After its cancellation and removal from British television in 1986, World Of Sport Wrestling returns with a special event for New Years Eve 2016. A new era in British wrestling has begun…
(World of Sport Championship)
Grado was out first to a big pop, possibly too big given the small crowd (piped in?). On commentary, Jim Ross mentioned Grado’s appearances for Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling, putting the show on the same level as some of its international competitors.
Dave Mastiff was sold as the big heel from the moment he interrupted Grado’s opening promo, and he legitimately looks like a beast. You want to boo this man from the moment you see him, as the crowd did.
Mastiff had control of the bout for the vast majority of it, Grado making sporadic attempts to strike back. Lots of big hits, both men being portrayed as heavyweights. Nice throwback to the kind of talents who used to compete in World of Sport Wrestling 30-50 years ago.
Commentary sold Mastiff as the most terrifying guy on television, and nothing looks more scary than watching him come off the second rope for a senton bomb. Luckily, Grado was able to move out of the way, and the commentators mentioned how Grado had “just saved his own life.” Grad made a good babyface comeback, and the crowd were into it.
The comeback was short-lived though, as Sha Samuels took advantage of a referee distraction to knock Grado off the top rope, allowing Mastiff to crush Grado into the turnbuckles and pin him for the count of three. Dave Mastiff becomes the first World of Sport Wrestling Champion for 30 years.
Decent match, nothing technical, just a show of brute force from Mastiff with some decent babyface moments for Grado. A good backstage segment followed between both men afterwards, where they got into it a little, and it all just felt very British, which is good.
‘Delicious’ Danny Hope vs. CJ Banks
vs. Kenny Williams vs. Sam Bailey
Beyond a little silliness at the start, when the four men were attempting to jump and reach the briefcase, this was a very well worked match.
Banks and Hope were fighting over a ladder at ringside very early on, with Williams taking out Sam Bailey. Eventually he turned his attention to the two men outside the ring, and soon after he was the only man standing. He soon followed up with a beautiful leap over to the top rope to the outside, wiping out all three of his opponents. Even better, he landed on his feet! Best spot of the entire show, and exactly what the mainstream television audience needed to see if it was going to get hooked on professional wrestling again.
When Williams eventually got taken down, Alex Shane chipped in with “He just killed Kenny!” Great comment, made me laugh, and Shane was full of great lines throughout the entire show.
Williams, who was the star of the match and whom it was all based around, unhooked the briefcase after surviving a tussle between all four men at the top of two ladders. They used their time well, and worked a very fast match, lots of good athleticism throughout. Kenny Williams looked like a damn star, and the children watching this at home with their parents will have loved his performance.
As pointed out by the commentary team, this was the first ever all female match in the history of World of Sport Wrestling. It didn’t connect to the story told across the card, so in many ways the match was somewhat pointless, but in 2016 it was important to get some female athletes on the card if this was to be a one-off return for the company.
Unfortunately, it told a very similar story to the opening match between Grado and Dave Mastiff. Alexis Rose was the babyface that the crowd could get behind, and Viper was the beastly villain who could crush her opponent easily. In many ways, repeating what we saw in Grado versus Mastiff was rather unnecessary. They did it well enough though, with Rose’s attempts at a comeback constantly denied by the much larger Viper.
Rose’s dive off the top turnbuckles seemed a little short, but editing appeared to save it. Viper ultimately got the win with a brutal senton, which looked like it could break many a rib.
Rampage & Ashton Smith
Joe Coffey and Mark Coffey
Ashton Smith was isolated by the Coffey brothers early on, but Rampage was able to get himself tagged in once he took a cheap shot at Mark Coffey when the referee wasn’t looking. From that moment on, Rampage dominated Mark Coffey with his superior physical strength. Coffey was just getting beaten up for the longest time.
Every attempt Mark Coffey made to get to his brother, he was stopped by Rampage and Smith. Eventually, he was able to run Smith off the ropes and hit a hard kick across his torso, allowing him to hit the hot tag that the crowd went nuts for.
Rampage and Joe Coffey looked like legit heavyweights as they battled in the ring. Rampage was eventually able to restrain him, and Ashton Smith delivered some great trash talk to him, knowing he couldn’t get at him. Smith went for the super kick, but Coffey ducked, and Smith took out Rampage. Both Coffey’s teamed up to take out Smith, and then pin him for the three count.
This was a very good tag team wrestling match. No glitz, no glamour, just old school wrestling with the bad guys beating up the good guys, until their eventual demise. It worked damn well, and caps off a great year for Joe Coffey in particular. You’d be hard pressed to find a recent televised tag match that was better than this without featuring any high flying, and the finish was absolutely great.
If World of Sport Wrestling returns as a weekly television series and touring brand, you’ve got to assume that the Coffey brothers will have tag team championships put on them very quickly.
