By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
Aired September 8, 2018 on ITV
Taped in May 2018 in Norwich, England at Epic Studios
After highlights of last week’s action, the broadcast team of Alex Shane, SoCal Val, and Stu Bennett welcomed us to the WOS Arena. They talked about last week including the setup for Nathan Cruz and Adam Maxted’s feud. Cruz entered the arena to a lot of boos, while holding a microphone in his trunks. Once in the ring, Cruz said he knows a lot of people want an explanation about what happened last week and said he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. He said that Adam tried to use him to propel his own career while also playing to you little people in the crowd. The crowd chanted “loser” at him.
Cruz continued by saying that he doesn’t want what Adam has but he doesn’t want Adam to have it. He issued a challenge to Maxted for a ladder match with the loser leaving town forever. Stu Bennett stood up with a microphone and said that Nathan brings up a lot of good points and it’s clear that Adam and Nathan cannot coexist together. Stu pointed at a briefcase above the ring and said suspended above the ring is a contract which is a guaranteed singles contract. He said let’s get on with it right now….
Gleed’s Take: So Nathan Cruz said he didn’t owe anyone an explanation but yet he gave an explanation……yes I know it’s a nitpick. They tried to build this as a real heated rivalry, however it didn’t ring true since the turn by Cruz only happened at the end of last week’s show. I like the sense of jeopardy and the stakes on the line for the match, but I’m disappointed that they didn’t spread this out over two or three weeks with Cruz making Adam’s life hell before going into this match. It feels like a missed opportunity.
1. Nathan Cruz vs. Adam Maxted in a loser leaves WOS ladder match. Maxted was shown backstage walking up the ramp and then out into the arena. The rivals stared at each other with hatred in their eyes. The bell rang and Maxted went straight at Cruz. Alex Shane said Cruz’s actions last week was deplorable, but Bennett disagreed by saying Adam cost Nathan the tag team titles. Maxted almost immediately went for the ladder, but Cruz chased him up the ramp and threw him back in the ring.
SoCal tried to overstate this as a real blood feud (see my take above). Maxted hit a shoulder tackle from the apron but Cruz got to his feet first. He went to hit Adam with the ladder but Maxted hit a drop toe hold and Cruz’s head bounced off the ladder. Adam setup the ladder mid-ring but Cruz cut him off. He went for a back drop off the ropes but Maxted reversed. The ladder was setup in the corner where Cruz just stopped himself from flying into it. Cruz hit a back body drop on Maxted, who presumably landed on it.
Gleed’s Take: I say presumably because the cameras cut away to the crowd before the point of impact. It’s a tactic they do on WWE programming when they show it on a Saturday morning. I understand if you don’t want to promote violence, but then don’t have a ladder match (sigh).
Adam reversed a whip into the ladder which caused another cut scene to the crowd. He hit a legdrop on Cruz who was hanging over the ropes and tried to climb the ladder. Cruz recovered and tipped over the ladder. Cruz threw Adam to the outside and setup the ladder in the middle of the ring. He started to scale the ladder as we saw Adam recovering. Adam used the top rope to springboard off ropes into a dropkick and knocked Cruz off the top rope. SoCal reminded everyone at home to not try this. Adam slowly climbed the ladder with Nathan climbing the other side. Cruz went for something and Adam took a bump off the ladder for no reason. Adam recovered again and hit a springboard forarm which knocked Cruz to the outside. Adam then climbed the ladder and grabbed the briefcase for the victory…
Adam Maxted defeated Nathan Cruz in a loser leaves WOS ladder match.
Gleed’s Take: This was bad, this was really bad. For the first three quarters of the match the quality was decent if not spectacular. They weren’t helped by ITV cutting to the crowd anytime there was a solid bump on the ladder. The finish was just painful and clearly blown. It looked like Cruz was teasing a suplex, but Maxted just took a bump off the ladder for no reason. This left Cruz alone on top of the ladder just under the briefcase, so he climbed down and re-positioned the ladder well away from the briefcase with the announcers trying to cover for it by saying that the ladder wasn’t positioned properly… but the camera shot showed clearly that he moved the ladder well away from it. Just bad, and a shame really.
