Beyond Robbed Peter last night, but now it’s time to pay Paul!
After a 14 month absence from Beyond Wrestling, Jay Freddie made his return against Jonathan Gresham in a first time ever encounter between two mat technicians. Gresham’s 2016 in Beyond was remarkable, including going 3-0 in matches with Zack Sabre, Jr. and a big win over Ricochet on iPPV. Freddie spent the year in Japan competing for Wrestle-1, as displayed in his Muta-esque offense. Freddie came out on top of their opening shoulder block and chop exchanges with Gresham, causing Gresham to shift his attention to Freddie’s knee. While Freddie tried to strike and outmaneuver Gresham, Gresham wrestled smartly and never lost focus. In the end, Gresham ducked a Shining Wizard and repeatedly drove Freddie’s knee into the canvas until he tapped out. Everybody knows Gresham is fantastic, but I’m very happy to see Freddie back in Beyond. He and Brian Fury had some solid matches and he has that confidence and crispness many performers gain from going overseas. He reminds me a lot of Eddie Edwards in a positive way. Nothing wrong with opening a show with a great technical wrestling contest.
Although Veda Scott’s open challenge went unanswered last night, she found an opponent in Karen Q on this event. Last month, Veda Scott pinned Karen in a disputed finish during a tag team contest. Like that match, I was impressed with Karen’s offense. It is flashy, yet effective. There are times though when I feel like the offense shouldn’t be flashy, as it doesn’t fit the narrative, but learning those things will come over time. Naturally, Ryan Galeone distracted Karen and Veda got the win with a Saito suplex. Some of Veda’s offense was rough around the edges, but for a little under five minutes this wasn’t bad. I’m looking forward to watching more of Karen Q. She’s already good and only destined to become better with the opportunities she is being presented.
Hanson saved Karen from a post-match beatdown from Veda (which makes sense as Veda cost Hanson his match with Ryan Galeone yesterday), leading directly into a bonafide hoss battle between Hanson and Rex Lawless. Lawless and Hanson are two agile men, and they used that agility to catch each other off guard and trade control of the contest. Lawless had a good showing after taking down Hanson with a Frankensteiner, but missed with a Vader Bomb. Lawless also had Hanson’s spin kick scouted and almost got Hanson taken down with a choke bomb, the same move he used to pin Maxwell Jacob Feinstein last month. Despite this, Hanson did crack Lawless with the spin kick on his second attempt to secure his win. Commentary did a good job framing this as Lawless trying to earn a full-time roster spot and Hanson taking out his frustrations with Galeone, and both men portrayed that with the action. They wasted little time in putting on a fun encounter.
After decimating their competition in barely over 60 seconds the previous evening, Jordynne Grace must have been confident in taking LuFisto into battle with her against the Secret City Soldiers of Alexxis and Taeler Hendrix. It had been months since they attacked Grace’s leg with a baseball bat, and after coming up short in a tag match with Deonna Purrazzo in December, Grace finally found a partner who worked well with her. Hendrix and Alexxis handled things smartly, getting LuFisto to the floor early on so Grace found herself in a two on one position. Hendrix especially posed a threat to her, but found herself taken out with a backpack stunner. LuFisto made her way to the apron to allow Grace to tag out. LuFisto cleaned house and with Grace’s help took out Hendrix, leaving Alexxis to take the Weapon of Ass Destruction, giving Grace and LuFisto a win and Grace the chance to put her issue with the SCS to rest. This killed two birds with one stones, wrapping up this story so Grace can move on to bigger and better things with LuFisto. I really look forward to what Team PAWG does in Beyond, especially against the male competition.
Speaking of settling issues, David Starr has been odds with Joey Janela since last May when Janela tried running him over with his car. The two have surprise attacked one another, Janela tried suffocating him with a grocery bag in August, and just last night Janela stole Starr’s wXw Shotgun championship. Finally, the two would be put together in a one-on-one Anything Goes contest. This was pretty wild. We’re taking Penelope Ford biting Starr’s dick and getting skewers put into her forehead wild. Starr bled all over after being DDT’d on a chair and getting the skewers stuck in his head, then literally had salt poured into his wounds. Janela took Pretty Pumped onto a chair. A small table was teased before being utilized in the corner. Starr was suffocated with a bag again. Cinder blocks were put into the ring. Those came into play when after a hard fought battle, Starr sent Janela head first into the brick wall where the ring is lined up against, and on the rebound caught Janela with the Product Placement onto the cinder blocks to get Starr the hard fought win he’s wanted for eight months. This was an appropriately violent affair in which Starr came out looking like a star. I actually think this would’ve been a tad better with a few minutes shaved off, but even so I was very satisfied with this feud’s conclusion.
I sound like a broken record stating this monthly, but it bears repeating that John Silver has quietly become one of the top guys in Beyond Wrestling. For Chris Dickinson, Silver had to get through him first before Silver could stake that claim. Dickinson was dominant in his offense, pummeling Silver to assert himself. Given Dickinson has been in Beyond since the formative days, it makes sense he would feel a certain level of pride/ownership/responsibility in keeping a spot atop the food chain. After taking quite of bit of punishment, and expending energy kicking out of nearfalls, Silver swung Dickinson around into a neckbreaker and made a nice comeback. This only fired up Dickinson, who was ready to put down Silver with a Pazuzu Bomb. Fortunately for Silver, he was able to escape and counter with a sit-out powerbomb to further solidify his position in the company. Despite the solid story, the action felt a little flat, especially when Dickinson was on offense. Silver’s offense had a lot more excitement to it and led nicely into the ending of the match. Not bad, just a tad disappointing.
