PROGRESS’ Freedom’s Road returned with its latest episode, focussing around the in-ring debut of Candyfloss, and a surprising opponent for Darrell Allen.

The latest episode of Freedom’s Road opens with Darrell Allen overhearing his former tag partner Earl Black Jr in talks with Timothy Thatcher. All Earl has to say is that Allen “likes to show off”… Allen and Thatcher swap knowing looks, before Darrell asks Timmy if he has a phone charger.

Thatcher is probably the last person I’d ask for anything electronic…

We’re straight in with action, and it’s the debuting (on this show) Candyfloss!

Candyfloss vs. Laura Di Matteo
It’s a babyface match here, and it’s the debut of a pair of generic themes sadly… we see the pair touch fists, but then…

EARLIER THAT DAY…

Candyfloss is reading a comic book and spots Chakara in what looks like a cafe. She’s nervous about her match and asks Chakara for advice: it’s “tap out as fast as you can” from the pessimistic Chakara.

Back to live action, Di Matteo rolls up Candyfloss for a near-fall, who then goes all Doink by mirroring Laura for a bit, including mirroring some near-falls. A dropkick takes Candyfloss into the corner, before an enziguiri sets up for a Codebreaker that gets Laura a near-fall. Candy misses a charge in the corner and eats a missile dropkick, but she makses a comeback that ends rather quickly with a missed axehandle off the top. Laura capitalises with a side Russian legsweep, then a grounded Octopus as Candy takes Chakara’s advice and quickly taps. Fun while it lasted – Candyfloss showed enough in one brief outing to make you think that she’s got potential, that’s for sure!

More action quickly follows, as Darrell Allen heads out with RJ Singh… and the “Dazzler” has a stiff test on his hands:

Darrell Allen vs. Timothy Thatcher
It’s a special night for Timmy, who’s brought his red RINGKAMPF trunks here, and several new facial expressions.

It starts just like you’d expect with a Timothy Thatcher match – plenty of grappling as he takes Allen down then rolls around a front facelock as RJ Singh on commentary deflects a question about whether the Bhangra Knights were reforming. Allen is more than matching Thatcher on the ground, forcing the former EVOLVE champ into the ropes, before he’s forced to fight out of some grounded headscissors.

Allen returns the favour, but Thatcher rolls out of them and sends the “Dazzler” into the ropes to force the break, but that riles up Darrell as they go back to the grappling. Thatcher grabs an ankle lock to try and get a submission, but Allen balls up in a bid to kick Thatcher with his free foot, but that doesn’t quite work as intended. Eventually, Darrell gets a chance to try for the Allen Key (inverted figure four), but Thatcher scurries to the ropes and we’re back to square one!

Thatcher takes over with a surfboard stretch, kneeling between Allen’s shoulder blades for extra pressure, then decides to drill Allen in the back with a knee as he set up for some effortless gutwrench suplexes. Darrell forces back into it with a couple of uppercuts as he takes Thatcher down for a figure four that Timmy tries to force his way out of, but instead he just chops his way free.

In one swift move, Thatcher switches it into a tight single leg crab, but after letting go of the hold Allen fights back once more, chopping Timmy into the corner as a set-up for a snapping Dazzler Twist suplex for a near-fall. Thatcher responds with a butterfly suplex for a near-fall as he immediately switches into an armbar from the kickout, but Allen counters into the Allen Key! Thatcher literally claws his way to the ropes, which is the first time in forever I’ve seen a wrestler actually do that… details, people!

Allen keeps on top with the Razzle Dazzle roundhouse, then an O’Connor roll, but Thatcher kicks out and immediately slaps in a rear naked choke. He holds on as Allen fought out, then throws Darrell back down as the referee’s forced to stop the match. If you’re not a Thatcher fan, this match won’t turn you, but this was a really good outing that showcases Allen in defeat.

Thatcher quickly exits the ring as Allen takes some applause-in-defeat, and we crossfade to Allen and Singh leaving the venue, only to be confronted by the ironic clapping of Darrell Allen. His metronomic beat takes us to the end of the show, and that’s all for now! Another decent episode of Freedom’s Road in terms of in-ring action, albeit one that was somewhat light on the storylines, as those were limited to fleeting segments the talent on show… but I like that they’re still ticking on the Darrell Allen/Earl Black Jr storyline well after the split. Plenty of intrigue and slow build is a major selling point for this series!