By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
World of Sport Wrestling
Aired on ITV on July 28, 2018
Taped at the Epic Studios in Norwich May 2018.
The show opened with slow-mo shots of the wrestlers in a backstage area with a Stu Bennett (a/k/a Wade Barrett) voiceover. He said that all of the clowns have gone and only the best are allowed on this platform. He said welcome to WOS wrestling as each member of the roster was shown briefly….
Gleed’s Take: An interesting opening with the distinctive voice of the former Wade Barrett instantly giving the company some credibility with pro wrestling fans.
We saw a shot of the arena/TV Studio and were introduced to our broadcast team of Alex Shane and SoCal Val. They set the stage and SoCal announced that Stu Bennett would start off with a special announcement. Bennett entered the arena and the crowd gave him a great reaction.
In the ring, Bennett welcomed everyone to WOS Wrestling. He said it’s a new era and that British Wrestling is back on a global stage. Bennett started talking about clowns and out came WOS Heavyweight Champion Grado, who danced to the ring as the crowd gave him a champion’s welcome. They showed clips of the kids in the crowd clapping and dancing. Once at ringside, Grado gave his cap to a young fan who looked totally nonplussed. He climbed in the ring with Stu Bennett looking annoyed.
Grado grabbed the mic and shacked the hand of Bennett, who didn’t look impressed. Grado said you don’t look impressed because I don’t go to the gym, but I do walk my dog, sometimes three times a day. He said he also wears the WOS Title with pride. The crowd cheered and a brief Grado chant started. Bennett grabbed the mic and said fair play that was some performance and a good reception from the crowd, but he wants him to enjoy that because Grado doesn’t represent the future of WOS. Bennett said that leads nicely into his announcement of a five-man elimination match with the winner taking on Grado for the WOS Heavyweight Title in the main event tonight. He introduced the competitors, Rampage, Sha Samuels, Crater, Justin Sysum and Adam Maxted…
Gleed’s Take: Sigh. It appears that the main feud is going to be between a popular underdog babyface in Grado against authority figure Bennett. That aside, Bennett looked and sounded like a true authority figure and Grado was obviously popular with the crowd (even though the kid he gave the cap to took some of the credibility away but had me chuckling for five minutes). The five men competing for the main event match are the biggest and most muscular men in the promotion so it plays in well to what Bennett was talking about. I’m sure I’ll talk about all five men at some point. And while I’ve never seen Adam Maxted wrestle, but its beyond smart to have him in this match. He is a former contestant on a reality based show called Love Island, which is not only the highest rated show on ITV but the whole of the UK at the moment, instantly giving viewers another reason to continue watching.
1. Rampage vs. Sha Samuels vs. Crater vs. Justin Sysum vs. Adam Maxted in a five-way elimination match to be the No 1 Contender: Samuels attacked Sysum on the way to the ring and Rampage continued the attack inside the ring. Samuels and Rampage teamed up in the ring against Maxted while Crater attacked Maxted. After Crater climbed in the ring he took everyone down. Bennett joined the commentary team and they talked about the thirty six stone (504 pounds) Crater being unstoppable. Maxted posed in the ring in front of Crater who took exception and took the former love island competitor down and stood on his back while Maxted was draped across the bottom rope. Crater was still on the back of Adam when the ref’s count reached five for the disqualification. Before Crater went to the back he continued his attack on all four other men and then headed to the back.
Crater eliminated via disqualification.
Rampage and Samuels teamed up again against Sysum and hit a number of double team moves on the former rugby player. The commentary team put over the Rampage and Samuels are part of a stable together on the independent scene. Sysum eventually came back with a number of high flying moves, but the numbers game caught up to him. Sysum ate a clothesline from Rampage, who held Sysum for Samuels, who missed a clothesline and ended up eating a clothesline from his fellow heel. Sysum used this to his advantage and rolled up Samuels to eliminate him.
Sha Samuels was eliminated by Justin Sysum via rollup.
Rampage went for a spear on Justin but missed and went flying shoulder first into the ringpost and fell to the outside. Maxted recovered and faced off against Sysum. They exchanged some quick offence before Maxted went to the ringside area. Sysum attempted a dive over the top but his legs got caught on the top rope and came down almost on his head, my word that was lucky. Sysum just managed to beat the count and unseen to most everyone else Sha Samuels threw Rampage back into the ring to beat the count.
