Mike Reviews – Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge – Episode 1

Alright Squirrels!

Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge was something put together by NWA: Hammerlock back in 2000, with the idea being that it’s 8 wrestlers from Britain and 8 from America in a big tournament. I wasn’t actually able to watch it back in the day as it was shown on ITV 2 and this was prior to Freeview and whatnot, so if you were like my family didn’t have satellite or cable telly, then you were stuffed.

Someone has uploaded it to YouTube though, so I’ll review an episode of it this week and if ya’ll enjoy it then I might return to it at some point. There are only six episodes I think. If you want to watch along with me then you can do by clicking right HERE.

The event was taped in Southampton on the 27th of February 2000

Calling the action are Mike Carlson and Mark Webster. I believe Carlson now does NFL punditry over here in the UK for the BBC.

The wacky intro video with a CGI Lion and Eagle doing BATTEL with one another needs to be seen to be truly believed. Wow, I think you got better graphics on the Super Nintendo.

So the way this seems to work is that you have Blocks, not unlike the G1 in New Japan, where everyone wrestles one another and then the winners of those blocks advance.

Opening Match
Group A
The Vigilante Johnny Moss Vs David Young

Moss is pretty lean here but by the end of the 00’s he was an absolute beast. Young may well be known to those who used to watch NWA:TNA in it’s early days, as he teamed up with Elix Skipper for a bit as The Diamonds in the Rough. He has two Title belts with him here, which I’m guessing were from NWA: Wildside as he was wrestling there at the time? One of them outright looks like the WCW TV Title from the late 90’s.

The match is Five minutes long and you get 3 points for winning within the time limit and 2 points for winning via referees decision. Moss is the babyface here of course, being that he’s British an’ all, and he controls things in the early going with holds and such until Young gets a little bit of heat. Obviously you don’t get much of a chance to tell a story with just five minutes, so it’s really just an exhibition of moves for the most part. Eventually Moss comes off the top with a diving head butt just as the time expires. The referee decides he’s done enough to win though, so that’s 2 points.

WINNER BY REFEREE DECISION: JOHNNY MOSS (2)
RATING: *1/2

It wasn’t bad but there’s only so much you can do with the time given

David Young gets a point as well for going the distance at least, so the current standings in Group A are Moss with 2, Young with 1, whilst Majik and Ozzie Rulz are yet to wrestle.

David Young is with Sophie Blake backstage, and he’s not happy at losing the referees decision.

Match Two
Group B
Gary Steele Vs Chris “Sinn” Champion

Steele was actually NWA Heavyweight Champ at one stage believe it or not, but was never brought in by TNA to compete for it. I think he mostly got it because he had legit shooter credentials and thus could be relied upon if someone tried something. Champion of course infamously wore Yellow Face for a while in WCW as Yoshi Kwan, but he’s doing a Crow Sting styled gimmick here with the white face paint and dark attire. He looks a bit like The Void from the Oceanic region on TEW actually.

Steele has his way with Sinn in the early going, out wrestling him, as we see the commissioner has come out to watch the match. Sinn does a good job riling the crowd up, and they seem to be behind Steele, chanting for him quite a bit. I don’t know what it is about ITV post the original World of Sport era, but they love editing in constant crowd shots during matches and going to wacky camera angles. They did it with the World of Sport reboot as well. Just shoot the chuffing wrestling eh lads? Anyway, Steele mostly squashes Sinn here, but the referee decides that Sinn wins for some reason.

WINNER BY REFEREE DECISION: SINN (2)
RATING: DUD

I think they want us to think that the referee made a bad call in giving it to Sinn, but it kind of makes a joke of the whole proceedings if the referee can award a match to a guy who quite literally got clobbered for the whole match. This has to be an angle of some kind with that ref eventually being revealed to be dodgy or something

Sinn is now on 2 points, Steele has 1, whilst Tank and Rukkus are yet to wrestle

Rick Michaels cuts a promo on the Kung Fu Kid.

Match Three
Group D
Rick Michaels Vs Kung Fu Kid

Michaels used to tag with David Young as one half of Bad Attitude. He looks a bit like Hugh Morrus actually. Kung Fu Kid would appear to be Dean Champion, a wrestler from Kent who debuted in 1997. Kung Fu Kid would also appear to have a valet with him too, although she is never named. We get a quick video package from Kung Fu prior to the match where he talks about how his Kung Fu training has given him inner strength that will see him go on to victory.

