Is WWE—and professional wrestling in general—real or fake? An age-old question no one can’t seem to give a definitive answer. The technical answer is yes, but it’s so much more than that.
Is WWE real or fake? Vince McMahon himself spelled it out for everyone in 1989 in a landmark case submitted to the US Athletic Commission. McMahon described his industry as “an activity in which participants struggle hand-in-hand primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators rather than conducting a bona fide athletic contest” which led to professional wrestling being deregulated by the US government. The word “fake” was nowhere to be found.
Is WWE real or fake? It’s sports entertainment. The matches are predetermined and the interactions between rivals are mostly scripted. The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin didn’t really hate each other. The Undertaker and Kane weren’t really brothers. Samoa Joe didn’t really harass AJ Styles’ family. But oddly enough, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart did hate each other, the Usos are actual real-life brothers, and Chris Jericho really punched a certain legend’s wife right in the mouth. No script could manufacture those moments.
Is WWE real or fake? Many careers have ended due to wrestling-related injuries. Edge had to retire in 2011 because his neck gave up after years of fake fighting. Paige ended her career early after Sasha Banks broke her neck with a very fake dropkick. Seth Rollins injured both Finn Balor ad Sting on two separate occasions because he gave each of them a devastating—but still very fake—Bucklebombs, forcing Balor to relinquish his newly won Universal Championship and Sting to officially hang his boots. You’d think that wrestlers can’t possibly injure themselves when they’re just throwing fake punches, right?
Is WWE real or fake? Owen Hart suffered a 78-foot fall from the rafters as he was making his way to the ring at In Your House 1999. He landed chest-first on the top rope, killing him instantly. His death wasn’t part of the act. Mick Foley inched closer to death every time he’s in the ring. He had lost part of his ear during a match with Vader and lost a tooth during a match with the Undertaker. Those dismemberments weren’t written on the script. And just two weeks ago, Roman Reigns announced that he’s having another battle with leukemia. No wrestler, or anyone on their right mind, could possibly fake having cancer just for the sake of a fake show.
Is WWE real or fake? John Cena has granted over 500 wishes for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He met dozens of his loyal fanbase and made them feel a lot better about themselves. So did Seth Rollins. So did Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. So did Dolph Ziggler and countless of others. These Superstars made these children’s dreams of seeing a real-life superhero come true. Not too shabby for these people who put their bodies on the line just to put up a silly show. And by the way, those interactions weren’t scripted either.
Is WWE real or fake? Two days after the infamous 9/11 attack, WWE was the first company to rally up Americans to go out and demonstrate the country’s defiance. The NBA, NFL, UFC, or any of the “real” sports companies didn’t, but the fake muscle show did. The WWE raised lots of money for worthy causes like cancer research and anti-bullying campaigns. For a company constantly mocked for being silly and unreal, they sure do bring a lot of positive and very real effects to their fans and to the community as a whole.
So for the final time, is WWE real or fake? It’s totally fake, but I would argue that it’s one of the realest thing you’ll ever experience in your life, period.
(Photo Credit: WWE.com)