Friday, November 26, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Beyond Wrestling
Uncharted Territory, Season 3, Episode 8
@ White Eagle, Worcester, MA 

As soon as it was announced and I saw the match graphic for Masha Slamovich vs Charli Evans for this show, I knew we had to go.  The fact that this show took place on Thanksgiving made things a little bit easier because that meant Quentin could go with us because he didn't have school the next day.   To be fair, if Beyond Wrestling announced Charli Evans vs just about anyone else I would have likely shown up just to see Charli Evans because her return to Australia is sooner than later.  The fact that this was the match with Masha Slamovich pretty much everyone wanted to see just made it that much sweeter and I was extremely excited for this one.

After Thanksgiving with the family, Quentin and I hit a little bit of traffic because we passed an accident that hadn't happened too long before but we made it to the White Eagle in enough time to not miss the first match and to grab seats near where the wrestlers come out.  The White Eagle had a good crowd and it felt this level of energy where people were just pumped.  I mentioned before that I wanted to go to this show to see Masha Slamovich vs Charli Evans, but right after I found out about that match I also found out that every other match on this card also had that big match feel.

In the pre-show type match Love, Doug defeated Nolo Kitano.  We saw Nolo Kitano last weekend at Pro Wrestling GRIND in a match which he lost to Perry Von Vicious, so perhaps one day we will see him pick up the win.  But, this was Love, Doug's night and when Love, Doug came out he threw his flowers at me and that seemed to set the tone of the show for me-- I knew the night would be something special.

The show officially opened up with Alec Price taking on Matt Taven.  I have a lot of thoughts on this match that I won't type out, mostly because I am not a fan of Matt Taven, but this was one of those matches where I can at least admit that I respect Matt Taven because of the hard fought loss he put up here.  One of the things I didn't like about this match going into it was that there was this discussion beforehand about how Matt Taven came from ROH so therefore he was better than Alec Price and a lot of fans seemed to agree with that.  But if you're at a Beyond Wrestling show, wouldn't you want it to feel like Beyond is at the same level or even possibly better than another promotion?

For what it's worth to me, when ROH was having their shows months ago and so was Beyond Wrestling, I feel like Beyond was putting on consistently better shows.  I think Beyond Wrestling has a better core roster than ROH does, though that is not to say that ROH doesn't have wrestlers I have enjoy because I really love Bandido, amongst others.  But it's just weird and a little backwards that Matt Taven will insult Alec Price for having not been in ROH and fans in Beyond Wrestling are just like "Yeah! What have you ever done, Alec?" rather than recognizing the wins that Alec Price has in Beyond Wrestling.  Again, it just makes it feel like the implication is "ROH > Beyond", which whether you agree with or not shouldn't be the feeling at a Beyond show.

This took us into the first of two tag team matches of the night, which was a rematch from this past Saturday at Pro Wrestling GRIND, as the Shook Crew took on The Mane Event.  This match started once again with Jay Lyon wrestling Bobby Jr and The Mane Event even seemed to score a win in a similar manner.  When the Pro Wrestling GRIND show is available on replay I think it would be fun to watch them both back and see just how similar they are, but the Beyond fans absolutely love The Mane Event (and rightfully so) and are still mixed on Shook Crew because some of them think Bobby Jr is a sheep.  

Most of the time when I go to wrestling shows it is just a means of my admitting that I don't know anyone's entrance music.   Though, Shook Crew and The Mane Event both have the best entrance music in the game today.  I also know Slade's entrance song but since Matt Makowski came out first this did not really seem to matter.  This match was insane, from Makowski coming out from under the ring with a football helmet on to the spot where they destroyed the entrance way.  I legitimately thought that since Matt Makowski spent so much time moving people and walking so far back Slade would get out of the way, but Matt Makowski absolutely crushed Slade, that chair and the entrance curtains, which was just unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Up next, Trish Adora took on Suge D for the only Championship that really matters.  This was our second episode of Uncharted Territory that we went to live and it should not be seen as a coincidence that Trish Adora has defended her title on both of them.  This was a hard fought match that I didn't know how it would end, but unlike the match against Jordan Blade I was at least on the side of Trish Adora here, as most of the crowd was also booing Suge D, and it just felt less conflicted.  This was also our first time seeing Suge D wrestle live and that was quite the experience so achievement level unlocked.

