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#1
Old 10-21-2012, 03:15 PM
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When did professional wrestling become fake?

OK I'm not stupid. I know wrestling has always been fake. But in the past they never admitted it. There were some famous incidents when wrestlers got irate when you called it fake. John Stossel got slapped around. Richard Belzer got choked out. Near as I could figure about ten years or so ago it changed. Mick Foley talked about his characters openly. Wrestlers would be out of character in interviews. There was honest talk about plots and storylines like it was any other fiction show. This recent interview with Hulk Hogan mentions the backstage workings of Wrestlelmania 3. So when did it happen? Did Vince McMahon all of a sudden say its ok? I remember that at some point for tax reasons in NJ they had to admit legally that it was entertainment not sport. They had to change there name around the same time. Was that the change? Or did something else happen?
#2
Old 10-21-2012, 03:20 PM
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Not all wrestling is fake, surely? I mean, there's high school wrestling. Is there college wrestling? What about olympic wrestling (is that a thing?).
#3
Old 10-21-2012, 03:28 PM
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Pro wrestling used to be regulated by State Sports rules. They required doctors on scene and other sports safety requirements.

Vince McMahon had it reclassified as entertainment. I guess to save money. That pretty much was admitting the "sport" was fake. After that kayfab rules weren't followed as closely.

Also the story lines got more and more unbelievable. They didn't even bother pretending this stuff was real. It was a cartoon with real people.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-21-2012 at 03:32 PM.
#4
Old 10-21-2012, 03:37 PM
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Professional wrestling was "fake" by at least the 1950s. I was a kid, but I could tell that the chair that smashed the head of my favorite didn't really cause him to bleed enough to die.

earl snake hips tucker is prbably the expert on these boards and will be along to enlighten you soon.. I'll email him.

Last edited by samclem; 10-21-2012 at 03:38 PM.
#5
Old 10-21-2012, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
Not all wrestling is fake, surely? I mean, there's high school wrestling. Is there college wrestling? What about olympic wrestling (is that a thing?).
Really?? Tell me more about this other wrestling.
#6
Old 10-21-2012, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Professional wrestling was "fake" by at least the 1950s. I was a kid, but I could tell that the chair that smashed the head of my favorite didn't really cause him to bleed enough to die.

earl snake hips tucker is prbably the expert on these boards and will be along to enlighten you soon.. I'll email him.
Oh I understand that. But if you haven't been following it they don't even pretend it is any more. I haven't followed it since high school but the radio show I listen to has current stars every now and then. They are always on as themselves, never their characters. I was just wondering if this was a gradual thing or an order by Vince at some time.
#7
Old 10-21-2012, 04:28 PM
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Waddaya mean fake? Of all de noive!
#8
Old 10-21-2012, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
Not all wrestling is fake, surely? I mean, there's high school wrestling. Is there college wrestling? What about olympic wrestling (is that a thing?).
The OP is talking about professional wrestling as opposed to Greco-Roman wrestling. I've added that word to the thread title.
#9
Old 10-21-2012, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
Waddaya mean fake? Of all de noive!
Wasn't there a wrestler who punched a reporter in the kisser for asking if wrestling was fake? In the 80's, I believe.

Anyway, if memory serves, it was about the mid-1990's that it was all brought out in the open. It coincided with wrestling's expanding popularity and DVD's being made about the individual wrestlers with out-of-character interviews, talking about storylines, career paths, etc.
#10
Old 10-21-2012, 05:07 PM
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Professional wrestling (the WWF, NWO type) is no more fake than Forrest Gump. It's not intended to be a professional sports league like the NFL or NBA, with unknown outcomes and Vegas betting lines. It's pure entertainment. So, it's not fake. The question you should ask is why a lot of people refer to professional wrestling as fake.

Last edited by Mince; 10-21-2012 at 05:09 PM.
#11
Old 10-21-2012, 05:07 PM
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Well, thanks, samclem for acknowledgement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach
So when did it happen? Did Vince McMahon all of a sudden say its ok?
Pretty much. Vince Jr. was the game changer. Well, really cable was the game changer. Vince Jr. just had the foresight to see where things were headed, and he was best positioned to take advantage of it. And when Vince went to court for whatever case it was back then, he admitted that it was all entertainment.

