Into the Indies 08.03.10: Beyond Wrestling
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Into the Indies, the column that could say “We Did It for the Hits” if we ever got any.
This week, we’re going to take a look at Beyond Wrestling. Formed in 2009, the company based out of Northern Ohio is attempting to take a slightly different twist on professional wrestling. Rather than promoting live shows and attempting to make money off of the fans who might buy tickets or merchandise at those shows, the company runs what are essentially closed DVD tapings, with the matches occurring in a remote location before a room full of the other members of the Beyond Wrestling roster. Essentially, this video clip explains what the men involved in the promotion think its goal is:
The promotion also has a fairly strong internet presence, with regularly updated pages on Facebook (where all the latest information on the promotion is located), MySpace (where I would guess very few people actually visit anymore), YouTube (where new matches are uploaded weekly), and Twitter (where things are said concisely). Full matches from the company’s tapings are regularly made available through YouTube and similar streaming video services, followed up by DVD releases of the entire taping. The DVDs are available in two formats, the first being a standard DVD-R from Smart Mark Video and the second being a “bootleg” version available through the promotion’s Facebook page. The only difference between the two versions is the packaging, as the Smart Mark release comes with a case, cover art, and disc art, while the bootleg release is just a straight DVD-R mailed in a paper sleeve.
This week, we’re going to be taking a look at the most recent DVD release from Beyond Wrestling, entitled “We Did It for the Hits.” Recorded in January 2010, the show appears to have been taped in a large garage. Let’s just say that I’ve never quite seen so much exposed plywood during the course of a wrestling show. True to form, there are no fans, just a sea of independent professional wrestlers surrounding the ring seated on a makeshift array of beat-up recliners, camping chairs, and coolers. As far as production of the DVD itself is concerned, it looks no different than a lot of the early CHIKARA DVD releases, and we also have commentary (which is optional thanks to a DVD bonus feature) from a chap named “Denver Colorado” and a random assortment of wrestlers from throughout the card. All in all, from a production standpoint, it’s pretty clearly an indy wrestling DVD, but it’s perfectly acceptable in comparison to the vast majortiy of other indy DVDs that have been placed on the market over the years.
With that being said, let’s first show you the official trailer for the event and then move on to the show itself.
Match Numero Uno: The VanCougars (Scott Henson & Yakuza Jay) vs. Team Beyond (Chase Burnett & Zane Silver)
And we open up with tag team action. According to the commentary, Henson and Jay are trainees of ECCW, which is probably one of the longest-running independent groups in North America, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. I have to note their wacky ring gear, which consists of tiger-striped pants complete with tails hanging off of them. No similar background is given on Team Beyond, but Chase Burnett is one of the wrestlers helping to provide commentary on this DVD release, so that and the name of the team leads me to believe that he’s got some stake in this company.
Team Beyond misses some kicks early on but land stereo ranas before hitting a QUADRUPLE KNEE STRIKE on one of their opponents in the corner. The same guy eats a Silver King style dropkick and a tope from one of the Beyond wrestlers, followed up by a senton atomico out of the ring that connects with one of the Cougars as he lays on the apron. Back on the inside, a Cougar sends Burnett flying with a big kick, and then it’s a variation on the 3D on Zane Silver. The Cougars run through Zane with a double shoulderblock, and Yakuza Jay follows it up with a bridging vertical suplex for two. The big man’s backbreaker connects, but Zane reverses a second attempt into a cradle and looks for a leg lariat. Jay catches him in midair, though, dropping his man with a variation on the death valley driver. Scotty Henson checks in for a strike combination by the Cougars capped off by Henson’s lungblower for two. Henson runs into a boot, however, and before long Silver has hit a lucha-style armdrag off the ropes and transitions it into a crucifix-style pin attempt. A blue thunder driver from Henson cuts off the little bugger’s momentum, though, and here’s a tag to Yakuza Jay. He and Silver trade slaps, with the smaller wrestler surprisingly winning and hitting a kick to the head . . . only to walk straight into a lariat. Zane makes an attempt at the hot tag after giving Jay a rana that sends his head into the turnbuckles, but Henson runs in to cut it off. The Cougars attempt some kind of wacky double team powerbomb thing, but it’s also turned into a rana, and here comes Burnett at long last. Team Beyond does a unique spot in which Burnett essentially does a victory roll on Henson but instead of going into the pin feeds him into a codebreaker by Silver.
