Is wrestling real or fake? The question has plagued scholars for generations.
Well, not really. It’s broadly considered to be fake, with fake wrestlers fake fighting over fake belts. But it isn’t quite accurate to call the entire sport of wrestling “fake”.
The WWE is the biggest company in wrestling history. It has been the top dog in wrestling for nearly 50 years, with nobody else coming close for over 20 years.
They have put on some incredibly shows in recent months and have a huge amount of momentum going into WrestleMania. The Bloodline storyline putting the group up against plucky Canadian Sami Zayn has been one of the best storyline’s ever, earning huge plaudits for booker Triple H.
With big stars like Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes and John Cena set to do battle at WrestleMania 39, fans are hyped for the biggest show of the year to entertain them once again.
However, one question is constantly asked and continues to go begging. Is wrestling real? Or is wrestling fake? Is it scripted, rigged, or another word for the same thing?
In this article, we’ll go through the entire question and look at whether professional wrestling is real, fake or somewhere in-between.
Is Wrestling Real or Fake?
The answer to that question is yes.
Just go with me here.
Professional wrestling is scripted. The wrestlers are working together to put on a show, in a way that a fight in a movie is scripted to make for an entertaining scene.
However, wrestling has some real and some fake elements. The wrestlers are not trying to hurt one another, and they aren’t really trying to win the fight.
However, there are no stuntmen to take the falls, and no second takes. It is a live art, akin to theatre but with a great deal more risk and physicality.
The hits are real. When they get thrown into the mat, it’s real. Those submissions that they lock each other in as they writhe around in pain? Any children who used to watch the WWE shows can attest that they do indeed hurt.
Injuries can, and do, happen in wrestling. Big stars like John Cena and CM Punk have spent years out of the ring thanks to injuries suffered in wrestling matches. The Rock cost the studio millions when he suffered an injury against John Cena at WrestleMania, delaying filming of Hercules for months.
Wrestlers have even died in the ring. Wrestler’s like King Kong Kurt and Mistuharu Misawa passed away during wrestling matches, while Owen Hart died doing a pre-match stunt that ended with him falling at a great height into the ring.
There’s also the backstage aspect of wrestling. It is sometimes more like a reality show than a sports broadcast. Half of the fun of wrestling is reading all the backstage rumours and arguments behind the scenes.
This even bleeds into the show sometimes. The rumours in 2014 were that Daniel Bryan wasn’t good enough to main event WresteMania. This led the fans to revolt and take over the show until he won the world title at the event.
This would be like if Eastenders fans were unhappy that the producers didn’t think Phil Mitchell was a good enough actor, and protested the show until he was given back control of the Queen Vic.
Some of the most interesting parts of wrestling are not what happens on screen, but the real arguments that happen behind the scenes.
It’s sounds insane, I know. But it’s one way that pro-wrestling is real… in a way.
Wrestler’s even use real things to add to their on-screen storyline. Eddie Guerrero’s death
was used to promote Rey Mysterio’s Royal Rumble win in 2006, and weddings and divorces have been used in-storyline for years, no matter how tasteless.
So, is wrestling fake? Yes and no. It’s mental.
How To Win A Wrestling Match?
While we’ve established that wrestling itself is not necessarily fake, but certainly scripted, we must now look upon the rules of professional wrestling.
While the rules of the game may change slightly among promotions and countries, the general basic tenets of how to win a wrestling match remain the same.
There are five main ways to win a wrestling match. These are;
- Pin fall – One wrestler must pin the other’s shoulders to the mat for a referee’s count of three
- Submission – One wrestler must inflict so much pain that the other indicated to the referee that they give up, either verbally or by visually tapping onto the matt
- Knockout – The referee can stop the match and award the victory to one wrestler if the other has been knocked unconscious
- Disqualification – If one wrestler breaks the rules of the match (eg. Hitting another wrestler in the testicles, using a weapon, etc.) the referee can disqualify them and award the victory to the aggrieved party.
- Count Out – If one wrestler stays outside the ring for 10 seconds (20 in some promotions) then they are counted out by the referee and lose the match
There are many other types of match with their own set of rules. Some matches forgo the DQ and count-out rules. Some matches only accept submission as a valid way to win. Others force you to bury your opponent alive or set them on fire.
Wrestling is wild.
Do you think wrestling is real or fake? Let us know down in the comments what you think
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.