|Index||6 reviews in total|
Terrible This really was a pitiful excuse of a prime-time Saturday
night TV show, as a semi-retired pro wrestler myself (I'm taking a year
or two out from the business) I was quite frankly embarrassed by this.
In fact this wasn't actually "wrestling" in that sense at all, instead it was just stupid "Gladiator" style games, which featured the celebrities (and I use that term loosely as they were Z-list to say the least) hitting each other with pogo sticks, and trying to push each other off a big round platform in a sumo type game among other things, also the games were "real" in the sporting sense (Although all the hamming up for the cameras and the pretending to hate each other was with out a doubt staged), unlike classic pro wrestling which is staged, so at least the winners of the respective games were legitimate in that respect, but in my opinion, I think the show may have worked better if the matches were staged and held in an actual wrestling ring, with story lines, good guys and bad guys etc, like a proper pro wrestling promotion would operate. The celebs had cheesy names like "Pocket Rocket" for the annoying Jeff Brazier and "The Brawler" for Big Brother 3 winner Kate Lawler (Very imaginative, let's just give somebody a wrestling name rhyming with their surname shall we?).Also the host former WWE/WCW wrestler" Rowdy" Roddy Piper came across as really cheesy and annoying with his stupid mannerisms and catchphrases, I loved Piper in his WWF heyday back in the 1980's/1990's, but he was damn pitiful in this.
D'lo Brown and Joe Legend (Both former WWE wrestlers) captained their respective teams the "Warriors" and the "Crusaders", D'lo to his credit seemed to add a little bit of class to the show and in my opinion came across OK, but he was fighting a losing battle with so many clowns surrounding him.
This was axed from its prime time ITV slot after I believe just 2 weeks, and finished its miserable little run on ITV 2, as if this rubbish had a chance against the excellent new series of "Doctor Who" on BBC 1.
For years insiders in the British Wrestling scene wanted the "sport" back on mainstream TV since it was axed back in 1988, however I believe shows like this may have driven the final stake into British wrestling's heart, although this was not really in essence "wrestling" it still all gets tarred with the same brush, which isn't right, but its just the way that it is unfortunately.
Film tutor John Truby once told his class that " Towards the end of
every drama the protagonist must make a decision . When I say a
decision I don't mean that they have to choose between being awarded an
ice cream over root canal surgery without anesthetic because by
definition that's not a choice since there's no dilemma involved and
can't be called a decision " I wonder if John will be using this
example for his film studies class ? :
Britain early May 2005 and a 7 pm Saturday night television audience has a choice between
DOCTOR WHO : Starring a critically acclaimed actor famous for his dark angry portrayals dressed in a black leather jacket in a fantasy series with Hollywood standard special effects and tight scripts featuring a breath taking firefight between a Dalek and hundreds of extras , or a later episode featuring an intelligent science fiction plot with space bats killing guests at a wedding
CELEBRITY WRESTLING : Starring Roddy Piper wearing a kilt and a host of B list celebrities smacking each other with giant cotton buds and getting involved in push fights in a show that rips off GLADIATORS with the contestants having great names like " Killer " , Animal " , " Slapper " and " Tosser "
That's not much of a dilemma for a family audience is it ? I mean if you've got Christopher Eccleston trying to save humanity from the forces of darkness compared to a couple of actors from a soap opera getting involved in a sumo wrestling type bout then what one are you going to watch ? No Dilemma involved I think . I guess the producers were aware of this at the beginning so they tried to inject some human drama into it by having the coaches console " the gallant losers " who are more often than not in tears and praising the contestants courage but this comes across as being so false and patronising it's almost offensive and no wonder the audiences switched off in their millions
Perhaps Mr Truby should use the following example as a decision ? :
Britain late May and a 10am Sunday morning audience has a choice between
THE HEAVEN AND EARTH SHOW where guests discuss their religious beliefs as to what God , Jesus and spirituality mean to them in a pretty dire talk show
CELEBRITY WRESTLING Starring Roddy Piper dressed in a kilt and a host of B celebrities discussing how much winning this competition means to them
I think television on a Sunday morning at 10am is a much better example of having to come to a decision as in " Will I go out and buy the Sunday papers or shall I stay in bed till 11am ? "
ITV must have been really pulling out the stops in finding Saturday
night opposition for the BBC and Doctor Who. Unfortunately, what ever
they came up with was ditched and they went for "Celebrity Wrestling"
Words cannot describe the sheer badness of this; I'll just say I'd take Family Affairs, Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! or one of those written-on-the-back of-the-bus "sitcoms" the BBC always seem to churn out to fill in the Friday night gap between Eastenders and Have I Got News For You.
