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The Beginner's Guide To British Wrestling

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Lucha libre and British wrestling are the two forms of wrestling I'm passionate about and since people don't watch enough of both of them I thought I'd start another beginner's guide.

 

So what is it that people don't like about British wrestling? The sudden injections of comedy? The rounds system? The awful finishes? The cooperative looking holds? Perhaps people don't like how wrestlers falling out of the ring is sold like death or perhaps they don't like how guys do massive flips off finger locks. Or perhaps it's as simple as the general repetitiveness.

 

Whatever it is, let's hear it. Personally, I struggle with German wrestling. The clipping and the handheld camera work always make it difficult to follow.

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My ongoing list of recommended matches:

 

WoS

 

Billy Howes vs. Jacques Lageat (5/5/62)

Mick McManus vs. Jackie Pallo (5/5/62)

 

Masambula vs. Tony Charles (aired 2/9/72)
Jim Breaks vs. Adrian Street (2/12/72)
Jack Fallon vs. Tibor Szakacs (aired 4/19/72)
Davie Barrie vs. Sid Cooper (11/16/72)
Steve Veidor vs. Tony Charles (11/16/72)
Les Kellett vs. Johnny Czeslaw (11/16/72)
Ian Gilmour/Jeff Kaye vs. Johnny Saint/Steve Best (aired 12/2/72)
Clay Thomson vs. Reg Trood (aired 12/30/72)
Jim Breaks vs. Johnny Saint (3/14/73)
Pete Roberts vs. Caswell Martin (4/4/73)
Jim Breaks vs. Johnny Saint (5/3/73)
Jackie Pallo vs. Johnny Kwango (5/3/73)
Alan Sarjeant vs. Clay Thomson (6/6/73)
Les Kellett vs. Bobby Barnes (aired 9/25/73)
Alan Sarjeant vs. Eddie Capelli (12/13/73)
Robby Baron vs. Peter Szacaks (3/14/74)
Mick McManus vs. Tony St. Clair (3/14/74)
Tibor Szakacs vs. Prince Kumali (8/15/74)
Abe Ginsberg vs. Pete Curry (10/23/74)
Alan Sarjeant vs. Mick McManus (11/20/74)
Johnny Czeslaw vs. Romany Riley (12/4/74)
Sid Cooper vs. Clive Myers (1/23/75)
Tibor Szakacs vs. Prince Kumali (2/13/75)
Steve Grey vs. John Naylor (4/10/75)
Robby Baron vs. Alan Sarjeant (4/17/75)
Steve Grey vs. Ken Joyce (7/31/75)
Clive Myers vs. Steve Grey (10/8/75)
Clive Myers vs. Steve Grey (11/20/75)
Johnny Saint vs. Mick McManus (11/20/75)
Jim Breaks vs. Bobby Ryan (12/2/75)
Kung Fu vs. Mick McManus (4/21/76)
Zoltan Boscik vs. Steve Grey (aired 5/8/76)
Steve Veidor vs. Gwyn Davies (5/26/76)
Mark Rocco vs. Marty Jones (6/30/76)
Marty Jones vs. Mark Rocco (10/12/76)
Terry Rudge vs. Marty Jones (11/30/76)
Zoltan Boscik vs. Alan Sarjeant (12/29/76)
Clive Myers vs. Alan Sarjeant (2/21/77)
Steve Grey vs. Mick McManus (5/11/77) [Cup Final Day]
Jim Breaks vs. Vic Faulkner (7/5/77)
Kung Fu/Pete Roberts vs. Johnny Kincaid/Dave Bond (10/4/77)
Tony St. Clair vs. Dave Bond (11/7/77)
Clive Myers vs. Steve Grey (12/6/77)
Tony St. Clair vs. Dave Bond (12/6/77)
Mark Rocco vs. Marty Jones (7/26/78)
Bobby Barnes vs. Steve Grey (7/26/78)
Marty Jones vs. Tony St. Clair (9/26/78)
Steve Grey vs. Mark Rocco (10/11/78)
Mark Rocco vs. Chris Adams (12/6/78)
Jim Breaks vs. Young David (Davey Boy Smith) (12/3/79)
Jim Breaks vs. Young David (12/19/79)
