The great British tradition of wrestling on a budget is returning to Saturday afternoon TV after more than 30 years off our screens.
After more than a million people tuned into ITV’s one-off New Year’s Eve special at the end of last year, the channel has now commissioned a 10-part series showcasing the UK’s top wrestling talent, including such household names as Grado, Sha 'the East End Mauler' Samuels, Dave Mastiff and El Ligero (the one at the back of the picture, wearing the horned luchadore mask, whose real name is Simon).
The bouts will be filmed at Preston Guild Hall on 25 and 26 May, where a new UK champion will be crowned. Presumably, it’ll be broadcast later that summer, though exact dates have yet to be announced.
World of Sport ran on ITV between 1965 and 1985, and its wrestling coverage was kind of a big deal in the UK for many years. Ask your dad, who will definitely remember the epic rivalry between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, a 6’11” monster of a man who supposedly weighed 49 stone. It also launched the likes of Rocco Rollerball, Mick McManus and Kendo Nagasaki.
The current UK WoS champion is Grado (the feller with the baseball cap and saucy pout) who beat Dave Mastiff (beard and flared nostrils) in November at the ITV studios in Manchester.