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WOOLCOCK 10-04-2012 04:16 PM

Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Ok, so between 1970 and 1985 World of Sport produced an amazing run of consistently excellent British wrestling built on unrivalled grappling, matwork, stiff striking and a dash of comedy and eccentric characters. Many of the faces of the style pioneered the likes of Fit Finlay and William Regal in their approach to perfecting a blend of European and US wrestling styles and watching WOS you can see many attributes in both men's work developing before your own eyes.

This thread will mainly revolve around me pimping a variety of matches and wrestlers who are unaccustomed to most posters on here and hoping to start up some discussion and introduce people to the style. Feel free to post and review your own match or recommend matches you think are essential viewing. I doubt it'll come to this but I might be persuaded to eventually work up a top 25/50 WOS matches which I'd update into the OP as a starting point for what people should watch.

A couple of starting points which I've seen discussed before as criticisms of the style which I find to be a little niave:

(a)"The lack of clear cut traditional 'moves' makes it impossible to get into the style":

Pretty silly IMO. Go into watching the style not expecting to be treated to what you associate with the US style and you should find yourself more immersed and appreciative of the unique style and setting. The rounds system as well as a relience on fairly basic moves to win a match will always be a drawback to people who are overexposed to the WWE/TNA/Indy movesets, but if you go in and give it a chance you can see the lack of clear cut 'finishers' only adds to the drama and story within a WOS match.

(b) "There's no storytelling, just endless grappling and matwork":

Bollocks. Whether its heel vs heel, veteran vs rookie, face/heel or a face/face match which gradually breaks down into a violent war there are plenty of stories and angles within a WOS match that ensure you're not just watching an aimless exhibition. Finlay and Jim Breaks vs a 17 year old British Bulldog or the famous Steve Grey vs Johnny Saint match where Smith looks on another planet to Grey are perfect examples of there being more to the match beyond incredibly slick grappling. Heck Steve Grey vs Clive Myers is one of the best Flair/Steamboat esque matches I've seen, whereby Clive Myers is the International phenom battling the hometown sensation for the title.

(c) "There's no US style attributes to hold my interest":

Again, a load of tripe. Whether its the comedy genius of Les Kellett rivalling that of Eddie Guerrero/Terry Funk, the immensely entertaining character work of Adrian Street (exotico gimmick) or 'Crybaby' Jim Breaks there's a ton of wrestlers who add some character work to their grappling to create a story/character dynamic. The likes of Marty Jones also employ a more violent brawling style that Regal and Finlay are known for, whereby grappling and matwork dominates the match but stiff striking and big bumps are also present throughout. The Johnny Saint vs Jim Breaks match where Smith bloodies Breaks's nose for a portion of the bout also acts as a dismissive argument to those who cite WOS as too clean/lacking in violence.

Anyways, the first few batch of matches will feature Finlay and Dynamite Kid. People new to the WOS style will hopefully find these matches more bearable to ease them into the setting as they're more a mix of British and US wrestling compared to most WOS matches: I'll spoiler tag my review so as to avoid making this an even greater wall of text. Enjoy!

1. Marty Jones vs Dynamite Kid, 02/05/1983

Spoiler for Match Review:
Dynamite is a guy I generally really don't care for at all as a worker. Watching some of his 'pimped' matches makes me think he more or less pioneered a lot of the traits in modern wrestling I can't get behind (exhibiton wrestling, little story etc). Marty Jones however is probably one of the greatest wrestlers never talked about and has a ton of great matches instead of that 1 Owen Hart match from 1987 which people usually only associate with it being Owen Hart in WOS. However that being said, Dynamite is pretty freaking incredible in this match. He produces one of the most cuntish performances I've seen and bumps extremely well, this is what Dynamite needs to be instead of trying to immitate his Tiger Mask matches.

This is pretty much the most violent match I've also seen in WOS. Some of the strikes and throws are horrificly stiff or sold incredibly well. Jones is really great as the guy who's pissed off with Dynamite's antics but still wants to win fairly and will instead seek to punish Dynamite within the rules, whereas Dynamite is basically headbutting and striking the fuck out of Marty and fucking off any matwork or exchange of holds. Jones establishes control with some nice takedown maneouvres and eventually takes the first fall with a quick rollup after Dynamite had finally found some rythm. Dynamite's reaction is pretty glorious as he just gets up and punches Marty right in the freakin kidneys and man this crowd is pissed. Marty giving a 'the fuck was that shit' look sealed it as the ultimate heel move and from here on out Dynamite just does not give a fuck about WOS and their rules. Old women screaming out of their seats is about as good as heat gets tbh.

