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I started watching in 1996 when Michaels was at his peak and he begun his feud with Sid. 

I immediately assumed it was at least partially fixed when it came to me that the mechanics/physics of Irish whips, chokeslams and various other moves defied any sort of logic. Why didn't the guy being grabbed by the neck pull away or drop to the floor? Why would someone run into ropes, turn, run back and get hit when he could just stop running? The fact that guys the size of Undertaker or Vader could punch you in the face for 15 minutes and there never be a single bruise was somewhat odd and the fact that nobody ever put their hands up to protect their heads from chair shots in 1997 felt ludicrous. 

I always felt that the likes of Bret Hart and Austin were legitimate bad-asses who could really hurt you if they wanted and that they had a genuine hate for each other (I was 11 ish at the time) and Austin's feud with Vince, Bret's with Michaels and Undertaker versus Mankind always made me question whether they actually did hate each other. Then we moved to brawl for all; guys wearing padded gloves knocking each other out in a minute when every other week they can go for ten or fifteen minutes taking huge moves. That was the decider for me; the whole thing was a huge fraud. Not that I minded, at that point I cared about the characters. There was mystique around the Undertaker, Austin was someone who you wouldn't mess with, you wanted to go for a beer with the Rock or DX and that was enough for me. 

Interestingly, that was probably the most realistic time period of my wrestling viewing; it has gone down hill since then with the likes of Meltzer Drivers, multiple kick outs of moves, sledgehammer shots, people being set on fire, celebrities wrestling like they are pros and the vast amount of twitter kayfabe-destroying pictures of guys relaxing together on tour whilst hating each other in the ring. If I were to be a 10 year old in 2020/1 I would have no interest whatsoever because the whole thing SCREAMS fake. In fact they don't even pretend that it is real or even a struggle and as such I would have no interest in who hates who. I think the key thing that would put me off in 2021 is the fact every fucker is so grateful and "happy" to be there. Women wrestlers bursting into tears after every milestone, videos saying how proud and happy they (men) are happy to be part of the big event... I cannot comprehend Austin, Rock, Hogan or Michaels ever gushing about how proud they are that they have been "given the opportunity" to main event Wrestle-Mania. 

My family tolerated my obsessive fandom though would always say "its all crap", "its put on/fake" and that they are "friends in real life" and this stopped me talking about wrestling to them or anyone else at length. It was only in 2000/1 when my school had a boom period of watching wrestling (culminating in a bunch of us going to watch WM17 at a mates house) that I felt it socially acceptable to mention wrestling in "real" life. 

Apologies for my usual cynical rant. I have come to the conclusion that wrestling simply isn't for me anymore and whilst I take interest in what is happening (hence lurking/posting here) I cannot even bring myself to describe wrestling in the US as wrestling any longer. It's a performance, a show, a spectacle but there is no pretence that it is real and for me that is such a kicker cos it is not the product I grew up adoring. I will have to stick to NJPW (which at least has a sense of sportsmanship and legitimacy, even though they gave the IWGP title to the current holder) and watching old tapes/shows for my nostalgia kick. 

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"An eagle-eyed viewer might be able to see the wires. A pedant might be able to see the wires. But I think if you're looking at the wires you're ignoring the story. If you go to a puppet show you can

It's still real to me dammit. 

It's amazing how many of the responses to threads like this are along the lines of "my dad told me it was fake" or "an older kid at school said it was all fixed." Why would you believe those dirt

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12 minutes ago, Uncle Zeb said:

This was playground wisdom in 1993 as well. An idea that you'd think wouldn't stand up to scrutiny with wrestlers moving back and forth between them, but then look at guys like Ken Shamrock and Brock Lesnar since then. Maybe we were right after all.

As late as 2000, there were definitely kids at school saying "that ECW stuff is all real". I wonder to what extent it was the reputation, rather than anyone actually having seen it - I don't think I knew anyone who really watched WCW in the way everyone watched the WWF. It just never seemed to be as big a deal here as in the US. I wonder if there's some defensive sense of "well, some wrestling has to be real", and just deciding it's the one you've heard of but that's harder to watch.

