Wednesday , 30 July 2014

Beyond Wrestling: Wrestletopia

Beyond Wrestling’s third DVD release takes the company to a different level.

Welcome back to another “Quick N’ Dirty” for Beyond Wrestling’s “Wrestletopia” DVD release.

“Wrestletopia” is Beyond Wrestling’s third DVD release. We now get point values associated with every wrestler. The point values work like this: wrestlers get 1 point for a win, and lose a point for a loss. For example, if someone were to win 3 matches and lose 2, their point total would be +1. If they lost 8 matches and won 0, their point total would be -8. In multi-man and tag team matches, even if you’re not the one who gets pinned/submitted, you lose a point. Beyond has no titles, so this point system is the one way we can tell who truly is the best.

Let’s get to the matches!

Disc 1

J-Block (+2) vs. Chase Burnett (-6)

Both of these guys are some of the smallest wrestlers you’ll see on the scene today. Their talent however completely puts the size “issue” out of your mind. Starting out with a series of pinfalls, Burnett was able to pick up J-Block into a suplex after failing to score a pinfall victory. You wouldn’t expect Burnett to be able to do that so easily. Burnett and J-Block would continue to battle, while switching who has the advantage a couple times in the match. With guys this size, you expect a lot of flips and dives. While there was some of that, these guys incorporated some great counter wrestling and executed many sequences and moves that you flat out don’t see anywhere. J-Block was able to score the victory at 10:21 after dropping Burnett on his head with a side piledriver (or Quackendriver IV, if you prefer). This match hit all the right notes with me and set a good pace for the rest of the evening. I really see a good future for both of these guys if they got the proper exposure. ***

Chris Dickinson comes out with Pitboss. Dickinson says that Corvis Fear has been saying a lot of crap about him online, while also complaining that he doesn’t get a chance elsewhere. Dickinson says Fear doesn’t dedicate himself to wrestling like he does, and that’s why he doesn’t get the same opportunities that he does. Fear comes out and delves into some personal stuff about Dickinson, which is hard to understand since names are bleeped out. Dickinson says Fear will take on Pitboss tonight. Fear says if Dickinson is picking his opponent, he’ll pick Dickinson’s opponent tonight. Fear chooses Zack Novak who has much experience in martial arts and other fighting styles. Dickinson reluctantly agrees and adds that he and Dickinson will wrestle tomorrow night on the second night of Wrestletopia.

Corvis Fear (+5) vs. Pitboss (+1)

Pitboss attacks Fear from the bell. This was the story we’ve seen a million times; the heel and his manager beating down the babyface. Fear took a lengthy beating from Pitboss and Dickinson (from the floor, behind the referee’s back). There were a few times when Fear was able to thwart the heels, but they would manage to regain control (since it was, y’know, two versus one). That is until Zack Novak came and took Dickinson away. Pitboss low blowed Fear from behind, but Fear came back and locked in a Dragon Sleeper, causing Pitboss to submit at 10:10. Honestly, there wasn’t much substance to the actual match itself and Pitboss could not keep things interesting when he was on offense. On a positive note, Dickinson showed more character and (organic) charisma than ever in this match and the pre-match promo, and I look forward to his match with Fear. *1/2

Davey Vega (+7) vs. Jefferson Saint (+7)

An easy story; two undefeated wrestlers looking to be the best. As announcer Denver Colorado put it, “it’s like Beyond’s version of a title match”. This was a very simple, fun match. Vega tried to wear out Saint, and was effective at first. Then Vega got his foot trapped on the ring post outside, and Saint targeted it from there on. Vega was able to get a small comeback in here and there, but as soon as Saint went to Vega’s foot, things went back into his favor. Saint went for his finisher, but Vega ducked it and nailed him with a discuss lariat to get the pin at 14:37. This was an excellent meshing of styles. Vega’s more of a flashy, fast-paced wrestler while Saint looks like he was taken from a 1984 NWA broadcast. These two mixed it up very well and made the importance of the victory abundantly clear. A fine showing from both competitors. ***

BS Express (Tom & Ed) (0) vs. Thomas “The Gate” Rodriguez & Giovanni Marranca (0)

