World of Sport Wrestling was a mainstay of British television between 1965 and 1985. But a new incarnation of the product was launched in 2016, and really picked up steam in the year 2018.
At the heart of it all is a gentleman named Justin Sysum, who caught up with Sportskeeda to discuss the show and talk professional wrestling in general. I asked the World Champion how it feels to represent a brand with such a rich legacy:
It's an absolute privilege to be holding the Championship. It means that I've got the trust of the company and all the people that have invested so heavily in the product. And to have gotten that championship by beating Rampage after beating everyone in the roster the episode before was really special. This is because Rampage is the best wrestler in the UK and possibly in the world at the moment.
What made the moment even more special for him is that his friends and family were in attendance to see him win the big one on Episode 10.
Sysum is no stranger to India, having taken part in a race of sorts, that took him from Shillong in the North East to Jaisalmer in the West of the country. And he did this in an auto-rickshaw or a tuk-tuk as it's known elsewhere in the world, in a span of just two weeks. And now fans in India can get to watch him in action, thanks to the coverage on DSport.
What does Sysum think of NXT UK's influence on the British independent scene?
It's a good question. It may be a little early to say. From what I see, the independent scene was absolutely thriving before and it's still thriving now. So, we'll see how it goes. I have lots of friends that work in NXT UK. They are earning a really good living from professional wrestling which wasn't really a viable option in the UK before. So, I'm really happy for those guys. And what that also means is that some new talent can step up in their place in some independent promotions where they don't work anymore. So, I'm not sure. It's probably brought more eyes to the independent scene.
I've had a chance to interview Grado and I ask Sysum his opinion on the highly amusing professional wrestler. Sysum lights up almost immediately:
He is something truly special. He is exactly what you see on television or live shows, in real life. Grado is immensely funny and charismatic. He is a really, really nice guy. The kids love him. We all love him backstage. Everybody likes to watch him because he's so entertaining. He's an absolute star.
Sysum has a lot of great things to say about Stu Bennett, formerly known as Wade Barrett while he was in WWE. He recalls his own stint in WWE with fondness when he had a chance to try out and work with The Usos. While he's on top of the world and making mainstream appearances on Good Morning Britain, does Sysum believe wrestling will ever be as popular as it once was:
Good question. I think nowadays there are so many options available with the internet and Netflix. I think the more choice we have, the less likely that we're all going to focus on one thing. I remember when World of Sport first aired, the match between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks drew 17 million viewers when there were only 30 million people in the UK. But that's probably because there were only 3 things on television at the time.
While WWE holds a monopoly, Sysum believes that WOS Wrestling in the UK, AEW in the US and NJPW in Japan can drive a better product with more competition. We wish him and WOS Wrestling all the very best! Indian fans can catch the show on DSport every week.Published 08 Mar 2019, 18:49 IST