Everything about this "show" is just wrong and excruciatingly lame; it can't go five minutes without one of the obnoxious presenters turning to the crowd and yelling "ARE YOU READY!!!!" or a big screen flashing highly imaginative slogans such as "Bring it on" as two ex-reality TV show contestants (The highest form of 'celebrity' on display here) try to knock each other of a spinning platform with a stick. Given, one of the presenters is Roddy Piper, although he can't save this trainwreck.
Can ITV do any worse? Yes it can, next we've got "Celebrity Love Island" on every night for the next three years.
TV is just dead. Trash like this gets the primetime slots on ITV, and Channel 4 is allowed to shunt inventive works of genius like "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" into midnight viewing slots and then axe them. Heck ITV has Harry Hill at their beck and call, and even he is on either at 11 PM or in the middle of the afternoon with no audience.
Avoid this dreck at all costs. It is an insult to your intelligence and humanity. Hopefully, 'celebrity' orientated game shows like this and reality TV will one day take their rightful place alongside the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Saturday evening TV is bad enough, but this totally trash show must be
one of the worst programmes ever screened on Saturday's and has turned
out to be a flop. Not surprised at this.
As I write this review, Celebrity Wrestling has just been axed due to very poor viewing figures. It only had 2 to 3 million viewers, compared to Dr Who on BBC1 on at the same time with 8 million.
The celebrities on this show are not exactly well known and I certainly don't call the winner of another rubbish show, Big Brother a celebrity, who is one of the contestants. Other contestants taking part in this trash include former EastEnder Marc Bannerman and James Hewitt. Everybody shows off, especially the audience and the presenters are over the top too.
Worse still, this show was repeated on the following Sunday morning, another time when there are plenty of rubbish programmes on.
Celebrity Wrestling is an insult to the intelligence. Total rubbish and cheap TV. ITV can do better than this.
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A
Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs
Two teams of six 'celebrities', The Warriors and The Crusaders, basically battle it out for, er, ultimate supremacy in this latest attempt to draw in Saturday night viewing figures.
I was just about to write for my one-line-summary 'so it's going to be axed then', but then I couldn't help thinking about another review I wrote involving Kate Lawler for RI:SE and realized that would have been exactly the same summary I wrote for that...Coincidence,or what?!? What was it she did again...was she the first woman who walked on the moon or something?!?...oh no, wait, she was the first woman who won Big Brother, ah, yes.....Anyway, she's just one of a number of 'celebrity' nobodies (the most notable of which is probably James Hewitt. This show is a complete breach of the Trade Descriptions Act!) battling it out in this pretty flat and unexciting attempt to liven up the dire state of Saturday night TV (although TV's in a pretty poor state in general.)
The main problem (although you wouldn't know it to look at them) is that they are celebrities (though even Avid Merrion wouldn't 'love' them!) and they wouldn't know real wrestling if it hit them in the face. The duels they are set look really tepid and fail to generate much in the way of genuine excitement at all, meaning you don't care who wins or loses and that the show just becomes a tedious slog to the end.
On the presenting front, the heart and soul of the show I would actually consider to be Rowdy Roddy Piper. bob the moo obviously found him a bit irritating, but he's a proper professional wrestler and he's spent his whole life whooping up the excitement and atmosphere of the wrestling arena over in America where it's done for real with real professionals unlike this pampered lot and he's just trying (in vein, it would seem) to transfer some of that over here. I actually think he's the one bright spark in this whole sorry mess,to be honest. Better than boring old, rent-a-presenter Kate Thornton anyway.And, if she weren't bad enough, we have Jack 'I'm clinging on to my celebrity by the skin of my teeth' Osbourne presenting some kind of spin-off show on ITV2, hamming it up and really succeeding in getting on everyone's nerves.
American WWE wrestling still enjoys quite a big fan-base over here, so it's kind of understandable that someone would want to make a British spin-off of sorts.Unfortunately, this hasn't been very successful, either critically or commercially, meaning we won't be seeing much more of it now. Note to telly producers: work harder. And, unless you want your show to be cancelled not even half-way through mid-season, please, if you see Kate Lawler, in the words of Iron Maiden: Run to the hills, run for your life.**
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Since this review was written, due to plummeting ratings and the cancellation of the show, ITV1 have obviously used the craze whipped up by the release of the new, final Star Wars movie to use one Saturday evening for a showing of The Phantom Menace, so they can quietly usher Celebrity Wrestling away from it's prime-time Saturday slot so it can live out the remainder of it's final, humiliating, pitiful days in a morning children's TV slot. For kids who only have access to terrestrial TV, it might have worked in keeping a few of it's viewers but those with Sky Digital have a clear choice: watching these amateurish, pampered lot do their tepid little thing or tuning in to Sky One and watching the staged but genuine, truly hard-hitting antics of the real-life professional wrestlers on The WWE Experience...tough choice, huh?!?!???
