In August of 2017, Beyond Wrestling had to say goodbye to Donovan Dijak. Dijak officially debuted for Beyond in April of 2015 and became THE top dog in a matter of months with show stealing performances. It was only a matter of time before Dijak was off to greener pastures, and Beyond held an event in Boston to properly send off and thank the New England native.
Beyond took a bold step with this show, only announcing Dijak vs. WALTER ahead of time. PROGRESS Wrestling was set to hold an event in the same building that evening, so some talent made a special appearance on the card along with the Beyond regulars. Several of the PROGRESS competitors experienced travel issues making it to the venue in time for the Beyond show, and I have to imagine that affected the proposed card for the evening. That fact alone makes this one of the most unique Beyond cards in its history.
The Amityville Project debuted last month during the Americanrana matinee card, defeating the Secret City Soldiers in a 2 on 3 handicap match. This month they were pitted against THE team of Beyond, EYFBO. With their size and strength, the Project more than held their own. Ortiz was taken down with Galeone’s springboard somersault senton and Verna’s F5 uranage, so when Draztik saw he was in certain doom from their double team finisher, he jumped into action. EYFBO then looked for the Street Sweeper, but Rex Lawless attacked Draztik from the floor with his crutch to cause a disqualification. They packed a good amount of action into the five minutes and the crowd was receptive to it all. Doom Patrol of Chris Dickinson and Jaka saved EYFBO from a post-match beatdown, evening the odds and sending the Project packing.
JT Dunn has had an inconsistent 2017 in Beyond, losing the last two events to Ace Romero and John Silver. On this night he squared off against the debuting Martin Stone. Stone was keen on working on Dunn’s limbs. Dunn responded with striking, his specialty, but Stone would use a dropkick to halt his momentum and not allow Dunn to hit his rolling elbow. Stone decided he’d give in to the striking battle himself in the hopes that would pay off. They both did a great job dodging one another’s bigger offense and fired one another up. Dunn had Stone hooked for the Death Blow. Stone countered into a backslide, which Dunn turned into a sunset flip folding press. He pinned Stone, but Stone’s body was positioned so that his feet were in the ropes and the referee did not notice. Stone was not happy with the decision, but didn’t complain. Instead, he wants Dunn one more time. Given how much fun this match was, I’m all game for a second showing. Both guys worked hard and put on an engaging, back-and-forth bout.
After refereeing Brandon Watts vs. AR Fox at the Americanrana matinee event, Zenshi would return to in-ring competition against Watts, who defeated Fox in a career making performance. Watts and Zenshi moved at a quick pace. Watts showed up Zenshi with a beautiful dropkick, while Zenshi sent him outside and nailed a tiger feint kick from the floor. Watts took back over with an apron STO, only for Zenshi to do damage to his ribs with a backflip kick as Watts hung on the second ropes and with a 450 splash. Watts caught Zenshi coming off the ropes with a back cracker. Zenshi got Watts down for a 630 splash, but Watts rolled away. Even though Zenshi landed without crashing, Watts pounced on him quickly enough, using the element of surprise to get the win. Watts has become a stand out of the “New Crop” Beyond has featured. He puts in solid performances month after month with a variety of competitors, and this match allowed him to show a bit more attitude and cunning. I find myself interested in what he’s up to. Zenshi taking some time away helped me as a viewer come back around on him and I quite like seeing him on these shows.
Matthew Riddle suffered his first Beyond Wrestling loss last month against Joey Janela. The Doom Patrol were also handed a defeat against Team PAWG. Beyond pitted Doom Patrol against Riddle and Jeff Cobb, together known as the Chosen Bros. Cobb lost his last two matches in Beyond, one of those being against Chris Dickinson, so each team had the opportunity to course correct by earning a victory tonight. These two teams had a battle where they beat the heck out of one another. Each team was able to rap someone in their corner (Cobb with Doom Patrol, Jaka with the Chosen Bros), while Dickinson and Riddle taunted each other. When the two of them got into the ring and began to trade strikes, the atmosphere was electric. All four men were at their best here and put on a show. Dickinson saved Jaka from Cobb tossing him into Riddle’s Bro 2 Sleep and wiped out Riddle with a hellacious Pazuzu Bomb. Cobb was left to take a series of blows from the Doom Patrol, ending with a chop block/clothesline combo and a win for Dickinson and Jaka. If you like seeing four men beat the crap out of each other, this is the match for you. With Riddle defeating Dickinson in their two previous singles matches, and Riddle not being involved in the fall in this match, I’d love to see another bout between the two of them. With Riddle’s undefeated streak ended, it’s possible Dickinson may just be able to take him down were they to meet again. This is one of the more “slept on” matches in 2017 and I hope people will check it out.
