I was that child that was very naïve when an adult would tell me wrestling was “fake.” Looking back at it now, they were an idiot as much as I was not wanting to accept the truth.
When I was a youngster, I would go to wrestling show and experience them actually chopping each other in the chest, which always confused me on why people called it fake. Well here’s a dose of reality to those who call it real and those who call fake: it’s scripted. Everything is predetermined and they plan the high spots on what they want to do in the ring. However, most of bump and falls are real.
In the basics of wrestling, wrestlers have to learn how to bump safely and how to do everything properly because if they don’t, well that’s how injuries happen. Most beginners who go through this training by the first week are already bruised up and have back burns from the ring ropes.
Professional wrestling is a live performance. They don’t have stunt doubles to take their bumps through a table. Pro wrestlers aren’t there to hurt each other either. They put their body through hell for the entertain of the fans.
Seth Rollins, current WWE Intercontinental Champion, said, “You can be the smartest guy in the world and not understand what it is to have a presence on stage.” With the wrestling, comes the character. I feel like the only wrestler that I can think of that executes his wrestling persona very well, but is so nice in real life is Cody Rhodes.
Cody Rhodes can make everyone hate him with his persona. Hell, I can admit that he makes me dislike him when he’s in the ring. However, outside the ring, he’s the nicest person I have ever met. I’ve met him twice and both times he’s been nothing, but genuine. So when people say, “Why are you hating this person if they’re only playing a character. It’s not real.” Reason being is because they’re doing their job damn well.
Becoming a wrestler and doing it safely is such a big part of wrestling. I’ll give an example of this move called the “Tombstone Piledriver.” Opponent A who’s doing the move on Opponent B has to pick him up and has to flip Opponent B upside down to where Opponent B’s head is “supposed to” hit the canvas. Now to make things clear, Opponent B’s head has to be slightly above the knees or they will have an accident like the one that happened with Stone Cold vs Owen Hart at Summerslam of 1997.
Owen Hart is a great wrestler, however in this incident, he grabbed Stone Cold to do the “Tombstone Piledriver” out of nowhere and Stone Cold’s head was below the knee therefore getting him almost paralyzed and causing his to have neck surgery. Stone Cold, after the incident, had many neck issues and was a cause of why he retired from in-ring competition.
There’s a reason why some of the punches to the head look “fake.” The performer’s job is not to hurt their competitor, but to keep them safe from any harm. Chris Benoit always comes to mind when it comes to that issue.
He took many incidents to the head that after he committed suicide, a doctor did research on his brain. The result came out to him having the brain of a “85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient” according to the Sports Legacy Institute. Since then, WWE has strict about strikes to head.
Professional wrestling is not UFC or MMA, even though some come from that background. It’s an art that is “very complex and underappreciated” as Seth Rollins mentioned. It takes to time to understand the psychology in pro wrestling. Once a person gets that down, they can enjoy the classic magic that happens in the ring.