Pro wrestling combines spectacle and physical performance, and the passion of individuals in the art is no better seen than on the independent level.

Before the likes of Kevin Owens, the Young Bucks, Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander became stars in WWE and AEW, they got their start in independent wrestling, performing all over the world, including for promotions like Beyond Wrestling.

The promotion was founded by Drew Cordeiro and Ricky Shane Page in 2009 and began with a desire to continue their backyard wrestling shows with those with professional training. Beyond Wrestling began with the idea of helping others build a video résumé to get booked in other parts of the United States. YouTube was utilized as a quick and free resource, and it quickly gained traction. The shows in Providence might have had as many as 12 fans, but Beyond Wrestling took influence from Southern California promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and the monthly shows at a consistent venue continued to gain notoriety to the point that Beyond Wrestling was called the “PWG of the East Coast.”

“It was an honor to get that comparison, and it was like the first time that Biff Busick (aka Oney Lorcan) and Drew Gulak were booked over to go to PWG,” Cordeiro told “We knew it was because of the reputation they were earning at Beyond Wrestling.”

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As the promotion’s reputation grew, so did Beyond Wrestling itself. Cordeiro knew the potential of the promotion and continued to strive for it to reach new heights. Beyond Wrestling moved its primary location multiple times, with shows running in Somerville, Mass., and later Worcester, Mass., where Beyond Wrestling calls home at White Eagle.

The YouTube channel grew to gain over 3.5 million subscribers in over a decade. Beyond Wrestling started a weekly show “Uncharted Territory,” which at the time was a rarity for independent promotions and was exclusive to WWE’s “Raw” and “SmackDown.” It ran its annual big event “Americanrana” at Foxwoods in 2019 and also ran an event at event at Six String Grill & Stage in Foxboro, Mass.

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However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on Beyond Wrestling’s continued growth. Cordeiro told he had a contract signed for “Americanrana” at Worcester Palladium, but it was delivered the day before businesses shut down in the United States. Beyond Wrestling returned to action in 2021, but the summer “Americanrana” event was canceled due to Hurricane Henri. Cordeiro told that over $20,000 of ticket refunds were issued out.

“It was a mess,” Cordeiro said. “It took us a long time to kind of get back on our feet.”

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But Cordeiro wasn’t going to give up. His passion for the business grew into the launch of “Wrestling Open” in 2022. The show is run weekly on Thursdays and was described as similar to an “open mic night,” where wrestlers can showcase talents or experiment in front of an audience of around 200 fans. Cordeiro admits no wrestler is ever paid their true value based on the damage and risks they put onto their bodies but said the model of “Wrestling Open” allows for independent wrestlers to get paid better while also providing weekly entertainment for fans.

“We’re able to make it a lot more accessible to not only people who are diehard fans that are coming frequently that want to support on a regular basis, but also people who have never experienced wrestling live before or never experienced independent wrestling or used to watch growing up and now they’re just getting back into it,” Cordeiro said.

A place for wrestlers to hone their craft was lost in WWE and AEW’s massive signing spree in 2019. Before Kevin Steen became Kevin Owens, he was able to put over young talent and make them the next top star in independent wrestling. The same went for others like Drew Gulak and Johnny Gargano before they signed to WWE. But when AEW needed to sign talent to build a roster, and WWE attempted to prevent AEW from acquiring big names, that left everyone else working a lot harder to build a reputation for themselves. And “Wrestling Open” is one path toward doing that.

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“I think that what the wrestlers of the generation are realizing is that a little buzz isn’t gonna get you to the dance anymore,” Cordeiro said. “You really have to hone your craft and become great at what you do, and the only way to do that is through repetition by getting your performances, by working consistently.”

Beyond Wrestling’s growth led to a point where venues and sponsors are going to it, rather than the other way around. Clown Shoes Beer approached Cordeiro for an event for its St. Patrick’s Festival in Boston, and “Shamrock Slam” was finalized for March 8 at Harpoon Brewery. It’s expected to be the promotion’s biggest event in its history, with over 2,000 fans expected.

“Shamrock Slam” will look to deliver with Matt Cardona, formerly Zack Ryder, in the main event against Alec Price, who is an East Boston native.

Cordeiro’s goal for Beyond Wrestling is to continue partnerships that allow the promotion to be seen live in front of thousands of people, but he’ll continue to work to ensure Beyond Wrestling reaches the heights he knows its capable of.

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Tickets for “Shamrock Slam” can be bought here.

Featured image via /Jon Washer