Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beyond Wrestling: King of Arts Review

After all the great things I've heard about Beyond Wrestling in the past year, it was only a matter of time before I checked the Rhode Island promotion out for myself. Whether it be the videos on YouTube or the live experiences that friends of mine have had there, I was sold on checking out Beyond a long time ago and considering the attention this particular event got, I figured it'd be the perfect place to start.

I decided to post this show review here on the main site instead of the DVD reviews section considering it's a more recent event as it took place on March 5th, 2015. With that small note out of the way, lets get into Beyond Wrestling's King of Arts event.

AR Fox hits the ring to open the show. It's clear from the start that he's a heel which was a big change considering he's so light hearted in PWG & elsewhere. Apparently a ref hit him at the last show after he tried to attack him. This leads to Fox demanding for the ref, Kevin Quinn, to be fired and he get his wish.

1) Team Pazuzu (Chris Dickinson, Jaka, Pinkie Sanchez, Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) vs. New York's Finest (Colin Delaney, Cherry Bomb, Dick Justice, Jay Freddie & Pepper Parks)
The names in this opener probably tell the whole story without you even having to read this review. There are so many different personalities and awesome atheletes that this was bound to be a super fun opener and that's exactly what this was. Jaka & Jay Freddie started things off with a nice exchange that featured a variety of strikes including what AR Fox called a "Kane throat thrust" on commentary. Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb come in next to clean house on EYFBO then we get a comedy showdown between Supercop Dick Justice and Pinkie Sanchez. Dick pulls out his imaginary hand gun and Pinkie laughs it off until DICK JUSTICE SHOOTS A FAN IN THE BALCONY BAH GAWD! Pinkie falls to his knees and begs for mercy. I'm a sucker for good comedy wrestling and we got it here from those two. After these little square offs, things really broke down with everyone getting their shit in so to speak. The biggest spot of all was Pepper Parks suplexing Pinkie Sanchez off the top turnbuckle to the outside on all the other participants. This was your ideal opener as it was extremely entertaining and showcased action, comedy, and alot of characters all in one.

Match rating - ***

2) John Silver vs. Ryan Rush Galeone (w/ Jimmy Preston)

I've seen John Silver compete several times prior, but only in tag competition. In those matches, he really stood out to me so I was excited to see him in singles action. Turns out he's just as enjoyable to watch in this facet of pro wrestling as he is in the tag team world. This match didn't last long however it was fun while it lasted. Silver got alot of his signature stuff in including his german suplex which I love. Jimmy Preston interfered several times and ended up helping Galeone get the victory. After the match, Preston delivered a great promo that built up Galeone very well.

Match rating - **1/2

3) Brian Fury vs. Tracy Williams - Dojo Wars: New England Showcase
This was a technical showcase between two lesser known talents. I had never seen either Fury or Williams compete prior to this yet they still kept me interested in this bout from start to finish by providing something different than the first two matches on the show. They stayed on the mat for the majority of the bout and traded submissions & holds. This was a well put together match with both men repeatedly going back to the same body parts as Williams targeted the neck of Fury with the crossface while Fury targeted the legs of Williams with a boston crab type manuever, the branding iron. In the end, Fury wins the submission battle and forces Hot Sauce to tap to the branding iron. Solid, solid contest.

Match rating - ***1/4

Donovan Dijak strikes
FEAST YOUR EYES! Donovan Dijak is in the building and he raises hell about not being picked to represent his particular school in the previous match. Dijak takes out his frustrations on a camera man and nails him with his unqiue finishing manuever that dropped him down head first onto his knee. Interested to see where this angle goes.

4) Matt Tremont vs. Darius Carter
The Bulldozer is a guy that I've really grown fond of in recent months. He busts his ass and deserves more recognition than he gets. For that reason, I was looking forward to seeing him in action here. He was clearly the fan favorite here and it's easy to see why considering Carter & company garner boos as soon as they enter the arena. This was another fun match that saw some brawling in the crowd and a big storyline advancement after the bout was over. Tremont picks up the win with a vicious powerbomb only to be attacked by Carter's associates.

Match rating - **3/4

STOCKADE HITS THE RING WITH A BARBWIRE BAT! Tremont's former rival helps him up only to nail him in the gut. Stockade brutalizes Tremont with a devastating piledriver before cutting a promo about not being booked despite winning their series of matches. Another good post-match developement.

