Wrestling was reborn in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in a way that completely took my breath away. I was gobsmacked!
I had been used to the olde worlde English wrestling, wresters like giant haystacks, Big daddy and the like. They generally looked like overweight darts players, that wore leotards and jumped on each other. Wrestling played on Saturday lunchtimes and I never really understood that world, except that everyone looked like they could be friends of my father. They looked like that had a life outside of wrestling, like they might be miners or blacksmiths.
However, this board game “WWF/E Wrestling Challenge” is built from that new Americanised world.
Then around 1990 a whole new world of wresting came about. It was American and primped and pimped up and preened. The men looked like action models – all bulging biceps and rippling muscles. Even the larger ones looked quite scary in a cartoon like way. They also had suitably cartoon-ish names. It really was larger than life. More than life. Unlike British wrestling. It didn’t look in the least bit like real life or real people
The board game was actually quite fun. You had game cards where you could perform moves on other “players” and you could pick any one of the different wrestlers to be.
All the wrestlers names back then were quite brilliant: Mr Perfect, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Ultimate warrior, The Undertaker, Earthquake, Macho Man Randy Savage. And then of course the undisputed star of wresting of that time: Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan was such a successful figure he actually spawned names like “Hulkmania” for the effect he had on fans around the world.
This game was yet another way to sublimate that fanatacism, and was fun to play, rolling dice and making complicated wresting moves on your opponents – A “Pile Driver” or a “Leg press”, “The Backbreaker”, “The Moonsault”. Competing for different prize belts.
I always wondered why a wresting prize was always a belt rather than a cup or trophy. Do they wear them? They should, when they are wrestling.