With the departures of Kimber Lee, Chris Hero, Drew Gulak, and Brian Fury, Beyond declared itself “Under Construction.” Vacancies lead to opportunities for those on the Beyond roster to elevate themselves, and this event was designed to present those very opportunities.
Jay Freddie returned to Beyond after a long absence last month in a losing effort to Jonathan Gresham. This month he’d match up with another technical wizard in “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams. While the match did start with some chain wrestling, quickly Freddie decided that transitioning to strikes was the way to go, perhaps learning a lesson from the previous month. It worked, as Williams was able to strike back as good as he got it, but Freddie kept control. What Freddie didn’t account was the fury Williams had when positioned on the top rope. Williams knocked down Freddie from the top, and when Fury responded with a gamengiri and climbed back to the second rope, Williams fired up and DDT’d Fury on the top turnbuckle, then mowing him down with a lariat to get the win. Despite another loss, Freddie had a good showing and didn’t get too cute with the Muta-based offense like last month. I also appreciated that Freddie did well in switching up his offense when necessary, but going back to the well for a top turnbuckle moved served as his downfall. This was a smidge under six minutes but exciting for the entirety of the bout.
Because of Brandon Watts’ neck injury, the tag team of Milk Chocolate had not been seen for several months. Now recovered, Watts and Randy Summers emerged at the end of “Paying Paul” last month and made it clear they wanted a match with EYFBO. EYFBO are at the top of the tag team food chain in Beyond, so it makes sense Milk Chocolate would want to face them in their return bout, and they would get their wish tonight. Milk Chocolate made a big impact in this match, showing more fluidity, crispness, and aggression than I’ve seen from them before, and the fans responded very favorably. These two teams can get a little silly at times, but here it was all business and action packed. They completely axed the typical isolation segment which helped keep the energy of the crowd too. Despite their best efforts, Randy Summers found himself caught by Ortiz and lifted up into a powerbomb/super Blockbuster combo and EYFBO left with the W. You know a match is fun when Da Hit Squad, EYFBO’s rivalries, can’t help but put it over on commentary. This match solidified Milk Chocolate’s spot on the Beyond roster. They could not have asked for a better comeback match.
Rex Lawless is another talent who had dabbled in Beyond over the years. Last month he lost to Hanson, and this month the challenge wouldn’t get any easier, as he found himself across the ring from Sami Callihan. Sami wasted no time attacking Lawless, but had a difficult time taking him off his feet. He did though, getting Lawless to the floor. Unfortunately for Sami, when he attempted a suicide dive, Lawless turned him over into a slam on the floor mid-move. Lawless proceeded to do more damage to the back inside the ring while Callihan threw his shots wherever he could. After two high paced matches these two had a tough time keeping the crowd consistently invested outside of nearfalls. There was a disconnect for me with the finish, in that even with a hurt back, Callihan secured the win with a backslide. This was solid in its presentation and structure, but put in a tough spot.
Despite Da Hoodz attacking Team PAWG before the bell, PAWG made quick work of the team from the Secret City. After stereo double knees and hip attacks in the corner, LuFisto wiped out Davey Cash with a Burning Hammer and Grace treated Kris Pyro to a Falcon Arrow. A Weapon of Ass Destruction on Pyro later and PAWG came out on top. In no time at all Grace and LuFisto became one of the most beloved teams in Beyond, and matches like this will only keep their popularity high.
It’s hard to believe Chris Dickinson and Jonathan Gresham never had a singles contest until tonight. The size disparity between them was made clear at the start, as even though they were even on the mat, Dickinson’s size and strength allowed him to assert himself. The two men even shared a laugh when Gresham’s drop toe hold attempt didn’t work out, but Gresham pulled down Dickinson’s knee pad and drilled him in the back of the leg which turned out to be the pivotal moment of the contest. While Dickinson still put up a good fight, he was stunted by the damage Gresham did to his leg, and ultimately Dickinson had no choice but to tap out to a figure four leg lock while Gresham pounded his knee. The sportsmanship Dickinson showed during the match was washed away when he attacked Gresham after the match. Jordynne Grace came out to try and stop him, but Dickinson had no issue putting his hands on her. Jaka came out to cool Dickinson down and the two left Grace unharmed to check on her partner. Like the opening contest, this was short but had no lull in the action and a good story. Dickinson’s singles matches are a mixed bag but he was a good opponent for Gresham and their styles gel together.
