Beyond’s first live stream of 2018 saw them pay a trip to the WrestleFactory, as they came at us with a secret show for Powerbomb! Independent Championship: Mike Quackenbush vs. Jonathan Gresham (c)
Good lord, this is the OPENER?!

We start on the mat as Gresham scoots out of a grounded headlock, before trying to cause a little bit of pain with a leg-spreader to Quack on the mat. Eventually Gresham is scooped away as Quackenbush tries the same trick, only for Gresham to break it up by pulling at Quack’s ear after some distractions from Stokely Hathaway and MJF on the floor.

A full nelson from Gresham’s repeatedly broken as the defending champion was forced to come up with a plan B… which involved him being put in the hold so he could try to break it. It didn’t work at first, but Gresham was back on the wristlock trail, only to get tripped once more as Quackenbush kept the mat on the mat again.

Gresham’s whimpering like a kid as Quack had him in a STF, but we get a rope break before Gresham gets propelled with a series of nice back body drops. Armdrags break up the flow as Gresham fights back, eventually grabbing an arm as he tried to pin Quackenbush to the mat with a series of cradles, including a nice sunset flip out of the corner before being pulled down into another fluid STF from the challenger.

Gresham keeps going back to the arm though once he broke free, trapping Quackenbush in a double armbar on the mat until we got a rope break… and that seemed to be the final straw as Quackenbush sparked a chopping battle once he got back on his feet. That ends when Gresham chopped Quackenbush low and rolled him up for a near-fall, before an up-kick from Quack kept him in it… even if the arm work was starting to take its toll.

Another series of massive back body drops led to a monkey flip that almost went badly wrong, but Quackenbush stayed in it… only for more arm work to lead to a crucifix pinning attempt for another near-fall. Quackenbush thought he’d won it with the Lightning Lock – a standing crossface and cloverleaf combo – only for a distraction from Stokely Hathaway to give MJF a chance to poke the eyes of Quackenbush, as Gresham follows up with a Euro clutch for the win. A cheap finish, and although I’d have loved to have seen Gresham continue his count-out story, this was a lovely match to open the show. Plenty of technical, buttery-smooth graps! ***¾

After the match, Stokely Hathaway fake praises Mike Quackenbush and threatens to beat him down some more with MJF and Gresham. Wheeler YUTA and Tracy Williams make the save, before wandering away as MJF remained at ringside for…

Tournament for Tomorrow – Semi-Final: Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Mike Verna vs. Damien Smith vs. Jay Freddie vs. Brandon Watts vs. Josh Briggs
Regular followers of Beyond will know that the men’s Tournament for Tomorrow has been a little fraught. The original final was meant to have seen Ace Romero take on Wheeler YUTA at Heavy Lies The Crown on New Year’s Eve, but for whatever reason Ace is no longer working for Beyond, and since Romero was already a fill-in for the injured MJF in the semi-finals, we need a new finalist.

Or, to put it another way, we’re having a do-over semi-final. With original semi-finalist MJF involved. Yep. Still, at least we got the music on this feed, rather than the usual Beyond dubbings…

So yeah, this was a six-way match with a really big guy (from a town that really exists, by the way), some flippy dudes… and a MJF who ran his mouth so much that Josh Briggs just booted him, Standard. Verna and Briggs cleared house as the bigger guys early, before turning their sights on each other… with one guy in the crowd calling back to Sting when Verna went for a bucklebomb on Briggs.

Hopefully this one worked out better.

It’s very fast and furious, but the Beyond “raw feed” only shows us the hard camera, so we’re seeing a few dives from an odd angle, before MJF was wiped out with a sweet over-the-turnbuckle plancha from Briggs. Yep, Josh can fly for a big man! MJF gets in more trouble as Verna hits a stalling suplex, throwing in a DDT to Smith on the way down as the man who frequents this place more regularly as Sloan Caprice shone.

Verna tried for a middle rope fallaway slam on Watts, but he lost it and instead became part of a Tower of Doom… one that Briggs pulled the trigger on, with Damien Smith wiping out a blundering MJF on the way down. Watts’ froggy elbow completes the set as all six men were left down, before we segued into the synchronised punches and a five-way superkick for MJF. He deserved it.

