Greetings grapple fans. As we reach the final episodes of this series of WOS Wrestling, ITV seem to really want to evoke that end-of-days feel by moving the show around in the time slots, as it’s a 4pm start this week.
LAST WEEK: Adam Maxtead beat Nathan Cruz in a Loser Leaves Town Ladder match, Grado lost his match against Martin Kirby but it was Kirby who got a sweaty toothbrush in the mouth, so who’s the real winner?
From the WOS Arena, it’s…
World of Sport Wrestling – Episode Eight
Authority figure Stu Bennett promises a huge announcement at the end of today’s episode
WOS Women’s Championship #1 Contender: Viper vs. Ayesha
Viper is the first female wrestler we’ve heard this entire series as she makes clear to Ayesha pre-match that she’s the number one contender. Sure, she didn’t have a mic, but that’s somewhat symbolically appropriate anyway. Viper backs Ayesha into the corner from the collar-and-elbow and continues to dominate with some cheap shots. No one shifts after a pair of shoulder blocks. Ayesha ducks a punch and hits a couple of forearms. Ayesha whips Viper into the corner and hits a nasty avalanche followed by a shoulder tackle. Viper rams Ayesha repeatedly into the corner in retribution and stomps her down. Ayesha attempts a clothesline, but Viper evades it and turns it into her Viper’s Vice (cobra clutch). Viper hits a quick sequence of snap mare, kick to the back, senton and low crossbody for a two-count.
The Viper’s Vice is applied again then turned into a Rainmaker, but Ayesha no-sells. Ayesha attempts a powerbomb, but Viper escapes. An awkward running of the ropes ends with both women colliding and it’s a double down. Ayesha hits a series of clotheslines and forearms to send Viper into the corner. Another avalanche and a fisherman’s suplex gets a long two-count. Viper blocks a powerbomb, hits a forearm, but is sent into the corner. Viper hits a back elbow and a cannonball into the corner for two. Some more stuff happens in the corner which is awkwardly edited around. Viper prepares for a Vader Bomb, but Ayesha makes a third attempt at a powerbomb. Viper evades and hits a Michinoku Driver for the three.
Again, Ayesha’s awkwardness in spots suggests an inexperience that the more talented Viper had to work around. One thing that I appreciate during the match was that the real-time crowd’s reactions appear to be what we heard during the match, instead of louder, artificial noise being piped in. Women’s champion Kay Lee Ray will next week face the woman who she has beaten twice before. Two Geordies trampled in the 4:50pm rush for stale Greggs pasties about to be chucked away out of five.
Viper is backstage with roving reporter Rachel Stringer and she promises to win the Women’s Championship. She didn’t really say much of importance, but at least she got to say it.
Will Ospreay & Bea Priestley vs. Stevie Boy & Kay Lee Ray
I don’t know how useful the term “real-life” couple, which is repeated throughout this segment, is as it seems to imply that other things happening aren’t real life. I mean, they aren’t, but you don’t point that out within the show. The announcers suggest this is Posh & Becks vs. Jay-Z & Beyonce. Insert something about cultural appropriation if you like.
The men start things with Stevie Boy knocking Ospreay down with a shoulder block. A quick sequence sees Ospreay hit a huracanrana and Stevie replying with a headscissors. They stand-off and shake hands before the women take their turn. Ray hits a series of forearms and whips Priestley across the corner, following with a charging forearm and a second rope missile dropkick. Ray attempts her Gory Bomb finisher, but Priestley escapes and jumps on Ray’s back to clamp on a sleeper. Priestley dodges a clothesline and hits a high angle belly-to-back suplex. Another strike that seems to involve Ray’s neck hitting the ropes means the camera cuts away and Priestley gets a two-count.
