Friday, 9 February 2018

5 Star Wrestling Review // 8th February 2018

5 Star Wrestling's show on FreeSports was back for a second week, this time seeing the promotion return to Newcastle at the Metro Radio Arena. This week's episode featured Jake Hager receiving a shot at John Morrison's 5 Star Wrestling Championship, Rey Mysterio facing 5 Star Tap or Snap Champion Mark Haskins in a non-title match and Rob Van Dam seeking to gain some revenge on Zack Gibson as the two faced off one-on-one. Last week's show had been poorly received by most, surely this week couldn't be worse? Lets take a look. 

*No pics yet unfortunately because 5 Star hasn't published any at time of posting.

Jake Hager interrupted Zack Gibson


Rob Van Dam def. Zack Gibson // Disqualification 


5 Star Wrestling Championship // Jake Hager def. John Morrison (C) // Submission 

This week's main story continued to push RevPro's Zack Gibson as the promotions top Brit, as he was all over the show. First, he had a verbal confrontation with Jake Hager [Jack Swagger] about Americans and what have you, before losing to Rob Van Dam via disqualification after pushing the referee and refusing to let go of the Shankly Gates whilst in the ropes and then inserting himself into the main event and inadvertently causing Hager to win the 5 Star title from John Morrison with the Patriot Lock. Gibson's promo was along similar lines as last week, a worked shoot type deal ripping into the company for giving American's preferential treatment. Calling potential opponents "washed-up" is questionable, but it's difficult to question the energy that Gibson brings to the show which is often lacking in other areas. Some of the content about promoter Daniel Hinkels having a weird obsession with Hager, brought out the former WWE star, who said some things about some thing, mostly ripping on Britain for being a shithole. Not quite sure what the aim of this thing was and the lack of back and forth hurt the segment on the whole. 

Gibson's match with Rob Van Dam was not good and it appeared like that had absolutely nothing to do with the efforts of Gibson. I'm not sure it even had anything to do with the efforts of RVD because he seemed willing, but seemingly not able to perform. Almost every move in the match looked awkward at best and laughably bad at worst, with Gibson having to work extra hard to get the former WWE Champion up for moves. There was the overhead arm drag/suplex situation that ended with both men sort of falling over leaving no real idea over who had actually hit the move and a monkey flip on the outside that lacked any power behind it whatsoever. A DQ finish is usually deflating, but here it felt like the match was being put out of its misery. It's sad to see RVD in this way at the moment and the fact that he's booked for future matches for 5 Star does not fill me with hope, especially when you can't even justify that he's a draw, because of the sheer amount of empty seats in the arena, including some front row on camera side. 

Continuing the trend of shitty finishes in top matches, the main event saw Jake Hager win the 5 Star Championship from John Morrison, after Zack Gibson interfered once the referee had been knocked down. Gibson introduced the 5 Star title belt into the fray and after Morrison had sent Gibson to the outside, Hager took advantage, clanging the belt off Morrison's knee, before locking in the Patriot Lock to become the second 5 Star Champion via submission. The finish was moderately exciting in a hot mess, car crash kind of way, but after a handful of screwy finishes on the show having another in the main event was major overkill. The rest of the match was solid, but dull, with a crowd seemingly uninterested by either guy and seemingly a number of extra empty seats where people had decided to go home. The overall story of Swagger having counters for a number of Morrison's signature moves was nice and there was a good sequence into the Hager Bomb (please Greg Lambert or Joe Hendry start calling it this). Hager is a decent technician, but for me lacks that special something that makes him capable of being the figure head of a company. 

