Sometimes, I wish kayfabe wasn't dead.

Discussion in '[Hidden] World Wrestling Entertainment' started by d_henderson1810, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I wonder if most of the anger towards WWE in regards to who should be pushed, would not be an issue if kayfabe wasn't dead.

    The problem with wrestling, as opposed to every other sport, is that we know that the results are predetermined. The problem with this is, that no-one is ever looked to have "earned" their spot at the top, and people complain about how their favourite deserves to be there instead.

    Knowing that wrestling is scripted is like finding out that Santa isn't real. It destroys your innocence and faith somehow.

    If wrestling fans never knew that wrestling was "predetermined", then I think there would be less complaining, or,at least, the complaints would be different.

    It is like following an NFL side. Your side might not make the Superbowl, and while you hate it, you have to accept it. It might be that the team doesn't have the players, or other reasons. So, you might want your favourite team to succeed, but you have to grudgingly accept that they aren't good enough.

    But wrestling is different. Because it is all based on pushes. So, no-one ever really is on top because they are the best, but because they are the most marketable. So, many of you don't respect John Cena or Roman Reigns, because they haven't "earned" their pushes, whereas someone like Dolph Ziggler, who doesn't come out on top that often, is seen as being "held down", rather than being kept down because of whether he is good enough or not.

    Sports results are facts. Wrestling results are opinion-based.

    Another example. Roger Federer is considered the best tennis player in the world, maybe ever, because he wins the most Grand Slams. It isn't because someone decided that, but because, when up against everyone else, he often comes out on top. He "earns" his success, and gets respected because of it. No-one says "I'm sick of tennis pushing Federer and burying everyone else. Player X, who is my fave, (but #135th in the world) should be pushed to the top instead, and Federer should agree to lose to him.

    This is why people don't respect Cena or Reigns. Because they haven't "proven" that they are the best, only according to Vince McMahon, whereas Ziggler, Shinsuke, Bobby Roode etc are the "best" according to the fans. There isn't grudging acceptance because, when up against everyone else, Cena and Reigns are at the top because they are "better" at wrestling than anyone else, but due to booking.

    Sometimes, I wish we didn't know that the truth. That way, you would have to accept the fate of some of your faves, as you would think that maybe they aren't at the top because there are others better than them. You would also see Cena and Reigns not as "Vince's" boys, but as greats of the sport, because they are on top by beating everyone legitimately (I would be interested, if wrestling was real, who would be on top, and who wouldn't). There then wouldn't have the anger at WWE that exists, nor the endless posts hating on Roman Reigns, because, in any other sport, you would just have to like or lump that Roman is better than your fave. We wouldn't have the words "pushed", "overpushed", or "buried" in wrestling venacular.

    Vince might have thought that it was clever to clue everyone into what they always suspected- that wrestling results are "determined". But it is like a magician revealing how they do their tricks, it takes away from the performance.

    Maybe a lot of the heat would go out of wrestling if we were none the wiser. Maybe sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
     
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  2. ShinChan

    ShinChan Gone. For. Good.

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    Kayfabe was totally alive for me, not long ago. So, I can understand what you want to say. But even then, it's not like everyone would've accepted John Cena or Roman Reigns. Like here, they both are surely the most favorites. But that's because both are faces and mostly win. Khali was a heel to United States but he was almost worshipped here. Why? Because he was totally believable, thanks to his size. Plus, he never cheated to win. At least, when he was in the main event picture. And that's why Jinder Mahal failed badly. He could've gotten better response if he hadn't won through his managers.

    So, basically, it's not just about kayfabe being alive. It's also about how you present what you would like your audience to support.

    For example, Royal Rumble 2015. In 2015, a wrestler who is supposed to be a believable threat to Brock Lesnar is getting beaten at the hands of Big Show and Kane. And then, Rock helps him out. Do remember that this Brock Lesnar has ended the streak last Wrestlemania. How's Roman Reigns supposed to be a threat to Brock Lesnar when he can't cope up well with Big Show and Kane on his own? That's where presentation works. And this, I'm speaking from when I never knew that booking is a thing. Presentation of your talent matters a lot.

