REVIEW: Free The Narrative II – The Monster in Us All

A Pay-Per-View event by ECIII via Fite.TV

As I stated in a previous review, I was late to the party with the first iteration of Free the Narrative, but absolutely loved it when I actually got the chance to see it. I can’t think of many more wrestling promotions that have truly changed what professional wrestling is. I know there will be dinosaurs out there that yell at the sky demanding the business be treated the same as it was in the 1970’s, but everything has moved on – people no longer get tricked into thinking wrestling is a real sport, people have accepted it as an art-form, an athletic stunt show of sorts, a medium to drive storytelling. As such, wrestling should be allowed to mature and escape the clutches of the gatekeepers and actually take some chances to challenge what it can be.

Lucha Underground was one such upstart that pushed the boundaries, a company that tried to meld wrestling with Hollywood films, in the end it crumbled like many others have in the past. Its legacy, however, is that it showed fans were excited to try something different. Now, I believe, the world is finally ready to see wrestling move on – and EC3 and his band of misfits may just be one of the driving forces of change.

One part documentary, one part cult recruitment video, Free the Narrative was wrestling’s version of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. According to the author Fight Club was all about destroying how men see themselves, shaking boundaries of what it means to be a man in the modern world. Without the “manly” experiences of going off to war or other perilous moments to try to survive, many became lost. Perhaps EC3 was trying to say the same about wrestling? Perhaps modern wrestlers become too infatuated with the “entertainment” aspect of the sport. For many years, corporate wrestling lost its way. No longer destination television that kept people talking, no longer the edgy thing older brothers liked – wrestling has been relegated to a family variety show – something many don’t even admit they enjoy. Not having a true wrestling “war” (although that’s changing) neutered it, made it complacent. It made one large company start consuming itself, gobbling performers up like packs of unopened Pokemon cards, trying to hoard them all and make others suffer do to it.

EC3 Promises that through his message – all will change. People will be able to become their real selves and take control of their destiny. This time a “monster among men” is taking a stab at it – as the former Braun Strowman, Adam Scherr, makes EC3 his target. No more train noises, and no more silly gimmicks – just two men trying to prove themselves.

“Are you born a monster? Or is it something you become?

After his shocking dismissal from the corporate wrestling realm, join Adam Scherr on a journey of self-discovery in his return to the ring when Scherr battles ec3 in “Free The Narrative II: The Monster In Us All.”

Is Scherr’s fight against ec3 and his #ControlYourNarrative mantra?

To take back #Control.
Fight for your #Freedom.
And find your #Purpose.

Or is Scherr’s fight against himself?”

That brings us to Free the Narrative II: The Monster in us all, the newest pay-per-view in this series which premiered in early October on FITE.TV. Going into this event, the two most noteworthy pieces of news were that WWE’s former “Monster Among Men” Adam Scherr (FMA Braun Strowman) Was going to wrestle his first post-release match against EC3 at this very event. Also, another wrestler recently departing corporate wrestling Hell, Westin Blake, would be making his first appearance outside of the house that Vince built as well. We actually saw a brief teaser of the former Braun Strowman knocking on EC3’s storage container door at the end of the last film, which immediately put some buzz in the air for this show. The question is: would they be able to capitalize? Would the second show be as electrifying and imaginative as the first?

For anyone wanting to watch this, you can get some FITE credits with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far, the first FTN is also included with a monthly membership.

The Card:

  • Fodder defeated Jake Logan
  • John Skyler defeated Westin Blake
  • Parrow defeated Gentleman Jervis
  • William defeated Stanley
  • Matt Taven defeated William
  • “The Titan” Adam Scherr defeated EC3

There are a couple of noteworthy differences in Free the Narrative II when compared to the first film. First and foremost, there is a tad bit more levity in this compared to the first one, most notably the inclusion of Scott Parker and Shane Matthews a.k.a 3.0, 2.0, or Ever-Rise depending on where you’ve seen them. The act is an homage of Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show, cracking jokes on everyone’s misfortunes after the matches end. We also see the inclusion of the masked Gentleman Jervis, known as a comedy gimmick wrestler coming face-to-face with Parrow. Once again Parrow’s brutal fighting style completely destroys a person known as the “World’s Sweetest Man.” They discuss what it means to be under a mask, and how the Jervis persona has gotten in the way of the man himself. This section was very intriguing assuming this goes on past comedic relief. I was worried at first that the humor was going to throw this off, but thankfully it’s not over the top and doesn’t distract from the rest of the show.

