365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
Wrestling is so diverse and wide-ranging, and that’s a big part of the appeal for me. As someone who’s approaching his mid-40s, and has been watching wrestling or at least aware of it since 1987, it’s been exciting as part of this project to check out some of the wrestling I have missed through the years. For today’s entry, I definitely missed out, because I wasn’t even alive yet.
Without further ado, let’s dive into this match between Jim Breaks and Adrian Street from England on February 12, 1972.
This match is on YouTube and also embedded below:
This match is six five-minute rounds, for Breaks’ British Lightweight Title. This isn’t the project’s first foray into the concept of European rounds but the rules are slightly different for this one: the first wrestler to score two falls by pin or submission, or a single fall by knockout, will win the match.
Breaks was a longtime fixture on the British scene, and is best known today for his trademark submission–the Jim Breaks Special, a painful-looking hold that involves contorting the opponent’s arm in a way arms are not made to bend and then hoisting them into the air. Breaks is in his third reign as British champion, and also the European Lightweight Champion at the time of this bout. This one is taking place at a catchweight, however.
If you’re familiar at all with 1980s wrestling in the U.S., you probably know about Street. His Exotic One act is still in its early stages here, but it would propel him to opportunities to wrestle all around the world. He even recorded his own theme music:
In doing my research for this entry, I was surprised to see that Street debuted in 1957, when he was just 16 years old, as Kid Tarzan Jonathan.
The contrast between the two competitors is stark. The no-frills Breaks is in a pair of simple black boots and green trunks. Street, meanwhile, is resplendent — that’s right, resplendent — in a black robe with white and purple trim. The commentator describes Street as wearing “all mauve” for the match: trunks, boots, and even a hint in his hair. Street is also considerably leaner here than he is in any of his American matches from later years that I have seen.
He’s going to need to be as spry as possible going against Breaks. The ensuing match goes all six rounds and lasts nearly 30 minutes. There are very few strikes thrown and fewer traditional wrestling bumps. However, I remained engaged and entertained for the entirety of the match. The classic British style emphasizes hold-for-hold wrestling and submissions, and we get that in spades here. Eventually, each wrestler identifies a preferred target: Breaks zeroes in on Street’s left arm and hand, while Street focuses on the nose of Breaks.
Both wrestlers are acknowledged as “rule benders” by the commentator, but Street has more fan support. Breaks doesn’t help his own cause, yelling insults at Street both during the action and in the brief breaks between rounds. After submitting Street to the Breaks Special in the fifth round, Breaks taunts Street to pack it in if he can’t continue, eliciting loud jeers from a rather packed-looking crowd.
Breaks does some nasty grappling. He bends, twists, and wrenches the hand and wrist, each time producing a popping sound through a bit of sleight of hand. It looks and sounds gruesome.
While Breaks has the grappler reputation, Street holds up his end. One minute, he’s prancing around the ring. The next, he’s wrenching Breaks in a hold. All the grappling comes off as legitimate, nasty, and inspired by ill intent. The entire proceedings have a real sports feel. After being submitted in the fifth round, Street comes out and shows a ton of fire in the final round. The match ends in a well-fought draw after each man scores a single submission, and leaves me wanting more.
–To say the commentary on older British wrestling is different might be an understatement. I watched this one sans headphones for part of the match and my wife asked me if I was watching golf.
–Street busts out a sweet flying bodyscissors in the second round that would fit in just fine in the modern style of wrestling.
–Breaks, whose trademark submission is used by current wrestlers, was arrested in 2019 and facing homicide charges for the death of his girlfriend. The most recent update I can find is that Breaks was deemed unfit to stand trial and admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to senile dementia.
Final Rating: 7.5
The grappling, matwork, and submission battles would hold up in any modern promotion — though some slight tweaks to incorporate more strikes likely would be needed. You’ll see a different side of Street here, as this battle with Breaks provides a fine showcase for him to display his wrestling ability. This one comes highly recommended.
We take a look at some joshi action with a meeting between two of the top practitioners of that style.
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