Rey Mysterio def. Mark Haskins // Disqualification

For the second week in a row, Rey Mysterio won his match by disqualification. This week's match with PROGESS' Mark Haskins was heating up nicely before Rampage Brown appeared, attacking Mysterio for the DQ and nailing a piledriver in the ring. That's three matches discussed so far and the third screwy finish. I understand the need to build storylines with weekly shows, but if all the matches end in interference or DQ to make another match for the next week, that then has a similar finish, then why is anyone supposed to be expected to invest in this product? That wasn't the only issue as the match had been pushed throughout the show as for Haskins' Tap or Snap Championship, a submission only strap, with Lambert and Hendry pushing the idea that Mysterio wasn't known for his submission prowess. This was switched just as the competitors made their entrances, with no explanation and the commentary team forced to flounder to come up with any reason whatsoever for this happening. Considering the finish, I'm not quite sure why the match couldn't have been for the belt, with only a few changes needed. The action was actually pretty good, apart from a sloppy rana on the floor, with the two connected nicely for a number of Haskins' signature sequences, whilst lifting the pace nicely. Free of the oppressive booking, Haskins and Mysterio could have a memorable match. 

5 Star Tag Team Championship // Charlie Sterling & Adam Maxted def. El Ligero & Jody Fleisch // Pinfall

After two semi-finals last week, 5 Star crowned their first Tag Team Champions this week as OTT's Charlie Sterling & IPW:UK's Adam Maxted, teaming as Max Money, got a victory over Defiant's El Ligero & ICW's Jody Fleisch with their tag finish, the Flex Account (Mid-rope dropkick into a spinebuster). This opened the show and was a sound way to bring the audience in, with lots of action as Ligero & Fleisch stayed on top for almost the whole match. The opening sequence with Fleisch out-manoeuvring Sterling was super slick and there was also a number of sweet double team moves thrown out there, especially in the closing stages. The story that Sterling & Maxted's power wasn't enough to match Ligero & Fleisch's pace was well defined with Max Money eventually resorting to underhanded tactics to gain any form of control. At points it was a little rough around the edges and there's some polishing that needs to be done by both teams, but at least all four guys was trying to entertain the audience and worked hard throughout the contest. We later found out in an interview with So Cal Val, that Max Money with defend the belts against the debuting UK Hooligans, Roy Knight & Zak Knight, next week. There was no reason given to why Knight & Knight were receiving a shot at the titles. 

Primate on the Modcast


Joey Axl def. Morgan Webster // Submission 

This week saw the debut of chat show segment "The Modcast", based around the fact that ATTACK!'s Morgan Webster has his own podcast, with Defiant's Primate making his debut as the guest, before Joey Axl interrupted. Axl brawled with both men, before being challenged to a match by Webster, that concluded with Axl picking up the submission win with the Ayers Rock Lock. The chat show did not go particularly well, especially watching at home, as the set was embarrassing and I learnt nothing about Primate except that he is from Newcastle and happy to be there. The angle where Axl brawled with both was fine, even if these use of the set (which include a rack of clothes and chairs supposedly from someone's breakfast bar) ended up looking a bit shit. Having Webster challenge Axl to a match gave the audience a reason to come back after the break and the match itself was alright. Webster looked good on offence and sells well, but Axl appeared a step or two off pace at times. If we're to see another Modcast on the show hopefully it's got a bit more structure to it and allows the subject more time to get over an actual character or sell an ongoing feud.

Carlito & Chris Masters def. Dave Mastiff & Big Grizzly // Pinfall 

The teams that lost their semi-finals on the Liverpool show went head to head in Newcastle, with The Masters of Cool, Carlito & Chris Masters, going over RevPro's Dave Mastiff & Southside's Big Grizzly after Carlito pinned Grizzly with the Backstabber. The highlights of this came with Mastiff & Grizzly in control of Masters, mostly a sequence of moves in the corner that concluded with a cannonball from Mastiff, with big lads bringing some chaotic energy to their offence. Carlito's hot tag was flat for me and most of the audience it seems with both Masters of Cool being poorly cast in the babyface role, whilst Grizzly appeared to actually murder 17 time WWC Universal Champion when hitting a rolling fireman's carry slam. Seriously, that move looked horrible here. Making the babyface casting even more baffling, the Masters of Cool got the win when Master spat apple in Grizzly's face, leading into the Backstabber. Neither of the ex-WWE lads did all that much for me when they were with the fed and they do even less for me in this role.

