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It was the result of a collective intake of breath after Marge Simpson said to Lisa Simpson:- "Ooh! How about this adorable sunsuit? It has a starfish on the FANNY, and it comes with its own pail".
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Cash in the Spare Room (2020)
Neat idea, tidy delivery.
I have quite enjoyed this new series, which I think is the first new series commissioned by HGTV in the UK since the rebranding. The format is simple and some the ideas for disused areas of homes ingenious. What lifts this series above average are the two presenters. I have seen Sarah Moore before on "Money For Nothing" and I like her presenting style, I have vague recollections of seeing Max as a judge on another property programme but I thought he really shone here. His expertise and down to earth manner worked really well. This has been a nice little show and I hope Discovery/HGTV will order further series of the show.
A welcome return.
Channel 4 have made one of the better decisions by one of the main UK broadcasters with the decision to commission this pleasant, relaxed and rather comforting programme.
Ostensibly, the programme is simply about providing some suggestions for reading material during the UK's lockdown, and in that respect it does a reasonable job. However, it is the chat with the various guests via video link that really stood out here with Richard & Judy effortlessly switching from talking to an author about their latest work to asking what they have been drinking to get through the crisis - and occasionally having the tables turned on them by their guests.
What a pity there were only five episodes stripped across a single week and that the individual episodes were so brief. Whether during or post lockdown I for one would like to see this return.
Both the BBC and ITV have served up some exceptionally bad Saturday night game shows/light entertainment shows over the decades. Catchpoint isn't one of the worst - but it isn't particularly good either.
Host Paddy McGuinness doesn't get much of an opportunity to connect with the contestants, there are very few questions posed to the contestants, there is zero atmosphere in the studio and there is too much faffing about with slow motion replays and the like. However, McGuinness still makes for an amiable host, there is some modicum of entertainment to be had from watching people spectacularly fumble a seemingly easy catch, the music question and memory question make a welcome change to the format of the other questions on the show and it is only a half hour programme.
Overall Catchpoint is rather Meh.
Warbird Workshop (2020)
An interesting series.
This was a really enjoyable and interesting series and I hope Yesterday will commission further series in the future. Each episode followed a different group, facing some differing challenges as they attempt to restore a historic plane (or helicopter in one episode). There was a good balance between historical information/background and following the challenges of the restoration. Martin Shaw does a good job on the narration too. The first episode, in which the group at Biggin Hill restore Spitfire MJ772 was the best of the bunch.
Celebrity Murder Mystery (2020)
Something A Bit Different
I quite enjoyed this and it was certainly a change to the usual fare on a Friday/Saturday evening. This was originally announced as being 3 x 60 minute episodes rather than the two longer episodes as broadcast and I do think that the original format may have worked better in terms of the pacing and a better balance between the episodes. The switching back and forth from the storyline to the history segments was a little odd as was the celebrities talking to camera about the green room and such. However, overall this was entertaining stuff with a beautiful setting and costumes and the identity of the first victim was a real surprise to me and cast the rest of the programme in a new light. Well done to all involved.
Crazy Delicious (2020)
Crazy Delicious is a really strange new cookery competition programme produced for Channel 4 in the UK, which will also be available via Netflix. It instantly wins the prize for THE most pretentious cookery show on British television.
The foodie contestants are challenged to take humble ingredients such as strawberries and everyday foods like hot dogs and come up with their own unique (often bizarre) dishes. The dishes are tasted by the panel of 3 judges, contestants eliminated and a winner for each episode declared. Comedian Jayde Adams is the host. Sounds like other cookery shows? Think again.
The contestants have to get some of the ingredients for their recipe from a "magical" edible set that looks like something out of a Tim Burton film and has rabbits and things running around it! The judges are dubbed "Food Gods" and wear togas. The prize awarded to the winner of each episode is a golden apple. Once they have made their dish the contestants have to ascend a stairway to present their offering to the food gods. Jayde Adams hovers around the contestants saying Wow (a lot) and trying to make "funny" observations - when she is particularly impressed/excited/bored she says Wwwoooooooooooooowwwwww!!!. The recipes frequently involve stomach-churning "experimental" combinations of ingredients such as mackerel and chocolate. In essence the whole programme is simply bizarre from beginning to end. Crazy...yes, Delicious...no.
Maybe, just maybe, there will be enough people dotted around the world who are looking for a very quirky, highly unusual new take on the standard cookery competition to make this work on Netflix - however it has flopped very badly here in the UK and is unlikely to be re-commissioned by Channel 4.
