Beyond’s first show of the year took them into the shadow of Gillette Stadium – and hoping for a better run than the Patriots as Foxborough’s Six String Grill & Stage was packed out.

The concept? Established Beyond wrestlers picking their opponents, with the hope of some breakout performances – and some new favourites would be borne from this. Paul Crockett and Sidney Bakabell are on the call…

Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Chuck O’Neil
Chuck’s bullying Rich Palladino into giving out nicknames, and he isn’t in the mood for handshakes as he slaps away Pillman at the bell.

It quickly breaks down into a fight, with O’Neil taking Pillman into the corner for a chop, but Pillman gets free to stomp him into the opposite corner. He fakes out a dropkick so he can slap Chuck, and that’s not gonna go down well. Still, Pillman lands a dropkick before he got met with Snake Eyes in the corner… then got hurled into the ring post as Chuck suddenly had something to target. A back suplex has Pillman dropped towards his shoulder, before he got whipped into the turnbuckles – unsurprisingly, the Foxborough crowd were pro-Pillman as his arm was taking a beating. The video freezes as O’Neil was going for a suplex… and then it drops entirely. We’re back as O’Neil is staying on the shoulder, before Pillman found a way back through with a slam, then with a superkick and a back suplex of his own.

That has O’Neil laying ahead of a springboard clothesline, before a springboard crossbody just about connected for a near-fall. A Dire Promise – a cross-armed DDT – is escaped as O’Neil lands a head kick that nearly wins the match, before Pillman caught out O’Neil with a submission attempt. Chuck squirmed free though, and quickly dropped Pillman with a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, before he forced the submission with a cross armbar. A solid outing for Pillman, who’s improving as he gets the experience – but in the end O’Neil had a game plan which paid off handsomely. ***

The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter) vs. Bear Country (Bear Boulder & Bear Bronson)
The REP are the current CZW tag champions… and as luck would have it, CZW just announced they’ll be streaming live on IWTV in a fortnight.

The REP were here before, about four years ago in a former guise, but in Beyond’s world they’re huge underdogs against the tag team aces. Carter and Boulder start swinging from the off, but Boulder trips him up for some ground and pound that ref Kris Levin had to break up. Carter goes on top, as we wash, rinse and repeat, before tags brought in McCall and Bronson to chop it out. C’mon Bronson, chop his bloody baseball cap off. Oh, there we go. Clubbing lariats do it!

McCall runs into a uranage as a back senton squishes him, before Bronson dumped him with another lariat. Boulder’s in to tease a press slam, doing a lap of the ring before dropping Nate as tags bring in Bronson… as the REP worked into a nice double-team facebuster for a near-fall. The REP ground Bronson in their corner, ahead of a SWEET pop-up spinebuster for a near-fall. Bronson turns it around as he hit a Fire Thunder Driver onto the REP as my feed buffered… then brings in Boulder to charge through the REP with clotheslines. A GODDAMN crossbody from Boulder obliterates the REP on the way to a near-fall, but after a running tope-spear from Bronson… Bear Country went for the Elevator Splash, only for Bronson to get wiped out with a Doomsday Device from McCall!

That turns it around for the REP as they battered Boulder on the way to a fireman’s carry/spinning neckbreaker… but the ol’ Cryme Tyme finish doesn’t get it done.

Bronson tags in, but he looks like he’s out on his feet as the REP batter him with strikes… but a miscommunication opened the REP up for a German suplex/Samoan drop combo on themselves. A backpack cannonball into the corner flattens them as McCall and Carter were done in the corner… and the elevator splash gets the job done. A heck of a sprint and a fantastic showing from the REP here, who got the Please Come Back chant, but that one whiff at the end was their undoing. ***¾

Jaden Valo vs. Willow Nightingale
Willow’s celebrating her birthday here… as was Jaden. Where’s the cake?!

Valo’s taken down at the bell, but he escaped an armbar… as we’ve a lot of swinging and missing en route to a roll-up from Valo. Backslides follow back-and-forth, before they went for armdrags at the same time, cancelling each other out. Willow lands a slam, then a back senton for a two-count, before she dumped Jaden with a Blackheart Buster… but Jaden’s back with a gamengiri off the apron before he rolled in for some headscissors. A back senton cannonball in the corner nearly puts Nightingale down. She’s kept down with a Japanese stranglehold, but Willow powers out, only to get sandwiched in the turnbuckles as Valo hit a sweet springboard crossbody into the ring for a near-fall. Nightingale responds with some right hands, then some elbows, before a POUNCE spun Valo inside out. Holy heck!

