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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Definition of Fake
June 20, 2005 by B. Friedman


Fake (v) 1. To make or produce something and claim it is genuine when it is not.

I have been watching wrestling and admiring it for the last four years. I read and watch as much wrestling as I possibly can to get a better grasp on the business. I have loved watching stories reveal, sixty-minute stale mates, great feuds, and the occasional blood bath. To me there is no such thing as too much wrestling and there are no bad things that come along with wrestling when you're a fan except for one word, fake.

Just fake" That is the question I ask all of you who are reading this column. Is wrestling just fake" Is it just lights, costumes, and glamour" Has wrestling lost all credibility, which people just think of muscle bound men in trunks" Is there no talent when two or more men enter the squared circle" I believe none of this bullshit. Wrestling hasn't lost its ways. The men promoting it or writing it might have, but what is looked at to be pure talent, and skill from men who work there asses off day in and night out, it is not just fake. When did this happen" When did it happen that if you are not a fan of this sport (entertainment) you couldn't understand the littlest thing about why millions of people love it" Ignorance, simply put, ignorance clogs the minds of way too many on their degrading view of this great business.

Just fake" Was it fake when Owen Hart fell to his death" (RIP Owen) Was it just fake when Sabu broke his neck" Was it just fake when Mick Foley's tooth jammed up his gums and came out his nose" Was it just fake when Ric Flair and Ricky the Dragon Steamboat wrestled for hours on end" Was it just fake when" GOD DAMN IT! IT'S NOT JUST FAKE! It never was and never will be. It's more than just over grown men in underwear. They are heroes, they are villains, they are sixty-year-old men who retire and keep coming back because of their heart and passion for the sport. Nothing was fake in Montreal when Bret Hart was as shocked as the thousands in the audience and the millions watching when he found out that he tapped after Hebner rang the bell. There is nothing fake about falling off a ladder, power bombed on a flaming table, slammed on steel, or a snap mare on a wrestling canvas. There is nothing fake when sitting up from your couch and marking out every time you hear that glass shatter.

Scripted results, planned winners, and choreographed spots. Fake, fake, and fake" No, no, and no! We the wrestling fans know how this machine runs, so don't give us the stupid look after you ask "You know its fake, right"" It's what they do, how they do it, what they say, how they say it. It's so much more then just pre-planned results. Some one has to be so god damn ignorant to actually think these men and women don't get hurt. Our icons work two hundred plus days a year, there is absolutely nothing what so ever fake about that.

Right now truthfully I am just a pissed off fifteen year old tired of hearing friends, and peers bash something that I have loved for so very long. Fake is a four-letter word that has wrapped itself around a business. If I get pissed when someone calls it fake, how do greats like Ric Flair and Terry Funk feel when they hear what they have worked for, for thirty plus years and have it tarnished in less then thirty seconds" If you can get passed the word fake then you will finally see what we see, we the wrestling fans see. You will see the passion and drive that our heroes have. You would understand why a crowd of a thousand would jam themselves into a blistering hot building to watch something so pure, and Extreme you couldn't get it on Mondays. It is downright pathetic that people verbally spit on something they just don't know. If only the non-wrestling fan would sit down for a mere ten minutes and watch the men and women that we watch week in and week out, then maybe you will finally understand and if you don't understand wrestling for what it is meant to be" SUCK IT!

by B. Friedman ..


Juan wrote:
Great column man, i too just like you am tired of the bullshit statements people make saying wrestlings fake. Its blasfamy in my eyes and when i hear someone say its fake i pop in a sabu, austin or even triple H tape when they get seriosly in jured and 2 out of 3 times finish the godamn match. Is that fake, Hell F'n No!!
Nick Currier wrote:
I agree with you 110% it makes sick when I hear someone tell me wrestling is fake. They do not understand what these athletes have to do day in and day out to keep in shape and to perform in the ring putting there bodies on the line . I have been a wrestling fan all my life and I have never questioned the integrity of wrestling but so many people tell me " why do you watch that crap, its fake" and I tell them, what is your definition of fake" and they always say"not real" and I say so all the fans who support there favorite wrestlers, and watch them day in and day out. and the wrestlers who put there body on the line to put on one hell of a show! so that's fake to you well to me and all of the other wrestling fans It's real and we don't care if some pig headed fools think its fake
Justin Laleh wrote:
No one is making the clearly untenable claim that wrestling is "only fake", such a claim would be self defeating as where would the claim to lack of authenticity lie" Without providing any content to a concept of inauthenticity it obviously leaves it open to ridicule. What I was claiming as "fake" was not its integrity qua entertainment or exercise, buts its integrity qua contact and competition.

