World of Sport – December 31, 2016: I Need to See HHH’s Face After he Watches This

World of Sport Wrestling
Date: December 31, 2016
Location: MediaCity Studios, Manchester, England
Commentators: Jim Ross, Alex Shane

This has been a big request so let’s knock it out. World of Sport was a big British wrestling promotion for years back in the 60s through the 80s and I’m almost certain this is only the same in name only. The interesting thing is this would be the reason WWE launched the whole UK tournament. It should be fun to see what they were so afraid of so let’s get to it.

This was taped back in November so things could have already changed.

The arena looks good. Small, but good.

World of Sport Title: Dave Mastiff vs. Grado

The title is vacant coming in and yes it’s that Grado. JR describes Grado as the British version of Dusty Rhodes. The British Dream? Before the match, Grado says he’s going to create history tonight but Mastiff, who probably weighs about 350lbs and is flanked by two fellow heels, cut him off. There’s very little in the way of introductions here as it seems we’re supposed to just know who these people are. Thankfully JR identifies them as Sha Samuels and Johnny Moss because graphics aren’t available.

Mastiff slams him down so Grado shakes his knees ala Rich Swann (I’m not comparing him to Dusty) and hits a Bionic Elbow. Now they’re calling Grado the modern day Big Daddy and we hit the clubbing forearms to Grado’s back. Mastiff misses a middle rope backsplash and some splashes in the corner set up the Wee Boot (JR didn’t seem to know the name). Samuels shoves Grado off the top though and Mastiff Cannonballs him for the pin at 5:35.

Rating: D. Wait what? They start the show off with a title match, don’t tell us much of anything about these people or how they got here and the match doesn’t even break six minutes? This was really disappointing and Grado came off as more of a comedy guy than a serious title contender, though the fans seemed to really like him.

Grado gets the hero’s reception, but again I’d like to point out that it wasn’t even six minutes long.

Interviewer Rachel talks to General Manager Mr. Beasley, who is really happy to be here. Grado comes in to complain but Mastiff and company crash the interview to celebrate.

Back from a break with Mr. Beasley saying what happened in the title match wasn’t fair. There will be a battle royal tonight and Mastiff will defend against the winner at the end of the show.

Video on some World of Sport legends with some older wrestlers talking about Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki. It’s amazing how small the ring was back then.

Rollerball Rocco, Johnny Saint and Marty Jones (trained William Regal) are here. That’s always a smart move.

Kenny Williams vs. Sam Bailey vs. CJ Banks vs. Delicious Danny

Ladder match to qualify for the battle royal which is a qualifying match for the World Title match. Williams looks to be a skateboarder, Banks is a heel and Danny is a cowboy. That’s about it for the character development we can get during the entrances. It’s a slugout to start and I’m going to have a really hard time remembering who all of these people are.

Williams takes over to start and dropkicks everyone else down, including dropkicking the ladders into their faces. Bailey dives onto all three but the ladder is knocked over, leaving Danny and Kenny to slug it out. A German suplex brings Kenny off the ladder (Shane: “He just killed Kenny!”) but it’s time for various people to pull each other off the ladder over and over.

Danny gets caught in the ladder as Shane declares this the weirdest DIY show he’s ever seen. With all three down, Danny dives onto everyone at the same time. For absolutely no logical reason, here’s another ladder and it’s a four way climb. Kenny knocks the rest down and wins at 6:48.

Rating: C-. As I said in the first match: that’s it? This was a ladder match for the sake of having a ladder match with nothing especially entertaining or interesting with four people I know next to nothing about. This is starting to look like any given indy card and that’s not exactly a good thing.

More legends stuff.

Alexis Rose vs. Viper

Rose is a pretty standard looking female wrestler while Viper is build more like Nia Jax. Viper shoves her around to start but Rose does some nice spinning around to avoid a charge and gets in a bicycle kick. The bigger lady runs her over and grabs a cravate, followed by a seated crossbody for two. Alexis comes back with a few kicks and a high crossbody for two as we start looking at the crowd. A middle rope moonsault misses though and Viper hits a running backsplash for the pin at 4:37.

Rating: C-. This was fine with a basic power vs. speed match. Neither was anything special but for a pretty basic indy show, it’s all you can ask for. This was announced as the first ever women’s match in the promotion’s history and if that’s the case, I’ve seen far worse options over the years.

Mastiff is annoyed at being accused of cheating.

Video on how big World of Sport used to be.

Ashton Smith/Rampage vs. Coffey Brothers

The Brothers are Joe and Mark and I’ve seen the former before. Mark and Ashton get things going with a pretty slow feeling out process. Coffey gets in a dropkick as commentary goes silent for a few seconds. A double underhook swing into a suplex gives Joe two (JR: “No decaf!”) but Rampage clotheslines Mark from the apron to take over.