In a series of physical games and contests, two teams of celebrities
are honed and trained by two former American wrestlers to produce two
teams who will compete for the grand title at the end of the series.
With an overexcited host announcing each event and each celebrity (by
their new "wrestling" names) the celebrities go head to head with their
opposite number from the other team in front of an arena of baying fans
I was having a quiet Saturday evening in before an early flight the next morning when I started watching this latest addition to the braindead provisions on Saturday primetime. Like a car wreck I was transfixed and couldn't look away because, simply put, it was like Gladiators had never happened; because essentially that is all that this show is just a celebrity version of the hammy, OTT show that saw physical contests between normal people and the Gladiators of the title. Here we have the same elements with the twist being that the famous people fight one another in a series of games that stop short of ever just being a basic fight. On one level this appears to work really well all the people in the crowd seem to love it, cheering on the celebs and I can imagine that front rooms round the country are full of families eating ready meals in front of the TV, cheering as if this was the most important event in the world which, to them, I suppose it is.
But here's my problem with it it is silly, fake, inane and practically offensive to my intelligence (ok maybe I should have said "problems). First off, I'll get into sporting events as well as the next man I get emotionally involved in competition but the cheering and banner waving required by this show is fake from the very start. The characters are introduced by the host in a typically OTT American wrestling fashion that is so un-British but yet they all buy into it waving banners that they have made despite never having seen the show or attended the event. This is backed up by the posturing that is required for the cameras so all the celebs ham it up and shout at one another like WWE wrestlers; only problem is that some of them know it is silly and cannot convincingly do it the women in particular seem to struggle and have said in the tabloids that they love one another really. With the participants thinking it is silly, I cannot help but feel it was a big ask to require me to care either.
The events themselves are like scaled down games from Gladiators they provide energy and noise and let the crowd whop and holler their little lives away but they don't really count as exciting. To counter this we have the posturing and shouting (fake emotion) but we also have a more basic message "look fellas, sexy celebs fighting each other on the floor". It is a wonder that ITV have not just come out and said "look, it's a catfight and it is worth seeing because the girls might kiss" they won't of course but the sexual element of women wrestling is not lost on the producers and the target audience of council estate families eating oven food with their kids. Hence we have one event that sees the celebs dressed in clothes at the start and the winner is the one that rips the other's outfit off first; also the female contestants have been quick to pose for tabloids and men's magazines in very little clothes striking mock fighting and faux-lesbian poses. Trust me when I tell you that the show knows just what it is doing with this and it is a shame that it is actually so silly that it is impossible to find sexy in any way.
The celebs all try to get into it but they are all C-list or below and the whole thing smells a bit of desperation. I'm sure they have fun doing it (the men in particular seem to find it easy to be competitive over nothing) but I never really cared once and it is plain that many of them need the cash or, more likely, the exposure. The girls are mostly pretty and the men are mostly macho and posturing but they are all asked to play characters that were done to death in Gladiators years ago and some of them just struggle to take it seriously. The American host is annoyingly over the top, injecting noise and slogans in the hope that these will replace excitement or interest they don't.
Overall this is yet another tired celeb show from ITV. Taking the Gladiators formula and twisting it, the result is a rather seedy and desperate affair that failed to make me care one hoot about the silly contests and seemed to fall back on noise and staged conflict to keep the audience interested, while playing the sexual card for all it is worth. This show is just yet another example of why I gave up on Saturday night "light entertainment" shows many years ago. Is this what TV producers think I want? Is this what they think I will accept as my "entertainment"? It is sad but apparently they do. What is sadder is that millions of ITV viewers accept this drivel as worthy of their time.
Edit: When I wrote this review CW was a couple of episodes into the series. Since it lost 4 million viewers between the first episode and the second, ITV decided it wasn't up to competing with Dr Who and have moved it to a more suitable slot. When? Telling it will finish on Sunday morning surrounded by children's programmes - truly the only age group left watching this dross.
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