Into the Indies 11.09.10: Beyond Bosses & Busters (Part 1)
Posted by Ryan Byers on 11.09.2010
It's back to the exotic foreign land of OHIO~! for more Beyond Wrestling action in I2I, featuring a multitude of young wrestlers looking to prove themselves and a couple of folks who have since gone on to EVOLVE.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Into the Indies, the column where we never underestimate the importance of networking.
Here in I2I, we almost never cover American professional wrestling, even if it is on an independent level. However, from time to time we do make an exception, and the biggest exception that we have made in the past is for Beyond Wrestling, which we have already covered once before with a look at their second DVD release, "We Did It for the Hits."
For those of you who missed our first look at Beyond, their premise is fairly simple. Rather than attempting to draw fans to live events, they gather up a roster that is (for the most part) relatively inexperienced yet highly innovative and shoot a fairly large number of matches at tapings which occur in Ohio. The tapings are not open to the public, instead with the other members of the company's roster surrounding the ring in lawn chairs and old couches as a makeshift audience. The result is a product that the company promotes as wrestling "by wrestlers and for wrestlers."
However, we fans still have an opportunity to see the matches. Many of them are absolutely free on the company's YouTube channel. Several of the free matches and a few exclusives are also bundled up and released on DVD, with "official" versions of the DVDs being available on Smart Mark Video and "bootleg" versions of the DVDs (the same content without fancy cover art and packaging) being made available through the promotion's official Facebook page.
Beyond is currently gearing up towards a brand new DVD release, dubbed "Wrestletopia." We'll be taking a look at Wrestletopia here at I2I as soon as it is available to us. However, before we get there, I've decided to take a step back in time and review the first Beyond Wrestling DVD release, entitled "Of Bosses and Busters." For those of you interested in a bit of a video preview, the official trailer for OBAB is right here:
Because "Of Bosses and Busters" is so chock-full of professional wrestling action, we're going to have to break this review up over two weeks, with the first five matches being examined here and the next six matches being examined in seven days.
With all of that being said, let's take a look at OBAB!
Match Numero Uno: Chris Dickinson vs. Eric Alverado
This is my first time watching either of these two wrestlers compete, though I understand Dickinson has recently gotten some exposure by becoming a part of the EVOLVE roster. He's got a half-decent look for an indy guy, while Alverado's physique could use some work. The two wrestlers go at it immediately with Dickinson challenging Alverado to strike him as hard as he possibly can. Chris takes it all and responds with plenty of strikes of his own, capping things off with a huge headbutt/forearm sequence that results in both men collapsing down on to the mat. When they return to their feet, Alverado hits a big back elbow off of the ropes, though Dickinson responds with some chops that cause his opponent to take a bump. C-Dick blatantly chokes Alverado in the corner for a bit, and then we take turns kicking each other in the back. Alvie gets a two count off of his kick but can't maintain an advantage, as Dickinson hits a SICK German suplex. It was sick because Alverado over-rotated, falling on the front of his shoulder and his face instead of on his back. Dickinson chokes some more and hits a diving lariat for a nearfall. Alverado immediately pops up afterwards and gets a Kevin Steen-esque package piledriver before yelling, "My shoulder is fucked up!" as loudly as he can. Well, that's one way to sell an injury. Alverado has difficulty following up on his big move, presumably because of his shoulder, so Dickinson gives him a death valley driver for a two count. C-Dick follows with a falcon arrow and heads to the top rope, coming off with a slingshot elbowdrop for another unsuccessful pin attempt. A tiger suplex is attempted by Dickinson, but Alverado blocks it and hits, of all things, the STORM! CRADLE! DRIVERRRR! for the victory. Now there's a move I haven't seen in years.
Match Thoughts: This was one of the shorter matches that I've seen in Beyond Wrestling, but, for the amount of time that they did go, it was for the most part well-wrestled and fairly well-thought out. Alverado didn't look like he would be stepping up past beyond this level of wrestling anytime soon, but Dickinson came off as a guy who, if he shows some personality and bulks up a little bit more, could be on the road towards being an undercard guy in Ring of Honor. Thumbs up here, on the whole.
Match Numero Dos: Jefferson Saint vs. Zack Novak
Novak is one of the wrestlers who I saw for the first time when I did my last Beyond Wrestling DVD review. At the time, he was doing an interesting style which combined high flying and MMA-style submission holds, not unlike S-OVATION joshi wrestler Misaki Ohata. Saint is another wrestler that I'm looking at for the first time, and his ring gear as well as the announcer reaction to him establish that he's a bit on the "old school" side. With his thinning hair, cleft chin, chest hair, glittery robe, and trunks worn up to his gut, he looks for the life of him like he just stepped off of an episode of World of Sport.
