I’ve already confessed that I missed Beyond Wrestling’s June 22nd return to Fete Music. I won’t bore you with my personal life but needless to say I had a very good reason to not be at my favorite wrestling venue to watch my favorite wrestling company live and in person. However, as soon as the raw footage became available (with wrestler commentary) I threw down my hard earned cash and checked out on video the event. This show has had some controversy surrounding it on the twittersphere and some comments about that controversy from people who had absolutely not seen the thing that other people were talking about (surprise, surprise) but I’ve seen it — and I think everyone was being ridiculous in how the “controversy” was being handled. I’ll get to that soon though because right now let’s do a traditional (and way to long) review of Beyond Wrestling “Uncomfortable.”
- Apparently I’m just not supposed to see Chris Hero and JT Dunn. Since Beyond Wrestling moved to Fete Music I’ve missed two shows, and they were both headlined by Chris Hero and JT Dunn. Apparently I’m just never going to see these two wrestle each other live. The first match ended in a Double KO so this was signed as a “Last Man Standing” match. Boy do I hate Last Man Standing matches — in fact I’m going to give this one it’s own bullet point.
- The plight of the Last Man Standing. Here’s the problem with LMS matches, in order to win you’ve got incapacitate your opponent for a 10 count. I’ve never seen a LMS match end on the first knockdown which means for long stretches of a match one guy is standing in the ring, or talking to the crowd, or drinking a beer or something and everyone is just watching the ref count. This isn’t very entertaining and it happens A LOT OF TIMES during a standard LMS match. Plus, because the point is to fully knock your opponent out, the match involves a litany of unbelievable offensive moves that almost always end a standard match but don’t end a LMS match. So if you’re not a fan of guys kicking out of finishers than you’re going to hate Last Man Standing. So even when you have two guys working their asses off, and telling a decent story — all you really feel like you’re doing is watching the ref repeatedly count to 9 while one guy struggles to his feet. It’s BRUTAL. That problem was amplified at Fete Music because the crowd got restless watching all of the nine counts and by the end started to do that thing at an independent wrestling show where the crowd gets themselves over – and started chanting “bullshit” at Dunn knocking out Hero. I don’t think you should censor a crowd but the chant really took away a ton of the effect of Dunn actually winning the match and cheapened the victory a bit. I thought these guys worked really hard but I’m predisposed to hate this type of a match.
- JT Dunn is a rag doll. Dunn does such a great job of selling offense, he flops and flips and rag dolls all over the place. I haven’t been thrilled with Hero’s return to the independent scene and obviously he isn’t using any down time to do sit ups, but I’ve liked both of his matches with Dunn because I think JT has gone out of his way to continue to make Hero look like a killer.
- Chris Hero has been watching Shinsuke Nakamura. The best thing that Nakamura does is nonchalantly kick people in the head. Hero is doing that now. I loved watching Hero dismissively beat the hell out of JT Dunn, it was so bad ass and he was obviously channeling Nakamura. Every time Dunn would seemingly rise from the dead Hero would be there to just kick him down like someone swatting a fly. It was glorious and confirms that bad guy Chris Hero is so much better than plucky, smiling good guy.
- That guy looks a lot like Curt Hawkins. I don’t know why I was surprised that Brian Myers is really good – I mean you don’t stay employed by the biggest wrestling company in the world for almost a decade for no reason, but I was surprised at how well Myers adapted to an independent wrestling style. AR Fox isn’t an easy guy to debut in the indy’s against but Myers showed that he belonged. Fox for his part is insane – the sliced bread #2 on the ring apron that wound up missing the apron completely and ending on the floor was crazy, but Myers hitting a death valley driver from the turnbuckle to the ring apron was just brutal. My lone complaint is that Fox completely no sold the death valley drive on the apron spot to get a quick roll up while Myers got back into the ring. Considering some of the matches on this show (Dunn/Hero included) felt like they went too long, the Myers/AR Fox match felt too short to my taste which is a compliment to Myers who really hasn’t wrestled a meaningful, lengthy wrestling match in probably five years.
- Well, that didn’t work for me. I was really excited for Chris Dickinson and Brian Cage – I thought it’d be a hard hitting hoss fight that lead perfectly into the conclusion of the Michael Elgin/Chris Dickinson almost year long blood feud that’s been running through Beyond Wrestling. Instead we got….well not that. Dickinson’s entire last year has been brutal, knock down, drag out, all over the building brawls. For some reason this match was the most conservative Dickinson match I’ve maybe ever seen. I don’t know if it was strictly because of Cage, but this was a really toned down Brian Cage too. The entire thing was even crazier when Dickinson grabbed a mic after the match and told the crowd that this was the hardest match he’d ever been in, and put Cage over huge to the Fete faithful. I mean, Chris Dickinson…said something incredibly positive, about the guy who was acting a surrogate for his blood rival. None of this made sense, I am still confused by it and I think it’s probably better if we just move on.