Massage NV vs. The Gentleman’s Club was exactly what the fans wanted that match today: a good tag team match with lots of levity. These two teams are so good at incorporating their humor into the context of the match itself that, in my opinion, the humor helped raise the match and not detract from it. Taylor played the straight man the Club, attacking Massage NV when they were busy giving Orange Cassidy and Swamp Monster special treatment. Orange couldn’t help but attempt to blind Massage NV with orange juice, but it backfired and Swamp Monster and Chuck were taken out by it instead. Massage NV sprayed their baby oil into Orange’s face before taking him out with a baby oil slide headbutt and a Shatter Machine. NV seems to always deliver in Beyond, and this was no exception. If you know me, then you know any match with Swamp Monster is five stars in my heart.
It was three and a half years ago when JT Dunn wrestled Michael Elgin at “Point of No Return.” Then, it was Beyond’s second only event in Providence, RI, and Beyond was providing Dunn the platform to break out in their company and beyond (no pun intended). Dunn would become one of the faces of the company, over the years competing in high profile singles and tag team matches. In late 2014, he and Chris Hero formed the Death By Elbow tag team. With Hero now gone, Dunn once again finds himself in a spot where needs to prove himself all over again. Who better than to match up with than Elgin once more? Elgin defeated him in 2013, but neither competitor is the same as they are now. Elgin went with slams, powerbombs, and forearms for his arsenal. Dunn used his knockout shots, knowing that no matter how much damage he took, just one or two hard blows could make the difference. That’s how the match played out. Elgin ducked and dodged the strikes when he could. He mauled Dunn and left little room for error. Those opportunities did present themselves for Dunn, allowing him to lay in five to six different rolling elbows throughout the contest. When he got two in succession on Elgin, Dunn was able to pin Elgin, quieting some naysayers and proving to himself that he wasn’t just Hero’s second all this time. I really enjoyed this match. Elgin and Dunn worked hard, struck hard, had the crowd eating up their nearfalls, and Dunn came out looking tough for taking all that damage and inflicting even more. Elgin cut a promo saying how he always isn’t around Beyond, but loves coming to the company, and with the level of performance he put in, I can buy it. This served as a great transition to get Dunn back in the fray as a singles competitor and was a fun watch.
Jaka and Keith Lee had themselves a slugfest. Lee’s size and strength made him a tough competitor for Jaka to get a grip on. Lee countered the T’Challa Kick into a powerbomb, which is the first I think I’d ever seen somebody counter that move. Lee’s domination caused Jaka to change his strategy. Wearing down Lee with kicks and strikes where he could was wise, but it was clear that he couldn’t outmatch Lee in that department, and using the element of speed and surprise would be the best way to beat the big man. Lee fought through the prawn hold attempt and lit up Jaka before calling for the Spirit Bomb. Jaka countered that into a huracanrana, scoring the pin and a major singles win. This was pretty much what you would want out of an encounter between these two: lots of hard strikes, kicks, and some superhuman feats from Lee. Lee is on fire and seemingly not capable of putting on a poor performance in Beyond, and Jaka has really progressed since his breakout against Matt Riddle last October.
Penelope Ford has interjected in numerous matches of Joey Janela’s in the past, but tonight would be the first time she was a legal competitor, as her and “Grapplefuck Joe” faced Veda Scott and Ryan Galeone. The takeaway for me was how much more compatible Janela and Ford were than Galeone and Scott. Despite it being their first time teaming, and Scott and Galeone getting the jump on them, Ford and Janela had a better understanding or where the other was and how to fit their individual offense together. Galeone accidentally booting Scott in the face shows that dichotomy as well. Galeone was out of the picture when Janela had Scott up on the middle rope. After a back handspring kick from Ford, Janela drilled Scott with the Rhino Driver to pick up the new team’s first win. I still don’t understand Beyond’s fascination with trying to make Galeone a thing. That said, he was perfectly acceptable here, and his size against Ford made for an interesting dynamic in the match. Janela and Scott were also good foils for one another. More than anything this made me interested in seeing more of Team Janelope, so I’d call this successful.
Another new team emerged on this night: XXXL of Brian Milonas and Ace Romero. It’s only fitting that their first bout as a team would be against two other men of larger carriage, Da Hit Squad. DHS also had something to prove after losing to the American Wolves and the Pretty Boy Killers last month. If you like sentons and cannonball sentons, this match is for you, because that’s all they did for four minutes and it was so much fun.
