A look at the history of pro wrestling, from the early days of Abraham Lincoln to the modern era.

Narrated by “Stagger” Lee Marshall



  1. There is some dispute over just how close they truly were…certainly, Muldoon did train Sullivan for the Kilrain bout; however, Sullivan appeared to have harbored some resentment regarding Muldoon's methods, such as the time Muldoon humiliated him in front of his tavern friends by wrestling him to the ground rather than permit the boxer to abuse the drink. I believe Sullivan was quoted in a newspaper after the fight that he wanted no more to do with Muldoon in the future.

  2. Yeah, George Washington wrestled in the collar-and-elbow style, which is *very* influential in modern "pro" wrestling. Every match starts with a collar-and-elbow tie up, and usually features hip tosses, submissions, shin kicking, mares, whips and other basics that were what that style was all about.

  3. Wrestling's history as a S-P-O-R-T and American cultural institution hardly ever gets its due. It was the thing in frontier America. George Washington was a collar-and-elbow champion in his county, and Abraham Lincoln was one of the first champions of what later became the NWA. Gridiron football, basketball and baseball all got their starts in the latter half of the 1800s. Wrestling was around since the Mayflower times.

  4. Abraham Lincoln…very first champion of the United States indeed. He was a good wrestler and a seasoned pro, and by his admission at one point no worse than the second best wrestler in Illinois, but professional wrestling in America hardly started with "Honest" Abe.

    The piece ignores that George Washington predated Lincoln's run as a frontier wrestler and was the recognized Virginia colony champion around 1750…but he too probably wasn't the first champion in the U.S.

  5. A couple of "mistakes" I see. The person pictured when the commentator is talking about Bill Muldoon is actually the original "Strangler" Lewis…Evan "Strangler" Lewis for whom the later Ed Lewis (real name Robert Friedrich) would take his ring name. Also Bill Muldoon worked for John L. Sullivan as a personal trainer (they were not battling rivals. Pro wrestling like to claim Lincoln as the first champion but that's a huge stretch to say the least.

  6. n the spor t if wrestling is much like swiimming andother sports its not really a spectator sport its very hard to understand for one n very slow and boring which y they made pro wrestlig in the 1st place

  7. all they have to do is watch the oylimpics other forms of grapplin as well such as bjj russsian sambo and english/american catch as catch can of which pro wrestling is derived

  8. @jblive1985 i no man i tried telling my friends and family that but they say ITS FAKE. pro wrestling is entertainment but grecco-roman and amature is real


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