After an excellent re-debut in Connecticut the day prior, Beyond returned to its home turf of Providence, RI to present “Feeling Minnesota.” You can’t help but compare two shows that are on back-to-back evenings, so we’ll see if Beyond can carry the good will and momentum they created yesterday.
Janelope had yet to lose a tag team match heading into this event, but they faced their largest opponents to date in XXXL of Ace Romero and Brian Milonas. While XXXL certainly had the size advantage, one thing they didn’t take into account was how easily Romero would be smitten with Penelope Ford. This annoyed Milonas, as Romero wouldn’t want to attack her, instead falling for her obviously insincere flirtatious methods, that would cease when Milonas or Janela would attack. Ford struck Romero first with an assisted forearm from Janela, causing Romero to finally get it together and drill Ford with a shotgun dropkick. Milonas and Romero seemingly had her done for, when Janela saved the day with a double blockbuster. This took Milonas outside, leaving Romero open for Ford’s back handspring Ace Crusher and an impressive Death Valley Driver from Janela, keeping the couples streak alive. The idea of Ford “swooning” her opponents is not something that should utilized in every Janelope match, but I think it worked very well here, helping tell the story of the match rather than take away from it. There’s also a world of difference in Romero not wanting to hurt Ford because he’s smitten versus not wanting to hurt her because she’s female. No pun intended, it was a big win for the team. After the match, however, Chuck O’Neil attacked Janela and put him in a neck vice, informing Janela that his partner Matt Riddle accepted his challenge for Americanrana.
At “Looking California”, David Starr made quick work of Jay Freddie, putting him in a submission maneuver we had not seen form Starr before called the Best Leg Move. It’s one thing to master one submission move, but Starr had his work cut out for him against a master of applying and escaping submissions in “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, who tapped out Ace Romero in a sleeper hit at that same show. After engaging in some even mat wrestling, Starr changed the dynamic of the match with one single slap to Williams face. The sportsmanlike conduct was gone and Williams went head hunting. Whether it was to be a brainbuster or piledriver, Williams mat wrestling game was gone. Starr would go for Williams’ leg or try the submission, but Williams would not let it get locked on. To Williams, it seemed Starr had changed his game plan when he instead would start attempting the Product Placement. Unfortunately for Williams, he opened himself up for a leg attack when he stepped into the ropes to break Starr’s arm-capture in setup for the Product Placement. A kick to the back of the leg and a superkick to the leg later, and Starr was able to get the Best Leg Move applied and make Tracy Williams tap out. The story was great, the wrestling was top notch, and I feel like every time I see David Starr he’s better. I could watch these two wrestle many times and not get tired of it.
Tasha Steelz made her Beyond debut against Karen Q and Deonna Purrazzo in a three way elimination match. There isn’t too much to say here, as the match followed a lot of your triple threat tropes and felt really contrived in parts. Steelz was the first one to go thanks to a Boston Crab by Q and crossface by Purrazzo being applied simultaneously. Purrazzo would catch Q with a sunset flip as Q was avoiding Purrazzo’s sunset flip. Not bad, but insignificant.
Six of the most absurd characters in Beyond Wrestling’s history converged in one match: Dan Barry, Swoggle, Johnny Cockstrong, Jarek 1:20, Dick Justice, and a man who hadn’t been seen in many years, “Sizzling” Stan Styles, complete with shake weight. The one element here is that Dan Barry was visibly upset to be put in this contest. He refused to partner up with Dick Justice and utilize any of his cop/detective humor, instead trying to wrestle all the competitors. There was dick biting, dick based offense, shake weight offense, fake guns, but Barry refused to participate. When the ring was cleared of all other competitors, Swoggle had Justice taken down after a suplex and toe stomp. While Swoggle was climbing the ropes, presumably for a Tadpole Splash, Barry knocked him down and took over with a Swanton Bomb on Justice for the win. This match didn’t go exactly as I expected, but I really liked the story behind it. If Bill Carr isn’t going to be around, Barry needs a direction as a singles competitor, and shedding the comedic elements is a good start to that. Doing so in a match surrounded by colorful comedy characters made it all the more effective. I come out of this very interested in what his future holds in store.