The slow beatdown continues with Rampage holding a chinlock. Ashton comes back in for some trash talk but walks into a leg lariat, allowing the hot tag to Joe. Everything breaks down and Smith grabs a spinebuster on Joe with Mark diving in for a save. Smith superkicks his partner by mistake and Joe hits a discus lariat for the pin at 9:05.

Rating: C. Another completely watchable but absolutely nothing out of the ordinary match whatsoever. That’s the show in a nutshell: everything has been fine but that doesn’t mean it’s something worth watching. The brothers were a nice team and the fans seemed to be familiar with them which is always a perk.

Beasley says Mastiff will be defending tonight and there’s going to be a surprise in the battle royal.

El Ligero vs. Zack Gibson

Ligero is a luchador and Gibson is a big heel. Gibson takes him to the mat at the bell and goes for the arm, only to get caught in a hammerlock from Ligero. They head outside with Ligero’s hurricanrana being countered into an apron powerbomb to stay on the arm. The announcers do a good job of mentioning how important the technicians were to World of Sport as Gibson is wrestling a very similar style.

Ligero fights up and sends him outside for the required flip dive to take over again. Back in and Ligero hits a wheelbarrow faceplant for two but makes the mistake of trying again, resulting in a seated armbar. Not that it matters as Ligero makes the rope and hits a springboard tornado DDT for the pin at 8:30.

Rating: C+. Match of the night here as you had a good combination of styles here to keep both guys looking good. Gibson is much more in line with the traditional British wrestling style and Ligero is your pretty standard luchador. That made for an interesting match and the best psychology (read as almost the only psychology) of the night.

Rachel talks to the battle royal entrants, all of whom say what you would expect.

Battle Royal

Mark Coffey, Joe Coffey, El Ligero, Grado, Sha Samuels, Johnny Moss, Kenny Williams, ???

The winner gets a title shot later in the night and the mystery man isn’t here yet. Williams gets suplex slammed to start followed by a gorilla press for the first elimination. Samuels and Moss get rid of Ligero as well, leaving us with the two of them against the Coffeys while Grado, as in the only option to win at the moment, is down in the corner.

The two teams slug it out until a near miscommunication between the brothers result in a double elimination. We’re down to Samuels, Moss and Grado….and here’s Davey Boy Smith Jr. to complete the field. Now that works for a cool moment and an actual surprise. House is quickly cleaned and we get the delayed suplex as Smith gets to show off a bit.

Unfortunately he doesn’t actually eliminate anyone and even covers Moss after the powerslam. Moss and Samuels dump Smith, leaving Grado to get double teamed. That lasts all of a few seconds until a clothesline gets rid of Samuels and a low bridge dumps Moss to give Grado the win at 8:23.

Rating: D. So they go through the trouble of bringing Smith in and then have him be eliminated in all of two minutes after a few suplexes. The rest of the battle royal was a waste of time though as it was just a matter of time until we could get to the finish with Grado winning. It was only going to be him or the mystery man, making this a pretty solid waste of time for the most part.

Smith comes in for the post match save. Medics check on Grado as we go to our last break.

World of Sport Title: Dave Mastiff vs. Grado

The injured Grado is challenging. Before the bell, Samuels and Moss are ejected to make it an even match. After Mastiff runs his mouth a bit, Grado limps out until Dave chop blocks him from behind. Naturally NONE OF THAT is a DQ so the bell rings with Grado unable to stand. Mastiff works on the knee and sends Grado into the steps as this is already dragging less than two minutes in. The leg is wrapped around the ropes but Mastiff misses a charge and posts himself. Grado hits a quick cutter for the pin and the title at 3:37. That was his only offensive move of the match.

Rating: F. Oh good grief what was that? Mastiff beat Grado by cheating earlier and then loses because he slips on a banana peel in their rematch later in the night? That’s their big finish? You couldn’t have DAVEY BOY SMITH JR. win the title here instead? Grado isn’t all that interesting in the first place and now he’s the full on focus of this show. I’m not sure I get it either but I’m not British.

Overall Rating: D. And really, that could have been a lot lower. This was not a good show and most of that is due to the title stuff. I’m still not sure why I’m supposed to know who these people are (again, might have to do with me not being from England) but the promotion really didn’t do a good job of explaining them either. It’s a big mess and Grado is far more of a comedy guy who barely got in any offense. That’s really their best available option?

The rest of the show was watchable but it felt like there was a big checklist with each kind of match. You really could have called this anything else as there’s no connection to World of Sport, making this one heck of a reason for WWE to start a whole tournament and weekly UK show. They have a lot more to worry about from something like What Culture Pro Wrestling, which has far bigger names and is WAY more fun.

This show wasn’t terrible by any means and I’ve seen far, far worse things over the years. Really though, it’s unnecessary and feels like they just threw a famous name out there and hoped for the best. I wasn’t impressed and I wouldn’t watch again, but it’s miles better than some of these kinds of shows. If you’re in the mood for British wrestling though, check out Rev Pro or What Culture to actually be entertained.