Priestley whips Ray to the corner, but Ray jumps to the second rope and hits another dropkick. The men tag in and Stevie hits a pair of forearms and an enziguri. Ospreay hits a back-somersault dropkick and an enziguri of his own. Ospreay hits a top rope 619, but Stevie ducks the subsequent springboard attack and hits the Falcon Arrow for a two-count. The men exchange strikes whilst we keep cutting to an indifferent audience. Stevie Boy seems to get the advantage, so Priestley runs in for her own forearm on Stevie Boy. Ray gets in and it’s a wild brawl.
Both teams do a doe-see-doe to evade attacks. Eventually, Ospreay and Priestley gain the advantage and hit stereo Cheeky (Fer)Nando’s kicks (renamed for WOS). Ospreay climbs to the top but is caught with ANOTHER enziguri from Stevie (I should have kept a running tally for that move across the series, we could honestly be past fifty at this point). Stevie tries a top rope huracanrana but Ospreay lands on his feet, maybe because Stevie Boy didn’t get a separate leg onto each shoulder, so Ospreay essentially just did a somersault. Both hit high kicks and the ladies come in and hit their respective male opponent with a German suplex and follow up topes to the outside. The referee refuses to allow the women to wrestle in the ring because the men are the legal participants. They go to the outside to fight instead. Ospreay comes back in with a springboard forearm. Ray gets the better of the brawl on the outside and runs into the ring to surprise Ospreay with a reverse huracanrana. Stevie Boy follows up with a Canadian Destroyer for a two-count broken up by a Priestley Yakuza kick. Priestley traps Ray up in the ropes with a triangle armbar. Ospreay takes advantage and hits a standing Spanish Fly followed by the Storm Breaker to get the three-count.
Winners: Will Ospreay & Bea Priestley
Just all action with very few mistakes. I feel like more could be played up with the relationship dynamics. Ospreay and Stevie seemed to be having a friendly competition, whereas there was more intensity whenever the women got involved (especially since, within the context of the show, Priestley is a heel and the other three faces). The editing was again the only thing to really complain about here. Three Mancunians strutting with such a wide-legged stride no one else is able to walk alongside them on the pavement out of five.
British Bulldog Jr. vs. Iestyn Rees (w/Kip Sabian)
Rees pie-faces Bulldog at the start so Bulldog responds with an armdrag. They compare bicep size which leads to a test of strength. Bulldog gets Rees down to a knee, but Rees Bulldog in the gut to bring him down to the mat. Bulldog bridges out of a pin and keeps the bridge up after Rees drops his weight onto Bulldog. Bulldog gets back to his feet and hits a series of elbows followed by a Northern Lights throw. Neither man goes down from boots and a double clothesline until a second double boot knocks both men down. Bulldog wins a forearm exchange and hits a vertical suplex for two.
Rees shoves Bulldog into the corner, and Bulldog hits the ring post shoulder-first. Rees repeats the move and Bulldog is out of the ring in pain whilst Sabian cheers Rees on. Rees attacks the injured shoulder, send Bulldog back into the ring and continues the shoulder focus by applying an armbar. Sabian is checking his reflection on his newly-won Tag Team title belt. Bulldog punches out of the armbar, but Rees again stops his momentum with a knee to the gut. Rees stomps on the hurt shoulder to evade a sunset flip. An elbowdrop gets two and Bulldog rolls out of another submission attempt to catch his own cross armbreaker, but Rees is too close to the ropes. Bulldog hits some forearms whilst his hurt arm looks limp. Rees hits a clothesline for two and reapplies the armbar. Bulldog gets to his feet, ducks a short clothesline and hits a German suplex.
Rees rolls out of the ring and then stops a Bulldog attempted dive with a strike. Rees climbs to the top rope, but Bulldog meets him there and hits a top rope superplex for a two-count. Bulldog whips Rees into the corner but is hit with an elbow. Bulldog dodges a second rope clothesline and hits three rolling German suplexes. Rees hits a Sky High powerbomb for two but Bulldog kicks away a spear attempt. Folding powerbomb gets two for Bulldog. Rees ducks a clothesline and hits a spear for a long two. Bulldog escapes a vertical suplex and a small package gets two. Bulldog catches Rees in a running powerslam and that gets the three.