Ken Joyce vs. Tony Costas (1/9/80)
Jon Cortez vs. Pete Lapaque (1/28/80)
Jeff Kaye vs. Tony "Banger" Walsh (1/28/80)
Johnny Saint vs Steve Grey (1/28/80) [Walton rant match]
John Cortez vs. Jeff Kaye (2/5/80)
Pete Roberts vs. Pat Roach (2/13/80)
Jim Breaks vs. Young David (Davey Boy Smith) (2/13/80)
Pat Roach vs. Gil Singh (4/21/80)
Mark Rocco vs. Pete Roberts (5/28/80)
Johnny South vs. Ringo Rigby (8/5/80)
Jon Cortez vs. Keith Haward (11/5/80, JIP Rd 1)
Jim Breaks vs. Jon Cortez (2/2/81)
Johnny Saint vs. Steve Grey (2/11/81)
Jon Cortez vs. Bobby Barnes (3/31/81)
Steve Grey vs. Jim Breaks (5/12/81)
Terry Rudge vs. Alan Kilby (6/18/81)
Clive Myers vs. Keith Haward (7/15/81)
Jon Cortez vs. Steve Grey (7/27/81)
Marty Jones vs. Johnny South (10/7/81)
Alan Kilby vs. King Ben (10/7/81)
Johnny Saint vs. Vic Faulkner (11/18/81)
Ken Joyce vs. Johnny Kidd (JIP Rd 4, 1/27/82)
Fit Finlay vs. Young David (Davey Boy Smith) (3/9/82)
Pete Roberts vs. Wayne Bridges (5/11/82)
Steve Grey vs. Jackie Turpin (8/11/82)
Marty Jones vs. Dynamite Kid (1/19/83)
Dave Finlay vs. Ringo Rigby (2/16/83)
Terry Rudge vs. Pete Roberts (3/21/83)
Fit Finlay vs. Alan Kilby (3/23/83)
Jim Breaks vs. Steve Grey (4/7/83, JIP Rd 2)
Dave Finlay & Skull Murphy vs. Marty Jones & Clive Myers (6/13/83)
Dave Finlay & Skull Murphy vs. Marty Jones & Clive Myers (8/23/83)
Terry Rudge vs. Dalibar Singh (10/11/83)
Pat Roach vs. Tom Tyrone (10/11/83)
Steve Grey vs. Steve Speed (1/25/84)
Keith Haward vs. Chic Cullen (3/5/84)
Steve Grey vs. Clive Myers (3/5/84)
Marty Jones vs. Dave Finlay (4/4/84)
Danny Boy Collins vs. Jim Breaks (4/26/84)
Chic Cullen vs. Rocky Moran (5/2/84)
Terry Rudge vs. Tom Tyrone (11/20/84)
Marty Jones vs. Dave Finlay (11/23/84, JIP Rd 4)
Steve Grey vs. Keith Haward (2/5/85)
Mike Bennett vs. Danny Boy Collins (2/12/85)
Steve Grey vs. Clive Myers (3/20/85)
Ray Steele vs. Pete Roberts (9/3/85)
Pete Roberts vs. Indio Guajaro (11/13/85)
Marty Jones vs. Bull Blitzer (Steve Wright) (4/23/86)
Steve Grey vs. Ritchie Brooks (7/3/86)
Jon Cortez vs. Keith Haward (1/13/87)
Johnny Saint vs. Robbie Brookside (4/28/87)
Steve Regal vs. Robbie Brookside (handheld 4/12/90)
Wales
Rollerball Rocco vs. Kung Fu (Rhyl, taped 7/12/83)
Robbie Brookside vs. Doc Dean (Pontardawe, taped 4/4/1989)
Germany
Axel Dieter vs. Moose Morowski (No DQ, Hannover 1980)
Franz van Buyten vs. Dave Taylor (Pirate Fight, Hamburg 10/5/86)
Franz van Buyten vs. Rene Lasartesse (9/27/87)
Terry Rudge vs. Franz van Buyten (Hamburg 10/1/87)
Johnny Saint vs. Terry Rudge (10/8/87)
Steve Regal vs. Terry Rudge (Hamburg 10/7/88)
France
Gilbert Cesca vs. Billy Catanzarro
Rene Ben Chemoul vs. Gilbert Cesca
Francis Sullivan/Albert Sanniez vs. Bernard Caclard/Tony Martino
Gilbert Cesca/René Ben Chemoul vs. Anton Tejero/Inca Péruano (3/12/65)
Anton Tejero vs. Walter Bordes (8/29/67)
Michel de Santo vs. Michel Chaisne
Claude Roca/Walter Bordes vs. Albert Sanniez/Pierre Bernaert (8/29/77)
Jean Corne/Rene Cabellec vs. Jacky Richard/Guy Renault (10/12/81)
Belgium
Franz van Buyten vs. Frank Merckx (Pirate Fight, 1984)
Franz van Buyten vs. Le Grand Vladimir (1984)