    Why did Nakamura look better in NXT? Because he wasn't having troubles with Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. And most importantly, he wasn't losing to Jinder Mahal.

    Presentation matters.
     
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  3. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I agree to an extent, but I think too, that if wrestling results were "real", then people couldn't reject Roman Reigns just because he is Vince's choice (and that, more than anything else, is why they reject him, just like they did to John Cena).

    Look at how the fans pushed Daniel Bryan to headline WMXXX, to stick it to Vince. The fans think that they know better than him who should headline, when they don't have to consider gate receipts, marketability, and PPV and now Network buys, or try to convert non-fans to become fans of the product, or attract sponsors, advertisers, and TV revenue. There are no consequences in pushing your favourite in a Fantasy League, where there are no consequences for picking the wrong guy.

    But if wrestling was like any other sport, it wouldn't matter who the fans or Vince wanted at the top, the top guy or girl would be the one on top, because they are the most talented and most successful. End of story. Unless they are using performance-enhancing drugs, their achievements can't be disputed, even if you don't personally like the sports star.

    Also, wrestling would have more respectability in the mainstream, and in the media, where wrestling results would be included in sports wraps, along with NFL, NBA, NBL and NHL results. But it is treated like a joke, because Vince wants to emphasise "entertainment" rather than "sport".

    I also think that fans would be more in love with wrestling again, if they were forced to accept the reality of achievement and failure, and that those who achieve would be respected as true greats, not just who Vince wants versus who the fans want on top.
     
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  4. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    I remember when CM Punk said in a promo that "this is not a popularity contest, this is the WWE". Well, it is a popularity contest. Roman Reigns and John Cena sell the most merch. Punk was on top because he was selling the most merch. Jeff Hardy got a big push in 2008 because he was moving a lot of merch. At the end of the day, it's all about who moves the most merch and who sells the most tickets.

    And anyways, it's the fans who decide who gets pushed and who doesn't. People complain about Roman but you know what, ever since Roman's push started back in 2014, yes, Roman has had 3 straight WM main events and now he's going for a 4th. But Roman was world champion for 3 months in total. That's how much Roman Reigns has held the world championship these past years. And we also got Owens, Balor, Styles, Ambrose, Rollins, Lesnar, Mahal and Bray as world champions. How can people be fed up with Roman Reigns now? I get you being fed up with him 1 year ago or 2 years ago or 3 years ago. But why now? He put over Braun Strowman.

    People don't really get this, but many consider the term "being marketable" some evil term, when in reality, "being marketable" means "connecting with the audience best".

    I don't think though that the problem is that kayfabe is dead. The problem is the writing. It always has been the writing. Give me a good storyline, I'll watch. Don't give a good storyline, I tune off.
     
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  5. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    Kayfabe went out the window when wrestling fans found out that they could peak behind the curtain, so to speak, by going to any number of wrestling websites. If you wanna be technical about it, Dave Meltzer was killing kayfabe as far back as the 1980s but most fans didn't know about and/or didn't care about his Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The rise of the internet not only gave Meltzer as big a platform as possible but it also helped him, Wade Keller, Jason Powell and pretty much anyone else with anyone that wanted to destroy the mystique of wrestling do just that.

    The genie can't be put back into the bottle and we can't unlearn what we know and what we think we know. Because the mystique is gone, or because we try to portray ourselves as being too cool to be marks, the way we look at wrestling is changed in truly fundamental ways. Twenty years ago, we were relishing Steve Austin beating up Vince McMahon almost on a weekly basis and resulted in arguably the greatest feud and some of the most entertaining segments in wrestling history. If you tried doing it something somewhat similar today with Vince and Johnny Gargano, for instance, you'd have people going into forums or Twitter or whatever saying stuff like "this is so stupid because Vince can just fire him" or "get that old asshole off my TV" or what have you. Even if the segments turned out to be good, you'd have droves of people logging on saying they weren't. The Undertaker is an iconic character that most of us still love but if some 30 year old comes along with a "supernatural" sort of gimmick today, we say that it's "corny" or "outdated" or "cheesy" despite the fact that Taker, when you get right down to it, is one of the cheesiest aspects of one of the cheesiest professions in history.