This is the debut match for both teams. The BS Express are two men of larger carriage, as well as collegiate athletes (or at least they’re portrayed as such). Rodriguez looks like AR Fox, and Marranca has some strange ring gear. I can’t even describe it. I liked the story of this match. At first, Rodriguez and Marranca used their size and speed to take the lead. The BS Express caught Rodriguez with a tandem move to gain control. Marranca made the save, but the BS Express set him aside and slammed Rodriguez with a double torture rack into a facebuster for the win at 8:58. The one thing I liked about this is it that the “tried and true team” won. While Rodriguez and Marranca were a great team, they mostly did their work as two individuals. The BS Express did all of their significant damage together, just like a true tag team would. Rodriguez impressed me the most, but I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing all of these guys again. **3/4

Chris Dickinson (+2) vs. Zack Novak (-4)

So this turned out to be an interesting match. Basically, Novak got the better of Dickinson in the first couple of sequences. You could tell Dickinson was growing a bit more agitated as the match went on. Dickinson got a few more strikes in, but Novak would thwart him here and there. Finally, Dickinson got so fed up, that he tossed Novak into a wall that is not even a foot away from the ring. Novak collapses in between the wall and the ring giving Dickinson the count out roughly 9:00 into the match. This was a strange finish, but certainly made Dickinson look like an out of control monster. Dickinson will certainly look to harness his rage and use it to his advantage when he meets Corvis Fear. N/R

Disc 2

The disc opens up with Beyond wrestling promoter Denver Colorado coming out. He thanks the locker room for being at the show, but then singles out Chris Dickinson. Colorado puts down Dickinson for being unprofessional and injuring Zack Novak the night before. Dickinson seems to not give a crap. Colorado brought in Ohio wrestler The Duke to referee every match, to make sure Dickinson or anyone else doesn’t mess around. Novak was supposed to take on Matt Cross. Since Cross has no opponent, Corvis Fear will take Novak’s spot. Fear was supposed to face Dickinson, but since Fear is now busy, Dickinson has no match. Dickinson gets in Colorado’s face, so Colorado suggests he faces Pitboss. Dickinson reluctantly agrees after Colorado questions his manhood. Dickinson and Pitboss get into it after Dickinson tries to get Pitboss to lay down for him. Their egos get the best of them, and the match is on.

Chris Dickinson (+3) vs. Pitboss (0)

Dickinson controls essentially the entire match, which makes sense considering he’s somewhat of a mentor to Pitboss. I feel like this served the match best, as I had said earlier that Pitboss was not very interesting when on offense on the first disc. Dickinson is a much stronger and more believable guy when on offense. I felt like this should have been much shorter, with Dickinson demolishing Pitboss within 3 minutes. Instead, Dickinson was finally able to lock in a Rings of Saturn variation to submit the Pitboss at 8:24. This did drag, but I feel in the end that Dickinson looks like THE top guy in Beyond Wrestling. I hope he gets another shot in EVOLVE. **

J-Block (+3) vs. Jarek 1:20 (-1) vs. Zack Novak (-5) vs. Façade (0)

You know those “four way freestyles” Dragon Gate USA has been putting on? This was pretty much the same idea. Four agile, younger guys going out there and throwing caution to the wind. And you know what? I liked what I saw out of all four guys! I think Façade has the most potential out of all them, so it was nice to see him get the win when he dropped J-Block with a reverse cradle piledriver at 8:06. I hope to see more out of everyone, and I think with more polish they will be much better. **3/4

Lamont Williams vs. Kombai Kidd

A teacher versus student match, as Williams is the trainer of Kidd. I liked the story these two told. Williams is larger than Kidd, so he used his power and strength to ground Kidd. Williams was a bit arrogant, assuming beating his student would be a pretty easy task. Kidd surprised Williams, using his speed and agility to take down his trainer and almost score the pin on multiple occasions. Williams was however able to hit a nice face buster on Kidd to score the pin at 11:35. Very good stuff out of both men, and I’d actually be interested to see what a tag team between these two guys would look like. **3/4

Allysin Kay (0) vs. Jefferson Saint (+6)

Umm…holy shit. Now, I am a fan of women. Very much so. So much so in fact that I don’t like seeing intergender matches, or women beat up in general. Especially when it’s somebody like Tim Profitt. My review of this match is going to make you think otherwise; I adored this. Saint, a smarmy chauvinistic pig WHOOPED Kay. I mean, plucked out her eyebrows, stomped on her on the cement floor…just decimated her. Kay? She took it like a woman. She called Saint a faggot. She kneed him in the face. She was beating his ass, until Saint jackknifed pinned her and put his feet on the ropes to get the pin at 6:18. Short, sweet, and God damn entertaining. Even the wrestlers ringside were loving this! Beyond Wrestling actually put this match up for a “name your price” download, and did quite well. I’m happy to hear that because this match was super fun to watch. I am such a Jefferson Saint fan. ***, but I could have gone higher with more time.

