In 1988, photographer Peter Byrne spent three months documenting pro wrestling events in the north of England. Jordan G. Teicher elaborates:
While Byrne’s black-and-white photos focus on a sport that was choreographed, they show a simpler time in professional wrestling, one without any of the “razzmatazz and money of WWE,” but with plenty of drama, usually focused around a “good guy” and a “bad guy.” Back then, Byrne said, some wrestlers – like Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, and Kendo Nagasaki – were household names. Many of the spectators at the matches were “hard-core fans,” he said, while others were just working-class people looking for “a cheap night out.” “Watching these guys slug it out was thoroughly entertaining fun. On the flip side, there were some extremely fit and agile wrestlers who could perform some amazing moves whilst appearing to glide around the canvas like ballet dancers,” he said.
See more of Byrne’s work here.