Halfway through the show and we had already seen enough matches that could have been main events on other shows.  This brought out Ted Goodz and LMK to take on Max Caster.  I just remember that Max's diss rap said something about LMK looking like a little girl and then he compared Ted Goodz with Joe Biden and that was some funny shit.  I liked this match and Max Caster won with a low blow so apparently this feud is not over.  I really just wish that more places booked Ted Goodz.  I know he's in some MA promotions (Top Rope Pro shout out) but how do we get him to Blitzkrieg! Pro or Chaotic Wrestling?  Even a promotion outside of New England would be cool.

We reached the point where I knew I was going to have to go to the bathroom before the end of the show, but I also was trying to figure out the match order.   Waves and Curls came out to defend the Tag Team Discovery Gauntlet against Brick City Boyz, so I didn't know if Masha-Charli would main event or not but I was kind of hoping it would.  The story in this match was that Brick City Boyz just defeated one member of Waves and Curls, it felt more like a 2-on-1 match and the crowd absolutely hated BCB over it.   After their win, when they did an in ring interview I went to the bathroom because I felt like that was going to be my only shot and it was a good thing that I did.

Since coming to the US on this run, Charli Evans has done some absolutely crazy things.  You can go to Cage Match or whatever and see the match history, watch those matches and just be utterly impressed.   This meant that I wouldn't have been surprised if this match broke down into a brawl with weapons, but it didn't.   Instead, Masha Slamovich and Charli Evans told a story of pure wrestling with submission holds, powerful strikes and technical moves.  When was the last time two wrestlers had a match like this?  Maybe never.  This wasn't just match of the night, it has to be on lists for match of the year and when you consider how the rest of this card looked that really is saying a lot.   This match was simply everything that I wanted it to be and so much more.  I would like to see them run it back one day.

In the main event, Mike Bennett took on Ryan Galeone.  We had never seen Ryan Galeone live before and he is much more impressive in person than the television gives him credit for and, let's face it, even on tv he's pretty damn impressive.  After a hard fought victory, Mike Bennett seemed like he was going to do the honorable thing but instead Bennett and Matt Taven beat down Ryan Galeone until Ted Goodz came out to make the save.   This got the crowd to turn on both members of the OGK.  

One problem I have, which I feel needs to be addressed here, is that whenever someone comes to a promotion like Beyond Wrestling or even Blitzkrieg! Pro or Chaotic Wrestling (since I mentioned them before) it always feels like they're cheered if they're from somewhere like ROH or WWE.  This just gives off such strong vibes to me of "I know you from the tv!" and it's almost like fans are impressed by their celebrity status.  The last time I watched ROH (and it's been a while) Bennett and Taven were heels and I feel like they were heels for most of their careers, so why not boo them? And this was just kind of proven as they did heel things here and eventually did get booed.  

There are other conversations that people aren't ready to have yet about wrestling but I digress.   From top to bottom, this was one of the best Beyond Wrestling cards on paper and inside of that ring every match delivered.  I feel like this is the type of show that even a year from now we're going to look back upon and think "Wow, the fact that we saw that was crazy" because of where everyone will hopefully be going within the next year.  Ryan Galeone has that star power and I shouldn't need to tell you that everyone else on this card does as well.  

Music Review //
"Emotionally Unavailable"

When the song "Emotionally Unavailable" first begins, you'll notice this sort of light tone to it where the music never gets too fast or kicks in too heavy and that remains throughout the entire song.  In some ways, it just feels like floating around on clouds.   But there is this heavier side to the song, if only through the lyrics and the context of it, as if I had to pick one artist to compare this with it would be Evanescence.

Starting off with lines like "I'm just a little dead inside", SAIPHE has filled this song with a lot of words and they can lead to quite a bit of thinking.   The idea of being emotionally unavailable, as the title suggests, can stem from a number of different reasons.  Sometimes people shut out other people because they are still connected to someone else.   Other times people are just disconnected overall and as SAIPHE states within the song it just feels like you're empty inside.  Neither of these is really better than the other though.

