The start of a new endeavour for Beyond Wrestling saw them (sort-of) kick-off WrestleMania weekend with the debut episode of their new series, complete with big time surprises.

Going live every Wednesday is certainly a bold move when we’re already drowning in content, but at least they were swinging for the fences on week one, with David Starr and Masato Tanaka being one of the eye-catching matches.

We’re coming from the Electric Haze in Worcester, Massachusetts, some three hours away from New York City, but this is the most regular of Beyond’s homes… so why join in the madness in NYC? Paul Crockett and Josh Briggs are on commentary, and we start with Team Pazuzu in the ring – that’s Santana, Ortiz and Chris Dickinson as Jaka remains MIA.

Team Pazuzu (Santana, Ortiz & Chris Dickinson) vs. SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)
So we’ve got a big match to start off Uncharted Territory, and it’s Santana and Kazarian who get going as one of our early camera shots turned out blurry. Like sub-Rev Pro blurry. Uh-oh.

That got fixed as those two were unable to find an upperhand… so blind tags brought in Sky, who had a bit more luck. Ortiz followed in not long after that as we were well and truly into the revolving door game when it came to everyone getting a go. A Quebrada from Christopher Daniels gets a two-count, before Chris Dickinson – billed as the Backbone of Beyond – came in. Dickinson caught a leapfrog from Daniels, then fought for a STO, instead having to land a short clothesline after that came to nought. The pair exchange near-falls from sunset flips as the ring then filled for the West Side Story square-off and… a melee breaks out! It quickly clears out though as Daniels took control of things along with Kazarian, using some nice double teams to get a near-fall.

SCU triple-team Dickinson, helped by the rest of Team Pazuzu inadvertently distracting the ref. A heck of a lot of rope running led into a trolling chinlock from Daniels, which worked well as the veins in Dickinson’s head were bulging… but the Dirty Daddy fought back, dumping Daniels with a powerslam to give himself a breather. Tags follow as Ortiz and Kazarian return, with Ortiz clearing house with a nice missile dropkick for a near-fall, before Kazarian landed a sweet O’Connor roll/Northern lights combo on LAX for a two-count of his own. LAX rebound with a step-up cannonball to Kaz in the corner, before a short piledriver from Dickinson led to a near-fall as the rest of SCU floods the ring. Ortiz keeps it going with a suplex/stunner combo, but that’s one shot amid a long Parade of Moves that ended with Santana and Daniels hitting duelling clotheslines.

Dickinson tries to end it with a Pazuzu Bomb, but Daniels slips out and hits Angel’s Wings instead, as another Parade broke out. Ortiz slips off the middle rope and at the second crack lands a MX to Daniels, before he and Santana hit an inside-out hiptoss. More movez, movez, movez follow, with Santana leaping into a Kazarian cutter, before Chris Dickinson looked to finish things off… only to get pulled off the top rope by David Starr. Dickinson chases Starr to the back, and Ortiz is left helpless as SCU got the win almost off-camera. This started off slow, but picked up towards the end – with the crowd getting into it at a similar pace. ***

We’re thrown to Kathy Campanelli off-site to run down the Independent line-up for Mania weekend… and a tip-off for next week’s Uncharted Territory, featuring Aussie Open.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Kimber Lee
Fresh off of being humiliated with old Rosie O’Donnell footage, MJF’s serenaded by the crowd mocking his childhood stardom. You are my sunshine…

MJF has a promo where he buries Kimber Lee for not being flavour of the month, before he earned himself a slap. She bursts into the match with satellite headscissors and a big boot, sending MJF packing, but there’s no rest for the wicked as MJF ate a senton off the apron before he snuck back in to blast Kimber with a forearm. He began to work over her, throwing in a noogie for the hell of it, as MJF… did the Garvin Stomp?! A hair-mare sent Kimber Lee flying across the ring ahead of an old school abdominal stretch… complete with obvious cheating. Referee Kevin Quinn kicks away the cheating as Kimber Lee kicked her way back into the match, scoring a head kick for a near-fall, only for MJF to rudely dump her with a German suplex.