Of the entire weekend, I think Da Hit Squad vs. The Pretty Boy Killers of Keith Lee and Shane Taylor was the match I was most looking forward to. DHS’ rivals EYFBO defeated Lee and Taylor the night before, so the pressure was on to do the same. Da Hit Squad had a very strong start, running roughshod on Keith Lee after disposing of Shane Taylor. Of course, Lee had it coming, taunting DHS by yelling EYFBO’s “Suck Me!” taunt at them. Of course Lee was able to tag in Taylor eventually, who enjoyed being the largest man in this hoss tag team battle. DHS were unable to pull off a Burning Hammer on Taylor (nor Lee, though I don’t believe they attempted it), as Lee saved his partner and took out Maff with a running knee strike. After taking down Maff with a Broken Arrow, Mack tried fighting off both men on his own. Mack became victim to multiple corner splashes from Taylor and an inside out senton from Lee. After a pop-up powerbomb from Lee and a second rope splash from Taylor, the PBK picked up a win from DHS, making Mack and Maff go 0-2 on a weekend in which the spotlight was on the tag division. It was a battle between two teams who felt they couldn’t lose, and ultimately, the PBK were able to get that sustained offense on one man and capitalize. This match caused my pænus to enchubben.
Coming off a win over Donovan Dijak the previous evening, Brian Cage found himself across the ring from Dijak’s rival, Matthew Riddle, in the semi-main event. Dijak thought if he could somehow defeat Cage, he could take Cage’s spot in the contest and get his hands on Riddle, but it was not to be. However, Dijak was on commentary for the contest. Cage had a sense of urgency, attacking Riddle right at the bell and looking him to put him down early. His offense was relentless and Riddle had to go for kidney shots and slaps to the torso to get Cage to back off. Riddle snuck in two Bro 2 Sleep’s and a spinning tombstone for good measure, but Cage kicked out. After some more offense, Cage tried the Steiner Screwdriver, which earned him his victory over Dijak. Riddle fought his way out with more shots to the mid-section, bringing Cage down into the Bro-Mission for the tap out win. This was a lot of fun. Both men fought hard, and you felt either man’s need to be victorious in their actions. Cage was a super fun special act this weekend and I hope he can make his way to Beyond more often.
Dijak confronted Matthew Riddle after the match, with their respective tag partners Chuck O’Neil and Mikey Webb getting involved as well. Riddle knows Dijak has been wanting a singles rematch with him, and decided that on April 1st in Fern Park, FL they will meet again. A tag match between Bro Steel and the American Destroyers would also take place next month.
EYFBO could already state that they defeated the Pretty Boy Killers and Da Hit Squad couldn’t. Wouldn’t it be sweet if they could defeat the American Wolves and rub that in DHS’ faces as well? Easier said than done. The match can be described as the veteran team (the Wolves) besting the realtively inexperienced team (EYFBO). The Wolves controlled the opening part of the match with such ease you almost felt they took EYFBO lightly. When EYFBO started to show signs of life, the Wolves turned their offense up a notch, cut the ring in half, and made sure the illegal partner was nowhere to be found whenever they could. EYFBO always seemed to be fighting from underneath, and it took some time before they finally found their footing and were able to get momentum. They almost had the match ended with a double stomp/neckbreaker combo on Eddie Edwards, but Davey Richards was crafty enough to disrupt the referee’s count. After taking out Ortiz, Draztik was taken out with a superkick/brainbuster combo, giving the Wolves their second win of the weekend, using the same combo to earn both of those victories. I enjoyed the intensity both teams. It helped the match feel like a fight, and the nearfalls were significant. EYFBO losing was a bit of a shame, but it also humbles them a bit in their quest to prove they aren’t just “young boys” to Da Hit Squad. This was a strong way to end the night.
But it wasn’t over! Da HIt Squad confronted EYFBO, only for Milk Chocolate of Brandon Watts (out of action for 9 months due to an injury suffered at Beyond’s “Head Over Heels” event) and Randy Summers to show up and cause DHS to back down from fighting EYFBO then and there.
Overall: This show was a step up from “Robbing Peter.” The two big tag matches, Riddle vs. Cage, and Starr vs. Janela are all worth watching, and everything else had purpose. If you have to pick one show from the weekend, this is easily the one to choose. After a wobbly end to 2016, Beyond came into 2017 with a strong effort.
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Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. Jonathan Gresham submits Jay Freddie in 11:48, repeatedly driving Freddie’s knee into the canvas until he tapped out. ***
2. Veda Scott pins Karen Q with a Saito suplex in 4:11. *
3. Hanson defeats Rex Lawless in 7:25 with a spin kick. **¾
4. Jordynne Grace & Lufisto defeated The Secret City Soldiers (Alexxis & Taeler Hendrix) in 4:40 with the Weapon of Ass Destruction on Alexxis.
5. David Starr bested Joey Janela in an Anything Goes match in 19:02 with Product Placement on cinder blocks. ***½
6. John Silver defeated Chris Dickinson in 14:39 with a German suplex. **½
7. The Pretty Boy Killers (Keith Lee & Shane Taylor) defeated DA Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) in 13:07 with a Spirit Bomb and second rope splash onto Mack. ***¼
8. Matthew Riddle submits Brian Cage to the Bro-Mission in 8:28. ***½
9. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) defeated EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) in 17:31 with a superkick/brainbuster combo on Draztik. ***¾