A spinebuster’s next as Willow nearly shut the door, but Valo’s able to reply with a cutter, only for Willow to come back with a clothesline and a sit-out gutwrench powerbomb… which gets a near-fall as a modified stranglehold/armbar combo forces Jaden to tap. Not a great birthday present for him, but a really good outing here as Willow celebrated her birthday with the W. Now, where’s the cake?! ***

Maine State Posse (Aiden Aggro & The Danger Kid) vs. Whatever It Takes (VSK & Alex Reynolds)
Foxborough were very hot for the Maine State Posse here, especially because WIT were doing the cheap heel heat of wearing New York sports’ teams gear. I’m glad they didn’t sully the good name of the New York Jets…


VSK and Aggro start us off, but it’s VSK who edges ahead with some elbows and a snapmare, as he chained together a slam and a standing splash… albeit for just a one-count. Reynolds comes in, but he’s taken down with a dropkick from Aggro as Danger Kid comes in… and is used for a backpack back senton as he was going wild with those things. Double-team enziguiris and clotheslines drop Reynolds for a two-count, before VSK tried to get involved with a kick on the apron. Danger Kid knocks him down with a forearm before a Slingblade nearly beats Reynolds… who came in with a jawbreaker before an O’Connor roll led to a kick-out, with Danger Kid getting sent into the ropes for a nasty-looking stomp that nearly ended things.

VSK’s back with a slingshot senton to Danger Kid, before a double-team suplex dropped him for a near-fall. A draping Cross Rhodes in the ropes has Danger Kid down, but he manages to kick out as he looked for a desperate tag out… but he’s kept in the wrong corner with a VSK dropkick. Eventually he rolls through to tag in Aggro, who dumps VSK with a shotgun dropkick, before a big boot decked Reynolds. Aggro manages to catch Reynolds with a DDT before the MSP hit a glorious step-up cannonball and senton bomb into WIT for a near-fall. Problem was, VSK’s able to come back with a lifting suplex/DDT to Aggro, while Danger Kid had to fight back from a looming double-team, throwing chops before getting caught. He manages to pull VSK out of the corner… but as the ref tries to free Danger Kid, Mark Sterling throws brass knuckles to Reynolds.

Aggro superkicks the knux away, before throwing Reynolds into Sterling… and the debutants get the win as Reynolds was held from a back cracker, and was met with a senton bomb as the Maine State Deathdrop looked to get win. After the decision, Sterling planted the brass knuckles on Danger Kid… and of course ref Kris Levin finds them, and he reverses the decision. How the hell is he calling something he didn’t see? Foxborough’s fixing to start a riot here, as Whatever It Takes gets out of dodge. A good showing for the MSP, but my head hurt at that finish. ***¼

Dan Champion vs. Orange Cassidy
Dan Champion is such a gloriously indie name… and I have a feeling there’ll be more than a little comedy here.

We start with Dan trash talking Orange, but man, this crowd drowned out Orange’s intro… so I doubt they’ll take Dan’s side. Especially when he tried to wedge a sign in between the ropes, only for it to fall away instantly. Weirdly, Dan seems to back out of a test of strength, as he went for a clothesline. It’s ducked. And again… but he clings onto Orange’s waist band, before he went for a goozle, which ended with Orange going slow-mo. The shoulder tackles have Dan bemused, so he bulldozes through Cassidy, who just kips up… and he’s STILL WEARING THE GLASSES. A mounted sleeperhold has Dan wobbling… but it’s a ruse as he decides to do push-ups while doing piggybacks. Then squats!

Eventually Champion spins Orange around for a stalling suplex. Champion makes sure Orange has his hands in his pockets as he proceeds to take the piss, taking him into the corner for a splash, before an Irish whip finally sent Orange’s glasses flying into the crowd. Follow up splashes don’t land as Orange walks away, before he fired up after taking a chop… Slow-mo chops eventually get blocked as Champion went for a chokeslam, before he instead took Orange in for a TKO. It’s not enough as the cocky cover gets a two-count, but Orange is again caught as his crossbody’s turned into a Black Hole Slam backbreaker. He proceeds to get into Orange’s mind as he took a swig of the orange juice… then spat it back into the bottle. Now it really is undrinkable, and that made Orange mad.

Superkicks follow, then a Stundog Millionaire before Big Dan was caught in the FU?! All that’s left is for Orange to go up top for a swandive splash, and that’s all folks! Champion played the straight man wonderfully here against Cassidy, but brought a little something of himself here too, rather than just being “the other half” overshadowed by Cassidy. This stuff’s fresh when you don’t see it every week. ***

Little Mean Kathleen vs. Anthony Greene
I think Kathleen’s had some of Jaden Valo’s caffeine from earlier… she’s the obvious “goodie” here against Anthony Greene, who’s on his own after his recent change in demeanour. Greene’s a little sour because he chose Kathleen to be a new Platinum Hunny. Of course, she wants no part of it, but she’s dumped with a superkick for the quick pin. In hindsight, that offer probably may have been better…

Before Greene could say anything, Ava Everett heads out… and she’s got someone new with her. The Oswald Project!

