This week on WOS Wrestling, we find out what Stu Bennett’s new match is… and the women’s title is on the line again!

For the third time, the show was moved to a new timeslot as the penultimate episode of the series was moved to a 2.30pm slot. Hardly encouraging given that it was originally a 5pm show! The recap from last week tells us that Crater was unmasked – but we see even less of his face in this package… and there’s coverage of the big lads/lasses matches too. No mention of the intergender match… as this week, it’s about the women’s title and “the whole male roster.”

“Ring the bell and sound the buzzer, it’s about to go off.” Eh? Foreshadowing, I guess… Alex Shane, So Cal Val and Stu Bennett remain at ringside.

WOS Women’s Championship: Viper vs. Kay Lee Ray (c)
I swear Viper has new music this week… Kay Lee Ray gets pyro, which is an absolute mess when viewed on-demand as the image pixelated out beyond belief.

They start off by threatening each other’s finishers early, but they both escape as a random shot from the crowd tries to mask a jump cut, ahead of a sliding Flatliner from Kay Lee Ray. That draws a near-fall, before a Koji clutch forces Viper to roll through… and Kay Lee Ray tries again for her Gory Bomb, only for Viper to escape and wipe her out with a crossbody. There’s some choking in the ropes that camera cuts try to mask, before Kay Lee fights out of a Million Dollar Dream… only to get struck with a clothesline as Viper pulled out a near-fall. Kay Lee fights back as a crowd shot masks another shot to the head, but we do get to see a back senton and another diving splash as Viper retained control.

The pair trade back-and-forth strikes by in the ropes, but we’ve more crowd shots to cover strikes to the head before a tope from Kay Lee Ray turned things around. Or so we thought, as Viper picks up Kay Lee Ray and slams her onto the ramp… but back inside she suckers Viper into a small package, before she fell to a Michinoku driver for another near-fall.

Viper argues with the referee, and nearly pays for it with another roll-up as Kay Lee Ray found a second wind. A superkick led to a two-count that the crowd counted three for, before Viper crotched Ray up top… only for Kay Lee to slip out and land a Liger bomb out of the corner as she came closer than ever to victory. In the end though, Viper tries again for the Viper Vice, but she quickly lets go and gets pulled into the Gory Bomb as Kay Lee Ray retained! A fun little TV match – but the abundance of edits to mask head shots really killed the flow for me. I’d like to see the original cut… but the same’s true for the whole series! **¾

Sha Samuels does a don’t try this at home sting…

Hey, why’s there a blue button at ringside?

Stu gets the microphone to introduce the “WOS Buzzer Battle.” It’s quite simple, really. It’s an elimination tag match, with new men being added to each team whenever Stu pushes the button. Cue “oohs” like a bloody game shot. Once everyone is out and we’re left with eight men in the match, it turns into a battle royal with the winner getting a title shot next week.

It’s very convoluted, but credit to them, this does feel new… even if it’s a melding of several matches.

Buzzer Battle
We start with Robbie X and Kip Sabian, and after they’re done posing for the crowd the bell rings twice just to make sure we get going. A shoulder tackle puts Robbie down, but he replies with a springboard arm drag and a lucha-style roll-up for a near-fall.

Sabian lands a leaping leg lariat, but doesn’t go for a cover, instead picking up Robbie… who manages to flip back out and hits a cartwheel and a dropkick for a two-count. We’ve more crowd shots as Robbie X gets dropkicked onto the apron, and here comes the buzzer as Stevie Boy and BT Gunn come out… and they’re on opposite sides as the match becomes Stevie & Robbie vs. Sabian & Gunn.

Of course, the fresh men are quickly tagged in as the partners went to war, which led to a quick stalemate… and there’s another buzzer as Liam Slater and Iestyn Rees come out, as this turns into Sabian/Rees/Gunn vs. Stevie/Robbie/Slater. The Scotsmen continue to go back-and-forth in the ring as they switch around holds and wrestle without striking much. Gunn nails a hiptoss before Rees tagged himself in, and quickly nails Stevie with a big boot. Kip’s in to keep up the beat down, as Stevie tried to tag his partner out of habit… but it just draws him into the wrong corner.

Stevie Boy finally gets free with some headscissors, but he gets caught with a powerbomb/neckbreaker from Sabian… who demands that BT Gunn make the cover. BT refuses to do it, so Sabian comes in and scores the easy pin. Stevie Boy’s eliminated, despite his smirking graphic, but BT at least gets to superkick Sabian as that team imploded, which quickly ends with BT Gunn getting pinned after Sabian and Rees beat him down.

Liam Slater takes the gimme pin, and continues on Sabian as we get two more names: Sha Samuels and Grado. So we’ve now got Sha/Sabian/Rees vs. Slater/Grado/Robbie, and of course, the two fresh men tag in as Grado unloads with Dusty punches and a Bionic Elbow to Sha. Rees and Sabian pull down Grado’s partners off the apron, which distracts Grado, and allows Sha to catch the easily-distracted Scotsman with a clothesline as we go to a break.

Back from break, Sha’s still standing over Grado… until Sabian tags in and we’ve a crowd shot to mask a stomp! Kip takes Grado into the corner as Stu feigns an issue with the buzzer… Val hits the buzzer, and out comes CJ Banks and Davey Boy Smith Jr. You can guess how they lined up. Sha cuts off a tag to the Bulldog though… but it’s delayed as Sha takes a cutter before Grado got the tag out.

