*Made this as a user requested someone should cover World Of Sport. Thanks.*
A few years ago there were talks of the UK bringing back the beloved and memorable TV program known as World Of Sport. From 1965-1985, World Of Sport brought professional wrestling to the United Kingdom, and many legendary names continue to be remembered from its rich history. Mick McManus. Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks. Kendo Nagasaki. Johnny Saint. Just a handful of names synonymous with bringing wrestling to mainstream television (the ratings were exceptionally high) in the United Kingdom. Even the Queen Of England appreciated the entertainment provided by World Of Sport.
WWE must have felt the UK scene was big enough to sustain a wrestling program being revived for ITV, so they got in first and made their own UK division. And it’s probably a good job they did, as we’d have waited longer to see the likes of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Zack Gibson and other wrestlers who were bound to be top draws for WOS. To go one further, they recently announced the making of the “NXT UK” division with General Manager, and WOS legend Johnny Saint.
I saw WOS on my Sky+ and decided .. screw it, let’s record the fourth episode and see what’s going on. I was very pleased to see Stu Bennett (AKA Wade Barrett) as on-air booker and commentator. Joining him at the commentary table is Alex Shane and former TNA announcer/manager Socal Val. The chemistry between the three was pretty clear from the offset. I read about the first three episodes briefly, so I won’t be going into those today.
Match 1: The show opened featuring the women’s division, with Bea Priestly (girlfriend of Will Ospreay) taking on the WOS Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray (worked for WWE and TNA). I was pretty happy to see two upcoming superstars getting the chance to showcase their skills. And the match wasn’t bad, but Viper AKA Piper Niven (worked Mae Young Classic) got involved, as well as a Asya AKA Ayesha Raymond (also worked Mae Young Classic). Stu got up and announced there would be the first-ever Women’s over-the-top women’s battle royal for the title.
Match 2: Next up was a singles match between Martin Kirby and Aerial Assassin Will Ospreay. I do hope in the years to come, Ospreay can be the next Bulldog/Dynamite Kid without the negative aspects. Honestly, if I knew I could go to a show and see Ospreay in action? That would be enough for me. And as always, Ospreay did not disappoint, and we got action which 205 Live can only dream of. It was obvious Ospreay would win, but Kirby worked well and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. I hope the Aerial Assassin keeps returning to WOS to make a name for himself with the casual ITV audience.
Match 3: And then we got a quarter-finals match in the tag team tournament to crown the first champions. Earlier in the night in a backstage segment, Grado confronted WOS booker Stu Bennett. I loved the old memorabilia plastered around Bennett’s office, including posters of Big Daddy vs. Giant Haystacks and other references to the original World Of Sport. Stu is a no-nonsense booker, so he told Grado if he wanted to be in the tag tournament he’d need to find himself a partner before the match started. Grado thought about it, and told him he’d find someone.
So to everyone’s surprise, Grado announced his partner in the ring as the one-and-only Davey Boy Smith Jr, son of WOS legend The British Bulldog. Bennett was perplexed with Davey Boy for agreeing to team with an idiot like Grado. On the other side of the ring, stood their masked opponents Robbie X, and “36 stone” (504 Ibs) Crater. Boy .. that Crater, he’s like a cross between Kendo Nagasaki and Giant Haystacks. Simple image, but enough of a presence to elicit boos from the audience. Throughout the match, Robbie X played to the crowd to get the fans behind his team. Whenever Crater got in .. the mood changed.
As it seemed Grado and Davey Boy had the advantage, Crater gave up on Robbie X mid-way through. He refused to tag, and eventually got off the ring apron and walked halfway up the ramp, turning his huge wall of a back on his partner. Grado finished him off with the cutter and the team celebrated getting through to the next round. Crater came back to the ring to punish Robbie X, but Davey Boy and Grado got in his way. Crater decided it wasn’t the time, so he backed off and walked away. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Crater in the future. It was nice to see Davey Boy Jr working the same show his Father did all those years ago.
Match 4: The main event was a triple threat between one guy I know, and two other guys I’d never seen before. Joe Hendry (working for Impact Wrestling) was in there, and firmly a fan favourite. The other face was Justin Sysum, who worked for WWE once before in a tag team match against The Usos on an episode of Main Event. The heel accompanied by his tag team partner Adam Maxted, was Nathan Cruz. He’s another wrestler who worked for WWE as a jobber; as well as training in their elite camps. The action was good and fast, and there was a bit of miscommunication between Nathan and Adam. Joe was involved in the beginning, but was nowhere to be seen at the end. Sysum took advantage of the mistakes by Nathan & Maxted and picked up his first main event win of his WOS career.
And that was all. Short and sweet. Plenty of action and characters. Crater stood out to me as one to watch in future. Us Brits tend to get straight to the point and don’t enjoy senseless filler. Didn’t see, nor hear a single advert on the show. I like the setting, and I like the announcing/authority. If I have to be critical of anything? It’s the camera work. It made me feel a bit dizzy til I stopped thinking about it. They seem to have the camera on a rotation every 2-4 seconds (not all the time) .. which to some, might take away from the action a little.
Want to learn more about British Wrestling? I did a “Best Of British” series a couple of years ago which looked into the biggest legends to grace our television sets. (Some video links may have broken since then) Here’s all ten volumes linked for you:
It’s still early days, so I’m sure the promotion will figure out panning the camera is a good thing, but doing it too often can be distracting. Aside from that, the production looks clean and the venue doesn’t make it look like a small-time indy promotion. I do like when they show reactions from the audience as well. I can only imagine how much more exciting this would’ve been had WWE not taken so many talents away (Pete Dunne, Moustache Mountain, Zack Gibson etc.) before they got chance to revive WOS. I’ll probably be watching regularly as episodes aren’t long, only an hour .. which is enough really. Don’t need to overexpose, let the people digest it in small doses and see how things go. The question is .. can they make new stars? Can World Of Sport reach even half the ratings the original did at its peak? Can WOS be the UK’s #1 promotion? Only time will tell. Thanks for reading!