    In a short period of time, we're probably gonna have Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon all over our TV and lots of internet fans are going to rage against it because they want to hate on Stephanie, they've hated her for the better part of the last 20 years and many won't even give the program a chance. They've already heard what's gonna go down with Ronda Rousey for WrestleMania and you know, you just flat out know, that a good number of them have already decided to shit all over it. I'll openly admit that I'd personally prefer they did something else with Rousey, but I'm keeping an open mind about this. I hope it does turn out to be good because I want to be entertained, I don't invest my time and money just so I can go online and bitch.

    Another problem that a lot of us have is that we just don't want to accept the fact that pro wrestling storylines aren't exactly the stuff of Shakespeare, Steinbeck and Hemmingway, nor will they ever be for that matter. We expect way too much out of what ultimately amount to watching mock combat, an over the top, exaggerated imitation of a real physical altercation that plays out like a fight scene from a movie.

    It's one thing to like or dislike something, there's nothing wrong with giving an opinion and voicing why you have that opinion, but I have absolutely no idea how people who take it too seriously can enjoy it. The flaws of WWE are there to see in any wrestling company out there, they're right on the surface. If you watch and pay attention to what's going on, you can figure out what the end game is most of the time. It's not as of the creative process has changed all that much, it's just that we're no longer wide eyed 10 year olds who don't know crap about crap. It's also cool to talk about who you think should be pushed, who shouldn't, fantasy book a scenario, etc. but when it comes more about being an armchair booker, I just don't get the point of watching.
     
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  6. Pika

    Pika Pre-Show Stalwart

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    I honestly just like. Stopped watching ROH/NJPW/WWE/NXT regularly for a bit. Like ROH / TNA weekly shows sometimes just to know what's going on. NJPW matches that were good / Major shows, and WWE whenever I was working out and it was on TV. Then stopped listening to podcasts from people who aren't wrestlers. A lot of it was time constraints and dealing with illness, but it's made me enjoy pro-wrestling (specifically WWE) infinitely more.

    I forgot that Daniel Bryan got me back into wrestling, because I loved him and his character. I genuinely loved him from seeing his work earlier before WWE and he was going against a genuinely scummy and off putting Triple H. Same with Seth Rollins. I loved him since I first saw The Shield and could tell right away he was going to be the leader coming out of the three. I actually did know Tyler black, but didn't realize it was him lol.

    So I get what you mean. Sometimes I'll talk to a wrestling fan in real life or a friend who is a wrestler or is in the business and the difference hits me really hard. I don't think there is a real solution. I honestly just stay to myself most of the time when I watch wrestling. It's a guilty pleasure at this point not because of the people who don't watch it, but the people who do. I grew up loving workrate. I still love workrate based pro-wrestling, but the characters are why I fall in love with the wrestlers. I like it to be a performance art instead of just a display of physicality. That's why I watch UFC.
     
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  7. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    I'm almost 40 and still keep my finger on the pulse of wrestling, which I last loved when I was 13. I was interested again during the Monday Night Wars, but in no way loved it like I did as a kid. I start my post with this because I don't want to sound like someone who looks down on it. I will always have a special place in my heart for pro wrestling because of the joy it brought me from age 7-13.

    That being said, I have to ask how anyone over the age of 12, maybe, can still believe in kayfabe. I'm not talking suspension of disbelief or any of that. I don't even mean as a wrestling fan. I mean as a person with common sense, how can one have a shred of belief in kayfabe?