When I started watching wrestling in around 1993/1994, I'd basically all but missed Hogan's run with the WWF, but obviously I'd heard of him and knew he was a big deal. I also had a bunch of Beano and Dandy annuals in which Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks were always the bywords for "wrestling", or fighting of any kind, so assumed they were big name wrestlers too, and when I saw adverts for WCW on TNT on whatever it will have been on at the time, I just assumed that WCW must be this other company where Big Daddy and Hulk Hogan both worked. 

In terms of thinking it's real, I've always put a lot of stock in the fact that I got into wrestling right around the same time Mortal Kombat came out. Seeing that the fighters in Mortal Kombat were "real people", and seeing some of them show up in character on things like Gamesmaster, I'm convinced meant it sort of sat alongside wrestling in my head as something that was obviously real because you could see the actual people actually doing stuff, even if I was making allowances for Sub-Zero not really having ice powers and so on. I think I probably assumed wrestling was a similar kind of real fighting dressed up for entertainment value. 

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Speaking of ECW, a mate had got their DreamCast game as a mistake ("oh isn't this the wrestling game you wanted") and he instantly thought that it must be real with all the hardcore matches and that WWF was taking the piss out of it.

Then Van Dam showed up a few weeks later in the Invasion and he realised it was just as fake. I think he was one of the few who despised Van Dam for ruining his hopes.

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I can’t even remember when the penny dropped for me but it was probably early on. Most of the men in my family were big boxing fans and I do remember wondering why punches with big gloves on were cutting and swelling these boxers up yet wrestlers were taking a million bare knuckle punches and leaving the ring with not a mark on them. I don’t remember anyone in my family going out of their way to shatter the illusion for me though. 

My favourite is when you got older and still had people falling over themselves to tell you it was fake as if you didn’t know by 19 or whatever. Then they’d drone on at length about the latest scandal on the mean streets of totally real Eastenders or whatever.

The last thing I remember really suckering me in though, and this was way after I knew it was all fake, was the Bret Hart vs Steve Austin feud in 96/97. I knew the matches themselves weren’t real fights obviously but I genuinely believed they most likely detested each other backstage the same way Bret and Shawn Michaels obviously did. Hook, line and sinker they got me with that feud, to the point that it still felt a bit odd to me when Austin inducted Bret into the HOF that year. 

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My dad stamped that out of me the second he saw me watching 'that shit.' when I was about 8 in 1992. Painfully pointing out every stomp, missed punch, how they performed the moves etc in a bid to make me lose interest. I don't recall any substantial period I was allowed to suspend my disbelief really.

The funny thing is my grandad, who I used to watch WWF and WCW tapes with until his death in 2001, was still adamant it was real and wouldn't have any of it when someone tried to point out it was worked. He preferred his World of Sport, although for a 74 year old he was still into Attitude Era WWF.

On a slightly different point though, its never bothered me as a fan to hear wrestling referred to as 'fake.' No one is really claiming its an optical illusion or anything, but when you present yourself as a legitimate sport when you're not then you're going to get knocked aren't you?

I can understand, to a degree, how it'd be galling as a wrestler to be told that your livlihood was 'fake', but the phrase is pretty much shorthand for 'choreographed' isn't it?

While kayfabe is dead now, no one ever really claimed that soaps or films were actual real life events, and had credits etc, while wrestling did for decades on end. So to most non fans you can see why they'd feel the need to point it out I suppose.

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3 hours ago, garynysmon said:

My dad stamped that out of me the second he saw me watching 'that shit.' when I was about 8 in 1992. Painfully pointing out every stomp, missed punch, how they performed the moves etc in a bid to make me lose interest. I don't recall any substantial period I was allowed to suspend my disbelief really.

The funny thing is my grandad, who I used to watch WWF and WCW tapes with until his death in 2001, was still adamant it was real and wouldn't have any of it when someone tried to point out it was worked. He preferred his World of Sport, although for a 74 year old he was still into Attitude Era WWF.

On a slightly different point though, its never bothered me as a fan to hear wrestling referred to as 'fake.' No one is really claiming its an optical illusion or anything, but when you present yourself as a legitimate sport when you're not then you're going to get knocked aren't you?

I can understand, to a degree, how it'd be galling as a wrestler to be told that your livlihood was 'fake', but the phrase is pretty much shorthand for 'choreographed' isn't it?

