Catch As Catch Can Wrestling - Snakepit Wigan


‘Catch as Catch Can’ or ‘Catch Wrestling’ is an art-form and a sport which evolved over many centuries and preserved by Lancashire miners. Probably the most famous coach of all time was Billy Riley who founded the Snakepit in 1948, eventually his students would make a name for the art around the world, for many decades.  The Snake Pit has been known as the home of Catch as Catch Can.

Catch is suitable for men and women, young and old. Whilst practising Catch wrestling develops amazing fitness and strength the moves are based on a combination of clever use of leverage, angles, and psychology.  It is a great way to improve self-defence.

Catch matches are won through pinning or submitting the opponent meaning the art contains throws, takedowns, joint locks and many methods for controlling an opponent’s structure.  It means you can pressure test the moves against a fully resisting opponent with minimal risk of injury, which means you can have faith that each move you learn works as they have been used successfully countless times before.

The best way to get ready to develop the right fitness for Catch wrestling is to come along and start.

Catch Rules – Catch matches are won by pin or submission


The aim of Catch wrestling is to gain control over your opponent in order to:
Put their opponent on their back – to pin them. This is with any part of both shoulders or both shoulder blades of your opponent in contact with the mat at the same time. When the opponent is pinned, a win will instantly be given by the referee. Please note that it is irrelevant if you were going for a submission at the time, the rule is to remain on your back at all times.


To force your opponent to submit. A submission is when force is used through a legitimate technique in a controlled way, causing pain for that opponent that he wishes to concede. It is for the wrestler to tap or to shout tap and the match will immediately be terminated.
On signal from the referee to confirm the pin or submission, the wrestlers must immediately release the hold. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Any serious breach of rules will result in instant disqualification.



In the event of no pin or submission, the referee will make a decision based on who has been a more dominant wrestler throughout the match.

Legal & Illegal Techniques

Legal Techniques

Illegal Techniques


  1. Pre match requirements:

Wrestlers will be asked to wear a band to identify their corner colour.


Wrestlers must be warmed up and ready for their match. Once their name has been called, they will have a 1-minute window to come to the mat. It is their responsibility to be ready and failing to do so will lead to immediate disqualification.


Information regarding when you are wrestling will be available from the pairing table.


Historically, there were no set guidelines regarding time scales. Matches would go on until one of the wrestlers won with a pin or a submission. We have had to put time restrictions on the matches for co events to ensure that they runs smoothly.
Once all entries are received duration of matches are confirmed.
Once the match commences, there will be no break or rest periods (except in the case of injury time or where the referee may call time to address an issue).
The Wrestlers are not permitted to ingest any fluid or food during the duration of the match.


The referee or medical representative has the right to call injury time as and when they feel appropriate.
Dependent on the injury, this can lead to a decision to terminate the bout. For example, in the case of excessive bleeding that cannot be stopped within a reasonable timescale, the match can be terminated by the referee.


The matches take place on safe, approved mats.
If during the match, either wrestler leaves the wrestling area in a position of disadvantage, the referee will stop the match and bring both wrestlers to the centre of the mat. The match will be restarted with the losing wrestler in either a kneeling position or a stomach position or in the position that the wrestler was in when the match was stopped. The bout will then be restarted from the central position of the mat in those positions. If neither wrestler was in a clear dominant position when the bout was stopped, both wrestlers are brought to the centre of the mat and restarted in the standing position.

More About Catch Wrestling