Following a commercial break, Rachel was backstage with Nathan Cruz. Rachel emphasized that whoever lost would leave WOS. Cruz said for anyone else in the back, this would be the end of the road, but he’s the best professional in the UK and he will be back. Back in the arena, they set up a video showing Justin Sysum in Stu Bennett’s office. He said last week was impressive, so as a reward he would be facing Rampage tonight, but not for the title. It will be a tag team match between Rampage and Sha Samuels facing Justin Sysum and Joe Hendry… The announcers setup for a four-way match…
Gleed’s Take: I could have sworn that they have been building this as a three on one handicap match. Ah, well, I’m sure that’s what it’ll end up being.
2. Gabriel Kidd vs. Robbie X vs. Liam Slater vs. Crater in a four-way match. Robbie X, Gabriel Kidd and Liam Slater didn’t get music introductions, however the big thirty six stone Crater did. In a repeat of last week, Crater waited outside the ring and allowed his three opponents to fight, however this time the smaller guys called Crater into the ring. All three opponents went after Crater, but he eventually came back in a cliché giant spot of throwing everyone around the ring. Crater went after each one individually and knocked them down successfully. Each man hit dropkicks and forearms, which Crater was pretty much no selling. He eventually attempted a double chokeslam but was knocked to the outside with a triple dropkick.
Each man hit suicide dives to the outside which didn’t move Crater, but they hit a triple suicide dive which knocked Crater to his knee on the outside. The three young guys started to compete with some nice light heavyweight style action. Kidd gained the advantage but X came back with some impressive quick movements and high impact moves. X hit a double moonsault on Kidd and Slater. He turned around and Crater was in the ring. The big man went after everyone who decided to start teaming together again. X went for a cutter but was caught, but Gabriel and Liam hit dropkicks on the knees of Crater to get the big man down.
With Crater on the mat, each of the smaller guys hit a top rope move, including Kidd hitting an elbow drop. All three men covered Crater and the referee counted to three. The ref looked confused as to who the winner was. The announcer talked to the referee as they showed replays. Crater got back to his feet and cleared the ring except for Robbie X. Crater tried to take Robbie X’s mask off but security ran down and allowed the Scotsman to escape…
Uhhhh……Crater lost and no winner was determined so, yeah we will stick to Crater lost
Alex Shane setup Martin Kirby against the “people’s champion” Grado for after the commercial break. Somewhere in the world, The Rock had a sixth sense that something very bad had just happened…
Gleed’s Take: This was the payoff to the weeks of Crater’s domination and it was alright for what it was. I didn’t like how they built up the announcement of who the actual winner was only to not bother following up on it. I’m over the whole “big giant” Crater storyline, but it looks like he’s now going to feud with Robbie X, which at least gets Robbie X on my TV screen.
The ring announcer introduced Grado, which popped the crowd big. They showed a lot of kids in the arena looking very excited. Grado gave his cap to a young lady at ringside who looked delighted. Martin Kirby made his entrance to boos….
3. Grado vs. Martin Kirby. In the ring, Grado made a show of handing his “bum bag” (a fanny pack) to the referee because it’s his “special bum bag”. Kirby went to take a look at the “bum bag” but Grado cut him off. This allowed Kirby to take the early advantage with a number of punches and kicks in the corner. Grado came back early on with a clothesline and then went into his standard dancing/comedy offence. Alex Shane said we are having a good time tonight. Uh huh, Alex. Kirby came back and attempted a back suplex on the big Grado but couldn’t lift him up. Grado came off the ropes into a cartwheel. Somewhere in the world Hanson from the War Raiders just got a sixth sense that something really bad just happened.