- Fans Bring the Awesome. I always say that I’m not a fan of hardcore, or ultraviolent wrestling and then Matt Tremont happens and I find myself loving everything that is going on during his matches in Beyond. Biff Busick continues to just be a god amongst men at Fete Music, but this Fans Bring the Weapons match was ratcheted up another notch because Biff agreed to put the CZW World Championship on the line. As I suspected this was a wild brawl and reinforced the idea that Busick is very capable of going to the other end of the extreme from where we’re used to seeing him. It doesn’t matter how old I get I’ll also pop for a guitar shot that leaves an explosion of powder, New Jack style, and this match also included both guys trying to toss each other off the balcony, which is something that I didn’t rule out as a possibility. Also to the guy who brought the pinata — good on you man.
- Everyone needs to take a breath. I defy you to watch the match between SUPERCOP Dick Justice and Officer Colt Cabana against Team TREMENDOUS and identify the point where the internet broke. I’m almost certain you won’t pick the right point. That’s not a defense of anything that happened which might have made someone uncomfortable, but if you watch this match and you can pinpoint the moment when they went “over the line” and you’re also talking about the part that blew up twitter than I’d be shocked – because this match had a ton of things that could be classified as untoward. If you’re upset about the fans in the audience chanting “rape” (at the wrong point, if I might add) than you’re dumb. It’s not Beyond Wrestling’s responsibility to dictate what you can or cannot chant at a wrestling show — but also, the chant, in context, actually made sense. This is professional wrestling, JBL went from mid-card nobody to main event lifetime WWE employee because he called one of his best friends a “wetback” for a year. Sometimes “cheap heat” is worth it – and Officer Colt Cabana telling the entire crowd that he was going to take them to the Providence police station and anally rape them wasn’t an endorsement of anal rape, it was an indictment of his character. That being said, putting Dan Barry in a wrist lock from a top position isn’t glorifying rape or ignoring rape culture — that the fans, who at this point had kind of turned the corner chanted “rape” at this scenario for about five seconds doesn’t mean that Beyond Wrestling endorses forcing sex on a woman. For the record, there were a grand total of zero women involved in the entire scenario. If you want to be mad at something, be mad at JT Dunn for being such an alpha male that the only way he was able to beat Chris Hero was through hulking up after Hero kicked his girlfriend’s head off, or be mad at Francis Kip Stevens for pantomiming doggystyle sex with a defenseless Blake Morris — those things happened outside of the context of character, at least Officer Colt Cabana was being true to himself when he tried to bad touch Dan Barry. All I’m saying is this — Beyond Wrestling is one of the most progressive places on the independent circuit. I see and talk to a lot of the women at these events and they all seem very comfortable in Fete Music, Kimber Lee is essentially the most loved performer in the entire company and more women have appeared in Beyond Wrestling shows over the last year than in ROH and PWG combined (times a million). And finally, when a corrupt cop rapes a wrestling detective and both of those characters are men it’s not a sign that Beyond Wrestling advocates the rape of women – if anything it’s a sign that they’re relatively lax on the indictment of male rape, which I guess should make me uncomfortable.
- Darius Carter should always wrestle in a dress shirt. So Darius Carter came out to essentially offer Eric Corvis a position in the Crusade for Change. It made sense that this offer would be forthcoming. For all intents and purposes Corvis is fighting a similar battle to Carter it’s just that Carter is an insufferable dick (in character). Corvis turns down the offer and a brawl erupts which becomes an impromptu match that went about 17 minutes too long but which was a very entertaining brawl. Carter’s wrestling gear is weird and makes him look like a very thin and not intimidating dude, but the dress shirt and jeans combo that he wore for this brawl actually worked for him and I would recommend he transition to a more gentlemanly attire in the future. Corvis for his part is a guy who should be getting more exposure in other promotions. He has really innovative offense, he has good strikes and he sells really well, plus he can talk and you know when you have him around he’s going to work hard. I thought the match went a little long but it also incorporated Corvis’ hat to a shockingly competent degree.
- David Starr has all of the belts. So there was an XWA feature bout during the show that was David Starr defending his XWA Heavyweight Championship against Brian Fury. If you’re not familiar with Brian Fury you’re probably not from New England but dude is the truth and this match was really good for the amount of time they got. Starr continues to show that he’s a natural with so much potential it’s sick — but Fury really looked good here, which is nice to see as he continues to recover from an injury. The reason this match stood out so much though was that Scotty Slade and Kris Pyro did the wrestler commentary and they were a REVELATION. Other than Sugar Dunkerton, no two guys excel in this role like Slade and Pyro and I would absolutely advocate for Slade being booked more by Beyond Wrestling (because he can work) solely to hear these two mic’d up for some more matches down the road.
