As has become the norm, when EVOLVE runs Melrose, MA, Beyond Wrestling presented a matinee offering prior to the event presented on FloSlam. Beyond was happy to “Go With The Flow” and present their final event before Americanrana 2017 on the streaming service.
Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy shocked me when they give EYFBO a genuinely competitive match. It’s not as if they aren’t great wrestlers, but Orange usually goofs around and Chuck is too busy yelling at the Swamp Monster (when present) and/or doing all the work for the team. With such a strong showing against EYFBO, the Gentleman’s Club would return and open the show against another top team, the American Destroyers of Donovan Dijak and Mikey Webb. The story of this match was teamwork helping and hurting one another. For example, Taylor had Orange on his shoulders hoping to help Orange with a chokeslam on Dijak, but what it got him with a chokebreaker onto Dijak’s knee. Conversely, Orange was able to escape the Destroyers grasp when Dijak accidentally landed an elbow drop onto Webb. The Club would dominate Webb with some new tandem offense, but the larger Dijak was a puzzle piece they couldn’t quite figure out. The Destroyers had Taylor all set up for the American Destroyer when Cassidy spit orange juice into Dijak’s eyes. While Dijak was still seated on the top turnbuckle, blinded, Taylor switched placed Webb underneath Orange, so that unbeknownst to Dijak, he assisted with his own partner’s demise when he came off the top for his portion of the Destroyer. Taylor sent Dijak to the floor, leaving Webb susceptible to a stuffed piledriver from Taylor to score a big time upset victory for himself and Cassidy. This was a great way to start the show, with a little character work whipped into a fun tag team match. With the Destroyers not being able to keep their footing, Dijak’s fall from grace as a competitor in Beyond was now affecting his tag team. Dijak snapping will not be pretty when it happens.
In April, Joey Janela challenged Matt Riddle to a match at “Americanrana.” Riddle’s partner Chuck O’Neil attacked Janela the next night, which was Riddle’s way of informing Janela that he accepted the challenge. Janela wasn’t around in May to do something about O’Neil’s attack, but this month he would find himself facing O’Neil one-on-one. The wait would prove beneficial to Janela, as he got to “warm up” for his match against Riddle against someone who wrestles a very similar style. The two slugged it out to start and traded control for most of the match. Each competitor withstood a lot of offense but would not remain down long enough for a three count. O’Neil played himself when he put Janela in a triangle choke and Janela pushed him onto his shoulders to get the pin. Frankly, Janela hit a superplex and transitioned into a brainbuster moments before, and that was likely the right time to end this, but I understand that they wanted to convey that Riddle could find himself in a similar spot with Janela when they meet. Of all of O’Neil’s singles efforts in Beyond this was certainly the strongest. After the match, Riddle attacks Janela, and Penelope Ford came out to check on him afterwards.
With Penelope Ford in the ring, her opponent for the night, Shayna Baszler, came out to start their match. Ford smartly besieged Baszler right at the start, but once Baszler got ahold of Ford’s leg, it was over. She did significant damage and contorted the leg in unnatural ways before putting Ford out of her misery with a grapevined ankle lock. Watching Baszler pick apart somebody is a delight, and with her being invited to the show by Riddle and O’Neil, it adds just a little more “oomph” to the Janela/Riddle story.
Da Hit Squad probably didn’t take Massage NV seriously going into their scheduled tag match, but they changed their tune when NV turned out to be worthy adversaries. Despite their history of silliness, NV understood the opportunity this match presented and made the most of it. The fact that they stood toe to toe with DHS in a strike exchange says it all. It was during that exchange when Da Hit Squad knocked down the referee and a DQ was triggered. Da Hit Squad weren’t happy with this, and showed so by disposing of Dorian Graves and drilling VSK with a Burning Hammer. It seems as if a rematch is all but a certainty, and given what we saw before the DQ, I’m in favor.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Wheeler YUTA had a well received contest back in March at “Good Karma” (posted above.) In the match, Friedman went after YUTA’s left arm to counter the finesse and speed YUTA brought to the battle. In the end, Friedman used YUTA’ bad arm to pull him into a pump-handle driver and get the win. Both men scored wins in May and Beyond decided this was a match worth revisiting. This match followed a similar formula, with MJF going after the arm in the hopes of defeating YUTA with a Fujiwara armbar. YUTA used his quickness to get away and turned his evasion into offense as well. There was a scary moment where MJF almost died with a suplex on the apron that saw him crash onto the floor, but thankfully he was fine. YUTA was able to escape the armbar and countered MJF’s tombstone piledriver into his own for the win. The series between these two is tied up, so a rubber match seems inevitable. If that’s the case I am all for it, as MJF already comes off as a star and good wrestler to boot. YUTA is fun to watch and very impressive, and I think the Michnoku Pro tour will help him tighten up what he has and become even better. This was a nice showcase for two guys in Beyond’s “#NewCrop” and a peek at the future of indie wrestling.
