World of Sport Wrestling – Episode #9

Greetings grapple fans. Like a gold-ink Parker fountain with a Jim Hellwig inspired design, this is the penultimate episode of WOS Wrestling. Pushed back even earlier to 2:30pm, this week’s episode promises a unique match to decide the challenger for Rampage’s WOS Championship. I’m currently on a trip up the Scottish Highlands and accidentally caught the first three-quarters of this show whilst getting my lunch in a bar in Inverness. The lack of audio, and commentary provided by subtitles, was an interesting experience. I watched the rest and wrote up the review from the about-as-comfortable-as-you-can-hope-for-thirty-quid-a-night single hotel room for the next two nights.

LAST WEEK: British Bulldog Jr. defeated WOS Tag champ Iestyn Rees, Robbie X briefly unmasked the monster Crater to claim an upset victory, and Viper vanquished Ayesha to earn a shot at the WOS Women’s title.

From the WOS Arena, it’s…

World of Sport Wrestling – Episode Nine

WOS Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray © vs. Viper

Kay Lee Ray starts off with strikes and speed, whilst Viper responds with power and size. Ray evades Viper before catching her in a Koji clutch. Viper powers out and turns it into a cradle for a two-count. Viper hits a crossbody and clamps on the Viper Vice. Viper turns that into a backbreaker and hits a Rainmaker for a two-count. Viper follows up with a snap mare, senton and sliding crossbody. Ray hits a superkick, Viper responds with a forearm. Ray escapes the ring, trips Viper up and drags her outside. Ray returns to the ring and quickly hits a tope. Viper returns fire with a hard bodyslam onto the entrance ramp.

Viper throws Ray back into the ring but gets caught in a surprise inside cradle for a two-count. Viper hits her Michinoku Driver finisher for a long two. Viper is furious at the ref’s count and is caught by a Ray rollup for two. A superkick gets a two-count that maybe should have been a three. The fans boo the ref’s counting skills. Ray climbs to the top but is cut off. Viper climbs up the ropes herself for a superplex, but Ray escapes and hits a running Liger Bomb for another long two. Ray attempts her Gory Bomb finisher. Viper escapes and locks in the Viper Vice. Ray ducks the Rainmaker and hits the Gory Bomb for the three-count and another successful defence.

Winner: Kay Lee Ray

They tried their best to make it an epic encounter, whilst working within the same time-frame as nearly every other match in the show’s entire run. If they’d been allowed an extra five-to-ten minutes to really build to the finish then they could have easily had a great match. All things considered, they still had a good one. You would assume that this is the last match involving the women’s roster of the series. If the show does somehow return then you would assume either Ray’s rivalry with Bea Priestley will be the main feud going forward, since Ray pinned Viper in the original title decider, eliminated her last in the entire roster’s battle royal, and defeated her one-on-one in this show. I would have personally built the division around a face Viper, but that’s just me. I would also have allowed the women more than a single twenty-second post-match interview, but that’s also just me. Two and a half cocky pigeons waiting for the very last second to fly away from an oncoming white van out of five.

We’re back from the break and Stu Bennett stands up from his announcing position to announce the rules for the following match he called the Buzzer Battle. Two men will start. Instead of there being timed intervals for the next designated entrant, Bennett will decide in his own time when he wants more people to enter the contest, and will indicate that decision by pressing his buzzer at his announce position. Upon that signal, two more competitors enter and the match will become a tag team match. This will continue until all entrants have entered the match, with an equal number assigned to each team. During this portion of the contest the tag team match will be contested under elimination rules. Once there are only eight competitors remaining then the match will turn into a battle royal.

It’s a complicated set up, but it’s basically a combination of the Survivor Series, War Games, the Royal Rumble, and tourneo cibernetico. Whilst it’s derivative, there are enough variations within its derivations to make it feel unique. The name does make it sound like a game show hosted by Ben Shepard, but maybe that’s the point.

WOS Championship #1 Contender/Buzzer Battle

Our first two entrants make their entrance and the match begins…

Robbie X vs. Kip Sabian

Robbie and Kip compete over who gets to pose to the cameras. Sabian knocks Robbie down with a shoulder tackle. X replies with a springboard armdrag, a lucha armdrag in the corner, and a cradle for two. Sabian hits a leg lariat, snap mare, and a knee to the back. X evades a Sabian charge, hits a hip toss and follows through with a cartwheel dropkick. Standing moonsault gets two. Sabian backdrops X out of the ring and hits a springboard enziguri to X on the apron. Sabian holds the cravat whilst Bennett decides to add two new entrants to the mix.

