This week on the Signature Series, we’ve the final first round match from the Tournament for Tomorrow, as Chris Dickinson looks to book his spot in the Greatest Rivals Round Robin finals.
Richard Holliday pinned Megabyte Ronnie in 12:31 (**¾)
Solo Darling & Willow Nightingale submitted Mike Verna & Rex Lawless in 8:03 (***¼)
Chris Dickinson pinned Wheeler Yuta in 10:11 (****¼)
Denver Colorado’s introducing via a green screen, recapping what happened last week before pitching to Paul Crockett and Stanley Bakabella at ringside.
Megabyte Ronnie vs. Richard Holliday
Holliday’s still rocking the airpods, which he leaves in at the bell.
We open with a lock-up that went nowhere, before a knuckle lock saw Holliday force Ronnie towards his knees. Ronnie powers back though and bends Holliday backwards, only for Holliday to return the favour as he dropped Ronnie down. Some shoving and shoulder barges lead to Ronnie going for shoulder tackles off the ropes as some trash talking eventually led to Holliday getting slammed. He kicks Ronnie away quickly and hits a slam of his own as Ronnie propelled Holliday skyward with a kick away.
Another lock-up sees Holliday take Ronnie to the corner for an elbow, before Holliday’s kick away earned him a back suplex. That sets Ronnie up for his hot dog elbow, but Holliday pops up to avoid it… and to tell us he’s never had a hot dog. Ronnie offers him his, but instead Holliday just rips it in half and begins to stomp away on Ronnie. Holliday goes after Ronnie’s ankles as he unloads with a series of stomps. Taking Ronnie into the corner sees Ronnie counter a slam out of the corner… but he gets pulled down by the hair. Ronnie reverses a suplex into a stalling suplex, landing it for a near-fall, only for Holliday to retaliate with a powerbomb for a two-count of his own.
Holliday begins to get frustrated at Ronnie’s resilience, as he takes him into the corners for kicks, only for Ronnie to rebound with clotheslines. A boot stops Ronnie, who then catches a double sledge and turns it into an overhead belly-to-belly, before a Sky High dropped Holliday again. Ronnie goes for the hot dog elbow again, but this time Holliday rolls away, then caught Ronnie in the corner with a roll-up… but Holliday has his hand on the rope to steady himself, and the ref stops the count. Arguing with the referee masks a mule kick from Holliday, who low blows Ronnie ahead of the 2008 (or the Blade Buster) for the win. **¾
Tournament for Tomorrow First Round: The Bird & The Bee (Solo Darling & Willow Nightingale) vs. Rex Lawless & Mike Verna
Verna and Darling start off our final opening round match, but Solo’s attempt to grab the arm is pushed away.
A front facelock from Verna turns into a suplex, before he clings on to Solo… a second suplex turns into a double slingshot suplex, before Lawless tagged in to hit a tope atomico to crush Darling for just a one-count. OW. Lawless misses a legdrop, as Darling begins to fire back with rights and kicks, only for Lawless to dump her with a boot into the corner. In comes Nightingale, who ducks a boot before her headscissors took Lawless into the corner. She charges in, but she’s caught with a full nelson and an elbow, before a slam dropped Willow for a one-count.
Verna’s back with a shoulder tackle before a diving clothesline from Lawless gets another one-count. A chinlock keeps Willow grounded, before a back suplex keeps the former Amityville Project duo ahead. Nightingale blocks a suplex and counters with a Fisherman suplex for a one-count, before Solo came in for a folding pin on Verna, only for her Sharp Stinger cloverleaf to be pushed away. Kicks get caught as Verna comes back with a bucklebomb, then a tight scoop slam out of the corner that dropped Solo on her head for a two-count. Verna heads up top but misses a senton bomb, before both participants tagged out. Lawless catches Nightingale with clotheslines, then a uranage backbreaker before a fallaway slam tosses Willow into the corner.