Head Hunters (2019)
After watching the first episode of this new afternoon game show I wasn't very impressed. The game play seemed convoluted, at times confusing and comedian Rob Beckett hardly sparkled as the host and is a little slow at reading the questions - which is a hindrance in the finale.
However, after watching several further episodes I began to warm to it more and more. The range of question categories is far broader than in many quiz shows and within a category contestants can be asked some unexpected questions. The difficultly level of the questions is varied but overall this has to be one of the more difficult daytime quizzes to win that I have seen recently. When the prize money is won it actually feels like an achievement - which is not true of all game shows.
Head Hunters could do with a few tweaks here and there and I am still unsure if Beckett is the ideal presenter for this format but I would quite like to see this return for further series.
I'm not sure where the programme makers found the participating couples, a monastery? Had they really never tried ANY of these things before?
This 6-part series on Channel 5 has an "interesting" interpretation of the word kinky. Is rubbing an ice cube over your lover's skin kinky? This is bland stuff.
On the plus side there are some unintentional laugh out loud moments, such as opening the box to discover that the "kinky" gift they have been given to try out is a feather boa!
The second series gets underway with this investigation of the historic Corn Exchange venue in Hertford, the county town of Hertfordshire.
To say that there have been a few changes made to the show would be an understatement! It had already been announced that Sandy Lakdar had left the show and that Barri Ghai and Chris Fleming would be joined by Jayne Harris for series two. Jayne appeared with Barri and Sandy on another Back2Back Productions programme broadcast on Really earlier this year (the clip show "Unexplained: Caught on Camera") so fits in well. Instead of travelling to the location in Barri's car the team now have a "mobile nerve centre" in a camper van. There is a new title sequence featuring a voice over from actor Ian Shaw (son of the late Robert Shaw of Jaws fame). After an introduction to the location and eye witness account from the building's owners the team members split up with Barri interviewing a member of staff, Jayne doing some historical research and meeting with local author and historian Ruth Stratton and Chris commencing an initial solo investigation. The team members then meet to discuss what they have learned and plan their investigation.
I liked this new look opening to the episode with each of the team members seeming to have a more clearly defined role. The building was then locked down to begin the investigation proper and eventually a cleansing ritual. Not a bad start to the new series overall - though Chris' overacting is annoying at times.
One thing to point out for UK viewers is that although the show is still broadcast on the Really channel, Really is no longer one of the UKTV group of TV channels - so episodes old and new can no longer be watched via the UKTV Play catch up service (confusingly the show still has a page on there with no episodes). Really is now part of the Discovery Networks group so you need to use their Dplay service to catch up with episodes - I will add links to the IMDb pages that take you straight to the Dplay pages.
Tonight With Vladimir Putin (2019)
Odd and very, very short.
One of the world's leading film and television visual effects companies has the motion capture technology available to film a comedian performing the role of Vladimir Putin and to create an animated 3-D caricature of the Russian Premier around him - but just because you can do something doesn't automatically mean that you should do it.
Comedian Natt Tapley (and Gbemisola Ikumelo as Meghan Markle) takes on the role of Putin as chat show host for these two pilot episodes interviewing two celebrity guests per episode. However, the running times for each episode are so short that there is barely any time to for CGI host and guest to say much to each other. Part way through a fairy princess version of the Duchess of Sussex comes out and takes questions from the sparse audience. And that's about all there is to it - there is little time for anything much to happen before the end credits roll leaving the viewer to wonder what on earth was that all about?
Strange smorgasbord of laughs.
ITV2 have commissioned a strange little show here. A veritable array of British stand-up comedians (some new faces, some familiar ones) appear on stage and begin to tell their routine but then the action switches to the comedian and a cast of actors re-enacting the events of the joke in a comedy sketch. Stand-up shows can be a bit hit and miss and sketch shows are notoriously hit and miss - so it should come as no surprise that this is too. However, there are some genuinely very funny skits here:- Adam Hess' job interview from hell, the plain weird reaction of Catherine Bohart's mother to her daughter coming out as gay and the violent granny were all very funny. Trouble is you may wish that the comedians you enjoyed watching had just stayed on screen and done a full regular stand-up routine.
Make Me a Dealer (2018)
Far too slow.