She’s right back up to bounce MJF with some of her own, before she headed up top… and missed a senton bomb. MJF uses the referee as a human shield, and it works too as he took Kimber Lee onto the apron for a slingshot piledriver (Josh Bodom’s Bliss Buster) for the win. This was decent while it lasted, but this felt way too short. **

Next week: Aussie Open take on Sadkampf (Kevin Ku and Dominic Garrini), while Anthony Greene faces Gangrel. Well, that’s certainly a retro name for the “retrosexual” to face.

The Beaver Boys come out next for their open challenge as they proclaimed themselves the tag team aces of Beyond. Their challenge was answered by a team… meant to be here next week!

Beaver Boys (John Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
Hey, it’s Aussie Open in Beyond!

Fletcher and Reynolds start us off as commentary seemed to be focusing more on the Beaver Boys early on as they tried to ground the Aussie Arrow. A Quebrada from Fletcher surprises Reynolds for just a one-count as the Aussies looked to force a foothold in the match, succeeding when Kyle hauled up Reynolds for a suplex. Tags follow as the “Meat Man” John Silver was brought in against a rather giddy-looking Dunkzilla as commentary (of all places) pulled up Aussie Open’s run in Defiant as a yardstick. Silver tries to intimidate Davis with a posedown, but a chop just floored the “Meat Man” before Alex Reynolds tried to get involved… and just ended up ducking a chop as his partner got tenderised.

Kyle’s back in with a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a near-fall after a back senton from Davis, before the Beaver Boys headed outside… with Reynolds’ leaping kick cutting off Kyle’s dive. An O’Connor roll’s stopped as Reynolds tagged out, as the Beavers managed to find a way to isolate the Aussie Arrow once more. Some face raking from Reynolds keeps Kyle in the ropes, while a hair pull from Silver delayed a comeback as Davis got the tag in for his chop/clothesline comeback. A cartwheel from Davis set up for a stacked-up slam for a near-fall, before he went back to the chops as Reynolds’ chest was starting to bleed. And this is just the start of the weekend!

A sit-down splash out of the corner squashes Reynolds for a near-fall as the Aussies kept Silver on the outside… but he’s quickly back to save Reynolds from an Aussie Arrow. Kyle’s the legal man, and he’s able to hit back with a superkick and the assisted Aussie Arrow for a near-fall as it looked like he was going to be back on the defensive. Silver pulls Fletcher to the outside as they looked for the double-team inverted crucifix bomb, but not to worry… Kyle’s back with some chops to the bloodied Reynolds before Silver cuts off a superplex and held Kyle for a powerbomb/leg lariat combo for another near-fall.

Combination superkicks trap Davis as Fletcher’s left on his own again, taking a lungblower and a German suplex with a stacked up pin for another two-count as Aussie Open were proving to be a massive test for the Tournament For Tomorrow winners. Davis is back to do a one-handed powerbomb to Silver, before the Gold Coast Waterslide was slipped out of by Reynolds… only for him to get booted down by Kyle. A sliding punch in the corner traps Silver as the assisted inverted crucifix bomb almost led to the win, this time with Reynolds making the save. Back-and-forth punches follow as both sides looked for the death blow, but when Silver blocked a double-team Go to Sleep, the Beaver Boys were able to find a way with a double-team Destroyer DDT before they put away Fletcher with an elevated Fidget Spinner. The irony was lost on pretty much everyone…. Considering Aussie Open came out to no response at first, this was a hell of a performance as they got themselves over to a new crowd in one match. From the VOD, it’s just a shame commentary didn’t seem to know much about them… ***½

Backstage, “Cameron Zagami” is interviewing Gabriel Skye. It’s odd that Zagami, who won the CHIKARA Young Lion Cup last year, is in this role… anyway, Skye’s in the Discovery Gauntlet which is later tonight, and of course he wants to win it.

Discovery Gauntlet: Mick Moretti vs. Gabriel Skye
The Discovery Gauntlet is a match spread across multiple weeks of this show, in a “winner stays on” format.

