Beyond crossed over from 2018 to 2019 as they seemingly said goodbye to one ace, and saw a fairly fresh face continue their push to the top.

It’s been a while since we last sat down and looked at a full Beyond show, but with the promotion announcing their intentions to go weekly later this year, there’s no time like the present, eh? This is the second time they’ve done a new year’s show on Powerbomb… sorry, (how’s that for sneaky rebranding?)

We’re coming from Worcester, MA’s White Eagle Club, opening with a video package from last year’s event where David Starr beat Joey Janela in a Fans Bring The Weapons Match – something which built up to today’s show as the Product faces Chris Dickinson… while the Independent Wrestling title is also on the line tonight, as Tracy Williams beats the man who beat David Starr to earn the shot… Orange Cassidy?!

It’s a heck of an opening package from a promotion that doesn’t tend to do these…

Kimber Lee, Kylie Rae, Penelope Ford & Skylar vs. Twisted Sisters (Holidead & Thunder Rosa), Harlow O’Hara & Shotzi Blackheart
This was an unadvertised opener as Beyond’s WWR sister promotion came to town for an eight-woman tag which had the face/heel alignments all over the place.

We started with Kylie and Harlow, but it’s O’Hara who was the early aggressor, at least until Rae landed a shoulder tackle. O’Hara blocks an armdrag and turns it into a lucha-style armdrag takedown as we started to begin cycling through tags, with Penelope Ford and Thunder Rosa came in.

A springboard armdrag from Ford is replied to in kind as the two women were pretty even, at least until Rosa hit the ropes again. Tags bring in Skylar and Holidead, with the latter instantly getting taken into the ropes before she’s met with armdrags. Holidead counters a wheelbarrow into a facebuster as more tags took us to Kimber Lee sweeping Shotzi Blackheart’s leg ahead of a sliding lariat, only for Shotzi to respond with a running Scorpion kick and a bicycle knee.

Kimber Lee’s back with some head kicks as Shotzi’s taken down, before Blackheart lands a lungblower to turn things around. Kylie comes in and gets taken into the ropes, with Shotzi landing a ‘rana to the floor on Kimber Lee as we were quickly into dive territory, even if O’Hara’s was more of a baseball slide. Smart move!

In the ring, Thunder Rosa and Penelope Ford add to the body count, with a moonsault from Ford to the pile off the apron, before a crossbody from Rosa meant that Skylar had to complete the set with a cannonball off the top. Back in the ring the pace stays high, with Kylie Rae landing a rolling elbow as a big Parade of Moves unfolded, ending with a backfist from O’Hara.

Skylar’s in the ropes and comes back with a Meteora as the Parade continued, ending with Kylie Rae eating a Thunder Driver for a near-fall as Penelope Ford made the save. Instead she hits a springboard cutter as the concept of the legal woman was thrown out of the window, with O’Hara’s DDT almost ending things as we worked up to duelling Towers of Doom. We’re back to O’Hara and Rae, but Kylie’s clubbing forearms found their mark before the side Russian legsweep and the Charity Case crossface forced O’Hara to tap. A great opening match, but aside from the spectacle of the dives and the Parades of Moves, this was a match you’d probably want to forget if you’re any kind of a stickler for tags and the like. **¾

Wheeler YUTA vs. John Walters
There’s a blast from the past – John Walters is making a comeback after having taken the best part of four years off, with commentary shouting out his past as a ROH Pure Champion. I used to have those DVDs…

Walters and YUTA started by scrambling on the mat, but it was the veteran Walters who edged ahead with a headlock takedown, only for YUTA to counter back with a monkey flip. A Japanese strangle hold’s next from Walters, as is a slingshot armdrag from the apron as the pair somehow remained even. Duelling armwringers are next, with YUTA coming out on top as he started to work on Walters’ arm and wrist, before a leg trip helped YUTA into another armdrag.

YUTA seemed to have the edge on Walters here, taking him into the corner for some chops, but that seemed to be the last straw as Walters hit forearms and headbutts as he fought back, scoring with a leg lariat to YUTA’s arm off the top for a near-fall. Walters then takes YUTA down to the mat to keep up the wristlocks, only for YUTA to punch his way free… with Walters landing an armdrag instead.

An O’Connor roll from YUTA, then a small package helped him rack up some two counts, before Walters escaped into an Omoplata double armbar. YUTA gets to the ropes and responded swiftly with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall, then with an Angle slam for another two-count, only for Walters to go back to the arm, using a Fujiwara armbar that forces YUTA back into the ropes.