Quote:
I remember that at some point for tax reasons in NJ they had to admit legally that it was entertainment not sport. They had to change there name around the same time. Was that the change? Or did something else happen?
Vince Sr's promotion was called the WWWF (Worldwide Wrestling Federation). Vince Jr. at some point shortened it to just WWF, which, once it was no longer under the radar, and was becoming a better known acronym, ran afoul of the World Wildlife Fund. Hence the change to WWE.

And, yeah, matches were *works pretty much all the way back to the early part of the century. You'll see early newspaper accounts of matches lasting several hours. Riiiiiight. Watch the MMA guys and how they gassed out after 15 minutes before the organizations went to the rounds system.

Having said that, the NWA world champions for the most part were people who could tear apart just about any wreslter who wanted to get cute with them and try to make a name for themselves. Also, Verne Gagne in the AWA. Also, on a local level, promoters typically had a "policeman" in their employ. That was a "shooter" or "hooker" (term varies depending upon whom you talk to. Those were the guys who had the legitimate grappling skills, who could pretty much any time they wanted, grab some body part, and begin twisting in some really painful positions. If you tried to go off the reservation with the promoter, you might find yourself in a match with one of them to teach you a painful lesson.

And just in case some pedant steps in and wants to nitpick the nicknames Vince Sr. and Vince Jr. because the two McMahons had different middle names--I know, but if it was good enough for the insiders to use, it's good enough for me.

*Work is a wrestling term for a match where the "combatants" work their way to the conclusion. They might have the finishing touch worked out, and some dramatic points in-between, but most of the match was ad-libbed (worked) between those points. Compared to a "shoot," which means "this is for real." A really rare thing, since, as noted above,you might find yourself in with a surprise opponent.
#12
Old 10-21-2012, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Pixiesnix View Post
Wasn't there a wrestler who punched a reporter in the kisser for asking if wrestling was fake? In the 80's, I believe.
Dave Schultz. Westlers and wrestling fans generally acknowledge the 20/20 piece when John Stossel got knocked around as the point when kayfabe* was first broken.

Prior to 20/20, wrestling fans argued about whether it was fake. Prior to that time, for example, wrestlers travelled to shows in the same groups they'd appear on TV. Heels would share hotel rooms with other heels, and so on. NWA/WCW and regional promotions stuck with it up to the 90s, though WWE/F gave up on it earlier than that.

The real killer was the Vince McMahon steroid trial in 1994, when he was basically forced to testify that it was staged.

*kayfabe is the industry term for the practice of presenting wrestling as real.

ETA: Ninjaed by ESHT.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 10-21-2012 at 05:14 PM.
#13
Old 10-21-2012, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Dave Schultz. Westlers and wrestling fans generally acknowledge the 20/20 piece when John Stossel got knocked around as the point when kayfabe* was first broken.
Thanks, I tried to post "I should really read the OP before replying," but my computer didn't want to cooperate.
#14
Old 10-21-2012, 05:22 PM
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To clarify, it wasn't the knocking-around part that broke kayfabe. It was the 20/20 piece actually airing.
#15
Old 10-21-2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
earl snake hips tucker is prbably the expert on these boards and will be along to enlighten you soon.. I'll email him.
Ahem. Maybe an expert, but not the only one.

There was a major breach of kayfabe in the 1930s, I think. A sportswriter accidentally published the results of matches before they happened. Think this was in Chicago, but I'm not sure.

Vince pretty much drove a stake through the heart of kayfabe when he testified under oath during his steroids trial.

There have been "dirt sheets", ie newsletters, publishing insider information since at least the 1970s. Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer is perhaps the best known and most reliable one.

Another major factor in exposing the business is the internet. Since the late 1990s, it has been easy to go online and find out just about anything one really wanted to know. A number of wrestlers have websites, or participate in "shoot interviews", or even message boards.