The crowd’s somewhat silent as Moretti grabbed a headlock, but Skye ‘ranas his way free as Moretti clung onto the rope to enforce a break. Moretti cheapshots Skye, but a chop stopped that Skye worked up to a lucha armdrag, then a springboard ‘rana. Moretti goes upside down in the corner to catch out Skye… but he ends up taking a wheelbarrow bulldog and a head kick as Moretti really couldn’t get into first gear here. Moretti finally gets going as he trapped Skye in the ropes and tripped him up before a low dropkick scored a two-count. A German suplex and a running Fisherman buster’s next out of Moretti as he was all about the high impact stuff… and the mind games as he suckered Skye into more headscissors. Skye fought back with an enziguiri as he was pulled out of the ropes, then with a diving knee and a slingshot spinning suplex for a near-fall.

A flying tornado DDT from Skye drops Moretti, who somehow nearly won it seconds later after he fell onto Skye from a headbutt. Skye elbows out of a Fireman’s carry, before another kick is caught and turned into a pumphandle facebuster as Moretti got the win. These sort of matches are always a risk when it comes to crowd engagement – if the crowd knows neither man, you’re likely to get crickets… and while this was fine in-ring, the crowd struggled to get into it. **½

Kris Stadtlander vs. AR Fox
Stadtlander’s gotten a lot of buzz for someone barely two years in – and this could be another breakout match for her.

Fox was more surly than usual here, and he started with a lot of swinging and missing as a leg sweep and a handstand legdrop got Stadtlander an early two-count. A low blow from Fox has no effect, because of course it doesn’t, as Stadtlander threw in some kicks before a headscissor attempt… as countered as Fox cartwheeled his way free. Stadtlander shows off some cartwheels of her own as she handwalked her way into a ‘rana to take Fox into the corner, following up with a deadlift superplex effort… but Ayla Fox on the outside clings onto her husband’s foot, allowing AR to catch Kris in the ropes for a springboard neckbreaker back in. Fox continues with chops to Stadtlander, who fought back with some chops of her own before a neckbreaker took her back down for a near-fall.

More neckbreakers follow before Stadtlander nearly put away Fox with a backslide… they evade each other’s stuff before Kris hits a high kick. A corkscrew kick just about catches Fox for another near-fall, but her momentum quickly ended with a Yakuza-style kick and a cutter as Fox almost took home the win. Fox lifts Stadtlander up top for a superplex, but she headbutts him away and catches him in an Electric Chair facebuster, following up with an axe kick for a near-fall. Ayla gets involved again, distracting Stadtlander as she swung and missed with a slap… and the distraction worked as somehow Fox hit a coast-to-coast dropkick, catching Kris on the floor with a dropkick before he negotiated some ventilation ducts for a senton bomb… but still couldn’t get the win, and seconds later fell to a roll-up as Stadtlander picked up the upset! This was rather muted compared to Fox’s usual stuff, but despite that this was a solid outing as Stadtlander’s stock continues to rise. ***¼

Post-match, Kimber Lee comes out to stop AR Fox from attacking Stadtlander… because she wanted to do it herself, knocking her down then choking her out as commentary couldn’t understand why she’d do that to her tag partner for tomorrow.

Orange Cassidy & Martina vs. Jordynne Grace & Brian Cage
Billed as a “dream partner” match, Orange Cassidy brought a backpack… does it have his title in it?

Jordynne cuts a promo to tell us who her partner isn’t… it’s not Scott Steiner… nor Jonathan Gresham… nor is it LuFisto. It’s Brian Cage! Orange Cassidy, on the other hand, pulled out the new title belt, before Darude hit as Martina made her Beyond debut. We’re in full comedy mode from the start as Martina and Orange dance… but Grace quickly put a stop to that, only for Martina to grind her way out of a waistlock. A bodyslam’s stopped courtesy of Martina’s flap trap, sending Jordynne outside as Martina got tired of rope running, falling flat on her face before Orange gave her a sip of lager.

It works, because of course it does, but Martina tagged out as Orange Cassidy came in for his laissez faire offence, focused on keeping his hands in his pockets before a chop almost saw Orange tap out. Hands in pockets, Orange rolls over Jordynne, before he smashed his sunglasses on the landing… but the hands stay in the pockets, as Grace pulled off a giant swing. In comes Cage, who suplexes Cassidy, then uses him as a dumbell ahead of a standing fallaway slam. It’s too easy. Martina bounces off of Cage with a crossbody before Cassidy got hauled up for a powerbomb out of the corner as he finally took his hands out of his pockets to kick out. A Seshbreaker from Martina gets rid of Jordynne, before a pigggy back back senton onto Cage nearly got the win. Cassidy goes for a brainbuster on Cage, but that was never going to happen as Martina found her way back in… but both teams have communication problems, landing errant strikes on their partners before Cage’s flying tornado DDT leaves Orange laying.

