Beyond bade farewell to Keith Lee at their latest event at the Electric Haze – with the Limitless one facing Mia Yim in a suitably-Beyond main event.
Hey, that ALL DAY logo looks familiar. Is this the Greatest Beyond event or something? We’re back at the Electric Haze, with Rich Palladino’s mic not (yet) plumbed into the main feed as they went live a little too early. Paul Crockett and Tracy Williams are on the call for our afternoon show here…
Team Pazuzu (Chris Dickinson, Jaka, Ortiz & Santana) vs. The Skulk (Adrian Alanis, Leon Ruff, Liam Gray & Tommy Maserati)
Recently reformed, Team Pazuzu had a bit of a gimme here against AR Fox’s Skulk. You know, the guys who were his hype train during his recent EVOLVE run… the folks whose in-ring time had been limited to Style Battle scrambles.
AR Fox introduces his Skulk/WWA4 trainees, some of whom helpfully have their name on their gear. Leon Ruff’s perhaps a little too exuberant when he took down Santana early on, and he’s quickly knocked down with a superkick as Team Pazuzu took the fight to the WWA4 trainees. EYFBO hit a nice double-team neckbreaker/backbreaker combo (like a Magic Killer, but flipped into a backbreaker) on Ruff, before Leon Gray came in and crashed into Ortiz with a crossbody off the top.
Jaka’s in to restore the advantage as he choked Gray in the corner, then kicked his head off as one of the WWA4 guys was knocked so stupidly he was left upside down between the apron and the wall. Jaka’s just murdering Gray with kicks, but at least Tommy Maserati manages to get in… and he’s quickly beaten down too. Maserati gets some hope with armdrags and dropkicks, as Jaka gets cornered for a spell… but he’s able to overcome Adrian Alanis as commentary busts out some Alanis Morrisette puns.
Chris Dickinson tries to overwhelm Alanis with kicks, which just about works, as the Skulk inadvertently distract the referee as Pazuzu mug Alanis. When the Skulk got ahead, with Alanis dropping Jaka onto the turnbuckles, we nearly see the death of Leon Ruff with some German suplexes as Pazuzu resume their mugging briefly. Maserati and Gray combine to slow things down again, with a chinlock from Gray on Jaka, before Adrian Alanis got pally with the referee… but that backfires as the Skulk’s attempt to overwhelm Jaka was quickly scared away when Ortiz hit the ring.
Eventually Jaka hits back with a vicious superkick to Ruff, and that begins another Pazuzu comeback as Gray’s flipped inside out with a German suplex from Dickinson before a Jaka splash earned a near-fall. Things break down a little as the ring fills, with the Skulk double-teaming Santana for a near-fall, before a superkick-assisted German suplex put down Gray, ahead of a step-up cannonball into the corner, before a powerbomb/neckbreaker/stomp triad puts away Gray for the win. I liked how the Skulk weren’t exactly swept away, but they were made to look a little goofy as their offence was largely in ganging-up on Pazuzu. ***
AR Fox vs. Jerome Daniels
Daniels has been largely exclusive to Texas for his entire wrestling career (he’d recently dabbled with MMA) – but was brought up to Massachusetts for Keith Lee’s farewell weekend here… and wrestled him on the prior night’s show.
Fox keeps him on the ground in the early going, working the arm as Daniels tried to return the favour, only to get caught in a headlock on the mat. Daniels stuffs an Irish whip and starts to break free, running under some leapfrogs before seeing his Ace crusher countered with a handstand as he started to play Fox’s game before a submission attempt quickly ended in the ropes.
Back in the ring, Daniels sent Fox flying with armdrags, before faking out a kick as he back heeled Fox for a near-fall. He’s tripped into the ropes though as Fox hits a dive before slingshotting back into the ring with a neckbreaker, leaving Daniels grounded in the corner for some stomps. A neck crank keeps Daniels down, before he’s caught with a leaping neckbreaker as the crowd seemed a little unsure – perhaps because this was their first time seeing Daniels in any sense? Daniels began a comeback with clotheslines, then a scoop slam, before a backdrop suplex-come-backbreaker almost got him the win. A running boot in the corner wipes out Fox, as does a buckle bomb, but Fox rebounds out with some running knees as the pair began a tit-for-tat exchange, ending with a lariat from Fox.
