By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
Aired September 29, 2018 on ITV
Taped in May 2018 in Norwich, England at Epic Studios
By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
Gleed’s Take: Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting the final show reviewed and posted. As many of you will know, I had a sudden death of an immediate family member so there has been no time to sit down and watch the show. With that being said and with me feeling somewhat refreshed, let’s see what the season finale of World Of Sport had for us.
Following an extended video package highlighting what had been happening in the series as a whole, the broadcast team of SoCal Val and Alex Shane welcomed us to the show from the commentary position. Fellow broadcast team member Stu Bennett was in the ring to address the audience…
Gleed’s Take: They focused on the right things in the video package, especially the big WOS Title match tonight where Rampage will take on Justin Sysum, who looks more like John Cena than John Cena does right now.
Stu Bennett said that over the last couple of weeks, WOS has showcased some of the best matches ever in the British Isles (were they dark matches?!). Bennett said that continues tonight (is he psychic?). He ran down the card for the evening before introducing the tag team title match. He said that despite his reservations, it will be the tag team title holders against the team that the nation have fallen in love with (have we?!)…
1. Kip Sabian and Iestyn Rees vs. Grado and Davey Boy Smith Jr. for the WOS Tag Titles The crowd were fully behind the babyfaces and against the heels during the entrances. Alex Shane said he was speechless that this match is happening, although I’m sure they announced it on the last week.
Gleed’s Take: I just noticed Sabian and Rees’s entrance music sounds like Jeremy Kyle’s shows music. That’s a reference for you British readers out there.
Following a commercial break, the bell rang to start the match. Bennett said that his disgust for Grado is chalk and cheese in comparison for his admiration for Sabian and Rees. The heels tried to attack the babyfaces from behind, but the babyfaces quickly gained the advantage. Shane called Smith the British Bulldog and Grado the Scottish Bullfrog as the heels gained the advantage and kept Grado in their corner for an extended amount of time. Bennett claimed he had been fielding calls to take Sabian and Rees to Japan, Mexico and the U.S.
Following some hope spots, Grado finally got the tag to Smith, who cleaned out the ring. Smith performed an impressive hooked style suplex on Kip. Rees tried to interfere but got caught with a german suplex. Davey Boy continued with focusing on the back of Sabian. For some odd reason he pushed Sabian into his corner which allowed Rees to tag in and take the fight to Smith. Rees applied a figure four which Shane called great mat wrestling (huh?) but Smith fought out and tagged in Grado.
The finish of the match came when Rees and Sabian hit their Doomsday Device inspired finisher and Grado kicked out to the shock of everyone. Sabian and Smith fought on the outside, but inside the ring Grado blocked a suplex attempt before hitting the Grado cutter on Rees to win the match and titles for his team…
Grado and Davey Boy Smith Jr. beat Kip Sabian and Iestyn Rees to win the WOS Tag Team Titles
As Grado and Davey Boy Smith celebrated in the ring, Stu Bennett stood up and said that finally Grado has shown him something but he will only do a slow clap for him which he proceeded to do.
Gleed’s Take: Not a bad match, just very formulaic. As soon as Grado kicked out of the former champions finisher you knew the babyfaces were going to go over. Grado winning a title on the final show of the series puts a nice bookend to the series and left the crowd happy. I’m expecting something similar in the main event later.
With half an hour to go in the show, they announced that next would be the main event. They showed a long video package that showed everything that has happened between Rampage and Justin Sysum, including the journey that the challenger had been on…
Gleed’s Take: I’ve been really hard on the WOS/ITV production but this video was really good and very professional looking. It was a pure hype video, but despite myself I felt hyped for the match following the video.
2. Rampage (w/Sha Samuels, CJ Banks) vs. Justin Sysum for the WOS Heavyweight Championship: Bennett compared the match as being between Batman and Superman.
Gleed’s Take: They fight until they realize that their mothers both have the same name?
Both men made their entrances, with the crowd again responding as they should for the Heel/Babyface dynamic. The referee held the belt up with the announcers giving this match a real big match feel. Rampage rolled to the outside and did a huddle with his posse. Sysum was distracted as Rampage tried to sneak attack to start the match, but Justin came back with a number of punches. The pace picked up with both men running the ropes which ended with Sysum hitting a beautiful and high dropkick for a one count.
Sysum continued to be on the offence and hit a beautiful crossbody after leaping from the canvas to the top turnbuckle in one motion. The crowd chanted Justin loudly in response. Sysum became distracted by the posse on the outside which Rampage made the most of. Justin managed to comeback and went for a leap frog over a charging Rampage but was caught and Rampage transitioned straight into a spinebuster. Another impressive spot. This allowed Rampage to get the prolonged offence.
Sysum managed to drop Rampage over the top rope to get a bit of breathing time. Rampage’s posse checked on Rampage and when Justin went to continue the attack on the champion, CJ Banks and Sha Samuels blocked Justin’s way. The referee jumped out of the ring and sent CJ Banks and Sha Samuels to the back. The crowd sang the nah nah nah goodbye song.
