This time round, we get to see them in the ring, fighting each other, in front of a live audience in York Hall.
Disclaimer – I’ll note here that I was at this show, with a VIP wristband, sitting in the front row. (If you peer closely you can see me in my Zack Sabre Jr t-shirt every so often.) What I saw on the night and what happened on television seemed rather different – because, obviously, this is reality TV. In this recap, I’m recapping what was aired – not my in-person opinions.
First up then, a couple of marvellous cruiserweights. El Ligero was one of the few contestants who wasn’t asked to break character in the earlier rounds – but that does also beg the question of how well this character will work for a global audience, where masked luchadors are ten-a-penny. Noam Dar, meanwhile, is fantastic, although I suspect Americans will need him to go through elocution lessons before being allowed on TV. It’s a fast-paced match, and the audience are rowdy, with Jeremy Borash calling the action alongside Spud on colour commentary. Ligero picks up the win, greeted by the Bouncing Souls’ version of ‘Ole!’, which seems incongruous.
A tag-team match! Redman and Stone (because WWE rejects) v Parliament and Singh (because…Europe and Indian = foreign, maybe?). Borash claims that Singh is a “headteacher…the top dog”, which implies he’s been promoted since last week’s episode; and Spud segues neatly into the “education, education, education” link with Parliament, which is a better explanation for their link-up. The big boys win, to the strains of Blur’s ‘Song 2’. Wooo and indeed hoo.
The girls are thrown into a four-way match (always tough to do and usually difficult to watch while suspending one’s disbelief entirely), and three of ’em get a jobber entrance while Kay Lee Ray gets her entire walk to the ring shown. The match begins with all four ladies ready to do battle, before Nikki Storm throws a tantrum due to being shorter than the others and not being able to lock up.
As you may have guessed, this is a match that showcases KLR’s aerial ability and her complete lack of fear. It is, however, not entirely clear why this isn’t a pin – KLR has the twins piled up in the middle of the ring read for a swanton bomb for what seems like half an hour, but the shoulders are down.
Some sizzling X Division fun now, with both getting a spotlight before the match starts. Trav is his usual cocky appalling terrible-human-being self with Andrews is the death-defying crowd-pleaser. It’s hard-hitting and spectacular, with Andrews taking the win.
Rampage Brown gets a chance to cut a promo that’s better than the pathetic one he managed during the early rounds, and calls out Dave Mastiff. It’s a hoss fight, and you can pretty much see my heart-eyes from my seat. Mastiff wins. CRUSSSSSSSSSSH.
Want to dance to Madonna? I sure do.
I really think Sha would get rid of some of his rage if he joined in with the dancing to ‘Like A Prayer’. It’s very cathartic.
Grado walks back up the ramp to high-five Joe and Gail, and Al refuses. See, that’s just rude, and shows a lack of respect, surely? Samuels gives Grado a good kicking for a bit before the Scot boots him and picks up the popular win to ensure everyone goes home happy.
Decision-time, then. Each match’s participants are called in to face the judges (Joe has a towel round his neck as if he’d been in the ring fighting). El Ligero and Noam Dar both get rejected; Richard Parliament, RJ Singh, Joel Redman and Martin Stone all get rejected (Stone is both amused and livid); the girls, who are in dressy dresses as opposed to the boys who are still in their ring gear, all get kicked out apart from Kay Lee, who’s obviously through and gets the jaunty happy background music of glee; Andrews and Travis are both through (they look amazed and then do an awkward man-hug) – then a Borash voiceover tells us that Travis was unable to take up his place, without giving the reason of his serious illness (possibly because that’d be too much of a downer?), and says that Noam Dar is taking his place instead.
Both the beasts are going through; and then it’s time for a Grado-cap, just in case you’d missed some of his narrative. Obviously he’s through (Sha isn’t), and obviously that’s a cue for an awkward staged phone call to his mum.
So we have our final six heading out to the US. They get to do an X Factor-style slow-mo walk towards the camera.
But as always Grado gets the final word. Or final innuendo.
Marvellous. See you next time.