Tonight, Beyond Wrestling presents the eighteenth and final episode of Uncharted Territory, Season 1 from the White Eagle in Worcester, Massachusetts. Over the course of the past four and a half months, Uncharted Territory has become a highlight of the weekly wrestling calendar. In terms of format and presentation, it has provided a distinct alternative to the wide range of wrestling shows vying to capture wrestling fan’s attention, while in terms of match quality and entertainment it’s quickly cemented itself as a must-watch show for those in the know. An ambitious undertaking, Uncharted Territory has sought to provide Beyond Wrestling’s fans with a weekly dose of action in no way diminished by the weekly format or live presentation, while building towards Beyond’s biggest show of the year; this past Sunday’s Americanrana ’19.
In that regard, it has largely been a success, and Americanrana proved to be one of the most entertaining indie shows this year. And at the event, we received the long-awaited confirmation of Uncharted Territory’s future, with the series set to return weekly on Thursday, October 3rd from the promotion’s very own live event centre! The move promises to allow Beyond and Indie Wrestling TV a purpose-built arena from which to broadcast from, bringing every aspect of the broadcast presentation under their control. Exciting times ahead for Beyond Wrestling, and it will be very interesting to see how Uncharted Territory looks when it returns in a little over two months from now.
But, until then I thought it would be a good time as any to celebrate one of the biggest successes of the inaugural season of Uncharted Territory, and that’s the spotlight Beyond have been able to shine upon such a wide range of talent, many overlooked or lacking for exposure in a US indie scene that at times can seem incredibly fragmented.
Well over one hundred wrestlers have appeared on Uncharted Territory, providing some incredible variety that fits perfectly with Beyond’s ethos (a variety which was readily on display this past Sunday) and has kept each week’s show feeling fresh and exciting, while still managing to build consistently towards Americanrana. With so many moving parts you might be forgiven for assuming that it’d be hard for anyone talent to stand out, but given the sheer number of names who’ve risen in many fan’s estimation since the inception of Uncharted Territory, that assumption would be wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest winners coming out of Uncharted Territory Season 1.
The ‘Dirty Daddy’ of Beyond Wrestling, a sixteen-year world-traveled veteran with a lengthy stint in EVOLVE Wrestling, Dickinson can hardly qualify as an unknown. Indeed, for much of the past eighteen weeks, Dickinson’s focus has been almost entirely upon one of the top marquee matches at Americanrana ’19, a hard-hitting, physically intense war with BJW star Daisuke Sekimoto. To prepare himself for that match Dickinson implored Beyond to give him the toughest opponents possible, and the result was a run of matches that showed why Chris Dickinson is one of the best wrestlers in the US today. Whether it was in wild brawls, unforgiving strike-fests, or technical wrestling contests, Dickinson proved his versatility against some of the best names on the US scene; Eddie Kingston, Josh Alexander, Tom Lawlor, Timothy Thatcher, Fred Yehi, and capped it off with a career all-timer against the legendary Daisuke Sekimoto. If you aren’t paying attention to Dickinson in 2019, you really should be.
One of the biggest success stories of Uncharted Territory has to be Bear Country. The relatively new tag team out of the Create A Pro Wrestling Academy in Long Island, Bear Bronson & Bear Beefcake made an immediate impact in Beyond Wrestling and carved a path to notoriety through some of the biggest names on the US tag team scene today. Presenting a fearsome challenge for their opponents, Bear Country have not only readily displayed their muscle and their explosiveness, but also some tag team prowess one might not expect out of a team so young. An immediate hit with the Beyond Wrestling faithful, Bear Country’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric and they cemented themselves as the team to beat in Beyond Wrestling with a very impressive victory over LAX at Americanrana this past Sunday.
Right from the start of Uncharted Territory one of the most intriguing concepts was the Discovery Gauntlet, which each week saw a competitor entirely new to Beyond’s weekly series face off against the previous week’s winner. Not only did it bring a steady stream of under the radar wrestlers to viewer’s screens each week, but made stars of a number of them as well. Most notably, Thomas Santell.
Known in a former life as one-half of WWE tag team the Heart Throbs, seventeen-year veteran Santell emerged at Uncharted Territory Episode 5 as an unlikely underdog who quickly captured the hearts of Beyond’s fans. Part George McFly, part George Tragos, Santell’s retro grappler character has proved a sure-fire hit, and led to him stumbling into a tag team with Nick Gage, of all people! Dubbed ‘Nurdur Death Kill’, the improbable duo scored a big victory over the team of Tom Lawlor & Bryan Alvarez at Americanrana, and tonight face their toughest test yet as they go up against the formidable Bear Country!