EYFBO have become the top team in Beyond Wrestling. Although Dijak still finds himself struggling to find footing as a singles competitor, his tag team with Mikey Webb is still relatively successful. Would it be possible for Dijak and Mikey, the American Destroyers, to defeat the best team in Beyond? They sure as heck tried their hardest, with Dijak trying to end things right at the jump, only for a misstep to allow EYFBO to corner his partner and do some damage. While neither team was able to truly “isolate” one of their opponents, it was clear that EYFBO did most of their damage to Mikey Webb while the Destroyers did most of their damage to Angel Ortiz. The two teams fought back and forth, tooth and nail, taking advantage of their openings but not being able to keep anyone down for a three count. EYFBO also showcased more tandem offense and ring presence, which makes sense given they’ve teamed for longer than their opposition. The Destroyers finally had Ortiz in the ring set-up for the American Destroyer. Ortiz took down Webb while Mike Draztik halted Dijak on the top rope. Ortiz grabbed Dijak and with Draztik hit their Blockbuster/powerbomb combo (the Street Sweeper), with Dijak crashing down onto Webb. Webb was covered, leading to EYFBO being victorious. The urgency both teams portrayed made this match, as it made everything they did seem that much more impactful and important. It also showed an inherent respect between the two teams because they knew defeating one another would not be easy.
Alpha Sigma Sigma was supposed to wrestle Team PAWG in March, but Jordynne Grace decided to go it alone against them when LuFisto was unable to make it due to injury (Chris Dickinson joined in to help Grace defeat them, but then attacked her after.) With Grace back, and ΑΣΣ attacking them the night before, it was time for the tag match to finally take place. To ΑΣΣ’s credit, they lasted longer than any team had previously stacked up to Grace and LuFisto. Although they did taunt PAWG with a blowup doll with “LuFisto” written across it, they got down to business and isolated Jordynne Grace. Grace was able to thwart Big Daddy Beluga’s top rope offense with a Sunset Bomb. LuFisto helped clean house upon entering, although Beluga took himself out when he missed a corner attack and sent himself shoulder first into the ring post. LuFisto dumped Greene with a Death Valley Driver, then with Grace nailed him with the Weapon of Ass Destruction to keep their tag team win streak in tact. This was good, and more than anything it’s clear the Sigma boys have been improving.
Keith Lee and Michael Elgin had their first ever encounter in Beyond, and it was big guys doing big guy things. It almost seemed like a friendly competition at first, with which bigger man could execute a slam or more exciting offense. Lee did not take kindly to Elgin mocking his “bask in my glory” catchphrase and from there the competition picked up. It went from both men showing off, to them not just trying to put away their opponent with their biggest offense, but each other kicking out of each others big offense to both the shock of each other, the crowd, and Dijak who was going NUTS on commentary. It’s not often you see somebody kick out of Keith Lee’s Spirit Bomb, but Elgin did, which is why when Lee hit it a second time, he accentuated the damage with Ground Zero to pick up the win. Elgin going 0-2 this weekend was a bit of a surprise, just because of his notoriety as a New Japan star these days, but he had two tremendous showings with Gresham and Lee who benefit more from victories than he does. Calling this a battle of big men doesn’t truly do this justice. The pride from each competitor was palpable, as was their desire to ultimately best the other. They gave and took so much that the winner meant something. They worked hard to earn the victory. They could lay claim to be the dominant big man in Beyond. While Lee has had some key wins of late, this came across as a turning point for his Beyond career. This is a match worth going out of your way to see.
John Silver defeated AR Fox at “Caffeine” in Orlando, challenging him to the match so he could test himself against someone from Beyond’s formative years. Fox was given a rematch in Beyond’s stomping grounds, where either man could prove on the company’s home turf who was better. This played out a bit differently than your typical speed vs power matches, with Fox being even more quick than usual, knowing not to fool around or waste time with Silver. This isn’t to say Silver wasn’t able to catch him with his awesome power, especially when he countered the Lo Mein Pain with a super version of the Spin Doctor. Fox persisted and eventually got the Lo Mein Pain, but Silver was able to kick out from that. In fact, it wasn’t any of either competitors big offense that got the win. Silver called for a Batista Bomb which Fox countered into a jackknife pin to sneak a pinfall on Silver. I think this was better than their “Caffeine” encounter because they had more time to let the moments breathe, and the crowd was WAY more into this. I guess filming a show not at midnight after a long weekend of wrestling has its advantages. This also seemed a lot faster following the Lee and Elgin match. Fox and Silver don’t have the best chemistry but do put together some fun matches.
