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Hawke’s Top 24 Beyond Wrestling Matches from 2016

January 7, 2017 | Posted by TJ Hawke
Matt Riddle Evolve EVOLVE 93

Beyond Wrestling makes some good wrestling matches. You should check them out.


24. Jonathan Gresham vs. Ricochet – 12/11/2016

23. Jonathan Gresham vs. John Silver – 5/6/2016

silvergreshamYou can watch this match here.

This was a solid midcard match. After a few minutes of decent grappling, Silver started to use his power and strength advantage. Gresham fought back by going after a leg. He did not do enough damage though to prevent Silver from busting out the Destroyer and then the Last Ride to finish Gresham off. This was solid storytelling, and it was an easy-to-watch match. Thumbs up. (***)


22. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jonathan Gresham – 7/17/2016

21. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jonathan Gresham – 6/26/2016


You can watch this here.

They worked a competitive, back-and-forth match on the mat the whole time. It was a lot of fun, and they did a solid job of making the match progressively more and more competitive. They struggled a bit though with the intensity and and physicality aspects.

There was never that sense that they were ever willing to hurt each other (or themselves) in order to win, and they did not have enough in-ring storytelling to compensate for the lack of that. It is obviously the first match in a series though so there is time for that, but when you do not wrestle each other on television a dozen times a year, you can afford to cut the crap and get right to beating the piss out of each other. (***)


20. Matt Riddle vs. Dan Barry – 12/11/2016

19. Matt Riddle vs. Matt Tremont – 11/20/2016

18. Keith Lee vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – 11/6/2016


Tournament For Today 2016 First Round Match.

They took an unexpected approach with this match. It seemed like a sprint was in order where Lee just ran through Zack while the latter desperately tried to hang on. Instead, they worked a very methodical match with Lee deliberately controlling the whole thing.

Zack tried to chip away at the far larger gentleman. The issue was that it never felt like he ever developed a true sense of momentum. As a result, his win at the end via fruit roll-up did not feel as satisfying as one would hope. It was still a unique match though that helped things out. (***)


17. Donovan Dijak vs. Tommy End – 8/28/2016


This was a solid main event, but it was definitely one of the least impressive Dijak matches from Beyond Wrestling. It was an effective back-and-forth, crowd-pleasing contest. They delivered a lot of fun sequences and worked a fun pace without going too long. It never got to that next level though which holds it back from being one of the more memorable bouts from Dijak’s excellent run with Beyond. Dijak won cleanly via Feast Your Eyes. (***)


16. Matt Riddle vs. Chuck O’Neil – 1/31/2016


Watch this here.

Drew Gulak was the referee.

In case you did not know, Matt Riddle is the greatest act in professional wrestling. He saunters to the ring. He has a big goofy grin on his face all the time. His matches are short. He doesn’t wear shoes. He’s the total package.

This was no different. They did some grappling, strikes, falsies with faux MMA, and then Riddle won with a choke. Gulak called for the bell before Chuck submitted. Gulak ended up having to pull Riddle off Chuck.

FUN stuff. (***)



15. AR Fox vs. David Starr – 12/11/2016


This was for Starr’s wXw Shotgun Championship.

Who doesn’t love a good #SamiSprint?!?! Both guys were basically just trying to put each other away from the start, and they did not overstay their welcome. That’s a good strategy for producing a fun match.

Fox is really in his element when he is just trying to kill himself as opposed to going for the overly coordinated stuff. Starr developed a reputation as a rock-solid worker in 2016 and performances like this at least prove how far he has come in recent years. This was exactly the kind of match you want from the midcard on a big show. (***1/4)


14. Donovan Dijak vs. John Silver – 11/6/2016


Tournament For Today 2016 First Round Match.

This was a really fun match and start to the tournament. The size difference obviously played a factor in the match, but they did a great job of conveying that it was not the deciding factor. Silver’s strength allowed to make the match competitive. He even seemed to be gathering necessary momentum to win. Unfortunately for him, Dijak managed to hit Feast Your Eyes outta nowhere to pick up the win. GOOD stuff. (***1/4)


13. Donovan Dijak vs. Sami Callihan – 2/28/2016

12. Matt Riddle vs. Mike Bailey – 2/28/2016

11. Tracy Williams vs. John Silver – 11/20/2016


This was a REAL good midcard match for Beyond. They did a match where they constantly wrestled with a sense of urgency, but then they progressively got more and more intense until they were just throwing big shots by the end. This was textbook good professional wrestling. Everyone should check it out. Silver won cleanly via torture rack bomb. (***1/2)


10. Donovan Dijak vs. Brian Fury – 12/11/2016


This was Brian Fury’s final match in Beyond Wrestling.