One of the things that I wanted to see in the second volume was more of an emphasis on the matches themselves. In the original Free the Narrative matches were pretty short and sometimes came across more like small music videos more so than wrestling matches. Due to not having to take up as much real estate establishing the characters and motivations for why they’re doing what they’re doing, the film was given more breathing room to expand match lengths. On one hand it makes it come across more like just a wrestling show versus a film, whereas on the other hand the match quality goes up substantially. It’s a fine balancing act that everyone involved seems to have pulled off. Tonally, nothing has shifted to such a degree that it seems like two completely disparate pieces of media. Standout matches for me are definitely the main event and Jervis vs Parrow, simply because I love the Parrow gimmick in presentation so far, and I always love seeing Gentlemen Jervis. As for the main event, I loved it for a multitude of reasons.

When we first see Adam Scherr, he is sitting alone at the bar drinking away his sorrows. It seems that he is still recovering from his abrupt departure from WWE not that long ago, and does not have control over his emotions. Openly weeping into his booze, you can tell he’s definitely at rock bottom. By having him take part in this project, he is allowed a moment to come to terms with what happened-perhaps using the experience as therapy for himself. In a very passionate promo, Scherr talks about how he was molded into what his bosses wanted him to be, did everything for them, sacrificed his own livelihood for them, and all that got him was an abrupt dismissal like some sort of garbage. EC3 Tells him that in order to fully get over his past he needs to kill “The Monster Among us” and become something better. In the end, we see Adam for what he really is – a Titan, a being capable of fighting gods.  

I felt like this main event match was a far more powerful main event than the previous one between EC3 and Matt Cardona. The stakes appeared to be higher, and Scherr put on an A+ performance Making himself into some kind of monster babyface that most wrestling companies wish they could pull off. While Cardona’s main struggle was that he was using material objects to fill the void in his soul – Scherr was literally about to drink himself to death to avoid dealing with his pain. Finally pulling himself out of the gutter, The Titan appears to be poised to dominate future editions of this series.

Speaking of future editions, there are a multitude of stories that have started to spring up that should be very interesting in Part 3. You have something going on with Jervis vs his mask, “The  Unknown Hand” appears to be creating his own group of misfits potentially to attack EC3, the fact that club members appear to think EC3 was going too far in his match against The Titan, and a new addition is teased at the end of the film – somebody else never really allowed to be themselves or do their own thing and another corporate wrestling setting. At this point it is shaping up to be quite the show.

Conclusion:

Here’s hoping Free the Narrative II: The Monster in us all is successful because I would like to see this keep going. If I were to rate this against the first film, I would say that there are pros and cons to both. As I stated before, the film side of the first film is probably better established and produced, whereas I felt the wrestling in the second one was much better. Due to that I would say that they are at least on par with each other. If the production staff can find the golden ratio between the two halves, they could easily be sitting on the building blocks for one of the best wrestling films ever made. Fingers crossed we get another one of these here in another few months and it lives up to my increasingly lofty expectations. For me, this was another Grand Slam and truly goes to show that EC3 was completely wasted in WWE the entire time he was there. I absolutely love how all these different types of wrestling shows and productions are getting made right now – this is truly the sort of time that I dreamed of as a teenager. When some companies churn out the same product year after year for decades, it’s refreshing to see an underground attempt to completely change the game be so good.


One last thing, the music by Tommy Tankx (who is great in Mushroomhead) is great in this, especially this theme song – if you are a fan of bands like Nine Inch Nails, Skold or Not My God, check this out:

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