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New York City Grapple Den Wrestling Party
1890s vs 1990s: Pro Wrestling Century Battle!

Carnival vs Cable TV...

Separated by a century, the 1890s and 1990s go head to head in a celebration of Pro Wrestling History...

No costume required, BUT, you're encouraged to come dressed as either Old Timey 1890s carnival wrestlers (when pro wrestlers fought competitively to wow the crowd) or neon 1990s larger-than-life WWF-style wrestlers (storyline drama rules the ring). Which period will you represent?

In the 1890s, professional wrestlers were simultaneously capable entertainers AND capable competitors, active in a time when wrestlers were part of circus troupes. But there was no clear distinction between "real" and "staged" when it came to performance bouts; wrestlers had to be both good grapplers and crowd-pleasing showmen.

One hundred years later, by the 1990s, "Professional" wrestling had morphed into distinctively staged, large-than-life, dramatic storyline-based entertainment. The strictly competitive sport aspect of wrestling became known as "amateur" wrestling, a serious Olympic sport. No longer would "Professional" wrestling entertainers would accept challenges from the crowd and really compete to win, but their over-the-top antics did have massive audience appeal.

Strongmen vs Muscle Men
Pleats and gathers vs skin tight spandex
Greco-Roman vs The Walls of Jericho


Behold some inspiration:


Select the period that fits your inclination, grab some garb that represents your choice (not necessary, but encouraged!), and come on down to hit the mats in style!

And More Inspiration for the 1890s vs 1990s Theme

Note the differences in attire and tone!


Josephina Blatt, aka Minerva. 1890s American strongwoman and wrestling champion (drawing).
Source: Info

Josephine Blatt (photo).

Arvid Anderson, Swedish Greco-Roman wrestling champion and strongman
Sources: Photo and Info

1890s cigar box
Source: photo

Source: photo

Martin "Farmer" Burns (1861-1937) and his student Frank Gotch (1877-1917). Famous American Professional Wrestlers, Catch Wrestling Source More Images.

Evan "Strangler" Lewis (1860-1919). "first recognized American Heavyweight Champion" Source

Sorakichi Matsuda (1851-1891). Japanese pro wrestler active in America. Source

Frank Gotch. (Possibly early 1900s)
Source: Frank Gotch

Roeber and Crane Bro's Vaudeville-Athletic Co. Theatrical Poster. 1898
Source: Library of Congress

1990s Inspiration

November 1990. Clash of the Champions XIII

Jacqueline Moore
Late-1990s. WCW and WWF

1990s WWF and WCW

September 1990. Clash of the Champions XII

September 1990 Clash of the Champions XII

September 1990 Clash of the Champions XII

Clash of the Champions, early 1990s.
Scoring a pin with foot on the ring ropes

For nice 1990s professional wrestling search results, do a search on WCW Clash of the Champions. There were several events from 1988 - 1997.

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