Selling punches: Free markets and professional wrestling in the UK, 1986-1993

Benjamin Litherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to outline the historical and political broadcasting conditions that hindered the success of British professional wrestling and allowed the rise to dominance of the American World Wrestling Federation. 

Design/methodology/approach - Because of the nature of professional wrestling, the paper utilises a range of secondary sources (audience research conducted by the Independent Broadcasting Authority, and interviews with retired wrestlers) and primary research (government papers, magazines, newspapers). 

Findings - The paper finds that the World Wrestling Federation benefited from neo-liberal television policies, but also created a product that attracted a new generation of fans. 

Originality/value - The paper examines an under-researched area of study (British professional wrestling) to explore and complicate existing debates about sports marketing and British media institutions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-598
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Historical Research in Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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