The WOS Women’s Championship main events again as Kay Lee Ray’s putting her title on the line in a battle royal.

We opened with a recap of last week, showing Justin Sysum winning a title shot… and Will Ospreay’s win over Martin Kirby. Oh, and the run-ins that set up this week’s women’s battle royal. Tonight, the tag tournament finals are set as we get both semi finals in what the subtitler called the “taxing title tournament.” As ever we’re inside the WOS Arena with So Cal Val, Alex Shane and Stu Bennett on commentary.

WOS Tag Team Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Kip Sabian & Iestyn Rees vs. BT Gunn & Stevie Boy
Kip’s able to do a watered down version of his “superbad” entrance… which for some reason led to a bit of a tiff between him and the ring announcer as they called each other the wrong name on purpose. I’m fine with heels doing that to give themselves an edge, but why are ring announcers becoming characters as well?

Anyway, we’ve a jump start as Sabian and Rees caught their Scottish opponents on the top rope, which led to Stevie Boy taking a beating as he was double-teamed. BT Gunn eventually gets back to his feet, hitting the ring to clothesline Sabian out of it, before they finally double-teamed Rees to clothesline him to the floor. Dives as next, as duelling topes laid out Rees and Sabian, while both men caught those ropes on the way out. Kip Sabian’s rolled back in as the Scots resumed their focus on him, scoring with a snapmare and a low dropkick that nearly puts Kip away. Sabian’s trapped in the wrong corner as BT and Stevie Boy exchanged frequent tags to keep him there, before BT suplexed his own man onto Kip for another near-fall.

Commentary tries to hammer home how both these teams are regular, bona fide tag teams. You sure about that Alex? Finally Iestyn Rees tries to get involved, and his interference works as Sabian hits the ropes, bouncing Stevie off the top rope before Rees got tagged in to turn things around… but Kip’s brought back in to put the boots to Stevie, while avoiding paying too much in royalties to the producers of that movie from 2007.

A jawbreaker from Stevie gets himself a window, but Rees just rushes in to knock BT Gunn off the apron as we get classic bad guy tag team work, with Rees tagging in – behind the ref’s back – so he could choke Stevie in the ropes. He’s not in for long as Sabian returns to complete a nice suite of double-team moves with a slingshot legdrop for a near-fall, before we had the answer to “what would a Hart Attack look like if it were a shoulder tackle?”

Sabian is back yet again as he lifts Stevie into a torture rack, but the sit-out facebuster doesn’t work as Stevie flips out… and finally gets that hot tag as BT Gunn’s all about elbowing the tagged-in Rees. There’s a pop-up knee from Gunn, then a reverse hook kick as Rees collapses into the corner… and brings in Kip who takes more of the same as BT’s not done yet. A springboard into a spear nearly puts Sabian away, before the Scots got shoved into each other as they went for a Bushwhackers-like battering ram.

That’d be their outdoing as BT Gunn’s taken outside… and he’s unable to make it back for the save as Rees and Kip combine for a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for the win. This was really good stuff within the TV format – it didn’t help they replayed the finish and showed what nearly didn’t come off, but otherwise this is worth your TV time. ***½

There’s a backstage promo from Nathan Cruz and Adam Maxted, which ends with the two of them hugging.

After break, we’re at ringside as Gabriel Kidd’s interviewed by Rachel Stringer about the effects of his squash by Crater a few weeks ago. He’s here to impress the people, which then bleeds into a match, with Kidd and Liam Slater introduced as “already in the ring” for our next match.

Gabriel Kidd vs. Liam Slater vs. Crater
For God’s sake Gabe, you fell for this twice in a row?!

Anyway, Crater stands at ringside as Kidd and Slater decide to start the triple-threat without him. We’ve headlock takedowns and headscissor escapes for fun here, but it leads to nought as we return to see the pair of them switching waistlocks as everyone knew what was coming. Leapfrogs led to a monkey flip from Kidd as the two young ‘uns were putting on a decent match, but when you’ve got a bloody great, hairy monster like Crater watching on, you know the punchline was that he’d get involved… and we had a tease when Gabriel Kidd sent himself flying to the outside before jumping back in, lest he anger the big guy.

Too late – Crater trips Kidd and drags him to the outside, giving Gabe a chance to make sure the tape on his ribs was still in place, as poor Liam Slater played the plucky upstart to this generation’s version of Giant Haystacks. A HUGE back body drop from Crater sent Slater into the lights, before Kidd returned to try and double-team Crater. A barrage of dropkicks just left Crater woozy, but he’s able to rebound with a double chokeslam before avalanches trapped Kidd and Slater into the corner. There’s a backbreaker to Kidd, and it’s just a matter of time as Slater takes an inverted Razor’s Edge, before he stacked Kidd and Slater onto each other as a big splash puts them away. Pretty much an extended, glorified squash, but at least we got a glimpse beforehand that Kidd and Slater aren’t complete jokes here. **

WOS Tag Team Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Adam Maxted & Nathan Cruz vs. Grado & Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Winners face Sabian and Rees in the finals next week… Stu Bennett again continued to mock the “ball and chain” that is Grado in this match.

