At the end of October 2017, Beyond Wrestling left New England and headed to New Jersey to participate in a double header with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW). This would be the first Beyond event in New Jersey open to the public in nearly three and a half years.
GCW put three of their best (Jimmy Lloyd, former GCW Champion KTB, and current GCW Champion Matt Tremont) up against the top group in Beyond, Team Pazuzu. Representing that group in this contest would be Jaka and EYFBO. The GCW team enjoyed a size advantage over the opposition, which they used to slow down the roll EYFBO was on in the early going. Jaka helped to get things going back in their favor, with EYFBO landing a hand in keeping Tremont down. Tremont escaped their wrath after ducking Jaka’s T’Challa kick and dropping him with a Samoan Drop. KTB helped Tremont clean up, but Pazuzu’s teamwork was able to best him and Jimmy Lloyd. Jaka forgot he was the legal man after he an EYFBO wiped out Jimmy Lloyd with a double stomp/powerbomb/neckbreaker combo and no pin was made. Tremont laid out EYFBO with a double clothesline and popped Jaka up into a Death Valley Driver to pick up the win for GCW. This continues the story of Team Pazuzu failing to get on the same page. Even though the match was relatively short, KTB made a positive impression and they packed in a lot of action. Using GCW’s own talent was a smart move in getting the hometown crowd into the show right off the bat, and the team more than held up against Team Pazuzu.
Six days prior to this event, Jonathan Gresham became the first ever Powerbomb.TV independent wrestling champion. Flanked by the leader of the Dream Team Stokely Hathaway, the champion would compete in a non-title match against Brandon Watts. In Watts’ corner would be his opponent turned tag team partner, Zenshi. Lest we forget Watts’ partnership with Zenshi is reluctant, as Watts had stated before his desire to challenge Zenshi for his CLL Lucha Libre championship after Watts defeated him in singles competition, but Zenshi instead offered the tag team idea. Watts outmaneuvered Gresham, which is not an easy feat. Watts was also able to go chop-for-chip with the champion. Gresham resorted to a dick tap to bring Watts down, then after a kick to the arm, the Octopus went to work wearing down that very limb. Watts was able to make a comeback thanks to a mid-air dropkick, and even Stokely tripping him from the floor couldn’t take him off his game. Zenshi tried to give advice to Watts as Watts climbed the ropes. Watts had the situation handled, but because of Zenshi sticking his nose into his business, Watts’ Froggy Elbow was delayed and Gresham was able to move. Gresham quickly armdragged Watts into a crucifix pin to secure the victory. Gresham’s new attitude was on full display here, showing a smug sense of satisfaction as he mastered Watts on the mat. Watts was able to showcase his exciting offense and an argument can be made that he had the match won if not for Zenshi. These two had great chemistry and put on a fun match.
Zenshi blamed Watts for the loss and instructed Watts to “watch and learn” as he took care of business against Dezmond Xavier. While this had all the acrobatic wrestling you would expect, there was nuance to it. There were no “standoffs” or handshake, each person struck when they could. Zenshi’s strategy was to damage Xavier’s leg to take away some of his offense, which paid off several times in the match. Zenshi would apply an ankle lock. Xavier got to the ropes to force the break. Zenshi sat down with a cradle after this, and grabbed the rope behind the referee’s back so Xavier could not kick out. Despite Watts protesting to the referee after the match, the decision stood. While I respect and understand the story Beyond wanted to tell, I think most people will be disappointed with this match, because it wasn’t the balls out, high flying insane contest these two are more than capable of. I have mixed feelings about this match but do think it achieved what it was going for.
Dick Justice and Johnny Cockstrong had a fun time doing a “softcore” match in the FCW Arena. Weapons such as suction cup arrows, sheets of cardboard, hard candy, and a literal bed of Nailz (a mattress with a picture of Nailz on it.) Justice landed a running splash onto Cockstrong on that very bed to win the match. I say this with most Cockstrong matches, but again, it’s a match you know beforehand whether or not it’s for you.
The H8 Club were one of the more prominent teams in the Philadelphia/Jersey area in the early 2000s, and again in the late 2000s, known mostly for their exploits in CZW. With Nick Gage out of prison and one of the top acts for GCW, Beyond threw us back to the early days of independent wrestling in the Jersey area with a tag match pitting the H8 Club against Da Hit Squad, shockingly, for the first time ever. Unlike the Zenshi/Xavier match, this is EXACTLY what people seeking out this match would want: a slugfest. These teams beat the heck out of each other, in and out of the ring, implementing doors, chairs, and the venue’s walls as weapons. This felt like a fight more than a wrestling match. The GCW fans absolutely adore Nick Gage and helped add to the atmosphere. Gage and Mack were left to talk trash and trade blows after their partners had been put through doors previously. At this point though, Hatred had recovered and was the person who put Maff through the door in the corner. Gage ended up giving Mack a piledriver, then feeding him right into Hatred for a lariat to give the home promotion heroes a big victory. I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was a nice gear shift from the two matches that preceded it and was a really cool match-up for long time Indie fans. Say what you will about Gage, but he’s been doing really well since his return to the Indies.
Another tag match pitting Beyond regulars versus Game Changer stalwarts saw Amityville Project members Mike Verna and Ryan Galeone (with Dan Barry) taking on SHLAK and Dan O’Hare, collectively known as the Storm of Entrails. This was a mess. There were chairs, mistimed offense, and double interference by Dan Barry and Rex Lawless that helped get Galeone and Verna the win. I like the Amityville Project quite a bit, but there’s absolutely no reason to watch this.
