Monday, 5 January 2015

Why Wrestling Isn't Fake



adjective: fake

not genuine; imitation or counterfeit. 

“She got on the plane with a fake passport"

by Bunmi Hazzan

So let's get the obvious out the way first. It's staged, it's theatrical, scripted and outcomes are predetermined. Wrestling is a lot of things,  but ‘fake’ is not one of them.

Fake is something that pretends to be something else. In wrestling there exists a concept called Kayfabe (like the 4th wall for those familiar with theatre). The general idea is that a wrestler maintains a character at all times in order to make the story they're involved with believable.

Sound familiar? It should; politicians do this all the time. Way back in the olden days, breaking Kayfabe was a very serious offense. Wrestlers could find themselves in a lot of trouble with promoters, maybe even lose bookings. Back then, they absolutely were trying trick the audience. These days (at least the last 20 years) Kayfabe still exists, but for the sole purpose of telling a story. Wrestlers aren't required to act as their characters when doing interviews outside the company. Sound familiar? It should; actors do this all the time.

“Theatre, movies, politicians, they're all make believe as well.”

Yes, they are. But think about the last time someone was talking about a film they saw, and you felt the need to ask them “You do know it's fake, right?”

The movie fan, just like the theatre-goer, book reader, and wrestling fan, knows from the beginning that he or she is being told a story; no one is really trying to fool anybody. In fact, you can very easily find shoot (unscripted, out of character) interviews on official promoter's websites. There is no trickery here, wrestling is what it is:  it's entertainment -- a soap opera set in a wrestling ring. It's not pretending to be anything else, therefore, it is not fake.

Now, allow me to debunk a few myths:
  1. Wrestlers do actually hit each other. 
  2. Blood is, the majority of the time, actual blood. 
  3. Even when everything goes to plan, injuries can still happen.
Most wrestlers spend many years training. Although action inside the ring is staged, outside the ring, what they do is all them. When a wrestler gets booed, they're booing his/her years of practice, tryouts, speech training, writing, creativity. Which is fine, when said wrestler is deliberately trying get heat (angry crowd reaction). But when they're not, that could get you right in the feels (could hurt ones feelings, that's not wrestling jargon, just Internet slang). What they say, how they perform, and how the crowd responds, they are as real as anything.

Championships aren’t won, like say in a boxing match, but neither are they given to just anyone. Championships are awarded, as in wrestlers earn the title by how they perform, their work ethic, and crowd reaction, among other considerations. In other words, no matter what it seems like, it's a highly competitive industry. The final product you see is the result of passion, desire, sleeping in their car because all their money was spent on lessons, blood, sweat, mistakes, failure, repeat, learn, improve, never give up. 

To call that fake is an insult.

BH the Uncivilised, some call me Bunmi Hazzan, but a time traveller has many names. I've existed for over 10,000 years and lived over 9000 lives. Travelling through time, space and multiple dimensions and writing about my experiences and observations. Or, in other words, I analyse art, and create art. The driving license I hold in this realm claims I have residence in London, England. The truth is I spend most of my time in upper regions of my cerebral cortex. I am, that poet.

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