Everyone else superkicks each other for… reasons, before we’re back to the spots… a springboard Blockbuster from Smith… a flying Famouser from Watts… and a roll-up from Verna that gave way to a powerbomb! Watts misses a leg lariat on Verna, who just dumped Smith on top of him after that, before MJF dumped Freddie with a pumphandle driver for a near-fall. The action’s largely good, but this Philly crowd doesn’t seem to get most of the guys involved, so the responses are largely polite cheers… and astonished gasps as Damien Smith almost shocked Briggs with a roll-up.

In the end though, MJF gets the win, stealing the pin after Briggs had hit Smith with a uranage lumbar check… and so our original finalist is back. He’ll face Wheeler YUTA at a point TBD. Decent match, but a little too spotty for my tastes, especially with some of them not coming off quite right. ***

Hey, the Philly crowd wakes up… because Bryce Remsburg is out as a referee.

LuFisto vs. John Silver
Silver, who beat LuFisto’s Team PAWG partner Jordynne Grace last time out, attacked LuFisto as she made her entrance, and quickly laid into her with forearms.

LuFisto responds eventually with a spear as we quickly found out that this wasn’t PG like CHIKARA, especially when Silver chopped her right in the cleavage. There’s payback with an apron powerbomb before LuFisto gets in some chops of her own… but she gets tripped into the corner as “Meat Man” Silver gets in a Shibata-ish dropkick for just a one count.

Silver keeps up with some boot chokes, as the crowd got on him for his “Number One” trunks. Jesus, the same gimmick in back to back matches? LuFisto hits back though, tripping Silver into the ropes for a dropkick for another two-count, but Silver’s able to come back with a truthful “this crowd sucks” chant.

It wakes the crowd up a little as they rip into Silver, just in time for another LuFisto comeback… that ends whens he runs into a superkick? Maybe not, she shrugs it off and gets a suplex for a two-count, before propelling Silver with a super German suplex! Cannonballs and face-washing boots in the continue keep it up, as does a spinning backfist, before Silver slips out of a Burning Hammer and traps LuFisto in a crossface as the referee waves off the match. This was a good change of pace, even if the crowd did suck… but that’s sadly becoming a bit of a theme here. **¾

Amityville Project (Dan Barry, Rex Lawless & Ryan Galeone) vs. Bill Carr, Brian Cage & KTB
Dan Barry speaks to “not quite Philadelphia”, and he’s bragging about wiping out Team Pazuzu. Here they’re at the secret show in a secret part of town, which might give Arnold Furious another explanation at the perma-confused look on Dan’s face. One that was followed with horror when Brian Cage emerged… and even more when his sometimes partner in Team Tremendous, Bill Carr, completed the opposition.

Carr and Lawless start off with a test of strength as the big lads do what big lads do. Lots of chops. Next up, Cage and Barry tag in… and the crowd sorta dig Cage because he’s a name to them. Dan tries to chop him, but it hurts him more… and Cage is quickly back in with a monstrous dropkick and a hiptoss backbreaker as the Amityville Project’s mouthpiece was in big trouble.

Lawless rushes the ring and has similar luck, eating a German suplex before Galeone takes a brainbuster to complete the whitewash. KTB follows as he and Cage keep Galeone down, with Kyle hitting an inverted atomic drop and a splash to keep those near-falls coming. Mike Verna gets involved on the outside, but his distraction only helps as Galeone catches KTB in a slam off the top, as the Amityville Project took over.

Well, at least until Barry came in as KTB fought back then, only to get blindsided by a flying Galeone as we seemed to be working under lucha tag rules… oh, and in front of another indifferent crowd. They at least woke up when Carr was flying around Lawless, and to the outside with a somersault plancha! Yeah, Brian Cage flies too with a tope con giro, while KTB finishes the set… spearing Dan Barry off the apron after a gamengiri attempt.

A Parade of Moves busts out after Lawless almost lost Carr on a TKO, before Barry eats a buckle bomb and a lariat from Cage… and it’s another Parade! Galeone catches a quebrada from KTB and turns it into a German suplex, before… BILL CARR DESTROYER!? It’s not effective though as he’s quickly rolled up by his Team Tremendous partner, and Dan Barry snatches the win. Well, that was fun – big lads flying and going hard! ***

Carr gets beaten down after the match, until Chris Dickinson makes the save with a Singapore cane. A cane that he actually whacked lawless in the head with as he flailed it around to chase off the Amityville Project. Once Dickinson gets a working mic, he tells us he’s having to buy time, so he gets Brian Cage to pose for us. Dickinson does the Vince McMahon reaction shots, before calling for Bill Carr to do the same poses… with the dad bod stuff making the Dirty Daddy fall out of his chair.