5) Team Tremendous (Dan Barry & Bill Carr) vs. Biff Busick & Drew Gulak
This is my first look at Team Tremendous and they certainly stand out. Their in-ring gear sets them apart and they aren't Young Bucks 2.0 so they definitely have my attention. Busick & Gulak are two men I'm very familiar with so it was nice seeing them here. From what I could tell, these teams weren't very similar as they took different approaches to the match. Gulak & Busick went right to work on targeting the leg of Dan Barry which was a story they went back to throughout the match. Carr ends up finally getting the tag after a heat segment with Fourth Gunn in complete control. Team Tremendous set up for a big manuever as Carr lifted Busick up on his shoulders as Barry climbed the ropes. Barry looks like he's going for a moonsault or something but his worked over leg causes him to fall! Busick slips off Carr's shoulders, HALF AND HALF SUPLEX TO BILL CARR! HOLY SHIT! That was probably my favorite sequence of the entire match. Things really picked up around this point although they would come to an abrupt and awkward ending with a series of pinning combinations ending in a clear three count. The bell rings, but Gulak asks the ref if it was two and he confirms. What the fuck? They basically re do the entire finishing sequence and Team Tremendous gets the win with a pinning combination. The ref problem kinda threw me off, but everything prior to that was good. Botch aside, it felt like it ended just as things were getting hot.

Match rating - ***

6) Garden State God Squad vs. Minute Men Squad - Feeding Frenzy Match
Just looking at this on paper, I figured it was going to be a tag match with some sort of stipulation considering it was labeled a "Feeding Frenzy". To my surprise, this was actually a 16 man tag composed of 8 tag teams. Of these 16 competitors, I was only familiar with a few in the form of Soldier & Silver Ant, Tursas, & Da Hoodz. The stipulation here was that it was an elimination match. It's definitely a cool concept and was interesting to watch unfold. From what I could tell, all the teams got their chance to do their thing and it was a nice showcase for what I'm guessing is the New England Tag Team scene. Considering I didn't know any back stories here and wasn't familiar with many of the guys, it was hard to get heavily into although it was a solid tag team exhibition with a unique stipulation that I enjoyed.

Match rating - **1/2

7) Chris Hero & JT Dunn vs. Eddie Kingston & David Starr
This is a match that has epic written all over it. JT Dunn & David Starr are former tag team partners in one of the hottest teams in 2014, Juicy Product. They've since separated after issues arose over Dunn's girlfriend Kimber Lee. That leads us here where Dunn & Starr each chose a tag team partner. Dunn chose a guy he's teamed with a few times, Chris Hero while Starr chose Hero's old rival Eddie Kingston. Two rivalries, one on going and one being revisited, featured in one match made for some awesome storytelling. Moments like all four men slugging it out mid-ring and Starr & Dunn end up on one side with Kingston & Hero on the other. Starr & Dunn look at each other and superkick them. THAT'S AN OLD JUICY PRODUCT MOVE! The two look at each other for a moment in shock as they basically teamed up via force of habit before going back to slugging it out. Another big moment came when Kingston got tagged in to face off with Hero after they had not locked up all match. They built this moment up with trash talk from the apron during the early portions of the match which made it feel even more special when they faced off. This whole thing was really executed to perfection with each man playing their role exceptionally well. A prime example of this is how things ended. Kingston is about to finish Dunn off when Starr, who had just been demolished on the outside, tags himself in. Kingston, being the badass veteran who could care less as long as he wins, just goes to the apron and let's Starr prove himself. Starr, the cocky youngster, gets in the ring and starts off well with a flurry of offense including a briding german suplex that got him a nearfall. It doesn't last long though as he ends up getting struck with what Hero called "Death by Elbow" after the match as a storm of elbows from both Hero & Dunn rained down on Starr. Kingston tried to save the bout only to recieve a stiff elbow shot for his troubles. Starr's cocky ways caught up with him and cost him the match. This leads to Kingston simply asking him "why?" after the contest saying he had it won. Starr responds with a middle finger and recieves a backfist to the face. Extremely hard hitting contest that told a fantastic story. Great stuff, best match on the show thus far.

