“This is a marriage of the sublime and ridiculous” – WOS Wrestling Episode 4 18 August 2018

This week’s WOS Wrestling sees the return of Will Ospreay, a women’s title match as Kay Lee Ray puts her championship on the line and a battle of the heavyweights.

Bea Priestley vs Kay Lee Ray

Priestley dominates early, attaching KLR before the bell rings as she goes toe-to-toe with a fine example of a women’s wrestler who has helped define the standard in British wrestling. It’s a brawl with grace and both women looked great in WOS Wrestling.

Kay Lee Ray is finally able to the hit a Gory Bomb when Viper comes out to interfere and destroy her, robbing KLR of the definitive victory. Ayesha makes her WOS Wrestling debut and the match, having been thrown out (we learn from commentary), turns into a brawl. Stu Bennett cancels the match and announces a female over-the-top-rope battle royale for the WOS Women’s Championship.

A messy end leading to an interesting match for next week.

Backstage, Bennett chastises Grado over his return to his “blubbering buffoon” nature. Grado won the match, though, and wants one more chance. Thankfully Bennett has the opportunity Grado needs if he can find a tag team partner.

Will Ospreay vs Martin Kirby

The Aerial Assassin returns to an ovation to take on the devious Martin Kirby (who certainly doesn’t get an ovation). The very second the bell rings, Kirby attacks but it’s not long before the fleet-footed Ospreay displays his athleticism.

Refocussing Kirby regains the high ground, only to be taken down by Ospreay again. This match gives us Ospreay at his most theatrically entertaining and Kirby at his most efficiently nasty. Whereas Ospreay puts everything into his performance, Kirby brings an efficiency of movement that’s near unparalleled in WOS Wrestling as he continues to rile his opponent. It’s, eventually, Ospreay that gets the victory a fantastic sequence of moves, ending with The Stormbreaker.

Grado & British Bulldog Jr vs Crater & Robbie X

Bennett certainly isn’t impressed that Grado found a tag team partner, especially given that it’s British Bulldog Jr, whilst Crater is joined by Robbie X in the final tag team tournament quarterfinal. As Alex Shane points out “it’s a strange combination on both sides.”

Crater is clearly in charge of his tag team, picking his opportunities, whilst Grado plays to his strengths in a match with two heavyweights and a supreme highflier. Robbie spends much of his in-ring time flying around the ring, before suffering at the hands of British Bulldog Jr, but it’s all about Crater in the end as he disposes of Robbie X himself, abandoning his partner in the ring, leading to Grado scoring the victory.
As the winners celebrate, Crater returns to punish Robbie X more, but Grado and British Bulldog Jr stand in his way.

Backstage, Rachel Stringer interviews Rampage, but it’s Sha Samuels who does the talking, directly to the camera. Rampage, it seems, is getting bigger and stronger, Samuels says.

Justin Sysum vs Joe Hendry vs Adam Maxted

Naturally, Maxted is accompanied by bromantic partner, Nathan Cruz, in a “triangle match” that isn’t for a title shot, despite the Stringer interview and mentions of the man, rematches and the WOS Championship on commentary.

Before the match starts, Cruz appeals to Maxted’s “handsome face”, offering to place himself in the match. With quickly Cruz thrown out of the ring, Hendry and Sysum spar until Cruz returns, sending Hendry to the floor so that Cruz and Hendry can exchange moves.

It’s an interesting as it gives us a one-on-one with three competitors and shows us the best of all three men at various points before we get all three in the ring and the action really ramps up. Maxted brings an advantage to Cruz, although it’s a miscommunication that sees Cruz on the losing end of this match.

A return to the few matches more quality format, episode 4 gives us three quality matches, albeit with one with a seemingly messy ending that has to, once again, be cleared up on commentary and on the microphone. Whilst it’s obvious that the match would be thrown out, there didn’t seem to be a big push for this dramatic beat in the ring.

“What’s a VHS?” asks SoCal Val, instantly making a whole generation feel so much older. Again, the commentary relationship between Val and Alex Shane is on form, whilst Stu Bennett continues to be the evil authority figure meets cross parent to his commentary partners.

The in-ring action continues to be highly entertaining, top notch stuff with a lot that stands out in each match.  The women’s match starts off strong and continues to give Viper a focus, though this does threaten to overshadow Kay Lee Ray as champion (especially considering that we’ve had little reason to get behind her so far, championship belt aside).  The tag team tournament is a bit odd, especially given that some of the teams have no real reason to be a team.  Ospreay and Kirby are a true highlight of a match, whilst the main event is a strong example of what the heavyweights are capable of doing.

It’s in the “why is this happening?” that WOS Wrestling continues to have a bit of a deficit.  Once again, it’s not clear why much of what goes on is happening in the way in the way it does. Grado and Rampage aside, there’s little in the way of backstory to anything that’s happening. Cruz is another exception as it’s his decision to take Maxted’s place in the match, for seemingly altruistic reasons.

Elsewhere, there’s nothing to tell us why Robbie X ended up with Crater (there’s an argument to be had that the monster is a one-man tag team), nor any additional footage of Grado on his tag team partner quest. Missed opportunities, though if any such footage exists, it may appear online… hopefully. Commentary can only go so far, and hopefully, this will all be corrected if WOS Wrestling gets a much anticipated second season.

Then there’s the editing! Who is doing the editing on this show?  Who thought that turning Kay Lee Ray’s entrance into a montage of KLR coming to and getting into the ring was a good idea!, or to break up Ospreay’s dazzling array with a replay.  For that instant, and it can be a short amount of time, you’re taken out of the moment as the action is derailed and it has a lasting impact.

We’re approaching the halfway point in this ten episode season and WOS Wrestling has a roster that deserves it to be a huge success with an execution that makes the finished product look shiny yet a tad untidy.  Hopefully the final six episodes will continue to show how strong British wrestling is and we’ll return for a season 2 in 2019!

This episode of WOS Wrestling is available for 30 days from broadcast on the ITV Hub.