Gleed’s Take: Ok it’s completely logical in the context of this match, but over the entire series the two guys have done a lot more in full view of the referee and weren’t sent to the back so why were they sent to the back this time? It’s bad storytelling in my opinion and has been a major weak point of the WOS run. If they get a second season they really need to hire better writers who worry about consistency and continuity.
Back in the ring, Rampage was on full offence after going on a tear. Sysum made a number of hope spots but kept getting knocked down by the champion. Eventually the challenger came back with a big dropkick and the crowd were really getting behind him. The tension was building and the excitement level was really cranking up…….so WOS went into a commercial break *sigh*.
Down the stretch, Rampage hit a beautiful superplex from the top rope which appeared to damage the ring. After both men recovered they battled on the outside with Rampage getting the advantage. He grabbed the ring steps and attempted to use it as a weapon but Justin reversed the move. In the ring, Sysum had Rampage down and went for a 450 splash but CJ banks hit the ring and tried to interfere but Justin knocked him down.
Rampage took advantage and CJ Banks held Justin but moved when Rampage charged at him. Justin went for the cover on Rampage but Banks pulled the referee out. No disqualification though naturally. As Banks and the referee were arguing, he hit a nice suicide dive to the outside. Back in the ring Rampage hit a Samoa drop on the returning to the ring Sysum for a nearfall. Rampage went for a flying forearm on Rampage but the champion moved and….in the words of Jason Powell….REF BUMP!!!!
The match continued and Sysum had Rampage in a fisherman suplex which he held for ten seconds with the crowd chanting along, but of course there was no referee. Sha Samuels ran to the ring and beat down the challenger with the crowd pelting him with boo’s. Sha Samuels took the turnbuckle pad with Alex Shane talking about the exposed steel. Rampage hit his finishing DDT but the referee was still groggy and Justin kicked out of a slow two count. With a temper Rampage threw the referee to the outside as Alex Shane this is what Wrestling is all about and this is what WOS is all about…..ok.
Rampage grabbed his title belt and climbed back into the ring. He indicated that Justin should get up but a second referee ran down and grabbed the title belt. Justin rolled up Rampage for a nearfall which the second referee counted. Rampage got up and charged at Justin who moved and the champion ran straight into the exposed turnbuckle. Justin hit a clothesline followed by a 450 splash to win the title with the crowd going crazy….
Justin Sysum defeated Rampage to become the WOS Heavyweight Champion
Justin celebrated in the ring with the announcers going crazy really putting over the moment. Bennett climbed into the ring and grabbed the WOS Title and went to hand it to Justin, but Rampage blocked his path. Bennett tried on several occasions to get past but Rampage pushed him back. Finally, Stu lost his temper and hit Rampage with a forearm. He then handed the championship belt to Sysum and offered a handshake before raising his arm. Justin lifted the title in the air as the crowd were on their feet.
Gleed’s Take: This was the best half hour of WOS and it was the last half hour of the series. I can nitpick it to pieces with the lack of disqualifications and the inconstancies with the storytelling which I still stand by, but these are things that can be ironed out if there is a season two. What WOS managed to do well here was build up the drama over the last couple of weeks which culminated in a really good match which was enhanced by storytelling in the ring. The fact the crowd went crazy even though it was the end of a long set of tapings should show how well this match went over, and as I’ve said for weeks now, if nothing else comes out of WOS then they created a star in Justin Sysum, who has massive potential.
I’ve had a lot of negative things to say about WOS over the last ten shows, and I certainly stand by those criticisms. The fact that the show went from doing a million plus viewers down to around 300,000 over the course of the run backs up my analysis of the things that WOS were doing wrong would turn off most viewers. However, there is certainly a place for a show and promotion like WOS and if they made the tweaks to the things that are essentially presentation techniques they changed to stand out and went against traditional techniques that simply didn’t work, then they would have a show that would appeal to a wider spectrum rather than the niche that they have landed in through no fault of anyone except their own. The future of WOS hasn’t been confirmed but there are strong indications that there will be a second season but it will be on one of the other ITV channels such as ITV2 or ITV3 not the prime channel that they were on previously.
Overall, I’m glad I watched the WOS run and there were definitely things that I enjoyed and there were things I hated, but there was no middle ground for most things. I thoroughly enjoyed pretty much everything involving the women’s division, I enjoyed watching regional stars such as Lionheart, Martin Kirby, BT Gunn, Stevie Ray amongst others get the national exposure, as their commitments an sacrifices over the years to make the UK scene as hot as it right now deserved. I enjoyed watching the rise of a star in Justin Sysum, who given some tweaks to his in-ring work and some polish in other areas, could be a big star in any promotion with his look and his natural athletic ability.
Thanks for watching along with me over the ten week run.
Any comments? Feel free to get in touch via email email@example.com or twitter @haydngleed
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Chris Harrington.