Robbie X & Stevie Boy vs. Kip Sabian & BT Gunn

The tag team of Gunn and Stevie are saddened at being forced in opposite teams as X hits a dropkick on Sabian for a two. X tags in Stevie, but Sabian quickly runs to his own corner and tags in Gunn. Bennett is greatly amused at this situation and ponders if Gunn and Stevie will even be willing to team up after this match. They grapple on the mat. Stevie dodges most of Gunn’s strikes and the two shake hands after a stand-off. Bennett has had enough of this sportsmanship and hits the buzzer.

Robbie X, Stevie Boy & Liam Slater vs. Kip Sabian, BT Gunn & Iestyn Rees

The tag team champions hug in delight at being put together. Gunn and Stevie continue to be unable to get any advantage on the other because they know each other too well. Gunn hits a hip toss and Rees tags himself into the match. Stevie ducks a clothesline but runs straight into a boot. Sabian tags in and continues the beating. Stevie Boy fights back but gets an elbow to the back of the head for two. Sabian tags in Rees who is sent into the corner after a Stevie flying headscissors. The fans chant for Robbie X to return to the ring. Rees blocks a monkey flip attempt. Stevie goes for a huracanrana, but Rees holds on and walks to his own corner. Sabian tags in and they hit their powerbomb/top rope neckbreaker combo. Sabian, just to be a dick, tags in Gunn to insist that he score the pin on his partner. Gunn is having none of it so Sabian tags back in and…

Stevie Boy is eliminated

A graphic is used to indicate every elimination as the match progresses. Sabian bad-mouths Gunn and gives him a slap. Gunn returns fire with a superkick. Rees hits a short powerbomb on Gunn. Sabian and Rees are fed up with their partner’s belligerence, force Gunn to get tagged in and allow Slater to pin him and even up the teams…

BT Gunn is eliminated

Slater evades Sabian with some classic World of Sport moves as Bennett hits the buzzer again…

Robbie X, Liam Slater & Grado vs. Kip Sabian, Iestyn Rees & Sha Samuels

The two new entrants trade insults during their entrance and both quickly tag into the match. Grado ducks a clothesline and hits a series of punches and a bionic elbow. Rees and Sabian attack Slater and X on the apron and Samuels takes advantage of the confusion with a clothesline as we take a break, and this becomes the first match to carry over a second segment…

Back from the break and Rees tags in, punishing Grado with some clubbing blows. Sabian tags in and Rees attacks Slater. Sabian beats on Grado some more before tagging in Samuels. Samuels gets in on this charging thing and knocks down Robbie X. Bennett is enjoying the beating Grado is suffering too much for SoCal Val’s liking and she hits the buzzer on Bennett’s behalf. Grado’s regular tag partner sprints to the ring to help him out…

Robbie X, Liam Slater, Grado & British Bulldog Jr. vs. Kip Sabian, Iestyn Rees, Sha Samuels & CJ Banks

Samuels stands in front of Grado to mock Bulldog. Some more punches to Grado, but he mouths off for too long leaving him open to a desperation cutter from Grado. Sabian and Bulldog tag in. Bulldog sends the tag champs into each other in the corner. Bulldog hits a back suplex on Sabian for two. Sabian hits an inverted atomic drop and Rees follows up with a flying shoulder tackle. Grado returns and hits the champs with clotheslines. Rees throws Grado to the outside where the continue to brawl. Bulldog lifts Sabian up for a running powerslam but throws him to the outside right onto Rees and Grado. The ref has had enough of this chaos and DQs all four of them…

Grado, British Bulldog Jr., Kip Sabian, and Iestyn Rees are eliminated

Bennett blames Val for all this whilst trying to understand if the four men were counted out or DQed. He clarifies that it was both. Well, that clears things up. Robbie X surprises Banks with a handspring elbow that looks like it fell a bit short. X tags in Slater who hits Banks with an axhandle whilst Banks was attempting to unmask X. Bennett was fed up of Shane talking so hits the buzzer again. I’m sure there are people who would hit the buzzer for that reason more frequently than if it gave them orgasmic pleasure. Adam Maxtead enters but is confused that a counterpart has not appeared beside him. Nathan Cruz attacks him from behind. Bennett says that Cruz isn’t signed to a contract after losing a Loser Leaves Town ladder match a couple of weeks ago, but admires Cruz’s ruthlessness in taking the scheduled entrant’s place and allows it to happen…

Robbie X, Liam Slater & Adam Maxtead vs. Sha Samuels, CJ Banks & Nathan Cruz

Cruz quickly tags into the match and hits a slingshot back suplex on Slater for two. Val calls Bennett a buzzer bully and Bennett responds that she has been pushing his buzzer for a long time. I have no idea if this is harassment or flirting from Bennet, or if what being said is figurative or literal. Which is 2018 in a nutshell, really.