Michaels easily blocks Kung Fu’s kicks early on and works him over, even mocking him with a crane kick pose. Michaels looks decent actually, getting some good power moves and showing off some Heel personality. Kung Fu eventually makes the comeback with kicks, throat thrusts and a flying head scissors (You know, like you normally see in a Kung Fu film). Kung Fu gets a dive to the outside but then stupidly taunts back inside and that allows Michaels to get a Razor’s Edge and Frogsplash for the three. Serves Kung Fu right if you ask me.

WINNER: RICK MICHAELS (3)
RATING: *1/2

Michaels looked good, Kung Fu Kid less so

Michaels cuts a promo post-match, getting cheap heat by saying the Brits are going down. Decent promo

Rick Michaels is now top of Group D with 3 points, whilst Kung Fu Kid has zero, with Paul Vault and Kory Williams still to wrestle.

Match Four
Group A
Majik Vs Ozzie Rulz

Majik is from Coventry and would wrestle for 1PW quite a bit when that company came into existence. He’s dressed a bit like Chris Hemsworth’s Thor during his entrance. Ozzie was trained by Bill Dundee and has defected from his native land of Australia to do battle for the USA. Maybe that means we’ll get a stirring game of Knifey/Spooney before the match starts?

Majik is pretty gangly, but Ozzie goes up light for him, meaning he’s able to deliver a slam before following up with a rana. Ozzie Rulz is pretty good actually, with decent execution on his moves, a good look and some charisma to boot. I don’t think he was in any danger of becoming a big star in the WWF, but he certainly could have done something in the WCW mid-card, especially as they were running shows in Australia in 2000. He shrugs off Majik’s attacks and wins with a sling shot leg drop.

WINNER: OZZIE RULZ (3)
RATING: *
Mostly a one-sided match, but Ozzie looked good

Ozzie is now top of Group A with 3 points, Johnny Moss has 2, David Young has 1 and Majik is left bringing up the rear with 0.

Later on, it’s Psycho Steve, who appears to be talking to himself backstage. I’m sure it’s a worthwhile discussion.

Match Five
Group B
Rukkus Vs Tank

Rukkus has a pretty sparse CageMatch profile, but it looks like he worked for NWA: Wildside for a couple of years before leaving the business. He looks like a cross between D-Von Dudley and Jay Lethal. Tank is a big bloke from Liverpool who likes to bulldoze guys with power moves. He looks a bit like one of The Harris Twins if they let themselves go a bit.

Rukkus draws some decent heat from the crowd and controls things in the early stages, wearing Tank down with multiple chin locks. Lads, you’re only wrestling for five minutes, did you really need to fill it with rest holds? There are also some weird moments where Tank has Rukkus pinned and the referee won’t count for whatever reason. Rukkus heads up for a Pump Splash from the second rope and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: RUKKUS (3)
RATING: DUD

Pretty awful match and the refereeing was just odd

Rukkus now tops Group B with 3 points, whilst Sinn has 2, Steele has 1 and Tank has zero

Sophie interviews Rukkus backstage, who says he will be going to the top as he is a superior athlete.

Main Event
Group C
The Prodigy (TJ Gray) Vs Psycho Steve

Prodigy would appear to be the lone babyface amongst the American contingent. He’s got the long flowing blond hair in a ponytail and looks a bit like Stunning Steve crossed with Jerry Lynn. Steve appears to still be getting work on the British Indies and looks a bit like Ian Rotten crossed with Balls Mahoney.

Despite being a babyface, and wrestling as such, Prodigy still gets booed at points. Both men take a tumble to the floor following Prodigy’s babyface shine, where Steve takes a body slam on the floor. That’s a pretty sizable bump to take for a show like this I must say. Something tells me Steve liked him some Cactus Jack in his early years. Eventually both men continue fighting and it appears to a be a double count out.

The commissioner (That’s literally his name) joins us to give a verdict on the result, saying that Prodigy hit the ground first when they both tumbled outside, so for that reason Psycho Steve is given the victory. Man, some of the finishes on this show have been atrocious.

WINNER: PSYCHO STEVE (3)
RATING: DUD

They don’t show us the standings following that, but I’m guessing Steve got given 3 points instead of 2 because he technically won within the time limit?

In Conclusion

I can kind of see why this didn’t catch on, as it was full of the same terrible production decisions that held back the new World of Sport and some of the booking was pretty awful. Still, if you dug it then I might revisit it down the line.

If you’d like to get in touch to suggest shows to review, ask questions, share your love of those wonderful Royal Blue Toffees, or just generally chat the grapple game, then feel free to hit me up at [email protected]