Things have broken down into a pier six brawl at this point, and the Beyonders dispatch Henson before focusing on Jay. Then, in an INSANE spot, Silver and Burnett both climb to the top rope at the same time, standing one behind the other on the turnbuckle, jumping off with what they refer to as a “piggyback senton” on Yakuza. It doesn’t put him away, and, before long, Henson checks in with a lariat to take Burnett out while Silver and Jay trade kicks. Burnett recovers and gets fed into a rana attempt by a Silver hiptoss, but Henson is there to give Burnett a lungblower before the rana can connect. The VanCougars position Silver on the top rope at this point, and Henson brings him off with an avalanche-style Island Driver to earn the three count.
Match Thoughts: None of the four wrestlers here seemed to be particularly experienced, but they all did have their own strengths even at this early point in their careers. Jay and Henson were both larger men by independent standards, with builds reminiscent of Samoa Joe circa 2003. They were doing a fine job of wrestling like the bigger men in the match as well, dominating their opponents with power moves that all appeared to be competently executed. On the other side of the ring, Silver and Burnett were doing a fine job of innovating, coming up with several unique double team spots the likes of which I hadn’t really seen before, including their quadruple knee strike in the opening, the victory roll-into-a-codebreaker, and the piggyback senton. Not everything was executed as crisply as it might have been by more experienced wrestlers and the match didn’t have a lot of structure, but it was worth checking out if you’re somebody who wants to see some developing “big man” wrestlers or rather unique tag team maneuvers.
Match Numero Dos: Pitboss vs. Johnny Mangue
This would be the battle of the two men with the best physiques on the show. Pitboss in particular has the kind of body that would make him fit in as one of the smaller guys in a national wrestling promotion. He’s not quite got the level of experience that would let him fit in there, though, as the commentary team tells us that he’s still within his first ten professional wrestling matches. Mangue, meanwhile, is referring to himself as the “Smooth Savage,” a reference to the fact that he’s an islander in wrestling but not an islander doing the stereotypical barefoot wild man gimmick.
The Pitboss has the early advantage until he attempts to slam Mangue’s head into the turnbuckles. Mangue no-sells it, presumably because he’s Samoan and that’s what Samoans do in professional wrestling, and goes to work with chops and a leg lariat for two. Johnny follows it up with a jumping neckbreaker and a diving headbutt for another nearfall, but Pitboss comes back by blocking an Irish whip and hitting a vertical suplex. A KILLER lariat is next from the Boss, but his opponent kicks out of it at two. Up next, PB drapes his man across the ring apron and drops a leg down on his neck, again getting a two count. Mangue starts to fire back with chops and a superkick, and he steals the big Bossman spot where he lays his opponent out across the ropes and does a baseball slide out to the floor before hitting a punch. The difference is that Mangue’s version culminates in a kick to the head instead of a right hand. The islander’s next trick is his own version of Rob Van Dam’s rolling thunder, though it wraps up with a headbutt and not a senton. PB finds himself locked into a cloverleaf for a bit, but he grabs the ropes. The Boss escapes and rallies again, this time with fists, and he manages to catch his opponent with a big boot for two. Mangue responds with a Stinger splash and an overhead belly-to-belly, but they won’t put Pit away. Boss gets in another clothesline and a standing spinebuster for his next two count. Another wacky kick from Mangue connects, and now he goes to the top rope. PB gives him the Flair beal out of there and, seconds later, catches the man with a fisherman’s suplex in order to score the victory.
Match Thoughts: This was a shorter match, but it was a surprisingly good shorter match. If the Pitboss truly was within his first ten matches, he was WORLDS better than a lot of guys who I have seen wrestling with similar levels of experience. He didn’t seem out of place at all and kept up with Mangue perfectly. Mangue, meanwhile, was probably the most polished looking wrestler on the entire show. Everything he did was very smooth, and, more importantly, he knew when to do it in order to keep the match moving. He also, like a lot of guys on the card, exhibited some unique offense, though his was more in the way of small twists on traditional wrestling spots than it was reinventing the wheel. Mangue is a guy that I could see fitting in perfectly in the middle or lower end of cards for a PWG or a CHIKARA, and hopefully he gets the opportunity to make that transition relatively soon.
Match Numero Tres: “Nasty” Russ Myers vs. Jonah Block
These two I don’t have much backstory on. Block is apparently a bit of an artist, as he is credited with drawing the Beyond Wrestling logo (featuring a luchadore in outer space) which graces the front of the company’s official t-shirt. Myers, meanwhile, looks like a slightly cleaner version of a homeless man. I’ve seen his name pop up from time to time in results from the Ohio-based Hybrid Wrestling, but that’s about all I’ve got him.