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Hmm, been meaning to watch more WoS as that's one of my fave styles as well but I haven't watched any in a while.

 

As a general rule, i've found 60's & 70's > 80's by a good deal as the further you get into the 80's the more it becomes about showy/entertainement style stuff and less about the pure sport style which is what drew me in. I'll check out some of the stuff listed above tho sometime

 

So what is it that people don't like about British wrestling? The sudden injections of comedy? The rounds system? The awful finishes? The cooperative looking holds? Perhaps people don't like how wrestlers falling out of the ring is sold like death or perhaps they don't like how guys do massive flips off fingerlocks. Or perhaps it's as simple as the general repetitiveness. Whatever it is, let's hear it.

All those things are what I love about the style or atleast don't have a problem with. Once you learn to understand or atleast accept that things are sold a LOT diffrently to the point whear even a body slam can be a match ender I think the finishes are fine most of the time.

 

The very best stuff i've seen

 

3/22/1972 Zoltan Boscik vs Jon Cortez

1/6/1973 John Naylor vs Jacky Ricard

3/14/1973 Johnny Saint vs Jim Breaks

5/5/1973 (British Lightweight Title) Jim Breaks © vs Johnny Saint

5/8/1974 Zoltan Boscik vs Robby Baron

8/15/1974 John Naylor vs Zoltan Boscik

11/2/1974 Abe Ginsberg vs Pete Curry

3/8/1975 Jim Breaks vs Zoltan Boscik

4/26/1975 Alan Serjeant vs Robby Baron

11/8/1975 Steve Veidor vs Al Hayes

5/21/1977 (World Lightweight Title) Johnny Saint © vs Kader Hassouni

10/8/1977 Pete Roberts & KungFu vs Johnny Kincaid & Butcher Bond

3/22/1980 Mick McMichael vs Vic Faulkner

2/2/1980 Johnny Saint vs Steve Grey - Assuming this is the same match OJ has listed as 1/28 above

3/15/1986 (World Mid Heavyweight Title) Marty Jones © vs Johnny Kincaid

1987 Steven Regal vs Tiger Dalibir Singh (took place in South Africa but both worked a ton in England so i'll include it anyways)

Date unknown - sometime in the 80's (The Rockers) Peter Lapaque & Tommy Lorne vs (The Fabulous Royals) Bert Royal & Vic Faulkner

 

Germany

 

All Star Wrestling 11/2/1991 (World Middleweight Title) Owen Hart © vs Danny Collins

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Personally, my biggest problems with British wrestling are the absence of storytelling, the lack of drama due to the almost complete absence of nearfalls, and the uniformly horrible finishes. Regardless, I watched a ton of Marty Jones based on your pimping of him, and I would say that the best WoS matches are Jones vs. Terry Rudge and Jones vs. Bull Blitzer.

