Beyond’s latest Tournament For Tomorrow finally wrapped up, while Jonathan Gresham was strong-armed into putting his Powerbomb.tv title on the line in Worcester as Beyond presented Abbondanza.
It had been a wacky tournament, with injuries and other factors forcing MJF out of his spot in the tournament… before he won it back last month after Ace Romero’s withdrawal meant that his spot had to be filled. We’re back inside Worcester’s Electric Haze here, and we have a monstrous 3½ hour show. Rich Palladino is your ring announcer, with a slightly-recovered voice after what happened at “I Want It All”… Denver Colorado and Paul Crockett are on the call, at least from the off.
Tornado Tag: Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford)
There’s technical issues as the image is frozen on Rich Palladino reaching into his tuxedo for something as we hear the teams coming out. It picks up in time for the bell, as Jaka and Dickinson attack Janelope, focusing their efforts on a Janela who was barely 24 hours removed from that brutal war with Nick Gage.
Dickinson uses a Singapore cane as a snooker cue, nailing Janela in the groin, and it’s quite clear that this is one-sided… especially when the only resistance early came through Penelope Ford, who was easily overwhelmed. Janela tries to fly in by swinging off a roof beam, but Jaka just yanks him down as he’s crotched on the top rope, where he’s left as Chris Dickinson becomes RVD with a flying kick to the chair for a near-fall.
That’s the cue for Penelope to fire up, catching Dickinson with a handspring back elbow… before Janela’s in to help Ford land the Janelope Device for a near-fall. In response, Janela eats Total Elimination as Doom Patrol struck back… literally and figuratively, with Ford taking a Singapore cane shot and a cane-assisted side Russian legsweep a la the Sandman.
Ford fights away from the Death Trap as the momentum threatened to turn again, with Janela saving Ford after her Matrix evasion was almost countered into doom… but in the end a roll-up with a bridge proved to be enough as Janelope racked up their second win in as many days. Entertaining enough, although this was a victim of the “little direction” in Beyond, as Penelope Ford ended up portrayed as a killer here. ***¼
Josh Briggs vs. DJ Z
We’ve a jump start as DJZ powerbombed Briggs out of the corner during the introductions, before following him outside for a tope con giro as Briggs was caught off guard.
A leap off the bar goes wrong when Briggs catches DJZ and eventually pops him up into the Electric Haze’s wall. Despite that, DJZ almost kicks Briggs out of the door before returning to the ring to flip some more… but a Quebrada gets nothing but knees as the monster Briggs made a comeback.
Briggs negotiates some ventilation ducts as he walks DJZ around the ring in a stalling suplex, before he cuts off an attempt at DJZ’s fightback with a right hand. The M5 chokeslam/lungblower’s countered out of with a DJZ rana as the former TNA guy finally gets back into it, shifting his momentum to counter out of a tiltawhirl slam. Another M5’s countered, as DJZ nails a 720 DDT out of the corner… but Briggs is back with a butterfly suplex that nearly wins it out of nowhere.
A spinning headbutt knocks DJZ down as Briggs starts to target the midsection with a gutbuster, but he misses a moonsault off the top as DJZ hits straight back with a roll-up into a DDT for a near-fall. Somehow, DJZ gets in a 450 splash, but Briggs grabs him by the throat just before the impact… and hauls him up into a brutal M5 chokeslam/back cracker for the win. Short and sweet, but never a dull moment. Seems to be the MO for Beyond this weekend, eh? ***¼
Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) vs. Team PAWG (Jordynne Grace & LuFisto)
Grace and LuFisto keep up the jump starts, as they rush Silver and Reynolds before the camera even got onto them! Commentary notes that this spawned from Heavy Lies The Crown, where Silver beat down Grace after their match – an outing where he snapped a long losing streak.
It’s Grace and Reynolds who hit the ring as the crowd got behind LuFisto after her recent health scare. Grace gets caught with a back suplex onto the apron, seemingly scraping the side of the ring in an awkward landing, before LuFisto’s attempt to make a save ends with her taking a snap German suplex from Silver for a near-fall.