Blurry-cam almost obscured Walters having no luck with a sunset bomb, but he tries again and gets blocked again as YUTA lands a springboard armbar into a STF. Walters manages to power free, only to eat a double jump springboard dropkick. Walters goes up for a rare powerbomb, but YUTA rolled through into some indyriffic pinning attempts, ending suddenly when YUTA lands a La Magistral for the win. This was fine, but was missing something big, with Walters perhaps still having a bit of ring rust against the youngster YUTA. ***

Rich Palladino tells us that Beyond is a green promotion. Recycle your beer bottles, folks!

Eddie Kingston vs. Stokely Hathaway
Curiously, Palladino didn’t mention “” in the title name here, as the winner of this gets a shot at the Independent Wrestling title, with commentary reckoning that this may well be Stokely’s final match…

Stoke tries to charge at Kingston with a chair at the bell, but Eddie just sidesteps as Hathaway crashed and burned. On the outside, Hathaway has better luck as he throws the chair at Kingston in this no-DQ outing, before he returned to the ring for an unwise tope. Hathaway tries to lead the crowd in a Prince sing-a-long because of the t-shirt Kingston was wearing, but it ends badly as Stoke takes a backfist as he became a human punching bag.

It’s almost comical as Kingston powerbombed Hathaway into a pair of folded out chairs… and that’s all folks. SPLAT. And OW.

Post-match, Kingston had some pointed words for Tracy Williams, advising him to bulk up before he faced him.

Matt Cross vs. Andrew Everett
Cross got some “happy birthday” chants before the bell, as we started with Everett trying to kip up out of a wristlock… which he does so, before he’s met with a delayed backbreaker from the veteran Cross.

Cross heads up top, but Everett rolls outside, promoting Cross to switch things up with a tope as Josh Briggs on commentary bemoaned an accidental blade job he’d just done. Meanwhile, Cross brawled with Everett around ringside, before he was caught with a Pele kick by Everett back inside, as the former Impact star took a page out of Cross’ book, heading outside when his prey did so.

There’s an Asai moonsault from Everett, as the Beyond logo helpfully shows us a countdown to the New Year, as Everett trolls us with a snapmare and… a chinlock! Everett telegraphs a chokeslam, allowing Cross to fight back with a handspring elbow and a springboard crossbody for a near-fall. Cross gets caught up top and eventually caught with another overhead kick as Everett’s Falcon Arrow drew a near-fall.

From there, Everett goes up… but gets caught as Cross instead takes a front suplex off the top before Everett misses a shooting star press. A big boot from Cross sees him turn it around, as he quickly finished off with his own shooting star press for the win. A fun, albeit throwaway match, with Cross coming across like a star while Everett… has work to do, I feel. ***

Chris Dickinson vs. David Starr
Starr’s got a new leather jacket (think Rev Pro vs. Ishii in terms of the style), and to further the hatred from Beyond’s crowd, he’s now being announced as coming from London.

Eh, it’s close enough. When Starr got the mic, he threw out some juicy slights at Dickinson, before launching into a tantrum as he bemoaned how he was the name everyone associated with Beyond. Dickinson launches into him with an enziguiri and a Pazuzu bomb at the bell, and that’s all folks!

Post-match, Dickinson told Starr to go to his “European companies” and not come back. He then went on to call himself the backbone of Beyond (so I guess Doom Patrol’s on ice for now), before vowing to remain the Gatekeeper of Beyond.

After intermission, Maxwell Jacob Friedman came out with an arm in a sling – he’s nursing a fractured elbow. He was dressed to wrestle though… and asked to face anyone who thought they could beat him. Out comes Kris Stadtlander, as we’ve got ourselves a slice of intergender action here.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Kris Stadtlander
MJF claimed that Stadtlander wasn’t worth his time, but he removes his sling and tries to attack her from behind. Except Kris has spooky, other worldly powers, which she tried to use to make MJF poke himself in the eyes.

The referee stops that, as Friedman clocks Stadtlander with a forearm before he chokes her with his scarf. He followed that up with a chinlock on the mat, and the sound goes funny again as MJF hotshots Stadtlander on the ropes while it took me a second to remember it wasn’t “THAT” Kay Lee Ray that Kris beat the prior night. Even commentary gets you confused with those two.