The pacing of this new BBC One antiques programme is so slow. The opening segment in which we are introduced to the episode's two participants as they look around an antiques shop or fair but don't actually buy anything is completely pointless and we also get vt packages of them at home. It takes far to long to get to the actual buying, selling and learning about the antiques.
Paul Martin does his usual solid job as presenter/expert and former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry does a reasonable job on commentary with some groan worthy puns thrown in for good measure. There have also been some fun and quirky contestants. But as a whole this is an underwhelming watch.
Quirky Teams, odd layouts.
The theme for this third episode is globetrotting and this week's three teams make some very odd interpretations of that theme. The Steampunks team opt for a trip through time as well as around the globe but opt for a flat almost featureless layout. The Bodgers go for a fun, quirky Santa on his holidays layout while the Tonbridge team's globetrotting doesn't even extend beyond the south coast of England! Some very quirky but also very odd decisions by two out of the three teams this week.
The scratch build challenge again sees the teams really think outside of the box with some very creative uses for a plunger and sponge but the Tonbridge team totally ran out of time to leave two unfinished pieces.
As good as the Bodgers layout was they were effectively handed the win this heat thanks to mistakes made by the other two teams. The Steampunks use of foam underlay allowed them to get their layout up and running first but the lack of experience on the team saw them blow that lead. Tonbridge's layout was too pedestrian for the theme and the double derailment crippled them.
The Bisexual: Episode #1.2 (2018)
Wow, this is quite a strange programme. The silences, awkward encounters, lighting, softly spoken dialogue and introspective nature of The Bisexual mean that this is hardly going to grab the attention of viewers. Like the piece of bizarre performance art Leila, Gabe and Deniz go to see, this series has the feel of an experimental film that explores some interesting and challenging concepts but in an uncompromisingly individualistic way that will alienate many. Not as many amusing moments in this second episode as in the first, but we gradually began to unravel the characters a little more.
In my review of episode 1 of this new programme on Channel 5 I said that the presenters didn't get in the way too much, well that lasted all of one, single, solitary episode.
Episode 2 opens with a cringe-worthy attempt at humour from the two presenters larking about - it made me want to change channels immediately. Then during the build both presenters managed to annoy the contestants by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, asking daft questions and trying to make corny jokes. Stop it you pair of pilchards.
The teams all come up with ambitious plans and cope with the scratch build challenge really well with some very imaginative uses for the copper pipe, rawl plugs and in particular the paint brush. All three teams were really pushed for time this week but all three layouts were impressive. It was such a shame that the Track Laying Ninja's had so many technical problems. This week's winners were worthy winners with their layout head and shoulders above the other two - and with no problems in the demonstration. A good episode despite the goofy presenters.
The Bisexual: Episode #1.1 (2018)
Tricky first episode.
The first episode of any drama series has its work cut out introducing the cast of characters, the setting, character relationships etc. etc. If it is a comedy drama it also has to make you laugh as well. The debut episode of this comedy drama created by, directed by and starring Desiree Akhavan has an extra complication in that Akhavan's central character is in the process of discovering and exploring her own identity.
There are some genuinely funny moments in this episode, the differences in the replies to the questions asked of Leila and Sadie by the reporter, the awkward proposal in the lavatories, the abortive one-night stand, Francisca and her assessment of Gabe, the awkward silence following Gabe asking the lesbians if "Blue Is The Warmest Colour" was a fair representation of them etc. There are also a couple of dramatic moments such as breaking into the flat and discovering Sadie in bed with the secretary.
It's an interesting idea for a comedy drama but the whole episode was a bit patchy and didn't quite hang together as a whole. There is a quite odd feel to the show with its muted colour scheme, awkward social situations and rather grim portrait of London. It will be interesting to see how The Bisexual develops over the coming episodes though I am expecting this to be very much a "Marmite" show that people either take to or hate.
Great fun, good debut episode.
I really enjoyed this debut episode. It was both interesting and fun - helped by some of the team members this week. The idea of a team of complete strangers working together was an interesting contrast to the other two teams this week. The captain of the winning team in particular made me laugh out loud with his dry remarks.
The presenters are enthusiastic without getting in the way, the judges explain their decisions well and there are some interesting and unusual camera angles at play here. The scratch build challenge seemed a bit daft at first but bravo to some of the teams for how inventive they were. The winners deserved to win, the team bending (if not breaking the rules) didn't. Fair enough.
World of Sport Wrestling (2018)
Could have been better (but could have been worse).
