The latest trip down Freedom’s Road brings us a glimpse into a mysterious character, and a battle of Darrell Allen’s former partners.

There’s an unorthodox open, as we’re treated to a shadow puppetry show of an ancient Chinese tale of a boy who was cut down in a battlefield, but was given a second chance… only to realise he was cursed, being placed into battles that weren’t his to fight. And now… that curse is in PROGRESS. And yes, I don’t have a clue how you spell the name of that curse!

We’re taken to ringside for our first match…

Matt Walker vs. Shen Woo
Matt Walker’s gimmick here is “Short Fuse” – and for someone from Darlington, it’s certainly believable. He also looks remarkably like a Rude Boy too. The lights go out in the venue as a gong signals the arrival of Shen Woo, who appears in the ring with a mask covering his jaw, surprising Walker with a dropkick.

Woo removes the mask and places it on the ring post in almost a subservient manner, which allows Walker to attack him from behind, then score with a legdrop for a near-fall. Shen’s got a Sin Cara-esque feel here, with single spotlights illuminating the ring, which makes this match look unique. As someone tries to sing “Shen Woo Sucks” to the John Cena theme, Woo beats down Walker, then bites into the Darlington lad’s ear.

Woo repeatedly motions and talks towards that mask inbetween strikes, and that almost cost him, but a drop toe hold takes Walker face-first into the corner as some more kicks keep the one-sided squash going. The crowd were largely hushed, save for the few who were trying to shoehorn Shen’s name into anything they good, which produced a nice analogy for “like the internet, it’s a vocal few who are going against the grain” – just in time for Shen to get caught staring at the mask again.

Walker finally makes a comeback with some chops and a spin-out suplex, but his attempt at a spinning sidewalk slam is elbowed out of as Woo lands a Sister Abigail for the win. A good way to debut a retooled act in Shen Woo, with a match that was barely more than a squash, but just like the Internet can, the eery atmosphere was somewhat scuppered by the vocal minority.

There’s no rest for the wicked, and it’s time for another match… which was a cursed watch because of Pivotshare’s website issues. Good job!

Earl Black Jr. vs. RJ Singh
I’m not quite sure how you can be called “default” when you’ve traded in your black trunks for black jeans… but RJ still managed to pull a funny about it before the match. He was out with Darrell Allen and a natty studded leather jacket too as the battle of Darrell’s tag team partners took place.

Earl targets RJ early with some suplays as he went to work on Singh’s shoulder – instantly removing his shoulder support to give him more scope. Singh responds by avoiding a back elbow and diving in with a dropkick as Earl tried for a leapfrog, coming back down to the ring with a bump, before using an arm whip to put himself right back in it.

Black mouths off to Darrell Allen on commentary as he caught RJ in an armbar – right in the middle of a series of arm-lifts that continued to target Singh’s left arm. The comeback starts when RJ counters another arm-lift into a ‘rana, before drilling Earl with a superkick as a one-armed comeback continued.

A diving dropkick into the corner gets RJ a near-fall, but he’s forced to elbow free of a German suplay… only for Earl to get it at the second attempt. RJ returns with a diving knee for a near-fall, as his Singh-ton Bomb attempt’s cut-off by Earl’s knees, who promises some Old School Violence… and delivers with a running knee.

RJ kicks out from that though, and avoids a second dose of Old School Violence, before his attempt at a Codebreaker off the middle rope is blocked and turned into a Sharpshooter. That slips into a single-leg crab as RJ finally made the ropes, but Earl switched it into a crossface after the rope break as RJ’s eventually forced to tap. This was an enjoyable outing with Earl not only getting one over on his former partner’s new/old partner… but also a measure of revenge after his tag team loss several episodes ago… and the slow build towards Darrell vs. Earl continues! I really enjoy the old-school, no-nonsense schtick of Earl Black Jr, even if it’s meant to be booed.

That’s your show for the week! Save for the show based around the Chinese proverb at the start, this was as close as you’ll get to a “straight” wrestling show that’s continuing the build of the now defacto “Mr Freedom’s Road” duo of Darrell Allen and RJ Singh.

Going from what was taped, there’s about six matches left from March’s double-header – featuring more of Spike Trivet, Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle, so there’ll be plenty of gems left to unearth before PROGRESS return to Tufnell Park on June 19 for the next round of tapings.