In perhaps the highlight of the DVD thusfar, the referee checks Nasty Russ’ large beard for weapons before the match begin. For reasons that I’m not entirely clear on, all of the wrestlers who have gathered around ringside throw trash at Block as soon as he comes through the entranceway. I should note that Jonah is TINY, with the back of his neck essentially being level with the top rope. When we get to the wrestling, it’s Block who controls early with a variety of cradles and a lucha style armdrag off of the top rope. He misses a palm strike, however, allowing Nasty Russ to clothesline him in the back of the head to take over. Russ’ next trick is a series of atomic drops, followed by lifting his opponent up as if for another drop but throwing him ass-first into the top turnbuckle. And by throwing, I mean THROWING. Forearm trading is now the order of the day, and Jonah catches his man with a German, following with a dropkick and a lariat. Block calls for a palm strike, but Meyers avoids it and tags his man with a double kneelift before winding up and hitting . . . the TRAPEZIUS NERVE HOLD~! He follows that up with a piledriver and a moonsault, but the latter move hits nothing aside from Block’s knees. Jonah takes the advantage and looks for a tornado DDT, but Russ blocks it (no pun intended). Jonah manages to immediately recover and hit a DVD, followed by some fists and an STO-style backbreaker. A delayed kick to the side of the head gets a nearfall for the diminutive Block, when, out of nowhere, Nasty Russ catches his man with a backdrop suplex. Unfortunately for Russ, he’s caught with a big kick to the junk when he tries to leap off the second rope, giving Block an opportunity to hit the palm strike and then an elevated DDT similar to Prince Devitt’s Bloody Sunday. That gets him the victory.
Match Thoughts: Thumbs in the middle for this one. All of the individual moves were well-executed, but I wasn’t entirely sure what (if anything) the wrestlers were trying to build around the moves. Block in particular was doing some bits during the match where he looked like he was attempting to adopt this sneering, smarmy heel character. Then, at other points, he would break with that and wrestle like any tiny indy underdog. Not a bad match, especially considering the level of the promotion, but it was a step down from the first two bouts.
Match Numero Cuatro: Hailey Hatred vs. Johnny Cockstrong
Though it’s not often you get to say this about the token woman on an indy wrestling show, Hailey Hatred is probably the most well-traveled of the performers on the card, as she has been all across the midwest and northeast in addition to getting a few shots in Japan with the Pro Wrestling WAVE promotion run by long-time joshi puro wrestler GAMI. Her opponent, Johnny Cockstrong, does a weird gimmick in which 90% of his offense focuses on coming up with new and creative ways to hit opponents with his penis. I feel like I say this a lot in this column, but I’m going to have to say it one more time: I’m not making that up.
We head to the mat early on, with Hailey working a headlock and then an armbar. Johnny manages to get in some reversals, but it’s always the woman who comes out on top. She has a very impressive spot in which she reverses a double chickenwing into a pinning combination and floats over into a front facelock. Once the mat wrestling ends, the comedy begins, as Johnny does a front flip into what I guess we can call a “cock smash.” Yes, he flings himself crotch-first into Ms. Hatred’s general direction, and she sells it like she has been hurt by colliding with his junk. He hits another version of the same move with Hailey hanging in the Tree of Joey Lawrence and a third version when reversing a sunset flip attempt. Hailey mounts a comeback with a brainbuster and a SNUG forearm to the face, followed up by a jumping knee smash in the corner and a tornado DDT attempt. Johnny throws her off and hits a shining wizard version of his dick strike to set up a submission hold that is basically an STF without the facelock. Hatred easily makes the ropes, and this leads into a wacky spot in which Hailey is placed in a seated position on the second rope and Johnny does a flip into the ring which drives her down to the mat and, not surprisingly, drives his crotch into her face. A variation on the Stinger splash puts the crotch in Hailey’s face once more, though this time she is able to respond with two beautiful looking backdrop suplexes, the second of which leads to a bridge and a two count. Cockstrong barely sells it and pulls Hailey up for an air raid crash, but the woman rolls back slightly and turns the move into a piledriver. That looked sick and would have been the finish if I had my druthers, but Johnny somehow kicks out at two. A flying version of the crotch shot gets another two for Johnny, and now he tries to steal the Danshoku Driver of all things. Hailey reverses and places Cockstrong on the top rope for a superplex. Johnny blocks, and a SECOND ROPE Danshoku Driver connects and gives the win to the man with the golden johnson.