As a source of entertainment it can devalued when compared to alternative sources of viewing entertainment, be it cinema (clearly a more versatile and powerful medium for achieveing the 'entertainment' goals of pro wrestling) or dare I say 'real' sports i.e. mma - a more physically demanding sport with greater risk and much greater contact, or even tennis - a professional sport that requires competitive athletic skills, tactics, fitness, power etc, all of which are either optional or completely unrequired in a pro wrestler. But in the face of this devaluation the claim 'its only fake' is clearly not particularily damaging, because at no point does the entertainment become fake; this would be a meaningless eventuality (unless someone is claiming that the crowd is feigning enjoyment...).

However, to claim that as a 'wrestling' event 'it is only fake', or as a 'sporting' event 'it is only fake' is fully justified. Ballet is an art, it is not considered a sport. 'it's a knockout' is physically demanding and indeed actually un-determined and competitive, but it is not considered to be sporting. I believe that it would prove very difficult, if not impossible, to somehow build an argument that solidly claims pro-wrestling is not fake in terms of a contact sport, because fundamentally it is. Its very basis is to fake and imitate a real sport but take it to extremes where real action would prove fatel or dangerous. The whole idea of pro-wrestling (as an activity not as a show) is to reduce the risk of potentially brutal and fatal actions. So if a wrestler gets injured it is not through any form of 'toughness', it doesn't somehow stand as testemony to the demands of the sport but only serves to highlight a lack of ability to successfully fake, or a complete perversion of the original goals of wrestling (again as an activity not a show).
Anthony Mcmullen wrote:
Bravo! I belee dat. I am only 16 (And 11 months) myself and have only been watching wrestling for six years, but I know that it aint fake. These men and women do take great risks. It may be fake, but what you see is what you get. They aren't just 300 lb guys in tights. What about the cruiserweights. wrestling is real, scripted or not.
RuthlessGattman wrote:
Listen kid.. I'm attending a wrestling school in January of 2007. I've read your article and all I can say is to calm down. Yes, it POs me a lot when people diss my love and passion for a business I hope to one day be a part of. Yes, I do wish people would stop caring about the scripted endings and how some moves just won't work in the real word. Thing is, people will be arrogant and you just have to live with it. Don't worry what people say about your favorite entetainment, it's them who are missing on the action.

As for responses, just say, "Hey, if it's so fake, why do kids get hurt imitating it" It's fake so nothing hurts."
Eduver3 wrote:
bravo! i, as a kid, thought wrestling was so real. now as a 16 year old fan, i know they plan whos gonna win, they rehearse lines, they set storylines. but i saw that that the pain this men and women endure is not fake.brock lesnar (who i wish would return and stay!) nearly broke his neck w/ that starpress gone wrong at wrestlemanis 19, triple h, oh man triple h, this man has endured so much in that ring, being busted open alot, having rvd mess up his neck in the first elimination chamber match, tearing his quadricep during a match on raw and the aftermath of the last man standing aftermath at royal rumble 2004 w/ hbk are just some of the few things triple h endures that earns my upmost respect, heel or not.this are nto just men in tights and costumes, this are professional athletes who are involed in the REAL HARDEST BUSINESS OF SPORTS, no, not boxing,not football, not hockey, but wrestling.yea they get hurt too, but they dont work night after night, they dont stay away from ppl they care about for long periods of time, the word off season doesnt exist in wrestling.so yes, wrestling is truly sports entertainment, its sports w/ entertainment and its the best. and i walk into a room of football fans, baseball fans, b-ball fans, and say i love wrestling and thankfully i have friends that are cool w/ that and dont give me that "its fake, and it for little kids" little kids"! if you sit down and watch you'll see that like 90% of the audience at live shows are over 21, as well as all the wrestlers are, duh! so im just saying if you think wrestling is fake check out behind the scene features of wwe events like wrestlemania's and royal rumble's were you'll see triple h and shawn micheals, bloody and barely capable of moving, or kurt angle getting neck surgery and all b/c wrestling is "fake".
Brandon Riley wrote:
The whole wrestling being fake issue is debateable by the single fact that no side wins.