Adam Maxted and Rampage were eliminated via count-out.
Grado climbed in the ring thinking that Sysum had won the match. The referee also thought that Rampage had been counted out. Bennet stood up from the announce desk and said that it was a huge injustice and Rampage had beaten the ten count. The crowd booed and did the thumbs down sign, almost like they were being produced to do it on mass. Bennett announced as a result, tonight’s main event would be a three-way between Grado, Rampage, and Justin Sysum…
Gleed’s Take: Oh my word, that was a bit of a mess. Between the announcers not really understanding if Crater had been disqualified or not, Justin’s big high spot over the top rope being botched and the finish of the match this wasn’t the best way to start a new era. Nevertheless, the good points of the match were entertaining and they did well to establish Rampage, Samuels, and Maxted as the top heels, Sysum as an athletic babyface, and Crater as the big monster. Bennett being a heel authority figure is not what I wanted, but I guess it is what it is when they are catering to a more casual audience.
Following a commercial break they had Stu warning people at home that the “sports entertainers” are trained athletes…
The next match was billed by SoCal Val as an international dream match between Will Ospreay and Davey Boy Smith Jr….
2. Will Ospreay and Davey Boy Smith Jr: Alex Shane described this as a main event anywhere in the world. The action started quickly with both men having opportunities to hit their offense. Ospreay did his patent handstand into a back somersault and pose, but the producers decided to cut away half way through it to show twenty different camera shots. They also randomly showed a reply of a standard bodyslam by Smith, who then hit a delayed suplex as the announcers spoke about his father. Ospreay started to sell his knee with Smith attacking it.
Late in the match, Alex Shane had uttered the words “eat your heart out Harry Potter as Ospreay is a wizard.” Ospreay went for a shooting star press, but Davey got his knees up. Smith hit a powerbomb for a very close near fall. Ospreay came back and hit a cheeky Fernando kick (formerly known as a cheeky Nandos). He went for a huracanrana from the top rope but Smith recovered and hit a powerslam for the three count…
Davey Boy Smith Jr. beat Will Ospreay via pinfall.
They showed the finish with different filters while Smith celebrated in the ring and the fans were on their feet…
Gleed’s Take: This was interesting and certainly difficult to review. If you have seen Ospreay before then this match would have come across as Ospreay lite, however it was presumably damn impressive for a new audience on ITV and probably most of the studio audience. Smith was the powerhouse and certainly played a lot into father’s moveset. I am getting more and more frustrated by the production of this show where it’s big spot followed by multiple replays. Nothing seems to really stand out and the editing seems a bit hodge podge in the sense of something will happen and one man will be in the corner and then after a two second reply the guy is in the other corner. With that being said, the show so far is breathless, fast paced, and dare I say total nonstop action. In a vacuum, and if you take away prior knowledge of these two men, this match was entertaining and a great showcase of two world class wrestlers.
Backstage, interviewer Rachel had some “huge news” regarding the tag team tournament. She announced that there would be eight teams. She introduced the team of Iestyn Rees and “Superbad” Kip Sabian. Kip interrupted Rachel and said they aren’t just one of the teams they are the only team that matter, and added that Rachel should speak to them with a bit more respect. Both Kip and Iestyn said they are going to win the tournament so this conversation is pointless…
Gleed’s Take: A great way to introduce this team and they certainly came across as confident cocky heels.
In the ring, the ring announcer introduced the first team of Martin Kirby and Joe Hendry who came out to some custom WOS entrance…
Gleed’s Take: Martin Kirby is a staple of the British independent scene and has the respect of pretty much everyone involved over the last fifteen years, so it’s great to see him on this stage. Where do I even start with Joe Hendry? John Moore called me out on Twitter for not talking more about Hendry. I’ll admit that I really should have been. If Zack Gibson is the most entertaining heel in British wrestling, then Joe Hendry is the most entertaining babyface. He essentially writes a custom song/skit for big matches or feuds he’s in and they are incredibly entertaining. Look up some of his work on Youtube because it is tremendous. I recommend Hendry vs. Jack Jester or Hendry and Drew Galloway. Be warned that you could end up in a rabbit hole and spend hours watching these custom videos. Oh, and he’s a very good wrestler, but that does become secondary to the entertainment aspect of his character. Essentially, he’s the perfect guy for the product that WOS is going for.