While kayfabe is dead now, no one ever really claimed that soaps or films were actual real life events, and had credits etc, while wrestling did for decades on end. So to most non fans you can see why they'd feel the need to point it out I suppose.

I really don't see why people point it out, do they really think wrestling fans are that stupid? When people say it they are trying to be dicks. 

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My first exposure was watching a recording of WrestleMania 7 on a mate's VHS. Him and his brother told me some of the matches were fake but you could tell Hogan and Slaughter was real because of the blood etc.

Of course his parents kept saying it was all fake just to crush our beliefs as people love you do about pro wrestling. 

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I bought it hook, line and sinker when I first got into it as a naive 4 year old in 89, by the time 91 came around I still had some suspension of disbelief right up until the snake bite incident with Jake and Macho Man as around that time I was reading books on nature and how cobra bites can kill people within minutes yet Savage was back in the ring at Tuesday in Texas fine and dandy

I still got a hell of a lot of enjoyment out of watching, then when I got in my teens and the internet became more prominent, I began looking up about how they gimmicked stuff added to the fact I was getting more and more into horror movies and the behind the scenes stuff with stunts and kills and that helped to go back on older footage and think 'oh thats how they done that'. Prime example of that being the Warrior/Papa Shango curse angle, specifically the Warrior having the goo pour from his head as it was very rare Warrior would do stage or pre taped promos wearing jackets, the only other time off memory was at the Rumble the previous year so figured out that they had the mechanism somewhere inside the jacket, hidden from view to trigger it

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This is always an interesting thing for me to think about because I've been watching for ages and yet there's no real recollection of when I was really aware of anything like that. I don't remember it being like a 'Santa isn't real!' type deal. It was more of an intrigue than a disappointment. Just how much of it was 'fake' exactly? How did it all work? Obviously that curiosity still exists to this day really and I think it's part of the overall fascination - most of us have an understanding to a point but there's still elements of mystery.

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Gradual thing for me as well. I remember thinking "well of course they aren't REALLY going to try and hurt each other, because then they'd have no one to wrestle". Very short jump from there to "it's all predetermined".

Weirdly I was more shocked when I realised that the Apter Mags were fake than I was about wrestling itself. I knew they kept kayfabe but I thought the interviews, stories etc, were legit. It wasn't until one of the writers "overheard" Skip and Sunny secretly talking backstage, completely in character, that I realised it was all total bollocks.

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I never really thought about it growing up. 

Grew up watching the British wrestling and then moved on to the WWF, I just accepted it as what it was. 

The first time I had a "It's fake moment" was reading an issue of WWF Magazine when they were on about "Chyna playing a heel". I was actually in my late teens at this point, but I'd grown up with a family of wrestling fans, so no one had scoffed at me when I watched it as well. 

That said, watching Taker rise to the heavens at Rumble 94 should have clued me in somewhat! 

I remember catching Bushido on Eurosport in the mid 90s and I totally believed that was real.  

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I knew as a kid from playground chat that who wins and loses is all chosen beforehand and they're not always hitting each other but as far as I was concerned certain angles and injuries were 100% legit. Like, why would Randy Savage be limping and holding his ribs if he wasn't really in agonising pain?

I got back in to wrestling in 1999 after a few years off so I'd have been 14 and would get my mum's boyfriend wandering in whilst me and my brother were watching WWF and saying it was all staged. I was a lot smarter to the inner-workings of matches but would still be genuinely concerned and sucked in by things like the barbed wire baseball bat at Royal Rumble 2000 and defend them as still being legit. He'd say "Nah, it's blood capsules and plastic barbed wire". No Mark, you're wrong, he's got fucking drawing pins sticking out of his face.

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10 minutes ago, cobra_gordo said:

I got back in to wrestling in 1999 after a few years off so I'd have been 14 and would get my mum's boyfriend wandering in whilst me and my brother were watching WWF and saying it was all staged. I was a lot smarter to the inner-workings of matches but would still be genuinely concerned and sucked in by things like the barbed wire baseball bat at Royal Rumble 2000 and defend them as still being legit. He'd say "Nah, it's blood capsules and plastic barbed wire". No Mark, you're wrong, he's got fucking drawing pins sticking out of his face.

He's half right in the case of that match, the barbed wire shots to HHH are fake barbs. 

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