British professional wrestling returns to mainstream television in 2018 as World of Sport/WOS Wrestling gets a 10 episode series on the UK's most watched commercial TV channel. That is in itself remarkable, but is also something of a problem for this programme - with the 5pm Saturday afternoon time slot causing a few headaches for the producers.
All of the bouts shown across the 10 episodes were recorded at a three day TV taping at the Epic Television Studios in Norwich in May 2018 for broadcast on ITV during July to September. Which is again a problem.
So is WOS Wrestling any good? Well, yes there are certainly some things to like about this show. The presentation is very good with the WOS Arena looking good, the actual staging of the shows looking slick and professional and the commentary team doing a good job. The in-ring action is to a decent standard - okay there are a few poor matches here and there, but generally it is not bad. It is not going to revolutionise pro wrestling but the bouts tick along nicely. However, the delays in getting this 10 episode series commissioned by ITV have allowed WWE to come in and sign up a slew of Britain's top wrestlers (including one or two who appeared on the WOS Wrestling New Year's show in 2016) to exclusive contracts for their own NXT UK promotion. Sadly this leaves the roster a little thin and we quite quickly get into seeing the same wrestlers appearing in episode after episode.
Each episode has a 1 hour running time including commercials which equates to about 47 minutes per episode and WOS have taken the decision to try and cram as much actual wrestling into each episode as possible. This means the episodes are split into four segments with usually one bout in each segment. However, this leaves very little room for anything else. There are a few interview segments scattered across the 10 episodes, but most of the build up has to be done by the commentary team. In fact there are lots of interviews with the wrestlers before and after the bouts but these are only available to view via the WOS Wrestling social media platforms - which makes the fact that there are no on-screen hashtags or links to the company's website/twitter/facebook really glaring.
Sadly, that is not the only glaring problem with the show. The early time slot and short running time mean matches are heavily edited with cameras cutting away to crowd shots during bouts. Action replays are used a lot and are rather intrusive. Despite the heavy editing of bouts, inexplicably, botches are not edited out. The TV studio setting allows some interesting camera angles to be used (between the turnbuckles shots and overhead cameras etc.) but the cutting from camera to camera is frenetic at times.
With no promos, few interviews and bizarrely no on-screen graphics showing the wrestlers names (!) viewers don't get much of an introduction to the wrestlers. WOS have signed up a mixture of recognisable names - Grado, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Joe Hendry, Viper & Doug Williams plus some newer less familiar wrestlers like Gabriel Kidd, Adam Maxted, Justin Sysum and Ayesha. Storylines are kept fairly simple and for the most part work well.
The episodes are pacy with plenty of in ring action per episode, the wrestling is of a decent standard and the whole show has a slick style to it but dammit there are a lot of annoying things about this show. At the time of writing it is not known if a second series will be commissioned, so sit back enjoy the 10- episodes for the fast paced rollercoaster ride they are.
Underwhelming Grand Finale
Or the not so grand finale to this pre-recorded 10 episode run of WOS Wrestling. Like the programme as a whole this episode has its good points and its bad - and in fact pretty much sums up WOS Wrestling as a whole.
The final episode of series one plays out the conclusion of the series long storyline of Rampage being the undefeated and (by hook or by crook) undefeatable heel champion finally being beaten by the fan favourite who finally gets the chance to win the title against his nemesis.
But first we get the show's first (and only) decent promo segment recapping events from across the series that have led us to this point. This is quite good but begs the question why they could not have done something similar at the start of the series to introduce viewers to the cast of characters competing in WOS. As with the penultimate episode, this week there will only be two longer bouts featured.
We once again get the weird thing of Stu Bennett announcing matches that have already been announced. And so on to the opening bout of the show as the tag team champions "Alphabad" make their first (and only) defence of their belts against the team of Grado and "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith Jr. The whole tag team situation is a good example of where WOS have not quite go things right. A tag team tournament leads to Alphabad winning the belts but half the teams have disintegrated leaving few options and not enough episodes left for multiple title defences. So we get this one tag title defence and for what it is it is not too shabby. The team of Grado and Bulldog look an awkward pairing but they sell the match well. Iestyn Rees and Kip Sabian do their jobs well as the more "well-oiled" pairing but before the bout commences we know that the fan favourites are going to win the belts and the bout was a little underwhelming. A nice touch at the end with Stu Bennett giving Grado a slow hand clap from the commentary table.