This was shockingly well done especially given that there were a lot of different things going on in this match.

As stated above, this was Fury’s final scheduled match for Beyond Wrestling on his retirement “tour.” Donovan Dijak was coming off his very first loss in Beyond Wrestling. Fury was also of course Dijak’s original trainer.

Dijak dominated the match, and he managed to get his beloved Beyond fans to boo him. The crowd completely rallied around the retiring Fury. It was a genuinely fun atmosphere which was impressive if you saw how dead the crowd was for the majority of the matches on the Beyond and Evolve shows on this day.

Fury finally started to fight back in the final third of the match. The match came down to a sequence where he survived a number of FEAST YOUR EYES. He would not die, etc. He challenged Dijak to do it one more time. Dijak foolishly went for it, and Fury then promptly reversed it into a Boston Crab to pick up the win.

The decision to have Dijak look while also having his finished kicked out of multiple times was certainly questionable to say the least. It did at least lead to a fun match. (***1/2)


9. Donovan Dijak vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – 11/6/2016


Men’s Tournament For Today 2016 Semi Final Match.

Goddamn, this was great stuff. Dijak was coming into it with an injured neck and leg due to the tag match he worked in the hour or so his first round tournament match. Why did he work a tag match? His ego has made him want to be the best singles AND tag worker in Beyond. This weakened him drastically and allowed Zack to dominate him in this match. Perhaps Zack would have won too, but he decided to focus on Dijak’s uninjured arm instead of the neck and knee. That may have given Dijak enough room to hit Feast Your Eyes outta nowhere yet again to win. GOOD stuff. (***1/2)


8. Chris Hero vs. John Silver – 12/11/2016


While this was far from Hero’s best effort in 2016, this match really crystallized how fool-proof his formula is with the smaller opponents. This match featured Hero half-assing and really slowing Silver down from his normal pace. However, the dynamic of Hero taking on his smaller opponent still worked really well!

Silver got to mix in a few of his power spots. He had some of Hero’s trademarked stuff scouted out and looked good for doing so. Hero then paid for his overconfidence and got caught with a fruit roll-up which gave Silver the win. (***1/2)


7. Keith Lee vs. John Silver – 6/26/2016


You can watch this match here.

Keith Lee is gigantic dude who is surprisingly nimble and athletic. John Silver is a tiny dude who is surprisingly strong. They use these things to their advantage and create a very unique contest within the confines of the traditional big man vs. small man formula. It was fun the whole way through and even overcame the super questionable finish of Silver pinning Lee cleanly. Beyond needs to push these two guys as hard as possible. (***1/2)


6. Matt Riddle vs. Tommaso Ciampa – 5/29/2016


You can watch this match here.

Tomato Camper shoe-shamed Matt Riddle before the match which made him public enemy number one in my book.

This was a super fun contest. They basically went all-out, provided plenty of action, acted like they did not particularly care for each other, and displayed clear intentions to hurt one another. As odd as it may seem, these are aspects of pro wrestling that do not happen nearly as much as they should be happening.

The awful finish booked did absolutely bring the match down a bit though. Riddle got a cross armbreaker out of nowhere. Tensions were running so high that he did not let go. That actually felt organic. Then Chuck O’Neil ran in to break up the hold, and the referee ruled it a No Contest. This was a very fun match with an awful finish that makes you mad at the company instead of wanting a rematch. (***1/2)



5. Lio Rush vs. John Silver – 2/28/2016


You can watch this match here.

This was one of those matches that makes you think these two should be booked against each other in every company in the world right now. It was also one of those performances from Silver that tells the world (or 200 people who saw the match) that he’s ready to up his game to the next level.

Lio Rush is the hot prospect right now for completely valid reasons, but even he got outshined here. Everything Silver did was so crisp and done with clear purpose. Obviously, he can’t perform the match he did with the smaller Rush with everyone else given his size. He can apply a lot of the ideas and movement though to other matches and be just as successful.

This was a good match, but, more importantly, it was an eye-opening performance for Silver. (***1/2)


4. Donovan Dijak vs. Matt Riddle – 11/6/2016


Men’s Tournament For Today 2016 Finals.

