Catch-As-Catch-can wrestling

Catch Wrestling, also known as Catch-As-Catch-Can or Lancashire Wrestling, is believed to have originated in either Ireland or North Western England (Lancashire). By the mid-19th century, the ferocious sport made its way to the United States and maintained the original rules with victory marked by pin fall or submission.  Most Americans were introduced to the sport by traveling carnivals, where Catch Style wrestlers took on all challengers  In the 1880's, the first American Heavyweight Championship was proclaimed with Edwin Bibby’s victory in New York City, New York.  That same title was eventually held by legendary grappling names like Evan "Strangler" Lewis, Martin “Farmer” Burns, Tom Jenkins, and Frank Gotch.  Eventually European champions like George “the Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt, and Stanislaus and Wladek Zbyszko became great rivals of the then dominant American, Frank Gotch.  Wrestling rivalries crossed to India as well, where the illustrious Great Gama, a practitioner of Pehlwani wrestling and undefeated in his over 50 year career, issued challenges to his American and European rivals.  Few accepted the Indian World Heavyweight Champion’s challenge, and those who did were defeated. Its growing popularity soon led to its inclusion, albeit sporadic and intermittent, in several early 20th century Olympics Games.  By the 1930’s Catch and shoot wrestling matches began their “fixed outcomes,” and the roots of modern professional wrestling.  However, Catch Wrestling continued to survive through the traveling carnivals that were the source of their original fame.