One of the good things about the HighSpots streaming network is the sheer spread of content that you get on there. Apart from the bigger-name promotions – your PWGs, wXws, Glory Pro and the like – there’s some utterly random stuff too. Such as some television shows from US indys.
Freedom Pro is one of them. At time of writing, the Tennessee-based promotion has a weekly TV show on the HighSpots Network – basically 30-minute long edited version of matches. This particular one’s part of a show held in July at the Tennessee State Fair, and it’s there where we start, with an outside shot of the fair’s office…
There’s a masked guy called La Marka greeting us. He’s in a CM Punk t-shirt and a La Parka mask. Ohhh. Apparently he’s the “internet warrior”… he’s heard a rumour that Vince Russo is at the venue. OH GOD. Marka goes into the office, but there’s nobody there. No, Vince Russo isn’t in the fridge… and all of a sudden Marka’s looking for a list of his horrible ideas.
That might be viewable from space!
This skit goes on for way-y-y-y too long, as our masked man thinks a desk smells like New York, so it must be Russo’s. Some fake typing later, we’re still no nearer, and our intrepid searcher finally decides to go to the arena. This only went for four minutes, but it felt like forever.
We’ve two matches today, featuring MVP and Rebel, and we have what I guess is our opening credits, featuring quite a few of the famous faces Freedom Pro’s had before. Too many quick cuts to note, but I could pick out James Storm, EC3, Tatanka, Stevie Richards and then we’re straight into action…
We’ve got a fairly well lit venue, albeit one that shows empty seats in the upper deck… but by indy wrestling standards, this is fair. As long as you can forgive the drag and drop watermark in the bottom corner!
Rebel vs. Nicole Pain
Rebel’s probably best known for her run in TNA, highlighted (lowlighted?) by that match against Shelley Martinez last year. Nicole Pain’s rather more local, and apparently this is her debut here. Heck, if Cagematch is right, this is the promotion’s first ever women’s match.
Commentary paints Pain as someone who got into the company by cold calling, and she starts by swapping wristlocks with Rebel, who then takes her down with a shoulder tackle. A handspring crossbody into the corner follows, before Pain catches her in the corner and brings her down with a backcracker for a two-count.
“Whomever wins this match will be in the conversation to win (the Freedom Pro women’s title)” – a title that probably hasn’t progressed much, since the show they’ve held since this taping’s had no women’s matches on either! Rebel does the splits on the ropes as she chokes away on Pain.
Pain comes back with some rolling Fisherman suplexes for a near-fall, before trying a ‘rana… that Rebel handstands out of before hitting a diving knee to the local lass. An STO from Pain’s good for a two-count, before Rebel slips out of the corner… then goes back up as she’s got to fight out of a superplex… but Pain gets a top rope ‘rana off to almost get the win. The set-up may have been clunky, but the result looked good.
Kicks from Pain weren’t exactly convincing, but she locks on a mounted sleeperhold to try and drag Rebel to the mat… but Rebel just breaks free by backing into the corner. The comeback comes next with a torture rack from Rebel, before she drops Pain to the mat ahead of a moonsault… which she lands on her feet from. Pain rolled away, but gets taken up into a stalling front suplex, and that’s enough for the win! This wasn’t too bad, and a million times better than that match… **¼
Instantly we cut to a recap of the Summer Sizzler, which happened after this was taped. Hmm, that logo looks very old school… we’ve a slideshow of photos in varying aspect ratios as they talk about how CJ O’Doyle retained his Freedom Pro title, with help from a masked Vince Russo, who’s apparently the leader of a group called Northern Aggression. Crimson apparently returned on the show, teaming with Rebel against Northern Aggression’s Aramis and Lea Nox, before we get some horribly-pixelated footage of the finish of their tag title match.
Jeremiah Plunkett vs. MVP
Plunkett’s been wrestling for over 12 years, but aside from a bunch of dark matches for OVW, he’s rarely left the Tennessee area. He’s rather heavy-set, shall we say, but MVP has no issue working over him early, taking him to the mat with a test of strength.
MVP manages to get Plunkett up for a slam, but the big(ger) guy heads out as MVP went for the Ballin’ elbow… only for MVP to fly out with him with a plancha instead! We get a tour of the ringside area, as Plunkett’s head gets ground into those guard rails, before he finally got some offence in, clotheslining MVP off the apron as he tried to get back in the ring.
I don’t watch a lot of the US indy scene, but I’d imagine this is typical stuff: local star against the ex-WWE name… and in the South, a smattering of Confederate flags on people’s shirts. Plunkett, who commentary describes as a throwback, grounds MVP with… a thumb into the shoulder. MVP fights back from the ground, and takes Plunkett into the corner, before missing with the Drive By boot.
Plunkett tries to take advantage, but it’s plodding stuff as Jeremiah got heat by ripping off MVP’s nose strip and putting it on himself. Badly. MVP slaps it off with force and punches his way back, only for Plunkett to hit an avalanche in the corner. A second splash misses as MVP tries another fight back, getting the boots up before teeing off with some jabs that knock Plunkett down.
MVP gets off a Triple H-esque knee smash, then finally gets off the Ballin’ elbow, before getting off a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. Plunkett escapes the Playmaker and hits a spinebuster instead for a series of two-counts, before mocking MVP with a Ballin’ back senton that misses. We’re straight to the finish next with a Playmaker, and that’s the win for MVP. This was alright, considering what MVP had to work with… **½
We barely get to MVP climbing the turnbuckles and already we’re met with a “next week!” tease – Crazzy Steve returns against D3, before “Grandmaster Sexay” Brian Christopher Lawler faces Eric C Jones. Hey, it’s local lads against stars… and that’s all we’ve got time for. Except there’s four minutes left.
Oh no. La Marka. He’s in the Nashville Fairgrounds Sports Arena at Summer Sizzler… he’s looking to find Vince Russo. Instead, he spots Stevie Richards taking photos, so he decides to get in line. Stevie cuts off from the fans to do the spot, where he asks if Marka’s looking for Russo to do some badly written TV. ZING.
Apparently Marka’s so fed up of Russo he doesn’t want him to do another podcast… Marka walks off through the arena as the search painfully continues. We see Robbie E, and Rockstar Spud’s here doing the 2002 gimmick! I take everything back, this is worth it now! Spud lights up at talk of Vince Russo, but he’s not seen him either.
At the end, Marka can’t find him now… but he swears he’ll get hold of Russo before the night ends. Except we have our credit, and we’re done!
So, for a 30 minute indy TV show, this wasn’t too bad. Like most shows that split up an event into bitesize chunks, it’s wholly dependent on the matches they have in the can… but this gave me no flavour of what Freedom Pro was about. Aside from them having a fixation with former WWE/TNA guys, these 30 minutes told you nothing about anyone else but La Marka… a name that will probably put off anyone just browsing. Perhaps this group’ll be worth another try once they get their Vince Russo story in gear?