Matt Riddle has been in Donovan Dijak’s head ever since Riddle ended Dijak’s undefeated streak at “Tournament for Today.” Brian Fury, Kimber Lee, and Brian Cage defeated him on subsequent events. Despite his singles career being shook, his tag team with Mikey Webb has held steadfast, with the two of them defeating Death By Elbow and JML in December and January (respectively). Dijak and Webb, the American Destroyers, would test themselves against Matt Riddle and his partner Chuck O’Neil on this night. O’Neil ambushed Dijak from the floor to start, allowing Riddle to sneak attack Webb and Bro Steel to isolate him in the opening portion of the match. Webb valiantly fought off Riddle and got the tag into Dijak to help turn things around. Both teams had some friendly fire between them, leading to a stare down between Dijak and Riddle before each hit their respective finishers on the others’ partner (Riddle with Bro to Sleep and Dijak with Feast Your Eyes.) A bit later, Riddle was on the outside while Dijak took down O’Neil with Feast Your Eyes back inside the ring. However, Dijak refused to pin him, and instead asked for Riddle to get back in the ring. Webb disagreed with Dijak’s approach and wanted him to go for the pin, but Dijak is too obsessed with getting his hands on Riddle. Keep in mind, Dijak already has a future singles match with Riddle in mind, but he still has tunnel vision on revenge. Riddle became the first person to kick out of the American Destroyer finisher, leaving Dijak and Webb in disbelief and not sure what to do next. As Dijak and Webb were in shock, O’Neil once again snuck from behind to pull Dijak out of the ring, as Riddle from behind locked Webb in the Bromission and made him tap out. The story was incredibly well told, with the American Destroyers winning streak ending because of Dijak’s stubbornness, but Dijak could very blame Webb since he was the one to submit. A tag match like this keeps the Dijak/Riddle feud going, while adding a new dynamic and not making the feud go stale. This was an excellent semi-main event and it makes me want to see Dijak vs. Riddle at “Caffeine” even more. Webb is criminally underrated and I hope matches like this will help him break out.
John Silver closed the show by besting Zack Sabre, Jr. Silver has beaten some of the best around to date, but defeating the newly crowned EVOLVE champion the night after he won that title is a big accomplishment in and of itself. The match itself was good, but you knew they could do better. They did some mat wrestling which raised Sabre’s confidence, and Silver brought him back down to earth with his stiff kicks. Sabre ratcheted up the strikes and cradles, as Silver’s onslaught made him realized it would be in his best interest to put him away quickly than it would be to mess around with submissions. Coincidentally, it was a submission that got Silver the win, when he was able to maneuver Sabre out of his cross armbreaker attempt, and into a one-armed straightjacket choke with a crossface. Silver drilled Sabre into the side of his head with his knee until Sabre gave up. Although this is a big accomplishment for Silver, as I stated before, I feel this two have a better match in them.
Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed this event. My main take away is that despite the loss of talent, Beyond is still in excellent shape, as it presented a really fun, consistent, and enjoyable from top to bottom. There isn’t a single bad match on the show and plenty to enjoy. At just under 2.5 hours it’s a breeze to watch too. Despite there not being one total blow away match, I recommend checking this show out. It has made me excited for Beyond’s future.
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Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams pinned Jay Freddie with a lariat in 5:58. **¾
2. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) defeated Milk Chocolate (Randy Summers & Brandon Watts) in 9:02 with a powerbomb/flying Blockbuster combo onto Summers. ***¼
3. Sami Callihan pins Rex Lawless with a backslide in 8:59. **½
4. Team PAWG (LuFisto & Jordynne Grace) defeated Da Hoodz (Kris Pyro & Davey Cash) in 1:08 with the Weapon of Ass Destruction on Cash.
5. Jonathan Gresham submitted Chris Dickinson to a figure four leg lock in 6:23. **¾
6. Massage NV (VSK & Dorian Graves) defeated The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) in 11:21 with the Shatter Machine on Cassidy. ***
7. JT Dunn pins Michael Elgin with a rolling elbow in 13:04. ***½
8. Jaka pins Keith Lee with a huracanrana in 10:11. ***¼
9. Team Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford) defeated Ryan Galeone & Veda Scott in 8:23 with a Rhino Driver from Janela to Scott. **½
10. Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) defeated XXXL (Brian Milonas & Ace Romero) in 4:12, pinning Romero after tossing him onto Milonas in a cannonball senton. **
11. Bro Steel (Matt Riddle & Chuck O’Neill) defeated the American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb) in 11:27, with Riddle submitting Webb to the Bromission. ***½
12. John Silver bested Zack Sabre, Jr. in 17:27, submitting him to a crossface one-armed straightjacket choke while kneeing Sabre in the head. ***