This week on WOS, we’ve the fall-out between Nathan Cruz and Adam Maxted – in a rivalry that gets to the boil rather quickly!

The recap reminds us how Iestyn Rees and Kip Sabian won the WOS tag team titles – and how the subsequent fall-out. This week: Cruz vs. Maxted in a loser leaves town match… and Crater’s got another handicap match!

We’re inside the WOS Arena as Alex Shane tells us that Justin Sysum’s dream of a WOS title shot is a little closer. Erm, hasn’t he won two of them?! But first, Nathan Cruz comes out and tells us he owes nobody an explanation for what happened with Adam Maxted… he offers a ladder match with Maxted, with a WOS contract on the line. Stu Bennett sanctions the loser-leaves-town aspect… which would have been huge, had the loser-leaves-town stipulation not already been revealed last week and in the opening recap!

Throughout all of this, our ring announcer stands stoically in the ring, ready to announce. Did someone need to reboot him?

Loser Leaves Town Ladder Match: Nathan Cruz vs. Adam Maxted
Maxted gets a Goldberg-like entrance, watching him come from the Gorilla position all the way through to the ring. That’s a bit weird… I get the “it could be his last match” stipulation, that was added all of MINUTES ago.

The two start by laying into each other, but it’s Maxted who scores with a scoop slam before he took Cruz into the turnbuckles. Maxted gets pushed away from the corner, but he’s able to head up the aisle in search of the ladder… only for Cruz to put the brakes on and take him back to the ring. Back inside, Cruz gets crotched on the top rope, then dropkicked off of it, which handily had him able to wander up to the stage for said ladder. A wide shot just about catches Maxted sending Cruz onto the ladder with a drop toe hold, before he headed up… only to be pulled down as Cruz looked for the slingshot belly-to-back suplex. However, Maxted flips out and hits Cruz with his own move!

The ladder gets propped in the corner, as both men tease throwing the other into it, but we’re greeted with a crowd shot as we heard that a back body drop saw Maxted bounce off the ladder. Cruz gets a taste of it too, before he’s draped in the ropes and dropkicked down… but he’s able to get back up and shove away Maxted as his former partner was scaling those rungs.

Cruz is able to dump Maxted with the Show Stolen – a move that Alex Shane mis-calls, which is funny for many reasons – and then throws Maxted to the outside. The ladder’s repositioned as Cruz starts to climb… but an aerial camera shot shows that Cruz is nowhere near the briefcase! He is, however, within reach of a springboard missile dropkick that knocked Cruz off the ladder. Maxted scales the ladder, but he’s got the wrestler climbing syndrome as Cruz is able to race up and knock him down. For some reason Cruz goes down and shifts the ladder into a worse position again, and again he’s caught as a springboard flying clothesline knocks him down. From there, Maxted’s back to his feet as he scales the ladder and grabs the briefcase… meaning that Nathan Cruz is gone from WOS! As an abridged ladder match this was pretty solid, but if you put any thought into the final stretch it’s hard to feel any sympathy for Cruz! ***

Backstage, Nathan Cruz vows that this isn’t the end of the road for him. We then see Justin Sysum in Stu Bennett’s office… he’s told he gets to fight Rampage in a tag team match. Sysum’s annoyed that he doesn’t get to use his title shot.

Robbie X vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Liam Slater vs. Crater
Crater’s foes got the “already in the ring” treatment, which is always nice, even if this was meant to echo the carnival days of “fans taking on the local big guy”.

The bell rings before Crater’s even in the ring, and we start with Crater doing the monster push away as we’re told this is actually a four-way match. Oh well. Crater sends Slater flying with a shoulder tackle, before he backflips Kidd… and no, not even Robbie X was safe, as despite his agility around the corners, his back flip gets caught as Kidd and Slater are needed to free the other man. The three team up on Crater, with dropkicks sending him to the outside, where he’s pelted with topes as he still staggers around, before a trio of simultaneous dives put him down to a knee. Then from there, the other three resume the four-way, trying to win it quickly among themselves as they hit some big moves, including a nasty powerbomb from Slater to Robbie.

A big boot from Kidd knocks Slater onto the apron, while Robbie looked for a handspring cutter… only for Kidd to put the blocks on and return fire with an Emerald Fusion for a near-fall. Robbie manages to hit back with a dropkick, then with a moonsault into Slater and Kidd… just as Crater comes in to wallop everyone with clotheslines. An attempted chokeslam ends with Robbie slipping out into a sleeperhold as everyone gangs up on Crater, but another springboard cutter only works in tandem with dropkicks as Crater finally left his feet. From there, Slater and Kidd fly off the top onto Crater, before they pile onto him for the win… but the referee needs to decide who wins as this was a four-way, not a handicap match, but before we can get a decision, Crater throws everyone to the outside.