Saint has some difficutly with Novak early on, as the youngster repeatedly kicks him in the leg in between Zbyszko-esque stalling sessions by Jefferson. Eventually Zack makes the mistake of kicking at Saint when he's standing on the ring apron, which allows Saint to grab the leg and snap it down over the top rope. Jefferson follows up by clipping the leg and working it over with fairly old school offense including a variation on the half crab. Saint begins chopping the bad wheel as well and gets in a dragon screw. Novak is able to respond with a version of the rocker dropper, but Saint rakes the eyes and drops his ass on to Novak's knee as it's draped over the second rope. Chop and forearm exchanges are won by Novak, who follows with a back elbow . . . only to get caught with a stun gun of sorts. Saint goes back to the leg, slamming it into the ringpost a couple of times before crotching his opponent and applying the ringpost figure four. Back in between the ropes, Saint looks for a more conventional figure four, but Novak catches him in a small package for two. Zack pops up with an enzuguiri and a standing shooting star press before heading to the high rent district. Saint crotches him and hits a GREAT move, essentially a running kneelift to Novak's bad knee as he sits on the top turnbuckle. Jeff tries to follow it up with a superplex, but Novak shoves him off and hits a frog splash that only gets a two count because Saint was too close to the ropes. The two men fight over a slingshot suplex that is attempted by Saint, and it winds up with a SICK finish as Novak essentially lays on the top rope for a while but the falls off RIGHT ON TO HIS HEAD. Jefferson Saint immediately covers him for the three count.
Match Thoughts: Jefferson Saint really impressed me in this match. No, he didn't have the high-flying, high-impact offense that the majority of people would expect when they pop in a DVD from a company like Beyond, but he seemed to have solid fundamentals and brought something different to the table. Novak here appeared to be a fairly run-of-the-mill high flyer as opposed to doing the flying/MMA hybrid that I enjoyed so much out of him on the promotion's later DVD, but he was still solid and had a fairly good base for his flashy offense in the form of Saint. What stuck out most to me about the match was the finish. First of all, I have no clue whether the slingshot suplex was the planned finish or not. However, the way that the move occurred, with Zack being dumped straight on his head, certainly made it look accidental. If the bout was planned to go on the move after that move, I commend both guys for having the presence of mind to end it there, because nothing they did afterward was going to look half as sick. That right there makes it the perfect finish.
Match Numero Tres: Corvis Fear vs. Shawn Blaze
Corvis Fear is the veteran of the Beyond Wrestling roster, having roughly a decade's worth of experience, with the majority of his most noteworthy matches coming in Jersey All Pro Wrestling and other promotions within the Garden State. His opponent, Blaze, is an Ohio independent circuit fixture, as is the case with many wrestlers in the company given that Beyond is based out of Buckeye-land.
Fear gets a hiptoss and an armdrag early, following it up with a full body slam. Blaze blocks another hiptoss attempt and hits his on armdrag, then going to a dropkick that sends Corvis to the floor. Blaze follows him out with a pescado, but he can't maintain the advantage, as Fear cuts him off as he attempts to get back to the ring and hits a very unique spot in which he dives out between the ropes and hits a seated Blaze with a cross body as he does so. That is followed up immediately by a Rude Awakening variation that drops Shawn's neck into the ring apron. Fear tries to put things away with a version of the crossface, but Blaze manages to escape. In another interesting spot, Fear plays to the crowd for a bit, allowing Blaze to lay flat out on the mat. However, Shawn catches his man off guard by pushing up off the mat and catching Fear in a headscissors that sends him headfirst into the turnbuckles. Blaze hits a second headscissor takedown and looks for a third, but Corvis turns it into a side slam and applies a submission hold. Blaze makes a comeback out of it and hits a flying back elbow, but it's not long before Fear connects with the divorce court and cranks on a Fujiwara armbar. Corvis sets up for the Joker Driver (a.k.a Daizee Haze's Mind Trip), but Blaze shoves him out and on to the ring apron. Shawn dropkicks Fear as he's on the apron, which causes him to land in an awkward position. Blaze follows up with a slingshot splash and a lionsault, but neither is capable of putting Corvis Fear away. It looks like Blaze is finally going to be able to build himself some real momentum, but, before that can go too far, Fear hits him with what can best be described as a lungblower to the arm.
Corvis stays on the limb by putting Blaze into a hammerlock and ramming him face-first into the turnbuckles, but he meets Blaze's boot on a blind charge into the corner. Shawn misses a blind charge of his own, though, and the result is that his bad shoulder winds up colliding with the ringpost. The two wrestlers wind up battling with one another on the top rope, and Blaze gets the better of it before hitting a clothesline from the top with his good arm. Both men are down for a bit, and, when they come back they trade punches. However, out of nowhere, Fear hits what appears to be his Joker Driver. He fails to pick up a three count as Blaze is in the ropes and manages to kick out when Fear gets a proper cover. Blaze fires back with a high cross and a successful superkick after two prior versions of the move were countered. Corvis goes to the eyes to regain the advantage and hits a nutty overhead slam of sorts for two. Seconds later, Blaze catches Fear off kilter and actually hits him with his own variation of the Joker Driver, using it to set up another trip to the top. Blaze comes off with another high cross, but Fear rolls through and lifts his man up into a shoulder breaker. From there, it's a wacky submission hold which includes both a figure four variation and a full nelson variation. Once it's locked on, Shawn Blaze immediately taps.
