Saturday, 3 March 2018

5 Star Wrestling Review // 1st March 2018

The heavy weather caused major problems for 5 Star Wrestling this week, as they ventured to Northern Ireland for the first time in their history. The snow resulted in a reduced two hour show on Freesports, with 45 minutes worth of matches aired on various streaming services beforehand. This week's show saw Zack Gibson introduced the Real Wrestling Championship to the promotion on an edition of "Flash" Morgan Webster's The Modcast, before having to immediately defend the title against "The English Lion" Eddie Ryan, whilst Alberto El Patron made his debut in the promotion with a match against Jody Fleisch. But how did it all go down in Belfast? Lets take a look! 

Commentary - Greg Lambert & Joe Hendry 
Ring Announcer - Steve Lynskey 

Zack Gibson introduced the Real Wrestling Championship on The Modcast

The Modcast saw itself thrust into a main storyline this week, as Zack Gibson appeared and unveiled the Real Wrestling Championship. This segment went over similar ground as previous week's with Gibson going over his anti-American import stance. Honestly, I think Gibson is one of, if not the best, promo guys in the UK, but his story needs to evolve past the now pretty generic import disliker and onto something more specific, as I found myself tuning out a few times during this because it was very similar to what we've heard on the last four episodes. The same passion and delivery was there, but the content hasn't developed enough to hold my attention. Two highlights of Gibson's and Webster's interactions for me was Gibson referencing that Webster had had all of his set dropped and Flash's questioning about whether Gibson wanting British wrestling or himself on top, something which 5 Star should have been emphasising from the very beginning if they wanted him to remain a villain. The reveal of the title belt was underwhelming, with the belt being an exact copy of the one Jake Hager currently holds and I find the concept itself pretty cringey, with the idea being that only British wrestlers can compete for it, creating a weird underclass within the promotion. Eddie Ryan's interruption left the Janner way too exposed on the microphone as he has perhaps the least threatening voice in human history. Not exactly his fault, but it would perhaps be wise to find some to talk for him, if 5 Star plan on having Ryan involved in more promo segments. This all lead to a match between the pair being booked for the title, leaving the commentary team extremely confused about whether the Real Wrestling title was an officially sancionted belt and seemingly both taking on-air jabs at the ridiculousness of the situation. 


5 Star Real Wrestling Championship // Eddie Ryan def. Zack Gibson (C) // Pinfall

Eddie Ryan became the second 5 Star Real Wrestling Champion in the titles first ever defence as he went over Zack Gibson with the George Cross. Looking past the numerous dumb booking decisions, Ryan vs. Gibson came out as a good match with the two most-pushed Brits in the promotion working together nicely throughout, putting on a well-paced match that built well to its conclusion. The base was some solid technical wrestling, with a good power vs. skill dynamic, as Gibson focused on Ryan's arm to set up for the Shankly Gates. Liverpool's Number 1 is one of the best at keep working a body part interesting, whilst Ryan has solid big man babyface selling, so this simplistic open worked rather well for the two. The pairs finishers were introduced with the best sequence of the match as they both escaped their opponent best move and then went back and forth with well-hit strikes into a superkick from Ryan. Past that moment I think the match lagged a little, although some nasty head kicks with wrist-control from Gibson looked tasty. All round a completely solid and enjoyable main event, that showed the Brits are more than capable of headlining an event when called upon. Despite all the time being put into Gibson, he's still to win a match in 5 Star and that's one of the major problems with the story, because if we don't see him win at all, not even cheap wins, then why are we supposed to stick around to watch him cut promos or buy into him as threat when put in the ring with top talent? 

After the match - Charlie Sterling and Adam Maxted hit the ring, putting boots to Eddie Ryan, before Bram was seen in the audience and Sterling & Maxted turned on Zack Gibson, with Bram getting in the ring and flipping off the children in the audience to close the show. More baffling booking from 5 Star, who are seemingly unable to learn from their mistakes. Why should I give a fuck about Sterling & Maxted turning on Gibson when they've only been affiliated for two weeks?