The Sinanju of wrestling boards is at Wrestling Classics which has a large number of well informed posters, including several that are or were involved in the business. Lou Thesz and Jack Brisco posted there before they died. Got to watch out for the mods over there, though. I hear that one guy, GreyGhost, can be a cast iron sunovabitch.
#16
Old 10-21-2012, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
The OP is talking about professional wrestling as opposed to Greco-Roman wrestling. I've added that word to the thread title.
I think that talking about fake and wrestling made it self evident. And since everyone knows its entertainment and not sport and even the wrestlers freely admit it, I don't seen the reason why this is now in the Game Room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Pretty much. Vince Jr. was the game changer. Well, really cable was the game changer. Vince Jr. just had the foresight to see where things were headed, and he was best positioned to take advantage of it. And when Vince went to court for whatever case it was back then, he admitted that it was all entertainment.
Was that the exact time they started talking openly about it or was that the start and it gradually went to where it is today?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mince
Professional wrestling (the WWF, NWO type) is no more fake than Forrest Gump. It's not intended to be a professional sports league like the NFL or NBA, with unknown outcomes and Vegas betting lines. It's pure entertainment. So, it's not fake. The question you should ask is why a lot of people refer to professional wrestling as fake.
Is this parody or are you just young? Of course most people thought it was fake (as in scripted) all along. The only thing I could think of when I read your post was "No shit." But I assure you it was not put forth as being scripted. It was sold in years past as being sport. And it was worth your life to ask a wrestler if it was fake. But that changed in the recent past. You may not have been old enough to know the difference. I thought I was very clear. I never thought that wrasslin' was once real and now fake. I was asking when the attitude of the business changed. The link I posted had Hulk talking about the backstage working of Wrestlemania 3. There is no way he would have talked about that years ago. It just wasn't done. That is what the question is about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixiesnix
Wasn't there a wrestler who punched a reporter in the kisser for asking if wrestling was fake? In the 80's, I believe.

Anyway, if memory serves, it was about the mid-1990's that it was all brought out in the open. It coincided with wrestling's expanding popularity and DVD's being made about the individual wrestlers with out-of-character interviews, talking about storylines, career paths, etc.

John Stossel asking David Schultz if wrestling is fake.

You may be right. I thought it was more recent than that.
#17
Old 10-21-2012, 05:59 PM
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Fans and wrestlers get upset when professional wrestling gets called fake because it is dismissive. Wrestlers are trained athletes (for the most part). The stunts are real, and they are done live. The injuries are very real. Lots of those blows do connect. In his first book, Mick Foley complained that his idol, Jimmy Snuka, didn't hit hard enough to get a good reaction. On the other hand, he lost an ear to the ring ropes. Just this week, The Miz got knocked silly by a misplaced or mistimed kick. Calling it fake dismisses the effort and pain a professional goes through for the specific purpose of entertaining a live crowd.
#18
Old 10-21-2012, 06:06 PM
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Always entertaining to watch when a wrestler goes off-script, too (Regal was supposed to lose this match in the first two minutes, but didn't like the way Goldberg was being booked to run through everyone in two minutes.)
#19
Old 10-21-2012, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I think that talking about fake and wrestling made it self evident.
I did, too.
Quote:
And since everyone knows its entertainment and not sport and even the wrestlers freely admit it, I don't seen the reason why this is now in the Game Room.
Because it could fit into either category and because I thought more people who were interested in the topic would see it if it were in The Game Room. I also felt that this was where pro wrestling threads usually go. In fact it seems like they go in Cafe half the time and here half the time, so I'll put this back where it started.
#20
Old 10-21-2012, 06:50 PM
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I have a friend back in Minneapolis who was a jobber (local, small-time wrestler who the big talent got to throw around the ring), fought under the name of Gentleman Jim Diamond. He said once that he wondered, from time to time, while he was lying there "unconscious" at the end of a match, would would have happened if he just hopped back up and started the fight all over again?