MJF whips Stadtlander’s arm to the mat as he was getting overly cocky, throwing Kris into the ring post, but she replies with an arm whip of her own as she targeted MJF’s recently-injured limb. Stadtlander Matrix’s away from a clothesline and follows in with an enziguiri, following up with a head kick and a Hat Rack Crack for a near-fall.

MJF tries to sneak in a roll-up, but he gets thrown to the outside as Stadtlander heads up top for an Orihara moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, another moonsault sees Kris come up short and jar her knee, giving MJF time to recover as he flies in with a stomp to Kris’ arm off the top rope as he began to focus on the knee and arm of his opponent. In the end, Stadtlander’s bad arm overcame MJF’s injured arm to get to the ropes, as the pair ended up squaring off once more.

Friedman shoves away Stadlander with a poke to the eye, but she returns with a superkick and a Destroyer, before MJF countered an Electric Chair with a Victory roll. Stadtlander rolls through again and lands a superkick, then an axe kick… and that’s enough for what has to be an upset! A pretty solid match, with Friedman’s recent injury coming into play without this being one of those “banana peel” finishes. ***¼

Timothy Thatcher vs. Simon Grimm
What’s this? An American crowd cheering Timothy Thatcher? What in blazes… when did America wake up?

When I saw the card for this show, this match jumped off the page, even if I’m left wondering why Grimm’s not using his old name (which he does in MLW). He’s gotten rid of the moustache and has a wacky beard instead, but that’s besides the point as we start with some mat-based wrestling. Grimm counters a simple tie-up by going for a thumb, but Thatcher escaped, only for Grimm to take it back to the mat with a leg lock, which Thatcher quickly escaped as he locked in a toe hold.

Thatcher switches into an ankle lock, then a bow and arrow hold, stretching Grimm over his knees. Commentary dances around Grimm’s MLW links, as he and Thatcher work a knuckle lock, along with exchanges of headbutts that ended up taking Grimm into the corner, where Thatcher followed up with clotheslines, only for Grimm to edge out with a lariat of his own.

Thatcher has to fight back from the mat, but he quickly trips Grimm into a toe hold, forcing another rope break. After taking some strikes, Thatcher goozles Grimm and swipes him to the mat, where he followed up with a triangle armbar that Grimm tried to counter out of, freeing himself with a nice sit-out powerbomb. In the corner, Grimm charges into Thatcher with forearms before a ripcord big boot left him down on the mat as Grimm looked to be a little bloodied.

An eventual cover gets Grimm a two-count, and he’s made to pay for his delay as Thatcher struck back with a Saito suplex, then a RINGKAMPF belly to belly for a near-fall. Grimm lands a half-nelson suplex in response, before he blocked a Fujiwara armbar attempt, which just earns him some knees to the gut as Thatcher eventually pulls him down for the quick tap out. Lovely stuff, even if Grimm’s work went largely unappreciated during the match – he’s another one to watch in 2019 as the landscape changes. ***¾

The Bird And The Bee (Solo Darling & Willow Nightingale) vs. Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)
Solo and Willow’s reward for winning WWR’s Tournament For Tomorrow the prior night was this outing against the winner of the men’s Tag F’N Tournament, and they already win in terms of team names.

Alex Reynolds started by letting down his hair as he and Willow Nightingale compared their ‘dos, before Willow tried to shock Reynolds with a roll-up right out of the gate. More roll ups follow as Willow takes Reynolds into the corner before Solo Darling tagged in for a nice double-team leg roll that gets a near-fall.

They repeat the roll as a splash from Nightingale gets a two-count, with John Silver nowhere near a tag as the Bird and the Bee were smartly isolating Reynolds. A clothesline looked to set up Reynolds for a cloverleaf, but he dives for the ropes before he made a tag out, with John Silver more interested in cutting a promo than wrestling Solo Darling. He gets the mic and… proposed to Solo?!

She says no, probably because he didn’t have a ring… and he responds with a superkick as the match turned on the proposal. Reynolds takes Nightingale outside for a tope as Silver angrily lashed out at Solo with right hands and a suplex. Solo tries to kick back at Reynolds, but the Beaver Boys remained ahead, with Silver coming back in for a German suplex on Solo.

Reynolds returns with a pop-up Ace crusher on Darling… he turns his attention to Willow on the apron, then turns around into a Cloverleaf that Silver broke up with some authority. Silver’s back in as he kicked Solo in the chest… but she gave as good as she got, with Eddie Kingston hollering on commentary that Silver should tag out. He doesn’t, but he does lift up Solo by the throat before she escaped and brought Willow back into play, and that hot tag saw Nightingale unload with forearms.

