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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! 

Edited by Legace

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10 minutes ago, Bicurious Dad said:

Puerto Rico

With apologies for pedantry, Puerto Rico isn't a country. Its a territory of the United States. 

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Just now, Grecian said:

With apologies for pedantry, Puerto Rico isn't a country. Its a territory of the United States. 

Beat me to it by seconds. Yup, not a country.

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India.

Dara Singh competed in his native India in at least the ‘50s and ‘60s and possibly the ‘40s. His Wikipedia page mentioned that he trained to wrestle in 1947 in Singapore so you can probably add Singapore to the list as well. 

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Most Central and South America countries were a hot bed for all types of wrestling from the early 50's until the late 70's, Guatemala in particular had good talent pool, there was really good blog documenting its biggest characters and promotion around a year or two ago but I can't remember the link. 

I've seen footage of wrestling from Bolivia and Columbia from before the 70's too, mostly on YouTube. 

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Based on the Royal Duncan/Gary Will title histories book you can add in:

Republic of Ireland

Spain

South Africa

Singapore

Phillipines

Plus annual tournaments in Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Switzerland, Argentina, though some of those may have been shoots rather than worked pro style.

 

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Scotland.

I don’t have any formal proof, but during the 50’s and 60’s my great grandad worked the doors and general promotion for wrestling events in Scotland. My grandma and her family came down from Aberdeen in the 60’s so I assume it was likely in that region. She died when I was a bit younger and before I had a proper interest in knowing more about his history unfortunately. 
 

Edit - Soz, I’ve just spotted you state UK in the OP. 

Edited by Kaz Hayashi

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Orig Williams did a tour of Pakistan in the early 70's. Not sure if there was already a scene there or not. In Foley's first book, I remember him mentioning one of the African countries (possibly Botswana...I forget) and walking down the street, holding hands with some guy, as that's culturally considered to be a normal sign of friendship.

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There was a wrestling scene in Israel from at least the late 1950s.

Power Mike was running shows in Nigeria through the '70s. 

There are likely dozens more, particularly if we count countries that hosted tours rather than having their own indigenous scene. Though a lot of them it's hard to find English language resources on, short of poring over old wrestlers' autobiographies.

Edited by BomberPat

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Of the names I recognise in that video, Fred Coates was a promoter in "Rhodesia", and Willie Khone promoted in South Africa.

Wrestling in South Africa did have a domestic scene (or, more accurately, two domestic scenes for a time as there were both black and white promotions running during apartheid), but also would have relied very heavily on Joint Promotions talent touring the country. Gama Singh did a fair bit of work in South Africa too, so I suspect Stampede will have sent talent there. They used "British Commonwealth" championships, and a European-style round system, as far as I'm aware.

I'm a little patchier on other African wrestling, so don't know whether Coates ran regularly, or booked intermittent tours - if it's the latter, I suspect he was reliant on much the same talent pool as the South African promoters were bringing in, though I've heard he also had a penchant for booking "freak show" wrestlers and giants. I know Andre The Giant worked South Africa in his early days, and wouldn't be surprised if Coates brought him in also based on that reputation. Andre also allegedly toured a lot of the French colonies in Africa, presumably on tours booked by French promoters, so if that's true we can add Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco to the list of countries that had wrestling in some form or another pre-1970.

It's important to note on the South African front that, like all walks of life in that country, under apartheid the wrestling business was strictly regulated and controlled by the government, and obviously subject to racial segregation for wrestlers, promoters and fans. The country also had no home television until 1976, so any footage we have of South African wrestling prior to that is likely from European broadcasts or newsreels, and there's precious little of it available.

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