Jim Ross and Alex Shane put both men over as the match started, and this felt like a big deal.
There was a nice spot when Gibson was on the outside, caught El Ligero in the air, then swung him around into the announce table. Unfortunately, it seemed as though ITV cut the impact shot out, but the moment still worked. From that point on, Gibson dominated for a long time. There was a lot of technical wrestling that followed, certainly more than any other match on the card, and it was great to see. The crowd loved it too, even with the piped in cheers.
Speaking of the crowd, there was a lot of singing and chants throughout. The singing proved, once again, that the UK crowd behaviour at recent WWE shows was not attempts to steal the show and put themselves over – that’s just how British people behave at sporting events.
A strong kick to the head put the match back in El Ligero’s favour, and there was a lovely flip over the top rope to the outside, which wiped out Gibson. Loved Gibson’s counter to the wheelbarrow attempt from El Ligero, but it was all for nothing, as El Ligero soon got the win.
This was a superb match, worked at a great pace, and the live audience were really into it. Both men put in great performances, and they had great chemistry with each other. It was a great example of what modern wrestling is, and for those watching at home for the first time, it surely will have made them want to see more.
Sha Samuels vs. Johnny Moss vs. El Ligero vs. Grado
vs. Joe Coffey vs. Mark Coffey vs. Kenny Williams vs Davey Boy Smith Jnr.
(No.1 Contender Battle Royal for the WOS Wrestling Championship)
All the winners of the previous matches (male participants only) came together for a battle royal to determine who would battle Dave Mastiff in the main event, and get a shot at his new championship as a result. Sha Samuels and Johnny Moss were thrown in too, with Davey Boy Smith Jnr a surprise entrant.
The appearance of Davey Boy Smith Jnr was huge, and a genuine moment of shock. “Mark out moment,” if you may. Why he went on the get eliminated though, I have no idea, as surely using the son of The British Bulldog in the main event would have been the icing on the cake for this special event?
Either way, after many quick eliminations, it came down to Grado versus Samuels and Moss, with the winner obvious to all. Samuels was eliminated after a sweet Grado Cutter, and Moss was disposed of when Grado was able to pull the top rope down as Moss ran at him, causing his opponent to eliminate himself.
Not a whole lot to say about this contest, as it was rather quick (or felt that way, at least), but the appearance of Davey Boy Smith Jnr was a genuine highlight, and the final eliminations were done well, as was the beat down of Grado at the end. Ultimately, it was all designed to set up the main event rematch between Grado and Mastiff.
Dave Mastiff (C)
(World of Sport Championship)
Better than their first contest at the opening of the show, and Mastiff cut a great promo at the start, putting himself over as a heel even more than he already had across the rest of the show. He handled the annoying “What?” chants well too. Shame those chants showed up on this show, to be honest, but it wasn’t for long, and Mastiff had everything under control. Also, he looked damn good coming out with the championship belt.
Medics tried to stop Grado making his way to the ring, following his beatdown at the end of the Battle Royal. Mastiff took the opportunity to attack him on the ramp, and continued to destroy him as he got him into the ring to begin the match. Back on the outside rather quickly, Mastiff hit a huge splash off the steps onto Grado’s legs, which looked wonderful.
Grado looked done for, having landed no offence during the match, and so Mastiff tee’d him up for a cannonball in the corner, but missed. Grad quickly hit a cutter, and won the pinfall. At the second attempt in one night, Grado became the World of Sport Champion.
The match told good story, but having Grado beat Mastiff with one move was weak, and made Mastiff look like a chump. Even worse, it made Grado appear to be a fluke champion, winning his title through sheer luck rather than ability. That said, the show was designed as a one off event, and having Grado win how he did was part of the story they were telling. It worked, I just wish we’d had a more competitive main event.
A triumphant return to television for World of Sport Wrestling, which will no doubt end up being the most watched UK broadcast of wrestling in years. Its audience reach is massive compared to the likes of WWE, and with TNA losing their television deal from 2017 onwards (at the time of writing), there’s a real opportunity for this new show to step up and become a big player in its home country.
The broadcast felt very much like a Saturday night ITV show, which is no bad thing because that’s exactly what it was, but I did feel like my ears had been under assault for two hours – the volume of the crowd seemed just a little over the top, but I get what they were going for.
The wrestling on show was good too, particularly the ladder match, the tag match, and the El Ligero/Zack Gibson singles bout. There are some people on this show who can genuinely become household names in the United Kingdom, and judging from social media chatter, the show has already got people wanting to go watch some live events across the country, which is just great.
The all important viewership number will be what determines if World of Sport Wrestling will become a regular weekly series for ITV, but if it was based purely on the quality of the event detailed here, then it should be given a full series run immediately.
Match of the Night
El Ligero vs. Zack Gibson
World Of Sport Wrestling Overall Score