Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling (lost early BBC televised professional wrestling matches; 1938-1939; 1946-1947)
Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling, known simply as Wrestling from 1946-1947, are a collection of professional wrestling matches broadcast on BBC television from 1938-1939, and from 1946-1947. A match featuring Earl McCready against Percy Foster is considered to be the first televised professional wrestling match.
Getting its name from the combat sport style popular within British wrestling, Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling debuted on 12th March 1938, featuring a match between Canadian and then-NWA British Empire/Commonwealth champion Earl McCready against South African wrestler Percy Foster. McCready would later appear in the next two televised matches, firstly against English opponent Chick Knight on 31st August 1938, and then fellow Canadian Leo Lefebvre a few days later on 2nd September. Prior to BBC Television Service ceasing transmissions on 1st September 1939 following the outbreak of the Second World War, seven other matches would be shown, one match pitting Lefebvre against Bob Lengedin being broadcast as part of Seconds Out!. The final match prior to BBC Television Service ceasing transmissions was between Harry Anaconda and Dave Armstrong, broadcast on 26th August 1939.
Anaconda would later be involved in the first BBC televised match following the Second World War, facing Bert Assirati on 10th June 1946. The BBC would broadcast a further 25 matches, the last of which featured Kid Pitman against Johnny Lipman on 28th June 1947.
Like other early BBC television broadcasts, these professional wrestling matches were performed and broadcast live and were not recorded. Therefore, all matches broadcast during this time period are now permanently missing. The synopsis provided by Radio Times issues helped document the lost matches.
- Submission Wrestling Arts defining catch wrestling. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues, listing all wrestling matches televised by the BBC. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the McCready-Foster match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the McCready-Knight match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the McCready-Lefebvre match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- BBC Handbook for 1940 extract published on Transdiffusion, discussing BBC Television Centre ceasing all transmissions following the outbreak of the Second World War. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the Lefebvre-Lengedin match on Seconds Out!. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the Anaconda-Armstrong match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the Anaconda-Assirati match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue summarising the Pitman-Lipman match. Retrieved 20 Apr '21