EYFBO’s gauntlet of tag team challengers continued with a team making their main card Beyond Wrestling debut: The Carnies of Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful. The Carnies spent years wrestling as Team IOU around the country, but the new name brought a new attitude and a world of new opportunities that the Carnies had conquered. The story of this match was “can the Carnies live up to the hype?” The Carnies needed a good showing against EYFBO to prove that and they certainly delivered in that aspect. I appreciated that we got to see Awful and Iggy’s strengths as they were matched up with the EYFBO partner that best reflected them. Iggy and Mike Draztik bring a little more finesse, while Ortiz and Awful are the sluggers, and it was fun watching them interact in that respect. EYFBO used all their great tandem offense, but the Carnies showcased what they had to offer, almost winning with the Force Destroyer. EYFBO had Iggy on the outside, leaving Awful to take EYFBO’s Street Sweeper and give the win to the hometown team. Had they picked up the action a bit earlier it would have had a more “hot” ending, but the crowd chanted for the Carnies to come back, so mission accomplished. I’d love to see this re-run at one of Beyond’s other home bases and see how it goes with a little more time.
Tabarnak de Team faced the makeshift tandem of Rex Lawless and Ryan Galeone. Galeone and Lawless must feel their singles careers weren’t going the way they wanted and decided to try teaming. While they had the size advantage and some really impressive offense (especially a variation on More Bang For Your Buck), TDT had their number and put down Galeone with a piledriver and tandem powerbomb. I’ll never complain about a Hoss sprint, especially when you have a team as good as TDT. Galeone and Lawless had a solid first showing, but Dan Barry did not seem to agree. Barry cut a homerun of a promo saying that Galeone and Lawless have devolved into a joke and will make no real impact or money if they stay the course. Barry helped to train and cultivate them and feels he can help them reach a higher plateau if they allow him to. Galeone and Lawless agree. I think Barry’s assistance is exactly what these two need to grow.
JT Dunn was last seen in Beyond in March, and had spent the first quarter of the year defeating men who outsized him: Brian Milonas in January, Michael Elgin in February, and Rex Lawless in March. Then, Dunn suffered a concussion and was shelved for a little while. Back from injury, he would find himself pitted against Ace Romero. Romero had a stand out performance against “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams in April, and was stabbed in the back by his tag team partner Brian Milonas last month. This was an opportunity for both men to start anew. Romero and Dunn knew each other well from past battles in other companies, making it easy for both men to scout one another’s initial offense. Dunn decided to nail a headbutt Romero, which isn’t the wisest move for someone coming out with a concussion. The match progressed with Dunn throwing his usual offense against his opponents with Romero using defense that would get Dunn to land on his head, such as sweeping out his feet on the ring apron, or giving Dunn a shotgun dropkick, Bossman Slam, or powerbomb as he came off the ropes. It took just a little over six minutes for Romero to score a major win against Dunn, pinning him with a hard lariat. This was a fun exchange and a good showcase for Romero in his first iPPV outing. That said, I come out of this most interested in what comes next for Dunn. With no Chris Hero, and now his reign as giant killer ending, Dunn is a man without a mission.
Brandon Watts believes AR Fox “stole” a win from his last month at “Death Knell”, so he would get another opportunity against the Whole Foxin’ Show tonight. Watts even made sure a different referee was assigned to the match before it began and not Kevin Quinn who missed Fox’s low blow last month. While there was some good high flying action, this all boiled down to the story with the referee. After Watts kicked out of both Lo Mein Pain and a 450 splash, Fox choked Watts with his wrist tape. Quinn came down to try and let the official know, but of course backfired on Watts who had a visual pinfall on Fox in a schoolboy. Fox kicked Watts’ in the dick, again, and nailed the Foxcatcher DDT for yet another victory. This was fine enough and had some solid action, but I think ultimately what will get Watts over as a singles act is high quality wrestling matches. The matches with Fox have been OK, but haven’t seem to showcase the best of either competitor. The referee story is only hurting. The sooner they can blow this off the better, but I think it’s time for Watts to be involved in something more productive.
