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TravJ1979

Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

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46 minutes ago, Mad Dog said:

What are the most popular theories about when they started working matches?

It's always been worked, is my understanding. There was never a legitimate sport called "Pro Wrestling" that then morphed into what we now know. That it started in carnivals, to whom "on the level" is a foreign phrase, just reinforces the notion. They were there to fleece the local hicks rubes and hayseeds that came to see the travelling show. But I'm sure you know that...

We then turn to Wrestling Classics and the evergreen Yohe:
"The wrestlers of the era of before 1925 (1918 sounds better), were true wrestlers. Most of them knew the tricks of shooting & could wrestle. The style of pro wrestling was the look of true wrestling. But major pros worked matches, for the most part...Gambling is the turning point in wrestling. When gambling went out of the sport it became fully controlled by promoters. Before then it was just another sport with good and bad. I take newspaper articles 'exposing' wrestling that date back to the 19th century with a grain of salt....(Frank) Gotch would never step in to a ring without knowing the outcome in advance. It could be a shoot or a work, but he'll know...."
Matt Farmer chips in with: "Looking back at his (Gotch's) time in the Northwest during the early 1900's it appears to be a work all the way. You can cleary see angles being set in place."
 

Best I could find with a quick look, but I'm sure it's covered in more depth over on Classics.

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Who has bodyslammed flying head-scissored Andre the Giant? Why, one Dusty Rhodes! Twice!

Came across this trying to find an answer for Mad Dog (credit Stephen Gennarelli). 1'48" if you'd like to skip Dusty's prancing:

 

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Looks ugly as fuck, but damn if Andre doesn't do a good job. "Oh oh oh, go for it Boss, I'll make you look good." Great find !

(I wonder if anyone complained back then that Andre was bumping too much and that it wasn't realistic and that it was gonna kill da business)

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I remember reading accounts of Ernest Roeber around 1900 where they're clearly working angles.

Here's a note from an 1880 newspaper. Wrestling is mentioned along with other sports. It would be awfully naive to think that every sport was crooked/fixed EXCEPT wrestling. The difference in that era was that wrestlers could compete if they HAD to. 

Morning appeal. [volume] (Carson City, Nev.) 1877-1906, May 22, 1880, Image 2 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress (loc.gov)

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I always found the Gotch/Hackenschmit stuff to be a very obvious angle to work up interest but a lot of historical stuff tries to sell that as real. 

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I think the pro wrestling was a shoot pre-1920s (or whenever) claim is usually made by folks who haven't studied any of the history and just think that because wrestlers in the old days didnt have flashy gimmicks or do obvious worked spots in the modern sense, and matches went on for several hours, etc, that it must have been legit. I dont recall exactly, but didnt the late-90s doc "The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling" try to push that pro wrestling was a shoot pre-Gold Dust Trio? That was on A&E and replayed weekly it seemed for years afterward, probably helping to spread the pro wrestling was legit myth amongst the masses.

There were actual shoot matches from time to time, but they happened behind closed doors. The whole point of pro wrestling existing was to make money, either through marks or by gambling, and was much more lucrative when the results could be manipulated 

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That was in some books I have read earlier as well. I know Idiots Guide To Pro Wrestling had the Gold Dust Trio as the origin of the worked match.

I think people that buy into that also buy into the idea that people were more easily entertained back then. I can't imagine people would be super thrilled if they spent their day off to go watch two guys sit in a headlock for 2 hours. It feels like to me if it was a shoot at any point, promoters quickly realized it wasn't entertaining enough to be sustainable as a real sport. 

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The funny thing about the 2-3 hr matches was they were totally worked. Most shoot fights would last at most a few minutes, until one wrestler hooked another into submission (unless there were extensive rules limiting what one could and couldn't do). I think the reason promoters thought long matches were a good idea was basically from the belief that if you were going to get people to come out in droves for a big match that you had to make sure the length was comparable to other spectator sports, like baseball, boxing, etc. I'm also not sure when the concept of undercards developed. I think a lot of the early big matches were presented as stand alone attractions, though I could be totally wrong 

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I dunno about that. I watched no gi grappling like Metamoris and ADCC back when those were around, like 80% of big fights end up in a time limit draw that looked like it had no chance of a finish anytime soon. Early NHB in the 90s it happened frequently as well. So if they were fighting with no time limit, no strikes and certain joint manipulations banned, I could see a fight between world class grapplers taking a fairly long time. 

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I was thinking too. Could you imagine MMA with no time limit and no ref standing guys up. They could be in the guard forever. 

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I meant specifically shoot fighting at the dawn of the 20th century. How sophisticated was it then? How many rules, if any? 

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On 4/2/2021 at 1:22 PM, Ricky Jackson said:

The funny thing about the 2-3 hr matches was they were totally worked. Most shoot fights would last at most a few minutes, until one wrestler hooked another into submission (unless there were extensive rules limiting what one could and couldn't do). I think the reason promoters thought long matches were a good idea was basically from the belief that if you were going to get people to come out in droves for a big match that you had to make sure the length was comparable to other spectator sports, like baseball, boxing, etc. I'm also not sure when the concept of undercards developed. I think a lot of the early big matches were presented as stand alone attractions, though I could be totally wrong 

Gotch and Hackenschmidt in 1908 had an undercard. I found references to preliminary matches as early as 1902, typically just one match before the main attraction.

