Freedom’s Road 5
March 16 2017 (Taped March 6/7)
“Under the Dome, Bro”
We’re at the Dome in Tufnell Park. It’s a cracking venue. I went there for wXw and while they’re unable to replicate that atmosphere, due to all the seating, it’s still nice. Hosts are Glen Joseph and Callum Leslie. We’re straight into the action, sort of, as Matt Riddle cuts his first pre-show ‘bit’, opposite Chuck Mambo.
Riddle and Mambo are made for each other. They naturally banter back and forth. Chuck has a surfboard that he found on a hill that travels through time. I’m certain no drugs were involved in the filming of this segment. Probably.
Elsewhere Jinny arrives.
Elsewhere Dahlia Black moans about TK Cooper not qualifying for the Atlas division so Riddle accepts the challenge anyway, bro.
Jinny vs. Bea Priestley
In a weird backstage bit Bea sees a badass reflection of herself, showing different gear to usual. It’s intended to show how she’s not wrestling under her usual heel persona against the more evil Jinny. Bea is far better as a heel but she’s quite happy to come out here doing flips and other babyface stuff. Bea is on that steep BritWres learning curve, the same one that Jinny has been powering her way up of late. They have a tidy match, based around Jinny being a total bitch, with decent strikes littered throughout.
The camera work is much improved on the Bedford episodes with improved lighting on the ring and a higher production value because of that. The Dome is a better venue all round. It’s designed for exciting things to happen in the middle of it. Jinny gets the win with her version of the X-Factor that she calls the Makeover (thank you, Martin Bentley). Really good little match with both women showing their respective progression. I expect big things from Jinny in the coming months. While the crowd boo her here there is definitely an increase in respect since her debut.
Final Rating: ***
Video Control takes us backstage where Laura Di Matteo is on hand to politely applaud Jinny. Their storyline isn’t over yet.
TK Cooper vs. Matt Riddle
I like that Riddle gets a lower tier opponent for Freedom’s Road but also that it’s TK who’s clearly moving up the card with a sense of purpose. Riddle is greeted by Spandau Ballet, as per usual. SPLX sponsored athlete Riddle has no trouble initially, taking TK down and going after an assortment of submissions. It’s essentially a game of survival for Cooper, going back to his earlier Progress career where he was a punch-bag. TK gets some solid banter going, suggesting that cheating is merely a way to get his ‘turn’ at controlling the match. Once he finds an opening it becomes a pretty good match, rather than a demolition. As much as I enjoy Riddle murdering inferior talent it’s always better to have a balanced match. You just have a find a way to realistically have that happen.
Dahlia has to save TK when he’s stuck in an heel hook, which is typical of the South Pacific Power Couple. Dahlia always has worth during matches. Otherwise what’s the point of having her out here. TK then starts to throw everything at Riddle in an attempt to win including his big KO punch and the springboard 450 Splash. It’s not enough though and Riddle ends Cooper with a Jumping Tombstone. This was the best Freedom’s Road match to date. Dahlia helps massively by crying after the match.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Two good matches and backstage segments that really worked and helped to advance characters and storylines. This show is really starting to get good now. The earlier episodes were basically a trial run. This is a jumping on point to check out what Progress are doing with Freedom’s Road. The kinks have been ironed out.