Late 2000, when the Attitude era was winding down, was a fantastic moment to be a fan. It had been a few of months since I had started watching WWE when I heard the eight words that no young wrestling fan should: Do you realise that professional wrestling is a sham?
This information was provided by my previous babysitter. I gave her a puzzled look and then dismissed the whole matter as irrelevant. They were the words that lingered in the back of my mind for years, but it took me a while to figure out what she meant.
The NHL game was the catalyst for my internal monologue. Yet it wasn’t the hockey itself that people loved; it was the battles! This is what interested me the most. A right hand knocked out a guy in the NHL game. My favourite wrestler, The Rock, never seems to be able to knock anyone out with a single punch.
Then I performed what I hoped would help me find the solutions. I did some research online and discovered the reality of professional wrestling. To put it mildly, my initial reaction was one of confusion. The truth dawned on me, and I realised I didn’t care. Even now, wrestling is my favourite sport.
So, here I am, a long time later, still a devoted follower. On the other hand, I share the annoyance of other wrestling fans when they hear, “Well, hey, that stuff is bogus.” Wrestling is not a bogus sport, for the last time. This is all staged. For those who are quick to label it “fake,” let me explain.
Non-Wrestling Fans’ Common Misconceptions
Almost every month, I buy the WWE pay-per-view for that month. But my sister never fails to give me an earful everytime I do. “It’s just padding and cables, you realise that, right?” That’s the kind of thing she always says.
Whoa, I thought, could there be a bigger misunderstanding than that? I can only image what the general public thinks of wrestling if my sister has those thoughts. To begin, there isn’t much protection in a wrestling ring.
Unlike when we were kids, these athletes aren’t landing on cushions. They’re in a proper arena for wrestling. Watch this video I found on YouTube to get an idea of how much foam was used. Then there’s the wire misunderstanding.
Sorry, but that’s not how things work. Because of the risk taken by Shane McMahon. Rikishi’s free fall through the prison of Hell. Jeff Hardy’s several swanton bombs from the top of ladders. Referring to the iconic photo of Foley being tossed from Hell in a Cell at the 1998 King of the Ring PPV.
My sister isn’t alone in thinking that free falls locations employ wires, but I can assure you that this is not the case. You should just accept the fact that wrestlers are willing to risk their lives to entertain a global audience.
I’m sure there are many more outlandish claims that non-wrestling fans hold, but these are just two that come to mind.
The next three slides highlight several memorable moments from WWE’s history. How realistic do you think a fall of 20 feet is? Here we see Mick Foley crashing through a table at an event, plummeting a total of 16 feet.
Jeff Hardy’s leap was almost 20 feet.
Taking a Chance
Shane McMahon’s 30-foot plunge to his death.
Want to take a 30-foot leap for those of you who don’t follow wrestling?
Injuries are a real possibility in any kind of competitive physical activity, regardless of age group or skill level. They are a common occurrence in a variety of sports. In the WWE, things are essentially the same.
Due to a history of injuries, the careers of many wrestlers have been cut short. Stone Cold Steve Austin and, more lately, Edge, are two of the most well-known. Putting your health on the line every night is a part of professional wrestling. The injuries I’ll describe are just a small sample of those sustained in the ring.
As part of the scripted portion of professional wrestling, several injuries are used as plot devices. Wrestlers who have been legitimately injured can often be excused from competition.
Leg Muscle Torn
In April of 2001, Triple H tore his quadriceps. It’s to his credit that he fought through to the end of the match. He needed surgery, and recovery would take nine months. How ridiculously false is that?
Joey Mercury smashed his nose while climbing this ladder. The intended target was his hands, but the ladder accidentally struck his nose.
He missed a lot of work and ultimately had 35% of his vision in his right eye damaged. This time, it’s a real wound.
Droz is paralysed.
This is Darren Drozdov, better known in the WWE as “Droz.” An in-ring mishap resulted in Drozdov’s injury during a bout. As a result, Droz’s paralysis became permanent. He was a quadriplegic but has now recovered upper-body mobility.
Just a couple of the WWE wrestlers have had injuries like these. Quite a few people have been hurt. Attempt to convince these men that their work is bogus.
Still, it’s not a big deal because most sports schedule rest days. But what about the World Wrestling Entertainment?
Without a Season
Athletes in the vast majority of sports are given a “off-season” consisting of several months away from competition. Athletes can use this time to refuel and get over any nagging injuries they may be experiencing. Irrelevant if there is no summer break. The fallout from it, could you even fathom it?
There is no off-season for the WWE or any other professional wrestling organisation. This is because of the high demand for WWE and other wrestling promotions. They tour nonstop for an entire year.
This means that wrestlers rarely, if ever, get a break from training unless they request it themselves. These athletes travel the world nonstop to perform for their countless admirers. There is no time to heal from injuries or spend with loved ones.
The mental weariness, worry, and exhaustion that come with working for a professional wrestling promotion are a given. How phoney is it, though, to never take a vacation, never visit loved ones, never let an aching body mend itself?