    Let me stop here and remind you, I am not pissing on wrestling or its fans. I just don't understand how you can get to a certain age--still a fan or not--and believe in kayfabe.

    The internet has had a negative effect on wrestling, in my opinion. It is full of spoilers and whiners and bad predictions. In my opinion, the product is still better when I stay off wrestling sites. The Hardys return at Mania was a surprise for me because I avoided these sites for months before--for that reason. However, to say that the internet is what pulled the curtain back is laughable. Are you suggesting adults--hell teenagers--in the pre-internet world were unable to see that this wasn't on the level?

    I never bought the "Austin/McMahon angle was huge because everyone wanted to beat up their boss". What a crock! Who the hell, over the age of 12, turned on the TV and thought this guy was getting away with beating up his boss? It was entertaining because of the great job done by Austin and McMahon. It had nothing to do with kayfabe.

    Even in more general ways, who could think these bad guys and good guys who hated each other were kind enough to wait until they were in a ring and the bell rung before trying to kill each other? "So, this guy wants to kill this guy because he said something about his wife and kids? Ok, this oughta be a fierce battle! ...ding ding ding... oh look a tie up and a light toss into the ropes" I mean, come on! Jack Hammer and others like him get mad when people try to "act cool" or like they are above the product--and some do. But, what he and those like him can't grasp is that some people just see it for what it is.

    Kayfabe is for children. Anyone any older who misses kayfabe simply misses the blissful ignorance of that time in their lives. If you are a teenager or older and still think of this as anything but wrestling-based theater, you are..to be kind...silly.

    There is nothing wrong with enjoying wrestling as an adult! But to go back and forth on whether or not the Undertaker character is cheesy--you sound like fools. This is a character who is supposed to be DEAD. Tell me how anyone can take that as anything but a source of entertaining storylines.

    I will always admit to, gladly, my fandom as a kid and my much-less-but-still-alive interest now. But the more I read the posts of some of the people on this forum, I am convinced that people like Jack Hammer are more like kids who know Santa is fake, but still mail a list of wishes to the North Pole because they're not "too cool" to stop doing so. Jack Hammer seems like an adult who would lose a tooth and then pick up his pillow the next morning and say "See? There's no dollar there." while kind of hoping there was.
     
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  8. HORRORHOLIC

    HORRORHOLIC Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Has anyone actually believed it was real in the past 30 or more years anyway ? I remember back in 1985 when I was 6 years old, I walked on my school bus with a Hulk Hogan action figure and two older kids kept laughing saying "Wrestling is fake" No it's not I said, but then I thought for a second and realized, oh yeah, of course it is. I've known it was fake since then, everyone I knew at that age did too. Even back then at 6 years old it was clear that non of this could actually happen. Some of the hits they took, the moves they did, the selling, the storylines etc... how could anyone think it was real ? And things only got a lot more unrealistic since then.
     
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  9. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    i get you're point but just go back and watch some old NWA or WWE shows from the 80's and early 90's, while everybody knew tihs was fake, they went to the show and thought this was real because of the presentation of the product. They knew that The koloff weren't real russians or the Jim Cornette wasn't a mommy's boy or if you want some WWE example, Ted dibiase wasn't really this rich asshole but they wanted to believe theses guy were like that in real life and the reactions to everything they did was genuine because they got caught up in the characters and the show. That's what Keyfabe is and back then, outside of the wrestling observer newsletter, you really didn'T have a lot of publication that was exposing wrestling like you have today because all the apter magazine treated wrestling as a real sports.

    Today, i feel like most adult fans, especially men's, are too focus in wanting to know what's going on backstage and how this whole thing works that we don't just sit back and enjoy the product for what it is. When i go to live events, i always try to watch the reactions of kids that are sitting near me just to see how they react to certain characters mostly because their reaction are the most genuine reaction of any wrestling fans on the planet. They just want to have fun and believe in those characters and we as adult fans should learn a thing or two from them. Stop obsessing over every little details that going on backstage and just go and enjoy the product for what it is.
     