 

One other note in light of that one thread criticizing Gorilla Monsoon's announcing: Kent Walton talked all the time about how so-and-so wasn't going to get a submission with such-and-such hold. And he's in the Hall of Fame. Is there a double standard?

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Just watched Jones/Rudge as i've had it sitting on my hard drive for 2-3 months now and this seemed like the perfect excuse to watch it. Liked how they built up the subtle tension in the match from gentlemanly mat work to "ok now i'm just gonna head butt this fucker in the gut and slap the shit out of him" and dug how they worked up to the big boston crab spot and put it over as Rudge's best shot to win. Agree with that being one of the better WoS matches.

 

Is there a double standard?

Kent Walton "That won't get a submission but it's doing damage"

 

Monsoon "That won't get a submission, why's he even bothering?"

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As a general rule, i've found 60's & 70's > 80's by a good deal as the further you get into the 80's the more it becomes about showy/entertainement style stuff and less about the pure sport style which is what drew me in. I'll check out some of the stuff listed above tho sometime

The 70s stuff is definitely the best era, but there was a lot of excellent wrestling from 1980 to '84. Things went downhill when the talent started jumping to All Star Wrestling.

 

All those things are what I love about the style or atleast don't have a problem with. Once you learn to understand or atleast accept that things are sold a LOT diffrently to the point whear even a body slam can be a match ender I think the finishes are fine most of the time.

I was referring more to the injury finishes and all the other screwjobs.

 

2/2/1980 Johnny Saint vs Steve Grey - Assuming this is the same match OJ has listed as 1/28 above

Yeah, 2/2 was the airdate.

 

Personally, my biggest problems with British wrestling are the absence of storytelling, the lack of drama due to the almost complete absence of nearfalls, and the uniformly horrible finishes. Regardless, I watched a ton of Marty Jones based on your pimping of him, and I would say that the best WoS matches are Jones vs. Terry Rudge and Jones vs. Bull Blitzer.

There is storytelling and drama in British wrestling and there are definitely nearfalls. There are a lot of long and sometimes dry technical matches, but there were a variety of other styles too. Jones and Rudge and Jones and Wright are a type of smash mouth style that was not uncommon.

 

One other note in light of that one thread criticizing Gorilla Monsoon's announcing: Kent Walton talked all the time about how so-and-so wasn't going to get a submission with such-and-such hold. And he's in the Hall of Fame. Is there a double standard?

I've listened to a ton of Walton and he's not without his faults, but I've also listened to a ton of Monsoon recently and there is no comparison. Walton sometimes buried workers, but Monsoon was a giant pain in the ass.

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I'm not sure if this will be understood by people who aren't, but I find the Britishness of it to be nauseating.

 

I've also never felt that there was any great evolution in the style; if anything, it devolved near the end of the TV run.

 

And, whilst I understand doing a Dynamite Special, a Rocco Special, a McManus Special etc... did TWC/anyone ever put together a run of just the original broadcasts in sequential order over a period of time? You're never going to get into a product as much if it's all selected like that.

 

--

 

That said, there are a good few wrestlers/matches that I like; similar to Lucha (or anything else), if you watch enough those 'quirks' start seeming less-so.

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I'm sure there are things I could see that would make me love it, but I struggle with the rounds system. It feels like it's a momentum killer, and because both wrestlers have so much time to recover between rounds, sometimes the work prior seems inconsequential as a result. I say that from an admitted place of ignorance and like with any style, there are paradigm shifts. I need to really dive in sometime and give it an honest shot. But so much of it feels like an exhibition -- lots of cool matwork but not a lot of emotion.

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did TWC/anyone ever put together a run of just the original broadcasts in sequential order over a period of time? You're never going to get into a product as much if it's all selected like that.

Any other promotion in the world and i'd agree but I think the British sceen is the one exception to that rule. With WoS there weren't angles to follow or a ton of big feuds or really even guys making TV often enough that you could get into something like following a guy from his rookie year moving up the card.