But then he figured that he'd be out of a job, so he never did it.
#21
Old 10-21-2012, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
. . . He said once that he wondered, from time to time, while he was lying there "unconscious" at the end of a match, would would have happened if he just hopped back up and started the fight all over again?
But then he figured that he'd be out of a job, so he never did it. Here, the never-at-a-loss-for-words Jim Cornett relates what happened in one instance, when a hapless jobber decided he was going off script. I've broken the link because it does contain foul language:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SODEdfYAQQg
#22
Old 10-21-2012, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Professional wrestling was "fake" by at least the 1950s.
Professional wrestling had pre-determined outcomes since the turn of the 20th century.
#23
Old 10-21-2012, 07:34 PM
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I was never really a fan of wrestling but my teen sons loved it so I saw quite a bit of it. I became convinced that it was the ultimate entertainment vehicle imaginable. Even the "players" had fake lives designed to enhance the main product.

It was as though the on court rivalry between Lebron James and Kobe Bryant wasn't enough, so Lebron had to be screwing Kobe's ex-wife, while secretly being offered a contract by the Lakers. And they weren't really named Lebron James or Kobe Bryant.

So I never cared about the wrestling but amused myself trying to work out the coming plot twists. And I loved the fact that my sons and the fans seemed to take it all at face value. It was good fun for a few years.
#24
Old 10-21-2012, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
Fans and wrestlers get upset when professional wrestling gets called fake because it is dismissive. Wrestlers are trained athletes (for the most part). The stunts are real, and they are done live. The injuries are very real. Lots of those blows do connect. In his first book, Mick Foley complained that his idol, Jimmy Snuka, didn't hit hard enough to get a good reaction. On the other hand, he lost an ear to the ring ropes. Just this week, The Miz got knocked silly by a misplaced or mistimed kick. Calling it fake dismisses the effort and pain a professional goes through for the specific purpose of entertaining a live crowd.
Thanks to all the replies. A missed some before I last posted. Very informative.

Good point above. Fake is wrong to say. Scripted is more accurate. The athletic talent is real. The injuries are real.
#25
Old 10-21-2012, 08:40 PM
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My Mom's Mom(my grandmother) watched it in the 1960's in England of all places. She swore the stuff was real, but my Mom said it was obviously as fake as it was in the 1980's, when I watched it.

My Mom said she did not remember ridiculous costumes back in the 60's, though. The men were all wearing actual wrestling outfits.
#26
Old 10-21-2012, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mince View Post
Professional wrestling (the WWF, NWO type) is no more fake than Forrest Gump. It's not intended to be a professional sports league like the NFL or NBA, with unknown outcomes and Vegas betting lines. It's pure entertainment. So, it's not fake. The question you should ask is why a lot of people refer to professional wrestling as fake.
That is what makes it fake. Forest Gump is also fake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
The stunts are real, and they are done live. The injuries are very real. Lots of those blows do connect.
The fact that they are stunts is what makes them fake. Much like how action sequences in movies are fake, often performed by stuntmen doing stunts.

"Fake" means the reality is different than what is being presented. Pro wrestling is fake by definition.
#27
Old 10-21-2012, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
My Mom's Mom(my grandmother) watched it in the 1960's in England of all places. She swore the stuff was real, but my Mom said it was obviously as fake as it was in the 1980's, when I watched it.

My Mom said she did not remember ridiculous costumes back in the 60's, though. The men were all wearing actual wrestling outfits.
My mother said the same of my grandfather watching it in the 50s. Before my time. I knew not to take it serious in the 80s when I was watching as a teenager.
#28
Old 10-21-2012, 10:54 PM
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Kayfabe was kept well into the late 90's. Vader was arrested in Kuwait in the spring of 1997 for assaulting a local television host who asked if it was real.

