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The Pillow Fight League: A Brief, Strange History

It came and went seemingly in a flash—from 2006 and 2011, the Pillow Fight League (PFL) surged through North America. It was something like professional wrestling with pillows. Entirely consisting of women wrestlers, personalities like Olivia Neutron-Bomb and then-PFL world champion Champain got into the ring and started striking their opponents into submission with king size pillows.

Do we detect a flicker of puzzlement? See for yourself, then:

Image credit: Indiegogo

These pillow fights were no joke—injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to concussions and bruised kidneys. You can bet some of these athletes woke up with pillow neck pain.

The First Rule of Pillow Fights: There are Actual Rules

Led by a commissioner and head judge, the organizers, referees followed clear rules and definitions for victory. No custom pillows were allowed. Announcers commentated on the pillow fighting melees unfolding in the ring. So yes, this was very real.

Image credit: Karen Ho

The PFL flourished for half a decade. 66 pillow fight events were held and it caught media attention. Neil Janowitz of ESPN characterized it as such in 2007:

“I had the good fortune and general worldly awareness to attend the second night's festivities, and what I saw on Saturday was arguably the biggest, rowdiest, most thrilling pillow-fighting league event to ever take place. It may have been a glimpse of the future of sports, as well.”

Alas, the PFL would fizzle out. An effort to revive it via Indiegogo crowdfunding in 2015 didn’t materialize into substantial support with only 16 backing the attempted revival. These pillow fights went to sleep in a manner of speaking. Don’t be sad that it ended, but rather remember all the faces that got smacked in the face by pillows along the way.

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