The world of professional wrestling has some long-held secrets, as only recently did fans begin to realize the extent of this act. The WWE remains the largest sports entertainment company in the world, and its performers still hold many of these secrets. While the fans still do not know everything about the business, it has become much more open than ever before.
The word "kayfabe" refers to wrestlers keeping the inside workings of the business secret to protect its long-term survival. The origin of the word is unclear. One story is that it's pig Latin for "be fake," which wrestlers and others in the business allegedly muttered to each other, warning them to get into character because fans or other outsiders were near. Wrestlers do not want fans to know everything that goes on behind the scenes, as it would make the events seem less credible. The art of making people believe what they see on TV remains very important to the business, although the Internet has made it much more difficult to keep these secrets. In previous generations, feuding wrestlers could not interact with one another in public, as they wanted the fans to believe they truly hated one another.
In most cases, a wrestler will bleed during a match because he has bladed. Blading occurs when a wrestler takes a shot to the head and remains down for a significant period of time. As he lies there, he will grab a small razor blade out of his wristband and cut his own forehead near the hairline. This area of the forehead produces a great deal of blood without needing a deep cut. This makes the fans believe he has suffered a significant injury, when no such injury has occurred.
Because of the immense pressure to look a certain way, countless wrestlers in the WWE have taken steroids and human growth hormones. This remains one of the reasons for the high number of deaths in professional wrestling, as steroid use can lead to an enlarged heart and can cause sudden death. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has said that only two of the 65 professional wrestlers who died between 1997 and 2004 worked for his company at the time, but many of them had worked for him in the past. Former WWF and WWE stars such as Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura have admitted to steroid use, and other wrestlers who have died relatively young have been linked to alleged steroid and human growth hormone use.
Wrestlers set up moves so that they can limit the amount of damage they do to them beforehand. The two wrestlers work together during a match to minimize the danger, so no real competition between the two exists. When taking a back bump, for example, you will land so that your feet, back, arms and hands hit the mat at the same time. This spreads the impact out, making it less painful. It also makes the impact sound louder, which the fans enjoy.
- "Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestling"; Howard Brody; 2009
- "The Professional Wrestler In The World Of Sports-Entertainment"; Matt Murphy; 2008
- "Kayfabe: The Secret World of Professional Wrestling"; Dave Flood; 2000
- "USA Today"; "High Death Rate Lingers Behind Fun Facade of Pro Wrestling"; John Swartz; March 2004
- ESPN.com; "McMahon, Pro Wrestling in Steroid Scandal... Again"; Jonathan Hood; March 2007
- "The Professional Wrestlers' Instructional and Workout Guide"; Harley Race et al; 2005