Thursday, April 14, 2016

Clean Fight

Keith Haward vs Chic Cullen, 5 March 1984 (Joint Promotions)

I can't resist writing a few words about this sweet little UK match from decades ago, with two young gentlemen competing in gentlemanly style, though not so gently as to prevent the twin injuries that end the fight in a draw. As disappointing as the outcome is, there are tight spots along the way as Keith Haward (5'8", 163#) in slate blue trunks goes after Chic Cullen (5'10", 209#) in the red singlet. To my eyes, some of these moves appear prim and peculiarly refined, even while hinting at public-school sadism. There's just something a little testy and curt about their execution. If wrestling moves were trousers, these Brits would have the straightest, sharpest creases at the East India Club. Nevertheless, sweaty Haward could channel Maggie fuckin Smith and still be a hunk.


  1. I used to watch all of these matches on World of Sport, 4pm on a Saturday afternoon before the soccer results in the UK. It was always exciting to read in the listings who was going to be on and Keith 'Hurricane' Haward was a favourite. Looking back I have to say that some of the studs were a good deal less handsome than I imagined them at the time. Although to be fair my impression of them was influenced by Kent Walton's preoccupation with describing how handsome the latest new face was.

    But the one thing you have missed Joe is how the well-laundered audience were. Who now wears suit and tie to go and watch the wrestling?


    1. Good point, Sid. We see dresses and suits at US matches in the 1960s and before, but by the 1980s, when this UK match occurred, many fans still put on their Sunday best to watch pro wrestling. I remember wearing my Sunday clothes to fly on an airplane in the early 1960s, but by the end of the decade, casual ... or less ... was the norm. I don't miss neckties, but I do miss the spirit of showing respect for even a small occasion by dressing up for it.



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