The Indie Corner: Beyond Wrestling's Crises Precipitate Change Review

ACH, one of the stars of the show (photo via Dirty Dirty Sheets)

I reviewed Beyond's latest offering which is available on YouTube's rental service for the low price of $9.99. Check it here.

Highlights:

  • Cockstrong wrestled for a second time in an elimination match, but it was Anthony Stone who was the sole survivor.
  • Darius Carter cut a promo talking about how he was going to take off as a singles competitor and leave TJ Marconi in the dust.
  • The KOA team of Sugar Dunkerton, Aaron Epic and Pinkie Sanchez had Talent, Stone and Angel on the ropes most of the match, but Stone stole victory by sniping a pin from his partner Talent.
  • After the match, Talent, who wasn't on the same page as his partners the entire match, walked out on his team.
  • Mikaze resoundingly defeated Mark Shurman.
  • Gulak's temper got the best of him as he dropped his second match of the weekend to Carter.
  • Sanchez fended off a tough challenge from Taka Suzuki.
  • In the main event, ACH bounded off walls and pillars but got caught in the Jaws of the Jaguar, dropping the fall to Johnny Mangue.

General Observations:
  • The look on Fox's face after Cockstrong went for the In the Pants Piledriver for the first time early in the match was priceless, like "Holy shit, he did not just try that."
  • Pro on Johnny Cockstrong: He's got an awesome oeuvre and character tropes.
  • Con on Cockstrong: His execution seemed a bit off all match.
  • Fox made jumping from the auxiliary training ring to the main ring look easy.
  • The second match felt a bit too sleepy for my tastes.
  • I did like Talent's eye rake skills though.
  • I really dug the reparte early on in the Starr/Fury match. Good student/teacher dynamic.
  • Brian Fury pulling out a NOSE RAKE will always get a thumbs up from me.
  • As a fan of big bumps, I appreciated Starr going straight to the floor after taking a slingshot gordbuster from Fury.
  • Starr showed a lot of great pluck in his big comeback. That's a pretty great quality for a future sympathetic good guy to have.
  • Not sure Denver Colorado has to keep talking about Gulak's European excursion, because he puts that shit on exhibition at the beginning of most of his Beyond matches. I really appreciate the mat exchanges.
  • Gulak had his trolling shoes on early too, fucking with the crowd (of mostly wrestlers and trainees).
  • I really liked the transition from the mat portion into the actual "match" portion with Angel getting the better of Gulak and eliciting a big lariat.
  • Gulak throws a deceptively stiff lariat too. Huge fan.
  • Angel's size paired well with Gulak's smarts here for some really cool visuals.
  • I totally did a double-take on the pop-up spinebuster that ended the match. That's a move that could get over huge with a larger crowd.
  • I really like Steve Weiner for kitsch value, but dude's greener than his ring gear. He was mercifully eliminated early in that match after some of the weakest corner runs I've ever seen.
  • I was a little nonplussed to see the WWE "theme song distracts a guy for the pin" figure into the big finish for the elimination match, but que sera sera I suppose.
  • It's always weird to see a match where one guy ends up being the only one aligned in a certain way. Talent was the only bad guy in the six man match, but it actually worked.
  • Surprising to hear Talent drop the n-bomb, but it was definitely a brilliant way to light the powder keg for this match.
  • Dunkerton, not to be outdone by Gulak, started throwing his lariats around like he was chocolate Stan Hansen.
  • Stone really showed me a lot of scrap and heart in this match. Great face-in-peril work here.
  • That all being said, the KOA did a really good job of isolation. Despite being fan favorites, they really worked the rudo tag game well. Loved their triple team offense as well.
  • I don't know if he intended to land on the crown of his head on a simple leg sweep, but regardless, Stone took maybe the bump of the night with that.
  • The finish of the match came across a little counterproductive to the oeuvre of the match, but it still got the point across that Talent and his team were on a different page.
  • I kinda wish Mikaze got a longer match against a better opponent. He was worth the hype he's been getting in the last couple of weeks.
  • I'm trying not to repeat myself, but yeah, Gulak's mat wrestling was so on-point in this match as well. I loved how he got the better of Carter enough that he was making him flinch at one point.
  • Add Carter to the list of guys who throw good eye pokes.
  • Gulak must have seen Dunkerton and thought, "I need to one-up him" when he was throwing his stiff-ass lariats during this match.
  • Carter's escape of the grounded single crab by hitting Gulak with his free knee was pretty inventive. The whole exchange was actually really cool.
  • I'm usually not a fan of losing streak angles, but the way they're playing off Gulak's woes is really good. He's getting the better of his opponents and getting tunnel vision.
  • Carter's Codebreaker was actually better than Jericho's because his knees actually touched Gulak's face. Blasphemy, I know.
  • Pinkie Sanchez has the best in-match theatrics.
  • The best exchange of the card happened when Sanchez and Suzuki went to the outside. The whole sequence from the trashcan dive to Pinkie going from the apron to stomp on a seated-in-a-chair Suzuki was just sublime.
  • The Fromunda cheese inverted Indian death lock was equal parts repulsive and ingenious.
  • There's no other way of saying it; ACH is a freak of nature. Some of the stuff he pulled out in the main event was just sick, most impressive being his reverse sort of kip up thing. I need a .gif of that.
  • Still, the best thing he might have done during the match was setting himself up to take a punch to the face while he was split-legged and balanced between the ring post and the support pillar.

