Special World of Sport Review
When Acclaim brought out Legends of Wrestling II there was a special offer where you could win a free WOS DVD with a 25-minute documentary and 3 matches. Well after reading Gordi’s recent column about WOS I got the urge to post this so here we are. This was oringinally a TWCF Exclusive but I think it’s good enough to put on here.
Everything stopped at 4’oclock documentary
Starts off with an introduction to all the old guys like Mick McManus, Jacky Pallo etc. Jimmy Saville (a well known British TV host) is up talking about how Saturday was wrestling day and Max Crabtree (Main British promoter of the day) backs him up. Crabtree compares it to prostitution in that’s in been going for so long. Says so long as there’s a good heel and a good face wrestling will always exist. Can’t disagree with that.
Roller Ball Rocco (AKA The Original Black Tiger in NJPW) says wrestling is a Northern England thing and the type of wrestling used in Britain originated in some form in Wigan. Lots of old footage is shown.
Crabtree says they ran wrestling everywhere. Pallo says every town had a wrestling show. Rocco talks about how at Belleview the kids would come for theme parks, the dads for speedway and the mums for wrestling. Robbie Brookside talks about wrestling in Liverpool.
Clips are shown of Jimmy Saville wrestling. Really funny part as he’s getting battered and the commentator tries to ask him questions as he’s getting his head kicked in. Saville tells about a funny story where an old woman poked him with an umbrella and when he asked her why she said “oh not you Jimmy, him!” Saville says he lost his first 33 fights. Saville says how popular it was and how the fans loved them.
Pollo is in the Royal Albert Hall and he talks about selling it out 6 times. Back to Crabtree who talks about wrestlers individuality. Clips of Billy Two Rivers is shown.
Crabtree talks about Big Daddy (British wrestling ledgend) who was his brother and how great a person he was. He doesn’t mention how he shoved him down everyone’s throats when he was well past his prime and killed the British scene but I guess he has selective memory.
Mick McManus talks about Catweazle (A decent worker who portrayed a tramp) and Crabtree talks about Giant Haystacks (Big Daddy’s enourmous nemisis).
Brookside talks about becoming a fan and how his dad hated it. McManus talks about how TV was really important and about how it could make you or break you. Pallo talks about getting stopped in the street and how all taxi drivers knew who he was. Shows McManus meeting the rolling stones and other celebrities.
Rocco talks about how he was thrown in at the deep end at a young age and how much money he made. Pallo talks about beating the FA Cup Final (The biggest sporting event of the year in the UK) in the ratings.
Pallo talks about how tough Les Kellett was. He was like the WOS version of Bruiser Brody in that everyone was terrified of him. Talks about how Les would kill you if he was pissed off. Clips are shown with Kellett f*cking with an opponent as Crabtree says he was a hard man and how his whole life was never giving in. shoot or work I have no idea with that.
And it is time for the top heel. Kendo Nagasaki makes his appearance complete with evil music. Rocco says how Kendo lived his gimmick to the point he wouldn’t talk to the other guys. Lloyd Ryan talks about how Kendo will never speak. Rocco says Kendo had his own locker room and entourage. Kendo ignores interviewers questions. Crabtree talks about Gorgeous George managing Kendo and how many people hated both of them. Kellett tells a story about how a fan jumped Kendo and got his arse handed to him. The fan literally went to the hospital and Kellett’s view is “Well that’s not…good really is it? Because he wasn’t there the next week” I’m liking Kellett more and more.
The DVD talks about the fans next. Rocco says how some fans in some places were calm and polite where as in Glasgow you’d need about 5 people escorting you to the ring if you were a heel. Shows some modern footage of old women yelling at the wrestlers and McManus talks about staying away from the ropes for dear life lest you get hit with a brollie or handbag. Rocco talks about how fans in Newcastle pulled of a guys clothes in an effort to drag him out of the ring so they could kill him. Now THAT’S heel heat. McManus talks about how some people saw it as therapeutic to see the heel get killed.
They talk about whether it’s a work or not. Rocco says it’s legit and Pallo immediately breaks kayfabe and says it’s fixed. Rocco goes on to say no one ever told him to lose which is bullshit as he worked New Japan and that’s obviously a worked promotion. Pallo says that the only straight thing in life is death. Everything else has an angle. BRILLIANT analogy. Brookside does the old fashioned “how many of these people have got in the ring” speech. Pallo backs it up saying its physical but a business. McManus dodges it and Crabtree says the only straight business on Earth is wall papering and even that’s a put up job.