 

To me it's more sports like then any other style i've seen, not so much as far as the action goes but in terms of the presentation. Fuck, I hate to go all Meltzer but it's kinda similar to UFC. You get the ocasional rivalry or feud croping up but mostly it's just a bunch of matches to see who the better man is with the few guys who show the most promise & win a lot getting title shots.

 

It feels like it's a momentum killer, and because both wrestlers have so much time to recover between rounds, sometimes the work prior seems inconsequential as a result.

A lot of the psychology of the standard match is about going back & forth trying to find an opportunity to catch your opponent off guard. Given that so much of it revolves around exchanging holds, when you're able to finally get in a few big blows or a suplex/slam or a good subission or flash cradle it can be a match ender really quickly because that stuff is always sold big.

 

Just because it's allready been brought up & is still fresh in my mind, i'll recomend giving the Marty Jones vs Terry Rudge match a watch for something more similar to traditional style that would be a good gateway match. You've got the cool matwork to start but then it builts into a more rougher style match, blows being thrown, the ref having to step in to break things up when it threatens to get out of controll, they build up to big moves/near falls (within the context of the style atleast) and they really sell the damage the match has taken on them in the later rounds with both struggling to stay in the fight.

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Again, I dig Marty Jones the most out of the WoS guys. He works the mat as well as anyone, but he also uses plenty of roughhouse tactics. He comes across to me as a proto-William Regal, which makes sense since he's the one who trained Regal.

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Personally, my biggest problems with British wrestling are the absence of storytelling, the lack of drama due to the almost complete absence of nearfalls, and the uniformly horrible finishes. Regardless, I watched a ton of Marty Jones based on your pimping of him, and I would say that the best WoS matches are Jones vs. Terry Rudge and Jones vs. Bull Blitzer.

 

One other note in light of that one thread criticizing Gorilla Monsoon's announcing: Kent Walton talked all the time about how so-and-so wasn't going to get a submission with such-and-such hold. And he's in the Hall of Fame. Is there a double standard?

Walton was the voice of a promotion and as responsible for getting over everyone under a unique business model.

 

I can see how absence of near falls would be hard to get used to, but honestly I have grown to viscerally hate near fall heavy matches, and admire matches that work on a more definitive model

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Again, I dig Marty Jones the most out of the WoS guys. He works the mat as well as anyone, but he also uses plenty of roughhouse tactics. He comes across to me as a proto-William Regal, which makes sense since he's the one who trained Regal.

Do you like Jim Breaks?

 

The Adrian Street v. Johnny Saint match is the best WoS match I've ever seen.

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I'm not sure if this will be understood by people who aren't, but I find the Britishness of it to be nauseating.

I had a similar experience watching old episodes of New Zealand's On The Mat and I assure you WoS was light years ahead in terms of quality. I also think living in Japan has dampened my enthusiasm for Japanese wrestling as the years go by. But do you feel the same about Powell and Pressburger? Ealing Comedies? Are You Being Served? Only Fools and Horses? EastEnders?? Emmerdale Farm??? Coro Street??? What aspects would you describe as overly British? The crowds? Walton going on about everyone's day job? Jim Breaks' accent?

 

I've also never felt that there was any great evolution in the style; if anything, it devolved near the end of the TV run.

It was such a beautiful style why would you want to change it? All Star Wrestling tried to go the WWF route and apparently had some post-TV success booking angles. The wrestling in both companies was absolutely shit from about '86 onwards. Once they started sharing the ITV time slot and the match lengths were cut back it became brutal.

 

And, whilst I understand doing a Dynamite Special, a Rocco Special, a McManus Special etc... did TWC/anyone ever put together a run of just the original broadcasts in sequential order over a period of time? You're never going to get into a product as much if it's all selected like that.

I don't think there were enough surviving masters for that to be effective. You can piece together matches from the same taping but that's about it.

