By: Margaret Laupp
I’m fairly new to professional wrestling. And I’ll be honest, there’s still a lot I don’t know. I’ve spent a lot of time watching documentaries and talking with others, trying to play one giant game of catch-up. But one thing I learned right out of the gate is that all professional wrestling fans despise the same single question.
“You know it’s fake, right?”
It’s aggravating, infuriating, and pops up every time another person discovers you’re a fan of sports entertainment. It’s a way of saying “I’m afraid you’re dumb enough to think it’s real”. Or else, hint that it shouldn’t be so entertaining because it’s not real.
To be fair, there was a time fans didn’t know it was real. They were “marks” of a great con that spread across multiple companies and territories. They truly believed the storylines were real and the companies likes it that way. But remember: there was also a time people thought a radio play about aliens coming to earth was real.
It’s been decades since the fans thought it was real. In a strange twist of fate, they now call themselves marks. Nowadays, there are several behind-the-scenes shows in the WWE network showing the performers in real life. And fans delight in using the lingo previously only used by those in the business.
In short: yeah, we know.
But here’s the catch: it doesn’t make it any less fun. And it’s not like that’s a strange thing. It doesn’t bother Game of Thrones fans that Westeros doesn’t exist. Walking Dead fans have no problem with the fact zombies aren’t real. And WWE fans don’t care that the springboard missile dropkick is a choreographed move. (Or “spot”, as I am constantly reminded to call it).
We love the characters, the storylines, and the athleticism. It’s fiction we can regularly see in person. We can talk to the characters…or at least tweet at them. When we talk about it like it’s real (aka, “talking kayfabe”) it’s not out of stupidity. It’s an act of love.