The final three matches of the show featured performers from PROGRESS Wrestling. The first featured Zack Gibson against Beyond golden boy John Silver. Silver started off hot with a forearm that almost knocked Gibson out. Gibson recouped on the floor by driving Silver’s arm and shoulder into the mat while it was locked in a hammerlock. While Gibson did focus a lot of his offense on that arm, he also made sure to do damage to Silver’s other extremities. It’s of course to beneficial to do all around damage to an opponent, not keeping that focus may have been what ultimately cost him the match. After capturing Silver in the corner, Gibson brought him down with a lungblower. He hoisted up Silver for a cradle suplex into an Ace Crusher, but upon landing, Silver escaped, muscled up Gibson for a Batista Bomb, then rocked him with a penalty kick for the pinfall. Perhaps if Gibson had been more focused on the arm, he could’ve connected with that Ace Crusher, or submitted him to the London Dungeon, and Silver may not have had the strength to pull off the Batista Bomb. Psychology wise, this match was excellent. The wrestling was good too but had a tough spot in following the previous tag encounter.
With TK Cooper injured the night before, Travis Banks of the South Pacific Power Trip found himself in singles competition against “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams. After trading control on the mat, Williams went head hunting. It worked last month against Mikey Webb when he pinned him after a piledriver, so it sounded good in theory. Williams DDT’d him on the top turnbuckle and caught Banks in a piledriver, but Banks’ tenacity allowed him to kick out. Banks had been quick with his kicks and strikes all match long, and after kicking out of the piledriver made quick work of Williams. He caught Williams with a corner double stomp, a Kiwi Crusher, and a Sankakugeri for the victory. The crowd was strangely quiet for this match and I’m not sure why. It was almost as good as the match beforehand and had plenty of energy and action. Obviously Banks won’t become a Beyond regular, but I think for the company’s larger narrative Williams losing sight of the victory after the piledriver didn’t go his way is more valuable. Rory Gulak on commentary noted his bad blood for Hot Sauce, so that will likely materialize in some fashion soon.
Donovan Dijak’s Beyond career will never be replicated. Nobody will have a stronger, more consistent 2 plus year body of work than he did. Biff Busick helped usher in a new era of Beyond with the first Americanrana, and Dijak took the ball from him when Busick exited. On his final event for Beyond, Dijak would face PROGRESS and wXw superstar WALTER. WALTER was a man Dijak mentioned wanting to wrestle in his BeyonDemand interview the previous Summer, and Beyond made that match a reality for Dijak on his final night with the company.
This was a slugfest. Like a “Greatest Hits” album, Dijak dished out the arsenal we’ve all come to know and love. WALTER had a lot of it very well scouted. When Dijak originally went for Feast Your Eyes, Walter slipped into a sleeper hold and then one of the gnarliest sounding big boots I’ve ever had. When Dijak went for a moonsault, WALTER got his knees up and took back over on offense. Dijak did hit Feast Your Eyes successfully, but WALTER landed on his feet and blasted Dijak with a lariat to stop a pin from happening. After more brawling, WALTER went back for the sleeper hold. Dijak escaped and hit a rolling big boot before pulling off a second Feast Your Eyes and picking up the victory. I can see the argument for Dijak losing in his final match. For me, Dijak’s legacy to Beyond means so much that it’s very fitting to go out on top, much like Biff Busick did on his final night with the company, and it isn’t as if WALTER is going to be a regular by any means. I can not think of a finer way for Dijak to leave Beyond; defeating one of his dream opponents with his trainer on commentary and wife watching from the crowd.
Overall: Dijak’s farewell match and the Doom Patrol vs. Chosen Bros. matches are absolutely worth your time. For some people the novelty of seeing some PROGRESS folks in Beyond will make this a worthwhile purchase, but if nothing else I recommend checking those two matches out on BeyonDemand and cherry picking whatever else piques your interest.
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, the entire Women’s Wrestling Revolution catalogue, and BeyonDemand exclusives such as “Greatest Rivals Round Robin 2”, a clinic with Zack Sabre, Jr., never before seen Eddie Edwards matches, and interviews with Biff Busick, Donovan Dijak, Keith Lee, and others.
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. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) defeated The Amityville Project (Mike Verna & Ryan Galeone) by disqualification in 5:04 when Rex Lawless attacked Draztik with a crutch. **½
2. JT Dunn pins Martin Stone in a folding press at 11:48. ***¼
3. Brandon Watts pins Zenshi after Zenshi misses a 630 splash and Watts dove on top of him. **¾
4. Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) defeated The Chosen Bros (Matthew Riddle & Jeff Cobb) in 15:46 with Chop Block/Clothesline combo on Cobb. ***¾
5. John Silver bested Zack Gibson in 9:00 with a Batista Bomb and punt to the head. ***
6. Travis Banks defeated “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams in 10:33 with a Sankakugeri. **¾
7. Donovan Dijak defeated WALTER with Feast Your Eyes in 12:17. ***¾