Do Professional Wrestling Fans Believe it's Truly Competitive? (If so, why?)

Exactly. For some of the fans, it is akin to Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Excuse me? I was at these matches-were you? I saw the looks and heard the anger at the referees at the “bad calls”, and saw them rush up to their heroes and reassure them that they knew who really won the match. I heard the conversations after.
A lot of them believe.

Or they’re playing along because it’s fun to pretend.

I deliberately used the term “competitive” instead of “real”, both in the thread title and OP.

Of course staged events are “real” in that they’re real staged events. My question was about whether fans believed they were competitive.

Are you really annoyed with Czarcasm, or are you just trying to build audience interest for your upcoming cage match in the Pit?:stuck_out_tongue:

There is a real competition, it’s just not what it’s presented to be. Wrestlers compete for popularity, money, positions, and each promotion competes with the others for the audience. Unfortunately there isn’t any real competition for the WWE in big time wrestling, so in that sense it’s become non-competitive.

Anyway, in regard to your OP and if anyone thinks it’s real competition, it was much more common for wrestling fans to say it was, either because they believed it or because they were participating in the pretense. Wrestling used to attempt to present the performances as actual competition. Most of the fans knew what it was about but there were those who remained ignorant.

Whether you say ‘competition’ or ‘real’ wouldn’t matter, in days of yore merely questioning the basis of the show would have required me demonstrate for you that wrestling was indeed ‘real’. Sadly that type of fighting ignorance (which was actually promoting ignorance) no longer has a point.

That’s a given. That applies to every occupation, and to most social situations as well.

An AP article from 1990:

“Despite pro wrestling’s long standing regional popularity, The Charlotte Observer’s Carolinas Poll shows only 1 percent of North and South Carolinians believe what goes on in the ring is ‘very real’.”

And 21 percent think it’s somewhat real. Are there any polls that reveal what percentage of wrestling fans think it’s real?

Sure. But most occupations don’t hide the competition. Social situations do though, and it’s those aspects of humanity that wrestling appeals to.

There were still some “true believer” type adult fans at least through the 80s, as long as the various promotions at least made some effort at keeping kayfabe. Now days, I think it is pretty much only kids and the …truly unsophisticated…adults that believe.

In one of his books, Chris Jericho says that, when he started professional wrestling, he was under the impression that, while “minor” matches were worked, world title matches were legitimate. This is the opposite of what a number of people thought of MMA when it first started - lower-card matches were real, but the Shamrock-Severn level title matches were rigged.

There are different types of wrestling fans out there. There are the more educated who know terms like ‘kayfabe’ and ‘taking bumps’ then there are the true believers. The true believers are rare, but they’re out there and they’re pretty obvious, especially at the smaller matches.

I’ve always been a casual fan who goes through spurts of interest with professional wrestling. I liked the early days of TNA (with the 5-sided ring) and really enjoyed the X-Division guys for their athleticism, but as they got more like WWE I lost interest and now haven’t watched in a couple of years. Ring of Honor has some great performers and I catch it every so often, but I’m not up on what’s going on or who’s face or heel. Now that this has come up, I need to check and see if they still have matches locally.

I agree with both of these points.

WRT the first specifically, “somewhat real” seems like a pretty vague term, and if this is the actual term they used then it’s hard to get a sense of what people really thought. I myself also assume that wrestling is “somewhat real” in the sense that not every single move is scripted - only the important ones. Something like “spend a bunch of time knocking each other around, but make sure you get in such-and-such move and such-and-such outrageous stunt, and end it in Round X via such-and-such hold by so-and-so” or something like that. I would assume there’s a lot of unscripted action going on, though not anything that really matters. If that fits under the term “somewhat real” then I’m part of the 21%. I doubt if that’s what the survey people intended for that option, but if they used that term they may have gotten responses from people who assumed this was what was meant.

I believe you saw what you saw, I don’t accept your interpretation. Fans, especially those committed enough to go to small shows run in HS gyms and VFW halls, really get into it. I still firmly believe they were play acting and really chewing up the scenery. Because that’s what you do at these shows.

I didn’t have to be. I would do the same at the Madhouse of Extreme shows. Fans get lost in the fantasy of the show. Especially in small arenas (and the Elk’s Lodge was small), without fan participation and reacting to the story in the ring, the show would be flat and boring.

Are there a tiny subset of true believers. No doubt. Emphasis on tiny.

I’m with the doubters. PRETENDING you’re a true believer, playing along just as hard as the wrestlers, is kind of part of the appeal. Actually, it’s a LOT of the appeal. It makes you part of the show.

In the 70s the local newspaper sports section printed the results of the matches , at least for a short time. We had local matches on many Tues nights up until around 1980.

I’ve actually found support for this theory: someone has written a tell-all book revealing the truth about wrestling fandom.

Maybe some people do believe it’s real. So what?

Same can be said for astrology, crystals, psychics, God, the sincerity of political office seekers, and so on. Being part of the masquerade can be fun and spiritually fulfilling.