Willow throws Reynolds and Silver into each other ahead of a missile dropkick, taking them outside as she looked for an Orihara moonsault of her own. Back in the ring, a pop-up death valley driver gets Nightingale a near-fall on Silver, as the Bird and the Bee threatened to run roughshod… but Silver cuts that off with another German suplex to Darling, before he ran into a Willow lariat!

A step-up gamengiri in the corner from Silver turns the match back on its head as the Beaver Boys double-teamed Willow for a near-fall. Solo’s back with a German suplex too, before she throws Reynolds outside… Darling’s springboard bulldog almost turned into a Snapmare Driver on Silver, who was left down on the mat… but he’s saved by Reynolds, who then took a suplex on the apron before Silver’s top rope ‘rana was turned into a powerbomb by Willow as they looked to have some crossed wires.

From there, a pumphandle slam from Solo and a Willow moonsault gets a near-fall, with Reynolds coming in to roll over the pin as John Silver got the cheapest of wins. This was a pretty good match, save for that almost-dangerous mix-up at the end – but with the Beaver Boys calling out EYFBO/LAX before the match, the result was pretty much elementary. ***¼

Independent Wrestling Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Tracy Williams (c)
Yep, they only called it the Independent Wrestling Championship – preparing for the streaming platform’s rebrand away from the next day.

That’s gonna need a new belt, since the Powerbomb name and logo is all over it!

Cassidy’s not exactly in a rush to lock up, as he’s got his hands in his pockets all while Williams danced around him. Instead, Williams grabs an arm and wrings it, but Cassidy reverses it and puts his hand back in his pocket. Wash, rinse, repeat, as the crowd booed Williams’ attempts to do anything, while cheering Orange’s comedic escapes.

Williams shoves Cassidy into the ropes – still with his hands in his pockets – as Orange responds with a lucha roll, a drop kick and a kip up. The hell?! From there, Williams was more worried about Cassidy not putting his hands back into his pockets, which almost cost him as a crucifix drew a near-fall for the challenger. Who then responded with love-tap-like chops and kicks, which just made Williams angry.

A discus lariat from Williams is ducked as Cassidy hits a spinning headscissor takedown, only for Williams to start hitting back. A chop, then a suplex drops Cassidy, who responds with a big boot out of the corner before he leapt into Williams… who threw him back. Cassidy tries to take Williams up for a superplex, but Tracy counters back with a DDT onto the top turnbuckle for a near-fall as a series of knee drops looked to wear down the challenger.

Cassidy goes for a suplex, but instead gets taken with a death valley driver as his attempts to knee his way free backfired. Orange drags himself to the apron, where he countered out of a death valley driver, only to get lifted into the ring, where he punched out Williams ahead of an Asai corkscrew press!

Back in the ring, Orange goes up top for a flying DDT to Williams that almost ends things, before a Fisherman suplex got a similar result. A Michinoku driver adds to Cassidy’s near-falls, before he got dismantled with a discus lariat as a switch flicked in Williams’ head, as he unleashed with a series of slaps and elbows to his challenger. There’s an Octopus stretch for Cassidy next, but he easily breaks it in the ropes as Williams threatened to incite a DQ by not releasing the hold.

Williams sneaks in a punch behind the ref’s back, but Cassidy’s able to counter a kick and hit a Dragon screw, before he sprayed some orange juice into Williams’ face. A pair of piledrivers follow, but Cassidy kicks out and responds with some roll-ups. There’s a crossface from Williams next, wrenching back across Cassidy’s face, only for Orange to grab a foot and roll back into an ankle lock of all things!

Williams thought he’d reversed back into a crossface, but a quick La Magistral gets Cassidy a near-fall as the pair resorted to strikes, with Williams’ fury seemingly invigorating Orange, who… put his hands back in his pockets! A superkick catches the champion unawares for a near-fall, as Williams looks to respond with a middle rope piledriver. Cassidy escaped and tried for a Destroyer, only for Williams to counter back with that piledriver off the middle rope.

