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legace

Which Countries Have Known Pre-1970 Pro-Wrestling Footage?

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As the title of this topic suggests, I'm trying to make a list of which countries have known professional wrestling footage from before the year 1970. Here is a list of the countries that I know for sure have some existing footage, I've written "clips only" in red next to the ones where only newsreels/film clips are out there, the rest have proper TV footage:

- Africa (Rhodesia) (clips only).
- Austria (clips only).
- Australia.
- Brazil (clips only).
- Canada.
- Czech Republic (clips only).
- Finland (clips only).
- France.
- Germany (clips only).
- Greece (clips only).
- Iraq.
- Ireland (clips only).
- Italy (clips only).
- Japan.
- Mexico (clips only).
- New Zealand (clips only).
- Russia (clips only).
- Spain (clips only).
- Sweden (clips only).
- Switzerland (clips only).
- United Kingdom.
- United States.

Am I missing any?

Also, I've been told that several other countries have some known footage too, but so far I haven't been able to determine if what's out there is the usual newsreels/film clips or proper TV footage, those countries are:

- Argentina.  
- Bolivia.
- Columbia.
- India.

If anyone has any info on whether or not any of these have anything other than clips, I'd be most grateful!

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India definitely had pro wrestling before 1970; I think there is some footage of Lou Thesz v. Dara Singh out there. It did not really become a thing until WWE's rise though.

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Austria I would suppose has pro-wrestling as long as the US (I definitely know that there was pro wrestling (called "Freistilringen" - freestyle wrestling) in the early 50ies and I did never spend any time on doing any historical research).

There were also those clips of Jim Londos in Greece from the 30ies, but I assume those were one-ofs.

cagematch has results from wrestling shows from Italy from the 1930ies (starring Henry Deglane) and the 50ies (having guys like Karl Gotch, Dick Steinborn and Primo Carnera and a bunch of Austrians like Georg Blemenschütz and Adi Berber). Not sure if these indicates one-of shows / tours or regular existance of pro wrestling in those countries. I suppose at one point or another there were shows basically everywhere in western Europe (you can find single shows in cagematch for many countries like Belgium or Spain, Portugal).

I am sure that there was pro wrestling imported from Mexico in some Central American countries before 1970. Panama and Guatemala are obvious candidates (which cagematch confirms). Maybe there was also wrestling in some Carribean countries, though considering that wrestling in Puerto Rico seemed to have started only in the early 70ies, those were probably no regular things. Maybe the Florida territory ran a show here or there (there are a couple of results of shows in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico from 1969 on cagematch).

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King Kong Czaja toured India, Pakistan and Singapore in the 1950s and ‘60s. But I don’t know if there were regular events.

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I would recommmend contacting Gernot Freiberger on Facebook (he posts as Pantaleon Manlapig in some places). He is a wrestling historian and extremely knowledgable on this subject.

 

I already posted this answer on WKO, but more people are gonna see it here.

Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland or Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, damn near every south american country... there's also reports of wrestler crews touring countries like Singapore before they ever had a scene of their own. I am pretty sure almost every country that wasn't a communist dictatorship or war torn had pro wrestling. Note: wrestling was banned in all soviet countries post WW2, so probably no footage from Czech Republic or Hungary. I think only a handful of countries had wrestling on TV, sadly, so atmost you'll find newsreel footage or movies, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
 
As far as clips goes:
 
- there are some extremely brief black & white clips of Rene Lasartesse wrestling in Switzerland shown in a swiss documentary of him.
 
- I saw some short clips of old Spanish wrestling searching one of the online Spanish film archives. I think there may be even a Spanish documentary on it. There's very few info on the internet, though. I think Gernot also wrote a few lengthy english or spanish articles on the subject.
 
- I saw a very short clip of wrestling in Sweden or Finland in the 1960s or 1950s, I think I even posted it on PWO a while ago, but can't find the post now.
 

- there are also a few clips of old German and Austrian wrestling that can be found in old newsreel footage, such as this:

 

There's also quite a bit of footage of congolese wrestler Edingwe here, but I am not sure how old it is:

 

Bud Spencer fights a couple wrestlers in this 1973 Italian movie (note that this movie is set in the 1920s):

 

 

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Excellent stuff here guys, thanks so much for the info, I'd no idea so many other countries had pro-wrestling as early as they did. To narrow things down then, my overall goal here would be to find out which countries have available pre-1970 footage more so than how many countries actually had pro-wrestling in general.

MoS mentioned that there may be footage of Lou Thesz -vs- Dara Singh out there? Was this from India?

Robert S also added that there are clips of Jim Londos in Greece.

