If you’re reading this then you know you’re stuff. You’re not some fairweather fan, you know your wrestling history. This article is about a TV show that many wrestlers from around the world, used as a way of honing their craft back in the day, and how it’s making a comeback…..again. As World of Sport Wrestling is rebooting.
Living over here in the UK when I was just a wee lad, wrestling had pretty much died on the gogglebox. The last bastion of it was a show on terrestrial television called World Of Sport, which would run weekly every Saturday afternoon. Filmed in smoke-filled halls across the length and breadth of the country, luminaries such as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Kendo Nagasaki and many more kept folks entertained with a mix of strong technical wrestling and a smidgen of comedy.
Unfortunately, the powers that be at the TV station decided that wrestling wasn’t in the best interests of the company and stopped broadcasting the shows.
No longer would we see the international stars such as Bret & Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Tom Billington (Dynamite Kid), Fit Finlay. Gone were Catweasel, Jackie Pallo, Mark “Rollerball” Rocco.
Yup, wrestling was done for on UK terrestrial TV.
Fast forward over 20 years and with the wrestling scene on fire (in particular over here in the UK), the unthinkable happened. TV bigwigs & execs were bringing WoS back for a one-off special with the possibility of a full series! Every single UK wrestling fan rejoiced with the prospect of seeing the guys and girls we’ve watched up & down the country finally given the chance to show the country and the rest of the world what they can do on a huge stage.
As soon as the show was announced, rumors started to whip around, as to who would be on the two-hour special? Would we have international imports for the show? And why hadn’t Mark Blake been tapped up to ring announce (ok I made that last one up but still – would have been nice to be considered).
Word soon leaked that WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross was on commentary. THE voice of wrestling for the past 20+ years over here to help World of Sport Wrestling rebooting along with British Wrestling, what a coup! No expense spared at all there! It gave us fans great hope that the wrestlers taking part would be of the same caliber as the legendary JR.
Not long after names began to drop about the competitors. Grado, Dave Mastiff, Viper, Harry Smith Jr, El Ligero, Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels, Joe Coffey, Zach Gibson, Johnny Moss (now a trainer at NXT) and more.
Intended as a 2 hour special with an option of an episodic TV show, the WoS special aired on NYE 2016. Working like an episode of Raw or SD with an authority figure in place, backstage segments, & wrestlers vying to become the first WoS champion, the special was fast-paced, family friendly, and more importantly…..fun.
It was well received by critics and fans alike, so much so that all of us fans waited with bated breath for the announcement of a full-blown TV series……But nothing came. Not a peep.
Rumors flew around like wildfire that Impact Wrestling (headed by Jeff Jarrett at the time) wanted to work with ITV on producing a series, but pulled out of negotiations which left WoS high and dry once again.
It went quiet. Eerily quiet. Not a single thing was said about WoS for nearly a year. No tweet, Facebook comment, Instagram post. Nada.
That is until the middle of last month, when out of nowhere, news leaked that World of Sport was taping 10 episodes for a future series, from Norwich in East Anglia (home of WWE’s Paige).
Coming back for the three days of taping were Grado, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Rampage Brown and many more. Also, announced was veteran and Ambassador of British Wrestling Doug Williams, and in a very surprising announcement, the NJPW Light Heavyweight Champion and world-renowned Will Ospreay was joining the roster, giving an already talented roster an even bigger shot in the arm.
The tapings happened a few weeks ago and the rumor is that the show will be premiering this Autumn (Fall) on ITV.
Could the injection of new and world-famous talent help this reboot of a reboot take flight and soar on UK TV?
I really hope so. I honestly do. The wrestlers involved in the show, from the pilot to the new series, deserve the exposure. To show the world just how damn good our boys and girls are. To showcase their talents and put themselves in the shop window, whether that’s Impact, NJPW or even WWE.
I wish nothing but the best for WoS Wrestling rebooting. Now all I’m asking is a date for the episodes to air, so I can sit down with my little boy and regale him of stories of Mick McManus, Johnny Saint. Just like my dad did with me.
To read Mark’s review of episode one of the new World of Sport Wrestling please do so here.