Gym - History of Wrestling
History 01 - Origins of the Sport
RealProWrestling is proud to bring to its followers a new weekly column that will delve into the long and remarkable heritage of the sport of wrestling. Each week, Mike Chapman will write a column on the sport’s history. The columns will discuss the early days of the sport and show how it developed and grew into two major strains — amateur and professional. more...


History 02 - Long matches change sport
RealProWrestling is proud to bring to its fans a new weekly column that will delve into the long and remarkable heritage of the sport of wrestling. Each week, Mike Chapman will write a column on the sport's history. The columns will discuss the early days of the sport and show how it developed and grew into two major strains, amateur and professional. more...


History 03 - Earl Caddock Makes the Transition
Many boxing experts consider Nat Fleischer to be the top historian in the entire sport. He wrote dozens of books and was publisher of the legendary The Ring magazine, which began publication in the 1920s. more...


History 04 - Saga of Earl Caddock Continues
Earl Caddock made the transition from three-time national AAU champion to world heavyweight professional champion on April 9, 1917, when he took the world title from the great Joe Stecher in Omaha. The epic match lasted nearly three hours, with each man winning a pin fall and Stecher declaring he was too exhausted to continue for the third and deciding fall. more...


History 05 - Why Pro Wrestling Changed
As world heavyweight professional wrestling champions between 1917 and 1925, Joe Stecher and Earl Caddock were superb heirs to the throne of Frank Gotch, true athletes with enormous skills, heart and desire. more...


History 06 - Shoots and Works
Frank Gotch was the professional world heavyweight wrestling champion from 1908 up through his retirement in 1915. He was still considered "the champ" after he retired, up until his untimely death in 1917, at the age of 39. After him came Joe Stecher and Earl Caddock, two more great wrestlers with strong amateur backgrounds. more...


History 07 - Olympic Stars Turned Pro
In the early 1920s, many Olympic champions and medal winners tried their hand at professional wrestling, bringing the amateur and the pro sports closer together once again. more...


History 08 - Working Matches Become the Norm
With the advent of theatrical moves such as flying tackles, drop kicks and body blocks, professional wrestling turned its back on the sport that it had been in the early 1900s. In addition, pre-arranged matches, called "working matches" or just "works", took center stage and true contests began to fade from the scene. more...


History 09 - The Era of Lou Thesz
Because professional wrestling was 95 percent pre-arranged from the 1930s on, it's difficult to evaluate how good the champions of the past 75 years really were. But there are glimpses to be gained here and there. The best way is to talk to the old pros themselves, and try to get them to loosen up and tell what they know. That isn't an easy chore as most of them prefer to keep their secrets for their small circle of associates. But they do loosen up, on rare occasions. more...


History 10 - College Stars of 40s & 50s Turn Pro
Professional wrestling and amateur wrestling had very little in common after the 1930s. The pro game had turned to show gimmicks in order to attract crowds and the amateurs scoffed at what they were seeing, and turned away. However, many college stars still were willing and eager to go pro in the 1940s and 1950s.. more...


History 11 - Dan Hodge Becomes a Pro Legend
Hodge was born and raised in Perry, Oklahoma, and had a rough life as a youngster. With troubles at home, he lived above the fire station for part of his senior year in high school, and learned how to fend for himself. After high school, he entered the Navy, and shocked everyone by making the 1952 Olympic team while just 19 years old. more...


History 12 - Brisco Follows Hodge to the Top
In his autobiography, Jack Brisco says his biggest heroes when he was growing up in Blackwell, Oklahoma, in the 1950s and early 1960s were Lou Thesz and Dan Hodge. He would go to the local drugstore to pick up a professional wrestling magazines and dream of the day when he was able to be a pro wrestler. But first he had to go through the amateur ranks. more...


History 13 - The Role of the Showmen
Showmen have been around wrestling from the very beginning, even if the style has changed dramatically (pun intended).

Martin Burns, known as "Farmer Burns", was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He discovered Frank Gotch in 1900 and taught him all he knew. Burns is considered by many old-timers to be the greatest instructor of all time in the pro ranks, the Dan Gable of the professional set. He claimed to have wrestled over 6,000 matches between 1895 and 1920, losing just six of them. more...



History 14 - Pro Wrestling in the 1970s
Professional wrestling has reinvented itself several times, from the era of Frank Gotch and Earl Caddock in the 1905-1920 period to the era of Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Austin in the 1980s and beyond! But until the 1980s, the game still had some semblance of real wrestling. How it changed as it did, and why, is a long and fascinating story. more...


History 15 - Pro Wrestling Makes Biggest Change
With the arrival of Vince McMahon Jr. on the scene in the early 1980s, professional wrestling was headed for a huge change. For decades the pro game had been divided into territories operated by independent promoters, but McMahon brought a new vision. more...



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