Wrestling is fake because:
- At the end of the day 99% of the wrestlers go home, live normal lives, and even hang out together at the bar after a show.
- Many of the matches are scripted as far as high spots and who wins the bout.
- Much of what is said in promos is scripted to a certain degree
- Objects such as chairs used in the WWE are constructed to take the blunt of the hit
- whoever is being slammed or thrown lets his/her opponent cleanly execute their move
- whoever is being slammed or thrown knows how to fall to avoid injury
- high impact moves are "sold" to make them look even more powerful

Wrestling is not fake because:
- it hurts to be hit by a chair
- some issues in the ring reflect issues outside (matt hardy for instance)
- some wrestlers live their life inside and outside the ring in the same fashion. living their character
- the blood is real
- its a business, its a sport. but in my eyes, its an art.
Anthony from New York wrote:
Dude Dude I am speechless. That was one of the best articles I have read in my life. As I sit at home and read this 150% true article I can't just help to think, You took the words out of my mouth. Whenever I see my friends it's Wrestling is fake wrestling is well I know there wrong but this was just great BRAVO BRAVO please write another article in 3 weeks. You are right wrestling isn't just Big guys in tights,its guys who lay it on the line every Monday or Thursday (soon to be Friday) and on house shows and Pay-per-views. I hope you know how great this was
rohit ramnath wrote:
At this point id like to bring out that in my locality, I am the only one who is a non-smark fan of wrestling. Possibly the only one in Mumbai. So I know what it feels like when people are telling you that wrestling is fake. Its wrong and it's a deplorable heresy against the sport/art we all love. I'm not talking about sports-entertainment I'm talking about professional wrestling. I have heard many, far too many to recount, people go "Wrestling is Fake" like they were God's gift to the world and wrestling was some kind of con-job to make money.

And I do hate them all for saying it. A rugby tackle is real and painful, but you do it with greater speed on a harder ground and call it a spear (or gore) it becomes fake""" Boxing is very much real and dangerous but you increase the intensity, put the athletes in a far more dangerous environment and have them do much more damage to each others' bodies and suddenly it's fake"""

It's wrong I know. Wrestling is that art of making it look as real without significantly injuring your opponent. I say significantly because when RVD does a 5-star Frog Splash or Benoit does the Suicide Head-butt, it HAS to hurt; When Mike Awesome Powerbombed Masato Tanaka through a Table breaking it in half it HAS to hurt; when Tommy Dreamer used a cheese grater to rip the forehead of Bubba Ray Dudley it HAS to hurt. (Note: I know most of these are references to one night stand but you get what I mean)

But here's how we put it. What are you going to do about it Mr. Friedman""" You know all about wrestling and what goes into making it what it is today. You go through the trouble of sacrificing your time and money to watch the WWE on Mondays and Thursdays and buying their PPVs and searching for information all over the internet, through books, from commentary but you wont stand up for what is possibly the worst insult to wrestling"""

Educate the masses on wrestling. It's tough. Everyone's out to prove you wrong. They don't want to believe you because that would mean their entire philosophy goes down the drain. But I have stood up for it and in the past 1 year I have been able to convince 2 (maybe 3) people that wrestling isn't fake. I have been able to convince far more people that it MAY not be fake cause lets put it honestly, the WWE does little to convince the people so let US convince them. Stop whining and crying to others who know that it is real. Be a man and take it up with those who believe it is fake.

Just to tell you how to do this, there are some pointers you should know. Firstly, people now seem to associate wrestling with WWE. WWE is sports entertainment (read cheap second-class rip-off of professional wrestling). WWE is not wrestling. It's what the McMahons thought people would mistake to be wrestling and they did!!! You have to tell them about the legacies left behind by WCW, ECW, NWA, GCW, ROH even!!!

Secondly, some stuff in wrestling is fake. Give it to them. Not all punches they throw land on the opponents' jaw. An armbar hurts but not that much. A left hook is not a finisher no matter how much sound you manage to produce while doing it. Punches, kicks, armdrags, hurracanranas are choreographed. Agree with that. But we here are not talking about the moves by themselves but how you can execute them without injuring your opponents. THAT is real. And THAT, my friends, is wrestling.

Lastly, even within the WWE people haven't heard of wrestling. All of them lay claim to watching the WWE (then WWF) for sometime and "it was so fake it was unbelievable." Chances are these guys have absolutely no clue what they are talking about but are saying it is fake only to sound knowledgeable. Tell them of Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Terry Funk and other great WRESTLERS who endow the legacy with the honor and dignity it deserves.

So, Mr. Friedman and all those who are frustrated at having the world say "wrestling is fake", stand up and face them like the men you'll are (or women). Teach them what you know and convince them that they are very sadly mistaken and have no idea what they are talking about.
michael nader wrote:
Good article man. I agree with most of everything you said but theres something to be taken into consideration. When some people say "fake" they usually refer to the fact that it's staged. I'm sure most people know that these wrestlers perform moves that "you should not try at home"

However there are also those iggnorant people who say it's ALL fake. Usually it's because they really do think its all fake and feel good about bashing it because they have no self esteem and need to feel smart, or usually it's because they know you'll take offense to it and it will get a rise out of you.

