Is Professional Wrestling Fake?
Professional Wrestling has been one of the oldest forms of sports in the world, originating in the 19th century. It is one of those fantasy lands that have sparked innumerable debates between its fans and well, non-fans. With the death of kayfabe, the most commonly used points by any non-fan are-“Wrestling is Fake, that’s not real blood; it is ketchup, he did not even hit him”.. and blah blah..”. It is an art that needs to be mastered like any other artistic activity. Well, the people who understand the sport respect it and watch it for entertainment. And for those who don’t, I am going to try to explain (with true facts, mind you) that there is a very THICK line between ‘fake’ and ‘scripted’.
It requires legitimate talent to perform live in front of thousands of people in an arena or a stadium and millions of people watching at their homes. As they say, wrestlers are highly trained professionals that have spent years of their lives honing their craft to achieve perfection. It is not everyone’s piece of cake, however. Many athletes do not even complete their training. It takes immense determination and a real passion to pass through the rigorous training involved.
No kidding here, the professional wrestling training is considered one of the most grueling in the world of sports. It involves taking lots of painful bumps and falls in the ring as well as the hard surfaces to make the body compatible. The workout schedules are drilling. Injuries are a commonplace and the trainees are expected to toughen up to cope with them. Professional Wrestlers are considered to be among the toughest sportsmen.
The Sports Entertainment
Pro wrestlers not just have to wrestle (That’s pretty obvious though), they also got to take care of the entertainment aspect of this industry. This industry preaches glamour. Pro Wrestling is a performance art that combines athletics with theatrical exhibition. It is a mixture of sports and Show-Business. The wrestlers have to portray unique characters (‘Gimmick’) that may or may not match with their personalities. Some wrestlers have creative control over their character, some don’t (It is determined by the contract). That’s the reason some wrestlers seem completely badass while some are relegated to petty comedy acts.
To actually thrive in this business, the wrestlers got to have the talent to talk (‘Cutting Promos’). They have to act according to their gimmick to establish themselves as big draws for the good of their employer as well as for themselves. The ability to woo the audience and making them buy into the gimmick and its surrounding story is achieved by cutting promos that seem real. The wrestlers have to perform in such a way that their actions convey a story and get people invested in them and the show altogether. There is a strong chance of being successful if you are an all-round performer. It is a pretty unforgiving industry to say the least.
The Scripted Curse
There is a fundamental difference between fake and scripted. For instance, if you are booked to lose after eating a kick to your face and you lose exactly like that, that is scripted. But that does not mean that the kick to your face is fake. The moves that the wrestlers do are not fake, these are just done in such a manner that they inflict minimum damage so they don’t die while doing their job. Simple.
Some moves involve falling down on various parts of your body like head or back. While the gravity is still intact, it would always hurt falling down on something. The surface of the ring consists of a thin sheet of padding that is generally cut into four pieces, then several canvases for the top of the mat. It is not like a soft cushion but it still does protect the performers from serious damage as it is slightly springy. The turnbuckles in the corner are padded that are further supported by a steel bar at the outside on each corner. The ladders stairs and chairs are real and the shots that the wrestlers take are real too. The shots to the head were a common sight in the attitude era but they have been banned for good nowadays. These shots lead to various head traumas and concussions.
Injuries still occur due to the nature of the sport. Calling the sport fake is a huge disrespect to the hard-work put in by the wrestlers. It is pre-determined, obviously, in the sense that wins and losses are already booked. But, it is done in order to carry forward the stories happening in the program.
The wrestlers are genuine athletes and fighters. They come in different shapes and sizes. There are people ranging from normal heights to giants that go over 7 Feet. There are heavyweights and lightweights. Mostly in any wrestling program, only top class performers are showcased. From jobbers to the main-event level, each man or woman does is at the top of their game.
Professional Wrestling is different from amateur wrestling in many ways. The main reason is that there is no fixed fighting style. There are wrestlers with a wide array of styles. There are some who fight in typical mat-style wrestling while others include Muay-Thai, Mixed Martial Arts, Karate, Boxing, Kickboxing, Lucha Libre, etc. There are so many different combinations of matches that can be booked by the availability of this variety of talent. That makes this sport really exciting.
The moves require expertise for execution for two reasons. Firstly, the moves should look beautiful and devastating. Secondly, the guys (or gals) have to protect each other from serious injuries or even a fatal accident. Some moves have low risk but there some in which a single mistake from either of the wrestlers can put the other one in danger. The aerial moves command precision and discipline as they are the most high-risk maneuvers. The strong style of wrestling is prevalent in Japan. They use legitimately stiff kicks and punches to knock each other out. The beauty of wrestling lies in its technicality. I personally started to respect the sport even more after I found about its inner workings.
The performers have to follow a grinding traveling schedule. Wrestling shows are held in many different cities in many parts of the world. To expand the reach of the product, wrestling promotions organize live events in addition to the regular programming. This equals loads of work for the entire workforce associated with a promotion.
The wrestlers do not just work on the TV tapings that most of us could assume. They are on the road for almost 3-4 night in a week. That means they are performing in different cities each day. Their work as you already know is not paper-work, they are literally bouncing their bodies around. This schedule takes a massive physical toll on their bodies.
As we have seen thus far, pro wrestling is not fake by any means. It is an entertainment insustry that relies on doing stunts without retakes for its fans. But I wanna know from you guys, What perception do you have about this sport? I will be looking forward to you comments and have healthy feedback. Untill then, stay safe and DONT TRY THIS AT HOME.