We start in the ring with Smith shoving Cruz into the corner, before a shoulder tackle put Nathan on the mat. We’ve a powerslam too out of Smith, who apparently has the same charisma as his father… not until you dare sport dreadlocks, young Harry! A stalling suplex echoes his dad and gets a near-fall on Cruz, before Grado comes in and pratfalls Cruz for another two-count. Fortunately Smith’s back in as he ruffles Cruz’s hair en route to regaining the headlock… but Cruz hits back and manages to tag in Maxted. “Flex” has a nice dropkick, but it barely fazes the baby Bulldog who hits back with a hammerlock’d body slam that barely gets the two-count. Smith and Grado combine for a double hiptoss and a double-team elbow drop for a two-count on Maxted, before Grado busts out those Dusty punches… only for Nathan Cruz to run in to take that Bionic elbow.

Maxted cuts off a second elbow, but it only serves to delay it as a leapfrog from Grado looked to stamp on Maxted on the way down… as well as jar his knee. They replay the leapfrog and the “injury” as Maxted and Cruz home in on the injury, with a chop block from Cruz and some kicks to the leg keeping the Scotsman down. Cruz tries to sucker punch Smith off the apron, and eventually succeeds in doing so as Maxted’s ordered to take down Smith on the floor. That’s some seeds of dissension being planted right under your nose, especially since Maxted looked miffed at not being in the ring. Grado hits back with a slap, but he’s quickly taken down into a figure four by Cruz for the instant tap. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen the figure four as a deadly move, but it worked in the context of this match. As for the match, well, I guess Grado has something else for us to be sympathetic over, but they barely let that sink in as we crash to adverts. ***

Battle Royal for WOS Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Bea Priestley vs. Ayesha vs. Kasey Owens vs. Viper
So after run-ins from Viper and the debuting Ayesha last week, Kay Lee Ray’s been forced to put her title on the line in a battle royal? Seems harsh… Wait. Five-woman? Yeah, we’ve another debut, with Kasey Owens getting relatively little fanfare.

We start with everyone piling on Kay Lee Ray, before Bea Priestley tried to throw the champion out – complete with a replay as Ray was in mid-air. Kasey has a moment as everyone’s in the corner and gets met with forearms, only for Viper to overcome it as she Pounces away Kasey. Oof. Viper keeps up with a cannonball to Kay Lee Ray that nearly sent her flying out of the ring, but after three more cannonballs the champion is back… and flattened with a short-arm clothesline. We cut away as Bea Priestley’s charging into the corners with forearms, but she’s stopped by a boot from Ayesha who looked for a powerbomb, only for Bea to escape… and run into a clothesline. Bea helps herself out almost as Viper looked to make an inadvertent save.

The crowd goes silent as Viper and Ayesha had a staredown, which was interrupted by a dropkick from Kay Lee Ray, who started to direct traffic… but Kasey’s crossbody is caught by Ayesha, who promptly dumps her to the outside. Bea’s gone next after she’s lifted onto the apron, then pushed into the ringpost by Viper, and we’re down to the final three with Viper and Ayesha trading blows once more. Kay Lee Ray looked to steal the win, but she can’t eliminate both of them at the same time… she does manage to take the pair down with a pop-up dropkick before scoring a tornado DDT on Ayesha while kicking Viper on the trip around. Viper’s back up in a bid to eliminate the champion, lifting her onto the apron, but Kay Lee Ray drops down as Ayesha rushes in and gets low bridged over the top rope.

Kay Lee Ray’s used as a human battering ram to complete Ayesha’s elimination, before Viper tried to throw her out, but there’s a switcheroo as Viper’s thrown over the top, then superkicked to the floor for the win. As a battle royal, it was what it was, as we establish Kay Lee Ray as the dominant champion… or at least a champion who’s repeatedly been able to slay monsters. **¼

Next week: the WOS tag title tournament final, Davey Boy Smith Jr. takes on Rampage for the title, and Martin Kirby faces Joe Hendry again… because why not? I must have been sleeping through all those segments where Hendry was angry and/or demanding a rematch.

So, we’re halfway through the series now, and ratings-wise, WOS is on a bit of a resurgence if you’re just looking at the overnight figures. Comparisons for the rest of Saturday night appear to have been embargoed, but this week’s episode of WOS drew an overnight audience of 0.7m viewers, up from the 0.6 of week four and 0.5m in week three, while the audience shares are similarly on an upward trend – 6.7% in week five, versus 4.9% in week three.

Whatever dent the ratings took in the early weeks looks to have been smoothed out – and I don’t know whether that’s because of the usual reasons like “the weather”, or just whether this show has found its niche here. Storytelling hasn’t been a strong suit for WOS, but that’s just us beating a dead horse at this point… although it will be interesting to see where they go with Justin Sysum’s title shot, as it is a little curious that he won a title shot last week, but has already been leapfrogged in the queue by Davey Boy Smith Jr.