Progress Freedom’s Road S01E12
June 29 2017
I’ve been way too busy to stay on top of Freedom’s Road but as the first “series” reaches a conclusion it would be nice to stay in touch. They’ve completely changed the introduction since I was last here. It’s got a proper theme and everything. The biggest change is a jarring switch to a studio presented product, presented by Glen Joseph, which is a complete throwback to the old territory days. They’ve brought the concept up to date a bit though with a Panasonic TV in the background an appointed hashtag for “Thursday Night Fight Night” (#TNFN). It’s a piss take. You’ve got to give them credit though, it’s different. Joseph is joined in the studio by Earl Black Jr and Jack Hill.
They also have a WWE Live vibe with the tracked comments from Twitter along the bottom. Only it’s all fake.
Connor Mills vs. Spike Trivet
Trivet has a Tory gimmick and it’s getting him over with the mostly Labour voting Progress crowd. Connor Mills is a skinny kid with an unkempt barnet. If you’re going long in the hair department get some product in there, son. Make the punters jealous of your lustrous hair. Connor shows some early zest, having to utilise a high-flying arsenal due to his lack of size. Spike’s response is to work over the arm and bask in the heat. It’s a match of inexperience, with glaringly obvious flaws. This is how young wrestlers get better though; working in front of a crowd, learning the trade.
Connor getting all fired up by a slap is by far the best part of the match. His comeback slap is sensational. The match has a lot of positional issues but there is bags of potential here. Connor has raw talent, which if honed could turn him into a genuine star. Trivet has a great character and the basics of a moveset.
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us back to Glen and the boys in the ‘studio’ and the hashtag has become even more ridiculous.
During the segment it gets longer. It started as #TNFN but is now #PWTNFNLIVE2017. The whole thing is a piss take. Glen feels the need to pretend he has an ear piece. We cut away to pre-taped comments from Rob Lynch, which results in Rob taking exception to Matt Riddle being all chilled out. “Absolute scenes” says Glen. I wonder how Rob and Matt feel about this whole thing being a joke? This is followed by roving reporter Al Ronald and technical difficulties.
Progress Atlas Championship
Matt Riddle (c) vs. Rob Lynch
Rob has a size advantage but Riddle has faced bigger men before and made short work of them. Riddle outwrestles Lynch with ease so Rob breaks out the power and the striking, using his size effectively. Riddle’s ‘no selling Germans’ spot sends both men into a spate of violence and no selling that gets the crowd geared up and makes the match feel special. This is amplified by Rob hitting a ‘no fucks given’ diving senton to the floor. Riddle cracks me up by refusing to sell a Canadian Destroyer and then hitting one on Rob! Lynch’s sheer size should make that move difficult and it’s an awkward bump. Both lads are keen to leave an impact on Freedom’s Road. It feels like a trial for Rob as a singles star and based on the quality and the reactions it works. Of course having Matt Riddle as an opponent helps. Rob gets trapped in the Bromission and when he doesn’t tap Riddle adds in some slaps to the chest to ensure victory.
This was a hard-hitting clash of the big boys and no mistake. Rob Lynch killed himself taking some of those bumps. Riddle struggled to throw him around at times, due to the size difference, but mostly succeeded. Big recommendation to get on this.
Final Rating: ****
Video Control sadly doesn’t end the show on this high and instead sends us back to the studio for more comments and gags. One of which sees Earl Black Jr have “default text” under his name. They show some replays, trying to be a parody of WWE/Live sports but it could have worked. Especially when they analyse Rob Lynch taking a sickening bump on his neck from the Canadian Destroyer. But unless you’re doing a permanent format change, this can only exist as a parody.
I would have been completely fine with them aping WWE’s analysis but trying to turn it into a parody, while simultaneously being very serious about an excellent match that main evented the show didn’t work at all. Earl Black Jr tried very hard to save the link segments but it didn’t work for me. By the time the second segment rolled around it was a massive turn-off. The final segment didn’t work either with it being such a tonal mess. At least it was something different, I’ll give them credit for that, but I hated it. Go out of your way to watch Matt Riddle throw Big Rob around though.