Second fall sees Marty try to punish Dynamite for his sins within the rules whilst nursing an injured leg that he favours slightly as well as his kidneys. There's a nice spot where Dynamite off camera boots Marty in the kidneys to break up a boston crab and Marty drops like a sack of spades. Dynamite's offence really does push the limits of the rules in terms of how many strikes are permitted in WOS and the crowd continues to want his blood but sadly its Marty who bleeds off of an illegal Dynamite headbutt. From here Marty sells really well by throwing some weaker strikes (his earlier uppercuts were sensational) and is too overwhelmed and drops the second fall to Dynamite. Not content Dynamite kneedrops Marty right on his blooded nose AND NOW MARTY IS PISSED. He says fuck the rules and tosses the bloody towel away and now he wants some of that roided Canadian!

Final fall is nicely done, Marty launches Dynamite into the corner numerous times and Dynamite bumps like a champ. Marty is far more aggressive now that Dynamite has spilled his blood and even crossbodies him to the floor. Finish was nicely worked in terms of Dynamite finally countering a spot Marty had used to perfection earlier whilst also continuing the theme of Marty still wanting to win in a fair manner.

* Since this is the IWC and star ratings matter, this one is about ****1/4

2. Fit Finlay vs Marty Jones, 4/14/1984


Spoiler for Match Review:
Great match here. It was surreal to see just how athletic Finlay was in his transitions and bumping here, thankfully he still has his stiff pissed off side to him that we grew accustomed to post 2006. And Finlay with great bumping and athleticism as well as dishing out some disgusting headbutts = http://www.wrestlingelite.co.uk/foru...ies/ColeEC.gif

The opening has some swank mat work and chain wrestling between the two. Jones has some really unique takedowns and grappling techniques and he has this gorgeous spot where he stamps on Finlay's left hand and drives it into the mat before grabbing both arms and locking in a submission. Jones also hit a beastly dropkick early on which had Finlay scrambling to check he hadn't lost a molar. They do a familiar spot where Finlay can't escape a hold and has his arm repeatedly twisted and pulled by Jones which he sells terrificly. Unlike modern grappling exchanges Jones is clearly established as the dominant grappler and Finlay constantly smacks the mat in anger and seeks to take advantage of any opening via headbutt or cleverly concealed closed fist punches.

Goes without saying but some of the strikes in this are brutal, Jones has some amazing european uppercuts and he rocks Finlay with one clean off of the mat and Finlay lays in one headbutt during a greco roman knuckle lock that looked filthy and should have caused an elderly woman to faint in disbelief. Also dug how Finlay resorted to his strikes during the lock ups after accepting he was being made to look foolish by Jones's skill. The finish to the 1st fall is actually one of my favourite spots of all time: Finlay has been slowly pissing Jones off with closed fist punches and cheapshotting as well as some taunting slaps and he reels off a quick succession of moves and launches Finlay into the corner before catching him in a sharpshooter attempt. Finlay then taps Jones on the back like a referee does which confuses Jones into thinking he's won the fall only to turn round into a ferocious forearm from Finlay. Finlay's arrogance gets the best of him though and Jones catches a quick backslide for the pin.

2nd fall is also good but not on the level of the 1st. Jones immediately goes for a quick pin and Finlay seeks about headbutting and kneeing Jones in the ribcage to start a comeback. He works over Jones nicely enough with some good holds before they exchange pinning attempts (some of which were very Lucha esque) and Jones manages to regain the momentum with some sweet strikes as well as Finlay getting too hot headed which ultimately costs him as he eats the turnbuckle at full force. Jones goes up top and hits a senton which looked brutal and apparently gets a warning, guessing there's no top rope moves in WOS (forgot about that rule). Finlay's manager is pissed off and seems to be calling for Jones to be docked the 2nd fall and when the ref refuses Finlay still selling the ribs walks off and gets counted out. Pretty standard finish for a non title match in establshing Jones as having proved himself against Finlay and getting Finlay some good heat, but it did kill my enjoyment a bit.

Once again, because star ratings matter: ****1/4-****1/2

3. Marty Jones vs Bull Blitzer (Steve Wright), 4/23/1986

Spoiler for Match Review:
Essentially an 80s prelude to Finlay vs Benoit. Terrific matwork and chain wrestling from both, structured nicely with some heelish antics from Blitzer and some hellacious strikes from both men.