There was still pretty serious punishment for breaking kayfabe back in the 90's. Check out the Curtain Call from the middle of 96 for what is considered the first breaking of kayfabe in the ring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kli...e_MSG_Incident

In the fall of 1997, Vince McMahon gave his speech where he acknowledged on camera that it was entertainment. I pretty much consider this to be the end of kayfabe.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HznErMk97B4
#29
Old 10-22-2012, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
The OP is talking about professional wrestling as opposed to Greco-Roman wrestling. I've added that word to the thread title.
Greco-Roman wrestling has very little to do with Professional Wrestling at all. Professional Wrestling came out of freestyle wrestling, which is what most people think of when they think of wrestling. (And which is what most high-school and college competitive wrestling, at least in the U.S., consists of. The Olympics has both freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions.)

The main difference between Greco-Roman and freestyle is that Greco-Roman does not permit holds below the waist.

Whereas in professional wrestling, everything's legal as long as the referee doesn't see it, and even if he does, it's probably legal anyway as long as it gives a good show.
#30
Old 10-22-2012, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoopy Frood View Post
Whereas in professional wrestling, everything's legal as long as the referee doesn't see it, and even if he does, it's probably legal anyway as long as it gives a good show.
Including hypnosis.
#31
Old 10-22-2012, 02:17 AM
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I recall in the 70's that Mid South wrestling would occasionally have a clean, scientific match. At least thats what they called it. Back then a lot of pro wrestlers had strong collegiate backgrounds. They'd put on a really good clean match. Usually it was two faces wrestling. I always looked forward to those matches.

But, I suspect the winner was still predetermined.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-22-2012 at 02:19 AM.
#32
Old 10-22-2012, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordTaurusSHO94 View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kli...e_MSG_Incident

In the fall of 1997, Vince McMahon gave his speech where he acknowledged on camera that it was entertainment. I pretty much consider this to be the end of kayfabe.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HznErMk97B4
That would be about the same time as that business in Montreal, I think it was the first time that it was so blatant.
#33
Old 10-22-2012, 06:51 AM
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Montreal wasn't scripted though. Bret Hart didn't want to do business, so they pulled a swerve and took his belt. Vince got a black eye for it backstage.
#34
Old 10-22-2012, 07:04 AM
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Wrestling became fixed as soon as there was substantial money in it. There were no real regulating bodies in the sport since ... ever. For many years wrestling promotions relied on experienced champions who knew how to defeat, even injure, competitors who didn't cooperate. Eventually the business became so refined in it it's internal organization that no wrestler would fail to follow the pre-determined outcome because they would never work again. Because of the nature of the game, there is no way to determine when the fixing started, and to what extent. The entire history of wrestling is lore provided by professional showmen.
#35
Old 10-22-2012, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FordTaurusSHO94 View Post
Montreal wasn't scripted though. Bret Hart didn't want to do business, so they pulled a swerve and took his belt. Vince got a black eye for it backstage.
Yes I know, I distinctly remember that Montreal was the first time that it became very clear that it was scripted and the WWF (as it then was) did not go above the perfunctory to hide it.
#36
Old 10-22-2012, 07:35 AM
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Yes I know, I distinctly remember that Montreal was the first time that it became very clear that it was scripted and the WWF (as it then was) did not go above the perfunctory to hide it.
It might have been before that when Vince McMahon publicly declared it was scripted so he was no longer subject to local athletic commissions.
#37
Old 10-22-2012, 08:45 AM
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Rocky III, which came out in 1982 -- predating the 20/20 piece -- featured a scene with a promotional match between the Heavyweight Boxing Champ (Rocky Balboa) and the Heavyweight Wrestling Champ ("Thunderlips", played by Hulk Hogan). After some initial posturing ang grappling, Rocky gets a couple of punches in, at which point Thunderlips leans in and says to him, "It's all fake, Meatball! All fake!"

Now, I don't think WWF was mentioned by name, and Hogan wasn't playing himself. But even so, he was WWF's best-known wrestler at the time, and I'd have to guess they had some contractual control over his outside appearances. Seems to me that line was as good as an admission that the WWF itself was fake.
#38
Old 10-22-2012, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
Rocky III, which came out in 1982 -- predating the 20/20 piece -- featured a scene with a promotional match between the Heavyweight Boxing Champ (Rocky Balboa) and the Heavyweight Wrestling Champ ("Thunderlips", played by Hulk Hogan). After some initial posturing ang grappling, Rocky gets a couple of punches in, at which point Thunderlips leans in and says to him, "It's all fake, Meatball! All fake!"

