“UNCHARTED TERRITORY” SEASON 2 EPISODE 1
OCTOBER 3, 2019
WHITE EAGLE CLUB, WORCESTER, MA
Does weekly wrestling television work anymore? That’s the question some have been asking. As a wrestling fan, I’ve never been one to care about the television ratings, the viewership numbers, the downloads, the YouTube views, hell—the live attendance. I understand these are important metrics for those who analyze the business of wrestling, or even whether or not a favorite (or least favorite) wrestling promotion can be expected to exist and grow—but the shit bores me.
Beyond Wrestling gambling with weekly wrestling left some scratching our heads, but eight months to the day of this Season 2 debut, the people who attended, watched and talked about the first 18 weeks of Uncharted Territory—we figured it out quick—weekly wrestling can still be great. Beyond provided cohesion, match quality and simple storytelling. They were able to make a handful of legit indie stars – from Thomas Santell to Bear Country to Daniel Garcia and Mick Moretti. In Season 2, we should expect more of the same. As your favorite indie wrestlers continue to get signed to the “Big 2” (or even 4-5), Beyond will continue to replenish their talent pool from around the world. The fact that those of us watching at home, and those in attendance at the White Eagle Club can fall in love with these upstarts (or veterans!) every Thursday on IWTV is very exciting, and there is a certain “getting in on the ground floor” feeling to watching each episode.
For what it’s worth: I don’t give ratings to matches unless I consider them 3.5 stars and above.
LANCE ARCHER DEF. JOSH BRIGGS
Lance Archer has been on a fucking tear since the G1, portraying himself as the best, most consistent and scary big man in the business. Briggs, a divisive wrestler for many in our circles, is one of the faces for Beyond and Uncharted Territory—able to have really good matches, but often leaving me wanting more.
It’s a true feat that Lance’s gear somehow continues to get worse. The match starts with a couple of body block exchanges followed by subsequent bodyslams and we are off. Briggs is able to get some shots in early, but Lance tosses his off the top rope like nothing. Archer excels in a brawling environment, and his strikes on the outside here look stiff. Back in the ring, Archer with the POUNCE. Archer works on top for awhile, but Briggs is able to fight off the attempt at the Claw and get some offense in—his biggest spots coming in reversing two chokeslams with a frankensteiner and flip. Archer winds up tossing him like a child with a uranage but Briggs won’t stay down. Spinebuster, chokeslam and Briggs kicks out at 1—but Archer follows up quickly with the Iron Claw, holding him down and getting the 3.
Solid match, if not a little disappointing—Archer looking like a million bucks again. Briggs had some good spots, but it wasn’t quite the brutal big man beating I wanted to see. I hope we can see Archer some more this season.
SOLO DARLING DEF. MARK STERLING
Solo Darling was one of the breakout stars of the first season of Uncharted Territory, consistently putting together good matches. It’s a fantastic thing to see her growth over the last couple of years, as she used to be one of my least favorite wrestlers in the States. Mark Sterling usually works as the manager for the new and improved heel Alex Reynolds, and 30 seconds into this match, Alex jumps in the ring and while Mark Sterling threatens Solo’s dog for the DQ. On the outside, we get the return of Solo’s tag team partner Willow Nightengale (back from a broken neck!)
Willow and Sterling brawl to the back and then back to the ring and we get a tag team match!
SOLO DARLING & WILLOW NIGHTENGALE DEF. ALEX REYNOLDS & MARK STERLING
Sterling and Reynolds work over Solo for a couple of minutes before Willow finally gets the tag in and gets a great heat sequence, wrecking house and giving Sterling a killer spinebuster. The match goes back and forth, with the ladies leading the charge most of the way, eventually hitting a bit of an awkward double team finish on Sterling, while Solo’s dog gets the pinfall. A feel good moment, with the crowd heavily invested. Good angle, ok match.
BRANDON THURSTON DEF. JAY FREDDIE
The first two matches between these two were easy 4-stars. This one was well on the way to being a third, but a low blow on a submission (I can’t figure out if it was intentional or not) by Thurston gets him the quick win. This clearly isn’t over—and it shouldn’t be! Jay Freddie gets on the mic and challenges Thurston again, and we get a tease of another match—but Thurston swerves and heads to the back.
Before the next match, the “Discovery Gauntlet”— the challenger, Matt Makowski is attacked backstage by a psychotic looking Tony Deppen! I love Deppen, but I was REALLY looking forward to a match between Makowski and Daniel Garcia.
TONY DEPPEN DEF. DANIEL GARCIA (C)
For those unaware, the Discovery Gauntlet is a match every week that showcases young (or looked over) talent, with the caveat that the winner of each match competes in the match the following week. Daniel Garcia dominated at the end of Season 1, having a squash and two great matches. With his aura and his stiffness, he instantly became one of my favorite indie wrestlers in the states. Deppen is one of the biggest names in indie wrestling these days, working GCW, PWG and more.