Match Thoughts: When she was the focus of the match, Hailey Hatred was probably a close second to Johnny Mangue in terms of the wrestlers who looked polished and ready for a higher level of professional wrestling. However, she wasn’t the focus of the match that much. The bulk of the bout focused on Johnny’s nether-regions. I could see the Cockstrong gimmick getting other on a cult level among certain people, but I personally thought that it was a little bit too much. It might have worked better if the blows to the face with his johnson weren’t constant . . . I’m thinking that it would suffice to have perhaps two or three versions of that move over the course of a ten or so minute bout and a perhaps a variety of other offense designed to set up teases of the crotch shot. In addition to keeping the gimmick from getting played out as quickly, it would give the crowd something to anticipate and potentially react to a little bit better.
Match Numero Cinco: The VanCougars (Scott Henson & Yakuza Jay) vs. The Garden State Gods (Corvis Fear & Myke Quest)
The VanCougars, our friends from the first match, are back, and this time they’re joined by the Garden State Gods of Corvis Fear and Myke Quest. As the name of their team implies, they hail from the great state of New Jersey, and they are perhaps the most experienced competitors on the entire show. Fear in particular is portrayed as being a ten year veteran of independent wrestling, and both he and Quest are probably most noteworthy for their work in Jersey All Pro Wrestling. In fact, when I was writing for this website five years ago, I reviewed a quick Corvis Fear match from JAPW. (Though I don’t think I’ve seen him since.)
Corvis Fear and Yakuza Jay kick it off, with the two men trading chops until Jay hits a very early German suplex and tags out to Henson. Scotty connects with a flipping senton and joins up with Jay as the two Cougars simultaneously stand on Fear’s back. That’s one way to get things out of alignment very quickly. The Canadians control with some fairly basic tag team offense for a little while, but suddenly Corvis sees an opening and sneaks over to his corner, where Myke Quest gets the blind tag. The Gods hit some inverted atomic drops and a nice dropkick into a DDT spot, which Quest follows with a spinebuster for two. The Jersey boys engage in some more double teaming, cribbing the old Kaientai camel clutch/dropkick combo for a two count. Fear’s next trick is a unique one, as he snap mares Jay into a seated position and does what basically amounts to a low-elevation cross body block into the shoulders and back of the VanCougar. Quest tags in and lands a shining wizard variant before looking for a victory roll, but Jay gets the SICK reversal by throwing his opponent off of his shoulders and into a German suplex. There’s the big tag to Scott Henson, and he makes the exact comeback that you would expect. A sequence of double team moves by the ECCW trainees culminates in Henson’s lungblower on Quest, but it only gets two. Jay grabs a chinlock for a bit and eventually tags Henson, though Scott accomplishes nothing of note before Corvis Fear runs in out of nowhere to save his partner with a lungblower variation. Quest is back in for a resthold on Henson that he ultimately turns into a pinning combination, but it can’t put the match away. Fear checks in again and lands a series of knees to his opponent’s back en route to another tag to Quest, who hits the Ultimate Warrior pump splash.
Henson shows some life with a series of forearms, and, though Quest is able to keep up and respond for a little while, ultimately we get a tag to Jay after Fear runs in and gets lariated by Scotty. Things have broken down into a four-way, and everybody is hitting big moves, including Henson’s Island Driver and Quest’s version of the Prince’s Throne. Then, in the middle of it all, Jay kills Quest with a STEINER SCREWDRIVER that is treated like nothing more than a transition move. Fear follows with another innovative move, hitting an RKO on one of his opponents as they were in a kneeling position. Everybody lays around and sells for a while, and, when we get back to action, the Gods are superkicking the taste out of Yakuza Jay’s mouth. Quest misses a move off of the top rope, though, as Henson grabs him out of midair and hits another Prince’s Throne. The Cougars land a combo German suplex/chokeslam, but Fear breaks up the ensuing pin attempt. Henson looks for a Rude Awakening on Quest, but that’s broken up in a spectacular fashion as Fear comes off of the top rope with a frog splash down on to the standing Henson. Now Jay and Fear are going at it, culminating in a half nelson suplex from Jay. It gets two as Quest saves.
Quest is isolated by the Cougars but manages to fight them off for a little bit. This leads into the Gods landing stereo suplexes on their opponents and locking in simultaneous submission holds, namely one crossface and one dragon sleeper. In a cute spot, the Cougars are close enough to one another that one member of the team can grab the other’s hand to prevent him from tapping, though ultimately they decide that it would be best to live to fight another day, and they submit.
