Progress Freedom’s Road #4
The Return of the King
March 2 2017
We’re in the Bedford for the latest episode of Freedom’s Road.
Roy Johnson opens the show to call about any Wastemen in the back. The call is answered by RJ Singh. Hence the “Return of the King” subheading on this show. Singh hasn’t been active in Progress since losing a career match at Chapter 16 to Stixx.
RJ claims to be too old to rap so we’re having a match instead.
Roy Johnson vs. RJ Singh
The ring rust of Singh, combined with the inexperience of Roy isn’t the best of combinations. They have some decent ideas but the execution is wayward. Never is this more in evidence than a crossbody turned into a powerslam that goes horribly wrong. Roy makes amends by managing a press into an over the shoulder powerslam, reminiscent of Goldberg at his peak. Royberg! Wavyberg! Bodyberg! The match is interrupted by the presence of Earl Black Jr., the Freedom’s Road poster boy. The extra curricular stuff is unfortunate as the match is just finding its legs. Earl flat out gets RJ disqualified by attacking Roy and then he goes after Singh with knees too. Dazzling Darrell Allen makes the save.
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us backstage where Jack Sexsmith is hanging out.
He’s so adorable. I know I keep saying this, about various people, but he’s the nicest guy in wrestling. Shen Woo attacks him as they’re wrestling tonight in a repeat of Jack’s chapter debut (also against Damon Moser).
Jack Sexsmith vs. Shen Woo
The brawl continues as they head to the ring. Jack has shown such huge development since that match, in November 2015. The character has grown, as has his following. They do a leg match here, with Sexsmith getting hurt and Woo capitalising. Woo is a weird character study because he was ahead of Sexsmith a year ago and now he’s trailing in his wake. Plus he plays a stereotypical evil Asian. His banter sounds like the kind of thing a villain would say in a kung-fu film. I really like that about him. “There’s no laughing in a fight” is a particularly solid piece of villainy. Jack has great sympathy so it’s easy for Woo to control with submission attempts. Woo wanks about too much attempting a Figure Four and gets rolled up for the loss. This was a really solid storyline match. Woo hasn’t advanced a lot since 2015, which must be disappointing for him. The difference here was timing. Sexsmith’s had improved an enormous amount. His kick-outs are wonderful and his selling is Grade A.
Final Rating: **1/2
Kyle Ashmore vs. Damon Moser
Moser has advanced beyond Ashmore and Kyle, with his Hipster gimmick, has gotten frustrated with his own lack of advancement. Ashmore, to his credit, has gotten better away from prying eyes. He’s certainly a better promo than a lot of ProJo guys.
His work was bordering on dangerous when he appeared in the Natural Progression Series but he’s improved since then. Moser looks slightly better, due to the confidence of being on Chapter shows, but there’s not a lot in it. If anything it’s Moser that looks dodgier, courtesy of a slightly botched powerbomb. Being in the main event spot gives them leeway to do all manner of shit, including a standing Spanish Fly from Ashmore that’s genuinely impressive. Knee Trembler puts Ashmore away in a good showing from both guys.
Final Rating: ***
A toned down version of what we’ve come to expect from Freedom’s Road. The backstage antics were limited to a rather poignant speech from Jack Sexsmith, encouraging a younger wrestler to follow her dreams. The in-ring was solid and having three matches meant the show was longer than usual. Of course the upcoming tapings will provide the company with new footage and some of it should be very exciting. Matt Riddle is among those involved. As a trial period of four shows Freedom’s Road has worked. Now they need to expand upon the storylines and character building. Freedom’s Road could become an excellent tool to develop talent in Progress.