Eventually Dickinson turns this into an open challenge because he’s here alone… and after some more padding, his man turns up. The hell, it’s Joey Janela?!

Chris Dickinson vs. Joey Janela
It’s a debut for Janela at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory. I’d joke that it’d take something seismic for Janela to ever wrestle for CHIKARA, but he’s been announced for their Tag World Grand Prix in February so… *Yano shrug*

Janela powders outside early as we have a lot of shenanigans, with Penelope Ford distracting Dickinson for long enough for Janela to hit the ring, but it’s Ford who low bridges Dickinson as he was… checking her out. Yeah, this ain’t happening under the CHIKARA banner. Joey can’t quite capitalise on that diversion either, as his dive outside led to Dickinson just dropping him with a suplex on the floor for an eventual one-count.

Some t-shirt choking ensues as the Dirty Daddy stays on top of Janela for a bunch of one counts. Joey’s nowhere near done though, as he starts a series of chops, ending when he knocked Dickinson to the outside. Penelope tries to interfere again, but Dickinson kicks her away… only to sunset flip back into a stomp from Janela as the Bad Boy took over. There’s a lot of alliteration with these nicknames, huh?

The pair end up on the turnbuckles as Janela went for a superplex, but instead rolled down Dickinson with a top rope ‘rana before rolling through into a Figure Four! Dickinson tries in vain to reverse it, before he made it to the ropes instead, as Janela follows up with more kicks to the legs. A crossbody off the top is caught and rolled through as Dickinson does the deal with a Falcon Arrow instead, but it’s only enough for a two-count!

Penelope again involves herself, and again it backfires as she’s turned into a human battering ram thrown straight at Janela in the corner, before Dickinson almost pins her and Janela at once, mashing up a Euro clutch with a German suplex to Janela. From the kick outs, Penelope grabs a rear naked choke to restrain Dickinson, who then uses Penelope on Joey for a satellite DDT.

Yet again, Penelope gets involved as she climbs the ropes as the ref’s not looking, but Dickinson catches her for a superplex… except Janela makes the save and it’s turned into a Doomsday Device that almost wins the match! From there, Joey negotiates the low ceiling as he misses a moonsault, before countering out of a Pazuzu Bomb… only to take it in the end anyway for another near-fall!

Dickinson brutally sends Janela out with a clothesline, and it’s Penelope time again. A series of strikes have no effect, and Dickinson just press slams her out onto the floor. Someone tries to start a “kill his girlfriend” chant aimed at Ford… but instead Penelope’s used to give Janela a Destroyer before she ate a piledriver. Janela retaliates with a superkick, before Ford rushes back in with a low blow and a powerbomb out of the corner as a double stomp wins it for Janela. I know some people will absolutely hate this match – from the constant interference, to the way some moves’ impact was blown off… but this was entertaining for what it was, a throwaway match on a mystery show, with the “Ace of Beyond”. If that’s still a thing. ***¼

Martin Stone vs. Flip Gordon
A clash of styles led to a match that could well be a shock heard around the world… if Flip didn’t believe it was flat, anyway…

Gordon’s out in a New England Patriots jersey, looking ridiculous, because Superbowl. Joke’s on you Flip, especially 24 hours later as the Philadelphia Eagles got the last laugh. Someone in the crowd burns Flip by asking “have you beaten anyone in Ring of Honor yet?” TK O’Ryan. Corey Hollis and Hangman Page are your trivia answers there folks…

Flip’s keeping it on the mat early as his bad guy persona means he’s not flipping for the hell of it anymore. Apart from flipping off Stone, that is, and that angered the Guv’nor, who snapped that bird as he began to work on Flip’s digits. Some work on Flip’s heel have the crowd going, but Stone can’t quite whoo his way into a Figure Four, so he just drags down a leaping Flip to send him into the ropes.

Once Stone’s done thanking the fans, he’s forced onto the defensive as Gordon lives up to his name with those wacky kip ups, before catching Stone with a leaping knee strike. Finally Flip goes back to his regular game, with a standing moonsault that drew chants of “same old shit” from the crowd, before he flipped off of Stone in the ropes.