Match Thoughts: This was, by just about any measure, a pretty fun little tag team match. The Cougars, despite not being very experienced, did a great job of following the lead of the Gods, who have come together as a solid team despite the fact that, on taking a look back at that column from five years ago, I really seemed to be ragging on poor Corvis Fear at the time. He was actually the highlight of this match from where I sit, because it seemed like he was really controlling the pace of the bout in addition to providing a lot of offense which was innovative without feeling contrived. Definitely the strongest match of the show up to this point and probably one of the best on the DVD.
Match Numero Seis: Johnny Mangue vs. Zane Silver
Now we’ve come back around to a match with no new faces in it. Armbars are traded early, but, unlike a typical armbar sequence, this one is peppered with strikes, as Mangue headbutts Silver’s arm when he’s got the hold locked in and Silver uses some kicks to escape. The men begin trading shoulderblock and kicks a this point, with Zane getting the early advantage until the Samoan Mangue uses his “hard head” to block a kick. Well, that’s a new twist on an old spot. Silver retakes the advantage by crotching his opponent on the top rope and then takes Mangue out of the ring with a Silver King style dropkick. In an INSANE spot, Silver shoots through the ropes for what looks like a tope suicida but actually turns into a FLYING TORNADO DDT ON THE FLOOR. Christ. Instead of selling that for a while, Mangue pops up immediately and hits a lariat on Silver, which is insane in its own right because Silver goes flying and lands on one of the guys who is at ringside watching the match, knocking him out of his chair and causing him to hold his knee in pain. When we return to the ring, holds are exchanged, including a chinlock from Mangue and an abdominal stretch from Silver. Johnny turns the latter hold into a Samoan drop in a clever reversal that I don’t think I’ve seen before. It gets him a two count. The Smooth Savage looks for a German, but Zane escapes and goes to some lucha-esque cradles. He attempts to follow up with kicks to the head, but, of course, they fail and Mangue scores with a superkick of his own for the nearfall. Johnny follows with Umaga’s old ass spot in the corner but is caught with a SICK missile dropkick right to he head. Again, Mangue doesn’t sell it. Zane does the exact same thing, this time connecting with the BACK of the head, and that gets him a two count. Mangue quickly recovers and gets his own kick to the head, followed immediately by a spinebomb, and that’s what finishes the match.
Match Thoughts: More than any other match on the card, this one had a story to it. Zane, for better or for worse, attempted to knock off Mangue by targeting his tougher-than-average head. Unfortunately for him, no matter what he threw at the Smooth Savage, it just wasn’t good enough and he got put away. It made sense, it worked, and it worked well. The only thing that might have worked better in my opinion is if the tope DDT spot came closer to the end of the match, as it would have built the drama more and made it look more like Silver was getting more and more desperate to put this monster away as the match wore on.
Match Numero Siete: Chase Burnett vs. Hailey Hatred
“I don’t wanna be the guy comin’ in here and whipping a bitch’s ass,” is the smack talk that Chase Burnett begins the match with. I don’t see this one ending well for him. Hailey lights him up with chops early on and follows with a butterfly suplex that causes Chase to roll out to the floor. Ms. Hatred’s boot finds itself slammed into the man’s chest and then legs several times, and a series of kicks to the face causes Burnett to take a flat back on the floor. In a unique spot, as Hailey attempts to throw her opponent back into the ring, Chase scoots around on the apron and hits her with a version of the 619 as she stands on the floor, though he misses a facewash when he gets back into the ring. That gives Hailey an opening for a running brainbuster, which gets two. In another very unique sequence, Burnett rolls through a sunset flip and goes immediately into a double stomp on the woman’s back, followed up by a basement dropkick right in between her shoulderblades. Chase’s attempt at a standing shooting star misses, though he does manage to kick his way out of Hatred’s submission hold. Speaking of kicks, Hailey hits several to the head and her version of the old Crush Rush. Burnett decides he’s had enough and hulks up with an enzuguiri and a couple of jumping kicks to the head in the corner, all setting up a NICE bridging back suplex for two.
In another brilliant little reversal, Hailey avoids a lariat from her opponent and elevates him with a T-BONE SUPLEX INTO THE TURNBUCKLES. Hailey continues to kick, but Burnett manages to grab a leg of hers and tie it up in between the middle and bottom ropes, leaving her open to a double knee strike from the top rope. Hatred responds with a tiger suplex that she can’t quite bridge on, though she flips over for a two on the lateral press anyway. It looks like Burnett is going to be sent into the turnbuckles, but he manages to turn things in his favor and sends Hailey face-first into the bottom buckle with a drop toe hold. He then gives her a CURB STOMP in the corner, which the announcers point out bounced her face not just off the buckle but also off the mat. A few seconds later, though, Burnett runs into a couple of big boots and eats a dropkick to the face to set up a fisherman’s buster. That allows the lady to roll over and get a three count.