Crater goes after Robbie X’s mask, but one member of security comes out and makes the save as the segment ends with no winner declared. Huh. Way to make things matter! **½

Grado vs. Martin Kirby
There’s no storyline reason behind this, other than Grado trying to impress management… so this week he’s all about doing his best Rock impression.

Grado hands over his “sacred bumbag” to the referee, but it just led to Kirby jumping him from behind as the hitherto-unacknowledged bumbag became the most valuable thing in Grado’s life. He does manages to fight back with a clothesline and an arm whip, before he sandbags Kirby on a hiptoss. There’s something close to a Thesz press as Grado knocks Kirby down, before a series of waistlock reversals led to Grado again sandbagging himself as Kirby went for a German suplex. From there, Grado trips Kirby and looked for a Figure Four, but instead he’s pushed out as he jukes and jives, then pratfalls Kirby for a near-fall.

Kirby tries to charge at Grado, but instead he sidesteps and walks towards the sacrilegious bumbag, prompting Kirby to sail to the outside. Back inside, Kirby mounts a comeback with chops and a back elbow for a near-fall, before he heads up to the ropes for the crab walk elbow. Yeah, they can’t mention Dr Zoidberg! Grado rolls away and fires back with Dusty punches, then a Bionic elbow, before a cannonball clattered Grado into Kirby in the corner. Kirby manages to catch Grado out of nowhere with an enziguiri, then he gets distracted with the bumbag… which makes Grado sit up like the Old School Undertaker. Inside the bumbag is a toothbrush, which Kirby threatens to put down his trunks, but instead he keeps it PG and puts it in his armpits, before Grado fights back and shoves the brush towards the referee.

Everyone’s saved though as instead Grado hits one more Bionic elbow, before he puts the brush in Kirby’s mouth… but while he was made to taste something disgusting, Kirby ended up with the last laugh as he rolled up Grado with his feet in the ropes. A comedy match, and one that’ll probably be Marmite to the majority of viewers. **¼

Ooh, there’s a new “don’t try this at home” spot, as Steve Lynskey gets his latest moment on TV. I swear there’s some hoodoo that says he has to be on every Britwres TV show ever…

Rampage & Sha Samuels vs. Justin Sysum & Joe Hendry
“From the east end of London… and Leeds.” The WOS ring announcer got possessed by the Ogdens! Yes, Joe Hendry’s still on a title quest… and presumably one to lip sync the whole song by the end of the series.

We start with Rampage and Hendry, taking the match to the mat, before we get quick tags out as Samuels and Sysum come into play. Sysum turns up the speed as he ducks under Samuels and connects with a dropkick, but he gets distracted by Rampage, who blind-tags in and viciously clubs away at the “Hammer”… some of which we don’t get to see because of crowd shots.

Sha’s back to whip Sysum hard into the corner, as Joe Hendry was turned into something of a non-entity, watching on from the corner and doing little as his partner was kept isolated. No wonder Martin Kirby left him! The bad guys again team up on Sysum, complete with CJ Banks getting some shots in as Hendry has the referee distracted, and it’s almost like Hendry’s his own worst enemy here. Eventually Sysum avoids an avalanche splash from Sha and quickly tags in Hendry, who dumps Samuels with a neckbreaker… but he can’t quite get a Freak of Nature fallaway slam off, and Samuels is back with a clothesline.

Rampage tags in and mauls Hendry, stomping on his midsection before Rampage teases a piledriver… only for Hendry to back body drop his way free! Sysum gets the hot tag back in, clearing house on Sha with clotheslines and slams, before scoring with a Stinger splash… and then sidesteps a charge from Rampage, who gets dumped to the outside for good measure! There’s a tope from Sysum to Banks, as Rampage scurries away, leaving Sha behind to take a fallaway slam from Hendry, then a 450 splash from Sysum for the win. As a tag match, this was a little rushed as per the TV format, but as a bare bones story this was pretty much what you’d expect as the Sysum/Rampage build continued. ***

We close the show as commentary thinks out loud if Justin Sysum’ll finally get a title shot. Does he need three of them to convert into a match?

Next week: WOS’ powerhouses are in action as we’ve Viper vs. Ayesha, Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Iestyn Rees… and an intergender tag match. That’s going to be a curious watch…

So, we’ve three episodes left of this series of WOS, and it’s pretty clear it’s going to culminate in Sysum getting his title match on the last episode… and maybe a title change? As for the rest of the show… who knows! The Cruz/Maxted storyline felt insanely rushed, going from the split-up to Cruz being run out of town in less than the space of an episode (spread across two). In terms of ratings, we saw a slight grow in the overnights as WOS returned to 500k viewers in their new 4.30pm timeslot on ITV – but barring a major incident, this series is running to completion as we now wait and see whether a second series is commissioned, and whether that has any impact on the announced 2019 tour.