Alright, a bit of a different assignment from this week’s At Odds with Wrestling homework assignment. We’re all going to watch EC3’s movie/wrestling hybrid – Free the Narrative. Yes, yes this is an Adam chosen assignment.
It’s…. interesting. Your opinion is going to depend on what preconceptions are brought in. Whether a viewer is expecting a wrestling show or an epic promo, it’s both and neither. I didn’t like watching it at first based off of what I thought this was going to be, but I upon reflection I think there’s potential for something here.
The concept is that EC3 has freed himself from corporate wrestling and created his three pillars: control, freedom, purpose. He’s going to take these pillars and use them to improve other wrestlers who have been lost or beaten down. Injuries, size, sexuality, whatever it might be. These are all talented men that for some reason have been cast aside by professional wrestling. EC3 is offering them a path to elevation. It won’t be an easy one, but it is better than where they currently sit in their careers.
All of that sounds fascinating. I’ve always loved cerebral characters. Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Raven is amazing. There was potential for the Waylon Mercy and Sean O’Haire characters, which is why they’re still remembered despite short shelf lives. Inspirational guru, or cult leader. Let the fans decide. And therein may lay the problem.
This is a bit too underground to have the most impact. I would like to see more of these wrestlers’ stories. Make me care more so when they rise up it matters. Things that take more than an hour and a half movie which focuses on multiple people. In order to get the redemption across the matches are chopped up and exist as highlights. Now this movie has reduced character development to a few minutes and match psychology is non existant. For a show taking place in front of friends and not fans. Thus this self help program to control the narrative and become a more successful professional wrestler has taken three pillars of what makes wrestling and removed them.
Now, take this concept and use it over weeks if not months in a major promotion and you have something. Build up every one of these guys. Take them from dark match to title pictures. Embrace their flaws and give the fans reason to believe in them. Instead it felt rushed.
Even the Matt Cardona/EC3 diner encounter was clipped. I watched this whole thing a while ago and it was interesting as a different way to further a pro wrestling feud. It built up and had tons of heat without going in the usual directions. But all of that story is gone here and trimmed down to maybe 5 minutes.
I love Cardona taking the absolute piss out of the seriousness with just every bit of him travelling to the Wrestling Society X/Lucha Underground arena that EC3 puts the ring inside. But there was something thought provoking said about the Death Match King. To paraphrase: Matt’s dream was to live among the heroes of his imagination. You know, say what you will about him, but check off that box. Dream achieved. A lot of it on his own, without corporate support.
I must be in a good mood today, becasue there’s a ton to be negative about. But the whole point is to take these wrestlers and build them back up. By mocking the sawdust, or blue lights, or more endings than Lord of the Rings, I’m only another thumb pushing them down. However, about the only guy I would pay to see after watching this is Parrow. Parrow is Death is a hell of a gimmick. His story was interesting, and I would like to hear more. So at least a partially successful student of the Free the Narrative class. And if everyone who watches this picks a favorite, maybe despite an over use of blue filter lighting, this is all worth it.