This match is full of huge moves and hard to keep up with. These two dudes nailing each other with everything—brainbusters, lariats, multiple powerbombs, german suplexes, huge forearms. The two do their best to work a slightly restrained PWG match, and when Garcia gets his “Death Shooter” on, Deppen rakes the eyes to get out. Despite being blinded, Garcia continues with the intensity, the two going at it with a chop battle on the apron before Deppen is able to hit his always insane top rope “trust fall” to the outside. Rolling “Red Death” back in—Deppen is able to pick up the big win with the shining wizard.
I love Deppen, he’s one of my favorite wrestlers in the world right now, but I was really hoping to see Daniel Garcia for many more weeks – hopefully we do, because the guy rocks. This was great! ***3/4
ORANGE CASSIDY DEF. THOMAS SANTELL
If you didn’t watch the first season of Uncharted Territory, you may be unfamiliar with Thomas Santell—but fix that, quick. The dude works a gimmick where he’s a real nice guy, altruistic and with the mannerisms of nerdy Crispin Glover circa Back to the Future. He’s also a hell of a fierce technical wrestler. Orange Cassidy—well, you know him and these two being put together seems like it has the potential to be a bit of a “passing of the baton” as Orange moves onto AEW full time.
After poking himself in his eye with his own pair of glasses, Santell is gifted a pair of aviators from Cassidy, and the shenanigans begin. When he tries to hulk up, Orange sees right through it and gets a “holy shit” chant when he dons two pairs of glasses. Santell comes back and begins working the arm. If you haven’t seen Santell work, he’s very much in the vein of Timothy Thatcher or Drew Gulak—a lot of limb work, a lot of basic moves and the occasional high spot thrown in – it’s fuckin’ fantastic. Santell misses a moonsault and is working angry, but Cassidy is coming back with his paintbrush strikes and a spinning DDT. Santell continues the ferocity on Cassidy’s arm, dropping him to the ground, grinding it down with his knee, locking him in a Fujiwara armbar and more. Santell is so good, it’s hard to take.
In a surprise twist, Santell takes a swig of orange juice, while Orange takes a swig of Ovaltine, spits it in his face and gets the win with a superman punch. In a bigger surprise, Cassidy takes the microphone after the match, and while most people expected a goodbye, he states he wants his Independent Championship back and challenges WARHORSE.
CHRIS DICKINSON DEF. WHEELER YUTA
I’m not a huge fan of YUTA, though he can definitely have good matches (as seen during the season finale of last season when he beat Chuck O’Neil. Chris Dickinson is a fuckin’ killer and went through virtually everyone in the first season (AND DAISUKE SEKIMOTO).
This match was hard to rate. The beginning featured YUTA on top, calling spots and trying to outwrestle Dickinson, but it came off as super awkward, with more than a handful of mistimed exchanges and moves that just didn’t hit the mark. Once Dickinson took over and it became a story of “can YUTA survive?” it became really good. Dickinson destroyed him with suplexes and powerbombs before finally putting him away with a lariat. This could have easily been a 4-star match without the awkward bits, but as it stands—it was still quite entertaining, continuing to build the underdog story of YUTA. ***1/2
After the match, Club Cam (featuring Kenn Doane/Kenny Dykstra!) and Milk Chocolate attack Dickinson before the lights go out and he is saved by…Pinkie Sanchez!
KRIS STADTLANDER VS. NICK GAGE
Stadtlander has more or less become the face of Beyond in the last 12 or so months, coming out of nowhere and really quickly becoming one of the most in-demand women in all of wrestling.
And she attacked Nick Fuckin’ Gage on the outside before the bell! Hell yeah. We have a door, we have a chair, and Gage NAILS Stadtlander with a huge spinebuster. Kris is able to reverse a corner boot with her own and hits Gage with a running DVD through the door into the corner. This is brutal early with huge chops and chairshots. Hilarious that these two are teaming up with Thomas Santell for King of Trios the next day. Stadtlander kicks Gage out of the ring, and then kicks him in the head with a boomerang moonsault off the apron. Back in the ring and Gage plays possum, crushing Stadtlander with brainbuster onto a standing chair. YUCK. Gage sits her in the corner, covers her with the broken door and hits the Ohtani facewash boot into the door in her face, which makes a sickening sound, holy shit.
Kris comes back, wailing away on Gage and sort of hitting a 450 splash from the top. A minute later, Gage hits a piledriver and then a second from the top rope through a door for the win.
This match was heated and gross and awesome. ****
Thomas Santell enters the ring and Gage puts over Stadtlander and the crowd to end the show.
This wasn’t a perfect show, but it was definitely my favorite wrestling show of the week, with 3 very good matches on top of a breezy watch.
Beyond Wrestling’s Uncharted Territory isn’t a show for everyone, but it’s absolutely for me. If you’re of the frame of mind that “independent wrestling is dying”, do yourself a favor and try this out, because you’re wrong.