Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board

Kayfabe... what is it and when was it broken for you?


Petey
 Share

Recommended Posts

The very first time I saw any WWF programming on tv, I saw a fat guy with rubberbands and food on his face leading two big angry looking guys to the ring. I couldn't understand how it could possibly be that this idiot could lead them from the isle of Samoa, through big, bad New York City, and into Madison Square Garden.

The very first time I saw any "Georgia Rasslin" on tv, it was because my grandfather flipped it on one Saturday morning. When the same guy that got the hell beat out of him that show got knocked around on Saturday Night on a different channel, and didn't have any bruises, I knew something was up.

I would like to say that kayfabe was broken for me somewhere those points A and B, but really it was when one of my neighbors said, "they get paid to act like they're fighting each other, kinda like guys get paid to act like they're shooting each other in cowboy movies." TBS showing Clint Eastwood and John Wayne flicks at 8:05 PM Saturday back then made sense to me after that.

Oh, and trying to talk to friends about it as if it "Wasn't fake", yeah Duggan and Sheik really killed that for a lot of people, myself included.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd just like, every now and then, for the bookers to produce something that allows a man to stand in the ring and weep and scream unironically and have the crowd be totally with him, like at Funk's first retirement.

 

I realize that it's really hard to get there and it won't happen very often.  But it should be the goal always.  At least try to figure out how to get find the way back to that a few more times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris Cruise used to regularly attend independent shows in North Carolina in the mid 90's when he lived here. My dad and I were regular attendees as well and Cruise took a liking to me, so we always spoke whenever he saw me. One such show was the night before Superbrawl V and so I asked him if he thought Vader would beat Hogan for the belt. He smiled and said "I strongly suspect Hogan will win by DQ and set up for a cage match down the road." It sounds like a dick move to say to a 10 year old but honestly I didnt care, it didnt hamper my enjoyment of wrestling at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do think we all get invested on some level. For instance, part of me, after seeing the initial Punk/Brock angle thought to myself. "Geez, I wonder if Hunter isn't going to sabotage this somehow since it seems so much more over than what he did with Brock?" Maybe it was a foolish thing to think, but that's the sort of "reality" which keeps a lot of us watching, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slow motion replays of dropkicks that obviously hit air on WWF Superstars. Of course it was sold anyway and then your child brain goes to work figuring out why.

 

As a little kid I came to the conclusion in my mind that its not that wrestlers aren't tough but if they have to work shows every night sometimes they'd agree to pretend just to keep themselves healthy so they can be ready for every show. Which I guess looking back isn't far off explaining how this all got started in the first place.

 

Of course as like a 9 year old I also found myself wondering where wrestlers came from and lived, and I decided in my mind there was a WWF condominium somehwere, where all the wrestlers lived. Undertaker and Jake Roberts hanging out at the Big Boss Man's house for a BBQ, in full costumes of course.

 

Children.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The final nail in my kay fabe coffin was when I walked into the locker room and Sabu was there, smoking a Newport. I mean, I knew, obviously, but what I didn't know was that in the back back backity back of my brain was a little gleam of romantic hold-out, and it died right there, letting the delicious bitter cynicism wash over my mind (where it remains to this day). I mean, if it was a narghile I would have retained some youthful hope...

- RAF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid, the thing I really couldn't figure out was how they could work out a WHOLE match, to learn it and rehearse it and be able to do it. I didn't understand the idea of calling spots or just how many times WWF would run the same match over and over. When you think about it, the improvisational aspect of wrestling is really impressive. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid, the thing I really couldn't figure out was how they could work out a WHOLE match, to learn it and rehearse it and be able to do it.

 

 

I have a feeling that this is what a lot of non- or casual watches think happens.  Which is its own kind of crazy.  But just barely crazier than the truth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As many others have posted someone usually older would point out that it wasn't real. Even as a youth I didn't believe that it was fake, but rather I knew the older person was intelligent about things and why would they tell me its fake if it wasn't. Why would my father/uncle/ whoever purposefully lie and tell a child wrestling is/was fake if it wasn't. That never seemed to deter my WWF fandom.

