Is WWE fake? This is one of the most asked questions from professional wrestling fans everywhere. You know what you see could not be fake but you continue to hear rumors the matches on Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown are little more than a choreographed dance. Let’s take a closer look.
The bumps are real. Professional wrestlers really fall down on the mat, perform body slams, drop kicks and everything in-between. It is impossible to stage a fall or slam, especially with thousands of fans seated in close proximity. Because the action is live, all maneuvers or “spots” are performed in real-time and are not shot in multiple takes like you would see on television or in the movies.
The blood is real. Fake blood is almost never used in professional wrestling. When a professional wrestler begins to bleed they either got cut by accident or they did it intentionally. Getting cut by accident sometimes happens and is called getting busted open “the hardway.” The blood runs down the wrestler’s face and they are actually bleeding. When a professional wrestler wants to add blood to their match, they will sometimes engage in a process called “blading.” Blading is when the wrestler takes a razor blade they have hidden in their trunks or armband and will carefully slice open their forehead to make a cut. The cut will bleed and this process in wrestling is called “adding color” to a match.
The finishers are real. Whether it is an RKO by Randy Orton, a spear by Roman Reigns or the Rock Bottom by The Rock, professional wrestlers really have to take and execute the finishers. There are no stunt doubles, no double takes and the physical action is real.
So if the bumps are real, the blood is real and the finishers are real… Why do people say WWE is fake?
The claim “WWE is fake” is based on the fact the matches, segments and interviews are written and planned out before they are executed. What separates WWE from other professional sports is the winner and loser is known before the match happens. The process is actually quite simple. Just like in television and in movies, WWE employees a team of writers. For every show, the writers must write and develop storylines. These storylines are broken down into segments and matches. Once the segments and matches are written, they are sent to Vince McMahon or Triple H, who reviews them and makes any changes. Once approved, the scripts are given to the producers. The producers take the storylines and matches to the wrestlers involved and discuss execution. Once the show goes live, it is up to the wrestlers to execute what has been written for them.
Sometimes match outcomes are changed suddenly. Have you ever heard of the Montreal Screwjob? This took place on November 9, 1997 at the WWE (then WWF) Survivor Series pay-per-view. Bret Hart, the WWF Champion at the time, had refused to drop the title to Michaels. He, Shawn and Vince McMahon had agreed for the Survivor Series match to end in disqualification and Hart would relinquish the belt on his own terms. In reality, Bret had signed a contract with competing WCW and would be leaving the WWF, so he could not remain champion. However, Vince McMahon had the match referee, Earl Hebner, call for the bell as Michaels had Hart in the Sharpshooter submission hold, Hart’s own finisher, even though Hart had not submitted. Michaels was declared the winner and the new WWF Champion.
With all of the realism we have described, you might be thinking to yourself, “What about the punches?” It is clear they do not connect. Yes, you are correct. There are certain maneuvers (spots) that are choreographed to limit injury. Most of the punches you see in a professional wrestling ring are more of a dance, used to energize the crowd where actual contact does not take place. The reason for this is rather obvious and while it is not always the case, a lot of punches in professional wrestling are indeed “fake.”
The ultimate job of a professional wrestler is to make the crowd believe what they are seeing is 100% legitimate at all times. If a professional wrestler fails to do that, they are typically flamed on social media and professional wrestling website for having a “bad” match. This is exactly how people would judge an actor for a bad performance or a basketball player for a bad game.
All and all, professional wrestling is not fake but it is choreographed. The physicality that you watch is real and injuries do happen. However, outcomes and storylines are written beforehand, just as they are in television or at the movies. But before you make the claim WWE is fake, I would invite you to get into a professional wrestling ring and perform some bumps for yourself. Once you do, come back and tell us how it felt.