Gordon takes it to the outside, but Stone hits first as they brawled around the ringside area, leading to a missed chop as Martin gets nothing but that ringpost. Inside, Gordon stays on top of Stone with some strikes, before Gordon’s suckered into a headbutt as he tried to get into an argument with the ref. Back-and-forth strikes follow, but Stone’s slowly edging out, landing a lariat for a near-fall, before Gordon hand stands his way out of an Ace crusher. Well, that’s new!

There’s an impressive spot when Stone sits down to avoid a sunset bomb off the top, but Gordon bridges out and gets a Ki Krusher in for a near-fall. Again, Gordon reverts to type as he tries to flip, but a 450 splash misses as Stone comes back in with a powerbomb and a lariat as the match becomes precariously-balanced… leading to Flip’s reverse Finlay roll. He misses with the standing shooting star though, and Stone quickly capitalises with a crossface for the submission. Really good stuff in front of a so-so crowd… I’d not mind seeing a rematch of this in front of a hotter audience, that’s for sure. ***½

Orange Cassidy vs. Swoggle
NOW Philly wakes up… for Orange Cassidy and the bleeding Swamp Monster.

Insert comedy match here, starting with strip-teases, nonchalant headlocks (which prompted Swoggle to remind us that “I don’t lose on the indies anymore”) and some slow-mo-graps, featuring a ridiculous leap-leap-leapfrog spot.

Swoggle eventually gets ahead when he punched Cassidy low and knocked his glasses off. In response, Orange does some middle-rope walking, but his chop misses, as do some swinging lariats. Because Swoggle’s small, see?

Some choking in the corner follows, but it just left Orange vulnerable for a powerbomb… which would have won the match, except the Swamp Monster wanders in to stop the count. He then willingly unmasked as… CHUCK TAYLOR?! He gets in a shoving match with the ref before blinding him with his mask… that gave him enough time to piledrive Swoggle, and that’s the win for Orange. Eh, it was what it was… I’ve seen plenty of comedy matches that were worse. **

Wheeler & Williams Grappling Experience (Wheeler YUTA & Tracy Williams) vs. LAX (Santana & Ortiz)
As far as team names go, this isn’t too bad… especially since “Hot Wheels” is a legally touchy name! Speaking of names, EYFBO went under their TNA names, so bye-bye Draztik and hello Santana!

We opened with some grappling as Williams and Santana found themselves evenly matched… at least until the artist sometimes known as Mike Draztik started unloading with chops. A blind tag eventually gets Ortiz in for a double-team powerbomb, before he almost loses Williams, and ends up taking a knee-buster as “Hot Sauce” made the tag out to YUTA.

After a suplex, YUTA tags out as Williams comes in with a 619 to Ortiz, then a slingshot splash as his Rey Mysterio callback led to Santana breaking up the count. Ortiz is left isolated for a while as YUTA lands some more suplexes for near-falls, before Williams tries to chop Ortiz in half… it doesn’t work, but it does spark a brief chop-fest as Wheeler and Williams tried to isolate the other half of LAX.

Ortiz manages to make a comeback, nearly pinning Williams with an O’Connor roll before bringing Santana back in for… more chops. They’re brought to an end as LAX started to double-team Williams with… more chops, only for YUTA to save his partner from some double-teaming. A superplex/flying elbow combo almost gets the W&W pair the win, while a dropick-assisted piledriver doesn’t even get a count as Santana was in the ropes.

Ortiz returns with a low dropkick then a sit-out powerbomb to YUTA, but he can’t make the cover… still, LAX stay in control, with a nice step-up cannonball from Santana wiping out Williams, before the powerbomb/Blockbuster combo picked up the win. Enjoyable tag team fare, although like with the rest this card, it probably would have clicked better in front of the regular Beyond crowd. ***½

AR Fox vs. Tessa Blanchard
Our second intergender match of the day leads to a huge pop as Tessa Blanchard appeared. Hopefully that didn’t tire out the crowd…

The early going has Tessa ducking some back elbows from Fox, before her efforts at armdrags and backslides were stuffed. We’ve a bunch of early pinning attempts too, before Fox went to his flipping game… and earned himself a forearm for his troubles. Tessa gives a receipt with a lucha-ish armdrag, but that’s’ quickly stopped when Fox takes her into the corner for some chops.