King of Debt linked that Irish footage so that's that country added to the list.

And finally Jetlag mentioned that there are clips from Switzerland, Spain, Sweden or Finland and then linked some German and Austrian stuff. As for the Edingwe footage, I've just done some research and it seems he didn't begin his career till the late 70s not pre-1970, still the footage is very interesting so thanks for that.

I'm gonna add the countries mentioned here that have available footage to the list I made in the first post so it's easily located. I know there was pro-wrestling in New Zealand before 1970 but is there any footage? Also are there any other countries out there with pre-1970 available footage?

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I'd actually like to put together a list of countries that have PROPER pre-1970 footage out there, as in not just newsreels or film clips, what countries would make the list? Here's what I've come up with so far:

- Australia.
- Canada.
- France.
- Iraq.
- Japan.
- United Kingdom.
- United States.

Are there any others?

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I've added both Finland and Sweden to the list in the first post. I've also put "clips only", highlighted in red, next to the countries where only newsreels and film clips exist, the countries with nothing written next to them are the ones where proper footage is available.

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Wrestling used to be a big deal in South Africa. I'd wager it's been active/thriving for around 70+ years, though it definitely dwindled towards the end of the 80s/early 90s. Regarding footage, I don't think there's anything before the 70s. Most of the oldest articles online are about the CWA (1973-1977ish). I'd guess the earliest footage we have would be that - seeing Otto Wanz was crowned the inaugral CWA champ here in Cape Town.

The oldest footage I've seen were some clips spliced into a candid camera movie from the late 80s. 

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36 minutes ago, Rah said:

Wrestling used to be a big deal in South Africa. I'd wager it's been active/thriving for around 70+ years, though it definitely dwindled towards the end of the 80s/early 90s. Regarding footage, I don't think there's anything before the 70s. Most of the oldest articles online are about the CWA (1973-1977ish). I'd guess the earliest footage we have would be that - seeing Otto Wanz was crowned the inaugral CWA champ here in Cape Town.

The oldest footage I've seen were some clips spliced into a candid camera movie from the late 80s. 

 

I seem to remember the Simpson brothers' dad being a promoter in South Africa but that might have been some kayfabe Apter Mag stuff I read back in the day.

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17 hours ago, Rah said:

Wrestling used to be a big deal in South Africa. I'd wager it's been active/thriving for around 70+ years, though it definitely dwindled towards the end of the 80s/early 90s. Regarding footage, I don't think there's anything before the 70s. Most of the oldest articles online are about the CWA (1973-1977ish). I'd guess the earliest footage we have would be that - seeing Otto Wanz was crowned the inaugral CWA champ here in Cape Town.

The oldest footage I've seen were some clips spliced into a candid camera movie from the late 80s. 

I actually saw a newsreel yesterday of some wrestling from Rhodesia in 1959, but I don't really know if that would count as South Africa or not?

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I've decided to change the title of this topic to "Which Countries Have Known Pre-1970 Pro-Wrestling Footage?", I'll be using the first post of it to list every country I come across where footage is known to exist, anytime anything new is added, I'll leave a reply here also.

Africa (rhodesia) is the latest addition to the list in the first post. I'm aware Africa is a continent but it still counts.

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Just now, legace said:

I actually saw a newsreel yesterday of some wrestling from Rhodesia in 1959, but I don't really know if that would count as South Africa or not?

While Africa is the continent, Rhodesia would be more akin to modern Zimbabwe than South Africa.

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New Zealand was slow to adopt television. The first official broadcast was in 1960 and the country didn't have network television until 1969. If there was any wrestling shown on TV during this time it would have been from overseas. During the 50s boom, wrestling events were broadcast on radio. The television show On The Mat didn't start until 1975. 

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22 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

New Zealand was slow to adopt television. The first official broadcast was in 1960 and the country didn't have network television until 1969. If there was any wrestling shown on TV during this time it would have been from overseas. During the 50s boom, wrestling events were broadcast on radio. The television show On The Mat didn't start until 1975. 

Okay thank you very much for that information mate. I found some newsreel footage from New Zealand yesterday but nothing from TV and after what you've said here it's very doubtful there is any.

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The Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand and Russia are the latest additions to the list in post #1.

Also, other than Telecatch clips, does anyone know if there is any known pre-1970 Brazilian footage out there?

 

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There's a guy called Michael 'Power Mike' Okpala from Nigeria who seemed to start out as a strongman in the 50's and went into wrestling in the 1960's once he arrived in Europe. However, he's listed as defeating Massambula in Gambia in 1970 which tells me there must have been a wrestling scene in West Africa in the late sixties. I can't imagine footage would be easy to come by though. 

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