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13 comments

  1. Greg says:

    WWE hasn’t started a UK promotion yet. He said if the tournament went well then they might start one.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Eh it’s WWE. If they can start something, they probably will.

    Ted Reply:

    No triple h said the goal was for a weekly show along the lines of 205 live. So yes that is the plan.

  2. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    Geez that sounds awful and makes you wonder if Vince or HHH have ever even heard of Rev Pro or the rest of the pro wrestling boom happening in the UK. It seems like WWE is reacting to name recognition alone which is deeply funny on a meta level.

    Milksword Reply:

    Also this show is on ITV, which is one of the biggest TV stations in the UK. Rev Pro, WCPW, etc. don’t even have TV slots.

  3. a0161613 says:

    Cheers for doing this.

    I saw the first match and was wholly unimpressed.

  4. Jimmyglass0 says:

    If you ever want to review more WCPW, let me know. Dont mind giving you access to my What Culture extra account so you can watch the shows and ppv more easily.

  5. Wrestlingenthusiast says:

    This ‘analysis’, along with the knee-jerk reaction to the Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg Survivor Series match, go a long way to exposing klunderbunker’s lack of sound judgement when it comes to booking and targeting a broader demographic.

    This show was a pilot broadcast on a Saturday afternoon on the second largest television station in the UK in terms of viewership. It did a good job of giving the audience a taste of various wrestling styles, characters and matchtypes, whilst providing an easy-to-follow narrative with a conclusion at the end of the show. If the show is picked up, various threads were laid for story continuation.

    Generally good production values, a setup and feel in tune with what you would expect from an ITV production, no matches were interuptted by intermissions, and the retrospective video packages and excellent commentary from JR did a fantastic job of making the show feel important.

    Obviously the show was not aimed at internet smarks – it was family entertainment that hoped to reach children, families and perhaps some of those that remember World of Sport from the ‘good old days’.

    They did a good job and certainly achieved their aims during that two hour pilot, giving them the best possible chance of being picked up later in the year. For wrestling fans, we should just hope enough people tuned in to see a series commissioned, though I fear that may not be the case.

    A family-orientated wrestling show being picked up by free-to-air ITV, the home of Coronation Street, X Factor, This Morning, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Britain’s Got Talent, and boasting a massive audience share – that’s what has got the WWE to react.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    My favorite: I disagree with you and therefore you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Let’s start with what I agree with you on: the production values were good and JR was his usual post-WWE self on commentary. I’d be a bit surprised if he stuck around full time but for a one off, he was a good idea.

    After that though, the good mostly stops. Sure they had a variety of stuff to offer. That variety included a bunch of lackluster talent and little that can’t be seen at a higher level elsewhere. The family oriented part is true, though with the WWE Network and a host of PG level wrestling available at a dirt cheap price, several names that I assume are UK indy talents aren’t going to cut it.

    The show is far from a disaster but it would need a lot of work to go forward as a regular series given how much of the show felt like it was wrapped up here. There were no angles outside of the title situation (fine for a one off, not great for a series) and the title story was far from compelling TV.

    Oh and Brock Lesnar lost to Goldberg in the shock of the year in less than two minutes to end a major pay per view. What else are you going to expect but a knee jerk reaction?

    Wrestlingenthusiast Reply:

    You’re still not quite getting it, are you? It doesn’t matter how great the WWE Network, or any other wrestling content provider for that matter, is – this show, if comissioned, will be on the second largest television network in the UK and one of the ‘traditional four’ free-to-air channels every UK household that has a television has access to. Viewiers do not need to find it – viewers do not even need to pay for it – World of Sport will find them.

    I agree the show will need work going forward, but let’s not forget this pilot, for now, is a one-off. A champion, the introduction of various heroes and villains, and a taste of the kind of action you may expect going forward, is more than enough to work from if a series is commissioned.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    “You’re still not quite getting it, are you?”

    I love the condescending attitude. Please continue with it.

    “It doesn’t matter how great the WWE Network, or any other wrestling content provider for that matter, is – this show, if comissioned, will be on the second largest television network in the UK and one of the ‘traditional four’ free-to-air channels every UK household that has a television has access to”

    And? Look at TNA in America. It was on a big network and was then thrown off due to people not wanting to watch a bad show. This wasn’t a good show.

    “I agree the show will need work going forward, but let’s not forget this pilot, for now, is a one-off. ”

    Yes. A very poor pilot which wouldn’t make me want to watch another episode.

    “A champion, the introduction of various heroes and villains, and a taste of the kind of action you may expect going forward, is more than enough to work from if a series is commissioned.”

    If this is what’s to be expected, I’ll be off watching any other wrestling I can find, including the various British promotions I listed earlier.

    The show wasn’t good and the network it might be on won’t matter if that’s the case.

    Ted Reply:

    The smark are not a small section of the audience. Not in 2017.

    Wrestlingenthusiast Reply:

    Okay. Whether that is true or not, World of Sport is not catering to that audience, and nor should it (or could it – ITV will never greenlight such a proposal).