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Old 09-21-2012, 10:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Origins Of Wrestling

Are there any books that I could read that might tell me something about the very earliest days of professional wrestling. I'd love to know what the earliest gimmicks were like, and what the earliest storylines were about. Does anybody have any information about the really, really early days?
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

I don't know any books, but here's what I know.

It all started in mid XIX century. Originally, pro wrestling was called carnival (or carney) wrestling and was practiced on various carnivals as a part of the sideshows. Then, somewhere around 1870, it evolved into something, that became known as catch-as-catch-can wrestling. Catch wrestling shows usually consisted of only one match. It was real, matches were 6- 7 hours long and usually ended without winners an a draw. The people, who came to see the wrestlers didn't like that and were even throwing stuff, like tomatoes, to wrestlers. As the real nature of wrestling wasn't very popular with the fans, somewhere around 1920s early promoters tought, that if matches were scripted, the people would like it more. Somewhere around that time it dropped the 'catch' and became known as 'pro' wrestling. Only after few years, they decided to make the outcomes of the matches pre-determined. Also around that time, first gimmicks were started, such as Dr. X, etc. In 1950s, wrestling started to catch up with the fans, as the Television Era started. Probably the most notable star of the era, was Gorgeous George. Since then, wrestling has changed just a litte.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

Greeks and Romans used to wrestle naked centuries Before Christ
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

What I'd like to get hold of is some info the early days of 'pro-wrestling' - when they first started using gimmicks, and the matches were first scripted.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

Well, earlier in the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was no kayfabe. Matches were real and sub-continental wrestlers (known as Pehelwaans) used to dominate the sport of pro-wrestling.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

I'd love to know what gimmicks they used. Like, were they the same types as today (cocky heels, millionaire heels, blue collar heroes) or were they more representitive of the era; prohibition officers, bootleggers etc.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

Quote:
Originally Posted by the modern myth View Post
What I'd like to get hold of is some info the early days of 'pro-wrestling' - when they first started using gimmicks, and the matches were first scripted.
Read the WAWLI Papers. They are available on another wrestling forum you can google up. Plenty of info there to keep you reading for weeks. "WAWLI" is an acronym for "Wrestling As We Liked It". I've read up on the pro wrestling as far back as the civil war. It predates even that as there is historical records of carnival pro wrestling with ringers, works, audience plants and such dating to the 1700s. Some of the jargon such as "work", "mark", etc are very old.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

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Originally Posted by BC Hunk View Post
Well, earlier in the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was no kayfabe. Matches were real and sub-continental wrestlers (known as Pehelwaans) used to dominate the sport of pro-wrestling.
Actually kayfabe was alive and well in those days. Lots of matches were worked. Pehlwani wrestlers have never dominated internationally. Gama was as close as it got, but he was unwilling to travel to America to face Gotch because he would not have had the political pull so he would have had to do the job to Gotch. His win over Stan Zbyszko was a work.
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko View Post
Read the WAWLI Papers. They are available on another wrestling forum you can google up. Plenty of info there to keep you reading for weeks. "WAWLI" is an acronym for "Wrestling As We Liked It". I've read up on the pro wrestling as far back as the civil war. It predates even that as there is historical records of carnival pro wrestling with ringers, works, audience plants and such dating to the 1700s. Some of the jargon such as "work", "mark", etc are very old.
Cool, thanks for that. I'll invesitigate.
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Origins Of Wrestling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko View Post
Actually kayfabe was alive and well in those days. Lots of matches were worked. Pehlwani wrestlers have never dominated internationally. Gama was as close as it got, but he was unwilling to travel to America to face Gotch because he would not have had the political pull so he would have had to do the job to Gotch. His win over Stan Zbyszko was a work.
Gama was the GOAT of pehelwaani wrestling. And if Dara Singh didnt hate kayfabe, he would have been bigger than Hogan / André / Flair easily
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