Celebrity Wrestling (partially found ITV professional wrestling reality show; 2005)

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The cast and their trainers.

Status: Partially Found

Celebrity Wrestling was a British professional wrestling reality show broadcast on ITV1. Lasting for a single series in 2005, it involved professional wrestling and wrestling-related events between two teams of celebrities.


Following the success of BBC's revival of Doctor Who, ITV were looking to establish a programme that could challenge it for primetime ratings. In January 2005, ITV announced that it would broadcast a professional wrestling show called Celebrity Wrestling. As it titles suggests, it would involved twelve celebrities split between two teams who would be trained by American professional wrestlers over a few weeks, and would compete in various wrestling matches, including in a steel cage.[1]

The celebrities had received approximately three weeks of training prior to filming of the series, with some praising the physical demands of the show which encouraged them to take part initially. Filming was not without its issues, with some celebrities suffering injuries, Mark Speight for example breaking one of his right fingers. Nevertheless, although there was concern the show might set a negative example for children due to its violent content, some believed the "raw competition" might be enough to draw a significant audience.[2]

The show would be hosted by Kate Thornton and wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, while former WWF wrestler D'Lo Brown trained the Crusaders, and Joe Legend was responsible for the Warriors. The Warriors ended up winning all three competitions, including the team challenge, as well as Iwan Thomas and Annabel Croft being declared the best male and female wrestler respectively.[3]


Ultimately, Celebrity Wrestling was not a success. It was critically panned for a variety of reasons, including lack of actual professional wrestling in favour of more Gladiators-style challenges, treating wrestling as a "jokey affair",[4] and for being another failed attempt at combining an activity with celebrities. The Guardian's Stuart Heritage summarised the show as "a garish, amateurish puke-puddle of a series where a bunch of hapless nobodies unconvincingly thumped around a ring to the delight of no one."[5] Even winner Annabel Croft admitted that the programme "was an utter disaster".[6]

Celebrity Wrestling also struggled to obtain adequate ratings. The first episode drew only 3.8 million viewers, about a 21% audience share of Saturday primetime television, with the fourth episode drawing just 2.6 million and a 14% share. The show ultimately proved no match for Doctor Who, which had obtained 10.5 million viewers for its return episode, and an average of 7.5 million or approximately a 40% audience share.[7] Following consistently poor ratings, Celebrity Wrestling, which was eight episodes, was taken off its primetime slot by ITV once episode 5 aired, and placed into a "graveyard" Sunday morning slot for its remaining episodes.[8]


While the first four episodes of Celebrity Wrestling were broadcast on primetime television, the poor initial ratings combined with few repeats due to its poor reception has led to much of the show becoming lost media. While no full episodes currently exist, a segment and a match featuring Leilani Dowding against Kate Lawler were uploaded to YouTube in August 2006. Additionally, a review of the show contains clips that would otherwise be completely inaccessible.



Build-up to Leilani Dowding vs Kate Lawler.

Leilani Dowding vs Kate Lawler.

Review of the show containing otherwise inaccessible clips.

Celebrity Wrestling advert.

Celebrity Wrestling advert at 8:32.

Oliver Skeet's Celebrity Wrestling ident.


See Also

External Link