- This 8 man tag ran me through the gauntlet of emotions. There are a couple of guys that I feel I always talk about in these reviews in hopes that they continue to grow and get work with Beyond Wrestling so that other people will grow to love them as much as I do. This match featured a ton of those guys. On the one hand Ryan Rush is someone who appeared to have all of the tools to be something special, on the other hand he legitimately almost killed himself jumping to the top turnbuckle and then spent the next 85% of the match standing on the apron thanking whomever it is he prays to for not breaking his neck. On the other hand, Milk Chocolate continue to be my second and third favorite things that I’ve discovered through Beyond Wrestling and Stockade is my favorite thing. Seriously if you aren’t on board with Milk Chocolate yet you absolutely should be, these guys feel on the verge of busting out and now that they’re regularly involved with Beyond hopefully we’ll see them in some more matches with the awesome Beyond tag team regulars so they can show off how great they are. Stockade, oh man — Stockade is so great. I love a big fat guy who throws Cactus Jack elbows and Stockade is basically what I would create if I had to create that type of wrestler from scratch.
- Dave Cole and Anthony Stone win again. These two are really hitting on all cylinders for me right now. I loved their first two matches but I thought they turned the volume up to a eleven for their Fete Music finale. If I had been there I would’ve chanted “you can’t beat him!” at Cole after Stone hit Meteora. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is between Epic and Cole. I know that Epic is going through a descent into madness but it seems weird that he’s doing it at the expense of the only person left on the roster who appears to like him — I don’t think they’ve set up the Fear & Loathing bond enough to move from the upcoming Sex & Candy/Fear & Loathing match to a Cole/Epic rivalry but what do I know? Anthony Stone keeps delivering for Beyond Wrestling which makes the announcement about Americanrana ’14 that Stone and Nicholas Kaye will engage in a retirement match worrisome.
- The Contingent does nothing for me. Where the Crusade for Change accomplishes nothing but delivers on every level to me, the Contingent keeps winning and I couldn’t care less. Nicholas Kaye has short arms right? The job of making Kaye and Quest seem dangerous has been done really well, but I dunno it doesn’t work for me. Also Sugar Dunkerton who is fantastic on wrestler commentary just doesn’t really excite me in the ring, even with the addition of the absolutely phenomenal Pinkie Sanchez. The highlight of this match was the M1nute Men on commentary and Devin Blaze letting us all know that he was rooting for his Dad, he just wished he would pay child support.
- The Create-A-Pro match seemed like three rookies and Pat Buck. I’m not holding it against them because that’s precisely what they are, but the match was a little weird for me. I’ve never known the opening four way matches at a Beyond show to be only two men legal at any time – I have a recollection of them just being donnybrooks but maybe I’m wrong. This was totally fine, and with the relationship between the school and Beyond I’m happy to see some new faces showing up in Beyond. It’ll be interesting to see how these guys grow and progress and whether or not any of them make an impact on the regular roster.
The Bottom Line: This is a tough show to rank because I wasn’t there. On a strict match by match basis I’d say that the Biff Busick/Matt Tremont match was excellent, the Team TREMENDOUS/Colt Cabana, Dick Justice match was hilarious (controversy aside), the Stone/Cole match was great and Curt Hawkins hit a death valley driver on the ring apron from the top rope. What really hurts this show is how it ended. Last Man Standing is a brutal stipulation and Hero and Dunn didn’t do themselves any favors with the crowd. The crowd for their part didn’t really deserve the favors because by the end they were killing the match and the “bullshit” chants when Hero was KO’d absolutely submarined the impact of JT Dunn winning the match. I do have to say that I hated the way the LMS match ended — Dunn getting basically brutalized by Hero only to “hulk up” after seeing his girlfriend get kicked in the face felt stupid to me and it kind of builds off Dunn being weird about his relationship with Shelly Martinez anyways. Dunn has made it a point to mention having Shelly in his corner and playing that up as if it’s relevant to have your girlfriend in your corner for a big match — and the way this ended continued the idea that he’s just like solely focused on her to the point where the only way he could find the fortitude to win the match was to defend her honor, which by the way – she’s a professional wrestling (we all know this) and she was the one who got on the apron, so yeah Hero kicked her in the face but in fairness she was in the face kicking zone. I would probably feel differently about the entire show had the LMS match gone on before intermission and Busick/Tremont ended the night because the crowd would’ve gone home super happy — instead we got a bit of a burnt out crowd shitting on an individual’s huge moment and that left a bad taste in my mouth. In closing, more Brian Myers, more Milk Chocolate, less Last Man Standing matches.