The men’s Tournament for Today was but a Trojan horse for the real story of the show: the end of Donovan Dijak’s undefeated streak.

Donovan had conquered the singles division of Beyond time and time again over the past year+. So much so that he began to try divert part of his focus to the tag team division in order to become the best tag wrestler in Beyond as well.

As such, on this show where he was already in the one-night singles tournament, DIjak also made sure to have a tag match. In that tag match with Da Hit Squad he got himself injured. Zack attacked the injuries in the semifinal match, but Dijak was able to escape with the win by hitting Feast Your Eyes outta nowhere.

He would try to repeat that feat against the other undefeated wrestler in Beyond: Matt Riddle. This time, Dijak would not be so lucky.

You see, Riddle has not been afraid to take a shortcut in Beyond and even got a boost from Chuck O’Neil in the semifinal match against Gresham. Riddle predictably got a boost here again.

The already injured Dijak would be attacked before the match by the jealous JT Dunn. After that was taken care of by Dijak’s tag partner, Chuck O’Neil took a cheap shot at Dijak’s arm that Zack was able to injure in the semifinal match. All this interference came before the match and happened so quickly that it was not bothersome. It was an explosion. Before you knew what happened, the real match was going on.

Dijak became a victim of his own ego, bad luck, and nefarious tactics from Riddle. By the time the match started, Dijak had no chance. He managed to hang on though and even pulled off the Feast Your Eyes outta nowhere. That got him the win in the previous two rounds, but Riddle just kicked out at 2.9. Riddle was then able to make Dijak – with two weakened legs, bad shoulder, and neck – tap out to the Bro-mission.

Now, Dijak has to re-focus. He must seek a rematch with Riddle. He must conquer Riddle. This is what Beyond needs to begin building to and then blow off on their next iPPV. Get it done. (***3/4)


3. Keith Lee vs. AR Fox – 8/28/2016


Why yes, this was a fucking shoot. My lord. Keith Lee, one of the most talented professional wrestlers in the entire world, made it his mission to maul and destroy AR Fox. AR Fox did his best. He flipped his heart out. He gave Keith the movez. He gave Keith the business. He tried to give Keith Lo Mein Pain. Keith Lee did take it sitting down though on a turnbuckle. He merely reversed it into a diving powerbomb for the decisive victory. It was wonderful. (***3/4)



2. Donovan Dijak vs. Keith Lee – 5/29/2016



This was a hell of a contest. Dijak normally can overpower his opponents everywhere, but Keith Lee was too strong, big, and quick for that to work here. So, Dijak got to play the underdog here. Not only did he do that well, but he managed to do it in a gradual way where he didn’t realize he was the underdog until maybe halfway through the match. It was such a subtle yet important decision for how to work the match. Dijak is truly a prodigy.

While Dijak was obviously great, this match was a breakout performance for Keith Lee clearly. This guy is clearly something special. He has the presence, charisma, athletic ability, and in-ring storytelling ability to become a gigantic star on the indie scene. He basically controlled this whole match and paced everything and spaced out the bigger spots perfectly.

This match felt fresh as fuck and should be seen by just about everyone. Dijak and Lee need to be huge stars yesterday. Dijak managed to hit Feast Your Eyes for the win. (****)


1. Chris Hero vs. Jonathan Gresham – 2/28/2016


You can watch this match here.

Gresham and Hero are two of the best going today. Despite all their international travelling, they actually had never met up before this match. Thankfully, chemistry was not an issue.

They did a fantastic job here of letting a story organically unfold while keeping it compelling the whole time. They started out battling for control with some smooth action. Hero eventually started to get a little cocky and then remembered he does not need to waste time being technical when he’s got eight inches and a hundred pounds on Gresham. Hero used his size advantage to get control for a while.

As soon as Hero began acting like  a bit of a prick, Gresham starting to go at his left knee. Gradually over the course of the rest of the match, Gresham’s work on the knee caused more and more damage. Hero did a masterful job of selling the damage so that it seemed the pain was getting worse and worse as opposed to alternating between selling big and not selling at all.

Hero got desperate and pulled out two desperation snap piledrivers to give himself some breathing room. It seemed like he had the match well in hand, but Gresham ended up winning with a fruit roll-up. The finish felt a little anti-climatic, but it did make you want a rematch. That needs to happen in Beyond as soon as possible. Great match. (****)

article topics :

Beyond Wrestling, TJ Hawke