Match of the Night: There were a few candidates for this, but I had to give it up to Drew Gulak and Darius Carter. What is it about the Combat Zone guys? They compete in such an ultraviolent environment, but somehow, they all seem to come out with fundamentals and an appreciation for all kinds of wrestling. Gulak, like Necro Butcher and Drake Younger among others, is grounded and can wrestle outside of the blood 'n guts environment. He showed that in both his matches, but it was his tilt with Carter that was the better of the two affairs.

Everything that was done during the match had purpose to tell the story of the brash and overconfident Carter getting knocked down a peg before pulling himself back up after sensing Gulak started to get tunnel vision, putting that peg right back in the wall. The story between the two points was just masterfully told. Gulak is such a smart wrestler that he was able to direct traffic and let Carter do his thing.

The mark of a great wrestler is that he can use his surroundings to his advantage. Gulak used the ring like an old pro in the same vein that a William Regal or even Drew McIntyre does. The European influence shone through all match, including some great apron work. I also appreciate a good rope kick counter to someone perching himself on the top rope. Again, it also wasn't all Gulak here. Carter broke out some nice offense himself, including a nice spin on the uranage backbreaker, as well as the best variation on the Codebreaker I've ever seen out of a counter of that aforementioned tunnel vision-induced corner lariat attempt. All-in-all, a fantastic match.

Overall Thoughts: Beyond Wrestling can be an acquired taste. For people who absolutely need to have big, vocal crowds, they're going to ignore a company that generally puts shows on in front of just the other wrestlers. That being said, they're making a huge error when they do that. There's something engaging about guys wrestling in a school in front of only their peers for the most part. When the selling point of the promotion is that everyone on the roster is hungry for more attention, that kind of atmosphere might be able to drive the point home more than going in front of a larger crowd ever could.

For the most part, the matches all delivered. Yeah, Mangue is nominally the ace of the promotion and Cockstrong has the most wins, but Gulak went out in two matches and staked his claim to be King Shit of Beyond's Fuck Mountain. The KOA had their own groove going. Angel was great in his singles match, and while I thought his post-hot tag run was underwhelming, well, no one's perfect. There were some misses, but the stuff that worked really worked. It presented this group of up-and-comers and neglected veterans as a viable future for wrestling.

I highly recommend picking this rental up, just for something different. Also, because there were definitely some major lariats being thrown around, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that a well-done lariat is fucking cool to watch.

Results:

  • Johnny Cockstrong d. AR Fox
  • Nick Talent d. Doug Summers
  • Julian Starr d. Brian Fury
  • Mark Angel d. Drew Gulak
  • Johnny Cockstrong elimina
  • ted Steve Weiner, Anthony Stone eliminated JT Dunn and Cockstrong to win elimination match
  • Anthony Stone, Mark Angel and Nick Talent d. Aaron Epic, Sugar Dunkerton and Pinkie Sanchez
  • Mikaze d. Mark Shurman
  • Darius Carter d. Drew Gulak
  • Pinkie Sanchez d. Taka Suzuki
  • Johnny Mangue d. ACH
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