Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"HIT ME!": Beyond Wrestling Feeding Frenzy Secret Show #1 Review

Hania continued her impressive growth as a wrestler at this Secret Show
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
In the TH style. Buy this and all the other raw footage from Feeding Frenzy weekend from Beyond Wrestling.

  • AR Fox ducked a David Starr superkick and pinned him with a bridging backslide to retain the CLL Championship.
  • Pinkie Sanchez felled "Supercop" Dick Justice with an asai moonsault.
  • Tommy Trainwreck defeated Jammin' Jimmy Connors with a headlock driver.
  • Punisher van Slyke took out Nick Ando with the Rikishi Driver.
  • In a battle of CZW superstars, Kimber Lee dodged a short superkick and rolled up Sozio for the victory.
  • Aaron Epic fell victim to Davey Vega's suplex-Go to Sleep.
  • In an insane match that featured a diving moonsault off a short ledge, Danny Cannon defeated Jay Freddie after a sharp-angle Lightning Spiral.
  • Shynron bested Mikey Webb with two running shooting star presses.
  • "The Masshole" Mike McCarthy rudely defeated Johnny Miyagi with a cross-armed variant on a camel clutch.
  • In insane tag team action, the Hooligans defeated EYFBO, pinning Mike Draztik after a combo wheelbarrow/DDT maneuver.
  • Eric Corvis atoned for his misogyny from the last Secret Show, but he still fell victim to Hania the Howling Huntress, who got the win with a sunset flip.
  • JT Dunn defeated Matt Cage in the main event with a roaring elbow. Afterwards, he challenged Lee to a best three-out-of-five falls match at the next day's Secret Show.