Smith’s in and clears house against Rees and Sabian, sending Kip flying with a backdrop suplex for a near-fall, but the tag champions come back with a Hart Attack shoulderblock… only for an energised Grado to hit the ring. Lost in all that was Kip Sabian getting slammed from the ring to the floor (via Grado and Iestyn Rees), as the ring announcer says that Sabian, Rees, Smith and Grado were eliminated. No idea why… a phantom count-out, or a DQ – not even commentary could tell us!

CJ Banks and Robbie X hit the ring, but a handspring cutter puts Banks down for a two-count. Slater keeps it going on CJ, and now we have two new faces: Adam Maxted and… Nathan Cruz?! Cruz runs down the aisle and attacks Maxted, despite Stu Bennett saying someone else had been signed for that spot. So he’s in the match without having a contract, but the “executive” doesn’t seem to mind too much as Alex Shane on commentary talks about a phantom attack on a mystery man we never know about.

Cruz nearly puts away Slater with the Thanks, Tully slingshot backbreaker, but Liam tags in Maxted pretty quickly after and of course those two go at it. Maxted lands a scoop slam off the ropes, but Cruz quickly tags out as Samuels takes a dropkick, before he recovered to cheapshot Maxted, who gets caught in the wrong corner. Another buzzer brings out Justin Sysum and Crater… and despite having a head start, Crater barely gets onto the apron before Sysum ran around and onto his corner.

The final buzzer’s hit, bringing out Gabriel Kidd and… MOOSE?!

He gets his usual theme song, which instantly sets him apart from everyone else on this show. Kidd partnered with the bad guys, for those keeping score. After a shoulder tackle from Maxted, we get a tag to the man identified as “Impact Wrestling’s Moose”, which is very curious… but Kidd gets forcibly tagged in too as Cruz shoved him into harm’s way.

Cruz takes some Moose punches, as does Kidd, before Robbie X begs for the tag as he’s launched onto Cruz for a near-fall. The ring fills as commentary seemingly mocked Crater “for just standing there” as Slater hits a tope into the pile on the outside. Inspired, Kidd hits a senton off the top, while Robbie X… gets wiped out by a leaping knee from Cruz, before a rope-hung lungblower puts the masked man away. We’ve one more man to be eliminated before this becomes a battle royal, and that’s the cue for Crater to come in, squash Slater in the corner and send him flying with an inverted Razor’s Edge. One big splash later, and Liam Slater is out – the battle royal starts… once Slater’s been scraped off the mat.

The battle royal features: Sha Samuels, Crater, Gabriel Kidd, Nathan Cruz, CJ Banks, Adam Maxted, Moose and Justin Sysum. Very weighted towards the bad guys, eh?

Back from commercial, we see Slater stretchered out as the battle royal starts… with Crater just side-stepping as we didn’t start with the trope of “everyone going for the big guy”. Cruz tries to throw out Maxted. The pair spill out through the middle rope – and although they’re not officially eliminated, they brawl onto the stage and hit a double clothesline as Gabriel Kidd is our first man officially eliminated. He looked so glum on his exit graphic…

As Cruz and Maxted remain on the stage, everyone holds Sysum in the corner as Crater splashes him… he does the phoney, dubbed in roar, before Sha and CJ stretch him out on the mat for a big slash. But this is a battle royal, and since they can’t pin him, they let him roll out of the ring as Moose squared off against Crater… only to be attacked from behind. Cruz and Maxted slowly make their way back into the ring, but Maxted quickly eliminates Cruz with a clothesline… only for him to return and throw out Maxted, which counts, just because.

Security instantly comes out to take away Cruz, as Moose clotheslines Sha and CJ. Corner dropkicks keep Rampage’s cronies at bay, before Moose dropkicks Sha off the top to eliminate him. CJ’s tossed out too, as we’re down to Moose and Crater – and don’t forget about Sysum on the outside! Crater and Moose exchange forearms, before a dropkick from Moose had Crater in the ropes… Moose charges, but Crater side-steps as the American’s eliminated. Crater thinks he’s won – via the phony dub in – but Sysum’s back in! Sysum sidesteps a charge and begins to chip away on the big guy with forearms, before he opted for a crossbody… which is caught.

Sysum slips out and tries for a slam, but he falls back on himself. Despite that, Sysum keeps on fighting, only to leap over Crater as he went for a chokeslam, before scoring with that slam! Crater’s dazed, and as he leans in the ropes, Sysum hauls him out as the Hammer wins… and gets his third title shot! **½

So next week, we’ve got Sysum vs. Rampage – for definite – but first we’ve an at-ring interview with Rachel Stringer. Sysum puts over Crater’s weight, before vowing to be a champion for WOS to be proud of. The show goes off air plugging the “Ultimate Showdown” for the season finale. Sabian and Rees defend the tag titles against Grado and Davey Boy Smith Jr., along with the Rampage/Sysum finale.

The Buzzer Battle was, on paper, a decent, if not overly complicated concept… but it could have done with some tweaking. The team element was really only there to do the “partners on opposite sides” story, and the odd four-way elimination… but it served its purpose. I’d be interested to see what casual fans thought of the concept, particularly given how much of the show it took up – it must have been quite the sight for a non-fan to stumble across while flicking through the channels! There’s no women’s match advertised for next week, which is a shame as I’d have liked all titles to have been defended on the finale, but that’s an argument I feel others will have had already.

Update: Well, I was proven wrong with the overnights – despite being moved to a 2.30pm start, WOS retained the 300,000 audience they did the prior week, with no information available on the audience share. The final show of the series is set to air in the same 2.30pm timeslot – which should set things up nicely for an end-of-season bump.