I have been a pro wrestling fan since I was a small boy. It was something my dad and I enjoyed together and I have very fond memories of him taking us to AWA, NWA and WWF matches. What I wouldnt give to be able to do that with him again.
My dad was asked to become a pro wrestler by Lou Theisz who was one of the guys reaponsible for creating some of the biggest pro wrestling guys. At the time, it didnt pay much so my dad said “No thank you sir”.
Before kayfabe was blown, pro wrestling pitted good guy vs. bad guy. It was the job of the bad guy to make you hate him. If you did, then he was doing his job right. While in the ring, they told a story. “But wrestling is fake.” you say?
Diamond Dallas Page once told me “you cant fake gravity.” Before Vince cherry picked all of the talent from each territory, broke the honor system of staying in his own respective territory, bribed cable companies and ruined pro wrestling, there was a thing called “kayfabe”. Kayfabe was the reality of pro wrestling and wrestlers did NOT break kayfabe. Good guys and bad guys had seperate locker rooms. If two fueding wrestlers saw each other on the street unintentionally, they would get into a street fight so they wouldnt break kayfabe. If fans saw that two guys were actually pals, then they wouldnt buy the in-ring fued. Sure, they were told by the “booker” who was going to win, but the dance was pure magic.
Kayfabe was very important and most did what it took NOT to break kayfabe When someone wanted to become a pro wrestler, they were tested. They were stretched. When I say stretched, I mean brutally put in various legit wrestling holds and endured such pain, it would test the would-be just how much they wanted it. They were not immediately taught the techniques that the mainstream used yet. They were tested to see where their breaking point was and to see just how bad they wanted it. Hulk Hogan (Terry Boulea) had his leg broke the first time getting in the ring. Really broken.
The inside beauty of pro wrestling is being a good worker and doing whats best for the business. Two guys/girls are putting their lives in the hands of the other. If you are a good worker, you know how to keep each other safe while telling that in-ring story and giving the illusion of the performance. The athletes really endured pain and their stamina tested. Entertaining the crowd was the payoff.