Silver starts to pepper LuFisto with kicks to the chest, as Reynolds pulls her hair as the Beaver Boys made a point of keeping Jordynne Grace as far away from the ring as possible. It almost backfires as an inside cradle gets LuFisto a near-fall, but that’s about it as Reynolds hits back and brings in Silver… who keeps up the motif, which means LuFisto has nobody to tag out to when she back body drops the “Raw Dog”.
Finally Grace appears and is able to get the tag in, dropping Reynolds with a roll-up cutter and a sliding lariat for a near-fall. Problem was, the Beaver Boys quickly combined to hit a powerbomb with a jack-knife cover, forcing LuFisto to make the save as Team PAWG manage to get Silver in by himself.
A double-team brainbuster rocks Silver, as do all manner of corner attacks, but Reynolds is back to even things up… only to end up taking a double-team powerbomb out of the corner and a pair of hip attacks as the Beaver Boys take the loss. So much for that win streak, eh? ***
Pull-It Club (Dorian Graves, Johnny Cockstrong & VSK) vs. Dick Justice, Orange Cassidy & Shockwave The Robot
Comedy match alert! Johnny Cockstrong’s got a glowing codpiece, as Paul Crockett on commentary seemed to hate everyone in this match. Perhaps it’s the fact that Dick Justice’s spandex onesie has several noticeable holes in it?!
Shockwave the Robot holds things up as he judders down to the ring, to a reaction that I can only call “confusion”. There’s a brief argument between Cassidy and Justice after the “finger gun” was announced as being banned… that was because Justice’s gun led to a cameraman getting shot at Apocalypse Dude in October. I’m not making any of this up.
VSK tries to massage Justice after he couldn’t get a waistlock in… Dorian Graves tries the same, but Justice ends up taking him down as he really doesn’t want that massage. Johnny Cockstrong somehow has healing powers, but he tags in – glowing codpiece and all – and the match grinds to a halt as Cockstrong tries to heal himself after a punch.
Cassidy tags himself in as the pace increases (seriously), with Orange landing a falling elbow off the top rope – aka the Lethargic Leap – for a near-fall. Graves and VSK combine to take Cassidy down, before they chop and massage Justice into a reverse DDT. Cockstrong rolls over Justice into a pin… then back across into Cassidy as Shockwave got the tag in. To his credit, Shockwave even sells robotically as we work up to a, erm, test of strength that gives way to disco stuff that made Shockwave malfunction.
VSK and Graves’ attempt to massage Shockwave back to life doesn’t quite work, but Cockstrong’s glowing codpiece forces the robot into the corner… but that’s where things go awry as the massagers try to take advantage with a slip ‘n’ slide headbutt into Shockwave… but VSK knocks himself out on Shockwave’s metal body. Duh!
They drag away VSK as we almost have another death on our hands, quickly followed by another when Orange Cassidy accidentally sprays Shockwave with orange juice! One short-circuit later, they’re a man down, but Cassidy resets him… only for Shockwave to go rogue as Cassidy and Justice get choked down. Cockstrong gets Donkey Kong’d in the corner, and kicked in the nuts, and I can’t stop laughing, as the referee waves off the match because of a rogue robot. Cannot rate, but this eventually paid off!
Shockwave ends up leaving the building, taking a fan by the throat as we see him walking away as only he can…
20,000 Thumbtacks Match for GCW Championship: Rickey Shane Page vs. Nick Gage (c)
From comedy to brutality now. Yeah, this isn’t going to be pretty, especially as Rickey Shane Page somehow bled from a headlock yesterday.
Gage attacked RSP at the intros, and we’re instantly onto the bin full of thumbtacks, pouting them onto the apron and the ring before wacking the bin onto RSP’s head. Lovely. Tacks get punched into Page, as the odd pins fly into the crowd… and even more fly as RSP throws a handful of them into Gage’s face to avoid a charge in the corner.
Page is the first one to get the crimson mask, but he’s able to dump Gage into the tacks with a slam… only for the GCW champion to DDT him into the pins in reply. All the bumps into the drawing pins follow, as Gage decides to stab a pin into RSP’s ear lobe. Just because he can. More go into Page’s mouth and gums?!
