The Road Back to Malice (Documentary Review)

After badly injuring himself in the biggest match of his career, Flash Morgan Webster spent almost a year out of action. In ‘The Road Back To Malice,’ he reflects on his beginnings in wrestling, how he perfected his persona, and how he overcame his injury to return to the ring…


Review

I first came across this half-hour documentary a number of months ago, and spent one late evening viewing it before bed. At this point, I was familiar with Flash Morgan Webster, but only after his return to wrestling, not the time before his injury around which this documentary is focused. So his story was one that interested me, if only because it was one I was entirely unfamiliar with. Upon a second viewing for the sake of this review, I found it just as compelling.

Morgan Webster’s injuries were bad, and as he talks in detail about the match in which he received them, you find yourself almost grimacing at the television screen. In one match, he received three separate injuries that each would put any wrestler on the shelf, and yet despite that, he still completed his match. That it was for a spot in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament of 2016 added to the pain for Morgan Webster, and as a viewer, you feel his hurt too. Of course, his opponent (Zack Sabre Jr.) was always scheduled to win that contest, but the match would receive WWE coverage that would have brought countless thousands/millions more eyes onto Morgan Webster, and he simply wasn’t in a position to capitalise on it.

That the cameras were able to get such good footage of his rehabilitation process added to the proceedings, particularly the moments when he is receiving scans at a hospital, and when he is working with his physiotherapist. The talking head interview with Morgan Webster is wonderfully shot, and his words playing over the images have quite a powerful punch. The welshman in me felt like I was sitting with a mate in a quiet room, hearing him talk openly and honestly about what he had been going through. It’s emotional stuff!

We often see wrestlers go down injured. When it’s someone who works for a large company like WWE, we mostly just feel the disappointment of not being able to see them again for a while, and worrying over whether or not they’ll be able to keep their spot when they return. But with an independent wrestler, you genuinely do find yourself worrying about how that person is going to be able to replace the lost income from not being able to perform. The star of this documentary admits that he had those same fears for himself, before deciding to capitalise on his time off by focusing his efforts on selling merchandise, and so on.

If The Road Back to Malice only covered Flash Morgan Webster’s low income upbringing in a Welsh village, and the worst injuries of his career, then it would make for one thoroughly depressing piece of viewing. Fortunately, there is a happy ending, as we see him make his return to PROGRESS Wrestling, with backstage footage used to bookend official footage of his return from the PROGRESS library. His nervousness prior to walking through the curtain, to his celebrations afterwards; it’s all covered.

In the time since his return from injury, Flash Morgan Webster has found himself winning gold, and performing on the international stage (he recently competed in the 2017 Battle of Los Angeles), so it’s safe to say that his injury has not hurt his career. He probably has more fans now than he did prior to his time off, and the existence of documentaries like The Road Back to Malice will only serve to not only draw more eyes onto the welshman, but to draw attention to the independent wrestling scene as a whole.

Great production values, a wonderful interview, and an engrossing story. There’s nothing here to dislike, and Flash Morgan Webster and the production team should be commended for putting out a short documentary that is as good in quality as anything I’ve seen produced about other bigger household names in, say, the United State of America. Let’s hope this isn’t the only time we get to see an independent wrestlers return from injury told in such a well produced way.

5star

The Road Back to Malice is available to watch at Demand-Progress.com
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