Now, I don't think WWF was mentioned by name, and Hogan wasn't playing himself. But even so, he was WWF's best-known wrestler at the time, and I'd have to guess they had some contractual control over his outside appearances. Seems to me that line was as good as an admission that the WWF itself was fake.
I think you are misremembering the scene. As he is beating the crap outta him Hogan is yelling "think it's fake meatball?" After Rocky throws him out of the ring Thunderlips becomes friendly and takes a picture with him. And I believe Hogan was out of the WWF at the time. He came back after the movie because of the new popularity. And he turned into a good guy.
#39
Old 10-22-2012, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
Rocky III, which came out in 1982 -- predating the 20/20 piece -- featured a scene with a promotional match between the Heavyweight Boxing Champ (Rocky Balboa) and the Heavyweight Wrestling Champ ("Thunderlips", played by Hulk Hogan). After some initial posturing ang grappling, Rocky gets a couple of punches in, at which point Thunderlips leans in and says to him, "It's all fake, Meatball! All fake!"
I don't think you're remembering that right. First off, it was explicitly an exhibition match for charity -- which wouldn't prove all his wrestling matches are fake, any more than it proves all of Rocky's boxing matches are fake -- and it's Rocky who lands the initial punches, followed by Thunderlips getting in good shots and fairly well bellowing the "think it's all fake?" bit.

What follows is, AFAICT, supposed to be unscripted; there's never any indication the shenanigans were rehearsed (yes, right down to the proverbial guy rushing into the ring to hit someone across the back with a chair), sure as Rocky's post-fight comment is "Hey, why'd you get so crazy on me out there?"

[edited: ninja'd by Loach!]

Last edited by The Other Waldo Pepper; 10-22-2012 at 09:12 AM.
#40
Old 10-22-2012, 09:23 AM
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Hmmmm, I suppose I'm outvoted here. Though I don't remember all the choreography, in my head I can distinctly hear Hulk saying "It's all fake, Meatball! All fake!"

It's been years, but I saw that scene multiple times (worked as a theater usher at the time). Either I never heard "Think" before "It's all fake" or just have the memory wrong after all this time.

In any case, my take on Pro Wrestling is that, although it's obviously scripted, they're still doing real, physically challenging, highly athletic moves in there, and it's pretty damned impressive.
#41
Old 10-22-2012, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I think you are misremembering the scene. As he is beating the crap outta him Hogan is yelling "think it's fake meatball?" After Rocky throws him out of the ring Thunderlips becomes friendly and takes a picture with him. And I believe Hogan was out of the WWF at the time. He came back after the movie because of the new popularity. And he turned into a good guy.
Hogan was splitting time between the AWA and Japanese promotions at the time. He didn't become a star because of the movie; it happened in 1983, when McMahon rehired him and gave him the belt.
#42
Old 10-22-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
Hmmmm, I suppose I'm outvoted here. Though I don't remember all the choreography, in my head I can distinctly hear Hulk saying "It's all fake, Meatball! All fake!"

It's been years, but I saw that scene multiple times (worked as a theater usher at the time). Either I never heard "Think" before "It's all fake" or just have the memory wrong after all this time.

In any case, my take on Pro Wrestling is that, although it's obviously scripted, they're still doing real, physically challenging, highly athletic moves in there, and it's pretty damned impressive.
You can watch it here. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NYQ0coy7TbQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Hogan was splitting time between the AWA and Japanese promotions at the time. He didn't become a star because of the movie; it happened in 1983, when McMahon rehired him and gave him the belt.
They brought him back and made him a star greatly because of the movie. Hogan was a heel and mostly out of the big wrestling scene. Backland was the champ. Iron sheik was the big heel. They brought in Hogan and he was touted as the "Star of Rocky III!" The movie was certainly the catalyst to his fame in the WWF. His time between movie, entering into the WWF and getting the belt was very short. No movie, no belt.
#43
Old 10-22-2012, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Hogan was splitting time between the AWA and Japanese promotions at the time. He didn't become a star because of the movie; it happened in 1983, when McMahon rehired him and gave him the belt.
That's debatable. It's certainly no conincidence that Hogan's HUGE push coincided with his tag-teaming with Mr. T in the first Wrestlemania. Hogan owed a lot of his early press to Rocky III.