A chop stings Willow, ahead of a clothesline as a chokebomb almost gets Lawless the win. A second one’s countered with a Codebreaker, as Lawless tags out… Verna tries to take care of Nightingale’s run-in, but runs into a spinebuster… apparently Willow’s legal as she got a two-count from that. Darling tags back in and hits low dropkicks to Lawless’ knees, before a high kick from Nightingale and a death valley driver dumped Lawless. Verna’s legal, and shows off his power with a powerbomb/slam combo attempt… but he falls backwards and almost gets pinned with it before a Sharp Stinger from Darling forces the quick submission. This was an almighty sprint of a tag match, and issues with “who’s legal?” aside towards the end, this was a really enjoyable watch. ***¼
We’ve another video essay from Joseph Montecillo, this time focusing on the Greatest Rivals Round Robin series of years gone by – a series that has produced some absolute classics: Busick vs. Thatcher, through to the Team Pazuzu Round Robin, to the women’s Team Adams Round Robin.
Greatest Rivals Round Robin: Wheeler Yuta vs. Chris Dickinson
Yuta jumps Dickinson during the introductions, knowing he needs to get a win here to have any chance of making the finals.
A second dropkick dumps Dickinson, then a third as the “Dirty Daddy” just couldn’t get out of the blocks. He’s taken outside for a tope, then back inside as Dickinson finally replies with a mid kick. Dickinson’s back suplex keeps the pace up for a two-count, before taking Yuta to the corner for chops. Yuta chops back, then got decked with an elbow ahead of a Boston crab as Yuta escaped to take the mount, throwing some shots from above as Dickinson just muscled out back into the Boston crab. A rope break saves Yuta, but Dickinson drives the knee into the mat before coming back in with some mid kicks.
Dickinson misses a charge into the corner, and gets caught as Yuta leaps back up for a springboard Divorce Court, following up with an armbar by the corner as Dickinson manages to back into the ropes. A stomp follows on Dickinson’s arm, before an armbar in the ropes has Dickinson in danger on the floor. Rolling back inside, Dickinson grabs Yuta’s ankle, but he can’t avoid another armbar as Yuta torques away… but they’re too close to the ropes as a break is called. Yuta sweeps the leg and continued to work on Dickinson’s left arm, dropping a knee over it as he torques it some more, but Dickinson again powers up and blisters Yuta with chops.
Yuta tries to reply with more chops, but he’s caught with a rear spin kick before he uppercutted Dickinson’s arm. An enziguiri staggers Yuta, who floats over a clothesline to nearly nick a win with a backslide, only for Dickinson to obliterate him with a clothesline. Dickinson’s back up to his feet first and throws more rights, before Yuta burst back… only to get taken down with an armdrag and a dropkick. Skinning the cat, Yuta gets back into the ring for a rear kick and a German suplex… then rolled over to Dickinson’s arm for a Fujiwara armbar, but Dickinson gets out and hits a Tiger Bomb to free himself. That gets a near-fall, before he rolled Yuta into a STF… but his arm’s weakened, as Yuta breaks the grip en route to the bottom rope.
Shrugging it off, Dickinson waffles Yuta into the corner with a series of right hands, before a running knee’s caught. There’s more rights from Yuta, who ducks an enziguiri before a mounted key lock was effortlessly countered into a running death valley driver for a near-fall. From there, Dickinson spikes Yuta with a sheer-drop brainbuster, and that’s your lot. An almighty sprint that sees Dickinson book his spot with Matt Makowski in the series final – while Wheeler Yuta now needs to face Tony Deppen to avoid that proverbial wooden spoon. Yuta didn’t deserve the loss on this outing, but he’s come a long way. ****¼
Post-match, Dickinson offered a handshake, but Yuta wouldn’t take it until he’d beaten him…
Next week: Masha Slamovitch faces Kaia McKenna in non-tournament action, plus the Tournament for Tomorrow semi-finals: Ephemera vs. Milk Chocolate, and The Bird & The Bee vs. 40 Acres, plus that proverbial wooden spoon match between Wheeler Yuta and Tony Deppen. You know the drill – Beyond’s found the sweet spot with the Signature Series. A fantastic hour of TV as they keep things impactful. Beyond’s clearly learned from the mistakes everyone else has made with empty-arena stuff – keep it short, and make sure those watching don’t have an opportunity to notice the lack of a crowd.