Match rating - ***3/4

8) AR Fox vs. Shynron - Ladder Match for the CLL Title
I've been hearing of the series of matches between these two for quite some time and now I get to witness one for myself. Not just any match though, the deciding factor in their feud - a ladder match. Needless to say, this more than lived up to expectations. As soon as it get started by Shynron diving off the balcony onto AR Fox, I knew this would be as nutty as I expected. The spots these two executed were absolutely unbelievable. A double under hook canadain destroyer, a reverserana onto a pile of chairs, Fox falling off the balcony through a table - this was utter insanity and a match that I'll definitely go back and watch again. This is worth the price of the DVD alone, in my opinion. They also continued some on going stories during the match as Kevin Quinn, the ref that Fox got fired earlier in the evening, returned under a hood and knocked him off the ladder. Plus, Shynron's mom watched as AR Fox demolished his merch table which added some more emotion to the bout. Just an awesome contest between two of the best high flyers today.

Match rating - ****1/4

9) Kimber Lee vs. Chris Dickinson
Whether you're a fan of Beyond Wrestling or not, I'm sure you've heard about this match considering the finish made it's rounds on the internet because of how controversial it was with Kimber Lee taking a brutal chair shot then a pazuzu bomb that sent her across the ring into/under the bottom turnbuckle. It was cringy to watch and it's hard to comment on due to the mixed opinions that people have on it. I'll just say that I personally thought this was an awesome match and angle. It started with Dickinson attacking Shynron after the main event along with Team Pazuzu. He shit on the audience before Kimber Lee came down from the balcony and basically told Dickinson to fuck off. She challenges him to a No DQ Match and it's on! The crowd is super hot and Kim goes wild. She looked phenomenal during this entire match. There were a number of big moves & counters here that will make you say "holy shit" as well as a lot of near falls. One I have to mention is Dickinson going for a Pazuzu Bomb off the top rope only for Kimber Lee to counter out into a hurricanrana in mid air which was absolutely nuts. The finish was brutal and garnered alot of controversy, but it's safe to say that Lee, Dickinson, and Beyond Wrestling got a ton of new eyes on their product from it. It also brought alot of emotion out of everyone in attendance as well as those like myself who watched it after the fact. Insane way to end the show. I'm thankful Kimber Lee escaped this without being seriously injured.

Match rating - ****

Overall thoughts: The final verdict here is that I think Beyond Wrestling is going to make it into my Top 3 favorite Independent promotions, knocking ROH out of that 3rd place slot. For me, atmosphere is a big thing with Indy companies and I love the atmosphere of the venue that Beyond holds their shows, Fete Music. My top two favorite Indies to go back and watch are PWG & CHIKARA, both of them have things that make them unique and I learned here that Beyond does as well. BEYOND that (see what I did there), I discovered alot of new phenomenal talents on these shows. Names that aren't being showcased anywhere else. Yeah, you have guys like Chris Hero, Eddie Kingston, & AR Fox who are well known abroad however the majority of the talent here are what I guess you could call Beyond exclusives because they aren't in ROH or PWG, the two biggest Indie promotions at the moment. People like Kimber Lee, Shynron, Chris Dickinson, David Starr, Brian Fury, Da Hoodz, Cherry Bomb & Matt Tremont are all awesome talents that are without question the future of Independent Wrestling. That's one reason I think you should give Beyond a try, honestly. The future is here, in my opinion. Thus far in 2015, the top American Indie, PWG, has began booking alot of new talent and many of them come from the New England Independent Scene and Beyond Wrestling in particular. Names like Biff Busick, Drew Gulak, John Silver of the Beaver Boys, & Team Tremendous all were in Beyond before making it to that next level of Indie stardom.

As for this particular show, it's one I'd recommend solely for the final three matches along with Fury/Williams from earlier in the evening. Those four really represent Beyond well as they are four totally different types of matches which is something I also loved about my first Beyond Wrestling experience. There was a little bit of everything here. Technical matches, hard hitting matches with storytelling, multi-man's, tag team bouts, wild spotty matches, brawls, unique stipulations, comedy. The styles being varied made this a very easy event to sit through.

So in conclusion, Beyond Wrestling is a promotion that I'd definitely recommend checking out and this event particular is worth a look. It can be purchased on Smart Mark Video along with all of Beyond's past events.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @EthanPWT along with this blog @ThePWTruth!

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