Unlike other wrestling shows, Beyond Wrestling’s ambitious weekly shows haven’t forgotten that serial storytelling is key.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
Everyone and their mom has talked about how awful Monday Night Raw was by now and how the “brand split” is a joke because of the “wild card rule” (that was probably written into the show about an hour before it started). Opinion columns and thinkpieces have flown freely about how it’s either no big deal because the company has more money than God or how the show needs to change before the company goes into bankruptcy.
News flash: that’s not going to happen. You can hate-watch the product and complain about it for attention and hits all you want, but WWE isn’t going to change what they’re doing, let alone go away.
As the co-owner and Executive Editor of a wrestling website, I’ve no choice but to follow the happenings of the biggest wrestling company in the world. But that doesn’t mean I have to watch their shows or care about what they present on television. It’s clear their storytelling skills are nearly non-existent because of having to serve several network (and international) masters and write shows on the fly.
If it bothers you that bad, don’t watch. I’m not. I’d rather watch other weekly shows that not only have great action, but are pretty adept at telling a story.
Like Beyond Wrestling’s “Uncharted Territory.”
Beginning the Wednesday before WrestleMania, “Uncharted Territory” has had some damn solid matches, which is to be expected. Once compared to PWG on the West Coast, Beyond – a company that celebrated its 10th anniversary this past Wednesday – has always had “dream matches” pon the independent scene. Some we didn’t even know we wanted until the possibility presented itself.
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It's almost like watching @borndirtydiedirty wrestle Mr. Touchdown in @chikaralive all over again! 😂 In all seriousness, Dickinson vs @alexhammerstone 1-on-1 is a match we didn't even know we wanted until @beyondwrestling showed us the possibilities. #wrestling #prowrestling #beyondwrestling #unchartedterritory #teampazuzu #thedynasty
With a reputation like that, it’s easy to see how an independent company – one that could see its top talent signed to companies like WWE, All Elite, Impact, Ring of Honor or any others at any given minute – would focus on making matches while they have the chance. But Beyond has also never shied away from telling stories along the way. Just ask Joey Janela and David Starr, who still have their issues with each other after nearly three years.
As it concerns “Uncharted Territory” in particular, the first episode began with a traitorous turn. Kimber Lee was a Beyond Wrestling stalwart – and is again after journeying to WWE and back. The longtime fan favorite returned to Kris Stadtlander well on the way to picking up the mantle of the “Female Ace” of the company. Considering the company has no championships of its own to speak of, the mantle of being a company “Ace” is about as important as it gets.
Lee started out as the perennial babyface against the mean and violent Team Pazuzu. Lee kept her spirits up but, while she was gone, a new girl stepped into her role – which normally happens when there’s a void in the roster to fill. Lee’s issue was that the void was no longer there as she had returned. But, in her eyes, someone had already filled it. Her “title” had been usurped. And that was enough for Lee to viciously turn on Stadtlander and want her out of the picture.
It is a story that has been told very simply and effectively over the course of “Uncharted Territory” since its inception. And it is not the only one. The issues between Chris DIckinson and The Dynasty (As in MLW’s Dynasty) morphing into Dickinson, as the male “Ace,” wanting to take on “the biggest and the baddest” in pro wrestling. Jordynne Grace’s pursuit of the Independent Wrestling TV Championship. The Discovery Gauntlet, an ongoing opportunity for up-and-coming talent to make their names. Then there’s the matter of the videos at the end of the last few episodes, but we’ll get to those another time.
rather seek out what I enjoy about wrestling than gripe and complain. I’m no stranger to complaining but I recognize the futility in doing so when it won’t change anything.
And I hate to say it, but when it comes to WWE that’s exactly what’s going to happen. The status quo. Business as usual. Because they’re making more than enough money from what they’re doing to change unless there is a true threat breathing down their necks.
As much as All Elite Wrestling has been touted as the “new competition,” they haven’t made their proper debut yet. We have a while to go before we see if AEW or any other company can truly challenge WWE’s global dominance. And unless anyone can, the sorry excuses for wrestling shows we see on cable television Monday and Tuesday nights aren’t going to change no matter how much online venom is spewed at them.
You want things to change so bad? Then do it yourself. If Raw and Smackdown are so unwatchable, then stop watching them. If WWE is no longer your favorite to watch, then find another. Seek out another promotion – whether it’s Beyond Wrestling or any number of them out there – that knows how to tell stories and doesn’t shy away from it.
There are entirely too many other options out there that was too easy to find and keep up with not to be able to still enjoy wrestling and not have to watch a company you no longer want to promote. The answer really is that simple. WWE is just another company. And if they’re too painful or boring to watch, there are others to enjoy.