Wrestling has been around in one form or another for thousands of years, and some believe that it was one of the original sports that mankind engaged in, even before the start of written history. It has evolved in countless ways over the millennia, eventually becoming the incredibly entertaining sport that we know and love today.
Let’s take a look at the history of wrestling, starting with its otherwise humble origins and how it slowly changed into what it is today.
The Origins Of Wrestling
There are multiple historic sources of wrestling in one form or another, but the earliest account dates back to ancient Greece, around 3000 BC. This kind of wrestling was radically different to the wrestling that we have today, mainly because the participants did it completely naked, and there was very little in the way of official rules or regulations.
For the most part, wrestling as a serious kind of sport would only start in the 19th century. It would be in the latter half of the 1800s where wrestling would really begin, although it was much more popular among the common people as well as in the carnival. It would developed out of folk wrestling, which would then become known as either Greco-Roman or freestyle wrestling, although it was commonly just known as amateur wrestling by the time the Olympics began in 1896.
Post-World War II
During World War II, wrestling lost much of its popularity – this was the same for many sports at the time. Once the war had come to an end, however, the first true golden age of wrestling would begin within the United States. Other countries, such as Mexico and Japan would also see a resurgence in the sport, with such well-known wrestlers as El Santo earning a name for themselves.
The popularity of pro wrestling would once again go through a decline in the 1970s and 1980s, right up until the creation of cable television. Pro wrestling would then go through another boom, with such famous wrestlers as Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan becoming household names across the US. As more and more people began watching pro wrestling, wrestlers became well-known celebrities, entering an entirely new level of fame that would allow wrestling to soar in popularity and change modern pop culture forever.
It was during this time that some of the most recognisable names in wrestling would be created, with the World Wrestling Federation, which would later be renamed to the WWE due to a name conflict with the World Wildlife Fund. Over the course of the 1990s, the WWE would host some of the most memorable matches of all time, and this would be the period where professional wrestling would see the greatest financial success yet. Although it has since declined somewhat, pro wrestling remains one of the most popular sports and pastimes across the US and much of the world, rivalled only by bingo sites in Australia and video gaming.