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Celebrity Wrestling

Well, people you may have heard of wrestling, at any rate. And not even proper wrestling either, although it sort of is. Erm.

Celebrity Wrestling trains up 12 celebrities in the art of, you guessed it, rassling, splits them into two teams (the Warriors and the Crusaders), each led by a "proper" wrestler (D-Lo Brown and Joe Legend). All the boys from one team will over the course of the tournament wrestle against all the guys from the other team, and the girls likewise. Each bout is three rounds, and winning a round wins a point for the team and a point for the wrestler. At the end of the team tournament, the winning team win a trophy, and the the highest scoring men and women from both teams sqaure up against each other in an individual tournament.

No, that's OK isn't it? Certainly, it's structurally quite sound.

Each wrestler is bought into the ring with their own signature entrance, lots of loud music, blasts of fire and rock for the evil ones, one of them even comes in with a pair of huskies.

Again, if you were going to do wrestling for a modern audience, this is exactly the sort of thing they should be doing. It's two from two so far, although actually more like one-and-a-half from two as some of the entrances are a bit dull.

They've got Rowdy Roddy Piper, who of course you'll all remember as the leader of the bad guys in the WWF cartoons of the early nineties. Apparently he used to wrestle too. He shouts a lot and wears a kilt. He commentates on the action replays. Good, lovely, absolutely fine. David Goldstrom from The Games , commercial TV's answer to Paul Dickenson, provides the main commentary and lends the ridiculous a bit of gravitas - he's no John Sachs, but this is hardcore sport, so that's alright then. The show has "celebrities" in it, so obviously Kate Thornton turns up at some point as well. I mean, it should be a bad idea, but it's doing everything pretty correctly so far really.

Sometimes the rival trainers pretend to have a fight, and we're ususally shown the backstage bitching between rival fighters. Par for the course, fine.

But crikey, how have they managed to make the central premise of the show so dull?

Shows that have a lot of minigames with all feel quite similar but have very little substance tend to bore the viewer quite quickly, unless they're utilized in a particular ingenious way, or there are enough twists and the format is sufficiently loose enough to accomodate.

Remember Gladiators? Of course you do. Gladiators had a pool of about 24 games, as we recall. Three quarters of those games felt completely individual and different to each other, even while the same skills were tested by different games. The other quarter were "bash each other over the head" games, but even then they dressed up the variations, and you'd never get two in the same show. Whether it was swinging from rings, trying to shoot a target whilst avoiding getting shot at from tennis balls or scrambling over a giant swinging pendulum, there was enough variety in Gladiators to keep it entertaining. Except when they played Power Ball every week.

Celebrity Wrestling has:

  • Push someone out of the ring.
  • Push someone out of the ring with a weapon.
  • Push someone out of the ring with a giant ball.
  • Push someone out of the ring and through a net.
  • Push someone out of the ring by running at a wall.

And so on, with only "rip each other's clothes off" (which in fairness the blokes also play) and a game where the wrestlers are chained together and have to turn some lights on the corner posts their colour. Thrillingly, some of these are played in a cage - just like real wrestling! Except not as exciting obviously.

Now fair enough, these celebs are properly really going for it, as shown by the fact that loads of them get injured. And yet it's silly, because once you get past the novelty of it all you find yourself being bored rigid finding it quite difficult to care.

Amusingly, if this took the sports entertainment route of training the wrestlers to do proper wrestling moves, like you see on the telly, and having it fixed to create interesting storylines and stuff, then it might have been a bit of a goer. As it is? No.