A diving clothesline into the corner kept Fox ahead, but Blanchard tried to fight back, booting away a Lo Mein Pain attempt before her try and a tornado DDT was turned into a spin-out suplex. She tries to fight back with back-and-forth forearms, but Fox remained a step ahead with an enziguri, before Tessa rebounded with an Ace crusher and a DDT as the crowd sadly looked to have tired themselves out.

Tessa flies… and gets caught with another Ace crusher, followed by a springboarded one off the ropes for another near-fall, before Fox negotiated the low ceiling for a senton bomb. Another near-fall ensues, but Tessa’s able to get back in with a lungblower out of the corner, only for Fox to land a spin-out package piledriver… for a ONE count?!

Well, we’ve already had Destroyers shrugged off, so eh.

Tessa fires up with more forearms, but Fox blasts through her with a big boot before landing a Foxcatcher for the win. Pretty solid, but this crowd… man. A good showing from both, but the first intergender match was a lot more even… ***

David Starr vs. Matt Riddle
EEK. This was only the third time these guys have met, with Starr having not lost either, as they went to a double DQ last February when the wXw Shotgun and PROGRESS titles were on the line at CZW, while Starr picked up the win at a wXw Inner Circle show before 16 Carat Gold 2017.

The crowd sang along to some of Starr’s nicknames, stopping when Starr took exception to the “former Ace of Beyond Wrestling” line. Of course, Riddle had to borrow those intros, with a lot of “bro”s. Starr wasn’t exactly too impressed with some of those spoofs.

Riddle rolls a lot as he tries to get Starr’s ankle in the opening moments, before countering an attempt at an armbar with one of his own as the Product was made to dive for the ropes. On the next go around, Starr’s able to get a takedown, but he fights for the mount… and ends up having to block another armbar as Riddle swiftly turned it around.

After cartwheeling away, Starr finds himself with another armbar attempt, before he switches it into an inverted slam as he takes Riddle into the corner for a sliding crossbody. The reply saw Starr do a Flair Flop after a Riddle chop, but he hits back with an elbow, then some clunking lariats as he was chanelling an Austrian foe… but the Han Stansen lariat’s blocked and met with an upkick… to polite applause.

Riddle kicks Starr in the back as the Product fought to avoid an F-bomb, before some rolling gutwrench suplexes had Starr begging for mercy. German suplexes follow as Riddle looked to be in control, almost playing around with Starr. More kicks and chops follow as Starr has no answer to it all… before a slap in desperation seemed to give Starr some drive… but instead it triggered Riddle into more forearms.

An Exploder suplex out of the corner followed, but Starr gets his knees up to block a back senton, before he followed in with a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron. That Han Stansen lariat succeeds, but Riddle’s quickly back with a Bro to Sleep and a German suplex… the latter of which is shrugged off. He’s taken too many off of WALTER! Riddle no-sells his, before kicks and knees led both men to crash to the mat.

Back-and-forth chops sprayed clouds of sweat into the air as the pair lit each other up, before Riddle caught Starr off guard with a tombstone slam, a powerbomb and a bicycle knee… only to get a two-count as Starr put his wrist to the rope just in the nick of time. A back senton connects this time as Riddle chained them together, only for Starr to pop up with a Blackheart driver for a near-fall as both men seemed to be getting close to running on fumes.

Riddle’s Fisherman’s buster almost put Starr away, so he goes to the grounded elbows as a set-up for the Bromission… but Starr flips out of it and nearly nicks the win, before the tiltawhirl Destroyer and a running knee… gets a one-count. Now the crowd’s awake! Product Placement follows, and gets a two-count, before Starr’s discus forearm to the back of the head and another Product Placement sealed the win. That was pretty good – and the crowd even managed to get into it by the end – and you get the feeling that the ongoing “Ace/Not Ace” stuff means the feud with Joey Janela and David Starr is far from over. ****

This crowd… man. I know it was Beyond’s first show in Philadelphia, but perhaps a mystery show wasn’t the best idea? To me, having a secret show with a mystery card was a good way to introduce wrestlers, most of whom would likely be regulars in the Philly area, but did little to lay the table for future shows… such as the “Clan Feuds” show they’re holding with CHIKARA in July.

Since most of this stuff isn’t canon, I’d hardly call it a mis-step, but outside of the vacuum there’s little you’ll remember from this card in the months ahead.