Perhaps the most difficult part of being emotionally unavailable is that you're going through your life at that time and through the world without actually fully experiencing it.  Once you realize this, you're going to look back and think about how much different things could have been- how you could have perhaps felt them more or differently- if you weren't so closed up.  But, I also completely understand why people will shut their emotions down to make life easier in ways but at the same time not.

While I feel like "Emotionally Unavailable" is in a style by SAIPHE which is easy on the ears, and for all intents and purposes this could be a pop song, I also feel like the lyrics are a bit heavy and therefore it might not be something which you hear on the radio.   This is the type of song which you really have to be in the proper mindset to hear because you also just have to be in that way where you recognize that you are also emotionally unavailable and want to change.  This song cannot lead you to that decision- only you can do that- but once you're there, it can help guide you beyond.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
You Better Run
@ Florence, MA

You Better Run was only the second show from Pro Wrestling GRIND and just to show how good of a show it was I would like to state that when I was growing up watching wrestling (back in the 1990's) there wasn't really independent wrestling like there is today.  There were some shows at VFW's and in high school gyms, sure, but they usually brought out main event matches with Jerry Lawler and whoever owned the rights to Doink the Clown at the time.  On this night alone, there were at least three other solid wrestling shows we could have attended and had a great time, proving that independent wrestling is alive and well.

The first thing we noticed when we got to this place was the chandelier hanging above the ring.  I knew it was only a matter of time before someone hit it.  This was a feeling that stuck with me up until the end, as during the second to last match I even told Jess that Matt Makowski vs Alec Price was saved for last because Alec Price was going to bring that chandelier down.  No one ever did though and that's probably for the better because of property damage, injuries, etc.  Still, this was a nice place to have wrestling and everywhere GRIND has been so far seems to have that setting of somewhere you want to be not just somewhere that wrestling is (I find that to be important)

One of the fun things about this show is that being as it was the second show it had people who had won their first match at Who Made Who as well as those who lost and were debuting.  GRIND also really seems to know what they're doing with tag team wrestling and that was evidenced in the first match between The Mane Event and Shook Crew.  This was our second night in a row seeing Shook Crew and Quentin had his bandana on again.  Once we got to the show, Ringleader Midas saw that and was like "Oh, we have to change that".

In a funny part of the match that maybe only they will remember, Jay Lyon started off the match by attacking Bobby Jr, which upset Quentin because he loves Bobby Jr.  Later on during the match, Jay Lyon got knocked off the ring apron and landed in front of us.  Quentin stood up and started yelling "That's what you get for messing with Bobby Jr!" to the surprise of everyone around him but also perhaps most of all Jay Lyon, Jess and me.  After the match though Jay Lyon and Quentin made peace and Quentin is a fan of The Mane Event they just happened to be up against Shook Crew.

The second match was somewhat of a dream match for me as Davienne took on Jordan Blade.  We saw Davienne and Jordan Blade both the night before but not against each other.  This was a big deal because Jordan Blade is making a name throughout New England and beyond this last year, really just becoming one of the most terrifying wrestlers out there today.  At the same time, Davienne has been here and is what many refer to as the gatekeeper.   These two wrestlers are also similar in styles, both tough as hell and so when that comes together inside of that ring it is something that very few can create together so it was definitely worth seeing it live.

Up next we had Perry Von Vicious taking on the debuting Nolo Kitano.  We had seen Nolo Kitano before, at Camp Leapfrog, but this was our first time seeing him live one v one.  This was a fun match and a huge win for Perry Von Vicious, as he is now 2-0 in GRIND.  Of note, Davienne is also 2-0 in GRIND while The Mane Event is now 1-1.   It will be interesting to see if this all ever comes into play at some point and if there is ever a championship or trophy of some sort created for those with the most wins.

Rip Byson once again took us to intermission, this time taking on the debuting Jay Freddie, who we have seen throughout Test Of Strength and just really, really enjoy.  I always feel like Jay Freddie was this guy who was in WWE for a bit, got released and then made a bigger name for himself outside of WWE.  I'm not sure he was ever in WWE, but he just has that way about him, where he feels like a wrestler's wrestler.   This match was just insane.  You knew going in that these two would beat the absolute hell out of each other and that's exactly what they did.  Definitely a match for future generations to learn from.