Anthony Greene vs. Oswald Project
So we’ve got double duty for AG, who tries to boot away Oswald’s hug… and fails. The chop works though.

Oswald flexes back to his feet, but gets charged into the corner as Greene demanded he gets hit. Eventually Oswald hits a leg sweep before a standing backflip senton just about landed for a near-fall. Greene flips Oswald back to the mat though, then clotheslines him so hard Oswald SCORPIONED on the landing. Greene whips Oswald into the corner, but gets caught with a handspring backflip as the newcomer caught everyone on the back foot… then backflipped into a stunner. A wacky cartwheel splash leaves commentary lost for words, but a front flip takes Oswald into a superkick before AG’s version of the Next Stop Driver led to a near-fall.

Somehow, Oswald’s split his tights, but he manages… a SPLIT LEGGED POWERBOMB. That’s possible, I just saw it. He looked to go for a rewind ‘rana it seemed, but Greene rolls him up with his feet on the ropes, and that’s all. Oswald’s impressive, but he’s got a fair bit of polishing up to do. I want to see more of him though, as do Foxborough, by the sounds of it. **¾

Jakob Hammermeier vs. Solo Darling
Hammermeier made his name in CHIKARA, but I’m more used to him as a former commentator for AML Wrestling. Solo’s got his crown, and Officer Magnum, as we’ve got doggos back at the graps!

Hammermeier starts with a waistlock takedown before Solo tried to pop his shoulders with a double armbar on the mat, stopping to roll him up for a pin. From there, she kicks Jakob’s quads ahead of a Sharp Stinger attempt, but it’s pushed away as Hammermeier gets distracted with the crowd. Not to worry, he decks Solo with a forearm. Solo elbows out of a Fireman’s carry, but she’s met with an atomic drop and a diving forearm to the back of the head for a near-fall as Jakob looked to force himself on the match. A back suplex dumps Solo, but they head onto the apron… and that’s right in Solo’s wheelhouse as she looked for a death valley driver, only for Hammermeier to get free and push her back into the ring.

A front kick drops Solo again, as she got taken into the corner ahead of a clothesline – but Jakob’s offence is looking a little too methodical. It ends up backfiring as Solo hits a tornado DDT before guiding Hammermeier onto the apron. He’s trapped between the ropes for some kicks as the apron death valley driver quickly followed. Oof. Solo added to that with a tornado DDT onto the floor, but Hammermeier kicks out back inside and quickly came back with a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall. From there, Hammermeier went for a Rude Awakening, but Solo avoids it before countering a suplex into one of her own for the win. This was fine, but I just couldn’t get into this one for whatever reason – Hammermeier’s offence was solid, but the pace was too methodical… and it cost him in the end. **½

Eric James vs. John Silver
James came out singing the Backstreet Boys, but Foxborough let him take a breather. He didn’t take too kindly to that, as the correct answer for wrestling crowds dealing with people entering to the Backstreet Boys seemed to become “boo this man”.

Silver tried to dictate the pace early, but went hold-for-hold with James, before a nice big back body drop had the singer down. Kicks follow, as Silver looked to be having it his own way, before he lost his footing on a press slam… which let James back in. He shrugs off Silver’s boot in the ropes before coming back with a buckle bomb and a TKO onto-the-knee for a near-fall. Eric follows in with some kicks of his own to mock Silver, who shot the dirtiest look you could imagine, before he walloped him with forearms as some hammer fists turned it back around. A press slam lawn dart and a running boot in the corner quickly followed, as did a brainbuster for a near-fall.

James has to cling onto the rope to try and save himself, as he ends up getting caught with a release German suplex, turning him inside out. A sunset bomb from James out of the corner surprises Silver for a near-fall. An attempted comeback from Silver ends with him getting dropkicked on the top rope, as James looked for a top rope ‘rana… but Silver caught him with an avalanche powerbomb instead for a near-fall. More than shades of Mike Awesome there, but we don’t rest as Silver throws a goddamn lariat to get another two-count. James nearly nicks it with a roll-up after Silver charged into the post… but the pair fight back to their feet with kicks and strikes… and that’s right in Silver’s comfort zone. A backslide from James is rolled through as Silver unleashes more kicks, finishing off with a Spin Doctor for the win. Fan. Effing. Tastic. You may not trust people with two first names, but Eric James more than held his own here, and became a name I’d like to see back in Beyond – if only to see what he can develop into on this stage. Silver, as usual, the reliable hand… and the clear favourite of the night so far. ***½

TJ Crawford vs. Kris Statlander
We start this one with Crawford trying – and failing – on a waistlock, as the pair grappled early on.

