FightBox - Facebook
English (United Kingdom)Polish (Poland)Czech (Čeština)

November 2013 - Can the “World of Sport” Recapture Its Glory Days?

Professional wrestling is not simply the WWE. It’s not just about WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan, The Rock and John Cena, it’s not just about Monday Night Raw and Vince McMahon and it’s not just all about “Titan Trons”, scripted backstage promos, divas, pyrotechnics and male soap operas. The great thing about pro wrestling, once you start to explore it more in depth, is the different styles that there are around the world. In Japan it’s more of a sport with an emphasis on hard strikes, no-nonsense stories and grueling trainings at the “dojo”, in Mexico it’s all about showmanship and flashy moves, masks and high-flying maneuvers and places like Philadelphia and Puerto Rico are known for violent bloody brawls. But in the UK, from 1955 to 1985 the World Of Sport was all about the wrestling.

What made British wrestling different for me, was the rules because they actually meant something. The referees were in your face for nearly anything you did inside the ring that wasn’t actually “wrestling”. They also gave “public warnings” for breaking these rules and if you got three of them you were disqualified. All World of Sport matches were governed by the Admiral-Lord Mountevans rules which included getting a fast paced 10 count for being on your back, breaking on the ropes or in the corner and abiding by a round system, similar to boxing. Most matches were two out of three falls and you were also not allowed to strike your opponent with a closed fist. It was almost as if professional wrestling were the next step to amateur wrestling. The result was a very technically-based style of wrestling holds and reversals.

Some truly incredible wrestlers came out of that era like Johnny Saint, Steve Grey, Marty Jones, Mark “Rollerball” Rocco, Bobby Barnes and so many more. But perhaps it is best known for the feud between two gigantic wrestlers Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, whose total combined weight was probably well over 70 stone (about 1,000 lbs or about 450 kilograms) had a TV audience of over 18 million entranced. Some guys went on to be big stars overseas in America like Fit Finlay, William Regal, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and other visiting stars from abroad tried their hand in England

I’m by no means a British wrestling historian, but when World of Sport went off the air in 1985 that was the same time “Hulkamania” really started to take off. As a result the true "British style" seemed to become more Americanized over the years and took a back seat. But in recent years there seems to have been a resurgence in the popularity of professional wrestling in Britain. My Facebook news feed is constantly clogged up with event invites to wrestling shows and posts by fellow wrestlers over there. TNA and WWE have also been doing record numbers on their European tours recently. Even I have wrestled in Scotland several times, once at one of the bigger shows there called “Hell 4 Lycra” put on by the SWE which featured former WWE legends Ted DiBiase, Virgil and Tatanka (yes, I still get bookings occasionally - lol).

With all of this momentum, it seems only natural that someone would want to reclaim those glory days of World Of Sport, and that’s exactly what is happening now. On November 17th in Croydon, outside of London, the new World Of Sport returns with the same wrestling format and rules, but with a new generation of wrestlers. Some of the names on the card include a man who I know very well and have stepped in the ring with on many occasions, former WWE / TNA star Joe Legend, former WWE wrestler and announcer Matt Striker, a host of local British talent and also several stars from the old says of the WOS. Check out the card as it stands now:

Matt Striker vs. Johnny Kidd

Joe E. Legend vs. Alan Lee Travis

Barbarian Karl Krammer vs. Peckham Playboy Hakan

Prodigy Paul Malen vs. The Saint

The Zebra Kid vs. Zak Knight

So what do you think? Will the World of Sport be able to relive its glory days? Is there still an interest for the old Admiral-Lord Mountevans rules? Will the new generation of British wrestlers be able to live up to the old guard in the ring? Will there be the same magic there was nearly 30 years ago? It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with the new World of Sport.

Looking for more great wrestling action? This month Fightbox is featuring New Japan Pro Wrestling and Osaka funny wrestling, so make sure to tune in for all the great action! Also, check out the schedule for the complete lineup.


- Daniel Austin


  • Sdílet na:
    Facebook Google Bookmarks