3. Joe Hendry and Martin Kirby vs. Kip Sabian and Iestyn Rees in a tag team tournament match: Stu Bennett talked in disgust about Hendry and Kirby while talking up the heel team of Sabian and Rees. Alex Shane and Bennett argued over whether Hendry is a good thing for wrestling while Sabian and Hendry locked up in the ring. Sabian and Kirby eventually faced off and Kirby hit a huracanrana that was of course replayed. Hendry and Kirby took control and hit a number of double team moves. Sabian distracted the referee while Rees held Hendry’s leg, allowing Sabian to hit an enzuigiri and the heel team took control. Bennett, the authority figure, said it’s not cheating if the referee doesn’t see it (sigh).
Midway through the match, Hendry was accidentally kicked into Kirby, who fell off the apron and landed on the cameraman. This led to a further sustained amount of offense for Rees and Sabian. Henry eventually crawled over to his corner, but Kirby dropped off the apron instead of taking the tag. He jawed at Henry and walked to the back. Hendry fought off both men and hit a beautiful fallaway slam on both men, but eventually the numbers game caught up to him. Sabian hit a dropkick from the top rope. Rees held Henry in a powerbomb position while Sabian flew off the top rope with a clothesline for the victory…
Kip Sabian and Iestyn Rees beat Joe Hendry and Martin Kirby to advance in the tournament.l
Gleed’s Take:Sabian and Rees are a paint by numbers heel tag team. It’s not a criticism. They definitely look like a well oiled machine and are a good pairing. You could see where this was going as soon as Kirby was accidentally hit off the apron, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It sets up a nice feud with Hendry and Kirby and allowed Hendry to look strong in defeat by holding off both opponent for so long.
The main event was setup by the ring announcer and the commentary team…
4. Grado vs. Rampage (w/Sha Samuels, CJ Banks) vs. Justin Sysum in a three0way for the WOS Championship: As Grado made his entrance, Bennett spoke about how disgusted he was with him being the champion. In an awesome moment, the kid who couldn’t care less about Grado earlier did a fist bump with the champion.
The match started and broke down to the standard one man getting knocked to the outside and two men fighting. Grado and Sysum faced off with Grado doing his patented comedy wrestling until Sysum came back with his more technical/high flying style. Rampage came charging into the ring, missed a double clothesline and was thrown back to the outside. Eventually, Rampage managed to grab Justin and beat on him with his two mates cheering him on in the background. Grado hit a somersault on both men from the apron.
Grado and Rampage faced off in the ring and naturally Rampage took advantage as Bennett called him the prototype of a wrestler while criticizing the fans for not seeing it. Sysum reentered the ring but was cut off by Grado, who hit a cannonball on him in the corner. Rampage tried a sneak attack but got hit with a cutter that looked to have put Rampage away, but Sysum broke up the pin. Sysum hit a beautiful 450 from the top rope. Rampage broke up the pin and hit his finisher on Grado for the three count….
Rampage beat Grado and Justin Sysum in a three-way to become the WOS Heavyweight Champion.
Rampage celebrated in the ring with Samuels and Banks as the commentators put over how big a moment this was the very first show. They focused on Grado, who looked distraught and the crowd were shown giving the thumbs down. A video for next week’s show aired that included a brief clip of a ladder match, the continuation of the tag team tournament, and we were told that the first WOS Women’s Champion would be crowned next week…
Gleed’s Take: The match felt brief, but it didn’t feel like it was too quick either. It felt obvious that Brown would be the champion coming out of the first show of the reboot given the way Bennett spoke the entire show. The video teaser for next week’s episode was well done and it has certainly hooked me into watching it.
Overall, it was a solid reboot of the WOS brand. There are definitely things that irritated me like the overproduced audience, the over editing of matches and the constant replays. Still, I know a lot about the characters they showcased and the stories they are telling and I like that. The show is definitely catered to families and is trying to attract the more casual fan, which will turn some people off, but this was definitely perfect for the 5pm Saturday night audience and there was enough on this show to hook people for next week. There was also enough going on that a channel surfing viewer who stumbled upon the show would be intrigued.
Watched the show? Agree or disagree? Let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @haydngleed.