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Shoots happened behind closed doors. I see coverage of the first euro tournaments and the papers shit on them. "We only had coverage becaue the venue needed the money, otherwise they would have gone bankrupt"-stuff from Vienna 1900. Friendly reminder, that it was the town where the NYC Masked Marvel angle originated from.

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1 hour ago, Ricky Jackson said:

I meant specifically shoot fighting at the dawn of the 20th century. How sophisticated was it then? How many rules, if any? 

That's an interesting question. I did some looking into boxing. I know it's not a perfect comparison. But boxing as we know it started taking effect in 1867. Gloves, weight classes, knock down rules, etc. 

Also, useless addition but I was curious. It looks like the forward pass first happened in football in 1906.

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2 hours ago, Mad Dog said:

That's an interesting question. I did some looking into boxing. I know it's not a perfect comparison. But boxing as we know it started taking effect in 1867. Gloves, weight classes, knock down rules, etc. 

Also, useless addition but I was curious. It looks like the forward pass first happened in football in 1906.

Yeah Queensberry rules were first adapted in 1865-67, but London bare knuckle rules were still a thing until well into the 1890s. A lot of the what we see in modern boxing and MMA comes from Queensberry rules- referee stoppages, 3 judges scoring decisions on a 10 point system, standing 8 count to check for injuries after a knockdown,  a maximum number of rounds, a ringside doctor, gloved fists, disqualification for eye gouging, low blows, biting and fish hooking, 3 knockdown rule, etc. Under London bare knuckle rules there was no scoring system, no regulation ring, no DQs, and the fight had endless 3 minute rounds until the corner threw in the towel or somebody was knocked out. Think the fight scenes in the movie Snatch. Very barbaric. 

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Rounds lasted until a fighter was knocked or thrown down. It could be a few seconds or several minutes. Fights ended up being a mixture of boxing and collar-and-elbow wrestling. When John L. Sullivan fought Jake Kilrain in the last famous bare knuckle fight, Kilrain would slip to the ground as strategy to avoid punishment. Sullivan’s insistence on fighting future fights under Queensbury rules established them as the norm. A lot of those reforms such as doctors, maximum rounds, etc. came about in the 1920s as states such as New York created rules where boxing was previously banned.

What’s interesting about wrestling is that in the 19th century a lot of it is that aforementioned collar-and-elbow style. Wrestlers would lock up and the object was to throw the other to the ground. Remember that prize fighting was outright banned in many states in that era. So a publicly exhibited wrestling match might actually have somewhat strict rules.

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I read The Manly Art by Elliot Gorn, which is about the history of bare knuckle prize fighting in the US and using it to explore the conflicts between protestant and catholic culture, several years ago. I found it to be a really interesting book but as a wrestling fan what really fascinated me was reading about all of the screwy finishes and realizing that this was where pro wrestling promoters likely got the ideas for those finishes. Lots of no contests when fighters refused to return to the ring and lots of interference from seconds. My favorite if I'm still remembering the details correctly was one fight where the second pulled out a cane sword, a guy in the front row shot him, and a riot broke out.

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On 4/2/2021 at 8:42 AM, Dav'oh said:

 

1'48" if you'd like to skip Dusty's prancing:

 

Imagine having such terrible taste in life, you would voluntarily choose to skip watching footage of Dusty dancing and basically jiving!!

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1 minute ago, MoS said:

....voluntarily choose to skip watching footage of Dusty dancing and basically jiving!!

I'm with you, MoS. I put the timestamp in because I don't feel a lot of love for Big Duthty around these parts. I love that shit, as stoopid and awkward and risible as it is (he's no Fred Astaire; he's not even Fandango), and will probably be the high vote on Dusty in the GWE ;).

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We are going to bond so much about how all these new GWE voters don't get it like we do like the geniuses we are!!!!

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I had Dusty at #7 last time. Cant remember if I was the high vote or not. Probably. I definitely was the high vote on Wrestling II, Slaughter, Bruno, and Savage

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I knew Dusty was a heel earlier in his career, but I had never put 2 and 2 together before watching that video. I wonder if a lot of the weird things Dusty used to do, the dancing and mannerisms etc, were heel things he did to get heat and then kept doing after turning face. When I first saw Dusty as a kid, he just seemed bizarre to me and I didnt get him. Sort of similar to Dustin doing a lot of weird stuff as Goldust to get heat then doing them as a face and the fans loving it.

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I'm sure of it. In fact, The American Dream was originally a heel gimmick. The idea was that he was mocking the working-class fans in Florida by flaunting his wealth.

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6 hours ago, Al said:

Rounds lasted until a fighter was knocked or thrown down. It could be a few seconds or several minutes. Fights ended up being a mixture of boxing and collar-and-elbow wrestling. When John L. Sullivan fought Jake Kilrain in the last famous bare knuckle fight, Kilrain would slip to the ground as strategy to avoid punishment. Sullivan’s insistence on fighting future fights under Queensbury rules established them as the norm. A lot of those reforms such as doctors, maximum rounds, etc. came about in the 1920s as states such as New York created rules where boxing was previously banned.

What’s interesting about wrestling is that in the 19th century a lot of it is that aforementioned collar-and-elbow style. Wrestlers would lock up and the object was to throw the other to the ground. Remember that prize fighting was outright banned in many states in that era. So a publicly exhibited wrestling match might actually have somewhat strict rules.

Wow interesting. Thanks. I love how I'm always learning from this board. 

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