Slater rolls Cruz up for two and tags in Maxtead. Maxtead hits a couple of clotheslines, a dropkick, and a powerslam. Cruz runs away and tags in Samuels, who also received a Maxtead dropkick. Maxtead then stupidly goes back to Cruz in the corner and is quickly attacked by Samuels. Samuels hits a bodyslam and tags in Banks as Bennett hits the buzzer again…

Robbie X, Liam Slater, Adam Maxtead & Justin Sysum vs. Sha Samuels, CJ Banks, Nathan Cruz & Crater

The two new entrants have a brief face off before making their way to their respective corners. Samuels, Cruz, and Banks continue to bully Maxtead in the corner. Bennett makes his final buzzer bash of the match and we’re officially down to the final ten entrants. Once two men are eliminated it will become a battle royal. It’s a surprise debut for the face team…

Robbie X, Liam Slater, Adam Maxtead, Justin Sysum & Moose vs. Sha Samuels, CJ Banks, Nathan Cruz, Crater & Gabriel Kidd

Moose is given the big solo entrance as SoCal does her attempt at a Scottish brogue by declaring there is a “Moose loose aboot this WOS hoose” and we all cringe. Shane references Impact Wrestling and Moose has the fans doing that “toot” thing. Samuels taunts Moose but is quickly knocked down after Maxtead hits a flying elbow and tags in Moose. Samuels slaps Kidd to tag him in, but Cruz then tags himself in straight afterwards. Cruz pushes Kidd into Moose to fall victim to a series of Moose punches. Cruz hoped the distraction would help, but receives a series punches himself. Moose knocks both men down then tags in X for a Rocket Launcher crossbody onto Cruz for two. It all goes crazy now with everyone brawling in and out of the ring, except for Crater standing in his corner. At least some people still follow the rules.

Slater hits a tope onto everyone except Crater, X, and Cruz. Gabriel Kidd hits a top rope somersault plancha onto the mass outside. X runs the ropes for his own dive only to be caught with a flying knee from Cruz, who follows up with a slingshot Codebreaker to eliminate the longest lasting entrant…

Robbie X is eliminated

Cruz tags in Crater and throws Slater into the ring for him. Crater hits a charging avalanche, inverted crucifix bomb and a splash for the final three-count of the match…

Liam Slater is eliminated

Sirens ring to indicate we are entering the battle royal portion as we take another ad break whilst Slater requires assistance to leave the arena…

8-Man Battle Royal: Sha Samuels vs. CJ Banks vs. Adam Maxtead vs. Nathan Cruz vs. Justin Sysum vs. Crater vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Moose

Crater stands in the corner whilst everyone else is fighting amongst themselves. Cruz and Maxtead tumble out through the middle ropes. They hit each other with clotheslines. Back in the ring, Gabriel Kidd is eliminated by Samuels.

Samuels and Banks hold Sysum in the corner for a Crater avalanche. They then hold Sysum on the mat for a Crater splash. Before they can eliminate Sysum, Moose knocks Banks down with a clothesline and Samuels with a bicycle kick. Sysum rolls out of the ring as Moose and Crater face off. Before the two biggest entrants can fight, though, Samuels and Banks recover and attack Moose. Cruz and Maxtead return to the ring with Cruz in control. Maxtead ducks a clothesline, hits one of his own and Nathan Cruz is eliminated.

Cruz is yet again the sore loser and returns to the ring to throw out Maxtead and, with an inexplicable rule used in battle royals whenever it is convenient, and ignored when inconvenient, that means Adam Maxtead is eliminated.

Bennett is finally exasperated by Cruz’s actions and insists security eject Cruz from the building. Moose hits Samuels and Banks with a double clothesline, a charging forearm to Banks in one corner, a dropkick to Samuels in the opposite one, and a low dropkick to the still downed Banks. Samuels hits a boot at the charging Moose, but ill-advisedly climbs to the second rope. Moose hits a dropkick, knocking the ‘East End Butcher’ over the top rope and Sha Samuels is eliminated.

Moose grabs the still groggy Banks, throws him over the top and CJ Banks is eliminated.

Moose and Crater trade forearms. Moose runs the ropes and is knocked down with a shoulder block. Moose nips up to his feet and rocks Crater with a dropkick. Moose charges but Crater evades and the momentum means Moose is eliminated.

