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While I am sure the names of many famous male wrestlers were entered with the best motives I can assure future researchers that women wrestlers were never featured on "World of Sport". They did appear in many (mostly regional) documentaries - it was partly my job to get these made for publicity purposes when I worked for the main UK female wrestling promoter, but the women were never a part of the Saturday afternoon shows. Neither did women feature on the evening wrestling shows which used to go out at 10.30 on Wednesday evenings. We were told there was a directive from "the very top of I.T.V." prohibiting women's wrestling matches from being shown. Sorry the shown female wrestlers simply did not appear on "World of Sport".
Britain's wrestling fans today may just be familiar with the stuff that
goes on today in the WWE, and so unfortunately may never know how much
of a tradition wrestling has in this country. But before there was Hulk
Hogan, there was Big Daddy. Before there was The Big Show, there was
Giant Haystacks. Before there was Chris Benoit, there was the Dynamite
Kid. Before there was The Undertaker, there was Kendo Nagasaki. Before
there was Chris Masters and Lex Luger, there was Johnny England. Before
there was Eddie Guerrero, there was 'Rollerball' Mark Rocco. Before
William Regal came to WWE, he was Roy Regal. And before Finlay came to
WWE, he was 'Superman' Fit Finlay.
The wrestling that used to be aired on ITV World of Sport every Saturday featured a lot of 'comedy' matches, with the likes of Catweasel and Pedro the Gypsi, that wasn't really wrestling but was good if you wanted a laugh.
There was also a lot of great wrestling action that actually was 'wrestling', and not just a bunch of fat dudes hobbling around the ring belly-bumping each other (AKA Big Daddy). Wrestlers like Marty Jones, Johnny Kidd, Dynamite Kid, Young David and of course, Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco were the kind of guys who could flat-out wrestle, and always gave you a match you were proud to say was 'made in the UK'. I think that if Mark Rocco wasn't made to retire early due to a heart condition, he would have become a legend all around the world. But he made one hell of an impact in Japan and the UK, and was a true pioneer in the fast-paced wrestling style of today. In fact, Rocco and Dynamite Kid are the reason wrestling is more fast-paced then it was back in the day.
If you ever check this program out, either on the Wrestling Channel or on a DVD, you should keep your eyes out for matches with Finlay, Rocco, Johnny Saint or Dynamite in it. They are classic wrestling.
But whether its great wrestling or creative gimmicks you're after, this is the show for you.
Before wrestling from America started to be shown in the UK we only had one show a week which was at 4.00pm on Saturday afternoons. Commentator Kent Walton always greeted us with "Welcome, Grapple fans !" What he should have been saying was "Welcome,gullible idiots." Despite claims to the contrary it was blatantly fixed and sometimes not very well. What I always found amusing were all the old grannies in the front row who would start hitting the heel (unpopular wrestler) with their handbags if he got thrown out of the ring. Archive footage can still be found on the wrestling channel (427) in the UK and it is sometimes amusing to watch for half an hour for that unforgettable trip down memory lane.
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