History of Female Combat
Female combat has a long and rich tradition. In ancient Greece and Rome, women wrestled each other, while in some ancient African tribes, women wrestled against both women and men. In the South Pacific, almost 1,000 years ago, women and men alike wrestled and engaged in other martial arts as part of their spiritual and ritual practices. Women were wrestling in Europe at least 150 years ago, but there focus has become slightly more about costume and spectacle. By the time female combat was gaining popularity and attention in America in the early 1900s, the focus was almost always entertainment as opposed to female combat and athleticism.
Over the last century, women’s wrestling as a sport and as entertainment have both developed, sometimes growing apart and other times coming together. At the extreme end of exploitation and spectacle were organizations like Women of Wrestling (WOW) and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). Somewhere in the middle are the federations like WWF/WWE that showcase very talented female athletes, but do tend to relegate them to second class status and sex symbols much of the time while the men take the limelight. At the other end of the female combat spectrum are the high school, college, and amateur, and professional venues that are giving increasing support and attention to women’s wrestling as a competitive sport.
Problems Facing Advocates of Female Combat
There is a complex history of legal issues revolving around female combat. Starting at the high school level, where girls wanted to be afforded the equal right to train and compete, there were significant concerns--some of which became lawsuits and controversies. For some time, the dominant paradigm seemed to be that if a woman could try out for a wrestling team and face off against men competitively, then she could be a team member.
The problems here were immediately obvious. Many schools required their male wrestlers to forfeit to women when they came up against them in tournaments. In some cases, religious groups or parents would demand this of boys, even if their schools did not. There was a scandal in 1996 when the Texas Wrestling Officials Association decided they would disband entirely rather than officiate coed matches. No serious athletes, male or female, wanted this contention to detract from their sport.
The obvious conclusion was for schools at the high school and college level to have women’s wrestling programs, but many schools did not think there would be sufficient support or interest in female combat. California, Hawaii, and Texas led the way to proving otherwise in the 1990s. The decade started with only a few dozen girls wrestling at the high school level; by the turn of the millennium, Hawaii, Michigan, and Texas had State Championships for high school female wrestlers, and California had countless all-girl squads. Washington soon joined their ranks. Almost 5,000 girls are now wrestling at the high school level, and there are 21 varsity wrestling programs in North American colleges, most of which offer scholarships for their female wrestlers.
Female Combat around the World Today
Starting in 1987, there were World Championships for women’s wrestling; and, as of 2004, the sport was included in the Olympic Games with four weight classes invited to Athens. Wrestlers from 54 nations attended, 21 of which qualified. The first medal ever awarded in women’s wrestling at the Olympics went to an American--Patricia Miranda.
As female combat gains popularity competitively, women’s professional wrestling is really changing. Steel Kittens offers the best in professional women’s wrestling, combining the amazing athleticism of today’s best female combatants with the exciting showmanship that makes professional wrestling great entertainment as well as an exciting and challenging sport.
Check these three Vintage Classic Womens Wrestling videos below
"Vintage Professional Ladies Wrestling Circa 1950‘s – 1960’s VA-50-21"
8 Vintage Professional Ladies Wrestling Matches
Vintage Professional Ladies Wrestling Circa 1950‘s – 1960’s
From our Private Collection, Steel Kittens brings you Vintage Professional Ladies Wrestling Circa 1950’s – 1960’s. From Syndicated Pro matches, to Big Time Hollywood Wrestlers. Classic Lady Wrestlers like Nell Stewart, Ruth Waters, Rita Martinez, Ella Waldeck and more. Footage carefully digitized from 16mm footage, some with audio, some with sound overlay. A super addition for any collector.
"Vintage Women’s Professional Wrestling VA-70-23"
1. Cora Combs vs. Lorraine Johnson
Syndicated Professional Women’s Wrestling
2. Down to Earth Fights: Nell vs. Betty and Judy vs. Ruth
3. Ella Waldeck vs. Jane Mull
Syndicated Professional Women’s Wrestling
4. Heavyweight Heaving: Blonde vs. Brunette, Circa 1950’s
5. Big Time Hollywood Wrestlers #4, Civic Auditorium Circa 1950’s
6. Susan vs. Molly Circa 1960’s
7. World’s Championship Women’s Wrestling Contest Clara Mortensen vs. Rita Martinez Circa 1950’s
8. Nell Stewart & Betty Hawkins vs. Jody Clover & Ruth Waters, Circa 1950’s
Match #1 - Penelope Paradise vs. Malia Hosaka
Match #2 - Baby Face Nellie vs. Jackie Moore
Match #3 - Sandy Partlow vs. Candi Devine
Match #4 - Penny Mitchell vs. Velvet McIntyre
Match #5 - Lisa Starr vs. “Awesome” Ondi Austin
Match #6 - Bambi vs. Peggy Lee Leather
Vintage Women’s Professional Wrestling from the late 80’s and early 90’s
Get ringside with the Super Stars of Vintage Professional Women’s Wrestling! See Penelope Paradise, Malia, Candi Devine, Jackie Moore, Lisa Starr, Peggy Lee Leather and more, in Pro Girl Matches! Serious Pro Wrestling, Serious Action! 6 Girl Matches!
"Vintage 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's - VA-50-3"
1. Early Dawn Vs Marie LaVerne
2. Debbie Combs & Mike Hubert Vs Kay Roberts & Roger Kirby (Mixed Tag)
3. Velvet McIntyre & Bob Brown Vs LeLani Kai & John King (Mixed Tag)
4. LeLani Kai & Woody Wilson Vs Penny Mitchell & Angelo Moska Jr. (Mixed Tag)
5. Sheri Lynn Vs Debbie Combs
6. Joyce Grable Vs Jill Fontaine
7. Peggy Lee Leather Vs Shirley Black
8. Wendy Richter Vs Judy Martin (Title Match)
9. Magnificent Mimi Vs Shirley Black
10. Magnificent Mimi Vs Candi Devine
11. Magnificent Mimi & Wendy Richter
Vs Madusa Miceli & Lovely Sylvia
12. Jane O’Brien (Blonde) Vs War Star in “Shooting Match”
13. Marie LaVerne Vs Betty Nicolli (Short Hair) (Silent)
14. Vivian Vachon Vs Mars Monroe (Silent)
15. Vivian Vachon Vs P. Drake (Silent)
16. Donna Christanello (Yellow Suit) Vs Kitty Adams (Silent)
17. Joyce Grable (White Suit) Vs Dottie Downs (Silent)
3 Mixed Wrestling Tag Teams & 15 Pro Girl Matches | Classic Professional Women's Wrestling
This classic professional women's wrestling collection includes matches from the Chase in St. Louis and also from the Chicago Amphitheater. Rare film footage from the 60s along with a few 70s & 80s matches thrown in featuring Magnificent Mimi, Wendi Richter, and Candi Devine--amongst others. You’ll see the change of styles in a twenty year span as the girls develop their brawling style.
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