 

That said, there are a good few wrestlers/matches that I like; similar to Lucha (or anything else), if you watch enough those 'quirks' start seeming less-so.

Which matches and workers do you like?

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I'm sure there are things I could see that would make me love it, but I struggle with the rounds system. It feels like it's a momentum killer, and because both wrestlers have so much time to recover between rounds, sometimes the work prior seems inconsequential as a result. I say that from an admitted place of ignorance and like with any style, there are paradigm shifts. I need to really dive in sometime and give it an honest shot. But so much of it feels like an exhibition -- lots of cool matwork but not a lot of emotion.

What are some examples of other styles or matches you find emotional?

 

There are a few things you should bear in mind if you ever decide to delve into World of Sport. Firstly, you need to be mindful of the weight classes as the lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight bouts are all wrestled differently from one another. Generally speaking, the catchweight bouts are the most exciting though the lightweight bouts provide the most action. Secondly, the matches aren't supposed to be brawls. They're supposed to be clean, sportsman-like bouts. Of course when you put a heel and a face together it often breaks down, but there are A LOT of face vs. face matches compared with other territories. There were also certain types of workers who were prone to having their face vs. face match-ups turn heated generally because of how stiff they worked. Occasionally, they'd have a heel run that was similar to US wrestling. Mighty John Quinn and the Caribbean Sunshine Boys were good examples of this. And of course there were the perennial heels like McManus, Breaks and Cooper, the gimmick workers like Catweazle, Kung Fu and Kendo Nagasaki, the tough as nails comedy workers like Kellett and Cszelaw, and the super heavyweights on top. Once you figure out which type of weight class you prefer and what type of matches you like it's easier to wade your way through matchlists. As I said, the lightweight bouts and catchweight contests are the easiest to get into at first as well as the heel shtick. The heavyweights take a lot of getting used to as they're the "blue-eyes" babyface workers and can be pretty bland. Steve Viedor is a guy who it took me forever to get into whose stuff I really dig now. I recommend you start with the Tony St. Clair stuff I've recommended as his 70s matches got a ton of heat. He wasn't the greatest worker but a strong foil for the best heels of the day.

 

As for the rounds system, the best way to think about it is that they have to get two falls either from a pinfall or submission and that they're always battling against a time limit. I don't agree with people who've said there are no nearfalls. If you watch a match where both guys are desparately trying to win in the final rounds there will be plenty of nearfalls. This is usually the case with the lightweights. A lot of matches peter out into draws or are slow, technical matches but you can weed those out once you're familiar with the workers.

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Any other promotion in the world and i'd agree but I think the British sceen is the one exception to that rule. With WoS there weren't angles to follow or a ton of big feuds or really even guys making TV often enough that you could get into something like following a guy from his rookie year moving up the card.

 

To me it's more sports like then any other style i've seen, not so much as far as the action goes but in terms of the presentation. Fuck, I hate to go all Meltzer but it's kinda similar to UFC. You get the ocasional rivalry or feud croping up but mostly it's just a bunch of matches to see who the better man is with the few guys who show the most promise & win a lot getting title shots.

There were a lot of angles and gimmickry on top involving Big Daddy that nobody watches because Big Daddy sucks. There was also a bunch of gimmickry with Kendo Nagasaki and workers of his ilk. The heavyweights would occasionally call each other out as well. I've seen Tony St. Clair come to the ring in street clothes on more than one occasion, as well as angles involving Bomber Pat Roach and others. There was the occasional gimmick match too such as the handicap matches or the money per round or fall bouts. There was also the arm wrestling shtick that Myers used to do, and of course tag matches were British wrestling's version of a cage match or some other type of rare stipulation bout. Title matches were also important and built to within the course of a year. In a sense, I agree with MJH that because TWC showed it in inconsequential order you don't get a sense of what was happening in any given year. On the other hand, it wasn't as angle driven as All Star Wrestling and for the most part it was about having a favourite wrestler who you looked forward to seeing on TV.

