WWE: 5 Reasons Why 'Fake' Is Better Than 'Legitimate'
When former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar returned to WWE, there was a lot of talk about bringing "legitimacy" back to the WWE. "Legitimacy" as in real, non-scripted wrestling.
You know, it's funny. The day before he (Brock Lesnar) came back here, I was standing in the center of a ring in front of 78,000 people at the most-watched WrestleMania (XXVIII) in history, going toe-to-toe with The Undertaker, and the whole time all I could think to myself is, 'Geez, I wish someone could come along and make this legitimate.'
At WrestleMania XXVIII, Triple H faced The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. The match was pro wrestling at its finest and represented the best of what pro wrestling has to offer.
The match was scripted—like all pro wrestling matches. Some people often poke fun at pro wrestling for being scripted. However, scripted isn't a bad thing.
To help explain why that's the case, let's take a look at five reasons why scripted is better than "legitimate" when it comes to pro wrestling.
Scripted Means No Heartbreak
Heartbreak: all sports fans have felt it.
Sports teams don't win every game and they certainly don't win their respective championships every year. So, there's going to be heartbreak.
Fans invest their time in watching their teams go through a long, tough season. When the playoffs come around, fans invest even more time in watching their teams.
When teams win, their fans feel the win. When teams lose, their fans feel the loss.
With pro wrestling, fans are not as invested in wrestlers as they are with sports teams. If a fan's favorite wrestler loses, the fan may become upset, but they probably won't be heartbroken. Pro wrestling fans can easily get over their favorite wrestler's loss by being reminded of the scripted nature of pro wrestling.
If a fan can't get over his or her favorite wrestler's loss, he or she is either a child or doesn't know that matches are scripted.
Scripted Means Integrity
Integrity: the quality of being honest.
Eric Freeman of Yahoo! Sports recently reported that "In the wake of their Game 2 overtime loss to the Miami Heat, many Boston Celtics fans grew livid at several bad calls that helped decide the game."
Furthermore, to show displeasure at Game 3, some Celtics fans reportedly planned to wear masks of Tim Donaghy—a former NBA referee who admitted to betting on games and who has claimed that NBA games are rigged. You can watch a video of Tim Donaghy analyzing what he believes to be a fixed 2011 Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat playoff game here.
Ultimately, you only need to search for "NBA fixed" on Twitter to realize that Tim Donaghy is not the only person who questions the integrity of NBA games.
As for people who question the integrity of pro wrestling matches, good luck finding them. WWE openly admits that it is sports entertainment. Key word: entertainment. If you were to search for "WWE fixed" on Twitter, you would hilariously find countless tweets such as this one:
@MattTheHitmanG: Celtics fans complaining about the nba being fixed is like John cena fans complaining about the wwe being fixed
And this one:
@RickyALaprade: At least the WWE admits it's fixed. #NBA
Thank you, Ricky.
Scripted Is Beautiful
In his book, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, Bret Hart wrote, "To me, there is something beautiful about a brotherhood of big, tough men who only pretend to hurt one another for a living instead of actually doing it."
The world is a violent place. You only need to read the newspaper or turn on the TV to figure that out. Pro wrestling, on the other hand, is non-violent. Yes, it is non-violent.
Like I wrote in a previous article, "Instead of hurting each other, pro wrestlers protect each other. Even if a couple of wrestlers legitimately dislike each other, they do not intentionally try to beat the living daylights out of each other. They do not shoot each other. They do not drop bombs on each other. They only pretend to hurt each other."
That, my friends, is beautiful.
Scripted Means Guaranteed Entertainment
In a September 2011 interview with AOL Moviefone, Triple H said,
I don't see us needing to evolve to what UFC does because quite frankly sometimes the fights are long and boring, guys lying around and sometimes the fights are fast and over in five seconds. I've always thought one of the things about us, if you look at us solely from a sports standpoint, is that we always give you a good show. We're never going to give you a crap game.
Well said, Triple H!
Sure, WWE has been known to disappoint its fans from time to time, but WWE is consistently entertaining and fans rarely have to worry about being let down (entertainment-wise).
Yes, Daniel Bryan lost to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XXVIII in a World Heavyweight Championship match, but WWE certainly made up for that disappointment with the rest of its presentation.
Need I remind you of the Triple H vs. Undertaker (with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee) Hell in a Cell match? Or the CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho WWE Title match? Or The "Once in a Lifetime" John Cena vs. The Rock match?
Scripted Means Storytelling and Storybook Endings
Michael Jordan's last shot as a Chicago Bull is one of the most memorable and immortalized sports moments in history.
With 5.2 seconds remaining in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan knocked down a clutch jumper, giving the Bulls an 87-86 lead over the Utah Jazz.
At the time, many people claimed that Jordan's shot was a "storybook" ending to an already legendary career. By "storybook," they meant perfect.
Storybook endings don't happen very often in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL or any other professional sports league. But they do happen often in the pro wrestling business.
Unlike NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL players, pro wrestlers can craft the story.
For example, in an interview with RTÉ news, Bret Hart claimed,
When I wrestled Steve Austin (at WrestleMania 13) I remember describing to him before we ever had the match that when I put him in the sharpshooter it would be like Jack Nicholson trying to lift the sink in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'—that he nearly gets out of it but not quite. We all fall in love with Jack Nicholson when he can't do it.
Many fans consider Bret Hart's WrestleMania 13 match against Steve Austin to be their favorite match in WrestleMania history. One of those fans is CM Punk, who after being asked about his favorite WrestleMania match in an interview with Marvel, said
WrestleMania 13, right in my backyard of Chicago. Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. I can remember every punch thrown, every bodyslam and every submission move. It’s just one of those perfect matches that told a story. There’s just so many to choose from, but this match is the one that sticks out the most.
Ultimately, if pro wrestling weren't scripted, the magnificent story that Bret Hart and Steve Austin told at WrestleMania 13 likely would've never happened.
Thank you very much for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please share 'em!