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What's the history of pro wrestling in Ireland?

  • 02-12-2019 4:13pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 13,507 ✭✭✭✭


    Was there any wrestling scene at all in Ireland prior to the WWE starting to run European tours, and the few indy promotions that have sprung up since the 90s?

    If so, how far back does professional wrestling go in Ireland? Who would be some notable performers and promoters who were active mainly in Ireland in the period 1890 - 1990? Were there any actual organisations that ran shows or was it more just haphazard exhibitions like in the days of the carnival sideshow?

    I know about wrestlers like Dan O'Mahoney, but I gather he hailed from Ireland and didn't actually do much (if any) wrestling there, becoming a star in the U.S.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,211 ✭✭✭LineOfBeauty


    Sure wasn't Hulk Hogan from county Clare? Good strong Irish name if ever I heard one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,787 ✭✭✭Sirsok


    https://www.broadsheet.ie/2019/11/21/wrestlemania-1932/

    A guy on here done up this it seems! First wrestling event in Ireland


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,679 ✭✭✭hynesie08


    Finlays dad and possibly granddad ran a loop of northern Ireland for years, possibly from ww2 onwards, using lads from England as well as home trained guys, very similar to the old world of sport setup. There's a fantastic tg4 documentary about them.

    You had orig Williams in the 90's with his tribute shows....

    Not sure if Southern Ireland ever had regular touring shows in the 70's and 80s


  • Registered Users Posts: 22 dannocasey


    I’m currently researching the history of pro wrestling in Ireland so I can fill in some blanks. The first events began in the 1930s with promoters like William Willis and Gerard Egan running shows. Willis focused on smaller venues with talent from Britain and was trying to develop a scene. Egan ran fewer shows but promoted at larger venues, including Dalymount, and brought in household names like Dan O’Mahony and Steve Casey

    In the 1930s, both Dan and Steve had successful careers in America and both had title runs and wins over some big names. They actually contested a title match in Ireland when Casey was champion, where he retained it on that occasion. Numerous others travelled to America and elsewhere but none reached the heights of Danno and Crusher.


    The outbreak of WW2 interrupted wrestling here in the late 1930s and most of the 1940s. From then on it was primarily outside promoters running events in Ireland until the early 2000s. Promoters such as Orig Williams (Joint Promotions) were running events in Ireland for decades from the 1960s onwards. Despite the boom in British wrestling, due to prominence on TV, the domestic scene here never emerged.

    Nonetheless, there were times during the 1960s when more regular shows occurred. These weekly or monthly events used the same talent and were often the same venues. You could consider this period the second attempt at developing a domestic scene but it didn’t really succeed. Places like the Mansion House or the Clare Manor Hotel played host to these shows.

    In the 1980s there were sporadic touring shows featuring talent like Giant Haystacks (whose parents were from Mayo). WWF/E and WCW toured here in the early 1990s and with their growth was the emergence of other touring shows here using fake/tribute talent. During this period Irish wrestlers such as Finlay and Velvet Mcintyre wrestled in WCW/WWF.

    There were individuals like the Finlays training people and running some shows in Northern Ireland but it wasn’t really until 2002 the Irish scene kicked off with the emergence of Irish Whip Wrestling and NWA Ireland and their training schools. Since then there have been events every year from domestic promotions with their own talent. The scene has had its up and downs since 2002 but appears to be doing well currently

    There are lots of interesting stories from the 1930s to now like Cork council banning female wrestlers in the 1960s, RTE being offered a wrestling show in the 1970s and much more. As highlighted by a previous poster I put together an article on the first events and plan to publish on other content.

    You can check out the Irish Wrestling History page on Facebook for regular posts from my archives.

    www.facebook.com/irishwrestlinghistory


  • Registered Users Posts: 22 dannocasey


    Sirsok wrote: »
    https://www.broadsheet.ie/2019/11/21/wrestlemania-1932/

    A guy on here done up this it seems! First wrestling event in Ireland

    Were you involved with that excellent OTT doc? Be great to do some history stuff if so.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators Posts: 23,923 Mod ✭✭✭✭Clareman


    Sure wasn't Hulk Hogan from county Clare? Good strong Irish name if ever I heard one.

    You jest but the McMahon's trace their history back to Clare, I was in the Point YEARS ago and Steph came back to get a cheap pop saying how they had just found out they were from Clare, she got booed out of the house by all the Dubs :D it was quiet funny


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,170 ✭✭✭✭B.A._Baracus


    hynesie08 wrote: »
    Finlays dad and possibly granddad ran a loop of northern Ireland for years, possibly from ww2 onwards, using lads from England as well as home trained guys, very similar to the old world of sport setup. There's a fantastic tg4 documentary about them.

    You had Orig Williams in the 90's with his tribute shows....

    Not sure if Southern Ireland ever had regular touring shows in the 70's and 80s

    Those Orig Williams shows were something to behold :pac:
    And I mean that in a bad way lol. There was one in Dublin in, IIRC in 2002, and Orig Williams was doing commentary. How may you ask on a indy show that wasn't taped? :pac: He literally was providing commentary over the PA as the matches went on lol.

    At one point, the ref was fixing up one of the turnbuckles during a match. Pad came loose I guess. One of the wrestlers was heeling out (choking the face I do believe) and Orig was saying "turn around mr referee!" (just getting the people going to this "grave injustice" lol) But then the heel was trying to cover the face. The "turn around mr referee!" blantly turned into "TURN.... AROUND....MR.... REFEREE!!!!" to give him the signal to turn the f-ck around already lol.

    Fun fact was that Lee Butler wrestled as Mankind on the show. For those who don't know he would go on to train guys in IWW. He sadly died a couple of years ago I heard. Young bloke.


    *edit*
    forgot to add that Orig must have said "turn around" about 15 times!


  • Registered Users Posts: 22 dannocasey


    Random Orig fact. He tried to book female wrestlers in Cork in the 1960s but the city council banned women from participating.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭montyrebel


    just yesterday i discovered a page on facebook called irish wrestling history, seem to post pics of old newspaper coverage of wrestling on these shores, worth checking out


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