WrestleMania weekend has grown into a mammoth showcase for independent wrestling promotions. After two successful efforts partnering with EVOLVE in Melrose, MA, Beyond was invited to participate in WWN’s “More Than Mania” weekend in Orlando, FL. Beyond was the final show of their weekend, airing at 12 AM on Sunday, April 2nd, setting the tone for the day of wrestling that was to come. What would Beyond have in store for their 2nd offering on FloSlam, and their first show as part of Mania weekend?
The show kicked off with a bona fide hoss battle pitting Keith Lee against Jeff Cobb. This match took place in New England for “Limitless Wrestling” in May 2016, the same weekend these two debuted for Beyond Wrestling. Both men also have a much larger footprint in independent wrestling at this time, making it quite a “get” for Beyond to be the first Indie to present it on a big platform. You’d expect some impressive throws and hard strikes, but what about Lucha rolls, dropkicks, and running Frankensteiners? Well, you got those too, and it really was damn impressive. Cobb was throwing around Lee in German suplexes until Lee cut him off with a victory roll for a surprise pinfall. This had some cool moments but was far from either person’s best efforts. Then again, best effort might be asking a lot for a midnight show when both competitors have wrestled several times over the weekend. For what it was it was enjoyable but a rematch I think is more than warranted.
LuFisto was back in action after taking last month off to recover from a concussion, taking on Deonna Purrazzo in a WWR Showcase bout. This was a good back and forth match, with Purrazzo controlling LuFisto on the mat and trying to submit her with the Fujiwara armbar, and LuFisto overpowering her and eventually getting the win with the Tiger Driver. The crowd was pretty quiet for the contest overall, but I thought it was a good showing for both women, and it continues LuFisto’s streak of Beyond iPPV/FloSlam victories.
You’d think an eight man tag featuring Team Pazuzu vs. Team Tremendous and the Gentleman’s Club would be nothing but comedy, but this ended up being an action packed, exciting eight man tag. It was very akin to a Dragon Gate opening match in Korakuen Hall; some comedic elements sprinkled in amongst hot and heavy action. All eight competitors squared off in four different pairs to start before Dan Barry got himself trapped in the Pazuzu corner. He cleverly found a way to hit all four Pazuzu members in the groin (seen above) so he could tag out, and that’s when the crazy action began. Lots of double team moves and dives to the floor led to Bill Carr running wild inside the ring. He was running so wild that he got too caught up and gave his own partner, Orange Cassidy, a Boss Man Slam. Carr was taken out with superkicks, allowing Ortiz to capitalize on the mistake and pin Cassidy with a jackknife pin. This was not what I was expecting, but in this instance that was a positive. I’m a sucker for chaotic eight man tags and this fit that description.
Sami Callihan and David Starr may be partners in the JML group, but they don’t much care for each other. This was exemplified with how willing they were to kick, punch, and strike one another. It started out with a little mental game from Starr, which backfired and only made Callihan angry. As the intensity picked up, Starr caught Callihan with a flipping piledriver to secure the win. Like Cobb vs. Lee, there’s probably a better match in both men, but considering how many times they had wrestled during the weekend already (this was Callihan’s ninth match after all), it’s forgivable.
Team Janelope’s open challenge was answered by Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae. Janela and Ford came into this match 2-0 as a tag team, but could they best the team that put mixed tag team wrestling on the map? This hit all the signature stuff you’d expect: the ballsplex, the boobplex, the YouPorn plex, Ford hurting her foot on Ryan’s penis, but they didn’t linger on the comedy too much, so if you hate that kinda stuff, surrounding all of it is a dynamite tornado tag. All possible pairings got to wrestle one another, but both teams looked their best when working together (of course!) Despite Ryan and LeRae being the more seasoned team, Janela and Ford ended up picking up the win here. Janela disposed of LeRae when she was on the apron, leaving Ryan open to a back handspring Ace Crusher from Ford and then a top rope splash from Janela. Ford really impressed, showing a lot growth since her start in Beyond, and LeRae always brings the goods. Janela insisted that this pin meant he was the new DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight champion. The referee acquiesced and Joey was awarded the title! This kept a good pace and was fun to watch.