Gage feeds RSP a handful of tacks and follows up with face-washing boots for a near-fall, before a back cracker into the tacks gives Gage another near-fall. An empty water jug is thrown onto Page as Gage gets some chairs to add to the plunder, which he sets up as a landing pad… but RSP makes him pay by beating him to the punch, dumping Cage with Emerald Fusion onto the chairs?!
Yep. This is overboard! Somehow, Gage kicks out, and replies with a spinebuster to RSP as he grabs the remnant of the chair and uses it to boot some more pins into Page’s head. Page shoves away superplex attempt, but he whiffs on a top rope back senton, and he ends up crawling to the other side of the ring… where Gage superplexes him into the tacks before rolling into a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.
Piledrivers into the tacks follow, but it’s still not enough to put away Page, who snaps back in with a tombstone, only for Gage to shrug it off and reply with a chokebreaker into the pins for the win. As brutal as you’d expect, with the finish perhaps being due to weardown rather than the impact of the finish. Your mileage will vary! **½
There’s a lengthy interval to clear up the debris…
Amityville Project (Dan Barry, Mike Verna, Rex Lawless & Ryan Galeone) vs. Hooligans (Devin Cutter & Mason Cutter) & Viking War Party (Alex Herzog & Jake Parnell)
Yeah, we’re not calming down – Herzog comes out with a LIVE, WORKING chainsaw, dumping it in the ring. Fortunately it doesn’t rip up the freshly-replaced canvas. The Amityville Project came out to Martin Stone’s music, which looked wacky…
This starts out furiously as all eight men brawled, before we settled down to Dan Barry against the Hooligans, with hip attacks and cannonballs flattening him in there. We quickly go to the revolving door stuff, with Lawless dumping one of the Hooligans with a swinging side backbreaker, before a wheelbarrow DDT onto Devin Cutter kept the lengthy Parade of Moves going.
A pop-up powerbomb’s turned into a ‘rana by Herzog, as Galeone replies with a cannonball off the top as tags remain a novelty. Dan Barry eats an octet of axehandle smashes off the top, but after his team mates make a save, Barry’s back with a moonsault off the top to the pile on the floor, narrowly missing the ventilation ducts in the process. Galeone throws in another dive, with a corkscrew-ish senton, and that’s what keeps the Amityville Project ahead… albeit briefly as Devin Cutter spiked Barry with a sit-out tombstone.
Verna comes in to make a save as he and Lawless hit the powerbomb/slam combo, before Herzog keeps the revolving door going… only to eat a deadlift powerbomb from Galeone and a frog splash from Barry to end things. Fun while it lasted, but this isn’t one for tag purists, with way too much tag-less anarchy. Still, another W for the Amityville Project, who are starting to get some steam behind them. ***
Tournament For Tomorrow Final: Wheeler YUTA vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
Commentary compared this match to Flair/Steamboat going in, which some may say is a huge stretch given their comparable experience levels. It’s a final that was delayed by two months after Ace Romero was removed from the tournament – with MJF taking his spot back in a scramble match a month later.
MJF sends Stokely Hathaway to the back, and that decision looked to backfire instantly as YUTA started by working over Friedman’s arm as the pair kept things pretty grounded. An attempt at underhanded tactics backfires too, as MJF tried to use his scarf to unsight YUTA, but Wheeler’s quickly in with more lucha-style offence to keep Friedman down for a near-fall.
Eventually an eye rake gets MJF some hope as he starts to work away on YUTA’s arm, throwing in a Fargo Strut too before using an arm whip to send YUTA crashing into the turnbuckles. Somehow, YUTA’s able to mount a comeback, countering a superplex into a Code Red off the middle rope, before laying into MJF with a series of chops. A double-jump ‘rana into the corner keeps MJF on the back foot, as his attempt to powder to the outside earned him a tope instead.
The Blue Thunder Bomb back inside gets YUTA a near-fall, as he follows up with a leg grapevine submission, but the arm damage from earlier restricted YUTA a little as MJF got to the ropes. It’s back to the arm for MJF, as he works up into a wrist clutch Angle Slam before going back to the armbar again. Somehow YUTA’s able to nail Emerald Fusion for a near-fall, as MJF instantly rolled outside… where he recovers by trapping YUTA in the ring apron as the ref had taken a bump moments earlier.
