Last week, I told you about Beyond Wrestling, the experimental wrestling organization that closes its doors to the public and showcases wrestlers wrestling in front of other wrestlers with none of the distractions that fill a conventional promotion’s events. As I mentioned then, the guys at Beyond Wrestling were kind enough to supply me with a DVD of their Developmental Hell show, which I was finally able to sit down and enjoy this week.
Beyond Wrestling definitely has its own flavor. It’s a distinct product from what is offered by promotions like CZW, Ring of Honor, and Chikara, and that in itself is something to praise. There’s only so much that can be done to create a unique wrestling show, and I tip my hat to anybody who can separate their’s from the rest of the pack. Aiding Beyond Wrestling’s distinctive identity is their standout roster. While watching Developmental Hell, the only wrestlers whose work I was really familiar with were Necro Butcher and Matt Cross (now of Tough Enough fame). This helps distance Beyond Wrestling from other independent wrestling organizations. Guys like Chris Hero and Eddie Kingston are great, but when they’re appearing in five or six promotions along the East Coast, it makes it too easy to blur the lines between each company.
That being said, it is a little difficult to immerse yourself in an event where you don’t know the wrestlers. I’m sure, though, that the issue would be remedied after viewing a few shows. Even on this one specific event, Beyond Wrestling was wise to introduce some of the talent through vignettes before the matches in order to cue the viewer as to who the characters were. You humor in Beyond Wrestling is a little strange (there’s a wrestler with a seemingly iron crotch), and the chants can seem a little forced at times since there isn’t much crowd (and they’re all wrestlers). The over-excited commentary can be a bit grinding to listen to as well, although Beyond Wrestling has incorporated a feature into the DVDs that allows you to choose to watch the events with or without commentary. This is a fantastic addition to any wrestling DVD, and honestly, I wish every promotion would begin incorporating it. Watching the event without commentary provides a “live” feeling to experience, and I think the rest of the wrestling community would be wise to take a cue from Beyond Wrestling’s DVD feature.
In spite of my nitpicks, Beyond Wrestling is, at its core, about wrestling. And they do it very well. None of the matches were boring, and a number of them were far above what I consider average. There’s plenty of high-flying, some great early match exchanges (ala RVD and Jerry Lynn), and plenty of innovative maneuvers. This DVD alone featured a top rope burning hammer, reverse huracanrana, and a Boston crab performed on the second turnbuckle. There are plenty of Yakuza kicks and fireman carry slam modifications to go around, too. The tag team wrestling stands out in my mind as especially solid, although I am a sucker for good team work. The teams in Beyond Wrestling busted out some original and interesting combo moves that kept me on the edge of my seat. You can check some of it out for yourself at Beyond Wrestling’s YouTube page, where a FREE match is added every week. If you like what you see, be sure to visit their official website to order some DVDs. If you like wrestling, there’s nothing to dislike about Beyond Wrestling.