Fox lifts Daniels onto the apron, before knocking him off with an enziguiri and a flip-over into a double stomp, as a follow-up dive saw him crash into Daniels with a tope con giro! Back inside again, an Ace crusher gets a near-fall, before Daniels sidesteps a running kick as Fox spills to the outside… but he cuts off a dive before slingshotting himself into a backbreaker! The Ball Game – a cradled brainbuster over the knee – is only good for a near-fall as Daniels was bringing the heavy artillery. He avoids a 450 splash and catches Fox in a rear naked choke as AR was trying for a back elbow out of the corner. Fox escapes, but gets instantly rolled down into a triangle armbar, then into an ankle lock, and finally another rear naked choke.
Somehow Fox gets back to his feet, and charges back into the corner as he broke the hold… but the rebound saw Fox knock down the referee. A curb stomp from Daniels only gets a visual pin as the ref was still woozy, and when Daniels tries to check on the official, he’s caught with a low blow as Fox stole the win. Well, having him lose via cheating is a way to get sympathy, but this was a crowd that was fairly cold on the newcomer – who didn’t do too badly here. Save for the obvious rematch, I don’t see what they do with Daniels next other than “another match”… **¾
CHIKARA Young Lion’s Cup: Green Ant vs. Cam Zagami (c)
Since winning the Young Lion’s Cup, Zagami’s defended it everywhere but CHIKARA… which is part of the gimmick, according to Tracy Williams on commentary, who I hear might be very familiar with Green Ant’s colony…
Green Ant starts off the aggressor, chaining together Japanese armdrags and dropkicks as he had Zagami on the ropes early. A Cattle Mutilation-like roll-up was the start of a chain of pinning attempts from the Ant, forcing Zagami onto the apron for some respite… but it didn’t work as Cam ran into a powerslam for a near-fall.
Ant headed up top, but was pulled off and into a backbreaker by Cam for a near-fall, as the cup holder tried to rough up his foe, right in front of a disbelieving Thief Ant. I’m not making that name up. Cam fights back on the Ant by grabbing his antennae, but a dropkick frees the ant, only for some headscissors to get countered out of with a facebuster for a near-fall. Green Ant breaks away from the match with a tope into Brian Milonas at ringside… Zagami tried to get payback, but he instead gets his second as well before a step-up plancha to the floor wiped out Cam and Brian for good measure. Ant keeps up with some chops, although some of them looked a little lackadaisical, before some leg lariats put Zagami on the mat.
Ant looked for a brainbuster, but Zagami escaped as the match threatened to fray a little… Cam puts Ant on the apron and ends up eating a gamengiri, before Ant flew into a crossbody off the top… and it’s still not enough. A suplex dumps Cam, as Thief Ant and Brian Milonas got into a shoving contest on the floor. It distracts everyone, including the camera man, who misses Zagami hitting Green Ant with the cup to win the match. This was alright, but very rough around the edges, particularly with some of the Ant’s offence. **
Post-match, Milonas beats up Thief Ant and dumped him onto Green Ant with a Dominator.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Briggs
Briggs is getting quite the push as he’s slowly appearing around the US indy scene, recently debuting in CZW and EVOLVE (on some shows we’ll cover soon!)
Briggs went straight for Gresham with a big boot, and quickly follows up with his finish – the I Hope You Die (a reversed Iconoclasm) – but Gresham landed in the ropes and was able to get his foot to them. They headed into the crowd as the VIP area got an up close view of things, as Briggs kept up on the Octopus, dragging him back outside before hitting the ring post with an errant chop.
Gresham uses that to get the upper hand, dropkicking Briggs to the floor before his crossbody was caught and turned into some lawn dart action into the post. They stay in the crowd as Briggs kept the upper hand, at least until they returned to the ring as Gresham managed to use his pace to take out Briggs’ knee… only for him to follow up with a mounted sleeperhold that Josh easily escaped.
The knee proved to be a good target for Gresham though, but it was only small victories as Briggs kept going back to a vertical base, this time catching Gresham with a spinning backbreaker and a butterfly backbreaker, as he made things look easy. Again, Gresham gets a foot to the rope to save the match, before he’s forced to roll away from a moonsault from Briggs, who had impressively avoided the ventilation ducts in the process.
Gresham comes back with some boots and a diving dropkick into the corner as he looked to take his chance… but Briggs powered out at one despite that barrage of offence. Briggs lets Gresham throw some chops, before replying with some of his own as the size difference was looking frankly ridiculous… but Gresham scored with a dropkick that dumps Briggs to the outside, this time following up with a crossbody that is caught again!
