This may come to a shock to you all and I hate to be the one to break it to you: Wrestling is fake. Your mind is probably reeling from this revelation, I know. I know you’ll recover, though, because I eventually did when I figured it out when I was around 8 years old. Besides, it doesn’t really matter if it’s “fake” or “predetermined” or whatnot. Pro wrestling is still super entertaining even if the illusion has been broken.
Then again, there have been multiple times when the world of pro wrestling have already hinted at this. I can, off the top of my head, think of a few instances, like there being wrestlers who have other jobs like Irwin R. Shyster (a tax collector), Bob “Spark Plug” Holly (a race car driver), The Big Boss Man (a prison guard), Duke “The Dumpster” Drose (a garbageman) and Repo Man (a repo man, which makes me wonder why I’m explaining it when it’s in the name).
However, those gimmicks are a little less obvious because it is possible for a person to hold several jobs at once. It may not make sense why he or she would want to choose pro wrestling as a second job but it’s still a long shot for it to happen. Even so, there are still many more ways the world of professional wrestling has made it plain to see how it’s just “sports entertainment” and not to be taken too seriously. Besides, if it’s fun, it doesn’t matter if we know it’s all fake, right?
So, with that in mind, here are just five ways professional wrestling blatantly displayed how it’s all fake… but fans still ate it up because of how stupidly fun it all was.
#1 Using hypnosis or other mystical powers
“He’s using hypnosis!”
I’m lumping these two together as they both have the same level of “suspend your disbelief or it won’t work” kind of thing. Obviously, hypnosis is, at the very least, a little bit real as it can be used for things like therapy and all of that. However, that usually takes a long time and multiple sessions. In the world of professional wrestling, hypnosis happens almost instantaneously. Like in the clip above, it can happen with a simple waving of the hands or, in the case of the WWE, have someone like Alexa Bliss completely mind control someone just by looking at them in the eyes.
Now, I’m not poo-pooing on the idea of the supernatural. I believe there is some room for possibility how mystical powers can be real. What I do question is how professional wrestlers can channel this ability to interact with these forces and simply use them for their wrestling matches. What’s doubly odd is how it seems so… normal at times. There’s the Undertaker summoning lightning from his fingertips. There’s Kane commanding flames to erupt from the ringposts. These are obviously special effects but, sometimes, it can get a little ridiculous, such as when the Ultimate Warrior could trick Hulk Hogan (and the audience and the commentators) into seeing him but the people around Hulk Hogan couldn’t.
As wrestling fans, even though we know how fake it all is, we still eat it up and choose to believe it’s all real because it’s still fun. It’s ridiculously unbelievable but we still eat it up because of how silly and, more importantly, fun it all is.
#2 Having kids beat up trained professional wrestlers
Do you know, in the WWE’s record books, there’s actually a note that says a 10-year old boy named Nicholas who won the Tag Team Championship at Wrestlemania 34? It’s true! It’s goddamn true!
Sure, it’s a nice moment and, to be fair, Nicholas didn’t really do anything during when he was “picked out of the crowd randomly” by Braun Strowman. It was Braun Strowman who did all of the heavy lifting. Come to think of it, it was the Monster Among Men who did all of the lifting of any kind! Nicholas was just there for the ride! So, yeah, if you really think about it, although it not anywhere near the vicinity of plausible, having a 10-year old become tag team champion is possible… as long as he had someone as big as Braun Strowman as his partner.
It doesn’t explain how kids in Japan can have a competitive match against someone of the caliber of Kenny Omega, though.
Yes, this actually happened way back when while Kenny Omega wasn’t a big name in the West… but he was a huge deal in Japan! He was tapped to wrestle a 9-year old girl named Haruka for a one-off comedy match. There’s actually a touching story regarding how all of this came about. Basically, the girl wanted to be a professional wrestler but she couldn’t be cause, well, she was 9-years old. As a consolation, they did put her in a match with one of the nicest (and safest) wrestlers, Kenny Omega. Cute story but how the heck could you explain how she managed to wrestle Kenny Omega, a future pro wrestling champion and grown ass man to a time limit draw?
The explanation is really easy, actually. Pro wrestling is fake! However, it’s because it’s fake we get nice little matches like this.
#3 Competitive matches involving inflatable dolls
Have you heard of a Japanese wrestler named Yoshihiko? I’m guessing most people from the West haven’t as he only made a quick stint in the United States. He has a very long lived career, starting out in 2005. I guess his longevity in the ring can be attributed to him not really competing on a steady basis, which is really good because most of his matches he’s been in would look like he would be put in a lot of pain.