After intermission there were only three matches left and I thought MSP was going to main event again, especially since Culture Inc were from furthest away.  That match happened next though and Culture Inc jumped MSP during their entrance, flying out of the ring and onto them.  This was just another great example of how tag team wrestling can work.  I feel like it's difficult for someone who is an independent wrestler to commit to being in a tag team, but the fact that there were four solid tag teams on this show just goes to show you that it can be done and that when those types of teams get together- the ones which are truly bonded- that's when the magic is truly made.

In his GRIND debut, Myung Jae Lee took on Travis Huckabee in a hard fought contest.  Travis Huckabee might have gotten the win, but Myung Jae Lee looked good and it seems like GRIND is the type of promotion made for a wrestler of his particular skillset.  Hopefully we see more of Myung Jae Lee in GRIND in the future- a match with someone else who is 0-1 perhaps to give someone a win- and really Myung Jae Lee should just be booked all around because he's bringing something unique to that ring every time.   After the match, Travis Huckabee kept the assault going so Perry Von Vicious came out and made the save.  GRIND won't return until January, but it already looks like we're going to get PVV vs Travis Huckabee.

The main event was a big match because it featured two of the best wrestlers in the world today and both of them were 1-0 in GRIND going into the match.  Limitless Wrestling Champion Alec Price took on Matt Makowski, who could be on his way to becoming the Independent Wrestling Champion or maybe even a champion somewhere else (such as when ROH returns if he got a shot at the Pure Title)  Both of these wrestlers though- and I feel this through a lot of this show- just have that way about them where they're dangerous but only because their hands and feet are their weapons.

To think of this as being only the second GRIND show is crazy to me.  It feels like this promotion has been going on for years and this is just when we happened to stumble into it.  There are probably a ton of names I'll think of in the next month or so, but it would be really cool to see Jordan Blade back in GRIND, MERC back as well and to see names like Mike Skyros, Anthony Henry, Max ZERO and others possibly debut.  Not setting my sights too high, but how awesome would Rip Byson vs Jeff Cobb be in GRIND?  With WARHORSE coming in January, the sky seems to be the limit and if you've missed these first two shows it's time to wake up. 

Wrestling Review //
Chaotic Wrestling
Breaking Point
@ Boxborough, MA

When Breaking Point was announced at The Balance Of Power it felt like it would be the last show of 2021 for Chaotic Wrestling because the matches really made it feel like there was a sense of conclusion to certain things.  Shannon LeVangie and her feud with Ava Everett, for example, but also everything between The Unit and everyone else.  It also just felt like it was the biggest and toughest test for Davienne to date as Champion and the same could be said for B3CCA.   That feeling of closure would not be met by the end of this show, but that's okay because fans wanting to go back for more is just smart business. 

The show started with a Chris Hero meet and greet and from what I could tell it felt like there was a line in the hallway and fans were taken into a room with Chris Hero- so he is never exposed to the entire line at one time- and it was a little bit odd but also felt more personal.  The whole hotel vibe was just crazy though because we parked where the directions told us to then went through an area full of gazebos and fountains, which I wished they wrestled in, and near the bathrooms were an old school phone booth and a giant rock.  

One of the things which I love about Chaotic Wrestling is that everything they do seems so deliberate.  This show was evidence of that because every match had a purpose.   Sometimes you'll see wrestling shows and there are just these matches where you feel like it's to either get everyone on the card or just to showcase someone but you've got too many people involved and it makes no sense.  Every match Chaotic Wrestling books is part of a story at some point and none of them feel like bathroom breaks.

Ava Everett and Shannon LeVangie opened up the show.  This was an interesting choice to get things started but it did come in hot because these two had such history.  Though try as she might, Ava Everett just could not seem to defeat Shannon LeVangie and eventually Shannon LeVangie scored that win which some might call an upset.   This was (possibly) the end to the Ava Everett-Shannon LeVangie story, as now Shannon LeVangie will go onto bigger foes and possibly even title opportunities in 2022.

