Photo Credit: Harry Aaron
Americanrana has been the premiere event for Beyond Wrestling since 2013. With all the stories going on in the company over the past year, the 2017 installment, almost by necessity, had to be split up into two cards. The evening card also sold out so quickly that Beyond wanted to give fans who either got “shut out” a chance to enjoy a part of the annual supercard, as well as provide an “all day” experience for fans interested in such a thing. The promotion held a seven card Matinee event prior to the full evening show. Generously, Beyond put every match from this card on YouTube for free.
Brian Milonas and Ace Romero tag team came to an abrupt halt at “Death Knell” when Milonas attacked Romero after losing to Tabarnak de Team. The XXXL team had trouble finding their footing, and the veteran Milonas decided to unceremoniously dump the relative rookie and bailed before Romero could get his hands on him. Coming off of a huge win last month against JT Dunn, “Acey Baby” would get his opportunity to make Milonas pay on this afternoon. The match started out strong with Milonas attacking Romero before the bell and Romero taking back over with a suicide dive. Milonas powerbombing Romero on the apron to take back control was pretty crazy, but that was the last time the match was interesting whatsoever. Milonas pummeled Romero, Romero made a short comeback where he failed twice to get Milonas up on his shoulders, Milonas used the referee to halt Romero on the ropes, and then hit the Vader Bomb for the win. Sometimes bigger guys work better with smaller opponents, and I think that’s the case for both competitors. Knowing they have another match coming in a couple of shows makes the choice of Milonas defeating Romero less perplexing, but was still odd. No need to give this a watch.
The arrogant Cam Zagami’s open challenge was answered by the 6 ½ feet tall former football player Josh Briggs, who defeated Zagami in 32 seconds with a big boot and the Quackendriver I. This win puts Briggs on the map right away and makes me interested in his future in Beyond, so this was certainly a success.
Mikey Webb and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams had a very good, competitive match. It was framed as Webb attempting to get a fresh start as a singles competitor with Dijak’s exit eminent, and he more than held his own with Williams. They built to a nice crescendo in the last moments with each other ducking and dodging until Williams rolled through Webb’s American Destroyer attempt and drilling him with a piledriver for the win. Despite the loss, Webb had a very good showing against one of the top Independent wrestlers today. The fans enjoyed it and I did too.
After Rex Lawless and Ryan Galeone lost to Tabarnak de Team last month, Dan Barry gave them a reality check and offered to serve as a mentor. They were set to challenge Tabarnak de Team and Buxx Belmar in a trios match this month, but Rex Lawless suffered an injury and TDT and Belmar were held up at the Canadian border. Barry recruited a fellow New York native and partner of Lawless, Mike Verna, to take his place and Barry left it to Beyond to find suitable replacements. Beyond replaced Tabarnak de Team and Belmar with the Secret City Soldiers of Anthony Stone and Da Hoodz. Barry didn’t feel that they were serious competition, so he made the match a challenge for Galeone and Verna by removing himself from the bout and making it a two on three handicap match.
It’s interesting how absence makes the heart grow fonder in professional wrestling. The SCS had not been in Beyond for six months, and at the time were not well received by the audience, but their surprise appearance had the fans solidly cheering them. The good guy side suits them, as Da Hoodz can pull off some cool offense and Stone is one of the most creative performers Beyond has ever had. Even with a one man advantage, the sheer size and power of Verna and Galeone made them the underdogs. Despite their best efforts, the Amityville Project bested the Americanrana originals. Verna had Da Hoodz in his arms and on his shoulders when Galeone halted Anthony Stone on the top turnbuckle. Stone was ready to make the save for his partners, but instead got tossed into them after he got cracked with Rex Lawless’ crutch, and came crashing down on the mat with Da Hoodz. Galeone and Verna both pinned Davey Cash to show their dominance. It was important for the Project to look dominant in their first match and they did just that. Galeone has had a few starts and stops in Beyond but I think they may have find found the winning formula. I’m a big fan of Verna’s work in CHIKARA and think he’s a perfect fit for this group and Beyond. Stone is somebody I can see being worthy of a second chance if the opportunity and opponents present themselves.
