that they book guys I like, a few of them being some of my favorites in the world. I considered Jonathan Gresham to be the second best wrestler of 2016 if not better, with Silver somewhere in the teens and Williams and Freddie not terribly far from behind. Throwing all these talented workers at each other repeatedly is a good way to get me to watch your shows and rave about them. Unsurprisingly, what we get is a pretty good match, though a fairly straightforward one. Two matchups take us through the early stage of the bout, leading to everything breaking down into a four-way fray, highlighted by a killer missile dropkick from Freddie. Only eight minutes in or so, Chris Dickinson comes out to distract Gresham, which allows Silver to eliminate the Octopus with his goofy monkey flip Canadian Destroyer. Hot Sauce nearly puts Silver away with a crossface but instead finds himself on the wrong end of a great strike exchange and la magistral from Freddie, leaving us with two men left. The finishing stretch of this match is a little disappointing, being that it begins with some miscommunication and weak strikes before transitioning into a typical, lengthy bombfest, but it’s mostly enjoyable. Silver navigates that sort of clichéd finale well and aside from some early foibles Freddie does well to hold his own. In the end, Silver is able to trap the former 2CW star in a straight jacket crossface and force him to submit. Good stuff here, even if I find it to be more routine than most of the stuff I see these guys do.
Donovan Dijak vs. Mikey Webb
“Good friends, better enemies” matches are a simple formula: take two people who were formerly or currently are aligned and let them have an intense, hateful match. That’s what we get here. It’s not pretty on a technical level, but honestly, it’s not meant to be. It’s two guys with recent beef and a lot of pent-up aggression from time spent together working out their issues the only way they know how: by dropping each other on their heads. There’s a lot of that in this match, which also features a nutty DVD into the corner and the chokebreakeriest chokebreaker I’ve ever seen. It might not make total sense all the way through, but it’s sure as hell fun to watch. Dijak eventually connects with the Feast Your Eyes for his first singles win in Beyond since November.
Da Hit Squad (Mafia & Monsta Mack) vs. Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford)
Interestingly enough, this show is bookended by tag team matches in which a smaller, faster team takes on a team of lumbering hosses. While Janela and Ford are some of the craftiest players in the game at the moment, DHS are masters of their craft, nearly twenty year veterans who have damn near perfected the art of tossing smaller people around. They dominate the match, taking pleasure in their work, forcing Janelope to resort to drastic measures, including a dive off the ceiling beams. About three quarters of the way through the match, Ford attempts her second cartwheel handspring back elbow of the bout and gets caught with a spear from Maff as she’s upside down in the cartwheel. It’s a brutal move and she’s out for the rest of the match, leaving Janela to fend for himself. Their victory in hand, DHS sort of toy with him, but ever-resourceful, Janela baits Mack in and sends him exploding through a wooden door set up in the corner before hitting a double stomp with a chair on Maff for the upset victory.
BEYOND WRESTLING SEVEN YEARS OF BAD LUCK ON MARCH 19, 2017
Good - 7.5/10
All in all, I quite enjoyed this show. I’ve talked before about why I love Beyond and why I consider it one of the best promotions going in America right now. Most of it boils down to them doing things other promotions don’t, whether that means thinking outside of the box or avoiding common mistakes. In contrast to a lot of other shows on the indies right now, this entire event was fast and fun, with a slew of sub-10 minute matches that kept things moving and kept both the crowd and myself happy. I wish a few of those matches went longer, but it’s always best to err on the side of leaving people wanting more. What’s more, most of those matches were understated compared to their counterparts in PWG, EVOLVE, and AAW. I can understand if fans of those promotions were let down by these matches, but for me, they’re just right. Sprinkle in a standout bout like Riddle vs Tremont and you’ve got something well worth your $10 USD. And hey, Beyond Demand is free for the first 14 days, so what are you waiting for?