After earning his spot on this show last month, John Silver issued a challenge to AR Fox. While Fox may not have been in Beyond since Day 1, he was there in the formative years and when Beyond began running live events in 2011. He was somebody Silver wanted to test himself against, and fortunately for him, Fox accepted the challenge. This was your classic power vs speed battle. Silver had the strikes, throws, and slams, but Fox was able to outmaneuver him and put Silver in position for his signature offense. It took Silver matching Fox’s speed for him to get the one-up and hit the Doctor Bomb which only registered a two count. It took two tries, but Silver utilized his catapult flipping piledriver to add another name to his long list of impressive victories. This was another fun, exciting match-up and a great way to give Silver a big win in front of a new audience for Beyond.
Da Hit Squad is no stranger to large tag teams in Beyond, facing the Pretty Boy Killers and XXXL this year alone. Tonight they would face the challenge of the Unbreakable F’n Machines, a match originally scheduled to take place in January which didn’t come to pass due to a scheduling conflict with Elgin. No finesse here, just four beefy dudes hitting each other hard and tossing each other around. As much as I love those types of matches, it is disheartening watching them happen in front of a lifeless crowd. Elgin and Monsta Mack were having a slugfest when Maff speared Elgin to get the pin. Da Hit Squad winning was the right choice, and the two teams agreeing to a rematch was an even better choice. This was good, but I can’t help but imagine how much better it will be when the crowd and the guys in the ring aren’t worn out.
After nearly six months of waiting, Donovan Dijak finally got Matt Riddle in a singles match in tonight’s main event. Dijak hasn’t been the same since Riddle bested him in the Tournament for Today finals and has wanted nothing more than another singles opportunity with him since. These two went all out here with Dijak hitting no less than 3 Feast Your Eyes and busting out a Spiral Tap, fighting using his emotions to keep him driven. We even saw his desperation as it took three referees to keep him from putting his hands on Riddle before the bell, and that he was willing to take a count out win over Riddle when he took him out with Feast Your Eyes on the floor. Riddle of course would not be deterred and threw everything he had as well, from suplexes, to both him and Dijak hitting back to back flipping piledrivers, two Brostone’s, and of course, the Bromission. While Dijak had the Bromission scouted the first time, Riddle brought him down into the hold and wouldn’t let go. Dijak passed out in the hold and the referee called for the bell. No doubt about it, this was the best possible match to main event this show. It featured two competitors that wrestling fans from all different companies know, and it’s a deeply personal issue that the tired crowd could (and did) get invested into. This pumped life back into everybody and ended the show on a high note. Where this issue goes from here I don’t know, but I’ll be watching the next chapter for sure.
Overall: Given that this show was the final event on WWN’s More Than Mania weekend, and the majority of the wrestlers on this show wrestled numerous bouts not just that day, but the days preceding this event, the fact that there wasn’t a bad match on the show is a bit of a miracle. It was maybe the best paced show of the weekend too, coming in at just a tad over 2 hours with no intermission. Was it the best show of Mania weekend? No, but it was fun, and if you have a FloSlam account I’d give it a look, especially the main event. It worked both as a show to showcase the vibe of Beyond to a first time audience while also providing continuity for the Beyond faithful. Commentary did a great job too introducing all the characters and explaining the stories behind each match, if necessary.
Check out the bulk of Beyond Wrestling’s entire catalogue at BeyonDemand. $9.99 a month unlocks tons of past and current shows to stream, including raw footage of the latest events, as well as BeyonDemand exclusives such as “Greatest Rivals Round Robin 2”, a clinic with Zack Sabre, Jr., never before seen Eddie Edwards matches, and shoot interviews.
For more information, visit Beyond Wrestling’s official website. For a bunch of free matches, clips, and other fun stuff, check out Beyond’s YouTube page. You can also follow them on Twitter and through their Facebook page.
Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. Keith Lee pins Jeff Cobb with a victory roll in 10:22. **¾
2. Women’s Wrestling Revolution Showcase: LuFisto pins Deonna Purrazzo with a Tiger Driver in 10:37. **½
3. Team Pazuzu (Chris Dickinson, Jaka, Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) defeated Team Tremendous (Dan Barry & Bill Carr) & The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) in 16:18 when Ortiz jackknife pinned Cassidy after an accidental Boss Man Slam from Carr. ***¼
4. David Starr pins Sami Callihan with a flipping piledriver in 6:37. **¾
5. Team Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford) defeat The World’s Cutest Tag Team (Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae) in 7:45 with a top rope splash from Janela to Ryan. **¾
6. John Silver pins AR Fox in 9:17 with a catapult flipping piledriver. ***
7. Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) defeated The Unbreakable F’n Machines in 7:42 when Maff speared Elgin. **¾
8. Matt Riddle makes Donovan Dijak pass out in the Bromission in 11:04. ***½