Match Thoughts: These two damn near murdered one another, which was interesting to watch given that one is a woman and one is a man who may weigh 120 pounds soaking wet. There wasn’t much of a story to this one at all, and it was very much an “I will hit you with a move, now you hit me with a move” style of match, which normally I’m not a huge fan of. However, though I would have liked it better if it were a little bit more cohesive, the two were hitting each other so hard and Chase in particular was pulling out so many creative maneuvers that I didn’t have much time to focus on the aspects of the match that would have bothered me if the offense was more mundane.
Match Numero Ocho: Robby Kidd vs. Corvis Fear vs. Jonah Block vs. Donny Kidd
Now we’ve got returning wrestlers Fear and Block mixing it up with the tag team of Robby and Donny Kidd in an elimination four way. The Kidds I have been able to find no real information on, though they are purportedly brothers despite the fat that one has a body like a pipe cleaner and the other is ridiculously portly, probably north of 400 pounds . . . and I’m not talking about a Vader or a One Man Gang 400 pounds.
We’ve got some comedy up front, as Block refuses to join in a four-way lockup, so two of his opponents grab him with a two-man cranium crunch. This somehow results in Block flipping around and hitting everybody with an armdrag variation, though he’s quickly lariated to take him out of the ring after that. Fear runs herd on the Kidd brothers and dispatches Donny, leaving Jonah to run back in to take over on Robby. Robby gets hit in the face with a confetti popper and a big boot thrown but Block, after which Fear ambushes the wrestling artist. Block cuts him off with a bionic elbow and Donny assists Block by slamming him down on to Fear for two. Donny does the same for Robby, but it also only get two. Robby busts out a falcon arrow on block, but that leaves him open to a Fear suplex attempt. Robby blocks it, so Fear goes to the eyes. A few reversals later, and Fear hits a SICK face plant move reminiscent of Daizee Haze’s Mind Trip (which I believe he calls the Joker Driver) and gets a three count to eliminate Robby Kidd from the match. That may have been the best looking version of that particular move that I have ever seen.
When the action resumes, both Kidd and Fear pounce Block before doing a bunch of nifty reversals off the ropes. This culminates in Fear springboarding backwards off of the middle rope and catching Donny with an ace crusher while flying back. Nice. Block and Fear jaw for a bit, and Jonah gives him a big kick to the face when Corvis attempts to slip out of his sunset flip. Joke’s on him, though, because he’s soon flattened by a flying cross body block from the massive Donny Kidd. Donny then picks Fear up into a wheelbarrow position, giving Jonah an opportunity to hit him with a shotei. Just to show it’s every man for himself, Block low blows Donny and hits his Island Driver variation on Fear. Before he can get the three count, though, Donny sneaks up behind Jonah and plants him with a pretty head and shoulders suplex to get the three count and the elimination.
Donny immediately goes to work on Fear, picking him up into a version of Sara Del Rey’s Royal Butterfly but turning it into a DDT. Headrops galore here, folks. Corvis gets his foot on the bottom rope to avoid to avoid the three count. He is eventually able to rally and leaps off of the kneeling Kidd’s thigh with what is referred to as a “shining cutter.” Donny fires back with some very low tech offense, namely a big fat guy splash. Kidd heads to the second rope but gets cut off by Fear. Corvis pulls him off the ropes with what is referred to as another Joker Driver, but it wasn’t executed all that well and looked more like a snap mare. Regardless of how it looks, it earns him the three count and ends the match.
Match Thoughts: This was a bit of a spotfest . . . though that’s not always a bad thing. My thought is that it’s always been fine to have a match that is nothing but a string of moves so long as there is a legitimate reason that the match would only be a string of moves, and one of those situations is when you’ve got a bout in which three or men are allowed to be in the ring simultaneously. The presence of extra bodies would naturally create more opportunities for men’s strategies and offensive momentum to be cut off and the focus on only two of the match’s numerous competitors would give the other wrestlers plenty of time to recuperate after taking big offensive maneuvers. These guys played the spotfest fourway to the hilt (again accounting for their relative levels of experience). I was particularly impressed with the bigger Kidd brother, who, though I imagine he wouldn’t have the gas to go in a longer singles match, was surprisingly agile in limited bursts and would probably also work well in a tag team for the very same reason. Good times all around here.
