Monday, December 7, 2015

Beyond Wrestling: Greatest Rivals Round Robin (GRRR) Review

Over the years, Beyond Wresting has became a platform for the next big stars on the Independent scene. Guys like Biff Busick & Drew Gulak really got their name out there with the matches they had for the promotion. It was a win-win situation. The men themselves got noticed and in return, the company got spotlighted as well. After Busick & Gulak became the first true staples of Beyond in 2012-2013 thanks to their matches with each other and Busick's series with Eddie Edwards, Timothy Thatcher threw himself into the mix. In 2014, Thatcher had an INCREDIBLE match with Biff Busick on one of Beyond Wrestling's secret shows that people still talk about today. It holds a special place in my heart as it was my first exposure to Beyond, Busick, & Thatcher.

That leads us to this event. On September 26th, the four men mentioned above competed in a Round Robin Tournament with a "Greatest Rivals" theme. The excitement this event generated was tremendous due to the past history they all have with each other. It's all culminating under one roof on a night where Biff Busick says goodbye to the promotion he helped build. Are you ready? I hope so because we're jumping right into this graps fest.

1) Biff Busick vs. Drew Gulak
At this point in time, this match could main event just about anywhere across the country, but it's only the opening contest for this tournament. Man, I'm in for a treat. Busick gets a huge reception as the crowd sings his theme song. I'm already getting the pro wres goosebumps. The two friends & rivals shake hands as Busick mouths the words "one more time." Despite the two being friends, they were as serious as ever from the get go, here. The feeling out process is filled with pure wrestling that leads to a number of counters and stalemates. Both men try to go for the half & half suplex early, but can't get it (foreshadowing). They end up on the apron about mid-way through, Busick locks Gulak in for the half & half only to resort to a neck breaker instead. As you can tell, the sportsmanship wore off slightly as time went on with both men getting frustated by not being able to budge their opponent. Before you know it, Busick is fired up and in Gulak's face. As you can guess, the strikes begin! Awesome exchange with both men trading slaps and strikes. The crowd is hyped up. Hell, they were chanting "This is awesome" before this big exchange even happened. Busick is finally able to nail the half & half suplex and a few moments later locks in the rear naked choke for the victory. Fine contest here.

Match rating - ***1/2

2) Timothy Thatcher vs. Eddie Edwards

WHOOOO. First time meeting here. The only first time contest in this tournament, actually. In most cases, Edwards is the more physical wrestler in his matches, but he really is at a disadvantage here. Thatcher is vastly larger and if you've seen him, you know there's no one more intimidating on today's independent scene. This shows early as he almost bullies Eddie without even trying. Edwards fights back by targeting the legs of Thatcher. It's not long before this really just becomes a slugfest of sorts. Eddie starts laying in his signature knife edge chops in the corner AND THATCHER HEAD BUTTS THE FUCK OUT OF HIM! WOW! He's knocked out, boys! 1..2..EDWARDS KICKS OUT! That was rough. Somehow, Eddie is able to fight back despite being knocked silly. He locks Thatcher in a Boston Crab and the British Messiah is forced to tap out due to the work previously done on the leg early in the match. Short and sweet bout.

Match rating - ***

3) David Starr vs. Rory Gulak
Good promo by Starr before the match. With Juicy Product breaking up, Starr is really come into his own this year. Rory hits the ring with that babyface fire and hits a huge dive to the floor. The two men brawl through the crowd, Rory hits a hurricanrana off the stage and he's got The Product reeling. It's not long before Starr marches back, though, and Rory gets finished off fairly quick. Super fun prolonged squash.

Match rating - **1/2

4) AR Fox vs. Brian Fury
Despite Fox embracing his dickish ways in Beyond this year, the crowd still loves him. He's facing the man who can be credited for training the likes of Sasha Banks & Donovan Dijak, the most least talked about star from the New England Indy circuit, Brian Fury. Fury & Fox put together an enjoyable match. They busted out just about everything and it may have been a little much because I lost interest at a few points, but I think most will find this entertaining because there's really never a dull moment.