Williams tries to finish him off with another piledriver, but Cassidy somehow blocked it and scored with a Mouse Trap roll-up for the win! Worcester popped for that, even if the purists watching back will bemoan how it made that middle rope piledriver look like nothing. Still, this was a hell of a match from a guy who’s best known for being a character… and my word, from Jonathan Gresham to Orange Cassidy, that Independent Wrestling title closed out 2018 with a rather different champion! ***½

The ticker on-screen says we’ve just minutes left in 2018 here…

So, like Beyond opened 2018 with a Fans Bring The Weapons match, they’re going to kick off 2019 in the same way. Once the crowd have toasted the new year, that is! Oh, and once the ring crew has changed the canvas… oh, and once Anthony Greene (who was there but not wrestling) threatened to challenge the stars of the past, including Gangrel.

Yes, I want to see that match.

Fans Bring The Weapons: Josh Briggs vs. Nick Gage
Well last year, Nick Gage was doing commentary alongside MJF… this year, it’s MJF and Paul Crockett calling the main event as Briggs was having to totally switch his game plan to keep his unbeaten streak in Beyond alive.

MJF rips on the crowd for cheering Gage over Briggs, who snapped a Kendo stick over his knee before the bell. There’s a guitar with push pins GLUED TO THE BACK OF IT in the ring… there’s some worryingly creative fans here.

Gage lands the first blows in this one, as he whipped Briggs into a crutch in the corner, before a shoulder tackle took the big man down. Instantly, Briggs powders to the outside and spills someone’s beer, before Gage followed him out and posts him as it was time for the weapons to come out. First up, a ceiling tile’s smashed over Brigg’s head, who’s already bleeding (again), before Gage busts out some baking trays as the remnant of that Kendo stick from earlier was used to stab at Briggs.

Gage ups the ante with a big jar of salt, which he poured onto the bleeding Briggs’ wound, then rubbed into as we got the real life version of the analogy. A mini guitar’s next, as Briggs takes el Kabong, eventually breaking the instrument before Briggs kicked out Gage’s knee as the big guy finally was able to take Gage down.

Briggs uses that crutch next, whacking it over the knee repeatedly, before he slammed Gage into the turnbuckles for an uncomfortable landing… and a brief moment of held breath as I wondered if MJF was going to add anything else when he called Gage a “con”. Accents. More gimmicks come in the form of a mail box to Gage’s head, before he puts on a rubber Rock mask for a uranage.

Easy pop.

Gage fires back with an elbow to take Briggs into the corner before a face-washing boot left him on the mat, before a baking tray with thumb tacks on got planted into Briggs via a Vader bomb. That’s enough for a near-fall, so Gage reaches for a regular Kendo stick that he uses on Briggs’ head, before he reached for a thumbtack’d toilet seat, which of course he makes Briggs sit on, before Josh responds with a Bossman slam into the toilet seat.

From there, both men trade right hands, but Briggs kicks out Gage’s knee before he opened the bottle of orange juice that Orange Cassidy left behind. He doesn’t pour it over Gage though, as an affront to the crowd, as he instead uses a baseball bat to repeatedly smash the mailbox back into Gage’s knee.

Briggs eyes up the push pinned guitar, but he trolls the crowd again by putting his boot through it. All of that gave Gage a chance to recover as he whacks Josh with a keyboard a la New Jack, before a pair of piledrivers led to Gage’s knee giving out again as he went for a hattrick. Instead, he steals Briggs’ move, landing a chokebreaker onto the bad knee, only for Briggs to hit the M5 – chokeslam/back cracker – before he pulled Gages into a Stretch Muffler on the bad knee.

Gage flips off the ref, rather than tap out, but Briggs kept the move locked on as Gage passed out on the mat and was pinned. This was an entirely different kind of deathmatch – yeah, you had your blood and gimmicks, but this had none of the barbed wire or general gratuitousness that you’ve seen in the past. It’s another win for Josh Briggs, whose 2019 got to the best of starts… and you’ve got to expect big things of him this year. ***½

While it’d be unfair to characterise this year’s Heavy Lies The Crown as being “flat”, it certainly didn’t seem to have the same “oomph” that the 2017/8 show did. Granted, I’ve not been watching every Beyond show as closely as I was last year, but the promotion’s run of co-promoted shows with CHIKARA does seem to have taken some steam out of their sales, as have injuries to the likes of Joey Janela.

That being said, Beyond’s clearly gearing up for big things in 2019, with the announcement of a live, weekly show from April adding even more content in a crowded marketplace. As the former’s flagship brand, with the newly-branded Independent Wrestling Championship being the sole title in Beyond, will this be enough to help steer the promotion through murky waters?