Then it is on to the main event and again we know how this one is going to play out and it is a little underwhelming. Justin Sysum and Rampage put in a shift here and there is some good action early on. The interference angle from Sha Samuels and CJ Banks has been a little overplayed and we finally get the referee throwing the pair to the back. From then on in the action putts along without really going too far above expectations with numerous standard wrestling cliches thrown in for good measure. Sysum finally gets the win and claims the title and there is again a nice little spot at the end with Stu Bennett getting in the ring and decking Rampage and a nice bit of tension is built up before Stu shakes Justin's hand and everything is wrapped up nice and neat and tidy. There is just time for a plug for the live tour and we are done.
I have no idea if ITV will bother to commission a second series of WOS Wrestling the viewing figures dropped sharply between episodes 1 & 2 and people seemed to be actively avoiding the show with the programmes on before and after maintaining their audiences with this big wrestling-shaped hole in between. If they do order series two it may be shunted across to one of ITV's other channels where 400,000 or 500,000 viewers would actually look good whereas on ITV 1 it looks very low indeed. WOS Wrestling has been fun but frustrating to watch, it has been great for younger wrestling fans to see British pro wrestling broadcast on a mainstream TV channel for the first time in their lives and I for one will be going to the live show at the Victoria Hall - whether we get to see them back on our TV screens we shall have to wait and see.
Best episode so far?
WOS Wrestling have really packed bouts into the relatively short run time of the episodes so far - at the expense of interviews/promos and other content which has been shunted online (and with no links on screen to point this out to viewers). But the format of the "main event" on episode 9 means we only get one other bout. But I for one am not going to complain as this was possibly the best episode of WOS so far.
After the usual recap of last week's show/preview of this week's action we get down to business with Stu Bennett attempting to explain the rules and format of this unique main event he has dreamt up and called the Buzzer Battle. His explanation is not entirely 100% accurate though - the bout doesn't feature the entire male roster with the likes of Ospreay, Kirby and Hendry not in it and it doesn't start as a tag match actually. But he does build it up nicely.
The action gets underway with the WOS Women's title match between Kay Lee Ray and Viper. This is a really good bout and fully deserving of the "This Is Awesome" chants from the crowd at ringside. There is a some great back and forth between the two women and the sequence leading up to Kay Lee Ray pinning Viper was really well done. Apart from the usual gripe over the editing of these matches my only complaint was that the match was a bit short - due to Stu's explaining the main event no doubt. I don't think that they have used Viper as well as they could have (I think she has lost all but one match on the show).
The main event is going to take up the whole of the rest of the show and like most things on WOS Wrestling has good points and bad. This is a pretty weird format that just feels like elements of different types of matches mashed together but it is quirky and something a bit different and actually worked OK - allowing some storyline elements to play out within it. The bout is to decide a new No. 1 contender for Rampage's Heavyweight title - ignoring the fact that Justin Sysum won that honour on an earlier edition. It starts off with two wrestlers in a singles elimination match and at any moment he chooses Stu can sound the buzzer and two more wrestlers come down and make this an elimination tag match. Then each time he sounds the buzzer two more men come to the ring and one joins each of the two tag teams. This will continue until all of the participants are involved. However, once the eliminations have reduced the number of participants down to eight across the two teams the whole match switches to an over-the-top rope battle royal with the last man standing getting the title match on the final show.
The whole thing was a little bit messy in parts but there were also some great ideas at play here. Robbie X and Kip Sabian were the men to start us off and were given some time to show what they can do. Stu eventually hits the buzzer and we get tag partners Stevie Boy and B.T. Gunn coming down to face each other on opposite teams. A neat idea that worked well, I particularly liked it when Stu was appalled to see the two men shaking hands after a spot and hitting the buzzer to bring in Liam Slater and Iestyn Rees. Having Sabian and fellow tag champ Rees on the same team also played out well and I loved it when they hit their finisher and try to get Gunn to pin Stevie Boy then allow Gunn to be eliminated too.