Next up was the Tag Team Titles #1 Contenders Match which had a lot of components in it.   I didn't really think that the team of Love, Doug & Armani Kayos or Alec Price & Aaron Rourke were going to win because MSP and Shook Crew were more established teams in the sense that the members were used to teaming together.  I know that Culture Inc was at Uncharted Territory the night before this and Pro Wrestling GRIND the night after so it would have been nice to see them put into the mix here.

We also found out right before this match that Love, Doug would not be partners with Armani Kayos and instead Mortar would be.   This added a fun element to the match because Mortar just reminds me so much of when Rhyno had that ECW run and would just tear through everybody.  This match was a lot of fun with near falls and one person stopping another from making the pin, but the right team won as Shook Crew are now the #1 Contenders for the Tag Team Championships.    Hopefully they are up against the team of Trigga The O.G. and Danny Miles for those titles as well.

A match that had basically been discussed on Twitter since The Balance Of Power was Jordan Blade wanting a shot at the Pan Optic Championship and B3CCA willing to take the match.  This was a hard-hitting match and I feel like even defeat it showcased the skills of Jordan Blade to a new audience.  I have now seen Jordan Blade in two title situations live in these past few months and come up short so if I was holding gold that Jordan Blade could obtain in 2022 I would watch my back.  Next year I expect Jordan Blade to come back stronger and take more ankles (and gold).

Before intermission we had what is a main event in any other promotion (Though so is B3CCA vs Jordan Blade) and JD Drake is bigger in person than he appears on television somehow.  The wild thing about this match that I will remember forever is that Davienne was right in front of me on the guardrail at one point.  JD Drake went to chop her, but she moved out of the way.  That chop came within inches of my face, as JD Drake and I locked eyes as if to confirm that I almost just died and was lucky that I didn't.

Davienne has really been taking on all challengers as Chaotic Wrestling Champion.  It seems like if you try to figure out who she'll defend the title against next, your ideas get skewed by the fact that a name like JD Drake comes into the picture.  In 2022, I wouldn't be surprised to see Davienne defend that championship against Jacob Fatu, Jeff Cobb, Atticus Cogar or Nick Gage.  I am also still awaiting that Paul London match as I have no plans to go anywhere other than wrestling any time soon so we certainly won't be in danger of missing it this time around.

After intermission there were only two matches and this was likely because of how insane the main event was.   But first we had Brad Cashew defend the New England Championship against Ricky Smokes.  Ricky Smokes won the title with his feet on the ropes and I feel like even if it was cheating, he didn't get caught so what can you really do.  Brad Cashew and Ricky Smokes are so evenly matched that I feel like had it been a more fair decision the fight could have gone on forever.  Perhaps they need a 2 out of 3 Falls match to settle this one.

The main event was such a crazy match and it lived up to the promotion name because it was just pure chaos.   As someone who was front row ringside for this show, I can tell you that when the replay comes to Twitch I will be watching it because I feel like there were things happening in front of me that I was watching but there were also a few other things happening around the ring that I either couldn't see or just wasn't paying attention to because of what was right in front of me.  

Love, Doug ended up as the surprise entrant in this match which gave Team Chaotic a 5 on 4 advantage since Mike Verna wasn't here.  However, early on in the match Dango took a dive to the outside and hurt his leg and had to leave the match.  In the end, Dango returned as if he was going to help Team Chaotic but he swung a chair at Chase Del Monte, joined The Unit and this whole story seems far from over.   I'm actually a little glad that Dango joined The Unit because I'd rather boo him and now everyone else will boo him with me.

One of my favorite parts of this match was Danny Miles fighting right in front of me.  I yelled at him that he was the worst member of The Unit and that I hated him, to which he yelled back "I hate you too!"  That made my night and I hope someone out there got it on video.  Danny Miles was also responsible for bringing thumbtacks into this match, which ultimately ended up everywhere and seemed impossible to clean up.   Still, there were a lot of "Holy shit!" moments here and this was a brawl that needs to be seen to believed.

My idea of Team Chaotic winning and that meaning uncertainty for The Unit didn't quite go so well but this also happened to not be the last show of 2021 for Chaotic Wrestling.   Perhaps the next show will be when Shook Crew captures those Tag Team Titles, which would definitely begin the downfall of The Unit.  Either way, I'm excited for what they have in store and partying with Chaotic one week and one day before Christmas seems like the appropriate way to spend the holidays.