Celebrity Wrestling (partially found ITV professional wrestling reality show; 2005)
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.
Background[edit | edit source]
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.
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.
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.
Reception[edit | edit source]
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", 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." Even winner Annabel Croft admitted that the programme "was an utter disaster".
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. 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.
Availability[edit | edit source]
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.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Videos[edit | edit source]
Images[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
- Braden Walker's "Knock Knock" promo (lost original pre-tapes of WWE backstage segment; 2008)
- Bret Hart-Hulk Hogan photoshoot (lost professional wrestling promotional photos; 1993)
- Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling (lost early BBC televised professional wrestling matches; 1938-1939; 1946-1947)
- ECW Hardcore TV final episodes (lost episodes of Professional Wrestling Show; 2001)
- The Game (partially found Disturbed cover of professional wrestling theme song; mid 2000s)
- Girls Gone Wild: Live from Spring Break (found WWE/Girls Gone Wild crossover special; 2003)
- Gotch-Hackenschmidt Match Film (lost world championship match; 1908)
- Gotch-Hackenschmidt Match Film (lost world championship match; 1911)
- Jake "The Snake" Roberts DDTs Hulk Hogan (lost Snake Pit segment; 1986)
- "Plane Ride From Hell" (lost photographs of drunk wrestler incidents; 2002)
- Screwed: The Bret Hart Story (lost unfinished wrestling documentary film; 2005)
- Sex University (lost WWE webshow; 2006)
- Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling Gekitou Densetsu (lost build of unreleased Virtual Boy wrestling game; 1995)
- WCW 2000 (lost work on unfinished PlayStation 2 game; 2000)
- WCW Internet-only Special Events and PPVs (lost audio streams; 1997-1998)
- WCW/nWo Live (lost build of cancelled PlayStation professional wrestling game; 1998)
- WWE Brawl (lost build of cancelled fighting game based on professional wrestling; 2012)
- WWE SmackDown vs Raw Online (lost build of cancelled online professional wrestling PC game; 2010-2011)
- WWF In Your House 8: Beware Of Dog (lost untelevised wrestling PPV matches; 1996)
- WWF No Mercy (lost Game Boy Color games based on Nintendo 64 wrestling game; 2000)
- WWF Shotgun (partially found July to December season of syndicated wrestling show; 1997)
- WWF Xperience (found pay-per-view event footage; 1996)
External Link[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Digital Spy reporting on the announcement of Celebrity Wrestling. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- BBC News where some of the competing celebrities discussed the show and its "raw competition". Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- ITV Wrestling detailing Celebrity Wrestling and who ultimately became victorious. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Wrestling Ropes calling Celebrity Wrestling a "jokey affair". Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Guardian's Stuart Heritage's summarisation of Celebrity Wrestling. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Daily Star where Annabel Croft stated Celebrity Wrestling "was an utter disaster". Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- BBC News reporting on ITV dropping Celebrity Wrestling from its primetime slot, comparing its ratings to Doctor Who's. Retrieved 19 Nov '21
- Guardian reporting on ITV dropping Celebrity Wrestling from its primetime slot following poor ratings. Retrieved 19 Nov '21