Alberto El Patron called out Jody Fleisch

Oh fuck, this segment was bad. I feel like that should be the start of a review of any 5 Star talking segment, because 9/10 out of ten (if they don't involve Zack Gibson) they've been poor to piss-poor. This was piss-poor. Alberto El Patron (who was subbing for Rey Mysterio and seemingly every other import as well) comes across as extremely passive aggressive on the microphone, takes unnecessary shots at WWE, which make no sense in front of family audience, most of which wouldn't have been there had former WWE guys been on the card. Surprisingly, that wasn't the main problem. The main problem was that there was so much time-filling and repetition that it got silly by the end. Alberto's rambling promo about Belfast kicked the ball rolling, but when he called out Jody Fleisch it somehow got worse. I don't think this was Fleisch's issue as he seemed mostly to following El Patron's lead. Bertie said the same thing about the crowd and asked if they wanted to see him vs. Fleisch about fifteen times, whilst also saying Belfast more times than anyone in history has said Belfast. It might not have been awful in the arena, but as a viewer at home this was excruciating. 

Alberto El Patron def. Jody Fleisch // Pinfall 

A diving double foot stomp with Jody Fleisch in the tree of woe position was enough to give Alberto El Patron a debut victory, at the end of a match that surpassed my expectations. Whilst like things like Fleisch getting booed by the Belfast crowd and El Patron doing the "Si Si" stuff despite working as the villain were minor annoyances, everything in this bout past El Patron throwing a tiny bit of beer over Fleisch was really rather good. The crowd brawling gave the bout some real energy as the action spilled out over the barricade, highlighted by Fleisch hitting a gorgeous moonsault off a separating wall. Two big spots on the floor, as Alberto hit a DDT on the ramp and a snap suplex on the floor, lifted the match from what could have felt quite throwaway into a genuinely interesting scrap, that held the audience's attention well. The best wrestling action came from a high intensity comeback sequence from the Phoenix, including a lovely jumping frankensteiner and a series of kicks and flips, whilst Fleisch also managed to evade the crossarmbreaker on a number of opportunities. Fleisch has been low-key one of the best things about 5 Star since it began on Freesports, so it was great to see him make the most of the opportunity that the weather and no-shows provided, hopefully he'll be rewards in the coming week's with more matches like this, whether in singles or with regular tag partner, El Ligero. 

After the match - Alberto El Patron got on the mic and showed respect to Jody Fleisch, whilst also taking a weird dig at WWE, by calling 5 Star a "real" wrestling company. Cringe. 

5 Star Tag Team Championship // Adam "Flex" Maxted & Charlie Sterling (C) def. Bonesaw & Damien Corvin // Pinfall 

I had high hopes for this one, as I'd enjoyed my limited exposure to Kings of the North and have heard rave reviews of their work in OTT in Ireland, whilst Max Money have proved to be one of the highlights for the promotion over the last few weeks. Therefore, I came out extremely disappointed with what was a rather dull and uninspired contest. A lot of this match felt like it was playing for time, which was the major theme of the show, as we saw very little of note across around 15 minutes. Sterling & Maxted controlled Bonesaw for a bit, then tried to leave, then continued to control, then there was a hot tag to Damien Corvin, which was cut off almost immediately, then Max Money controlled some more, then something happened and then the match was over with the referee seeming to count the pinfall for what looked like a false finish. That was basically it. Sterling & Maxted's heely cheating and distraction antics are all well and good, but I wasn't given nearly enough of the Kings of the North early on to help me stay interested through the rest of the bout, whilst there was also a weird lack of hope spots or fightback from either Bonesaw or Corvin. I'm not sure what happened here, especially when it came to the botched finish (which already looked awkward as fuck anyway) but it resulted in one of the dullest matches in recent memory. I hope both teams aren't judged by anyone on this effort, because all four are better than what they showed here. 

