Editorial Columns

Remembering WWE On Sky Sports

Rob Troubadour looks back at the 30-year relationship between WWE and UK satellite network, Sky.

I’ll let you all into a little secret.

I’m 32 years old which means statistically I’ve probably only paid attention to around 20 or so years of WWE on Sky. Let’s not forget it hasn’t only been a part of the staple of the flagship sports channels but also the morning schedule of Sky One in retrospect. I’m going to give you my favourite moments of WWE on Sky Sports, some big pops and some ridiculous things that we never thought we would see (early shout out to The Hand, if you know… you know). 

When I look back at my wrestling memories there are a fair few stand out moments, debuts include The Rock with that hair, Mankind introducing himself to The Undertaker, Stone Cold and that speech, the first time John Cena did a rap, Paige scooting down the ramp to make history but there are certain moments within all of us that kept us hooked and one special point for me was the long burn of The Rockers and their final appearance on Brutus Beefcake’s ‘Barber Shop’.

In the 1990s The Rockers were top of the tag team mountain, they were high flying and full of energy yet to some Michaels was always the stand out performer of the tag team, Jannetty always on the back burner. 1991 came around and dissension on screen came around. Shawn Michaels lost to Ric Flair in a singles match due to Marty rolling him in, Survivor Series 1991 saw Jannetty push Michaels into a Nasty Boy and cause his elimination and their last tag title shot v Legion Of Doom followed with the imminent demise.

Storylines aren’t written like this anymore, the story slow burnt over months and culminated in that awe-inspiring moment where Michaels turns to the camera like he always does and super kicked Jannetty through the barbershop window (Editor Note: Jannetty threw himself into it, the coward). Gasps were heard around the world and at that very moment was the birth of ’The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels. The rest they say, is history. 

For those of you that were a little bit of a WCW mark, you’ll remember the time that you heard the crash of those drums and Bill Goldberg appearing on RAW in 2003. Rock appreciation night was cut short by Bill taking himself to the ring and confirming that The Rock himself was…Next.

Another WCW pop came in the form of Le Champion himself Chris Jericho along with his millennium countdown, much to the thoughts of that man again The Rock, which started possibly some of the best mic back and forths we have ever seen between the pair. The last and final WCW debut I’d like to throw into the mix is The Radicalz which consists of Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and the other guy. The group left WCW weeks before their debut on WWE RAW in the year 2000 and two members of the group went onto achieve world championships as well as tag team and hardcore titles respectively. 

‘The Monday Night Wars’ was a highlight of the broadcast of Sky Sports to us British fans, although we were always that little step behind. From 1995 to 2001 Vince McMahon and Ted Turner’s WCW went up against each other week in week out for ratings, for us on the other side of the pond we would catch Nitro on Friday nights on TNT and RAW on Monday nights on Sky Sports 1. We saw Hall & Nash turn on WWE to WCW and appear on Nitro, we saw Alundra Blayze bin the WWE women’s title live on Nitro, the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the creation of The NWO with Hulk Hogan becoming ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, the Montreal Screwjob involving Bret Hart and his spelling of WCW live on WWE television, the start of the Attitude Era, Vince Russo and WWE purchasing WCW on live television between an exchange between Vince McMahon and his son Shane McMahon to which the invasion angle followed. 

There has been a lot of shouting about RAW within this article but we cannot forget the creation of the ‘little brother’ of RAW, WWE Smackdown.

Created on the back of one of The Rock’s catchy catchphrases, the giant fist was born alongside a fresher more wrestling based show to go alongside the grittiness of RAW. Smackdown saw us witness Edge nearly marry Vicki Guerrero for it to be ruined by Triple H, Stone Cold return from neck injury to blow up the DX Express, Brock Lesnar take Hulk Hogan to Suplex City, that man Edge once again appearing to cash in his Money in the Bank contract to become World Heavyweight Champion, Brock and The Big Show quite literally bringing down the ring, the wrestling world standing alongside the United States in the face of adversity after the terror attacks of 9/11, Rey Mysterio making his explosive debut and Daniel Bryan most recently announcing the YES! Movement was once again active. 

These 30 years on Sky could genuinely go on forever, I’ve procrastinated more than I should have even written this small amount of moments but I feel like you all get my drift when I say we would probably not be wrestling fans without the contract between WWE and SKY bringing some of the best action to our TVs on a weekly basis, and we now start a new era of memories between WWE and BT Sport.

Thank you, Sky for me, and all of our childhoods.

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You can find me on Twitter  @RobTroubadour. Thanks for reading.

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