I thought this format started to get very messy quickly after this with Grado and Sha Samuels entering the match but quickly getting cut off by the advert break. SoCal Val hit the buzzer to save Grado from a beating leading to Bulldog and CJ Banks entering the fray but ultimately leading to Grado, Bulldog and the tag champs all being messily DQ (to save them for the tag team title match). There are some quite amusing exchanges amongst the commentary team and we get Adam Maxted and eventually the dismissed Nathan Cruz entering. Justin Sysum and Crater enter the fray but there is a surprise in store when the last two men enter the bout as one of them is Scottish star Moose. We now have 10 wrestlers, five on each team but when two are eliminated it will switch to the battle royal. Robbie X and Liam Slater are the two to exit and klaxons wail to indicate the 8-man battle royal is on. Gabriel Kidd and Nathan Cruz are eliminated, Maxted is eliminated by the already eliminated Cruz (which is silly). Samuels, Banks and Moose all exit to leave Sysum Vs. the no longer invincible monster Crater. Some great work from Sysum leads to him bodyslamming Crater before tipping him over the rope for the win - thus making up for him getting stiffed earlier in the run.
So for the final (possibly ever) WOS Wrestling episode next week Sysum will face Rampage for the title and after some pretty weak set-up over the last two episodes Grado and Bulldog somehow "deserve" a shot at the tag champs. So it should be a fan favourite championship extravaganza then!
Peng Life (2018)
Quirky, Fresh & Fun Review Show...reviewing nonsense.
Elijah Quashie and his two sidekicks Nelson and Wilson Quaresma have made a name for themselves with their funny, quirky, down-to-earth internet reviews of high street fast food outlets. So, Channel 4 commissioned a 4-episode "Pilot Series" from Renowned Films of the trio and some celebrity guests reviewing some Peng stuff.
The hosts and the friendly banter between them liven up this show and they are able to get some good reactions from their celebrity guests. The programme is filmed and edited in a quirky, fast-paced way with lots of on-screen graphics popping up and feels fun and fresh.
However, there is a simple, fundamental flaw to this programme - the things that they are reviewing. Maybe someone will buy a helicopter ride as a once-in-a-lifetime birthday present for a loved one or maybe there is someone who is seriously considering buying a Segway but a lot of the stuff being reviewed on here is just ridiculous stuff that no-one in their right mind would ever buy. I can't see the point in comparing a high street pizza or kebab to one that is so expensive that no one would ever buy it irrespective of whether it is the best pizza in the world or not.
This is a wasted opportunity and part of me hopes that a full second series does get commissioned so that we could see the lads reviewing things that people might actually want to buy!
Chase the Case (2018)
Sub-par game show
Having watched all five of the episodes from the first week of this new game show my reaction to it is that it is passable but not particularly good.
Dan Walker makes for a rather bland presenter but he neither does anything very wrong or is particularly annoying. The actual dynamics of the game play work, especially in the endgame, but wow this programme feels drawn out. The reconnaissance section of the show goes on far too long and is full of padding. The concept of having to wait while the security guard goes and physically fetches the selected case (which contains no actual currency) and brings it to the soundproof room seems odd and unnecessary.
The endgame is more interesting though as we the audience know who has got what and who knows what and can see what strategies different players will employ and whether they are making the right or wrong decision.
Chase the Case is one of a number of new quiz/game shows filmed at the Pacific Quay Studio complex in Glasgow - but is not one of the better ones to air in the last couple of years.
Back on Track
Phew! Perhaps last week's weird edition of WOS Wrestling was just a blip as this week's programme is a lot better. Though of course there are the inevitable issues with this show.
After the usual recap of last week's episode and a preview to this week's action we get underway with Stu Bennett announcing from ringside that he will be making a big announcement at the end of today's show. We then get the first of the two powerhouse showdowns that were promoted last week. Viper faces Ayesha with the winner getting a shot at Kay Lee Ray for the WOS Women's title. This was a pretty decent bout once it got going, but there was some really heavy editing of some action in the corner towards the end. No screwy or confusing finishes and Viper wins to set up a title match next week and even got an interview on screen. Not a bad start to this week's show.
After the break we get the mixed tag match with Stevie Boy & Kay Lee Ray facing Bea Priestley & Will Ospreay. There was an interesting dynamic to this bout with faces Stevie Boy and Ospreay enjoying a good clean friendly rivalry. But when Bea entered the fray, as she is a heel in WOS, there was more edge to the action. This was a good bout but it was hit by that other terrible issue with this programme. Stevie goes for a hurricanrana from the top buckle but didn't seem to get it right and Ospreay lands on his feet. Ok fair enough. But we then get an overhead replay showing us that Stevie did not have his legs on either side of Ospreay's head - so in effect Ospreay just did a somersault to the canvas and Stevie just fell on his back! Once again I am thinking why would you show that?
