Is Gorgeous George ready for prime time?

Are female fights ready for prime time? We’ll soon find out. HBO has obtained rare footage of a strip wrestling bout between famed wrestling superstar Gorgeous George and his younger opponent. Known as The Legend, Gorgeous George wrestled for the WWF from 1979 to 1986. Now in his 80s, he can still still teach younger wrestlers a thing or two. You can watch the video above, in which Gorgeous George is introduced and dives straight into the ring, or the edited, bare-knuckle match below. For those curious to find out what It was like to wrestle Gorgeous George, here’s a bit of background.

Our writer is familiar with Gorgeous George through a video of him showing viewers the ferocious spot in his forehead where he had nearly given a guy his head in a match. True enough, at some point in his career he was banned from the WWF for his temper tantrums. But the only way to truly understand Gorgeous George, which is to see what he looks like in the flesh, was to try to get him to talk. The first time he did, I revealed to him that I was a cancer survivor. “Good luck,” he replied. Of course, being a pro wrestler, he would probably never admit to having cancer.

In the strip wrestling video, Gorgeous George and his opponent are at each other for a few minutes before things get intense. Very intense. By the end of the four-minute, 15-second clip, the battle is on its last two feet. There is some aggression, and a lot of thrown punches and boots. Gorgeous George disappears down the stairs. And his opponent reemerges. If they came back for more, we’d surely be glued to the camera.

The Legend — as close to a legend as you’ll find in professional wrestling — returns the favor, giving Gorgeous George a pre-match favor. A seven-inch scar erupts from his forehead, where he suffered the most serious head injury of his career. The sketchy origin of this scar has made it a legend in its own right. But two dozen years ago, a woman in Maryland appeared in the ring and told Gorgeous George about the scar. So he had it lasered.

It can be difficult to reconcile the haute couture of professional wrestling with a dangerous man-on-man combat technique. But the legend, on the verge of a full recovery, isn’t worried about how the scar looks. “I still haven’t gotten that picture,” he says. But then he asks me to glance at it, and we all turn to stare at it. He has every reason to be proud of the scar.

Watch the ugly footage here.

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