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I know what MJH means about "Britishness" ... from my own point of view a lot of the appeal of wrestling lies in a a certain time and place. Being transported to a world that probably doesn't exist anymore that I'll never and can never be a part of.

 

Some smokey dive somewhere in the Mid South circa 1984 with guys in the crowd genuinely wearing cowboy hats with Bill Watts unironically with absolutely no selfawareness talking about "sissies".

 

Or maybe it's the early 90s in a time that fashion forgot and there's some dude with a mustache in the crowd all in denim going wild for the Stinger.

 

I reckon at least 20% of my enjoyment of wrestling comes from that sort of thing. The social aspect of it, the location, the sense of time and place. It's a large contributing factor to why I'm not interested in today's product so much.

 

When I was watching the All Japan set seeing those 80s Japanese crowds, men in suits and glasses stoically silent in the first few rows, more rowdy fans towards the back ... it was all interesting and part of the appeal.

 

HOWEVER, all of that said, I find WoS fascinating for many of the same reasons. Britain in the 70s, and THAT Britain -- the sort of people who would go to wrestling matches -- is light years away from your modern X-Factor crowd. And it's interesting to see.

 

But I do know, to an extent, where MJH is coming from on this. Even whenever I hear Daveyboy or William Regal speak on an old show I'm always thrown by it.

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To me it's more sports like then any other style i've seen, not so much as far as the action goes but in terms of the presentation. Fuck, I hate to go all Meltzer but it's kinda similar to UFC. You get the ocasional rivalry or feud croping up but mostly it's just a bunch of matches to see who the better man is with the few guys who show the most promise & win a lot getting title shots.

You've got to remember when it went out too. Right in the middle of the football results between the half-time scores and the full-time results (so about 45 minutes).

 

World of Sport wasn't a wrestling show but a sports show, ITV's rival to the longrunning Grandstand series which only finished around 2007-8 sort of time.

 

Both shows would run from around 12.30pm to around 5.30pm every Saturday and it would comprise coverage of a lot of different sports every week.

 

Could be anything, snooker, darts, F1, rugby, golf, you name it.

 

There was no way in that context WWF-style wrestling with angles and whatnot could have been put in that slot, it would be ridiculous. It had to be presented as a legit sport to get over with those general sports fans who'd be watching for those hours on a saturday.

 

Remember, Grandstand was on the BBC so the wrestling would be up against horseracing, boxing, football, or some other sport -- those guys would just switch over if they thought they were watching cartoon nonsense.

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Remember, Grandstand was on the BBC so the wrestling would be up against horseracing, boxing, football, or some other sport -- those guys would just switch over if they thought they were watching cartoon nonsense.

Like Big Daddy or Giant Haystacks or Kendo Nagasaki?

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I'm sure there are things I could see that would make me love it, but I struggle with the rounds system. It feels like it's a momentum killer, and because both wrestlers have so much time to recover between rounds, sometimes the work prior seems inconsequential as a result. I say that from an admitted place of ignorance and like with any style, there are paradigm shifts. I need to really dive in sometime and give it an honest shot. But so much of it feels like an exhibition -- lots of cool matwork but not a lot of emotion.

What are some examples of other styles or matches you find emotional?

Part of it is atmosphere and has nothing to do with what is happening in the ring. Excited announcers and screaming crowd.

 

I guess the best comparison I have to what I've seen of World of Sport is RINGS -- not so much in terms of style, but in terms of presentation. I enjoy RINGS. But I like UWFI more because it feels more like traditional pro wrestling.

 

I'm not sure I'm answering the question, so maybe the best way to answer it is to ask another series of questions. Are there any bloodbaths? Any long-term rivalries that build from match to match? Any classic stories of someone chasing victory in a match or chasing a title for years before the big payoff? Is revenge a theme you see often? Or does each match exist in its own little vacuum?