Bout number three is the second of the power vs power match-ups with Davey Boy Smith Jr taking on Iestyn Rees. This was a solid match that wasn't spoilt by tag partners interfering or screwy endings.
In the only bout that wasn't trailed last week (but was set up by that crazy Crater Vs. 3 men bout) we have a Mask Vs. Mask stipulation match between Crater and Robbie X. The two men have history dating back to their elimination from the tag tournament. An interesting take on this type of match where the only way of winning was by removing the opponents mask - rather than that being the forfeit paid by a defeated wrestler. This was quite a fun match and actually worked quite well. Robbie X was certainly popular with the fans in the studio and after the debacle of Crater losing last week it wasn't too jarring to see him lose again. We could of done with a least a brief glimpse of his face after he had been unmasked though!
We then came to Stu's big announcement. That the entire men's roster will battle it out in some kind of never before seen match - that looked like a royal rumble or possibly a lumberjack match or possibly some combination of the two - it wasn't very clear to be honest. Best guess it is a rumble with all the competitors standing outside the ring until they are called in to the ring at time intervals - or something!
What On Earth??!!??
What on earth happened here? WOS Wrestling goes from one of its best episodes to one of its worst. The booking on this edition of the show is shambolic.
Way back at the start of episode 2 we had the anomaly of Stu Bennett announcing a Women's Title match that had already been announced the previous week. The start to episode 7 is worse, much worse. Last week we were told that former tag partners Nathan Cruz and Adam Maxted would clash in a "loser leaves WOS" ladder match, at the start of this episode we are told this for a second time, then Cruz comes to the ring and demands the match. Stu Bennett at ringside then announces the match and informs us that suspended above the ring is a briefcase containing a WOS contract. That is just awful and looks terrible. Also on episode 2 we saw a ladder match and saw that it does not fit well with the 5pm broadcast slot as they have to edit out any shots of people hitting the ladder. So why book another ladder match? This is not a particularly memorable match there are at least two glaring edits where we miss the in ring action. We have had a good tag team broken up for this?
We then get a VT segment with Justin Sysum in Stu's office. Stu congratulates Sysum on his win in the handicap match last week and gives him his reward a shot at Rampage. "Fantastic" exclaims Sysum - possibly the first word we have heard him speak. But there is a twist, Sysum will face Rampage in a tag match in today's main event. Stu needs a better office but this spot was ok and continues to build Sysum towards a title match - probably in episode 9 or 10.
The next match up is a disaster zone. Throughout the show's run they have been building Crater up as the unstoppable monster including winning a match against two men. We now have Crater facing three men - though it is not a handicap match. The whole point of an unstoppable monster storyline is that the monster is unstoppable and squashes his way through the mid-card roster and it takes one of the fan favourite superstars to stop him. So having the mid-card wrestlers actually defeat him makes this entire storyline pointless. Then to do so by having all three men pin him simultaneously so that no-one knows who won this match is sheer madness. What were they thinking? Another of the really irritating things about WOS Wrestling is really noticeable here. All the bouts are edited heavily - BUT they don't edit out botches made by the wrestlers. Here we see Gabriel Kidd and Liam Slater miss with a double dropkick to the legs that is supposed to drop the big man to the canvas so they have to get up and do it over again. Why would you keep the miss in?
Up next is a comedy match in which Grado faces Martin Kirby. The build up for this match was botched last week when they showed us actual footage from this match. A big no no. There is a long, long tradition of both full-blown comedy matches and comedy spots in more serious bouts in British wrestling and I have no problem with this type of bout and this was a pretty good one. Grado is well versed in these type of matches, he gets a great reaction from the crowd and Kirby is the perfect foil for him. The toothbrush tussle and in particular getting the referee caught up in the tussle is straight out of the World of Sport Wrestling heydays of the 70s where referees played a big part in the fun of such bouts. This bout will not be everyone's cup of tea but I thought it was fine. Yet again Kirby gets a screwy win - will that now set up a Grado / Kirby feud one episode on from the Hendry / Kirby feud ending? It could at least keep Grado away from the titles.
Then it is on to the main event and finally we get a good bout. As set up earlier in the show, Justin Sysum's reward for winning the handicap match last week is to partner Joe Hendry in a tag match against Rampage and Sha Samuels. This was as solid a tag team main event as you could get. Samuels & Rampage work well together as the bullying heel team and Hendy and Sysum were over with the crowd and both get to hit their finishers.
