Professional Wrestling was banned in the UK during World War II


Hamish Woodward

Allegations of match fixing and increasing violence caused professional wrestling to be banned in the UK during World War II, in a dark time in British Wrestling history.

The ban on professional wrestling in the UK was not a single event but a series of actions taken by authorities, particularly in the late 1930s, which ultimately led to the prohibition of professional wrestling for a period.

The factors leading to the ban included concerns about the increasingly violent nature of wrestling matches.

Promoters introduced more aggressive styles, weapons, and chair shots as part of the entertainment in the 1930s, years before the Attitude Era took over in the 1990s.

This was called “All-In” wrestling, and was a combination of freestyle wrestling and the “no holds barred” style of wrestling we know today from promotions like ECW and CZW in the United States.

The authorities, particularly the London County Council and other local governing bodies, reacted negatively to these developments.

Wrestling was banned in Britain as World War II broke out

As the world moved towards World War II in the late 1930s, there was a growing sentiment against the perceived violent and unruly nature of professional wrestling.

The authorities, concerned about public safety and morality, took measures to curb what they considered excessive violence in the sport.

In response to these concerns and the changing regulatory environment, professional wrestling faced increased scrutiny.

The London County Council, in particular, played a role in initiating bans and restrictions on wrestling events.

These actions were not uniform across the entire country but were significant in London and some other areas.

The bans typically involved the suspension or revocation of licences for wrestling events.

This made it illegal to organize or promote professional wrestling matches in certain jurisdictions.

As London was the biggest market for the sport, banning the wrestling in the city caused huge decline in the business.

It nearly killed British Wrestling completely

This had a severe impact on the wrestling industry, leading to a decline in the number of events and affecting the livelihoods of those involved in the profession.

Considering how popular the sport had become in the year’s prior to the ban, the legislation almost destroyed the industry forever during a dark time in history.

After nearly dying during World War 1 following the sport’s focus on the “Sports Entertainment” aspect, it looked to be completely dead as World War II broke out – yet somehow survived.

The ban on professional wrestling remained in effect for a considerable period, and the industry faced a challenging time during this hiatus.

It was only after World War II that efforts were made to revive and regulate professional wrestling in the UK, with the establishment of Mountevans’ Committee and the introduction of official rules and weight divisions in the post-war era.


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