Gresham avoids the lawndart again and returned to the ring for some topes, finishing off with a dive into a rear naked choke as he tried to restrain the big guy… succeeding too as he dragged Briggs to the floor before rolling back into the ring to take the count-out, only for Briggs to return just before the ten count was reached. They head up to the top rope from there, with Briggs looking for an avalanche version of his finish, but Gresham reapplies the choke, before switching into a top rope ‘rana that’s blocked… and eventually overcome!
Following up, Gresham heads up top again for a 450 splash, but he takes a nasty spill into Briggs’ knees, before countering a powerbomb into a Code Red for a near-fall! The Gresham momentum seemed to come to an end as he’s punched in the face by Briggs as he tried to avoid the M5, before he countered another attempt into an ankle lock… but Briggs escaped, and then had to absorb a rebound German suplex before a Quebrada caught Briggs in the head with some knees.
A bridging German suplex from Gresham almost paid off, but Briggs is right back as he flipped Gresham into a knee to the face, a la a Go To Sleep, before resisting some beard pulling as he choked out Gresham ahead of the M5 chokebreaker for the win. I adored this match, in spite of the ridiculous height difference – Briggs’ aggression was too much for Gresham, whose regular game plan simply just did not work here. Go out of your way to see this – it’s not a classic, but it was a good showing from someone who’s on his way to breaking out. ***½
Joey Janela vs. WALTER
A first time singles match here, and my God, this has the potential to get nasty. In a good way…
WALTER’s all over Janela early as the size and strength advantage told from the first lock-up, as the Austrian was effortlessly throwing Janela into the corner. There’s an early distraction from David Starr and Tessa Blanchard, which made for an interesting thread here, as not only is Starr in a feud with Janela in Beyond over the whole “Ace of Beyond” name, but there’s also the ongoing thing that is the whitewashing Starr’s getting at the hands of WALTER since the year dot.
WALTER looked to take advantage of the distraction, but Janela ducks in the corner before trying a shoulder block. Good luck with that. He actually starts to budge der Ringgeneral, before finally succeeding! On the outside, WALTER catches a dive and just propels Janela into that brick wall… GOOD LORD! The violence keeps up with a back suplex on the apron, but Janela tries to fight back… and then CHOP!
A second chop drops Joey, who tries to fight back, but we know how that goes. Down goes Joey! WALTER keeps up the pressure with a suplex as he started to wear down Janela with a crossface’d chinlock, before another chop just took Joey right back to square one… and possibly beyond. WALTER even kept hold of the wrist, a la Okada, but it wasn’t for another chop – it was to just throw Janela into the corner as this looked more like a mugging than a wrestling match. Finally Janela fights back with a big boot, but a flying lungblower’s caught and turned into a Boston crab as WALTER made this look easy as pie. The Boston crab’s easily converted into a trapped-leg German suplex, before Janela ran into a sleeperhold and the RINGKAMPF butterfly suplex for a near-fall.
More chops rock Janela, as the brutality continued, but he’s able to stop a superplex, clubbing away on WALTER’s back before he nailed a sunset bomb off the top for a near-fall. WALTER’s taken outside as Janela looked to take the upper hand, but CHOP! The wall’s threatened again, but this time Janela reverses a whip to send WALTER into the brick wall, before a superkick took him down. Instead of looking for a count-out, Janela flies with a moonsault into WALTER, before he returned to the ring for a massive shotgun dropkick from WALTER.
One folding powerbomb later, Janela kicks out at two and gets put back into the Boston crab, as the Bad Boy found himself close enough to the ropes to get a break. More chops and boots follow, with some even coming from Janela as he actually had the Austrian on the defensive, before a chop to the goddamned face, then a boot earned WALTER some superkicks. He tries to make Janela tap out with a Gojira clutch, but Joey rolls back and pins WALTER as the banana peel was slipped on. This was brutal and violent – exactly the kind of match you’d expect from these two. Not a technical masterclass, but one that felt real. ***¾
Fast-forwarding past intermission…
Anthony Greene vs. Robo
Greene’s back as the “retrosexual”, a gimmick he’s tried out before, except this time he’s gone and turned the gimmick up to 11, accompanied by two valets – the Platinum Honies – while bedecking himself in a Ribera Steak-style jacket and some Zubaz for that 80s feel.
Robo, tagged as the “Punjabi Lion” is a newcomer to Beyond, and has quite the physique. Greene tried to restrain Robo with a headlock from the off, only to get shoved into the ropes and charged down as Robo was showing his power. An avalanche in the corner traps Greene, who manages to land a knee and a DDT for a near-fall, before a reverse DDT left Robo on the mat.