The worst case scenero is when you are actually watching it and DURING THE FRIGGIN PROGRAM that's when someone in your family JUST NEEDS TO TELL YOU ITS FAKE.

So when it comes down to it wrestling isn't exactly really, but it's not entirely fake either. As bad as this may sound, Owen Hart is living proof of that.
Brian Bertrand wrote:
I read this column and I just HAD to reply. I've listened to many people online and offline that have said that wrestling "fake". What needs to be remembered is that these people have never seen a full match of professional wrestling in terms of the WWE or TNA or any other full-drawn out match in any other company. They just sit there and make their opinions on stuff that they've seen in a certain amount of time.

My trainer put it in complete perspective. "Pro Wrestling is neither fake nor real. There are pre-determined outcomes but it takes a large amount of talent to pull it off no matter if it's a fireman's carry or a simple tie-up." When I hear people say it I just ask them, "What makes you think it's fake" Is there a certain problem you have against wrestling"" I love to hear people explain themselves but the problem with that is that every answer that I hear is always the same "It's just a bunch of sweaty men in tights doing moves that belong in a gay porn film." Well I'm sorry that you took it out of context but I would like to see you take a body splash from a 400 pound Viscera or an elevated powerbomb (Last Ride) by The Undertaker and I want you to tell me that it's fake.

When you meet people like that you have to think about the stuff that they watch. These other sports you see today are far more rigged than they claim wrestling to be. Many boxers take a fall lose a fight and collect money. The same happens in many sports like baseball, boxing, basketball, and football. It's dissappointing that they think that they know the business when they don't even know the stuff that goes on in the sports that they watch every single week.
Dev Hasan wrote:
Bravo! Great column, I thought it was fantastic and like Anthony from N.Y said it's been the best column I read in a long long time!

Ive had enough of people telling me what I love is fake and rubbish when they don't watch it or anything.

I was 13 or 14 years old and I was talking wrestling with my friend in class and we were speaking about Owen Hart and the teacher rudly inrupts us and tells us "it's all fake and lies, he isnt really dead" I didnt know what to do or say then I said "oh...so the funeral and everything was fake was it"" and he tried convincing me it was all fake and he told me "how do you know he isnt living in a hot beach somewhere" I seriously felt like getting up and slapping his lips off his face.

As for another thing I always have this stupid goof at my gym telling me when am I gonna learn to fight when I could probley just kick him in the nuts and then kick his face in non-stop. He told me "just go watch your fake kiddy wrestling" and tried making me look like a fool so I responded saying "so Owen Hart breaking Stone Cold's neck was fake"" and he laughed saying "it was fake man" then I said "just shut up your dumb, you don't know anything about wrestling, your just a hypocrite who follows what everyone else says, go and fight in a cage and lose your second rated wannabe unknown UFC belt to some stupid old bum" and he looked dumb as a rock infront of everyone.
XLiLBlondChickX wrote:
My name is Jessica I have a comment for all them morons out there who insist wrestling is fake! How is it fake when 90% of the time the wrestlers get real injuries some permanent. Was wrestling fake when Taz broke his neck and finished the match And walked into the hospital by HIMSELF, or what about when Sabu broke his neck.Was it fake when Tommy Dreamer got cained by Sandman(hell NO that was real ass blood) or WHEN VINCE MCMAHON BOUGHT OUT HIS OWN COMPETITION! And again Was it fake when at One night stand JBL busted open blue meanie's stitches, or what about when Lita and edge f*cked over Matt Hardy countless times" come on now tell me that's fake" It's not fake that's the thing. I don't expect non-wrestling fans to know that because they think it's so fake that they don't even give wrestling the time of day. And for all them non-fans all i have to say is THE MONDAY NIGHT WAR! watch it you'll see how real wrestling is inside and out!
Kevin Barnes wrote:
Everybody needs to calm down just a bit. I have been watching wrestling for over 40 years, that's right, 40 years. I still enjoy watching it but I'm far from being the mark I was back then. As a child I used to believe everything I saw in the ring was 100% real. Certain guys hated other certain guys, wrestlers were really being choked by the tag-team rope, eyes were really being gouged out of their sockets, some of the men really were from "parts unknown" and could not speak English, and refs were so ignorant to allow this cheating to continue night after night. It never occured to me that a kick to the groin would not result in you getting up and winning a match 3 minutes later. I've had my nuts racked more than once, and I can guarantee that I was in no mood to fight 3 hours later. There are no exercises you can do to strengthen your testicles. With me so far"