Clips are shown of Big Pat Roach (A decent big man who ended up going into Television and Movies) giving his touching farewell speech on the last TV episode on ITV (The channel which used to show WOS). The wrestlers talk about how it got took off TV because ITV thought it was too working class. No one mentions that it might have been down to them failing to adapt to what the NWA and WWF was producing but I guess this isn’t the sort of DVD to discuss such a thing. Greg Dyke (“Evil” TV commisioner of the Jamie Kellner mode) says that wrestling was holding ITV back. Dyke says the people in charge of sport were embarrassed by wrestling because it was so obviously fake. Saville thinks it was a stupid idea to drop it even though the ratings were low. Dyke says he was shocked how many people liked it. Brookside talks about how the queen mother stood up to save it and Dyke tells about how ITV wanted to send Giant Haystacks round his house to interview him which caused Dyke to shit himself.
Brookside says his world collapsed as he was just getting work when it happened. Crabtree says lack of TV killed it totally where as Dyke says it was pretty much dead when he put the final knife in and I have to agree with him. Still it would have survived if it had kept its TV slot in my opinion provided it switched to a more entertaining style of wrestling that was being produced in NWA as they had the talented workers to do ***** matches I think. Brookside talks about how the British scene died out and now he has to go to America. This is quite an old DVD as he talks about going to WCW for a tryout. Rocco says how far ahead British wrestling was compared to the US. Bullshit Rocco I respect you but England never came anything close to producing the sort of world renowned stars that America and Japan did. Where’s everyone now? Rocco works in Tenerife, Crabtree owns a farm and Brookside still works the indies.
Well that was a great documentary but I would have preferred it to be more like the ECW DVD and not mostly kayfabed but still it was entertaining. Now the matches.
Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy Vs Steve Vidor and Tibor Szakacs
Daddy and Haystacks are supposed to be the heels here but they get treated like stars while the baby faces get polite applause. This is 20 minutes with no rounds. Oh god I sense much resting in this one. Daddy looks to be much thinner than he would get in his porking days. Haystacks and Szakas start. Haystacks throws him around for a while and basically just grunts a lot. Daddy comes in and continues with the attack which mostly involves him running into him belly first. No seriously. Vidor comes in and takes a kicking from the big guys. Man Big Daddy makes Dusty Rhodes look like Ric Flair. Vidor gets a couple of dropkicks but it goes nowhere and soon enough he’s getting choked. Szakacs comes in and gets hammered and this match stumbles along. In comes Haystacks for more of this never ending heat segment. Kamala is a better worker than these two and I mean that. And people wonder why ratings were so low BECAUSE THESE TWO WERE THE MAIN DRAWS. Big Daddy finally does something besides chesting his opponent by getting Szakacs in a lame Submission move that looks like he’s giving him a piggyback to give him and Haystacks a 1-0 lead. It should be noted that this match has gone about 6 minutes and 5.35 of it has been wrestled by Big Daddy. I can’t believe WCW hired Giant Haystacks but then again I’m actually not. Big Daddy jumps Szackacs before the bell to get a public warning (You get a warning in World of Sport before you get DQ’ed). Vidor then beats him into the heel corner and Big Daddy slowly falls down which I think his high spot. Daddy then goes back to clubbing Szackacs but misses a belly flop and gets chopped a couple of times and there stiff ones. The crowd tries to pull Big Daddy out but he’s saved by the bouncers back to the face corner for some chopping. All 4 guys come in and Haystacks gets whipped into Daddy in the corner for his high spot of the match. Vidor gets some stomps on Daddy and this match has got 10 times better since the faces took over. Vidor goes for a pin but Haystacks jumps him and gets disqualified. Not only did they stink up the ring but also they wouldn’t even do a clean job
WINNERS – VIDOR AND SZACKACS
This gets -** for being crappy, wretched and boring. NEXT.
Catweezle Vs Mick McManus
This one should hopefully be much better. Catweezle is meant to a be a tramp and Mick McManus is perenial heel and mat technician. 6 5-minute rounds. Catweezle is called and I’m not making this up “The epitome of sartorial elegance” which isn’t funny but if you saw what he looked like you’d be laughing as he’s wearing a potato sack. Catweezle takes off his sack to reveal some of the ugliest striped tights I’ve ever seen.
Lock up and McManus goes straight to a headlock and they work from that. One good thing about the technical guys from WOS is that they make a headlock seem important. McManus then targets the arm with a hammer lock and gets a couple of 2 counts from it. Catweezle fights up and gets out of the hold to pop the crowd. Catweezle targets the ears of McManus but Mick McManus gets a version of the Anaconda Vice but since this is maybe 30 years before Hiroyoshi Tenzan starts using it as a finisher Catweezle is able to get out of it rather easily. McManus beats on Catweezle and the ref gets shoved and now Catweezle targets the arm while McManus grabs the tights. Test of strength followed by a nice head butt from Catweezle. More nice mat wrestling as the round comes to a close.