An Irish whip gets reversed by the Punjabi Lion, but Robo’s quickly taken down with a crossbody off the top as Greene looked to push on, punching out Robo before running into some lariats. A superkick took Greene into the corner, as an overhead belly-to-belly sent Greene flying before the Retrosexual ate a suplex-into-a-slam for a near-fall. He’s keeping things relatively basic, but he’s always falling for counter attacks from Greene, who awkwardly dumped Robo out of the corner with a springboard cutter for a near-fall.
Greene tried to add to that by going off the top rope, but he rolls through a 450 splash into a powerbomb and a spear from Robo, earning him the win. That was… there, I guess. A decent showing from Robo, whose inexperience is clear – but it’s massively early days for him. **
Post-match, Greene laid out Robo with his fanny pack, before going after Samara – Robo’s valet… she just takes down Greene with a satellite DDT as Robo and Samara were left standing tall.
David Starr vs. Timothy Thatcher
Tessa Blanchard accompanying Starr is a bit of a masterstroke in Beyond… why have one gloriously-obnoxious personality when you can have two?!
This was only the third ever singles meeting between the two – Starr took a loss in September 2016 at a wXw Inner Circle event, while Thatcher came up short when this match happened at Rev Pro last October.
We get going with the expected Thatcher match – a little bit of grappling as Starr found himself a little outclassed by the former EVOLVE champion. It’s a nice, neat and fast-paced sequence that left Starr scrambling into the ropes while Thatcher looked far from impressed with it all. Starr tried to pick out the foot of Thatcher, and managed to get a takedown, only for Thatcher to roll through into an ankle lock as again Starr needed the ropes.
A chop just antagonised Thatcher, as Starr scarpered, but he’s able to make some headway with chops and lariats, before Thatcher just blocked one and used the ropes for a rebound belly-to-belly suplex. Thatcher’s gutwrench suplex gets Starr down as they go back and forth on the mat again, with Starr mounting Thatcher for a moment, before opting to stand back and just drop some more knees. Starr tries to pull Thatcher into a crucifix on the mat, but loses it and gets forced into the ropes as Thatcher eased back into the match. Strikes go back and forth, but Starr backdrops out of a butterfly suplex, almost getting the pin… but Thatcher kicks out and gets the butterfly suplex off anyway for a near-fall.
Starr drags Thatcher into a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron, but back inside Thatcher’s able to pull him into a Fujiwara armbar, again ending with Starr’s foot in the ropes as Thatcher just decided to kick away at him. Tessa Blanchard provides a distraction as Starr nearly wins with a roll-up, before following up with Han Stansen and a trapped-arm piledriver – tagged the Trapped Arm Bob Fossil – for the win. This was pretty decent and low on shenanigans, as Starr managed to pick up the W to keep up his tit-for-tat war with Joey Janela simmering. ***½
Wheeler YUTA vs. Matt Riddle
This was a clash between the present and the future of the indys, as Beyond are really getting behind Wheeler YUTA (who may or may not be cyber, or a hawk) right now.
Before the match, the referee and YUTA are picking at something on the mat, as Riddle bemoaned something sharp risking his bare feet… just wear shoes then! YUTA tries to go after Riddle’s arm in the early going, to no avail, as Riddle ends up taking him down into the guard as they jockeyed for position… with Riddle standing up out of an attempted guillotine as he tried to suplex his way free. YUTA escapes, but quickly runs into a high heel kick, before another awkward moment followed as he ducked a second kick and stumbled in a leap frog en route to an Octopus stretch, turning it into a roll-up for a near-fall. Riddle’s right back in with a German suplex to give him some freedom, before bouncing off of YUTA with a back senton as this threatened to be over in a hurry.
Some rolling gutwrenches from Riddle keep YUTA down, as do a series of forearms as Riddle was having fun here. YUTA gets a foot up in the corner and scores with a flying ‘rana, before a waistlock takedown almost earned him a win. A tope followed for YUTA as he made the hard cam go blurry, following in with a crossbody… except Riddle rolled through into a Kimura as the tit-for-tat continued.
YUTA finds out the hard way you can’t German suplex Riddle, as he replied with a powerbomb and a bicycle knee that almost put away the youngster. More kicks leave YUTA reeling, but he’s able to block a Bro to Sleep, before a tiltawhirl DDT’s countered into the tombstone slam for another two-count. Some Bryan Danielson elbows follow as Riddle seemed to be heading for victory, dragging YUTA into a Bromission, but YUTA rolled out… only to be nailed with a ripcord knee instead.