Alex Shane said if you’ve just tuned in and not sure what is going on, he can’t answer. He said this is not what WOS is always about. Following some more comedy action back and forth, Kirby finally got the upper hand and the match started to turn into a more serious contest. The crowd were firmly behind Grado as Kirby went for his stupid crab walk on the middle rope, however Grado moved when Kirby attempted an elbow drop. Grado then hit a nice looking cannonball in the corner. Kirby however came back with a kick to the back of the head. Kirby for some reason then went for the “bum bag” and opened it up to reveal a toothbrush. He then teased putting the toothbrush down his trunks with Grado begging him not too.
Kirby put the toothbrush under his arm pit and went to put it in Grado’s mouth. Grado reversed and tried to put the toothbrush in Kirby’s mouth. This went back and forth far too many times. The referee then demanded that they put the toothbrush down. Grado knocked Kirby down with a bionic elbow and put the toothbrush in Kirby’s mouth. Kirby came back and knocked Grado to the mat, put his feet on the ropes and scored the victory to end this “match”….
Martin Kirby defeated Grado.
Gleed’s Take: This actually happened folks. Right lets get the positives out of the way. Firstly Grado’s comedy and character is perfect for the kid audience that the show is catering for, and Martin Kirby is someone I have a lot of respect for so I’m glad he’s getting a lot of national exposure. With that being said, this whole thing was an embarrassment. If anybody switched to this channel during this match I wouldn’t blame them for thinking wrestling is just the lowest form of art entertainment. Grado’s comedy was fine for the kids, but the antics with the toothbrush were just embarrassing and the match didn’t offer anything to a wrestling fan over the age of six. In fact, some people might consider it an insult to something they love. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
Following a commercial break, the commentary team setup the tag team main event…
4. Rampage and Sha Samuels (w/CJ Banks) vs. Justin Sysum and Joe Hendry. Rampage and his posse got a good heel reaction, and of course Hendry got a great reaction with the swaying arms to his music. Sysum was last out and got a great reaction. The commentary team argued with Bennett that Sysum deserved a one on one match.
Hendry and Rampage started the match with Hendry taking down the champion very quickly. Joe continued to use some quick amateur wrestling to keep the champion town. Samuels and Sysum then tagged into the match when Rampage escaped. Justin took down the larger Samuels by using his speed. Sysum went for a back body drop but Samuels got a blind tag to Rampage, who came into the ring and viciously went after Justin. It was so vicious that ITV officials weren’t happy and cut to a shot of the crowd. Can you imagine if ITV had picked up ECW back in the day?
Following an extended period of offence for the heels, which of course included interference from Banks, Hendry finally got the hot tag from Sysum and cleaned house in the ring. Hendry hit a neckbreaker on Sha Samuels and attempted a release back suplex on Sha, but Samuels knocked Hendry into Rampage. Rampage came into the ring and beat on the Scotsman. Hendry came back with a back body drop and tagged Sysum back in. Alex Shane said that we thought we were getting a tag match but we are getting a war. Right. Rampage came into the ring and attempted to sneak attack Justin, but he moved and Samuels took the full brunt of the attack. Justin hit a suicide dive to Rampage outside the ring. Hendry hit a fallaway slam on the East End Butcher, and Sysum followed up with a 450 for the victory…
Justin Sysum and Joe Hendry defeated Rampage and Sha Samuels.
They showed a teaser of next week’s show, which will include Ayleisha vs. Viper and also a mixed tag match Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray taking on Will Ospreay and Bea Priestly…
Gleed’s Take: Thank the lord that show is over. The main event was really good but it was tainted by being on a show that was just awful. I liked the fact that Justin Sysum has over taken Grado as being the guy I think will be the big crowd favourite to take the belt from Rampage before the end of the series, and I’m glad they kept Rampage strong by getting Sha Samuels to take the pin for his team.
As for the rest of the show, the bloom is certainly off the rose for me. I’ve been getting by watching WOS by enjoying the nostalgia and enjoying the more innocent side of wrestling like I did when I was a kid. Yet between the downright boring, the repeated angles after only seven weeks, the botched finishes, the embarrassment of a toothbrush, and a Bum Bag being the main focus of a match, this was a terrible edition and advert for WOS.
Any comments? Feel free to get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @haydngleed