The show ends with the preview of next week's show. The Ayesha Vs. Viper match that the women's over-the-top-rope rumble hinted at should be good. Bulldog Vs. Iestyn Rees could be a decent power match, but they again commit the sin of showing us a clip from the actual bout a week before it is broadcast and that booking means the tag titles won't be defended in episode 8. I'm glad that they are going to do the mixed tag match with Ospreay and Priestley facing Kay Lee Ray and Stevie Boy. It is something a bit different and goes some way to justifying SoCal Val's comments about who's dating who that we have heard during these wrestlers bouts.
Save the Best 'till erm...Sixth?
As WOS Wrestling nears the end of its first series the remaining episodes should see some better quality bouts as storylines set up in earlier episodes start to play out. That is certainly true here with the sixth episode of the programme being the strongest episode in terms of the in ring action.
Does having the Heavyweight Champion defend his belt in the opening bout devalue the title? Maybe, but here again it certainly provides a great opening to this week's edition. As trailed last week Rampage defends against "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith Jr in a power vs. power bout. We all know that Rampage's cronies are going to interfere in this bout but it provides a really solid contest that was well worked. It seems likely that Rampage will retain until the final episode, with Justin Sysum looking like being the man he faces in episode 10. And so we get Sysum coming out to defend the defeated Bulldog from a beat down - neatly setting up the main event.
After the break it is time for Joe Hendry Vs. Martin Kirby - Part II but this time in a submission match. I can take or leave Kirby's crybaby act at the beginning of the match, but it certainly got the fans at ringside invested in the action. This was another really solid bout but not for the first time and probably not for the last we miss action in the ring due to cutaways to crowd shots - something that continues to annoy. After "The Phenomenal One"'s phenomenal run of consecutive defeats on WOS Wrestling he finally gets a win and hopefully that's this grudge settled - we don't need Hendry Vs. Kirby part III.
Up next it is finally time for the final of the tag team tournament. AlphaBad and The Bromance looked the best of the teams involved but we already suspect that the partnership between Cruz and Maxted is looking doomed and so it proves. This was a really solid tag match between two established tag teams and it is a little sad to see The Bromance dissolved just so we can get a grudge match between Cruz and Maxted, but the crowd were so behind Maxted it certainly makes sense. The problem for WOS is that now that AlphaBad have won the belts where is the opposition? Most of the teams in the tournament have collapsed and the only established team for them to face now is the pairing of B.T. Gunn & Stevie Boy - who they defeated in the semi-finals.
I do like it when they play out a storyline in an episode and Sysum aiding Bulldog sets up this week's main event nicely. Sysum won a shot against Rampage last week - or did he? They could do with making some of these decisions clearer via Stu Bennett's announcements and the commentary team. Stu is going to make Sysum work for his title shot it would appear. Sysum overcoming Sha Samuels and CJ Banks in a handicap match worked well and Sysum continues to impress. A great ending to the bout with Sysum's staring down of Rampage on the ramp before delivering that eye-catching spear from the floor through the ropes and that flying discus again. The bout does raise the question why the heck Sha and CJ were not in the tag team tournament though??!!
At the end of the episode we get the preview of next week's show with Crater continuing to be built up as the unstoppable monster by facing 3 men, the Cruz Vs. Maxted feud in a ladder match - but with the loser leaving WOS and Sysum getting a shot at Rampage. However, WOS Wrestling wouldn't be WOS Wrestling if they didn't take a big misstep somewhere in an episode and this week's bodge is a doozy. We are told that next week Grado will take on Martin Kirby - and then they show us some actual footage from that bout - that takes place next week! Now, I am a wrestling fan so I am well aware that all of the bouts on all 10 episodes were filmed over three days in May 2018 BUT there is no need to explicitly show the viewers that - holy suspension of belief grapple fans!
One final comment - at the end of the show we finally get an onscreen graphic directing viewers to the WOS Westling website for details of this massive (9 date!) UK tour. I had checked out the website before episode 1 was broadcast and added links on IMDb to the roster but at that point the site was a bit sparse and I haven't bothered to revisit it. We have seen very few interviews on the show and it is now clear why - ITV have been posting pre-match and post-match interviews for nearly all the bouts on the twitter/facebook/website - so why wouldn't you put an on-screen link/hashtag to these or even just mention it during the broadcasts??!!