 

I do remember while I was a WWF Magazine subscriber, my issue arrived the day after some WWF wresting show. It could have been RAW, or it could have been a Superstars or Wrestling Challenge. Yokozuna qualified for the KOTR tournament on said TV show, and the magazine had a whole spread on that years KOTR tournament. That wasn't when I realized it was fake, but it was a strong enough red flag to me to point out to my father; as if my young ass was educating him on its pre-determind nature. 

 

As far as other "older" fans still not realizing it was fake, I had a great- Aunt who was a pro-wrestling fan. I was fully WWF fanboy loyal, but she just liked pro-wrestling and never seemed too familiar with most of the "modern" wrestlers and characters. We never really bonded over our love of wrestling, but I enjoyed helping my mother make and decorate posters with clipping and pictures I would cut out of my WWF magazines for her birthday present(s). I remember everyone trying to help me figure out who her favorite wrestler(s) was. Since nobody else in our family (aunts, uncles, cousins etc) were fans, they had a hard time trying to help me. Even my mother and father couldn't figure it out, and they knew enough and about enough wrestlers through my fandom. All my Aunt Mary could tell us to describe him was that he had blonde hair and, "he's so CLEAN." I searched through my brain for every blonde haired babyface I could think of, even at a time before I knew what "baby face" actually meant. None of the ones I could think of were her correct favorite. Even my my big favs at the time did nothing for her. No Hitman, Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, etc love. Finally, and I'm not sure exactly how we figured it out, it was revealed that RIC FLAIR was her favorite wrestler because "he's SOOO clean." I KNEW he wasn't clean and was well known as a bad guy at the time and could not figure out how/why/where my aunt got this whole "clean" thing from. Closest I could ever figure was his "style and profile" image and how he wore suits everywhere and looked "clean cut."

 

I have no idea who my Aunt Mary used to watch growing up or when she became a fan, but its clear (now) that she was a fan from a different era. I don't know when she discovered Ric Flair, but I've got to think her fondness for him first began much earlier in his career and carried through the 80's even though he's well known as the "dirtiest player in the game."  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See, my story is different. I didn't have cable TV in my youth days and hated how my friends always talked about wrestling. I didn't understand the appeal of something "fake". Then a friend gave me a DVD with Summerslam 05 and after the entrance of the Undertaker I was a mark again. This was in the beginning of high school, by the end it reached the peak of popularity here and even was in national TV for a while. I believe after the Benoit scandal they switched to cable again. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid, the thing I really couldn't figure out was how they could work out a WHOLE match, to learn it and rehearse it and be able to do it. I didn't understand the idea of calling spots or just how many times WWF would run the same match over and over. When you think about it, the improvisational aspect of wrestling is really impressive. 

 

This is something that bothers me about wrestling. 

 

Back in the day, guys worked each other every night around the loop multiple times.  The term for when two guys/teams were set to work each other in a long program is being "married".  When guys work each other 5-10 times a week, they get to know each other so well that they can do the same match over and over while making it look as intense as possible, because the roadmap is subconscious to working the crowd and selling the moves & hold.  Plus, the longer they were married, the more complicated spots that could be added to the match. 

 

Now a days, this still happens to an extent in the WWE, as guys can work each other regularly on house shows.  Aside from that though, it pretty much just doesn't happen. The local indy that runs every two weeks in the same town isn't running the same matches over-and-over again (and they shouldn't).  Larger indy groups that bring in a cross section of talent from different areas simply do not run enough shows to have guys work a circuit like that. 

 

So, what you end up with is guys that want to lay out a match in the back (or before the show), and a lot of the in-ring work seems "planned" or rushed - and they do not "plan" for when something goes wrong, or when a crowd might give a big reaction to something (or even when they don't!).  On the extreme opposite, you have guys that go over a finish, and call the rest in the ring.  Which, without a lot of experience, can often lead to short, repetitive, and boring matches. 

 

Personally, I was always pretty bad at going out to the ring with a long well-prepared layout for a match. I had some of my best matches that way, but they didn't always feel "right".  At the same time, if you try to call it all in the ring and aren't experienced enough, it can lead to disaster.  I always thought that things went best when we had a solid open, and finish worked out in the back, and we called everything in the middle out in the ring on the fly. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...