Statlander cartwheels around Crawford to confuse him, following up with a handspring leg drop… but she misses the follow-up as TJ tried to nick the win. Kris goes for the BUSHI roll, getting a near-fall too as they went for the pinning attempts until we reach the indie stand-off. TJ goes for leapfrogs, but he misses as Statlander ends up tripping him and rolls him around the ring, but it just makes both wrestlers dizzy. Somehow Kris lands a right hand and falls onto TJ for a two-count, before a wet willie grossed out TJ. A leg lariat just about catches him for a near-fall, as Crawford’s shot into the corner for a running uppercut… but he rushes out with a boot and some knees as he proceeded to spike Statlander with a flying DDT for a near-fall.

Statlander’s back up to sweep the leg, following in with kicks and a low dropkick before a back senton squishes TJ for a two-count. TJ’s right back with a sit-out F5, before Kris came in with a wheelbarrow German suplex. The back-and-forth looked to continue with a snap Dragon suplex, but Crawford couldn’t build on that, as both competitors fought back to their feet, trading shots for fun. Crawford runs into a head kick, but replies with a knee strike as a spin-out slam gets him a near-fall. He takes too long following up though, and gets caught in an electric chair as Statlander met him with I Am Your Leader, a Meteora to the back of the head then a spiking DDT… before the Area 451 splash finds its mark for a near-fall. HOW!?

Statlander misses a charge into the corner and gets met with a boot as Crawford dumps her with a brainbuster… but it’s still not enough as Crawford went for the Bullseye – what looked like a Widow’s Peak – but Statlander counters into a sunset flip. From there, a discus lariat and the Big Bang Theory gets the win as she spikes TJ. This started off a little rough, but TJ calmed down towards the end and managed to get into a groove. ***¼

Beyond’s next show is that weird looking Beyond Championship Wrestling pilot, in which they’re presenting a thoroughly un-Beyond show that’s being shot for TV. It’s all booed. I think that may be the intention, although if I see Condor Security for that, I’m gonna call shenanigans.

Jake Something vs. Josh Briggs

Something shoves down Briggs from the lock-up, but Josh just slaps him away as the seemingly obligatory battle of shoulder tackles ended with Briggs booting Something in the gut. Something fights out of a backbreaker, but ends up taking a sidewalk slam and a leaping splash as Briggs tried to impose himself… forcing Something to the apron, where the pair struggled over a suplex. Instead, Briggs slingshots Something in for a backbreaker, before Something swatted away a Calaway clothesline. Briggs fights back, but gets dropped with a clothesline as Something showed off his strength with a suplex throw. Jake plays to the crowd, as opposed to staying on top of Briggs, eventually coming in with a knee drop for a two-count.

Clotheslines from Something have Briggs on jelly legs, but he’s able to reply with the Go To Hell knee… only for Something to stagger back with another clothesline to leave both men laying. Briggs is able to get up and hit the Calaway clothesline though, as he built up a head of steam, catching Something with a corner clothesline, then a backbreaker for a near-fall, before a chokebreaker’s shoved away. Something pushes Briggs into the ropes, but ends up eating a big boot before an attempted Fire Thunder driver was rolled through by Briggs. Jake lands a Michinoku driver at the second attempt, almost snatching the win, before he had to go the extra mile on a sit-out powerbomb, saving Briggs on the way to the sit-out for another near-fall. More strikes leave Briggs laying though, but he’s back with another front kick and a chokebomb that left Something needing to grab the bottom rope to save himself in the cover.

Briggs wheels away with punches as Something turtled up, leading to a gutbuster before Jake pulled off the upset of the night with a sky-high facebuster for the win. That’s a massive win for the recently dethroned AAW Heritage champion – getting a clean win over the current EVOLVE champ too… and he ended the night with those “please come back” chants. A solid hoss fight to end the show on, but perhaps the big story coming out here is “what next for Josh Briggs”? ***½

For a show designed to expose a bunch of new names to a new audience, Please Come Back (2?) was an absolute home run. Eleven matches in under three hours (plus interval) is your typical Beyond formula, which can be a little daunting… but the entire show felt snappy – and will open the eyes of all but the most hardcore of indie fans. Whether Beyond can, or indeed, want to follow up on the break-out performances here remains to be seen – in the meantime, I’ll be hoping to see a lot more of the Maine State Posse, the REP and the Oswald Project in double-quick time – but just about all of the new faces here acquitted themselves well.