MJF grabs the bin from earlier in the night, and plants YUTA with a tombstone onto it… but somehow YUTA gets a shoulder up! After stalking YUTA, MJF wanders into a small package for another near-fall as YUTA tried to mount one more fightback, blocking an eye poke before superkicking Friedman and knocking him down with a flying dropkick.
Both men barely beat the standing ten count before collapsing again… MJF gets his senses back and locks in an armbar, forcing Wheeler into the ropes once more. A Heat Seeking Piledriver’s countered as YUTA backdrops MJF to the floor, and the comeback resumes as YUTA starts to target’s MJF’s knee, landing a low dropkick to it, followed by a Dragon screw, before a knee bar rolls MJF into the middle of the ring.
MJF rakes the eyes again to free himself as he spams that armbar again, but after YUTA rolls up into a pinning predicament, he goes straight back to the knee bar, before switching it into an STF as Friedman was forced to tap! Lovely stuff, avoiding any kinds of external shenanigans (largely speaking) – keeping stuff on the mat and getting the crowd invested as well. A low key banger of a match! ****
American Strong (Jay Freddie & Rory Gulak) vs. Latin American Exchange (Ortiz & Santana)
Call them EYFBO if you want (and commentary certainly used those names at times), but they were announced by their Impact names here… so I guess we’re going with that… and a bunch of Steiner Brothers impersonations too, as Ortiz and Freddie tried their best Rick Steiner stuff.
We start with Gulak and Santana grappling… but Santana quickly decks Gulak with a kick as he went for a takedown, and that firmly gets LAX on top as they blast through Rory with chops and backbreakers… but it’s when Ortiz comes in that things switch back as an armdrag catches the afro’d one off-guard.
Some double-teams from American Strong keep them ahead as commentary brings up the split in Team Pazuzu, with (now) LAX apparently not having been in contact with Doom Patrol since their split at the end of last year. A snapmare and a diving elbow from Ortiz gets him back in, as does a kneeling powerbomb, before a double-team suplex/crossbody from LAX almost puts Freddie away.
A Dragon screw off the top rope sees Freddie yank down Santana, who quickly finds himself isolated – and narrowly misses a blind tag to Ortiz before he counters away from a double suplex, only to eat a double Japanese armdrag instead. Finally Ortiz gets the tag in after Freddie was taken into the ropes, and Ortiz is a house on fire, sending Gulak flying with a big back body drop!
A springboarded sunset flip led to some indyriffic pins between Ortiz and Gulak, with a delayed referee costing them a three-count. Freddie recovers to drag Ortiz to the outside as Gulak decides to join them with a tope con giro as the momentum suddenly shifted, and back again as a swift combination of moves suddenly earned LAX another near-fall.
Santana fights out of a pair of powerbombs, but can’t stop a pair of enziguiris as American Strong followed up with duelling brainbusters and Shining Wizards, but it’s still not enough as Ortiz broke up the pin. That earned Ortiz a big dropkick from Freddie, then a death valley driver as Gulak’s amazing splash off the top almost sealed victory. More desperation back-and-forth eventually led to the finish, and it came in LAX’s favour as Gulak ate a double-team powerbomb for the pin… Enjoyable stuff, but a match that put American Strong in their place. They’re getting there, but they’re definitely on the rise as opposed to being one of Beyond’s top tandems. ***½
…and the Amityville Project rush out instantly after the bell to beat down LAX… only for Doom Patrol to come out with a tyre wrench and a Singapore cane to make the save. That led to a staredown between the former Team Pazuzu members, but not much more as Dickinson and Jaka left them behind.
Elimination Match for Powerbomb.tv Independent Championship: Martin Stone vs. Tracy Williams vs. Jonathan Gresham (c)
Gresham had previously defended his title against both these guys before, albeit with screwy finishes as Williams lost to a disputed submission whilst Stone lost via count-out. The champion was coming into this with a knee injury that he picked up against Jay Lethal in ROH earlier in the month – an injury that had forced him off of prior shows.