McManus gets the hair tosses so Catweezle goes to the ears and throws McManus outside and the fans really like that. Wow this is simple stuff but the fans love it. Fans are popping every time Catweezle goes to the ears. McManus counters the blatant cheating with…blatant cheating as he chokes and scratches. Man the fans are rabid and McManus gets a public warning for cheating. Catweezle starts tramping up (the homeless equivalent of Hulking Up) and goes to the ears and gets a blatant closed fist but isn’t reprimanded. This is so unfair to McManus. McManus goes after the wheels of Catweezle and gets his face torn to shreds as a result. God ref DQ Catweezle this is a disgrace. Pure bias plain and simple, I’d sulk if I didn’t have to review the rest of this match. Catweezle gets some slaps in but McManus gets a headlock followed by a sly punch. See nice technical wrestling by McManus yet HE gets a public warning?
Catweezle spits water at the start of the round 30 years before HHH even thought of it and uses the opportunity to lock the blinded McManus in an arm submission for the first fall. Cheating bastard no wonder he’s homeless would YOU trust this guy to pay you rent?
McManus is PISSED and so would I be too. Catweezle goes to the arm but misses a charge and tumbles outside. He rolls inside and McManus proceeds to give him a wrestling lesson. Single leg Boston Crab gets the equalising fall. See I love that Catweezle cheats to buggary to get his fall and McManus out wrestles him for his.
It turns out Catweezle cant go on and the match is awarded to McManus
WINNER – MICK MCMANUS
*** – Good technical wrestling and a much better advertisement for the British style.
Special Unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki
Oh yeah this is a DVD extra where Kendo Nagasaki comes out and removes his mask after a little ritual. I have no idea where he did that but he did. He’s wearing red contacts to make him look EVIL. I think they did this for a ratings fix. I think it might have been a face turn as well but I’m not sure.
Rollerball Rocco and Wayne Bridges Vs Psycho Stevens and Kendo Nagasaki
I’m a big mark for Rocco and I’m desperate to find some stuff as him as Black Tiger. This is from the last ever TV showing on ITV. They’ve showed this on TWC at one point too I think. Kendo has some sort of belt with him. Gorgeous George cuts a promo on the faces to start and away we go. This is 30 minutes with no rounds. Bridge is built like a brick shithouse here and Rocco is in great shape too. He must have been confident knowing he could go to Japan after this. Rocco and Stevens start and Rocco immediately destroys him with kicks, stomps and a back body drop. He begs Kendo to tag in but he refuses. This is a much more US style match. Bridges comes in and gets a Heart Attack clothesline. The idea here is that the faces want to destroy Stevens so they can finally get Kendo who’s been dodging them both. Rocco gets tagged in and gets a beautiful top rope splash and then a piledriver but Kendo gets some cheap shots in before tagging in. Nagasaki comes in and gets a throat thrust and back body drop. Nagasaki is looking quite pudgier than usual here. Kendo gets some chops in working the ribs but Rocco gets a lariat causing Kendo to run out. Stevens and Bridges fight and Stevens continues to get the shit kicking of a life time and again Kendo refuses to tag given the chance. Bridges gets a version of the pedigree on Stevens and then gets cheap shotted by Kendo. Now Kendo gets the Nagasaki Special (Rolling Samoan Crash)for the first fall out of nowhere.
Rocco jumps the heels during the break and chases them with a chair back to their corner. Bridges is hurt but he has to start the round to the chagrin of Rocco. Bridges is selling the mid section here so Nagasaki targets them, as any heel worth his salt would do. Rocco gets the hot tag and Kendo eats a double lariat. Rocco gets a near fall on Stevens and gets a Snake Eyes and then sends him outside in a sick bump the sees him land face first on the wooden floor. OUCH. Rocco begs Kendo to tag in and again he refuses. Rocco continues the beat down on Stevens with a head vice. Bridges works Stevens knee with a spinning toe hold and turns it into a variation of the figure 4 called so by Ken Walton. Doomsday Device on Stevens by the faces and another double team leads to the academic pin fall. Its now equal at 1-1
Rocco is all like “come on” to Kendo and finally gets him in the ring and goes for the mask but takes a low blow. Kendo chokes and kicks away but gets sleepered. Double lariat on Rocco leads to the heel heat segment. This match has turned into madness as all 4 guys come in when they please. Nice spot as Rocco jumps off the back on Stevens onto Kendo causing them both to tumble outside as Bridges pins Stevens inside
WINNERS – ROLLERBALL ROCCO AND WAYNE BRIDGES
**** – I loved this match. A much more Japanese/US influenced style with a much quicker pace. After the match George points out that neither of the faces pinned Nagasaki. So Rocco calls for a singles right now but then the clip ends leaving me thoroughly pissed off.
The Inside Pulse
Well that was a great look at WOS and a good introduction to the style for new fans. Plus, 2 out of the 3 matches are pretty good. It’s just a shame you ahd to have LOW II to watch it though. If you could get your hands on it it’s worth your effort though as an introduction to the style