Friday, 24 May 2013

A Look Into The History Of Professional Wrestling

By Vicki Diaz

Many historians trace wrestling to the early 3000 BC. The popularity of this game is said to have started with the Babylonians down to the Romans, though the Greeks promoted it the most. The history of professional wrestling, on the other hand dates back to the early 1900s.

There are two main types of the game i. E. The Greco-Roman (which was the most common and widely practiced form of fight from the time of the Babylonians to the 19th century) and the catch style (which allows grapples below the waist). The major difference is that while the Greco/Roman type did not allow the players to grapple below the waist, catch allowed it. They were however, real and legitimate sports where winning was contested for and earned.

The beginning of twentieth century marked a turn in how the sport was done. Promoters resorted to professional fighting where the match outcomes were predetermined and contests, heavily scripted. It was all in an effort to increase the entertainment value of the sport. The game therefore borrowed a lot from catch style and its rules. The main idea was to contract and train performers. Ideas such as tag teams and use of distraction to win contests were also introduced.

By definition therefore, the sport is a stage-managed fight with known results. The trick is however to make the audience convinced that it is real through trained reactions to the predetermined loss or win. There are cases where professional wrestlers would display feuds just to make their performance against each other more thrilling. Mostly though, the fight would follow a storyline that resembles a real situation and thus maximize the entertainment.

The history of the sport as we know it today started at around 1980s after being boosted through the introduction of television in the early fifties and that of cable in the 80s. People could now watch the games live at home. The main player remained the National wrestling Alliance (NWA) though there were dissenting groups that thought they were being swallowed by this body unfairly.

Even though the NWA was popular and controlled the sport, there were groups that started their splinter organizations. Among such splinter groups were the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWF) and the American Wrestling Association. These were based in New York and Minnesota in that order. However, their popularity was not to go far as they did not excel in building storyline and staging performances. They also lacked a popular national star one like Lou Thesz.

Since the sport was being introduced to the national audience, the promoters needed better scripting and storyline to survive. Both the AWA and the WWF also went down due to investigation into some of their performers who were thought to abuse steroids. All these matters contributed to the failure of the opposing promoters. Eventually, the NWA remained as the lead promoter of the sport on TV.

Whereas the history of professional wrestling is long, the game has since developed into one of the most watched sports nationally and arguably among the top revenue earner. The sport is also practiced in other major countries. There is Japan, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom just to name a few.

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