Fujisan

A Wrestling question for you

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We all know professional Westling is fake but when did they decide to make it fake ? And why did they ?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

How many people would pay to watch a set of legitimate matches? B-)

What do you do with a boxing ring when there is no scheduled boxing?

Edited by Asojima

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Wikipedia says on this topic:

Historians are unsure at what point wrestling changed from competitive catch wrestling into worked entertainment. However, documented accounts do exist: WWE Superstar Bret "Hitman" Hart recalls "a long and fascinating talk" he had in the summer of 1981 with the great Lou Thesz who told him that:

"the business was a total shoot until about 1925. At a time when Jack Dempsey was knocking everyone out in a couple of rounds and Babe Ruth was smashing the home run record in baseball, the average World Title (wrestling) match often lasted five or six hours and ended in a stalemate. Ed 'Strangler' Lewis, Thesz's mentor, was impossible to beat, so he eventually worked a title loss just to pump some new blood into the business and make a nice payoff—and that was when it had all changed."[18]

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3 hours ago, Fujisan said:

We all know professional Westling is fake but when did they decide to make it fake ? And why did they ?

I'd suggest "fake" is the wrong word. @Randomitsuki 's "worked" is better. What you're seeing in a pro wrestling ring is really happening. What it is not (with the occasional rare exception; look up "shoot" in this context) is an actual competition. And these days, there's little pretense about it.

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The best estimate for when recognizable "fake" wrestling appeared would be ~1910 in the US and England.  By the 1930's the concept of "kayfabe" was firmly established -- the aura that the scripted bouts and interactions were real.  A journalist name Mike Mooneyham has followed wrestling from a professional and entertainment angle for almost fifty years.  His work is outstanding, and he frankly discusses the heel turns and the many different characters a wrestler will have during a career. 

I remember as a kid watching Kinji Shibuya and Peter Maivia wrestle in the Sacramento CA area.  My uncle worked at the Bank of America and handled some of the wrestler's accounts.  He told me they were all pals and went out to dinner together, and when they got stale in the California market they'd go out to the Midwest or the South under a new name.  For an example of how many characters a wrestler can play, even in a shortened life, look at the career of unbeaten rikishi John Tenta.

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I've heard Cornette talk about this a few times. The period of Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt (up until about 1915) was apparently entirely legit, and Gotch was as big a star as Babe Ruth in America. But by 1920 some, but not all matches were works, mostly because it was better for business that way and everyone involved could make more money. It's complicated though through this period and right into the 1950s when Thesz was champion, because there was always the possibility of people "going into business for themselves" and not following the script. This is why the champion was usually a legit shooter who could legitimately win a shoot match if they needed to. People like Thesz, Ed Strangler Lewis, Karl Gotch (no relation to Frank), and Billy Robinson were apparently very scary men who could really legitimately hurt their opponent if they wanted to. The NWA world champion was always someone who could look after themselves right up to the 1980s. So yes, fake is entirely the wrong word - even scripted is wrong for most of wrestling history because only the finishes were ever determined beforehand - the matches were always called in the ring in an organic fashion. It is only recently since Vince McMahon totally killed kayfabe and turned pro wrestling into a joke, that entire matches are laid out beforehand.

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14 hours ago, Kuroyama said:

I'd suggest "fake" is the wrong word. @Randomitsuki 's "worked" is better. What you're seeing in a pro wrestling ring is really happening. What it is not (with the occasional rare exception; look up "shoot" in this context) is an actual competition. And these days, there's little pretense about it.

Indeed, I repeatedly point out to my non-wrestling-fan friends that regardless of what they think of it and in spite of its scripted nature, it's still real people doing some pretty crazy s*** in the ring, some of it highly athletic, for the sake of entertaining a crowd.

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