The two challengers start off by double-teaming Gresham as we get a bunch of stacked up holds and submissions attempts, before Gresham gets chopped in the ding-ding as the referee took no action. Martin Stone cracks the fingers of Gresham, who unwisely tries to chop back with the injured hand, to the expected effect as the two challengers snap the fingers back some more.
Gresham tries in vain to escape, but he just gets chopped some more before he leaps over a spear from Williams, who ends up taking out Stone instead. That gave the champion a glimmer of hope, but Stone bites away on Gresham to maintain an upper hand… and get a sarcastic applause from MJF who wasn’t entirely inconspicuous at ringside.
After delivering a gamengiri and an Exploder, Stone’s stopped in his tracks by a returning Williams, who eats a dropkick into the corner, as Stones’ able to lock in a crossface to Gresham… who taps as MJF has the referee distracted. Hooray for bullshit! Hathaway extends the distraction, allowing Gresham to hit Stone with the Powerbomb.tv belt, and that’s the first elimination as Stone gets pinned.
We’re down to Gresham and Williams, once an overeager Hathaway’s done celebrating, and Hot Sauce is right in with chops in the corner as he tries for another crossface, before instead dumping Gresham with a teardrop suplex. A 619-like kick keeps Gresham away, but Williams has to evade the ventilation ducts as he leaps off the top rope, eventually coming in with a brainbuster for a near-fall on the Octopus Gresham.
Gresham goes for the knee and instantly traps Williams in a figure four, echoing what happened on the pre-show at Heavy Lies The Crown, but instead it’s countered into an inside cradle as Gresham finds himself caught again, this time getting dumped with a death valley driver for a solid two-count. The figure four spamming resumes, but Williams is able to roll into the ropes for a break… only for Gresham to roll them off the apron to the floor as they echo another dodgy finish, this time in the form of how Gresham retained over Flip Gordon via count-out.
That’s a wacky bump to take when you’ve already got bad knees.
Williams barely dives in in time to save the count, so Gresham tries for another belt shot. The ref stops it, but misses a foul as the low kick and inside cradle gets… just a near-fall! Another figure four’s countered into a small package as Williams tried to stay alive, and we’re getting a lot of those until Williams sent Gresham flying with a lariat.
After getting back up, Gresham goes back to the Dragon screws and knee-work, taking Williams down with a backdrop suplex before spamming figure fours yet again, this time almost getting a pinfall from the hold as Williams dove for the ropes to force a break, rather than constantly have to kick out. Williams crumples as he’s whipped into the ropes, but he manages to get back up for long enough to hit a piledriver… only for Gresham to get a foot on the ropes just in time.
Another piledriver attempt’s blocked by Gresham, who tries a jack-knife cover, before another lariat from Williams led to a spinning piledriver… with Stokely Hathaway this time pulling out the referee. We’re starting to get a little overbooked here as Hathaway’s ejected, but MJF remained at ringside, grabbing the Powerbomb.tv title belt. He slips it to Gresham, who uses it as the ref’s distracted again… but this time Williams kicks out!
That kick-out seemed to anger MJF, and fire up Gresham some more, but Williams hits back just as hard, clubbing Gresham with overhand chops before MJF gets involved again, clinging onto Gresham in the ropes. After letting go, Gresham tried to steal a win with a roll-up, but from the kick-out Williams goes to the crossface… and Gresham taps! A storyline played out across several Powerbomb.tv defences culminates with Gresham’s shortcuts not working as “Hot Sauce” gets the belt in the end! Perhaps a little overbooked, but this was a fine match to wrap up the show. ***¾
Gresham was dragged back in by MJF as he tried to leave the ring… those two got into it again, with MJF saying that Gresham “couldn’t hack it” before he slapped him. MJF declared himself number one, before demanding that Stokely Hathaway picked a side… and Stokely shook hands with MJF as those two left, clearly with Stoke looking for the gold.
Abbondanza was a shade better than the prior night’s show, thanks to the variety of matches on offer. You had the hardcore stuff, some intergender, and a lot of technical matches… and in around three hours (omitting the interval), they just about skirted with fitting in a huge card without going too much into TV-style short-match territory. Another thumbs up for Beyond from us!