Eddie Ryan def. PJ Black // Pinfall

Another impressive performance from PWC's Eddie Ryan this week as he picked up the victory over PJ Black with in one of the stronger matches on the show, with a variation of the Air Raid Crash. The crowd was quiet for most of it, but Black worked well in the heel role and managed to start getting some reaction in the second half of the contest, even if babyface commentator Greg Lambert no sold the underhanded tactics and kept saying both men were playing fairly. The story of Black's experience giving him the upperhand over a naive opponent was simple but worked for getting Ryan over as he managed to over power Black with a series of lovely suplexes. Black also pulled out a cute springboard moonsault, recovering well from the loose ropes to nail a good looking version of the move. This was a big victory, who mostly works in the Southwest and he's beginning to show why he's earned his spot on the show. He's certainly someone I'd like to see more of on the strength and potential of his matches with Black and Hager over the last two weeks. Later in the show, Hager interrupted Ryan as he was being interviewed by So Cal Val and whilst Hager's words had no correlation to what Ryan had actually being saying and the segment itself was trash, it will be interesting to see if Ryan gets a shot at the belt and I'd say that match is pretty much a lock for when the show rolls into Plymouth in two weeks time. Towards the end of the match, Bram was seen clearly front row, but this wasn't mentioned by the comms team and nothing actually happened.

BT Gunn def. Nathan Cruz // Pinfall

BT Gunn picked up his first victory in 5 Star, with a small package win over Nathan Cruz in a solid contest, with a weak finish. Cruz had cut a rambling promo about professionalism before the match, calling out Joe Hendry and talking a lot about his arse being exposed last week. Cruz attacking Gunn before the bell made sense as he sought revenge for Gunn bearing his arse last week. Even if the storyline was pretty lame, at least there was a storyline. The wrestling was all satisfactory, with both getting a stellar near fall as the pair wrestling a couple of nice sequences that saw Gunn come close with a rolling flatliner, before Cruz almost picked up the win with a double knee facebreaker. It was a shame that the small package that got the win looked awful, with it being unclear who's shoulders were supposed to be on the mat, because the call-back with Gunn pulling Cruz' tights down only to reveal Cruz had remembered to wear underwear this week actually made me chuckle and a good finishes would've pushed the match towards the match of the night spot. Still, it was one of the better matches on the show.

Rampage Brown def. Moose // Referee Stoppage

The referee of Rampage Brown vs. Moose had an absolute nightmare at the finish and pretty much ruined what could've been an impactful angle as Lambert and Hendry scrambled to explain what was going on. Basically, Brown attacked Moose before the match and then continued the assault in the ring, the bell rang, Brown hit a piledriver and the match seemed to be done, until the referee wouldn't let Brown cover him. Brown hit another piledriver, the ref refusing to count the pin and then called for a no contest. It was an utter fucking mess. The explanation from commentary made things worse after the break, explaining that the referee didn't award the match to Brown because "he didn't feel like he deserved to win". Just no, stop it. Surely, what happens is that the referee stops the match before the first piledriver, when it was clear Moose was out on his feet and the commentary team were discussing concussions, which is then followed up by Brown hitting a piledriver, to make him look like a real bastard and even more of a bastard when he comes back to hit another one moments later. A few tweaks and there was a really good angle in this, but the attention was on the wrong details and the referee seeming to botch his moment killed it. 

Also This Week

- ICW's Kid Fite and PBW's Lou King Sharp and Krieger kicked off when they found out they weren't booked again from So Cal Val, before heading out to the arena only to be removed by security wearing lime green.

- For the second week running a bloke holding a gas mask was shown standing outside the arena menacingly.

ATPW Scale Rating // 3.3/10

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