Both men trade nice sequences early on with a nice 'rule of threes' spot where Blitzer takes down Jones twice with ease before Jones counters on the third attempt and hits a takedown of his own and there's an especially sweet ankle hold spot where Blitzer just continually tears at the leg and repeatedly stretches it to keep the hold locked in. He also takes a terrific over the top rope bump from Jones in the early minutes which was flat out sensational. I noted some of the strikes thrown here are hellacious and there's two uppercuts that Jones hits that Wright sells magnificently by essentialy turning 360 degrees into the next one before taking a lovely bodyslam that they work into a close 10 count, Wright trying to attack Jones after a lock up but collapsing due to his back was some nifty selling. Both men are tremendously slick though in each sequence and Jones in particular hits a lovely lucha esque over the shoulder hurricanrana into a hold that looked incredibly smooth. There was also one hilarious exchange where Wright cartwheels to avoid Jones and Jones just playfully slaps him the minute he lands!

There's a great headscissors figure four lock next which Jones sells tremendously well, Wright hits a disgusting knee drop to the throat and whilst he's posing and picking fights with the Women's Institute in the crowd Wright is stumbling around and unable to breath from the onslaught, god I'm starting to legit mark for Marty Jones. Wright also cheapshots Jones in the corner and really plays up the disrespectul foreigner who convieniently can't follow the rules due to the language barrier and takes the single greatest bump off of a turnbuckle shot I've ever seen, its like a mini cannonball. Wright eventually takes the first fall with a terrifc gut wrench slam off of a Jones top rope counter.

2nd fall is terrificly short but does all it needs to. Jones goes on the onslaught and attempts to overpower Wright and after a backslide isn't enough he hits an insane takedown pin that looked amazing and ties the match up. Really felt like a lucha fall with how one sided it was in how Jones dominates, really sets up the final fall terrificly.

Final fall starts off brilliantly as Wright wants no part of Jones and circles the ring to compose himself before getting back in the ring and hitting a lovely arm wringer which Jones really went all out for in bumping. The tension in each lock up is much more dramatic and hate filled and Wright gets progressivly pissed off as Jones manages to bust out sweet counters for everything he attempts to control with. Each lock up is incredibly dramatic and hate filled and both men bump insanely in the final fall to the point where you feel a pinfall or submission is incredibly near and the top rope kneedrop to the ribs of Jones was flat out disgusting. This really wouldn't look out of place in a Mexico ring tbh. There was sadly a botch towards the end with Wright attempting to leap onto the top rope freestyle but slipping and falling to the mat, in fairness between Jones going for a quick pin and both men selling the wear and tear amazingly well it did sort of fit into the match environment with neither man being in great condition to attempt such a move. The finish itself is pretty nuts, shortly after the botch Jones catches Wright coming off of the rope with a sick dropkick but hits his head on the mat upon impact and once Wright regains his composure hits a beautiful tombstone for the pin.


Those three will be the 'introductions', I'll work on a couple of write ups for a couple more bouts which are entirely devolved from the WOS formula, aka 20 minutes of matwork and grappling mixed in with the occasional strike.

WOOLCOCK 10-04-2012 04:30 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Ok, quintessential WOS matches:

1. Jim Breaks vs Adrian Street, 2/12/72

Oh man, I only saw this in the past week but I'd already proudly call it one of the best matches I've ever seen. Street is a guy working a gay/exotico gimmick whilst Breaks is a notorious loudmouth, so its heel vs heel and that allows for a brilliant mix of slick matwork and grappling as well as some underhanded tactics. Fish hooking, biting flesh, eye gouging, wrist manipulation, finger bending, snapping an arm in the ropes etc, the match has it all.

Street leaves one of the most lasting impressions I've ever had from someone I've only seen once. The speed and precision in his grappling, takedowns and counter wrestling has to be seen to be believed, and his schtick working his exotico gimmick to rile up the crowd is also tremendously entertaining. Breaks himself works incredibly as the serious and loud-mouthed opponent who's having none of Street's antics and the entire 6 round bout does an immaculate job at building from a largely pure wrestling contest into a heated violent spectacle with Breaks gaining a crucial advantage in targeting Street's left arm, and Street resorting to desperation strikes and illegal moves to try and hold off the cunning and dangerous Breaks. There's one counter where Street positions his own leg into a figure four which bemuses Walton and everyone, only for Street's leg to break the hold he was in which literally blew me away. He also hits an insane running legbar takedown which looked straight out of MMA. The forearm strikes in this aren't relied on too much, but believe me when they're layed in neither man pulles any punches. Break's arm work is also some of the nastiest shit I've ever seen, seriously you can just believe Regal and Finlay studied some of the holds he unleashes to punish Street here.

