“Fake shit should be 9.99”
– Dana White
I’m not exactly sure where Dana White was going when he tweeted these words. While he admitted to believing his product is superior than the WWE’s, fans were upset about something else, the fact he used the word “fake”. It’s just a word that can always boil the blood of all pro wrestling fans. Regardless of whether Dana White has any knowledge of pro wrestling, I was more curious to know why we get so flustered when a non fan says “fake” to us. White is not the first one to say, but it still hurts to an extent .For some reason this has bothered our fan base for years.
I’d like to explain to any non wrestling fans that we all know what we’re watching is scripted. Every single fan knows the outcomes are predetermined, and plot is fictitious. In fact, following pro wrestling is the same as following any TV show. So if it’s the same, why does the word “fake” only get thrown around when talking pro wrestling? When I’m at social gatherings and I talk to people about liking Supernatural, how come nobody thinks twice about informing me it’s fake? At this point in my life, I know anybody that asks me “You know it’s fake, right?” is just trying to insult what I enjoy the most. The second somebody says that, most of us break down the entire industry and do our best to thwart their ignorance. In the grand scheme of things, it bothers us because we know other TV shows don’t receive that type of treatment. When asked that question, it’s been done in the most snarky way possible, as if some people in the world are above pro wrestling. I highly believe this why wrestling fans throw fits when the industry is just summed up by one word. It’s unfortunate that in a world where TV is such a high priority among people, they’re still uneducated on this topic .This makes me wonder if wrestling itself has done a terrible job at promoting it’s image. Maybe it’s because the height of wrestling, the Attitude Era, is the only thing people relate the industry to.
For anybody reading this that still doesn’t understand what I’m saying, I’ll try my best to put it in perspective. Using Game of Thrones as an example, I’ve had conversations with people who don’t watch it because they can’t get into the whole “medieval/Lord of the Rings” genre. Don’t worry fellow GoT fans, because I freak out when I hear this as well. This is exactly how pro wrestling fans feel when our intelligence is insulted, except it’s brought up every time.
If you’re a sports fan, this example may hit home for you. I live in Toronto, where the most popular sports team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Similar to the WWE, the Leafs have a massive fan base, most of which is comprised of casual fans. Now as a hardcore Ottawa Senators fan, there’s nothing that enrages me more than a casual Leafs fan talking down about my team. It’s the exact same anger I get when someone tells me wrestling is “fake”.
It bothers every fan because we know certain aspects are “fake” but some are in fact real. The risk of stepping into a wrestling ring is just as dangerous as anything else. For some odd reason, fans of this genre can never get that point across to the non fans. I can’t recall how many times I’ve explained to others that the wrestlers get hurt as often as other athletes. I also tend to remind people they wrestle the majority of days within the year. The feuds we see in the ring are taking place in a fictitious world, but the moves they perform don’t give the wrestlers “fake injuries”. A few wrestlers out there decided to give Dana a piece of their mind, but none were more important than the champ. Initially, I didn’t think Seth Rollins or anybody in the WWE would respond, as it’s not in their nature. This tweet coming from Rollins showed that he can be an awesome champion, inside and outside the ring.
In my mind though, I think I have an idea on why non fans continue to use the vile word, and it’s because pro wrestling is a difficult genre to understand for outsiders, even though it’s like any other show. How does it not come across as a sporting event? There are commentators, arena, live crowd, and feats of athleticism. Along with that, the audience is given compelling stories to follow. To anybody that fell in love with the industry, this is just how everything works. Imagine how difficult this concept is for others to comprehend? While I believe this adds to the spectacle, some might not see it this way .In that sense there’s more grey area to wrestling as opposed to it being black and white.
At the end of the day, us wrestling fans will still continue to hear this, as long as there’s others that don’t understand. We will then continue to clench our fists and rationalize what exactly pro wrestling is. In a sense it’s fake, but in another sense it is very much real, people just need to know the difference.