It also helps Yoshihiko’s an inflatable doll.
There’s actually an old saying that goes something like a great wrestler can have a match against a broom and it would still be entertaining. Well, Yoshihiko isn’ a broom but close enough! Obviously, it’s Yoshihiko’s competitor actually doing most of the moves but it’s not exactly a one-man show. That’s because, for some moves, Yoshihiko has a handler who pops into the ring and manipulates the doll at times, such as chucking them into the outside, simulating a suicide dive. We can all see the guy but we all pretend he’s not there to maintain the illusion.
Once again, fans know Yoshihiko is basically a non-living entity who can’t move by himself. However, we see what’s happening and just get entertained by the ridiculousness and also marvel at the guy in the ring who’s essentially doing the moves on himself for our entertainment.
#4 Invisible wrestlers
The previous couple of entries are all cases from the Land of the Rising Sun. You could argue, besides the West’s obsession with inserting magic into their wrestling, they take their pro wrestling serious and wouldn’t add something as silly as wrestling an inflatable doll. You’d be right… because they thought of something even more silly: invisible wrestlers!
It’s one thing to have a pro wrestler face off a 9-year old girl and an inflatable doll in a competitive match. It’s a whole other ballgame when you have two invisible wrestlers in the ring facing off in a blood feud, with the action spilling into the crowd. The match got so heated that the action even took out a section of the audience when they both tumbled from the balcony area and into the ringside seats! Now that’s a match you just had to see… but couldn’t because they’re invisible!
Of course we, as well as the live crowd watching, know nothing was really there but we just used our collective imagination and, credit to the people who put this match together, understood and trusted the fans to make believe it was all really happening. I can’t even say the match was fake because there wasn’t a match to speak of. However, it did happen and we love it.
#5 Cinematic wrestling matches
Even if you knew wrestling was fake, “cinematic” wrestling matches takes the concept of “predetermined” to a whole other level!
The concept of the “cinematic” match may seem like a new thing but, in actuality, companies like the WWE have dabbled with the idea much earlier. There was the Hollywood Backlot Brawl at Wrestlemania 12 and even the Halftime Heat match during one Superbowl. However, things really exploded when Matt and Jeff Hardy did The Final Deletion at TNA.
This was a truly bonkers experience with things like sentient drones flashing holograms, a motorcycle chase in a field, a violin solo, wrestlers firing fireworks at each other, wrestlers transforming from one gimmick to another and so on. The Final Deletion seemed to be the antithesis of professional wrestling as they just threw everything into it and, against all the odds, it worked! The Final Deletion was a huge hit with wrestling fans! That’s because it and a lot of “cinematic” wrestling matches manages to both go against wrestling kayfabe but still reveres its long history. It’s like a little inside joke for longtime wrestling fans who have been watching it for years and get the references.
You could say “cinematic” matches was just a fad because we don’t get them that often anymore. It’s not like I want it to be a staple but wrestling fans such as myself enjoy these kinds of matches because, while it’s obviously scripted and taped ahead of time, they’re just a hoot and a half!
BONUS: Fictional characters interacting with “real” wrestlers
Forgive me… but isn’t Robocop a made up character from a movie? What’s he doing with Sting?
It’s one thing to have celebrities like Johnny Knoxville and Drew Carrey prarticipate in the Royal Rumble, have Donald Trump hire Bobby Lashley against Vince McMahon in a hair vs. hair match or getting Jeremy Piven or Hugh Jackman interfere in a match. Heck, even Snooki in a Wrestlemania match makes sense because they’re real people. Fictional people like Robocop, however, doesn’t make sense! This is the ultimate when it comes to breaking kayfabe. You can’t make me believe a fictional character like Robocop is a real person and actually go and help Sting against the bad guys!
The really weird thing is there was actually a period in the WWE where they would do this regularly. They would get fictional characters like the Three Stooges appear backstage which just felt really weird. Some were a little bit funny like when Sheamus told Beaker from the Muppets he won’t be able to make the family reunion that year.
Otherwise, it’s usually a mess whenever the WWE or another wrestling promotion would introduce fictional characters. That’s why this is a bonus entry. It breaks kayfabe and it rarely works.
What are other cases of pro wrestling breaking kayfabe you enjoy? Let me know in the comments section below!