Experimental wrestling promotion, Beyond Wrestling — whose driving concept is “wrestlers wrestling for wrestlers” — is coming to Cleveland this weekend with the Back in Flesh, second live fan-attended event.
The main attraction which everyone is, or should be, talking about is a Round Robin challenge of three matches: “The Whole Shebang” Johnny Gargano vs. Jonny Mangue, Jonny Mangue vs. “The American Wolf” Davey Richards, and Davey Richards vs. “The Cat’s Pajamas” Johnny Gargano.
Yes, Davey Richards vs. Johnny Gargano! This whole thing started because Davey, along with teammates Tony Kozina and Kyle O’Reilly, issued an open challenge to the entire Beyond roster. Johnny Gargano readily accepted even though he’s not actually, technically, in said roster. But he’s the King of Cleveland and Back in Flesh is in Cleveland, so close enough, right?
Not for Jonny Mangue[1. See Johnny Mangue petition to face Davey Richards here.], proper Beyond Wrestling roster member. He did not appreciate Gargano accepting a challenge posed specifically to the Beyond crew so, in order to make everyone happy and give everyone an equal go at Davey Richards, it is now a Round Robin Challenge.
Note that as ROH Champion, Richards brings a bit of history to the Round Robin Challenge concept. One of Ring of Honor’s earliest breakout shows involved future champs Low Ki and Bryan Danielson, with future TV Champ Christopher Daniels, having three alternating matches against one another on the same night. By participating in this signature ROH event, but in a hostile, non-ROH environment against two of the best from outside promotions, Richards has an opportunity to jump start his legacy as champion. Likewise, Mangue and Gargano have an opportunity to say that they’ve beaten the “Best in the World” at what should be his own game.
Now that we’ve got that all sorted out, let me give you a few videos as a preview of the upcoming action:
Oh, who are we kidding? You know what to expect from Davey Richards. Current ROH World Heavyweight Champ? Did you order that match between him and Eddie Edwards at Best in the World back in June? Or the one between him and Roderick Strong back at Final Battle 2010? It was one of the best matches I have ever seen.
In case you do need a visual, here is a highlight video from Davey’s match with Eddie Edwards for the Television Championship back in June of last year in Ring of Honor:
Not that watching a match with Davey and Eddie in any capacity is really a hardship, but here’s a newer match Davey’s most recent tour in New Japan. There he has maintained his No Remorse Corps partnership with Rocky Romero, and they join Masato Tanaka in taking on MVP, Taguchi, and Tiger Mask in a 6 man tag:
For those among you, like myself, who hadn’t heard of Jonny Mangue until very recently, let me present to you Jonny Mangue vs. Zane Silver, via Beyond Wrestling:
The match proper starts about three minutes in. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mangue, but I was quite pleasantly surprised. Also, I love the ‘fro. You’ll also notice in the beginning that the audience is actually just other wrestlers. That’s Beyond Wrestling’s particular breed of genius. Or insanity. Wrestlers wrestling for wrestlers, and all that.
One more. Jonny Mangue vs. Rez:
From Liberty Wrestling Organization, based in New Jersey, back in 2008, and he’s interestingly announced as the “Smooth Savage.” The match is only about four minutes long, but it’s still good. I’m already pretty impressed by Mangue, and I’ve seen exactly two matches.
Last but not least. The Cat’s Pajamas, The Bees’ Knees, The Whole Shebang and the self-proclaimed King of Cleveland is often found wrestling in hometown promotions Absolute Intense Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Ohio, but in the past year has made huge waves in DGUSA, EVOLVE and CHIKARA. In fact he with Chuck Taylor just became the Campeones de Parejas, defeating Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw (I’m sure completely fair and square).
Here’s a match between him and fellow PWO/AIW mainstay Shiima Xion from 2008:
One of many, many fantastic Gargano matches. Feel free to look at Shiima Xion, as he is very talented as well. Not to mention nice to look at. *ahem*
Gargano also plays a wicked villain when needed, as shown here in PWO. He takes a chair to fellow buzzworthy wrestling sensation Gregory Iron, and then basically just tries to kill him:
I feel weird warning for blood in violence on a wrestling video on a wrestling site, but… blood and violence? Yeah. Defenseless bloody Greg Iron? Be prepared. All I know is this video bugged me the first time I saw it, and I’m the one who cheers for blood in wrestling. Maybe I just adore Greg Iron.
Time for a palate cleanser. Highlights from a nice clean match between Johnny Gargano vs. Bryan Danielson in AIW from 2010:
Only a three and a half minute highlight vid, but excellent nevertheless.
And on top of the Round Robin Challenge there will be a number of other great matches and one featuring Robert AKA RD Evans. Why does everyone from CHIKARA to Ring of Honor to ACW love this man? Besides being a great wrestler he’s also completely insane, in the most hilarious way possible:
I highly suspect that Back in Flesh would be well worth your time and the $15 ticket. Wait, there’s another show? On the same day in the same venue for just a few more dollars?
Yes, Absolute Intense Wrestling is holding They Live which will also feature the talents of Evans, Gargano and Richards as well as the returning JWP Openweight Champion, Hailey Hatred, who will be taking on Canada’s Cherry Bomb. Hailey’s spent the past year collecting title belts and ascending to the top of the most storied all women’s wrestling company in the world, and she’ll be putting its title on the line against Cherry Bomb (who also made an appearance for JWP this year). Check them both out in this episode of AIW Intense TV. Cherry takes on Veda Scott, and Hailey takes on The “Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey:
All that plus The Submission Squad, Tim Donst o/, Shiima Xion, BJ Whitmer, Kyle O’Relly and more. So if you’re in or around Cleveland this Sunday afternoon, you should definitely stop by both of these shows.
Beyond Wrestling presents “Back in Flesh” on Sunday, October 2nd. Doors open at 2:30. Bell time is 3pm. Buy tickets here.
Absolute Intense Wrestling also presents “They live” on Sunday, October 2nd. Bell time is 7:30pm. Buy tickets here.