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The modern style of professional wrestling, popularized by the United States and United Kingdom during the late 19th century, is called the catch-as-catch can style.Originally thought of as unorthodox and more lax in style, catch wrestling differs from Greco-Roman in its allowed grapples; Greco-Roman strictly prohibits grabbing below the waist, while catch wrestling allows holds above and below the waist, including leg grips.

Wrestlers during the time recount it as largely faked by the 1880s.Amateur wrestler, Sir Atholl Oakley got together with fellow grappler Henry Irslinger to launch one of the first promotions to employ the new style of wrestling which was coined "All-in" wrestling.The great demand for wrestling meant there were not enough skilled amateurs to go around, and many promoters switched to more violent styles, with weapons and chairshots part of the proceedings.Wrestling as a modern sport developed in the 19th century out of traditions of folk wrestling, emerging in the form of two styles of regulated competitive sport, "freestyle" and "Greco-Roman" wrestling (based on British and continental tradition, respectively), summarized under the term "amateur wrestling" by the beginning of the modern Olympics in 1896. purely performative, choreographed wrestling ("admitted fakery" or "kayfabe") from competitive sport begins in the 1920s.Its popularity declined during World War II, but it was revived in the late 1940s to 1950s, the First Golden Age of professional wrestling in the United States, during which Gorgeous George gained mainstream popularity.This new style soon spread to the rest of Europe, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, Denmark and Russia under the names of Greco-Roman wrestling, Classic wrestling or French wrestling.

By the end of the 19th century, this modern "Greco-Roman" wrestling style went on to become the most fashionable sport in Europe, and in 1898 the Frenchman Paul Pons, “the Colossus” became the first Professional World Champion.

In Mexico and Japan, the 1940s-1950s was also a Golden Age for professional wrestling, with Santo becoming a Mexican folk hero, and Rikidōzan achieving similar fame in Japan.

There was a marked decline in public interest in the 1970s and early 1980s, but with the advent of cable television in the mid 1980s, there followed a Second Golden Age as the United States experienced a professional wrestling boom, with protagonists such as Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, and most notably Hulk Hogan.

Women wrestlers and mud-filled rings also became common place.

In the late 1930s, the London County Council banned professional wrestling, leaving the business in rough shape just before World War II.

The three were referred to as the "Gold Dust Trio" due to their financial success.