I have a certain affection for wrestling as I used to watch it on saturday afternoons and it used to come to the City Hall (i’ve blogged about it before). According to the Independent, Wrestling died in 1988, when it was dumped from the ITV scedules by Greg Dyke.
It is still going, however, and we went to see it in Whitby on a Friday night at the Pavilion.
To set the scene, the ring was set up in the “Northern Lights Suite“, a multi-purpose large hall extension to the original building dating back to the death of wrestling. There were three rows of seats on each side of the ring accommodating a crowd of approximately 200.
The wrestling had changed a bit since the 70s. Each wrestler had a theme tune, although their inadequate PA system let them down several times with the radio Mic and the jingles. The umpire and timekeeper both looked very young and the rules were one fall, submission or knockout. There were no rounds, the match just carried on until someone won. Another minor point of note was that with the tag bout, there were no longer tag ropes in the corners for the non-wrestler to hold on to.
Another big change was the Jingoism, it was England versus the rest of the world, although we weren’t entirely convinced that the non-Brits weren’t actually British as they had very cod accents. We were strongly encouraged to cheer for the Brits and boo the non-Brits. There was an interval where we were given the opportunity to pose in the ring for a £5 polaroid.
The ring is designed as a huge drum, it amplifies every noise. Consequently, the wrestlers will stamp as they do a punch in order to make it sound harder than it is.
Wrestling remains more entertainment than sport, with a high acting quotient and playing to the crowd. Not many grannies though but lots of children in the audience (who received a public warning at one point for helping a wrestler pull the other one’s legs when spreadeagled either side of the corner post).
One particularly funny bit was the tag wrestling. One wrestler was banging another’s head onto the corner post mat. The first one let go but the 2nd carried on banging his head, also banging his foot in time(which he had been doing all along).
The Pavilion lighting ring was a bit low key, the ring light was a solitary Strand Patt. 49 floodlight, circa 1965.
Karen keeps taking sneaky views of Sky Channel 427, we saw Les Kellett on it earlier!