I imagine if you told someone unfamiliar with Kris Statlander to watch her Americanrana cage match against Kimber Lee, and then told them that Statlander has just over two years of wrestling under her extraterrestrial belt, they’d likely be rather surprised.
Statlander not only performs in the ring with a level of skill that belies her experience, but she carries herself with such confidence that it’s hard not to root for the rising star of Beyond Wrestling. Her wild and crazy brawl of a match against Joey Janela on Episode 11 of Uncharted Territory stands alongside her Americanrana cage match as a bout that clearly demonstrates that the only way is up for the ‘Galaxy’s Greatest Alien’, and that it may not be too long before even bigger opportunities are headed her way.
While wins have been difficult to come by for ‘The Retrosexual’ Anthony Greene on Uncharted Territory so far, there’s little doubt that he’s proved himself as one of the most valuable players of the current Beyond Wrestling product.
Skilled in the ring and on the mic (and in the commentary booth, as it turns out), Greene’s shown himself to be a versatile performer who can fit into any role asked of him, be it; squaring off against some old hands of the wrestling game in Gangrel and The Patriot, providing a bit of comedic relief alongside The Platinum Hunnies, or throwing down with a close personal friend, as evidenced by his surprisingly violent match against Josh Briggs. Greene has often excelled on Uncharted Territory, while not often being the focus, and at just 25 years of age has a bright future ahead of him.
Elsewhere, Solo Darling has impressed with regularity on Uncharted Territory, becoming the yardstick by which other women’s wrestlers in Beyond should measure themselves. Indeed, it was Solo that Statlander had to defeat before heading into her big match at Americanrana.
Chuck O’Neil has become an immensely unlikeable figure in his quest to make Beyond Wrestling “legit again”, combining a wealth of MMA and pro-wrestling skill with some sleazy tactics that have drawn the ire of fans and wrestlers alike.
Similarly, Kenn Doane has proven himself to be something of a loose cannon and has a particular knack for riling up the fans.
The team of Braxton Sutter & Andy Williams, AKA The Butcher & The Blade, have made a number of impressive showings in a Beyond Wrestling ring to date, while newcomer Leyla Hirsch quickly won over the Beyond audience and made herself a name to pay close attention to in the year to come.
The aforementioned Discovery Gauntlet succeeded in bringing a bunch of young and impressive talents to Beyond Wrestling, but to my mind, the concept was held firmly in place by three competitors.
We’ve already talked about Thomas Santell, but before the Rise of the Nerd, the gauntlet was successfully run by Australian wrestler Mick Moretti. A well-traveled wrestler who put in four great showings in the Discovery Gauntlet and was a big part of why the concept was such an early success, Moretti is a talent that deserves more eyes upon his work. The same can be said of the man who beat Santell, stand-out high flyer Christian Casanova, who quickly aligned himself with the much-hated Cam Zagami and now seems to be decidedly on the up in pro-wrestling, with a shot in Ring of Honor coming his way. Meanwhile, names like current gauntlet runner Daniel Garcia, as well as Kevin Blackwood, Kobe Durst, DL Hurst, Brad Hollister, Juan Francisco and LD Mantis grabbed the opportunity to showcase their skills, if not victory in the Discovery Gauntlet.
For all these reasons and more, I have no problem calling the Uncharted Territory project a success. Undoubtedly a learning process for Beyond Wrestling, they rose to the challenge with aplomb and the show not only quickly became a highlight of the wrestling week; it stayed that way.
Tonight, Beyond round out season 1 of Uncharted Territory with a stacked card of matches and deal with the fallout from Americanrana. NDK take on Bear Country, Wheeler Yuta (after being KO’d at Americanrana) gets his hands on Chuck O’Neil once again, Anthony Greene and The Platinum Hunnies seek a measure of revenge after being assaulted by Club Cam of Cam Zagami, Christian Casanova and Kenn Doane, The Butcher & The Blade face off against Milk Chocolate, Jay Freddie and Brandon Thurston go one-on-one again in a rematch of their excellent match from Episode 4, the Top Dogs take on Leyla Hirsch and the debuting Sea Stars, plus the return of Daniel Garcia defending his place in the Discovery Gauntlet!
Uncharted Territory Episode 18 kicks off tonight at 8PM Eastern, 1AM UK time over at http://iwtv.live use code: UNCHARTED on sign-up to get 20 days free!