Despite Zack Gibson’s warning a week earlier, 5 Star’s management make John Morrison versus Jake Hager their main event. For his part, Gibson faces one of the men he attacked in Liverpool: Rob Van Dam.
Adam Maxted & Charlie Sterling (“Max Money”)
El Ligero & Jody Fleisch
5 Star Tag Team Championship Tournament – Final
(Winners by pinfall, and 1st Ever Champions: Max Money)
Rob Van Dam
(Winner via disqualification: Rob Van Dam)
Flash Morgan Webster
(Winner via submission: Joey AXL)
(Winner via pinfall: Eddie Ryan)
Dave Mastiff & Big Grizzly (“Warbeard”)
Carlito & Chris Masters (“Masters of Cool”)
(Winners via pinfall: Masters of Cool)
(Winner via disqualification: Rey Mysterio)
(Winner via pinfall: BT Gunn)
John Morrison (C)
5 Star Championship
(Winner via submission, and new champion: Jake Hager)
There was a lot of opinions shared across social media, following the launch of 5 Star Wrestling‘s weekly show. Those with little knowledge of the British wrestling scene were excited by what they had seen, whilst those with extensive knowledge of what was happening in British wrestling were either underwhelmed, or cursing the name of the company. Talk: Pro Wrestling sat somewhere in the middle (read our review here).
To give credit where it’s due, 5 Star management definitely took onboard some suggestions that were made following that first episode. They didn’t do everything they could have to improve their show, but they took immediate steps to address the entrance music fiasco, and lit the crowd better. Sadly, the latter meant that we were given a full view of the rather empty arena to open the show, which isn’t great, but full credit to the management for not trying to hide that this time. Here’s hoping they book smaller venues, once they fulfil all the dates that are already booked for them.
They also went to the effort of addressing the issue of going back to the commentary desk too much, by still going to it far too often, but this time piping Joe Hendry and Greg Lambert’s audio through the venue’s speakers so that the crowd could hear what was being said, rather than just sitting in silence like they did the week prior. I admire the effort here, but there seemed to be timing issues with putting it through the speakers, and I do wonder if Hendry and Lambert’s back and forth actually comes off well for those sitting in the seats. It’s awkward to watch on screen, so I can only imagine how peculiar it must be to the fans who likely can barely see them at their desk. Whilst on the commentary subject, Lambert is truly ruining the show with his nervous commentary, and constant babbling. If you’re 5 Star, you pull him from the desk as soon as possible.
Fixes aside (they tightened the ropes, too!), it was business as normal for the company, but they did start to kick off various storylines across the show, setting up future matches. Zack Gibson was still the star, and his points about favouritism to the international stars still felt true, so one can only assume this is all headed towards a 5 Star Championship main event opportunity for him at some point. I don’t believe that will be soon though, and one assumes his next opponent will be John Morrison, regardless of the development they did on this show between Gibson and new 5 Star Champion, Jake Hager.
Speaking of Gibson, Morrison and Hager, all three men took part in the best matches of the night. Gibson’s was against Rob Van Dam, a match that far excelled both men’s separate matches one week earlier, and had some lovely ringside action as Rob Van Damn delivered his famous moves on the thin mats and railings. Morrison’s defeat to Hager felt predictable, given the nature of Hager’s contract with 5 Star, but they put on a great main event that the live crowd would have been very satisfied with. I thought the submission victory for Hager came a little out of the blue, but it was a good match, and the finish didn’t take away from it. Hager will be a good face of 5 Star, given they like to market their shows around international stars, and if they plan to continue down the UK versus International Stars path, they now have a villainous American holding their top championship which will allow a British babyface to rise up and overcome him. Eddie Ryan, anyone?
I thought the 5 Star Tag Team Championship match was a tidy opener, but didn’t quite hit the heights of the semi-final battle El Ligero and Jody Fleisch had with Warbeard, one week earlier. The right team won though, and Max Money should be a brilliant heel team to carry the tag team division for the foreseeable future. Their backstage promo, where they found out about their opponents for next week, was hilarious.
Quite where Rampage Brown’s beatdowns are headed, I’m not sure, but I did like how he brutalised Moose ahead of their match. What I don’t understand, however, is that the referee ended the match after deciding that Moose could no longer compete, but instead of that meaning a victory for Rampage Brown, it was declared a no contest? That made no sense to me, given it was clearly a Rampage Brown win.
There was some other good material on the show too, from Flash Morgan Webster’s talkshow segment (the crowd not popping for the plant comment immediately showed that 5 Star aren’t attracting the usual British wrestling fans who travel around the country, though), to Nathan Cruz’s rant about his treatment on the first episode. Rey Mysterio’s match with Mark Haskin’s was a highlight, although the decision to make it non-title at the last minute was disappointing. There’s real potential with the 5 Star Tap Or Snap Championship but, two shows in, we haven’t really seen it used in the right way.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad second episode. The show unquestionably suffers from its length, but that’s not likely to change moving forward, so it will be interesting to see how 5 Star Wrestling‘s management address that as time goes on. I’m still not convinced that the booking behind this show will ever see it adopt and celebrate what exactly makes British wrestling so popular now, and I can accept that because who wants every promotion to be the same? But there is a lot that 5 Star can learn from the top promotions in the UK, and it would be a shame if they ignored that opportunity.
Lastly, whilst I expect changes will continue to happen over the coming weeks as they settle the product down into exactly what they want it to be, they must quickly address their social media presence. Their accounts go dead during the shows, and that’s criminal. Someone needs to be manning their accounts whilst they are on air, and be posting gif’s, clips, backstage interviews and more. Hell, if they’ve no one spare, pay for my travel and I’ll go do it for them! If they want to grow their brand, and be in control of some of the negativity that follows them around on social media, they must take the initiative and be all over social media before, during, and after each show.
Match of the Night
John Morrison vs. Jake Hager