Gladiators fans think Legend is new Wolf after Viper failed to impress

Gladiators,Gladiators Gallery,LEGEND,** UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL 19:00 MONDAY 8th JAN **,© Hungry Bear Media Ltd,Nick Eagle
Fans think Legend is the new Gladiators villain. (BBC/Hungry Bear Media) (BBC / James Stack / © Hungry Bear Media Ltd)

Gladiators’ comeback has sparked plenty of questions, with fans debating everything from who their favourite is to which is the best game.

But there hasn’t been anything more talked about than who is the new Wolf. The character – real name Michael Van Wijk – was a standout on the 90s sports entertainment programme, with his bad boy antics often stealing the show. And viewers have been keen to see who would step up to take on the villain mantle in the BBC reboot.

Viper (Quang Luong) was positioned as the new Wolf early on, with his grimaces and grouchy attitude. But it’s starting to become clear that it’s actually Legend (Matt Morsia) taking it on.

We have a look at why.

What went wrong with Viper?

Viper looked set to be the baddie when Gladiators returned this year, thanks to his snarls at the camera and refusal to speak. However, some viewers thought he just wasn’t scary enough and that his acting wasn’t believable.

Gladiators,Gladiators Gallery,VIPER,** UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL 19:00 MONDAY 8th JAN **,© Hungry Bear Media Ltd,Nick Eagle
Viper hasn't impressed fans. (BBC/Hungry Bear Media) (BBC / James Stack / © Hungry Bear Media Ltd)

One teased on X: “So Viper is meant to be the Wolf character. He's about as scary as a tea cosy.”

Another said: “I’m loving @GladiatorsTV being back, it’s like being back in my younger years. However, the Viper theatrics are so lame, it’s the only thing that lets it down. Trying to recreate Wolf is not working, it either has to be organic or you need a Gladiator that can act.”

“Anyone else cringing at Viper?” another viewed asked. “At least Wolf played the villain part better.”

Someone else said they were just “not feeling it”. “You can’t pull someone off the wall with one hand,” they went on. “You need to be brave and commit - use both hands, don’t think these new Gladiators have the same ‘spark’ as the original crew did.”

“Yeah the stupid face Viper pulls is starting to do my head in,” remarked another viewer. “I know he’s supposed to be the new Wolf but, Wolf was, you know, actually good and could back up the attitude.”

Wolf from Gladiators opening the new Blockbuster Video in Reading, 6th November 1994. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Wolf from the original Gladiators. (Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images) (Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Others felt that trying to create the series villain felt a bit forced. “I was enjoying Gladiators until they just manufactured some excuse to make Viper the new Wolf,” one said. “Way too contrived.”

“Having to mute the tele when Viper comes to the mic because this fake rage is so annoying,” wrote somebody else.

What have fans said about Legend?

Meanwhile, Legend has emerged as a favourite, with viewers responding to his cocky act and the way he keeps trying to swipe the mic from host Bradley Walsh and take over. Many viewers have said he’s the funniest of the new crop of Gladiators.

Many were tickled after the last show, where he said: “I think we can all say safely, I was spellbinding out there. Absolutely spellbinding. It's getting a little bit embarrassing now.
"With that said though, I want to get real for a second now. Some of you will be shocked to hear this but I am not the best Gladiator on this show... I am the best gladiator of all time.”

“Legend is becoming my favourite,” one said on X. “His utter BS cracks me up.” “Legend deserves credit for being uniquely and genuinely funny,” said another viewer.

One person shared: “This guy, Legend, caught my eye for many reasons, and he’s so funny, nailing the comedy ‘anger’ of his character.”

Viewers are convinced Legend is Wolf, not Viper

After several weeks of the revamped series, many fans have decided that Legend is their new Wolf.

One viewer said he was “10 times the Wolf that Viper is”. Another posted: “Is there any chance that @BBCOne might get rid of Viper from @GladiatorsTV? He’s a bad actor and isn’t the best bad guy at all. He doesn’t even speak. Even Wolf could smile and have a laugh. Legend is a FAR better bad guy because he’s arrogant but capable of smiling!”

“They need to stop desperately trying to make Viper the new Wolf, Legend has that role locked down,” said someone else.

“I thought I’d love Viper as the new Wolf …but my surprise is that Legend is the modern Wolf and just a wonderful modern villain,” said someone else.

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