The sport of wrestling has been around for thousands of years and Greco-Roman wrestlers competed in the first modern Olympic games held in Athens in 1896. The freestyle version of the sport was allowed into the Games in 1904 and women wrestlers first competed at the Olympics in 2004.
Professional wrestling came to the fore in the UK during the 1960s/70s. Many older fans of the sport will recognise the name Kent Walton. He was the best-known TV wrestling commentator during the sport’s UK heyday. Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy (Shirley Crabtree) and Mick McManus (the man you love to hate) were the most successful professional wrestlers of that era. Attracting a huge following they toured the UK and Europe regularly filling arenas packed with noisy fans.
Things have moved on since those days and the professional sport is now huge in the United States. The top performers are dollar millionaires and like their predecessors they have a loyal following of devoted fans. The highpoint of the US wrestling calendar is WrestleMania. This year’s WrestleMania 33 was held in Orlando, Florida, on 2nd April, attracting thousands of spectators and millions of TV viewers worldwide.