Hollywood Hanoi 10-04-2012 04:34 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Awesome, been looking forward to this, pretty sure this is gonna be my new fave thread, hooked on this stuff lately but pretty much going in blind and watching random matches, much appreciated(Y)

Might try a few reviews when I get some time.

Kling Klang 10-04-2012 04:37 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Love world of sport here is a pre Tiger Mask Satoru Sayama under the name of sammy lee

Chismo 10-04-2012 04:37 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
I gotta admit, I never really watched WoS, except for maybe 10-15 random matches involving Finlay, Johnny and Marty. I've always wanted to watch more, but never really catched any free time. But I gotta watch more eventually, since we're talking about my favorite wrestling style here.

WOOLCOCK 10-04-2012 04:47 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Marty Jones is probably the guy I could see most people liking who are unfamiliar to the style. He really does feel like the 1980s version of what Regal and Finlay would go on to become. Much more violent and aggressive in his wrestling and grappling, big painful bumps and some really terrific selling.

A lot of WOS bouts will focus on intricate grappling and matwork which combined with the commentary and presentation really makes wrestling feel as legit as it can get without venturing into MMA. The likes of Steve Grey, Clive Myers, Johnny Saint, Jim Breaks etc feel more like your Norman Smileys' with their stylistic grappling dominating their bouts.

As I said though, there's comedy, character work, violent grappling to go along with pure wrestling so there is a lot more variety in the style than some might like to think. Guys like Marty Jones are far different than a Steve Grey, Ken Joyce or Alan Sarjeant for example.

Btw I'll link an Alan Sarjeant match eventually, pay attention to his counter to a boston crab. Its his staple and I'm amazed no-one has ever thought to pay hombrage to it, since its fucking awesome.

Chismo 10-04-2012 04:54 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
I'm gonna try to watch all the videos you post here (already seen some), because I'm a huge fan of the catch-as-catch-can and mat based, struggle-to-win style.

Gabe's early EVOLVE used to have the WOS potential, but it wanished...

11rob2k 10-04-2012 04:56 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Great thread man, glad you started this, Ill have a real look at it when i have more time tomorrow or at the weekend, The only thing i would say is add the rules of the matches in the opening post, just talk about how the matches are 2 out of 3 falls and split up into rounds also talk about the different ways to win with tap out, pinfall and KO.

WOOLCOCK 10-04-2012 04:59 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
Yeah the style is excellent (I find the fact its such a contrast to the US style is what makes it so refreshing and addictive). The fact they don't operate on 'finishers' per se and work to finish a match depending on each opponent really adds to the closing stretches of matches, and the rounds system really plays well into big title matches and gives them time to rest and break up the wresting in ways a lot of american matches would often attempt to do with rest holds. Another thing I adore is you can see wrestlers thinking 3/4 moves ahead and trying to work their opponents into new positions all the time when applying holds, rather than just resting in one hold.

I'm gonna post a link to what is often considered the best WOS bout next, its Steve Grey vs Clive Myers from 1977. I mentioned it in the OP as basically being WOS's attempt at Flair/Steamboat...and tbf these guys have almost unrivalled chemistry. So slick and smooth and Walton on commentary really puts over everything they do. Myers is the international star and champ, whilst Grey is a British phenom fighting in front of his hometown: makes for a really special atmosphere alongside the wrestling.


@11rob2k: tbh the OP is already a wall of text (again) so I'll probably edit it into this post, or explain it if people seek assistance.

But aye, WOS rules essentially follow this format:

(a)2/3 falls
(b)Round format, 6 rounds at 5 minutes each. If you score a win in a fall they go into a brief rest period (really plays into the Street/Breaks finish) before starting the next round.
(c)Pretty sure top rope moves are an automatic DQ/warning. I recall that playing a part in the Jones/Steve Wright bout.
(d)Public warnings occur for a variety of offences, things like a series of unclean breaks can incur a warning as well as dangerous moves: in Breaks/Street there's a nasty spot where Street snaps Breaks' arm in between the ropes and incurs an automatic warning for the danger behind the move.
(e)2 submissions are generally required to win a match via submission, a TKO (failure to answer a 10 count) and 2 pinfalls make up the other ways to win the match.

5th-Horseman 10-04-2012 05:15 PM

Re: Official World Of Sport (British Wrestling 1970s-1980s) Appreciation Thread
God I love WOS. Particuarly the comedy matches. If you are at all into good comedy wrestling please take a min to watch the undoubted genius that is Les Kellett. Apart from looking like Ken Dodd's brother, he was also a wonderfully funny worker whilst still actually doing a half serious match overall.

Posted this one against Bobby Barnes. About as far removed from a Dynamite Kid match as you're likely to find.

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