Match Thoughts: Very solid match right here. Corvis Fear is always an interesting one to watch because he is constantly innovating, and, even when he's busting out moves that you've seen him do before, there is still very little in his arsenal which has been stolen and done to death by others in wrestling. Blaze seemed like a guy who could more than keep up with the experienced Fear, and, with as good as he looked, I'm actually surprised that I haven't heard of him doing outside of the Ohio scene. Absolutely the match of the evening thusfar and probably one of the best Beyond Wrestling matches that I have ever seen on either this DVD or "We Did It for the Hits."
Match Numero Cuatro: Faith in Nothing (Christian Faith & Vincent Nothing) vs. Davey Vega & Steve West
The announcers claim that West and Vega are regular tag team partners "up and down the east coast," though there have been some unspecified problems between them recently. I'm fairly certain that West's entrance music was "Ray of Light" by Madonna, and that would be enough for me to hate him if I were his tag team partner. They're going up against "Faith in Nothing," the team of Christian Faith and Vincent Nothing, who have actually become midwest tag team mainstays over the course of the last couple of years. Nothing in particular has gotten some buzz as being one of the few wrestlers outside of CM Punk to go on record as a member of the Straight Edge movement.
Davey Vega kicks it off with Vincent Nothing, and it's some basic armbars early on peppered by a few lucha-esque counters from Vega. Vince, in a dickish heel move, claps his hand against Vega's while it's in the hold. Nothing eventually tries to maneuver things into a cross arm breaker, but Vega is too close to the ropes. Instead, Vince settles for pulling his opponent back into center ring before applying the Full Nelson Mandela and later a camel clutch variation in which he also manages to put some torque on Vega's legs. When the two men regain a vertical base, Davey reverses several moves and hits the ropes, but Christian Faith runs in to cut off his opponent's momentum. Faith in Nothing pull off a unique double team in which Vince essentially throws Vega into a kick by Nothing, at which point Christian stays in the ring as the legal man and Vega makes a tag to West. West's time in the ring is very brief, though he does effectively turn the advantage in his team's favor and trades back off to Vega, who chokes away at the masked man. West checks back in and hits a full body slam to set up the same move from Vega . . . but it fails, with Faith falling on top of the smaller wrestler. That gives Christian the opening he needs to hit a big elbow as Vega tries to come off the top rope. Nothing gets a blind tag on his partner, and they team up for a double Japanese armdrag and then stereo knee strikes to Davey Vega's back. That leads into a northern lights suplex by Nothing for a two count, and now Vince does get his cross arm breaker. Vega makes the ropes once more, but here's the tag to Christian Faith.
Faith gets a clothesline and drops a fat senton for a two count, as Steve West makes the save. That sets up a tag to Nothing, who lands many a forearm and locks in another full-body submission hold. Vince's next trick is a charge into the corners, but Vega blocks it and an assist from West turns the block into a big double stomp off of the ropes. Steve-O tags in and starts putting the boots to Vince Nothing, building up to a Stinger splash that he immediately transitions into a DDT out of the corner for two. A diving European uppercut to the back of a seated Nothing's head connects thanks to West's efforts, and that sets up a double sledge from the top by Davey Vega. West and Vega continue to double team when Faith inadvertently distracts the referee, which you don't really expect to see in an indy tag match at this level. Vega gets some kicks in on Nothing but ultimately runs straight into a strong lariat from the FIN member. Unsurprisingly, that gives us our hot tag.
Christian Faith is in to go after Steve West, giving the man an enzuguiri before West kicks him out to the floor with a big boot. West and Nothing start going at it, with Vince hitting a t-bone suplex. Vega runs in and gets hit with a brainbuster by Vince, at which point both West and Vega roll out to the arena floor. That leads into Christian Faith wiping them out with a tope con hilo. West gets fed back into the ring to deal with Vince Nothing, but he can't maintain an advantage get gets hit with a LUNGBLOWER OFF THE TOP ROPE by West. Before Steve can go for the cover, Christian Faith rolls back in. Faith immediately eats West's version of the CHAOS THEORY~!, which culminates in a cobra clutch suplex instead of a German. West and Vega start fighting over who is going to get the decisive pinfall, giving Vince Nothing the opening to attack them and hit a double knee strike on West. Vega runs back in and makes a comeback with a lariat and an enzuguiri, but once again he and West start arguing over the lateral press. This time it results in Faith in Nothing hitting a backdrop suplex/lariat combination on Vega, though he rolls out of the ring before he can be pinned. West is left alone with both of his opponents and managers to hit is Stinger splash/DDT combo on both men simultaneously before whipping out another cobra clutch suplex on Faith. Davey Vega then runs in out of nowhere takes out his own partner with a kick to the head, and scores the three count on Christian Faith thanks to all of West's hard work.