Last month, Martin Stone was able to defeat JT Dunn, one of the cornerstones of Beyond when they expanded into Providence, RI. Tonight, Stone would face somebody who has been the face of Beyond for nearly two years and defeated a who’s who in wrestling: John Silver. Silver and Stone had an evenly contested match, but credit where credit is due to Silver who brought the fight to Martin who seemed to keep the match on the mat. Stone gave in to Silver’s game of trading strikes and trading crossface attempts. Stone took a page out of his current tag team partner, and former Beyond alumnus’ book, and threw down Silver back into a crossface the same way Biff Busick would throw people into his rear-naked choke. This finally got Silver top tap out and give Stone a big win, along with some momentum rolling into his match with Zack Sabre, Jr. tomorrow night. There styles complimented each other super well. It was a genuine surprise to see Stone get the win, but him being one of the few people to defeat Silver is a sure fire way to boost him. This was great.
Chris Dickinson was scheduled to wrestle Teddy Hart, but shock of all shocks, Teddy Hart wasn’t there. Dickinson had worked for GCW prior to the company becoming GCW, and feels the fans are white trash and anyone who wrestles for the company is trash. He took out his aggression on his replacement opponent, Darby Allin, all the while wearing Zubaz pants, a tank top, and sneakers. Dickinson had his full beating up poor Darby, but as we’ve seen, Darby is borderline indestructible. Darby also put on display his unique offense, including a jump back Code Red I don’t think I had ever seen anyone execute before. Another springboard attempt got Darby caught on Dickinson’s arms in a Burning Hammer. Instead of the Hammer, Dickinson drove Darby stomach first into the corner before polishing him off with a Pazuzu Bomb. It was the man who loves to cause destruction versus the man who takes punishment like no other. While this was fun, I know they have an even better match in them that hopefully will come to fruition in the future.
It’s not often Team PAWG faces female competitors in Beyond Wrestling, but tonight they would face Blonde Ambition of Maria Manic and “The Bad Girl” Penelope Ford. Grace found herself in trouble at Manic and Ford’s hands, but Mama PAWG LuFisto saved the
day. Her and Grace bullied the smaller member of Blonde Ambition, but Gord refused to stay down. She found an opening for a tag after dropping LuFisto with a back handspring Ace Crusher. Manic used her surprising agility to take down PAWG with fervor. Unfortunately for Manic, she fell victim to ATM once Ford had been taken out of the picture, giving PAWG yet another win. Albeit short, this achieved what it wanted to and was very enjoyable.
Joey Janela’s quest for dominance in Beyond continued tonight as he squared off against Michael Elgin in the main event. As a former GCW World Champion and the man behind GCW’s Spring Break event, the crowd was quite behind The Bad Boy. Elgin’s power was countered by Janela’s unpredictability. Elgin’s calculated approach was dichotomized by Janela’s unpredictable. While Elgin outweighed and overpowered Janela, Janela would occasionally sneak in something like a Death Valley Driver, or a jackknife pin, but couldn’t keep Elgin down. It was extremely rare for Janela to even take Elgin off of his own feet. Janela managed to do so when he got some momentum off the ropes, bringin Elgin down into a modified crossface, the same hold that ended Riddle’s undefeated streak in Beyond. Elgin almost tapped out, but found the strength within to bring up Janela for a Buckle Bomb. Janela recovered from that, only moments later to be blasted by a backfist and another Buckle (Elgin) Bomb to give Elgin the hard fought win. Given Janela’s ascension in Beyond, I haven’t any clue why Elgin won here. He’s in Beyond as a semi-regular, typically in dream match situations, and given all the unpleasantness with him of late, who knows if Janela will ever have a rematch. This is easy for me to say over two months after the event, but even if nothing had changed I raise an eyebrow at the choice. None of this changes the fact that it was a good match, perplexing ending aside.
Overall: Beyond performed a fine balancing act in giving the audience an authentic Beyond Wrestling experience while also providing some unique match-ups to attract the area’s fan base. Da Hit Squad vs. H8 Club, Stone vs. Silver, and the main event are all matches I think people would enjoy, with Gresham vs. Watts and Dickinson vs. Allin only slightly trailing them. This show isn’t essential viewing, but there’s plenty to check out if interested.
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Quick Results/Match Times/Star Ratings
1. Team Game Changer Wrestling (Matt Tremont, Jimmy Lloyd & KTB) defeated Team Pazuzu (Jaka, Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) in 8:30 when Tremont pinned Jaka with a Death Valley Driver. **½
2. Jonathan Gresham pinned Brandon Watts after an armdrag into a crucifix pin at 9:18. **¾
3. Zenshi defeated Dezmond Xavier in 14:20 with a seated cradle, holding onto the middle rope. **½
4. Dick Justice pinned Johnny Cockstrong after a running splash onto a “bed of Nailz” in 6:32.
5. The H8 Club (Nick Gage & Nate Hatred) defeated Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) in 14:21 when Gage gave Mack a piledriver and Hatred followed up with a lariat. ***¼
6. The Amityville Project (Mike Verna & Ryan Galeone) defeated The Storm of Entrails (SHLAK & Dan O’Hare) in 6:28 with the Deal Breaker. *
7. Martin Stone tapped out John Silver to a Crossface in 12:52. ***¼
8. Chris Dickinson defeated Darby Allin with the Pazuzu Bomb in 7:53. **¾
9. Team PAWG (Jordynne Grace & LuFisto) put away Blonde Ambition (Penelope Ford & Maria Manic) in 6:23 with ATM. **
10. Michael Elgin defeated Joey Janela with the Elgin Bomb in 13:20. ***¼