"Flash" Morgan Webster issued an open challenge, Big Grizzly answered 

The most high-profile match from the pre-show was presented as an open challenge from "Flash" Morgan Webster as he looked to get his first win in 5 Star. The segment, like most 5 Star segments, went on for much longer than was necessary (seriously, issue the challenge, someone comes out and then the match happens, everything else here wasn't needed), but both Webster and Grizzly looked comfortable and performed well in front of the audience. Grizzly, in particular, is a fun watch, for the simple fact that he has a thick Welsh accent and whilst the two arguing over who was more of a loser was a little lame, as the set-up for a match, two men who have yet to register a win facing off is not half bad.  

Big Grizzly def. "Flash" Morgan Webster // Pinfall

The match that followed as okay, but had a few moments that if they had paid off would have elevated the match to the next level. Stuff like Webster using the ringpost to fly into a rana that sent Grizzly into the barricade, which was a good idea on paper, but in practice ended up looking a bit scrappy and took me out of the match a bit. The story was sound stuff, using the power vs. speed dynamic, with Webster dodging and using Grizzly's momentum, with Flash getting the majority of the offence in, including a diving crossbody, front flip senton, tope conhilo and diving senton, all lovely. Grizzly got his first win in 5 Star with a Uranage slam to bring a solid match, that could've been tighter in places, to a close. Webster's winless run has been done before in PROGRESS to good effect and it seems that 5 Star are attempting to replicate that, whether it will eventually get over with the different audiences the company performs in front, I'm not totally convinced yet.

Brian Corr def. Dunkan Disorderly // Pinfall 

The best match from the pre-show came in the form of two debutants going head to head, as PWU's Brian Corr and OTT's Dunkan Disorderly put on a simplistic, but technically sound outing. The heel/face dynamic was clear, with Disorderly stalling a lot at the beginning, whilst Corr worked nicely from underneath. The crowd having being asked to move to the camera side before the match began meant they perhaps didn't get the reaction they deserved from the SSE Arena, but the two managed to build a nice little match that came to a head with a good solid back and forth chop sequence. Chuck in a nice rana and a beautiful match-winning moonsault from Corr and you've got a pleasing opening match, that whilst it didn't set the world on fire did exactly what it needed to do and did it well. 

HT Drake def. Matty Mayhem // Pinfall

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Let's begin with the positives here. There was a nice technical start with Drake and Mayhem trading wristlocks and Drake's diving corkscrew senton that got the win was quite pretty. That's the end of the positives. This match fell so flat with the crowd, that even when the pair were at least trying to be creative, using the barricade on the outside, neither spot got a reaction and to be honest, a pop wouldn't have done much to stop either spot looking a bit of a mess. Actually, that's a good description for the match as a whole, as there was a number of moments that were a bit of a mess. The highlight was Joe Hendry audibly cringing on commentary as Mayhem took a horrible bump of what I can only describe as a thing, but there was also a bizarre walking/stomping version of a Headlock Driver and Drake catching Mayhem from a crossbody, only to hold him for a bit and then put him down to a verticle suplex. Perhaps the blood coming from Drake's ear effected the bout and the referee should've done much more to check on his well-being, but the bout playing out to complete indifference from the crowd and the sloppy action made for an uncomfortable watch at home.

Curtis Murray def. Russell Dempsey // Pinfall

Despite a slip by Curtis Murray early doors, this match developed into another solid outing, with some nice ideas spread throughout. The springboard flippy cutter situation that got the win for Murray was lovely stuff, whilst the two did well to stick to the basics and not get too ahead of themselves in the rest of the match, with the larger Russell Dempsey controlling most of the contest. This was my first exposure to either talent and it was clear to see that both have potential, but still have some way to go, with the match often having an unpolished feel to it, at times feeling disjointed. At times I was frustrated by Murray's bumping, which was a little over-exaggerated, not quite that gif. of Batista against Mark Henry, but certainly reminiscent of it.   

Also This Week 

- The Masters of Cool and Pure Dead Brilliant (minus Lou King Sharp) filled for time, with a few funny moments before Carlito & Chris Masters dispatched off Kid Fite and Krieger with the Master Lock and Backstabber respectively. 

- Joey Axl made BT Gunn tap out to Ayers Rock Lock, after Gunn had come out to confront the big Australian. 

ATPW Scale Rating // 3.10 out of 10 

Written by James Marston // @IAmNotAlanDale 

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