Gospel of the Boards
Featuring: Corvis Fear, TJ Marconi, Danny Danger, Matt Marvel, Jarek 1:20, KJ Crush, Zack Novak, Pitboss, Chris Dickinson, Darius Carter, Jonny Mangue, Chase Barnett
Beyond Wrestling is perhaps the first truly post-modern professional wrestling federation. It eschews the one constant in every proper promotion thus far: fans. The events take place with no fans and an audience made up of the wrestlers themselves. There are no time limits. The roster is full of up and comers still looking to establish themselves in the independent wrestling scene. Wrestlers don’t fight for titles as much as they fight to prove themselves among their peers, and wins and losses are tracked with a +/- point system. In an industry where everything seems to have been done before, Beyond’s concept comes across as legitimately fresh. We were provided with a review copy of the iPPV version of Beyond’s recent Gospel of the Boards show. The DVD version comes with 5 bonus matches, some of which are available online via Beyond’s youtube channel. You can check out the preview video below before house show diving into our review.
Rating Scale: 1-10 with 10.0 being Scream (Great), 5.0 being Scream II (Good), and 1.0 being Scream III (Fast Forward). NC (No Contest) is for matches that can’t be fairly scored, i.e. extremely short matches, squash matches, etc.
Corvis Fear vs. TJ Marconi – 7.5
Corvis Fear is the creative hero of Beyond, possessing one of it’s highest win/loss scores, and is giving an opportunity to TJ Marconi, a brash but likeable big man (think a young Vinnie Vegas, but with a lot more speed and agility). Marconi breaks the mold on what you should expect from a leather pants sporting giant, and Corvis is endlessly innovative in his offense. The combination lead to this being one of the best matches on the show. You see two guys whom you have never heard of before do things you have never seen before, perfectly illustrating why Beyond is such an intriguing promotion.
Danny Danger vs. Matt Marvel – 6.5
This was Teacher vs Student, with a twist. Teacher Danny Danger is a smaller technician with an attitude, while student Matt Marvel is big move dropping powerhouse with heart. Marvel was pretty beastly, seeming to invent F5 variations on the spot. Danger has a great look, lots of personality, and a slick move set. He’s a guy you can expect to see doing the bigger promotions sooner rather than later. Another very enjoyable match, with a cool ending.
Jarek 1:20 vs. KJ Crush- 6.5
This match was preceded by a well produced video recap of when these two faced each other previously. Beyond Wrestling allowed fans to vote for this rematch to happen, a good call, the two have a lot of chemistry. Jarek 1:20 is a card deck carrying trickster, KJ Crush his brutish polar opposite. They played the dynamic for laughs a bit, including some non-ancient Egyptian hypnosis, before the match got more serious. Solid outing, and Jarek’s persona is one that really stood out. Sort of a Criss Angel meets Harley Quinn deal.
Zack Novak vs. Pitboss – 5.5
His name is Pitboss. His crew is called The Doom Patrol. He is like Ron Simmons if Simmons skipped football practice for Black Flag shows. In other words, he has the potential to be the most badass person in wrestling ever. What he currently lacks in finesse he makes up for with attitude and strength. Zack Novak is a high flyer with some neat kick combos. That contrast played out in a fine match.
Jonny Mangue vs. Chase Burnett – 6.0
Zack Novak‘s HPM rate (hurricanrana’s per match) is 2nd to none. Jonny Mangue has one of the most intriguing outfits I’ve seen, fur boats, tiger print muay thai shorts, it’s quite a sight. Both individuals are very athletic and the encounter was a ton of fun. Maybe a bit too much fun as a huge finisher was a bit too miraculously survived near the end. Still good, all in all.
Chris Dickinson vs. Darius Carter – 8.0
Sex. Murder. Art. This is what’s written on the back of Chris Dickinson‘s tights. He’s the leader of the aforementioned Doom Patrol, and top villain in Beyond. He’s Davey Richards gone bad, like Jimmy Jacobs, Jon Moxley bad. He has a +7 record, making him one of Beyond’s strongest competitors. He got that not just by beating people, but by hurting them and taking them out of the promotion for good (this notably includes the “Diva Killer” Hailey Hatred herself). His opponent was Darius Carter, a somewhat cocky rich kid, but with an unhateable Will Smith type charm. Commentary labelled him a “student of the game” which is evident from his Pancrase style open palm strikes and signature Kana leg capture German suplex.
The match moved like most any great match does: incredible mat work to open which led into some strong strike exchanges, and finished with some huge moves that managed shock even the audience of pro wrestlers. It’s really a top-level main event that would have been impressive on any show in the country. It’s worth the price of the DVD or iPPV alone.
Dickinson has already started moving to promotions like Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE, expect to hear his name more in coming months. He is a star. Darius Carter while less experienced has the size, looks, raw talent and endless amount of natural charisma to break out as well.
Commentary, Interviews, Storylines, Etc. – 9.0
Beyond did a surprisingly great job here not only introducing fans to the concept of the promotion, but explaining and progressing their stories and wrestlers. You get to learn a lot about the personalities of the main players Corvis and Dickinson through a series of interviews conducted by Danny Danger, who shines as a delusionally confident relative newcomer looking to make an impact.
The entire show is tied together with a theme: Opportunity. The opening and closing matches are made because the upstart The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous want a shot at the top two guys in the company. Even if you’ve never watched Beyond before it’s a concept easy to understand and appreciate thanks to some great, informative commentary and the scoring system which immediately let’s you know where everyone stands.
It needs to be pointed out that while there are technically no fans, the audience of wrestlers make for a great substitute. They boo, cheer, chant, and taunt the way any good crowd would, and it never seems artificial; they manage to be fairly harsh critics at times.
Overall Score – 7.5
Gospel of the Boards isa very good show that delivers on all levels. There are no bad matches, two great ones, and a very cool story woven in between them all. What makes it better is that it all comes from wrestlers that will be new to even most diehard indie fans. If you are looking for something different, or just some good wrestling in general, this is highly recommended, especially at the price. It’s wonderful to see a company try something bold and even better when it succeeds in providing solid wrestling.
Beyond Wrestling – http://www.lookmanofans.com