Finding solace in the corner, YUTA’s squashed with a flying forearm, only to snatch the huge upset as he countered out of an avalanche Bro to Sleep with a sunset flip bomb, floating over into a jack-knife cover for the win! That was a big result for YUTA, but not a match that felt convincing – more of a banana peel finish than anything definitive… and after the match Riddle laid into YUTA with a series of kicks, seemingly angry with the upset. Heel Matt Riddle, eh? I like! ***½
There’s another brief break as they do some running repairs on the ring canvas.
Mia Yim vs. Keith Lee
Our main event tonight is a slice of intergender wrestling, as Keith Lee chose Mia Yim for his final match in Beyond – almost two years to the day since he debuted for the promotion.
We start with Mia Yim trying to score a waistlock takedown… something that was always going to be a struggle early on as Lee escaped before he had to go into the ropes to break an arm wringer. Lee makes a point of hauling Yim onto the top rope with one hand… and she tries to fly off with a ‘rana… only for him to catch her and put her back on the turnbuckles.
Plan B saw Yim pull Lee into an armbar in the ropes, but again he pulls her back, using her for some bicep curls before eventually being rolled to the mat. Yim sends Lee to the outside, using his own momentum against him, then follows out with a tope… but she’s caught as she’s forced to escape a Spirit Bomb on the apron. In return, she just PK’s Lee and goes for that ‘rana, this time sending him tumbling onto the floor!
Yim keeps up the fire with some ground and pound, but Lee’s got plenty left to push her away, as some running Yakuza kicks in the corner led to him just wiping her out with a POUNCE! The crowd falls a little silent as Lee picked up Yim, then clubbed her back down with some forearms, before trapping her in the ropes… but she ducks the double chop and throws some of her own. A caught kick almost backfired, but Yim’s able to roll through into a knee bar, but he’s able to drag himself into the ropes, before Mia tries in vain for a Saito suplex. That doesn’t work, as Lee shrugs it off and decks her with a forearm, before hurling her with ease across the ring. Mia pulls herself up in the corner, but she’s squashed with an avalanche as she’s forced to duck another double-handed chop to stay alive.
Yim drop toe-holds Lee into the corner as she was sticking and moving, colliding into him with a cannonball before a second one was caught… as Lee picks her up into a Spirit Bomb attempt, before stuffing a counter attempt and sending Mia into the ropes, allowing her to return with a nice satellite DDT. Mia tries to follow up with some kicks as Lee was kneeling on the mat, but he stands up and hits a rolling forearm for a two-count.
Another fightback from Yim sees her land a series of strikes before a lariat takes her right back down. She again goes for a German suplex, but Lee’s still too strong… before she switches around into a Saito suplex, bridging it for a surprise near-fall! Yim keeps going for that German though, but Lee escapes and hits some double chops, ahead of a Spirit Bomb that folded Mia in half! Somehow she’s able to kick out as Lee dragged her into the corner for a moonsault, and this time he lands it, crushing her for a near-fall.
Yim’s still bringing the fight, despite all of Lee’s best efforts, as she’s now forced to block what looked to be an avalanche Ground Zero. She fights back, throwing Lee’s head into the turnbuckle before going for an avalanche Code Red, which she eventually nails as Lee crashed back to the mat… but took too long to make the cover! Mia looks for a Pedigree, but Lee powers out and goes for Ground Zero, only for Yim to counter with a Victory roll – and there’s your shock as Mia Yim snatched the win! Say what you will about intergender, but this was a really good match – with a similar kind of size disadvantage as we had in the earlier Gresham/Briggs match (although Lee was closer to 3x the size of Yim), this was more proof that these kind of matches can work if done right. ***½
After the match, Keith Lee wrestled with the microphone as he gave his farewell speech to Beyond to close out the show.
Especially when we combine these with their usual pre-shows, Beyond cards have a tendency to be long and draining, to the point where you’re left feeling that they’re going all in on the analogy of wrestling being like a circus: there’ll be something for everyone! Fortunately, this card was a little toned down, even at nine matches, and didn’t quite feel as long to watch on-demand. I like to compare these shows to Rev Pro’s Cockpit affairs – matches that perhaps get a lot less hype and praise than they deserve, with a lot of good matches getting lost in the shuffle.
If you’ve got Powerbomb.tv, go back and watch this – Gresham/Briggs, WALTER/Janela, Starr/Thatcher, Riddle/YUTA and Yim/Lee are all worth your time. Heck, the whole show lived up to that analogy of something for everyone… and this was just a matinee show!