Rory Gulak was invited to compete on today’s card after impressing on a recent Beyond studio taping. His technical wrestling prowess was matched up against someone who wrestles a similar style, Jay Freddie. The two had their strategies and stuck with them: Freddie went for the head while Rory went for the back. Rory took a lot of damage, including being dropped on the apron, taking a variety of brainbusters, and two hard Shining Wizard attempts. Gulak had the match well at hand before going to the top for a splash. Freddie got his knees up to counter and took over from there. Rory persisted, but ultimately fell to a fisherman’s Michinoku Driver. One thing I liked was that Rory denied Freddie a handshake during the match, but gave it to him once Freddie defeated him. It’s been fun watching Rory transform his career and he’s excelling at doing so, as one would expect given his background. I enjoy watching this type of wrestling and appreciate Beyond using some fresh competitors to employ it.
Coming off a hot NXT TV debut, Bobby Fish returned to Beyond for the first time in over three years to compete in his first singles match for the company. His opponent would be UFC lightweight competitor Tom Lawlor, who since being suspended from the UFC had made a return to the professional wrestling scene. Fish became annoyed with Lawlor after trading holds with him on the mat and switched to straight jabs and punches to take him down. Out of the corner, Lawlor caught Fish with a rear-naked choke and decided that getting Fish to pass out would be the best practice. The two traded blows and kicks, with Fish tackling Lawlor to the corner. Fish escaped from another rear-naked choke but managed to escape. When he tackled Lawlor to the corner again, this time Lawlor held onto Fish in a front chancery until he passed out and the referee called for the bell. Considering the two competitors, it was exactly the type of match you expected. While the match was good, the crowd wasn’t as into it as I had hoped. In some ways it felt like a less intense version of the match came right before it which could’ve been an issue. Lawlor vs. Riddle seems like a no brainer somewhere down the line (I know it happened in Black Label Pro; I meant specifically in Beyond.)
AR Fox kicked Brandon Watts in the groin at both “Death Knell” and “Go With The Flow” to gain the victory over them. In the third and final match of their series, a special guest referee was put in place to prevent this from happening yet again: Zenshi, formerly known as Shynron and Charade. Zenshi and Fox had quite a rivalry in Beyond two years ago, so you know he wouldn’t stand for Fox’s tricks, and Watts and Zenshi are kindred spirits in that they both broke their necks in Beyond Wrestling. Zenshi relaxed the rules so Watts and Fox could fight outside the ring uninterrupted. Watts was in firm control until missing an elbow smash onto a trash can through two chairs. The move also did damage to Watts’ repaired neck, which Fox exploited back in the ring. Watts withstood the Foxcatcher DDT and Rude Awakening. He then sent Fox outside for a suicide dive, but his turnaround was short lived as Fox caught him in a tree of woe and blasted him with a neckbreaker. Just when it looked like Watts was going to take back control on the apron, Fox drilled with him a Death Valley Driver onto it. Once again, Watts relented. Fox knocked down Zenshi, and whether it was by accident or not is debatable, but Fox used that opening to kick Watts in the groin again. Referee Kevin Quinn interjected when Fox went to use a chair. The confrontation allowed Watts to comeback with a half-nelson suplex, a German superplex, a frog splash elbow smash to pick up a huge win. When I say huge, I mean that this felt like a big deal for Watts. He got vindication for everything Fox put him through. The fans reacted in joy for Watts’ victory, and it felt like a true launching pad for him to jump to the next level in the company. Both wrestlers put in a heck of a performance, the 21 minutes flew by, and all the emotion conveyed absolutely came through on video. This would’ve fit right in on the main Americanrana card, but was a tremendous way to end the afternoon event.
Overall: Fox vs. Watts is certainly worth your time. Avoid the opening match and cherry pick the rest on Beyond’s YouTube channel for free!
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. Brian Milonas pinned Ace Romero in 10:43 with a Vader Bomb. *
2. Josh Briggs defeated Cam Zagami in 0:32 with the Quackendriver I.
3. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams bested Mikey Webb with a piledriver in 10:44. ***
4. The Amityville Project (Ryan Galeone & Mike Verna) defeated The Secret City Soldiers (Anthony Stone, Kris Pyro & Davey Cash) in 8:42, pinning Cash after a three person World’s Strongest Slam. **¾
5. Jay Freddie defeated Rory Gulak with a fisherman’s Michinoku Driver in 13:40. ***
6. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor makes Bobby Fish pass out in a front facelock in 14:19. **¾
7. Brandon Watts pins AR Fox with the frog splash elbow smash in 20:58. ***½