Match Numero Nueve: Davey Vega vs. Zack Novak
We once again have two new faces on the DVD. Vega is a wrestler who was brought up in the midwest, doing some training at Gateway Championship Wrestling, a promotion that in the past has been home to the lives of Evan Bourne, Delirious, MsChif, and Daizee Haze. I’ve also gotten some word that he is periodically honing his skills at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory. Novak is another New Jersey-based wrestler, though he’s only got three years as a professional wrestler as opposed to the ten or so with Fear and Quest earlier in the show. On the commentary, they put over the fact that, in addition to training to be a professional wrestler over the past several years, he has also been training in MMA.
Novak gets a double leg and some strikes in the mount early, which he tries to transition into a cross arm breaker. Vega is out quickly and attempts some strikes of his own, but Zack covers up. Everybody returns to a vertical base, where Novak hits a punch/kick flurry and an enzuguiri. Davey comes back with a finger to the eye and a full body slam for a two count. Blatant choking and some boots lead to Vega dropkicking his opponent out of the ring, and they do a bit where they quickly trade places on the floor. Zack attempts the old Great Sasuke space flying tiger drop but misses by a fair amount and lands on his head and shoulders on the concrete floor. Sucks to be him. Vega posts his opponent and slams him into the ringpost, as if the poor guy hasn’t been through enough already. When we return to the ring, Vega goes on a long run with fairly basic offense . . . chops, choking, snap mares, kneedrops, that sort of thing. A variation on the Texas Cloverleaf is applied by Vega, and, after a bit, he transforms it into an Indian deathlock. Vega spends a lot of time bullying Novak and jawing with members of the audience in between. After one session of taunting the crowd, Zack catches Vega out of nowhere with a flying armbar, though it’s too close to the ropes and Davey is out quickly. Vega applies his own armbar for a spell, after which his issues with the crowd get the better of him again, giving Novak an opportunity for a rollup. It only gets two.
In an unusual bit, Vega goes for a handstand in the corner, presumably just for the sake of showboating. Zack seizes the opening and dropkicks him in the abdomen while he’s in mid-handstand. Vega is immediately able to respond with a running Yakuza kick, but Novak catches him with a moonsault body block and spinning heel kick. All of that sets up a vertical suplex, and now Novak tries to go airborne. Vega catches him, however, turning whatever the attempted move was into a backbreaker. Now Davey has his opponent in a fireman’s carry . . . but it’s a REVERSE RANA counter from Zack. It only gets a two count. Novak heads to the top rope at this point, but he jumps off, lands on his feet without attempting any sort of offensive maneuver, and is hit with a chokeslam by Vega. Davey places his opponent on the top rope, getting shoved off but responding with a somersault into a shotei.
A superplex is attempted by Vega, but he’s knocked off again, this time with a knee strike. Novak uses that to set up a MIGHTY frog splash. Great elevation there, mainly because Vega was close to the ropes and Novak just had to focus on going straight up instead of up and out. He can’t put him away with the move, though, because he hurt his own ribs too much to go into the pinfall. In another highly innovative spot, Novak hits a rana but holds on with his legs and rolls through into a version of the triangle choke. Seconds later, a discus lariat from Davey Vega has put Novak away.
Match Thoughts: This was an interesting one to watch, as both men were wrestling significantly different styles than anybody else on the card. Most wrestlers on the card were doing the typical US indy style, chock full of big move after big move. Vega was COMPLETELY different, as he almost performed in what I would call more of a “WWE style,” wearing his many down with more basic offense and taking plenty of time to jaw with the crowd and try to get a heel reaction, even though the audience consisted entirely of other wrestlers. (The funny part is that all of his tactics worked and he was actually booed, which I suppose makes sense given that most pro wrestlers started off as pro wrestling fans.) Most people who watch as much indy wrestling as I do would knock a guy for wrestling anything like a WWE wrestler, but, in this case, I thought that it was almost a welcome change. Novak also had something unique with his hybrid “high flyer/MMA fighter schtick,” and I especially liked it when he would attempt to transition the flying moves into submission holds. It was almost similar to the style of joshi wrestler Misaki Ohata, and they should probably start stealing moves from one another.