General Observations:
  • I gotta say, I enjoy the bad guy AR Fox emerging and evolving at these secret shows. He started off his meanstreak by kicking at David Starr's tag team partner, JT Dunn and giving off some quality snarl.
  • It's not a show at the NEFW Academy without SOMEONE using the support pier catty-corner to the main ring as a weapon. Fox was the first to pull the technique out, as he's been pretty wont to do in the past. Who says the man isn't a leader in innovation?
  • In a crazy sequence in the corner, Starr blocked Lo Mein Pain TWICE, the second time countering with a GERMAN SUPLEX from the top. Holy shit.
  • After the match, Fox refused sportsmanship and taunted Starr with his CLL Championship. Yup, I think I like rudo AR Fox.
  • I love watching the raw footage tapes because of how unadulterated the single, fixed camera action comes off, but the pre-match stuff between Pinkie Sanchez and "Supercop" Dick Justice could've used a couple of announcers dropping pearls of knowledge on what the heck was going on. Then again, I do enjoy random chase scenes that erupt out of seemingly nothing, especially when big ol' fat guys are chasing weaselly little shitheads.
  • Sanchez at one point put his hand down the back of his pants and proceeded to put Justice in the Muta Lock. STINKPALMS add 25% more damage to any move which they're added. It's science.
  • I dug Jimmy Connor doing the "clap clap STOMP" routine from Queen's "We Will Rock You" to get the crowd behind him.
  • Gotta wonder why Connor at the last second before pulling off a plancha decided to slide right into Tommy Trainwreck's grasp? He totally telegraphed the counter. I mean, the German suplex onto the apron looked hella cool, but the whole sequence just made everything look telegraphed and fake.
  • Nick Ando went from cockily strutting around like the ship captaincy designated by his hat was his real job to wigging out like a crazy man after the bell rang in zero seconds flat, and for good reason. Punisher van Slyke looks like pupa-stage clone of this season's Mountain from Game of Thrones.
  • Ando started the match out by chopping PVS repeatedly, and PVS didn't even no-sell it as much as he shrugged it off like it was a mosquito trying to draw blood from a steel plate. I was convinced right there that PVS was the literal golem from legend.
  • At one point in the match, PVS just grabbed Ando and repeatedly slammed him against the wall. That spot was one of many reasons why the NEFW Academy is such a great room for wrestling.
  • Ando played a solid underdog here, pulling out every gutty, cerebral "dirty trick" in the book to get PVS off his feet.
  • Kimber Lee and Sozio put a lot of character work into the beginning of their match, culminating with Lee stealing his coat while he was on the outside and then doing a cannonball senton to him before throwing said coat down in defiance.
  • I still hate when a wrestler gets right up after taking a German suplex, but I can slightly forgive it in this match, as after Lee replied to Sozio with his German (upon which she bumped on her neck, dammit), she crumpled back down in a heap. Still, it's done so often.
  • Aaron Epic and Davey Vega started out their match with a nice, extended sequence of mat grappling that got stiff and slick. When two guys can do the mat exchanges that crisply so that it seems like they're actually doing damage to each other, you've got a fan in me.
  • Holy shit, Vega bumped INSIDE OUT for a lariat. I always appreciate dudes making the lariats they both give and take look like murder.
  • I really dug Epic's relentlessness when Vega was attempting his comeback. Vega had to earn his momentum back, which made his reversal feel like it meant something.
  • Vega's suplex-into-a-Go-to-Sleep finish came off super cool here. It looked a lot better than a regular GTS just by changing the setup motion.
  • The first thing I noticed about Danny Cannon was that he had indefatigable nervous energy, like a kid who'd just eaten a whole case of Pixie Stix. It was a refreshing change of pace from the standard head-down, fighting stance-up, stoic SERIOUS indie worker stance I've come to expect.
  • Cannon and Jay Freddie took a cue from the last match and worked in a longish, stiff mat sequence. In fact, how quickly they moved throughout the match reminded me of the breakneck pace of a typical Dragon Gate match.
  • Cannon at one point jumped onto the short ledge that was right above the main wall and below a window and hit a moonsault to the outside of the ring on Freddie, which left my jaw dropped for like five minutes. I couldn't even imagine the dexterity needed to LAND on that little strip of pushed-out wall let alone do a fuckin' moonsault from it.
  • My one criticism of Cannon was that he seemed like he was too dialed into getting his shit in. I do appreciate the video game character nature of how he took damage rested for a bit, and then came back online, but if he's gonna work extended matches in the future, I'd like to see him slow down when he's under extended heat segments.
  • I can't even begin to heap enough praise on the finishing derby of this match. The way these two worked in their counters and segued into their moves was flat-out artistic.
  • Someone from the crowd shouted "Hey Mikey Webb, has anyone ever told you you look like Bob Backlund?" before his match with Shynron began, to which he replied "ALL THE TIME!"
  • The beginning of the match wasn't so much a wrestling display as much as they decided to trade calisthenics routines. I will say Shynron can even gussy up pushups to look like the most aesthetically-pleasing thing ever.
  • Shynron is seriously on some next-level shit in terms of translating raw athleticism into great wrestling spots. He pretty much used the legendary support pier as a bounce-off point for an imploding senton. If I even imagined myself trying to do that, I would start hemorrhaging from all my bodily orifices and explode like the dude from Scanners.
  • "Masshole" Mike McCarthy instantly became one of my favorite characters/gimmicks in his short match, even if he still needs a lot of work in the ring. He interacted with the crowd a lot, and played up every negative stereotype about Boston fans to a New England crowd that was willing to take the joke.
  • In the beginning of the match, McCarthy tried trolling Johnny Miyagi by abandoning the main ring and going over to the second ring that's set up in the Academy. When Miyagi and the ref came over, McCarthy went back to the main ring. I thoroughly enjoyed that sequence more than I should've.
  • I knew The Hooligans could bring it with crazy double-team offense, but EYFBO was just as good if not better than the Brothers Cutter. Their tandem moves had snap and were supremely timed.
  • Angel Ortiz grabbed Devin Cutter by his beard, which led the Cutter to grab Funky Monkey by his afro. Neither one would let go and they both sold having their bountiful hair grabbed by doing the pee-pee dance and trading pleas of "YOU LET GO!"
  • Normally, seeing a dude do an asai moonsault is standard issue for indie wrestling, no matter the size. However, Devin Cutter being able to launch himself halfway across the ring at his size on that move? Yeah, I'm impressed.
  • And Mike Draztik had to go and one-up him moments later when he Blockbustered both Brothers Cutter at the same time.
  • Not a few minutes after that, Mason Cutter busted out a fucking Spanish Fly. HOSSES CAN FLY, HOSSES CAN TOUCH THE SKY.
  • Ortiz seems to love humping the mat. He did it no fewer than three times during this match.
  • Eric Corvis hopped into the ring and basically apologized for the misogynist treatment he's been leveling on women lately at the secret shows, to which Hania the Howling Huntress replied for him to hit her with his best shot. He was reluctant until she kicked him in the face, to which someone in the crowd remarked "Next time, hit her." She went to kick him again, but he ducked and hit her with a stiff knee to the face. I loved everything about the intro to this match.
  • Intergender wrestling is best when you can ignore the sexes of each combatant and imagine what they're doing as if nothing would have changed from a standard "male vs. male" match. Corvis/Hania had that quality in spades, especially near the beginning when they brawled like they were wrestling at the Mid-South Coliseum.
  • Hania busted out a casadora bulldog, and Corvis bumped HUGE on it. I have to admit, that was the last move I expected a big bump on, but I enjoyed seeing it.
  • After the match, Corvis got right up in Hania's grill, and I thought he was going to revert back to his cocky misogynist character. Instead, he shook her hand and put her over. While I think money can be made with a woman-hater character in a coed setting, it still makes me feel uncomfortable when a guy like Corvis portrays it as close to the vest of the kind of wimmenz-hating one might see at a fraternity, or worse, on a shithead forum like r/MensRights.
  • Before the main event, Matt Cage threw his jacket outside of the ring, and someone threw it back to him. He responded by putting the jacket back on.
  • The main event had a lot of back and forth action but in a way where neither guy was really selling. I think a certain kind of fan might find it really enjoyable, but it wasn't for me.
  • I will say, however, that certain spots in the match looked really, really cool. JT Dunn eating nothing but bottom turnbuckle on a missed EMMAmite Sandwich attempt was about as fierce a bump as anyone could take, and Cage busting out a Go to Sleep with a lariat finish was a tremendous visual.