A Stundog Millionaire from Cassidy has Cage reeling, as Jordynne Grace’s latest attempt to get involved saw her taken outside for a tope from Martina, as a brainbuster from Orange nearly got the win. Orange takes a mouthful of orange juice, then accidentally sprays Martina with it… leaving him open for a lariat from Cage and a pumphandle driver as Grace took the win over the champion. Eh, this was fine – if you’ve seen a lot of Martina, you may be a little irritated by the character establishing stuff, but this match builds up further for Cassidy/Grace, you’d expect. **

Cam Zagami’s at ringside with Mick Moretti. We can barely hear his mic, as he heels on the Worcester crowd. They then announce Americanrana 2019 for July 28, 2019 at Foxwood’s Resort & Casino in Connecticut. That’s big news for the crowd, going by the reaction…

David Starr vs. Masato Tanaka
Starr’s not exactly loved in Beyond, and stomping on an Uncharted Territory flag won’t help.

Starr’s now billed from London, England (eh, close enough)… as he stares down Rich Palladino during his entrance, which the crowd soundly booed. I do like the touch that his ring gear here, bearing the word “hauptkampf” (main event) is in the colours of the German flag. The upper hand went to Starr early as he took Tanaka into the corner, before the former ECW champion returned the favour, much to Starr’s chagrin. A wristlock’s countered as Starr took Tanaka to the mat, working over the elbow, then the legs as he pulled Tanaka into a Figure Four leglock.

Tanaka gets to the ropes, but Starr feigns being unable to break the hold… and that was the perfect time for my PC to decide it needed to reboot. We’re back as Starr’s putting the boots to Tanaka, as the match looked to be pretty one-sided, as an Irish whip bounced Tanaka off the turnbuckles for a near-fall. Problem was, it also fired up Tanaka, who caught him with a hattrick of clotheslines before a spinning DDT out of the corner dropped Starr for a delayed near-fall.

Starr ducks a rolling elbow and nearly puts away Tanaka with a backslide… only to crack him with a cartwheel kick and a Blackheart Buster as Tanaka was almost put away. A series of forearms from Starr fires Tanaka up some more, as a slugfest broke out, with Starr struggling to defend against a barrage of elbows, before he got wrecked with a lariat! A kick to the leg saw Starr try to keep Tanaka in the corner, as did a thrust kick, as he was throwing whatever he could in Tanaka’s direction. Starr’s bid for a superplex is headbutted away, as Tanaka came right back with a Diamond Dust, only for a lariat to get countered as Starr tripped Tanaka into the referee, before a poke to the eye and a powerbomb to the knee left Tanaka down.

With no ref, Starr rolls outside and heads under the ring for a chair… but Tanaka fires up as he demanded a shot. Rather than blast him over the head, Starr just punted Tanaka low, before Penelope Ford appeared at ringside. Joey Janela wasn’t far behind as he made his return to a monstrous reaction, punting Starr low before Tanaka busted out an old school ECW-like chairshot and a sliding elbow as the self-declared “Ace of Beyond” took the loss. That chairshot… yuck. No thanks, and that was just about the only thing that soured me on this match. ***¼

So, the opening episode of Uncharted Territory saw the return of Joey Janela as David Starr has two pains in his rear to deal with. Post-match, Dickinson and Tanaka shared an uneasy handshake as the show went off the air.

The debut episode of Unchartered Territory was a fun show – one that tried to shoehorn independent wrestling into a TV-style format, and it worked well for it. Adding pre-tapes and interviews added some nice context, and the surprises on the show worked for what they were. Will this work as a long-term, permanent format? Well, if Beyond stick to it and do what so many other promotions haven’t – cross-promote from the weekly show into the bigger cards – then who knows? You’ll not be able to get big name surprises every week, but the talent is there to keep the line-ups fresh. Going by past Beyond shows, I’d say that this would be a safe bet for one of the better weekly indy shows out there.