Match Thoughts: This feels like a match that was primarily put together for the sake of removing individual spots out of it to put into a highlight reel. There were some GREAT looking individual moves, including the Stinger splash/DDT combination, the cobra clutch chaos theory, and essentially any of the Faith in Nothing double teams. However, I wasn't necessarily a fan of how all of the spots were put together into the match. It just felt like they were going out there and doing their moves nearly at random, with no real thought being put into how they progressed or how the match was building. This was really weird in light of the fact of the storyline that was developing between West and Vega, as the two teams would do a series of impressive looking highspots only with the momentum to be completely killed by the bickering over the pinfall. Also, I don't exactly get why you couldn't have Faith in Nothing pick up the pinfall given that their opponents were splitting up after the bell. Anyway, in summary, watch this one if you're somebody who can just get into a bunch of big moves but you don't care too horribly much about the context for those moves.
Match Numero Cinco: Chase Burnett vs. Zack Novak
Novak is back from earlier on the card, and his opponent this time out is Chase Burnett, who from what I can tell is a Beyond Wrestling mainstay who, with partner Zane Silver, has popped up in EVOLVE and other promotions carrying the banner for the company as "Team Beyond." Burnett scores the early advantage with a kneelift, but Novak fires back with a rapid fire combination of a lariat, a dropkick, an enzuguiri, and ultimately a rana. Chase takes a breather on the floor. Zack is ready to fight when he gets back to the ring and there are several impressive quick dodges by the two wrestlers, and the conclusion is both men spilling out to the arena floor. There's some brawling there with Burnett getting the advantage before sending his opponent back into the squared circle. A combination of big kicks by Chase on the inside gets him a two count. Burnett stays on Novak with a vertical suplex and climbs the ropes. Zack tries to knock him off but ultimately fails and gets hit with a flying axe handle to set up another nearfall. Another clothesline puts Zack Novak back on the mat for a two count. Chase follows up with a great little flippy-do, coming off the top rope as if for a moonsault body block but ultimately hitting a DDT. A series of massive attacks in the corner by Burnett absolutely rocks Zack Novak, but it still can't put him away. After that series, Burnett goes to a chinlock of all things, which Novak mounts the stereotypical babyface comeback out of.
Burnett cuts him off at first, but Zack does avoid a Burnett clothesline to hit a swank satellite DDT. That takes us into a double KO spot, where both men reach their feet at the same time. Novak stays in control with some big forearms, though he ultimately misses one and gets taken down. Burnett tries for a standing shooting star but it's avoided, giving Novak the opportunity to hit what is essentially Jeff Jarrett's Stroke, save for the fact that he doubled over while delivering it so that Burnett's face would collide with Zack's knee instead of the mat. Ouch. A lionsault gets two for Novak after that. Zack misses a big kick giving Burnett the opportunity to do a weird wheelbarrow into a German suplex. It gets two. Novak finds himself positioned up onto the top rope, but he jockeys for position . . . REVERSE RANA FROM THE TOP BY NOVAK~! Burnett kicks out for god knows what reason and kicks his man in the face en route to getting Zack into a position where he is doubled over on the middle rope. From there, Burnett does a double jump off of the ropes and BURIES his knees into the back of the doubled over Zack Novak to earn the three count.
Match Thoughts: As I've alluded to in other reviews, one of my problems with indy wrestling these days is the tendency for wrestlers to do "too may moves," i.e. doing a huge spot at some point other than the finish and then being able to come back and do anything which tops it. This is a problem because, at least in theory, the conclusion of the match should be its most exciting point. I was getting ready to criticize this match for just that reason, first because I didn't think anything would top the sick Stroke-onto-the-knees by Novak. Then the REVERSE RANA came out of nowhere, and I realized that the match had hit an even higher peak which I didn't expect it to. Even after that, I was getting ready to criticize the match because I didn't think anything would top the reverse rana and it was not the finish, but then the MOONSAULT KNEES came out and took the match to a peak that was even higher still. In the end, because it kept building and building, I loved this match as an example of the old "who can top who" story that we have often seen in sports. Fun little match right here and a great way to close out the first half of the review.
Well, I can't exactly given overall thoughts because we've got half of the DVD left to review, but, thusfar, it's been a solid round of action if you take into consideration the experience level of the wrestlers involved. We'll see you back here in seven days with more from Beyond!
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