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In 1848, French showman, Jean Exbroyat formed the first modern wrestlers’ circus troupe and established a rule not to execute holds below the waist — a style he named "flat hand wrestling".
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.
Since the mid 2000s, there has been another decline in popularity of professional wrestling; Pro Wrestling Noah's Power Hour and New Japan Pro Wrestling's World Pro Wrestling have been largely relegated to the midnight hours by their broadcasters and WWE's television programs have seen all-time low ratings.
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.
The nature of professional wrestling was changed dramatically to better fit television, enhancing character traits and storylines.
But, from the late 19th century onwards, a sub-section of catch wrestling changed slowly into the choreographed sport entertainment now known as "professional wrestling", recognized as much for its theatrical antics and entertainment as wrestling ability.
At the turn of the 20th century, wrestling was introduced to the public as part of a variety act to spice up the limited action involved in the bodybuilder strongman attractions.