Match Numero Diez: Team Beyond (Chase Burnett & Zane Silver) vs. The Garden State Gods (Corvis Fear & Myke Quest)
Now it’s time for YOUR main event, featuring two of our tag teams established earlier on in the show. Zane and Fear go to the mat to start us out, trading headscissors and later front facelocks. Silver starts to open up the offense with an armdrag, at which point both men tag out to their respective partners. Chase gets a headlock but Quest escapes easily, lifting the smaller man up and placing him on the top rope to break the hold. Burnett responds with armdrags and an armbar, followed up by a headlock takedown that blocks an Irish whip. Myke manages to slip out and hit a back elbow, though, after which he connects with a full body slam. The Jersey boy attempts a lariat but gets rolled up, and now both wrestlers are throwing dropkicks at each other. That sets up another double tag, and Fear does a wacky spot in which he lifts one member of Team Beyond up and forces him to kick his own opponent. The Gods connect with big blows that knock their opponents out of the ring, but Team Beyond cuts off their attempt at stereo topes and hits a sequence of sentons across the backs of both men. TB maintains the advantage with a series of kneedrops on Quest, after which Burnett gives him a slingshot kick to the chest. The little guy busts out several more kicks before tagging Silver in once more, and he hits a diving lariat on to a seated Quest for two. TB hits a double team dropkick, but it wasn’t the greatest move in the world, as it knocked Quest back into his corner for the tag.
The Gods bring the innovative double team maneuvers at this point, first with one man giving Burnett a package piledriver on the other man’s knee and then with a combination northern lights suplex/neckbreaker. The Kaientai dropkick spot also connects, though it only gets two thanks to Zane Silver distracting the referee. Chase starts a small comeback with a sunset flip, but he’s nailed by a lariat shortly thereafter. The double teaming continues, as one member of the Gods lifts Burnett skyward in a Gory special, after which the other one hits a charging European uppercut on chase, leading directly into a Gory bomb. Eventually a misdirection play by Burnett sends both of the Gods to the floor and sets up the tag to Silver, who immediately takes both of his opponents down with a CORKSCREW PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR. He does an extended comeback against both men in the ring as well, leading to Team Beyond’s quadruple knee strike and a cannonball-style dive into the corner. Things have now really broken down into a pier six brawl, ladies and gentlemen.
Silver gives Fear a missile dropkick to the face, but Quest breaks up the pin at two. Myke is also hit with a kick to the face by Zane and a moonsault press by Burnett, at which point Corvis Fear returns to the ring. He sets Chase up for a Rude Awakening and allows Quest to hit a double stomp on Burnett to give the neckbreaker more momentum. Fear hits his springboard ace crusher, only to be hit in the cut with Burnett’s backflip knees. Silver is taken out by a Joker Driver, and then the Gods brutalize poor Chase Burnett’s head with a simultaneous double stomp/dropkick. That gives us a three count and a victory for the Jersey boys.
Match Thoughts: To steal a phrase from Jim Ross, this match was quicker than a hiccup. Yes, they did the standard opening for a tag team match as well as the obligatory “face in peril” sequence, but the real draw of this one was the four-way brawl that erupted as soon as Silver got his hot tag and the referee suddenly stopped caring about wrestlers being legally in the ring. The moves that we got after that one were rapid fire, they were innovative, and they were fairly impressive. There were a couple of times during the match that it looks like the moves were so fresh and complex that the wrestlers weren’t pulling them off all that crisply, but they also didn’t appear to be too horribly dangerous. All in all, this was a fun match for watching innovative double team maneuvers, though there wasn’t too much more to it than that. It was a fun match to watch, though I didn’t think that it was quite at the level of the Gods/Cougars tag match from earlier on the show.
Let’s get things straight right from the beginning here. If you want to see the absolute best in-ring professional wrestling that you’re going to see on the US independent circuit, don’t watch Beyond Wrestling. Go watch ROH, PWG, or something similar to one of those promotions. This isn’t a company in which you’re going to see the best in the world duking it out. However, it is still more than worth watching. Why? Because you’re getting an opportunity to see several men with between one and five years of experience who are honing their craft and getting ready to take a step up to the top-tier indy promotions. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean the bouts here are lousy. In fact, the vast majority of them were competently worked, entertaining, and peppered with a lot moves that I have not seen before on a regular basis. It’s good, clean professional wrestling fun. If you’re somebody who always finds himself curious as to where the next crop of fresh talent will be coming from, I think you owe it to yourself to check out at least one or two of this group’s DVD releases per year, because there appears to be a solid core group of young wrestlers who are really preparing themselves to take a major step up.
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See you all next week!