John Silver, who has made his name in Beyond by defeating the upper echelon of independent wrestling in singles competition reformed the Beaver Boys with Alex Reynolds for the first time in over a year to face EVOLVE tag team champions Chris Dickinson and Jaka (in a non-title bout.) The teams trade control to start, but once they hit their groove, Doom Patrol took care of Alex Reynolds in their half of the ring. Reynolds eventually tagged in John Silver who decimated Jaka and Dickinson on his own, scoring two nearfalls on Dickinson, one with a Spin Doctor and the other with a Batista Bomb. On the second pin, Jaka BARELY broke it up. By barely I mean the referee definitely had to pull back the count of three so Jaka could intercept. Moments later, Reynolds accidentally wiped out Silver with a rolling elbow. This left Reynolds alone for Dickinson to hit a Canadian Destroyer and both Jaka and Dickinson to nail stereo superkicks. There was no doubt to me Doom Patrol would win here, but both teams gelled well and put on a fun, competitive match. The lesson learned here is Silver should keep his focus on his singles run in Beyond and Doom Patrol are far better suited to tag matches (especially Dickinson). This was fun.
The story was that both men were attempting to force the other to wrestle their kind of match. Lee takes his time, stalking his opponent after a big strike or slam, letting the opponent use their own energy to get up, then continue the attack. It’s more methodical than Riddle, who likes to strike hard and fast and end his matches as quickly as he can. Lee was much more successful in his approach, which makes sense given his size advantage. Riddle always managed to counter out of Lee’s Spirit Bomb attempt, until he got so caught up in slapping Lee in the face that he was popped up into it. Riddle was able to kick out, and Lee decided to go for Ground Zero and end the bout. Riddle countered out of that, rolling up Lee and holding his tights, stealing the win and keeping his undefeated streak in Beyond alive. The action here was really good and a lot of fun to watch, and in FloSlam’s universe, it added steam to their match at EVOLVE the next night. The action here was good enough for the finish not to dilute it, but you know these two have a banger in them. This just wasn’t the time or place for that type of match it seems.
Overall: There’s lots of good stuff on this show, namely the opener, EYFBO vs. The Carnies, and the last two matches. While I appreciate Beyond trying to expose as much talent as they can when they’re on a platform like FloSlam, this show felt too heavy and certain matches were short changed because of it. Beyond had the right idea with “Flesh” last Summer when they presented a six match “all killer, no filler event” right before EVOLVE that was able to get some energy out of a typically lethargic audience. I think there’s a balance to be struck, and the show will benefit overall from being a bit lighter. All that said, I had fun watching the event and think it’s best watched in multiple sittings, but I wouldn’t say it’s must see, and this Melrose crowd did the show no favors by sitting on their hands most of the event.
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Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) defeated The American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb) in 12:35 with a stuffed piledriver from Taylor to Webb. ***
2. Joey Janela pins Chuck O’Neil in 11:12, putting O’Neil onto his shoulders when O’Neil had a triangle choke applied. **¾
3. Shayna Baszler submits Penelope Ford to a grapevined ankle lock in 5:57. **½
4. Massage NV (VSK & Dorian Graves) defeated Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) via disqualification when Da Hit Squad knocked down the referee at 3:45. *
5. Wheeler YUTA pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman with a cross-legged tombstone in 11:05. ***
6. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) defeated The Carnies (Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful) with the Street Sweeper on Awful in 10:58. ***
7. Tabarnak de Team (Mathieu St. Jacques & Thomas Dubois) defeated Rex Lawless & Ryan Galeone in 5:25 with a tandem powerbomb on Galeone. **
8. Ace Romero defeated JT Dunn in 6:25 with a lariat. **¾
9. AR Fox pinned Brandon Watts with the Foxcatcher in 12:00. **½
10. Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) defeated The Beaver Boys (John Silver & Alex Reynolds) with double superkicks to Reynolds in 15:52. ***¼
11. Matthew Riddle defeats Keith Lee in 11:22, holding his tights in a schoolboy. ***½