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  10. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    As a child growing up in the 80's I always knew it was scripted for as long as I could remember, Possibly due to my family not being fans and always saying this is fixed. I guess I could compare it to a good movie or TV show where I know its scripted but you watch it as if its real, I may not have believed the results were geniune but I did believe the characters where real such as Iron Sheik for example who I thought was geniunly insane and I still do to a certain extent but these days characters aren't protected and they play these crazes characters then go on twitter and do shoot interviews acting like normal regular people. I think its too out in the open now the magic is gone.
     
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  11. Radical

    Radical Championship Contender

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    Good points.

    WWE Live Events don't really come around my area much at all, but I did end up going to an indy wrestling event in my town a few weeks back. Even the wrestlers got on the mic and said it was a good turn out. There were adults of all ages and many kids as well.

    I also found it very interesting to watch the kids reactions the most. But, I go and try to have fun with the whole thing. One heel wrestler was a big, huge fat guy (like over 300 lbs), me and my friend didn't think the ring could hold him and maybe that's why the ring was sagging a little bit! Anyway, he kept yelling "O'Doyle Rules!", especially after he hit his opponent with a move. This was probably one of the best reactions from the crowd as fans got into it and yelled back at him and got behind the younger, quicker, babyface wrestler. The big fat guy still won the match but it did remind me about what the point of pro wrestling is ...

    It's a circus side show carnival mixed with a pre-determined modern version of the Gladiators in the Coliseum and action-movie fight scene elements. People know it's made-up but if the characters are interesting and the action is good, then people can enjoy it.

    It's just that with WWE there is SO MUCH content that they have to be such at the top of their game for every week, every show, every PPV to be compelling. Sometimes they hit and sometimes they miss.

    With that said, if they miss and they miss too often, fans (or potential fans) have the right to not watch or become disinterested, not buy-in and all that.

    So I don't bother too much with arm-chair booking, and very little with complaining about who is getting pushed and who isn't. Everyone has their own picks anyway, that's natural, but what I do is try to enjoy it for what it is, but if I'm just not getting into it because of the character or storylines for some reason I'll just laugh it off or turn it off.

    I mostly just watch highlights anyway, so I usually just catch the good stuff (and any of the not-so-good stuff I only see shortly and don't spend much time or energy on it).
     
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  12. Mr. Quinn Gammon

    Mr. Quinn Gammon Armchair Quarterback

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    I'm going to play devil's advocate for a moment here.

    I completely understand the aversion to armchair booking. It's true that the internet damages the enjoyment of wrestling sometimes. Spoilers and rumors have their place and can be useful but it's nice to be surprised every once in awhile.

    Like HeenanGorilla said, the Hardys return at 'Mania was a big surprise to many, but I didn't avoid the dirt sheets like I should have and was aware that there was a big chance they were going to show. It's become very difficult for any wrestling promotion to legitimately surprise anyone anymore and I think it makes us a bit jaded as fans. We get upset that everything can be seen coming from a mile away, but we oftentimes come to sites like this one looking for those details in the first place.

    One of the last real surprises I can remember falling for was Brock's return on RAW in 2012. I'd heard only vague rumors about him possibly coming back and nothing about when he might show or how, so when he suddenly came out in the middle of Cena's promo and laid him out, I popped.

    So, while I can understand the sentiment that armchair booking and arguing about pushes and who should be on top can take a lot of enjoyment out of being a wrestling fan, I'd argue that it can make it a lot more fun too.

    I enjoy having intense debates with people about what makes wrestling so great and why someone thinks Roman Reigns is Jesus Christ in SWAT gear and I love being able to tell them why I think fans would throw buckets of gasoline at him if he spontaneously combusts in the ring.

    Would kayfabe being alive have prevented us from ending up here? I would say not. I think this was all inevitable. 20 years ago, people just like us were doing this exact same thing, except they were meeting in coffee shops to swap bootleg indie promotion tapes. The one thing I will say about kayfabe is that it's really silly and an unnecessary nut-shot to my suspension of disbelief when two guys beat the ever loving bejesus out of each other in a blood feud and then post a picture of themselves hanging out at a strip club together on Instagram an hour later.