I think FordTaurusSHO94 has the end of kayfabe pretty well nailed. As far as when matches started being "worked" as a matter of course, Lou Thesz claims it was probably around 1900. A common practice was for a legit wrestler with great submision moves--a "hooker" in Thesz's parlance--to go around the region working county fairs. His hype man would start the show by yelling that the "champion" would take on all comers. Group dynamics being what they are, no one would want to be the first to come forth. Then some guy would run up to the ring claiming he could "lick the sonofabitch," and so the match began. This would be a close, drawn-out affair, with the champion on the brink of losing many times, until, exhausted, he would manage a pin or submission. Then the hype man would holler for the next challenger. Now you would see some local hero come up. After all, the champ was shot and, frankly, didn't look so tough after almost losing. Of course, said local hero would be screaming for mercy in about a minute, usually caught in some arcane submission like a double wristlock (or "Kimura" to MMA fans).* Another guy, thinking this was a fluke, would be the next to take his turn, with similar results. The champ would go through a few folks like that until the local got tired of having their joints hyperextended.

As you probably guessed, the first match was a "work." The challenger was a confederate, and the two wrestlers would put on a great facsimile of a close, hard-fought wrestling match. While the champ was disposing of local talent, a couple more confederates would be working the crowd, making money taking side bets. According to Thesz, this admixture of "real" and "fake" persisted for a long time in professional wrestling. Through the 1920s, promoter feuds over territory would often be settled by combat between the quarreling parties' best wrestlers.

As time went on, more and more "performers" (impressive-looking guys who couldn't really wrestle competitively) made their way into the business. In 1925, some big promoters tried to push football star Wayne Munn as world champion. The guy would bring the crowds to their feet by winning matches via flying tackle, which was much more impressive visually than a double wristlock. Then a legit wrestler named Stanislaus Zbyszko decided he didn't want to play, and there wasn't much Munn could do about it. For decades after that, the "champion" of a promotion would almost always be a legit wrestler. WWF champs Superstar Billy Graham and Hulk Hogan (who has some wrestling training, but wouldn't have stood a chance against someone like Antonio Inoki) were two of the first real exceptions to this. It really spoke to the control of the promoter that the McMahons felt comfortable putting their belt on guys who couldn't compete for real.

To an extent, having guys who weren't "real" wrestlers compete as champions may have been another hastening factor in the demise of kayfabe; it was increasingly "just a show" with no pretense of sport. When a group of pro wrestlers (including "bad guy" Ric Flair and "good guy" Tim Woods) were injured in a 1975 plane crash, there was real concern that kayfabe would be broken, since these guys were supposed to hate each other. Woods was in (barely) good enough shape to work a short match the next night, preserving the illusion that these guys really didn't socialize outside the ring. At the time, promoters really feared that, if this became public knowledge, the business would be over. Then in 1987, mortal enemies Hacksaw Jim Duggan were pulled over in the same cocaine-laden car. This made national news, but nobody really cared. This, too, may have hastened the demise of kayfabe.




*Some purists claim these are two different holds, but the nuances are so subtle, and the hold's application so inconsistent depending on circumstances, that this is a pretty trivial distinction.