Match rating - **3/4

5) Biff Busick vs. Timothy Thatcher
It's that time! As mentioned before, these two had an amazing match on a Beyond secret show last year and it spawned them getting booked around the country. Busick/Thatcher has taken place in PWG, EVOLVE, among other places and now it's back where it all started, in Beyond Wrestling. One last time. If you've seen them wrestle before, you know what type of match we got. Straight up stiff grappling at it's finest from bell to bell. Some of Busick's family was at ringside and Thatcher took the time to patronize them while he was beating down Busick, which added a lot to the match. The control period for Thatcher paired with his taunting of Busick's friends & family made for an epic fiery comeback from Biff. Great stuff all around, here.

Match rating - ***3/4

6) Eddie Edwards vs. Drew Gulak
This one started off slow like most of the tournament matches tonight, but I'd say it was even more so here. With that in mind, it took a second to get going although it would soon pick up and turn into a solid encounter with a awesome final few minutes. It got way more physical than I expected from these two so this is definitely something to see. Edwards locked Gulak in a half crab and stomped the hell out of his head until the ref stopped the match. BRUTALITY!

Match rating - ***1/4

7) Team Tremendous vs. Andrew Everett & Trevor Lee
I've developed a soft spot for Team Tremendous and Everett & Lee are on a complete tear so I was looking forward to this. There was a lot of comedy early on. Much more so than I expected however it just goes to say how different Everett & Lee work in Beyond as opposed to their work in places like PWG. They work as bad guys and it's a nice change of pace although I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't have been just as happy seeing them do their typical babyface schtick. Them being "Team Fuck the Police" against Team Tremendous was the perfect opposition, though. None the less, things pick up around half-way through and it's a fun spotfest. Trevor Lee stole the show for me which probably doesn't surprise you. He did some unique shit here, like usual, by using his surroundings to his advantage. In the end, the Minute Men cost Team Tremendous by stopping Bill Carr from breaking a pin attempt by Andrew Everett on Dan Barry.

Match rating - ***

8) Ricochet vs. JT Dunn
FINALLY, Ricochet has debuted in Fete Music Hall. It's been a long time coming and I can't think of a better debut match than with hometown boy JT Dunn. For fans of Indy wrestling, particularly in the New England area, this is a dream match. Dunn can work with just about anyone and have a good match so when you combine that with how fluent Ricochet is in everything he does, you have a contest that is extremely easy on the eyes. They didn't go all out, but we got a number of cool counters and Ricochet got all his shit in. He finishes off Dunn with the benadryller.

Match rating - ***1/4

9) Biff Busick vs. Eddie Edwards
The whole night has been building towards this. The final match for Biff Busick in Beyond Wrestling. The final match in the Busick/Edwards rivalry. The final match in the Greatest Rivals Round Robin Tournament. The crowd sings Busick to the ring just like they did in the opening match of the night, except this time, he gets flooded with streamers as he poses on the top rope. Edwards has adopted a more smug attitude which draws boos from the audience. This bridges over into the match as Eddie really began taking the cheap way out. They brawled through the crowd and he threw Biff across merch tables, tossed water bottles at him, all that good stuff. Busick is the best at giving off that crazy lunatic vibe so once they got back in the ring, Eddie began slapping him and as the crowd began singing his music, Biff's face turned from beaten to enraged and he fired up on one half of the Wolves. It was a back & forth battle from this point forward with both men throwing bombs at each other and Busick yelling "I'm gonna kill him!" The battle ends with a vicious rear naked choke that forces Eddie Edwards to tap out. Great atmosphere for this one.

Match rating - ****

Post match, it really sets in that this is the end. After that barnburner of a main event, Biff & Eddie are laying in the center of the ring trying to recover from the exhausting night they had. The crowd sings Biff's music once again and he finally gets up to give his farewell speech. He thanks fans, wrestlers, Beyond, etc and then says there's one last thing he wants to do before he leaves - crowdsurf. Not alone, but with Drew Cordeiro. The man behind Beyond Wrestling and arguably the biggest star in the promotion's short history then proceeded to surf amongst the crowd as they sang Biff's "Bro Hymn" theme song. The celebration doesn't end there as JT Dunn, Ricochet, AR Fox, Dave Cole, Anthony Stone, Timothy Thatcher, and many other members of the Beyond locker room come out to give Biff the sendoff he deserves. Chants range from "Thank you Biff" to "You Deserve it" while Biff is given some sort of painting with the NXT logo on it. It's moments like this that remind me of why I love wrestling and independent wrestling, in particular. Thank you, Biff!

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