Big Daddy to Toni Storm: The revival of British wrestling

  • Benjamin Litherland

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Ben Litherland comments on the decline of British professional wrestling:

"Terrestrial TV was the shop window [for British wrestling] and the money was in getting customers to the shows," says Dr Ben Litherland, author of Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences.

"The second that was removed, the whole business model fell through. Television was so central to the model that British wrestling had been operating on since the 1950s."

Holiday camps such as Butlin's continued to hold wrestling events but by the 1990s "the scene was dying", says Ben, who lectures at Huddersfield University.

"British wrestling still attracted large audiences, but the emergence of multi-channel Sky television, on the one hand, and ITV seeking to adapt its brand, meant that British wrestling was squeezed.

"This happened at the same time as [WWF owner] Vince McMahon was seeking to aggressively expand.

"He had done a good job of creating links with youth programming and Hollywood movies. The WWF was operating pretty sophisticated trans-media storylines in a soap-opera style."

Period10 Nov 2018

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleBig Daddy to Toni Storm: The revival of British wrestling
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletBBC
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    PersonsBenjamin Litherland