    Like, c'mon fellas. At least try to maintain what tiny shred of the magic is left.
     
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  13. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I am not saying that I believe in kayfabe, and I get what you are saying about adults would figure out for themselves that it wasn't real.

    I guess I wish that people didn't take the product so seriously all the time. I mean, in the end, wrestling is just a bit of fun. Who cares ultimately who wins or loses, as long as a good story is told and good matches are had.

    In fact, I like knowing about things behind the curtain. I am a bit of a wrestling historian, and like to find out what has happened to past wrestlers etc.

    You say about "suspension of belief". But why not have it for wrestling. I remember a time where my personal life was going really bad, because of family illness, school bullying and other things. I hung out for Monday night to watch RAW and forget "my world" for a couple of hours. That's how to approach it, as escapism, not analysing why your fave isn't champion, and being angry about it.

    If there was less "knowledge" of the product by the wrestling fans in general, I feel that there would be less anger towards the product as well, and I consider that a good thing. As my mum said "If it stops being fun, walk away and do something else".
     
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  14. HORRORHOLIC

    HORRORHOLIC Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Oh I totally agree. Even though I always knew it wasn't real I was usually always able to suspend disbelief. That not possible these days. I remember watching the segment where Hornswagle spray painted a hole in the wall and ran through, Carlito tried and smashed into the wall. To me that was possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in wrestling. How can anyone watch that type of thing and suspend disbelief at all ?
     
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  15. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    That is right and, like I said, I am NOT talking about suspension of disbelief. That is completely different from kayfabe. Suspension of disbelief is accepting that Iron Sheik and Hacksaw Jim Duggan are trying to kill one another, when obviously they are not. Kayfabe is hiding the fact that they drive together from arena to arena. I agree that suspension of disbelief is crucial to enjoy ALL kinds of fiction. I don't know why people are so hell bent on using this term in regards to wrestling only. I don't watch Game of Thrones, but it is obviously very popular. I don't THINK most viewers believe in dragons. This is what I mean.

    I also agree that hearing behind the scenes stories are fun. But, not in a Total Divas-type way where it is scripted "reality". I saw one this season where Natalya had a problem with Tyson Kidd training Lana. That is the kind of lame shit that is created for Total Divas--it isn't a look at an actual bit of drama within the locker room.

    I go to WrestleZone every couple of days or so to see if there is an article or interview about the guys I grew up watching. I don't care if Bray is dating Jojo or if Miz tweeted insults at another superstar. I don't care about the behind the scenes stuff of the current product. THAT is what ruins watching now. What I did enjoy was Bret Hart's biography. He was retired and it was full of details of what happened back when I loved it. If he was a current wrestler and was telling tales of the current locker room, I wouldn't have cared. So, my approach to wrestling--which I have admitted to watching a hell of a lot less than before--is to read "behind the curtain" details of the past and avoid spoilers of the present. I can only tell you how much better it makes watching nowadays. I can't make you try it. But, not knowing who is going into the Hall of Fame until WWE announces it, again, the Hardys coming back, Rousey showing up (in theory, since I fell asleep before the womens Rumble)--that is the stuff that is cool to find out on the fly. It SEEMS that the people who complain the most are the people who read spoilers and long-term plans and get upset BEFORE anything actually happens. It is a terrible way to watch wrestling and, although I know most of you will continue to do it that way, I hope some of you will consider a change in viewing.

    I think most of you read the book before seeing the movie and complain about the differences. And that is a shame. I can tell a LOT of you like to hate wrestling. You like having a group of miserable people to bitch with online...have fun. But for those who WANT TO ENJOY IT but don't anymore, I suggest avoiding spoilers and the whiners. React to what you see, not what you might see down the line.
     
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