Chase Burnett vs. Facade

This started off as a simple match, with each guy playing a game of “can you top this?” Things got most escalated after Façade hit a dive, and Burnett followed up with a moonsault double knee strike to Façade’s head. Burnett wasn’t pleased with the fact that this wasn’t enough for him to score the pin, so he went to the floor and snagged a chair. The chair turned out to be his demise, as Façade caught him with a Michinoku driver (on the mat, not the chair) and followed up with a triple jump moonsault (using the chair) to get the victory at 9:58. I liked the fact that Burnett was doing fine, but then got too caught up in the match to focus, bringing in a chair. He cost himself the match, which I think is a neat way of having a match go. This was simply a fun back and forth match between two talented guys. I envision these guys doing a lot in independent wrestling some day. **3/4

Matt Cross (0) vs. Corvis Fear (+6)

Cross lists all the accomplishments he’s done internationally, mostly when the Ultimate Warrior made his return in Spain and Hulk Hogan taking on Ric Flair in Australia. Cross says all his hard work paid off since he’s fighting in…a garage in Ilyria. Of course, Cross is being facetious. Fear asks why Cross is so jaded now, and why he thinks he’s better than everybody. Cross says he’s doing this as a favor to his friend, and adds that his friend owns him big. Fear says the “garage” they’re in has more heart than any of the places Cross listed. Cross threatens to leave, but Fear kicks the ropes into Cross’ crotch. With that, this match is officially underway.

This was a very fun match. Cross didn’t take Fear seriously at all. He looked like he was going to leave, but instead used it to trap Fear outside. When Fear came back in, Cross gave him a double ace handle off the wall. Cross even taped Fear to the ring post. Fear of course had enough of Cross’ BS and was able to get in a few shots of his own. Cross of course would take control at points by punching Fear in the face, or evading a move and following up with something like a double stomp. In the end, Cross’ attitude cost him. Cross went up top and girated for the crowd. As he came off with a reverse 450 splash, Fear rolled him up for the pin at 14:11. Cross was pissed, mostly because he realized he spent the entire match setting himself up for the loss. Fear did a good job with Cross, but unfortunately didn’t get to show off a lot of what he usually is able to. Still, I liked this match and Cross helped add a bit of legitimacy to the little company that could. ***

Beyond Wrestling’s third DVD release shows something that the first two releases did not; focus. We now have a firmer understanding of who the competitors are, and a few feuds and stories have finally been added to the mix. They all make sense within the context of the promotion, and the commentary does a great job making you understand the characters and conveys why you should care about a match. The production is also top notch, with match graphics, replays of big moves, and graphics for wrestlers for every match. Wrestletopia is an easy, fun watch and I recommend it if you’re looking to try out something new. You can pick up the DVD at Beyond Wrestling’s Facebook page or Smart Mark Video.

Beyond Wrestling – “Wrestletopia” – Now Available on DVD @ Smart Mark Video from beyondwrestling on Vimeo.

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About Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford has been a wrestling fan for as long as he can remember. His first legitimate writing gig was with the now defunct ‘Cool Kids Table’ website where Kevin wrote about Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, and did CHIKARA DVD reviews. Kevin continues to write CHIKARA reviews at 411mania.com and has an entire blog dedicated to CHIKARA reviews (chikaraspecial.wordpress.com). Kevin is one of the co-founders of PWP and a mainstay on podcasts, including the weekly "Fan to Fan" show, the Adventure Time centric "Flooping the Pig", and less frequent shows such as ¡VIVA CHIKARA! and 3 Dudes Talking. Kevin also pens DVD reviews for Absolute Intense Wrestling and Beyond Wrestling. He also loves films and television, They Might Be Giants, Yuengling, and pizza. He hopes this combination will bring him success in his life.
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