Last edited by StusBlues; 10-22-2012 at 10:29 AM.
#44
Old 10-22-2012, 10:42 AM
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Hogan had worked the WWWF prior to his re-emergence after Rocky III. He had been on approved loan from Verne Gagne's AWA promotion. The movie was the stimulus for Vince to offer Hogan the title and pay him enough to jump ship altogether. Gagne (according to wrestling lore, remember it's all lies) offered to pay the Iron Sheik to injure Hogan as punishment. The Iron Sheik turned him down and went on to became a major star in the WWF. All of wrestling was changing at this point as a younger generation became fans of the sport and the non-athletic entertainment portion of the shows grew in importance. The new generation of wrestlers was never as convinced of the reality of the sport as the older generation appeared to be. But I don't think the older generation thought it was all that real either, it's just suspension of disbelief to make the show more interesting.
#45
Old 10-22-2012, 10:55 AM
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I've heard the Iron Sheik story before, but I've never put a lot of stock in it. Perhaps the one consensus in all of professional wrestling is that the Iron Sheik is nuts. There may be some debate about whether or not it's a good kind of nuts, but no one is saying that this guy is a stable, solid citizen. Everybody who ever worked with the guy has a Sheik story; the man was a menace to be around. (A fun menace, to be sure, but a menace nevertheless.) If others have backed up the story, fine, but when you quote the Iron Sheik, you quote perhaps the most unreliable character in a population of unreliable characters.

Keith Richards, Shane MacGowan, and the Iron Sheik are the three guys under 70 who most surprise me by their continued survival.
#46
Old 10-22-2012, 11:01 AM
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In that scene from Rocky III, Thunderlips was taunting Rocky as he was pummeling him in the ring. Rocky was in serious pain, (as the announcers shockingly noted) and Thunderlips was being sarcastic. "It's all fake, right Meatball?! All fake!! If I can't break your spirit, I can sure as hell break your back!!"

And thinking that this particular scene from a scripted movie is somehow an admittance of wrestling being fake is ludicrous. He was reading from a script. It was a fictional move.

Last edited by SykoSkotty; 10-22-2012 at 11:02 AM.
#47
Old 10-22-2012, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StusBlues View Post
I've heard the Iron Sheik story before, but I've never put a lot of stock in it. Perhaps the one consensus in all of professional wrestling is that the Iron Sheik is nuts. There may be some debate about whether or not it's a good kind of nuts, but no one is saying that this guy is a stable, solid citizen. Everybody who ever worked with the guy has a Sheik story; the man was a menace to be around. (A fun menace, to be sure, but a menace nevertheless.) If others have backed up the story, fine, but when you quote the Iron Sheik, you quote perhaps the most unreliable character in a population of unreliable characters.

Keith Richards, Shane MacGowan, and the Iron Sheik are the three guys under 70 who most surprise me by their continued survival.
Be careful of what you say about the Iron Sheik. He will put you in the camel clutch and fuck you with his big 10 inch dick. For someone who claims to be straight he is obsessed with anal rape.
#48
Old 10-22-2012, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StusBlues View Post
I've heard the Iron Sheik story before, but I've never put a lot of stock in it. Perhaps the one consensus in all of professional wrestling is that the Iron Sheik is nuts.
This true. Even in pro wrestling a reputation like his can't be made out of whole cloth.
#49
Old 10-22-2012, 11:23 AM
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In his WWE HOF speech, The Iron Sheik also tells that same story, but says he wanted to be loyal to McMahon because he didn't want to bite the hand that was feeding him.

He managed to avoid wishing death to Jose Canseco and The Ultimate Warrior in that same speech.
#50
Old 10-22-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SykoSkotty View Post
In that scene from Rocky III, Thunderlips was taunting Rocky as he was pummeling him in the ring. Rocky was in serious pain, (as the announcers shockingly noted) and Thunderlips was being sarcastic. "It's all fake, right Meatball?! All fake!! If I can't break your spirit, I can sure as hell break your back!!"
For bonus points, consider what Rocky is saying right before that: the match starts, they're circling each other in the ring, and our hero breezily says, "Listen, why don't we just move around a little bit, y'know, and, like, give 'em a good show: first I'll chase you, then you'll chase me, okay? How's that? All right?"

So (a) they apparently haven't rehearsed this -- or even discussed it -- beforehand, and (b) while Rocky thinks they can now amiably choreograph a little pre-arranged play-acting, Thunderlips is about as receptive as Ivan Drago would be.
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