Jonathan Gresham and Chris Dickinson have had issues for the past couple of months stemming from the last Beyond show in Providence. Jaka and Jordynne Grace found themselves involved in their issue, leading to Dickinson to issue a tag team challenge to Gresham and a partner of his choosing. Of course Dickinson would have Jaka by his side, but not wanting to put Grace in the ring with Doom Patrol, Gresham chose a respected rival in Zack Sabre, Jr. to enter the battlefield with him. Gresham and Dickinson both were out for blood, to the point where even in a wrestling ring Jaka and Sabre found themselves having to calm them down in the opening portion of the match. Jaka and Sabre had no real issues here, they’re simply there to help their partners. With that said, Jaka and Sabre picked up the intensity in the ring as the match played out, especially when Doom Patrol has Sabre isolated. Gresham evened things up when he tagged in, showing some nice teamwork with Sabre. Sabre had a really impressive showing against Dickinson, who ducked multiple kick attempts, but Sabre wouldn’t quit and eventually cut him down. Jaka sent Sabre to the floor with a T’Challa kick, leaving Gresham in the hands for the Doom Patrol and their Doomsday Bomb. Jordynne Grace interjected by pushing Jaka off the top rope. She then entered the ring to attack Dickinson, but Dickinson moved and Grace’s interference backfired. This allowed Dickinson to roll up Gresham for the win. The wrestling here was very intense and interesting, and I was enjoying it quite a bit until Grace’s interjection. For me, it raised a lot of questions. Why did she interfere at all? I understand she felt that Gresham should’ve chose her, but to wait nineteen minutes into the match to save Gresham seems odd. Did she think Gresham was done for if he took that move? Did she not trust Sabre to make the save? After the match Grace challenged Gresham to a match for next month, so this whole match felt like nothing more than a catalyst to get to that singles bout, which really sucks. I loved the wrestling here, but boy did that finish frustrate me.
Overall: While not the home run “Looking California” was, this show had some solid offerings and story advancement. Elgin vs. Keith Lee is the must see match of the event, with Starr vs. Williams, Fox vs. Silver, and EYFBO vs. American Destroyers being matches you’d likely enjoy. The main event is the only match I’d consider disappointing. The choice is obvious if you’re only choosing one of two events this weekend, but there’s enough enjoyable stuff here to warrant this a mild recommendation.
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Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford) defeated XXXL (Brian Milonas & Ace Romero) in 7:20 with a Death Valley Driver from Janela to Romero. **½
2. David Starr submits “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams to the Best Leg Move in 11:19. ***¼
3. Women’s Wrestling Revolution Showcase Elimination Match: Deonna Purazzo defeats Karen Q and Tasha Steelz. *
Karen Q and Deonna Purrazzo eliminate Tasha Steelz in a Boston Crab/crossface tandem submission in 5:47.
Deonna Purrazzo eliminates Karen Q in 7:57 with a sunset flip.
4. Dan Barry defeated Swoggle, Dick Justice, Jarek 1:20, Johnny Cockstrong, and Stan Styles in 7:10, pinning Justice with a Swanton Bomb. **
5. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) defeated The American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb) in 9:20 with the Street Sweeper onto Dijak onto a laid out Webb. ***¼
6. Team PAWG (Jordynne Grace & LuFisto) defeat ΑΣΣ (Anthony Greene & Big Daddy Beluga) with the Weapon of Ass Destruction to Greene in 5:41. **½
7. Keith Lee pins Michael Elgin with the Spirit Bomb in 15:13. ***¾
8. AR Fox pins John Silver with a jackknife cradle in 10:51. ***¼
9. Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) defeat Jonathan Gresham & Zack Sabre, Jr. when Dickinson pins Gresham with a roll-up in 19:22. **¾