How Real Is Wrestling And What Is Kayfabe?

21 December 2021

There are a lot of aspects of professional wrestling that are more genuine than may be assumed, considering the widely held belief that wrestling is fake. 

Some elements of wrestling are theatrical and are exaggerated for entertainment purposes, but the industry is more in-depth than it appears to be. 

What Exactly Is Professional Wrestling?

Professional wrestling was inspired by old wrestling practices that can be traced back to ancient Rome. There are different types of wrestling, but professional wrestling is its own type of sport mixed with performances. 

Professional wrestling consists of all types of stunt work, gymnastics, and acrobatics, as well as showmanship, strength, and props or weapons occasionally. 

It is not the same as wrestling often seen done in schools, where the objective is to pin someone to the ground. While this happens in professional wrestling, it is also about putting on a show and performing incredible bouts of strength and acrobatics. 

Why Did Wrestling Become Theatrical?

Watching two people fight can get monotonous quickly, so something had to change in order to keep audiences captivated. Adding storylines to help wrestlers establish rivalries or alliances, as well as help establish some humanity behind each wrestler, helped keep audiences interested. 

Furthermore, making fights more dramatic, even comical sometimes, and having commentary, for example, all help people want to tune in and look forward to the next match. As with most professional sports, the more people watch, the more the industry makes money to be able to continue. 

As much of what is theatrical in professional wrestling may not happen organically, some of it has to be guided with scripts and brainstorming beforehand. 

How Seriously Does The Professional Wrestling Industry Take These Theatrics?

A lot of money, time, and energy goes into the filler content that you see make up a professional wrestling broadcast. There is also money, energy, and time that goes into professional wrestling behind the scenes to ensure the final product is one that people enjoy. 

Wrestling matches are also held in front of a live audience, so the particulars that go into putting on a show for viewers at home also have to be adapted to be just as entertaining for fans who are in the stands. 

There is even a term for the requirements that professional wrestlers must meet to keep up the theatrics, including creating the illusion that there are rivalries and conflict and much more. 

What Is Kayfabe?

Kayfabe is the term used in the wrestling industry that describes the need to keep any sort of scripts, stunts, match results, or behind-the-scenes intel kept secret, and the need to keep appearances in public when it comes to this stuff. For example, you shouldn’t be found to be best friends with the wrestler who is supposed to be your rival. 

How Much Of An Illusion Is Wrestling?

The storylines and the rivalries that exist within wrestling used to be more moderate. Deciding the outcomes of a match was also done, which over time would change the way betting was done in wrestling. 

For a long time, it wasn’t acknowledged that anything about the competition was remotely staged or scripted. However, WWE, one of the most well-known wrestling federations, finally admitted that some aspects were planned. 

This, in turn, made many believe that nothing was really about wrestling, and the myth just lived on despite there still being some elements that were real. The WWE and other big wrestling leagues decided to just play into the facade, as people would continue to watch regardless. 

How Does This Mean Wrestling Isn’t Fake?

Saying that wrestling is not real would be the incorrect term. It would be better to consider professional wrestling a performance, to a certain extent. 

Wrestlers don’t have the privilege of professional editing and multiple takes in order to create a show for their audience. Therefore, a lot of their stunts, including jumps, lifts, and feats of strength are very real. They have to train and their performances require a lot of athleticism. 

As any wrestling fan knows, the risk of getting hurt, or worse, completing a wrestling match is also very real. A wrestler can only do so much to avoid getting injured while in the ring, despite there being protocols in place to try and negate that risk as much as possible. 

What Skills Does It Take To Become A Professional Wrestler?

Not just anyone can become a professional wrestler, which in and of itself diminishes the myth that wrestling is fake. If it were fake, then anyone who could act would be able to get into the wrestling industry. 

Wrestling requires someone to be fitness-oriented, as wrestling takes a lot of endurance, flexibility, as well as the ability to be able to perform stunts and feats of strength with ease. 

How Does The WWE Work?

Professional wrestlers are usually signed to perform on a particular show that is put on by WWE. They have multiple programs, including Wrestlemania, Smackdown, and WWE Raw. Some events they hold are not televised and are typically only viewed by a live audience. 

There are also championship matches and matches that are pay-per-view. Wrestlers will compete to defend or win a championship belt. There are different types of championships for both male and female wrestlers, as well as different titles to compete for, and tag team matches as well. 

There are a lot more intricacies that go into WWE matches, including the storylines that will usually give you a glimpse into the WWE behind the scenes, features interviews with the wrestlers, and show wrestlers interacting with each other outside of the ring. 

Is The WWE The Only Professional Wrestling Company?

WWE, formerly known as WWF, is one of the most known professional wrestling companies worldwide, but it is not the only one that exists. It is also not the only wrestling company that has a substantial following. 

There is the ROH, also known as the Ring Of Honor, the New Japan Pro Wrestling company, and the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre company, for example.