Yes, wrestlers (for the most part) are in top physical condition. The travel must be tough on personal relationships. They have to work whether they feel up to it or not, no calling in sick. Of course, these wrestlers get injured seriously from time to time, and that certainly is not fake. Owen Hart died in my home town, but don't forget he wasn't killed while in a match. Wrestlers work very hard to polish their skills to the highest possible level, but accidents happen. However, if done correctly by both parties, none of these moves are designed to cause grave bodily injury to their opponent, only to simulate it. When you work for the same company, it is a very bad idea to intentionally put a co-worker out of commission for any length of time. As I understand it, they don't get paid if they can't work. Didn't any of you watch the first or second season of Tough Enough" It was a fascinating backstage look at how they learn to fall, flip, toss, punch, kick, take a punch or kick, and safely perform almost every move in the ring. Such a show would have been unheard of 20 or 30 years ago.

Don't get so bent out of shape when someone calls wrestling fake. In many ways, it is just that. Think about it; punches to the head actually landed by the wrist" Fake. Fingers to the eyes" Fake. Low blows" Fake. Neck caught between two ring ropes" Fake. Hair throw" Fake. Biting the nose or forehead" Fake. Sledgehamer to the skull" Fake. Cops arresting a guy for an assault committed 2000 miles away" Fake. Eighty year old woman getting splashed by a 350 pound Samoan and living" Fake. Crashed limos with wrestlers inside" Fake. Beating up your boss and having a job the next day" Fake. The list goes on and on. If you don't like the word fake, choose one of these. Rehearsed. Choreographed. Planned. Simulated. Preordained. They all mean the same thing. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching wrestling or that you shouldn't. If you keep it in perspective, I hope you continue to be a fan for as long as I have.

Finally, I would like to answer a couple of the previous posts. Why do backyard wrestlers get hurt or killed" Because they are untrained idiots who haven't a clue what they're doing. This post was written by someone who claims to be attending wrestling school next year. There is a good reason you're going to school instead of learning at home, isn't there" Someone else said other sports are more rigged than wrestling. Pure BS, and if you have evidence to prove your point I suggest you take it to the respective commissioners or Congress. And someone else stated that 90% of the time wrestlers get real injuries. Nonsense. When your forehead bleeds because you cut it backstage, that is not an injury. Just because a wrestler shows up the next night heavily bandaged or on crutches does not mean he was really hurt. Iron Mike Sharp wrestled with his arm in a cast for 3 years. Is he the slowest healer in history or was it not a real injury" You tell me.
Jarvis Young wrote:
I am currently training under Skandor Akbar. We are working on a gimmick in which I will be billed as the "oldest rookie" in pro wrestling history at age 53 (basically,this is the culmination of a childhood dream, ie to be a pro wrestler, and also as a forum for my passion of education in preventing child abduction). My problem with the term "fake" is that it is very disrespectful to those who have sweated and toiled in the business. I am okay if someone knows that what we do is a "work" or a "show" or "entertainment". Even before getting involved with the business, I learned to respect those that are in it. I also make a living as a professional magician...I realize that everyone knows that what I do on stage are merely "tricks" or "illusions" if you will. No one would ever insult me by calling me, as a magician, a fake or a fraud...at least no one ever has that I am aware of. When Russell Crow plays a Roman Gladiator or former Heavyweight boxing champion, James J Braddock..we refer to him as a great actor, but not as a "fake". Dory Funk Jr once refered to the word "fake" as "that other 'f-word'. Now don't get me wrong, I realize that what we love (pro wrestling) and what some of us do will never be considered "mainstream" or"highbrowed" entertainment.....but, it certainly deserves much more respect than it gets. Quite frankly, as I sit here and write this, I do so with the pain of a pinched nerve and a pulled muscle from last weeks training segments...man, if this is fake...fake sure does hurt.
Michael Eisen wrote:
B. Friedman when I read this I thought is it possible that you are a clone of me because I agree 100% with your article. I have had times where I would be somewhere and people I know saying "Oh my god wrestling is fake not real!" and I would get really mad and try to defend my point but they would not believe me. I eventually had one of these people over and I showed them my Mick Foley DVD. First thing I do is go right to the infamous hell in a cell. After it was over they had a revelation and started to see that wrestling is not fake. Soon I got him to start watching wrestling and I was proud. The thing is that I still remember how just two years ago I was like my friend and said wrestling is fake but just like I did a friend of mine showed me the truth but I live in Seattle Washington and I got into wrestling about 2 or 3 months after Wrestlemania 19. So I went to Wrestlemania 21 and when I came back I talked to the people who said wrestling is fake and I said "Believe what you want to but just remember that as long as you think that it is fake you will always be lying."
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