Last night marked the first live 5 Star Wrestling show on Freesports live from the Liverpool Echo Arena. As they are coming to Scotland as part of the tour I thought I’d share some of my opinions on what I saw of the first show.
5 Star Wrestling was a surprising choice for Freesports to sign as it was announced by Preston City Wrestling that they had been contracted for the show but Freesports announced that this what not the case and that the largely unproven 5 Star Wrestling got the nod. 5 Star have had little success so far with import heavy shows that offered dream matches like AJ Styles versus Rey Mysterio but the experiences have left customers with a sour taste in their mouth. The lack of social awareness and organisation from the company has hurt their already low reputation, seemingly blaming the rescheduling of their 2017 arena tour due to the Manchester bombing. This was following the rushed announcement of an 128 man tournament at the end of a strange Dominant Wrestling show in February 2017 that was, again, import heavy. Advertising themselves as a British promotion they only featured two British wrestlers on that show while advertising others who were only seen to the live crowd in dark matches before the live televised event. British wrestling on British TV? Not quite.
I’ll note here that I only came in towards the end of Jake Hager versus Eddie Ryan but will likely go back and catch the first half to get an overall scope of the show. The first thing I noticed was the lighting, judging from the pictures shared on Twitter it was likely due to the crowd, or lack thereof, which made the matches quiet. Personally, I was never a fan of Jack Swagger so it would be hard to grab my attention initially and by the end I had forgotton what had happened moments before.
The sound was a major issue, from the commentary team to backstage segments, it dipped a lot with the commentary during the matches almost mute with fleeting comments from Joe Hendry who was so hammy in his role…which admittedly I enjoyed. I also enjoyed not hearing much of Greg Lambert who didn’t really add a lot when I could hear him but I will say he did have some enthusiasm even if the crowd did not. Sure, I would’ve preferred Joe to actually be wrestling as he is not only a brilliant wrestler but he has bags of charisma which would waken up even the smallest of crowds but as long as he is excelling at his role and is on the show I’ll let that slide.
It wasn’t just the segments that had poor sound as a lot of wrestlers entered to the same entrance music, which is just short sighted and incredibly amateur in production. The ‘titantron’ being the same I can forgive, building up footage that won’t be copyrighted isn’t a bad idea but if you’re booking tag team matches maybe not have just one guy’s name on the tron.
The ring barriers were the wrong way round, the ring ropes were like having strawberry laces as they flopped which isn’t very safe and the mats on the outside were just thrown down with no effort to keep them in place. Three things that could easily be addressed if more time was taken. The ring also looked lower so the apron was too big for the space available which looked messy and unprofessional especially if you’re putting the product out in front of a potential couple of million homes.
For the time that I watched it was clear that they are building the show around Zack Gibson, a ballsy move to have him be the bad guy in his hometown but Gibson proved that he can talk the talk. Even on the microphone he said things that the hardcore British wrestling audience agreed with but in such an arrogant tone that it was quite easy to still hate him. He faced Rey Mysterio who was hot off his Royal Rumble appearance. The match itself was solid, nothing outstanding but they certainly were able to tell a story. Gibson throwing a low blow in to make the kids cry brah.
The best match that I saw, and by the comments on Twitter it was the best match on the show, was the tag team match with four British wrestlers. No American’s, just UK (and a Mexican) talent. El Ligero, Jody Fleisch and Dave Mastiff are very highly respected wrestlers so it only made sense that this was going to be great, plus the inclusion of Big Grizzly, who I hadn’t seen wrestle before, was welcomed as his team with Mastiff was an imposing force. We got some flips and incredible high risk moves, made more incredible by the wobbly ropes, which certainly had folk making some noise along with Ligero and Fleisch actively getting the crowd involved.
The best segment of the show belonged to Kid Fite, Lou King Sharp and Krieger as Fite and Sharp turned up as they hadn’t been booked for the show. I’m Scottish, yet I didn’t really understand what they were saying but I didn’t care, I just knew I was enjoying it. Fite rammed a door and failed, Lou threw himself at the same door with a dropkick which was bloody hilarious before Krieger turned up and just…knocked on the door. It was answered by some guy in a scarf, it wasn’t explained who he was, why he was in there and if the scarf was due to the heating not being on to save money or a fashion choice. All I know is that the trio are going to get themselves a team name and will be in Newcastle next week.
The main event between John Morrison and Rob Van Dam was fine, Van Dam didn’t look to be in the best of shape and was knackered minutes into the match but the crowd went crazy for him. I don’t know what it is about John Morrison but he has all this flash yet is so boring, you put Flash is dishwater it’s just soapy dishwater with a hint of lemon, and dull. The finish came out of nowhere but the hook was Zack Gibson attacking both after the match, holding the 5 Star Championship as the show ended.
For the negatives being high, the wrestlers themselves actually looked to put in the work for the crowd. The matches themselves were solid and I will be tuning in next week, there’s just a wide area for improvement in the production of the show itself. For the wrestlers themselves, I’m not drawn to Swagger, Morrison, Mysterio or Van Dam, however, I will watch for the British names advertised like BT Gunn, Jack Jester and El Ligero. If 5 Star are smart they’ll slowly phase out the large number of imported wrestlers and get fans used to more British names, like the Eddie Ryans and the Morgan Websters, it’ll cut costs and give a product that will be as fresh as they can possibly muster, basically World of Sport Wrestling but not called World of Sport Wrestling plus it’ll actually be BRITISH wrestling. They should also get someone to actually look at the ring set up before going live. They had a million and one wrestlers about, surely asking them if they thought the ropes looked safe wouldn’t have been a bad idea. So as I put on Twitter my overall opinion of the show was:
Wrestlers = Good
Production = Bad
That was more than a few words but I will check out the matches I missed and will be looking to see next weeks show from Newcastle. What were your highlights or lowlights from 5 Star Wrestling – Liverpool?