Match of the Night: Hania the Howling Huntress vs. Eric Corvis - Creating a textured, full-storied, Memphis-style brawl between two wrestlers when one outweighs the other by 100 pounds can be a tall task. Some say it cannot be done, especially when the competitors are two different genders. Beyond Wrestling's mission statement is doing what other promotions refuse to, and so it presented Hania vs. Eric Corvis doing their thing in the ring. Hania's pit bull tenacity plus Corvis' about face and new sense of humility, both in word and in taking Hania's offense made this match the highlight of the night.

The match started off with a promo from Corvis, apologizing for his misogynist behavior and treatment of Jewells Malone (and women in general) at Tournament for Tomorrow 2, which sparked off a series of events that led to the match turning into a slobberknocker. Right from jump, Hania exuded the swagger needed to make up for the apparent size difference. Her strikes hit hard, and Corvis sold them like death. Of course, the infamous NEFW Academy support pier being used as a stationary weapon didn't hurt either.

But the story remained consistent throughout the match, even with the escalation throughout. Corvis losing his cool and then composing himself towards the end was a great nod of character, and it was expertly punctuated by the fact that Hania countered his corner rush. After a match that featured Corvis going Full Ziggler on a casadora bulldog and Hania taking a HARD powerbomb backbreaker, I wasn't so sure that ending on a flash sunset flip would have been the right way to go, but even Hania's execution of a low-impact pin combo looked rough and tumble, enough to be an appropriate cap on this match.

Overall Thoughts: Secret shows produced by Denver Colorado (the man, not the place!) often have the best bang for your buck in terms of pure wrestling, and the first Feeding Frenzy-weekend date from the New England Frontier Wrestling Academy was no different. Every match had a hook, and no filler was to be seen for miles around. Best of all, the birth of Danny Cannon, indie wrestling superstar, probably could not have happened elsewhere, not even at a main Fete Music Beyond show. Seriously, before this show took place, Cannon's exposure had been limited as a midcard guy in the Midwest. Promoters in most companies don't give their performers that kind of carte blanche unless they're names or unless they're homegrown main eventers. Before that live crowd was able to see him, his buzz was confined to a certain area, and thus was mostly a non-entity in the grand scheme of things.

But the beauty of Beyond Wrestling allows guys to create opportunities for themselves, and both Cannon and his opponent Jay Freddie went to the wall trying to show that they were more than an unknown from the Midwest and a 2CW "townie" respectively. They weren't the only ones who took full advantage of the blank canvas afforded to them. Hania the Howling Huntress continued her impressive, post-mask streak of great performances. Sozio showed he could hang with Kimber Lee, one of the best wrestlers on the indies right now. Mike McCarthy showed some promise as a prick heel character, even if the execution on his actual wrestling needed some work. And of course, the Hooligans and EYFBO stretched the boundaries of what crazy tag team wrestling could be. This show had something for everyone, even if all the matches maybe won't appeal to all the people all the time.

Shows like these and the Sleeper Cell tapings that take place for All Killer episodes and standalone matches are why Beyond Wrestling is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to indie wrestling innovation. In the time the promotion's been open, alumni have risen to the top of cards all over some of the top promotions in America. If you want to see the stars of tomorrow's indie scene (and even WWE), then make it a point to get these Beyond secret shows, whether fully furnished in the future, or even these raw footage shows that are released within days of taping. Get in on the ground floor now.