Professional wrestling has been considered a performing art for the last 100 years. The main wrestling promotions include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor (ROH), and Major League Wrestling (MLW). Legends like Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair (all of whom are WWE Hall of Fame inductees) have put themselves on the radar of the world of superkicks, suplexes, spears, and scripted promos. Those things in itself draw an audience in, but it can drive them away as well. Some of the myths you’ll see below even drive them away without them watching the actual show. These are the top misconceptions non-fans make about professional wrestling.
“It’s all fake”
This really depends on what you’re looking at that’s fake; the punches, the kicks, or the material that makes up the tables, ladders, and chairs. Realistically speaking, if you hear a loud slap in the back from a hit with a steel chair, that’s something that can’t be faked. And the blood that can gush out of someone’s head? That’s also not something that can be fabricated. The only thing that could be was the impact, like if razor blades played a part in making it look stronger than it actually was.
Aside from the physical aspects of professional wrestling, it may be a storyline, but the passion for these wrestlers is still there. They have worked long and hard to get to the point they are today, whether they wrestle today or have dedicated their lives to it before retiring. Look at Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. You can see real emotion in both performers, and you can even see Michaels mouth the words “I’m sorry, I love you” before giving him a final dose of Sweet Chin Music for the 1-2-3 count.
“The fans think it’s real”
Maybe at first. It took me a little bit more watching to realize that the feuds that happen in the ring are just part of a storyline. But that didn’t take away from me continuing to watch, just like it doesn’t take away from fans tuning in or even going to see a live show. It doesn’t matter if it’s real or if it’s not real, all that matters is if fans of professional wrestling enjoy themselves while watching. Besides, if you think about it, there are many professional wrestling moments that even non-wrestling fans know is real. A little more recently when Braun Strowman and Big Show (two of the biggest WWE superstars) did a suplex from the top rope and the entire ring imploded under them and the referee. Everyone knows that’s not something one can plan.
“Wrestling fans are dorks”
That may be so, but that’s something that anyone can say about other sports fans, even fans of different parts of the entertainment industry. Besides, everyone has a role model they can look up to. If it happens to be the character that has that attitude that speaks for them, then so be it. Some are more passionate about it than others, such as owning merchandise as extreme as a replica of a title belt, but if it brings them joy then there’s really no issue about it.
“Everyone is on drugs”
With this professional wrestling myth, you can thank Vince McMahon, chairman of WWE, for helping squash it. The problem with superstars abusing performance enhancement drugs happened mainly in the 1980s and ’90s. Studies showed that combined with the constant being on the road with no days off and putting their bodies at risk for as long as they did, the drug problems some of these wrestlers had led to their untimely deaths. Nowadays, the wellness policies are strictly enforced, and these wrestlers are required to submit to a drug test with the risk of being suspended for a certain period of time. And, you may have noticed that today’s wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio from WWE, and Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega from AEW, are smaller than blank legends like Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero.
“The referees don’t do anything”
Another untrue statement right here. Referees are just as much of an important part of planning the matches. Some are even given earpieces so they can get directions from the producers if something goes wrong, or if someone gets hurt. Some officials, like the ones in WWE, are legally not allowed to put their hands on any of the wrestlers, and vice versa. Though they do enforce the rules, the only way they would be able to disqualify is if someone in the match pokes an eye, gives a low blow, or if outside of the match interferes in any way
“Nobody really gets hurt”
Tell that to the superstars who take a kendo stick or a chair to the back or take a huge fall on top of a ladder. Or, better yet, tell that to those who didn’t stick the landing right and ended up tearing their ACL. Though it is pretty clear by now that the stuff you see in the ring is a combination of stunt work and full impact, a lot can go wrong with one wrong move. And it’s not just broken bones that come with the risk of putting your body on the line. It can’t be good for your brain if you constantly headbutting your opponents. What’s going to happen after someone obtains too many head concussions, and there’s already too much brain damage?
“It doesn’t matter if you get something wrong”
Going back to the previous point, yes it absolutely does. This even goes with a wrestler lifting another on their shoulders. One wrong move and a wrestler could be out of action for months at a time with an injured knee, squad, even their back. Some even see almost a year of inactivity.