 

I've found at this stage of my wrestling watching, it's hard for me to enjoy matches where the big picture context isn't really evident. It's why sometimes I hold off when matches are recommended to me. I feel like every match has prerequisites, and it's really hard for me to watch anything cold. Anyway, I'm rambling.

 

The advice you gave was great. I generally do like the Jim Breaks and Johnny Saint matches I've seen. I just haven't seen one that I've loved yet.

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Remember, Grandstand was on the BBC so the wrestling would be up against horseracing, boxing, football, or some other sport -- those guys would just switch over if they thought they were watching cartoon nonsense.

Like Big Daddy or Giant Haystacks or Kendo Nagasaki?

 

I think there's a big difference between a bit of pizzazz and character / charisma and, for example, Jimmy Hart vs. JYD in a waterslide race or Roddy Piper playing trick or treat on Halloween night.

 

Those were some of the more colourful characters, but the presentation was still largely realistic and as a legit sport.

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Any long-term rivalries that build from match to match? Any classic stories of someone chasing victory in a match or chasing a title for years before the big payoff? Is revenge a theme you see often?

I'm sure OJ could provide more detail and possibly other examples, but first thing that jumps to mind is the excellent Steve Grey/Johnny Saint series in late '79-early '80. They start off with non-title matches with Grey chasing Saint which then builds to a title match between the two. The problem is the entire series wasn't shown in the re-runs and some of the matches are only available in clipped form from the original airings.

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I guess the best comparison I have to what I've seen of World of Sport is RINGS -- not so much in terms of style, but in terms of presentation. I enjoy RINGS. But I like UWFI more because it feels more like traditional pro wrestling.

I think RINGS was presented like Pancrase. WoS was out and out pro-wrestling to me. The pure sport aspect I think is overstated. UWF-i was worked like pro-wrestling so I can understand why that might appeal to you.

 

Are there any bloodbaths?

I can't remember ever seeing blood on WoS. I don't think it was allowed on TV.

 

Any long-term rivalries that build from match to match?

I don't know about building from match to match, but most of the long term rivalries revolved around title belts. I don't think there were a lack of feuds. There were plenty of reoccuring match-ups along with short term programs. The problem is that we don't have the complete picture in regards to footage.

 

Any classic stories of someone chasing victory in a match or chasing a title for years before the big payoff?

This tended to happen in the heavyweight ranks where the belt seledom changed hands. In the lighter classes the belts changed hands frequently. I can't think of any examples off hand as I've watched most out of it out of context and in nonsequential order. The lightweights certainly chased each other in terms of the belt.

 

Is revenge a theme you see often? Or does each match exist in its own little vacuum?

There were a lot of return matches. Revenge may have been a motivation in these bouts but not outwardly so because of the gentlemanly pretences. The heels tended to look for revenge more than the faces. If a heel lost, they'd often offer up a wager in order to get a return bout and things like that. I suppose there was an element of revenge in return title matches. Many of the matches existed in their own little vacuum because guys were making their first television appearance for a number of months, but in terms of the feuds Walton would always refer back to their previous match-ups. The catchweight bouts I like so much take place in their own little vacuum.

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Remember, Grandstand was on the BBC so the wrestling would be up against horseracing, boxing, football, or some other sport -- those guys would just switch over if they thought they were watching cartoon nonsense.

Like Big Daddy or Giant Haystacks or Kendo Nagasaki?

 

I think there's a big difference between a bit of pizzazz and character / charisma and, for example, Jimmy Hart vs. JYD in a waterslide race or Roddy Piper playing trick or treat on Halloween night.

 

Those were some of the more colourful characters, but the presentation was still largely realistic and as a legit sport.

 

Well, ultimately they were matches filmed at halls around the country, but c'mon Big Daddy was not pure sport. Even huge stars like McManus, Pallo and Kellet who were great workers were entertainers first and foremost. There was a lot of technical wrestling, but I think the pure sport aspect gets overplayed because of how the matches were presented on TWC. Walton tried to sell something like Catweazle as seriously as he could, but the audience weren't under any illusion that it was anything other than comedy.

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