Crater celebrates but Sysum returns to the ring having not been thrown over the top. Sysum dodges Crater in the corner, hits a series of forearms, but can’t whip Crater into the corner. Sysum tries for a crossbody but Crater catches him. Sysum escapes only to be flattened when attempting a bodyslam. Sysum tries to bring himself up to his feet as Crater watches on at his prey. An attempted avalanche in the corner is blocked by a Sysum boot. Crater catches Sysum’s feet when he tries it again and grabs Sysum by the throat for a chokeslam. Sysum leaps over and completes a bodyslam on Crater. An exhausted Crater rests against the ropes and Sysum forces him over the top and out of the ring. Crater is eliminated.

Winner and WOS Championship #1 Contender (which he technically was already): Justin Sysum

Roving reporter Rachel Stringer interviews Sysum to find out how he feels. Sysum admits it was touch-and-go at the end but promises to give the WOS audience a champion they can be proud of in the final episode’s championship match.

Will Ospreay, Martin Kirby, and Joe Hendry weren’t involved in the Buzzer Battle, but I doubt that’ll be brought up at this late stage as an explanation for Cruz’s entrance. That is really the only major complaint I have, and that’s more the stupidity of the Cruz stipulation, as this whole three-segment match is the best thing WOS Wrestling has done during its entire run. Couple that with a good-for-what-they-were-given Women’s title match and, yes, WOS Wrestling have finally provided an episode of wrestling television that I would recommend that people watch with no real hesitation.

Everyone played their roles well, stories within stories were told, setting up future matches, and they kept a consistent rhythm that left no dull periods. The fact that the timings of the intervals fell to the whims of Bennett in commentary (and that causing tension in the commentary booth) was a clever touch, added an extra layer to a well-told story, and meant that none of the nerdier end of the wrestling fan spectrum can complain about inconsistent intervals as they do during most years’ Royal Rumbles.

No one left the match looking weaker, although Crater could have really done without losing both matches in the previous two weeks’ episodes to make Sysum’s victory over him mean more. Moose oozed star power with his surprise appearance and for the brief time he was in the match. He would be a welcome addition to the roster if a second season did happen. In many ways, Moose showed up some of the weaknesses to the way Sysum has been presented both before and during this match. Sysum received the “Roman’s sleeping” treatment between Cruz and Maxtead re-entering the match and Moose doing all the hard work in getting rid of Samuels, Banks, and weakening Crater in time for the “real” hero to gain a victory that may not be as justly earned as the bookers think.

That booking decision was mostly made up for, though, with Sysum and Crater doing some classic Hogan-Earthquake sequences to finish off the match, and whilst Sysum said nothing of great originality when interviewed by Rachel Stringer, I’ll take a white meat face promo over no face promo at all.

Three and a half attempts by fellow dog owners to keep their polite conversation going as their pets’ playful activities take a socially uncomfortable turn for the sexual out of five.

NEXT WEEK: In the season finale, Grado & Bulldog challenge tag champs Rees & Sabian and Rampage defends the WOS Championship against Sysum.

Final thoughts:

Nothing much to add, but what I will say is that before I watched WOS Wrestling I caught most of the final episode of Ninja Warrior UK. The production values and editing were fairly similar to way WOS is produced, so you can understand why they have gone for the look (not really an issue) and production style (a big issue) that they have used for this show.

What Ninja Warrior UK DID include, however, were name graphics for every entrant, and short interviews before many of their entries to create an emotional connection for the audience before they ran the obstacle course. So why they haven’t bothered with that for WOS continues to baffle me.

Inspired by Moose’s appearance, this week’s classic WOS match involves another foreign talent, as the great Mark “Rollerball” Rocco attempts to regain his Heavy Middleweight championship against talented young Japanese talent Fuji Yamada. Yamada was on his learning excursion before returning to his native promotion of New Japan to become, arguably, the greatest junior heavyweight wrestler of all time: Jushin Thunder Liger. Rocco himself had plenty of success in Japan as Black Tiger and is rightly regarded as one of the great wrestlers of his generation, every bit as talented and intense in the ring as the more frequently lauded Dynamite Kid. Rocco had to retire in 1991 after a serious heart issue was discovered by doctors. He essentially left the scene entirely for years, emigrating to Tenerife. He has thankfully become a more public figure again in recent years, acting as head coach in TNA’s UK version of Tough Enough, British Boot Camp, and recently made a cameo appearance in the British wrestling comedy film Walk Like a Panther.

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