Winner: British Bulldog Jr.
Solid match that told a good story of Bulldog powering through Rees’s shoulder attacks, even adjusting his powerslam finisher as a result. The victory may mean Bulldog requests a tag team championship shot for the end of the series. Two and a half hours of Londoners complaining about the cost of living in the capital whilst scoffing at the notion of leaving what they themselves describe as an over-crowded hellhole to live in a cheaper, more spacious city because they assume the natives wouldn’t even know how to spell theatre, let alone attend one, out of five.
Mask vs. Mask: Robbie X vs. Crater
After being attacked by his partner (and tonight’s opponent) following their losing effort against Bulldog & Grado in the WOS Tag Team Championship tournament, Robbie X was part of the trio that inexplicably defeated Crater last week. In his anger, Crater went for Robbie’s mask post-match until a security team of one was able to stop him. The commentators reference Big Daddy’s unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki. The stipulation is that the winner will be the one to unmask the opponent, rather than it being the post-match forfeit for the loser.
Robbie uses his quickness to hits strikes and evade Crater, but an attempt at his X-Express finisher is caught by Crater and turned into a backbreaker. Crater holds Robbie in a bearhug. Robbie escapes the hold by going for the mask of Crater and surprises the monster with an enziguri. A couple of charging elbows in the corner end with Crater hitting a dropkick. He didn’t get much height, and hit Robbie with one leg, but should still be applauded for the effort.
Robbie returns to the ring and hits a chinbreaker to halt Crater’s grabbing of the mask. A series of kicks seem to have staggered Crater, and an enziguri sends him outside. A second rope moonsault to the floor briefly knocks Crater off his feet. Robbie follows up with another attempted tope, but Crater hits him before Robbie can take flight and re-enters the ring. Crater twice steps over Robbie, but Robbie dodges a splash. The X-Express is hit and Robbie jumps onto Crater’s back. He rips off the mask and Crater loses twice in as many weeks.
Winner: Robbie X
Crater covers his face with his hands, snatches back the mask and puts it back over his head. So that would suggest that Crater will go back to wearing the mask next week. I honestly don’t see how having Crater lose twice in a row (even if they were under handicap stipulations and then by having his mask removed instead of being pinned) is helping you after all the solid work done so far in building him up as the show’s main monster. I will say that Robbie X has been the most pleasant surprise out of this series, and hopefully his showings will lead to bookings in the more high-profile UK indies. Two Brummies pointing out that we have more canals than Venice whilst hoping their comparative quality maintenance is not brought up as a counter argument out of five.
Stu Bennett stands up from his announcing position to announce he has some b…reaking news. We’re getting a completely unique match that will include the entire male roster for a title shot against WOS Champion Rampage. So, are we just ignoring the fact that Justin Sysum won that #1 Contender’s match a few weeks ago? If this match is just a Royal Rumble knock-off, which I think it might be, it’s not really unique. A brief glimpse in the preview would suggest to me that it is a Rumble, but the unique concept is every entrant starts on the outside of the ring until their number is called, rather than getting a full entrance.
NEXT WEEK: Kay Lee Ray defends her Women’s championship against Viper and whatever they end up calling their lumberjack Royal Rumble.
Four well-wrestled matches with little in the way of booking outside of who they chose to win each contest (and I would only question the final match’s choice) means that this was a decent episode, but still there are no interesting stories of dynamics between well-defined characters to make me want to tune in for more if I were a passive viewer. It’s the same old story.
I know I had the masked man in last week’s retro video, but I guess the referencing of the match means that I really need to end this review with the Kendo Nagasaki-Big Daddy match that saw the samurai from Peterborough unmasked. Big Daddy had been a heel right up to this match, and it was his actions against the even more hated Nagasaki, and his turning on partner Giant Haystacks, that really led to his run as the top babyface in the country for the next couple of decades. The match is short, so you might as well give it a watch on historic grounds, if nothing else…
Have a good time, until the next time!