When Did Wrestling Get Fake?By Coder| August 30, 2023 Wrestling In the world of professional wrestling, there has always been a debate about when exactly the sport began to incorporate scripted outcomes and predetermined winners. While many fans believe that wrestling has always been “fake,” the truth is that the transition from legitimate competition to entertainment spectacle happened gradually over time. The Early Days When professional wrestling first emerged in the late 19th century, it was primarily a legitimate sport. Matches were often contested under Greco-Roman or catch wrestling rules, and the outcomes were determined by genuine athletic competition. However, even in these early days, there were elements of showmanship and theatrics involved. John McMahon, one of the pioneers of professional wrestling, realized that adding drama and excitement to matches would attract more spectators. He introduced theatrical elements like colorful costumes and dramatic entrances to enhance the overall experience for fans. The Rise of Kayfabe As professional wrestling gained popularity in the early 20th century, promoters recognized the need for storytelling and character development to maintain audience interest. This led to the development of “kayfabe,” a term used to describe the portrayal of events within wrestling as real, even though they were often predetermined or scripted. To protect this illusion of reality, wrestlers would adhere to strict rules outside of their matches. They would never reveal their true identities or engage in public appearances together as friends. This commitment to kayfabe allowed fans to suspend their disbelief and become emotionally invested in the stories unfolding inside the squared circle. The Influence of Television In the 1950s, with the advent of television, professional wrestling found a new medium for reaching audiences. The rise of televised matches brought both opportunities and challenges for promoters. On one hand, television exposure helped promote wrestlers and increase their popularity. On the other hand, the need to attract and retain viewers led to an increased focus on entertainment rather than pure athletic competition. Vince McMahon Sr., son of John McMahon, played a pivotal role in shaping the modern wrestling landscape. He recognized the potential for wrestling to become a national phenomenon and expanded his promotion, the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which later became World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Under Vince Sr.’s leadership, storytelling and larger-than-life characters became integral parts of professional wrestling. The Montreal Screwjob One event that marked a significant turning point in the perception of wrestling’s authenticity was the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” in 1997. During a match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon Jr., who had taken over WWE from his father, orchestrated a controversial finish without Hart’s knowledge or consent. This incident exposed wrestling’s predetermined nature to a wider audience and sparked intense debate among fans. The Attitude Era Following the Montreal Screwjob, WWE underwent a period known as the “Attitude Era.” This era pushed boundaries with edgier storylines, adult-oriented content, and increased levels of violence. While still scripted, the product became more self-aware and openly acknowledged its entertainment value. The Reality Era In recent years, there has been yet another shift in professional wrestling with the onset of what is known as the “Reality Era.” Promotions like WWE have embraced social media and reality-based storylines that blur the lines between fiction and reality. Wrestlers now often incorporate their personal lives into their characters, breaking down further barriers between scripted events and real-life situations. The Conclusion So when did wrestling get fake? The truth is that wrestling has always been a blend of athleticism, showmanship, and storytelling. While the outcomes may be predetermined, the physicality and dedication of the wrestlers are very real. Wrestling’s evolution into entertainment spectacle has been a gradual process influenced by various factors such as television, changing audience expectations, and advancements in media technology. Today, professional wrestling continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its unique combination of athleticism and theatrics. Whether you enjoy it for the athleticism or the drama, one thing is certain – wrestling will always be a larger-than-life spectacle that entertains millions.