Its all a big lie really isn’t it? Pro wrestling is essentially an alternate universe where you need to believe in the whole concept of it for it to become real. Referred to as “buying in”, or “suspending disbelief” (or even “actually enjoying the show and not being an overly analytical fandan” if ye fancy) a fan has to leave their disbelief at the door and fully open up to the show they’re seeing in front of them. They have to be willing to accept that everything is make believe. Even the true things are make believe. All part of the show. That show is built around “kayfabe” and truth be told, no matter how loose a grip traditional kayfabe has on wrestling these days, and how much real life tends to cross over into storylines, all of it is still kayfabe. All of it. Even the real stuff is “fake”. There are a few wrestlers I would call acquaintances. People I can speak to freely without having the complete and utter fear. Thats all fine, but would I believe a fucking thing any of them tell me about wrestling? Absolutely not. Because its all a lie. Even the true stuff is a lie. If someone says something significant and it turns out to be true, its still all part of the circus. That’s what kayfabe is and as long as that nagging doubt that you might be being “swerved” exists. Kayfabe exists. No matter what sensationalist shite a tosspot like me might write. The only way kayfabe ever dies is if absolutely everybody loses that ability to suspend disbelief. If it all becomes real, wrestling dies. People stop caring about if their promos are good or not and just talk as they normally would. Matches stop being stories, and become processions of moves, and who the fuck wants to watch that?
I count myself, and every wrestling fan I’m actually pals with to be folk who “buy in” and I wouldnt want it any other way. People who don’t buy in fall into two categories in my eyes. Category one is simply a non wrestling fan. They tried it, but the show doesn’t make sense to them because they don’t believe in it as an art-form. Some folk might be won over with more exposure to wrestling, but most will just go about their daily lives as if wrestling doesn’t exist. Madness eh? But whatever. Different strokes for different human beings as the saying goes. Nae worries there. Category two is a bit more dangerous. Category two contains people who are commonly referred to as “wankers”. These are the type who see wrestling as an outlet for all of their horrible personality traits and chose to pick apart every single aspect of what wrestling is in order to belittle it, and the people who risk their well-being doing it. Pretend fans. People who turn up at shows late and still try to crowbar their stupid haircuts to the front. People who belittle aspects of independent wrestling to make it seem unprofessional and shite. People who chuck drinks in the ring and look surprised when they get hauled the fuck out of the venue. People who think being a fan gives them the right to use industry lingo (ye heard of that Fergal Devitt? he’s a good worker, wish those WWE tyrants didn’t change his name though! I hope he goes over in the main event) and they’ll talk about the structure and psychology in matches like a fucking mad scientist instead of letting it draw them in. To me there’s absolutely fuck all wrong with having a wee bit of the wanker in ye and doing some of those things in moderation, but unless you’re kayfabe to the core, its nae fun.
As long as people like Jackie Polo still exist kayfabe could never truly die, because other than “pals with The Coffeys” try and find me some information on Jackie Polo. Something significant not attached to Jackie Polo the wrestler, but Jackie Polo the man. You can try all you want, but you’ll fail. Every single bit of media out there on Jackie Polo is “kayfabe” and even though they use their real names, the same applies to The Coffeys to a degree. Jackie Polo was the first character I encountered in Scottish Wrestling that made me believe in kayfabe and even now, he still gives me the fear, because for every wee thing that might make him seem like an approachable guy, theres a door marked “kayfabe as fuck” being slammed in its face. When people like Jackie Polo exist, kayfabe will never die.
A few things happened a few months ago both personally and wrestling wise that made me question if my writing still had a part to play in this. People enjoy the reviews, interviews and miscellaneous shite and that always makes it seem worthwhile no matter how difficult it can be to find the time and finance to be at shows, and to make this stuff as good as it can possibly be. For a while, when my personal life for messy, I felt more like the “wanker” described above as opposed to just being a wank in general. I found very little about wrestling joyful and without that joy, there was absolutely nae fucking point in me doing this at all, or even going to shows. The reason folk like my stuff is because I’m still the wide eyed cunt believing in it all. Just because I can put it into words in an entertaining way doesn’t mean I’m any different to every other fan, and being treated differently bothered me. If I have a fight with a bouncer and kick up fuck about it, I’m still one daft wee guy kicking up fuck. Absolutely nae chance I’m affecting anyones reputation.Think about it this way. If Snoop Dogg sold out the ABC, and one of his fans stubs a cigar out on a bouncers shin, do the ABC regard all Snoop Dogg fans cigar bandits and they no longer want Snoop Dogg at the venue? Of course not. I was being a dafty and overreacting to a bouncer being a wank. I wasn’t applying the “what would John Cena do?” rule to the situation and I made a mountain out of a molehill. Nae reason to be alarmed.
Dont get me wrong, I like having that wee bit extra “access” with the interviews as its all part of the story for me. Thats what the kayfabe is dead/kayfabe is everything patter is. Telling the story with kayfabe elements combined with real life. No matter what, its always kayfabe, but the real stuff engages fans in a different way. An interview with a few real life stories mixed with kayfabe stuff serves two purposes. Showing another side of the performer to the paying punter, and selling them on the product they should be continuing to support, without blowing the whole fucking thing. That’s what I’ll always try to do. I’m never gonnae ask a wrestler where they went to school, or what their favourite flavour of yoghurt is (laugh all ye want, I’ve genuinely seen questions like that) and I’ll never analyse a wrestling show like I’m someone who’s opinion matters a fuck. If cunts respect my opinion and want it, then gies a shout. But you might not be able to trust anything I say because kayfabe is everything innit? Maybe I dont think Joe Coffey is a fantastic man, and maybe I think Jester is the second coming of Rick Rude. Maybe I think Noam Dar is actually quite shite, and the one with the jiggly tits out of The Ascension is the best tag team wrestler on the planet. Maybe Lionheart secretly thinks Jackie Polo was brave to tweet “another retirement looms” after the neck break, and maybe Jackie Polo actually thinks Lionheart is a wonderful ambassador for Scottish Wrestling and they’re actually best pals, or maybe the opposite of all of those things is true. We’ll never truly know, because its all a lie. Everything in wrestling. Everything good, bad or indifferent. Everything true, false, or in between. Every single bit of it relies on the people who like it “Buying in”. For a while I had bought out. Unintentionally, but the fire wasn’t there. Everything was effort. At times through gritted teeth, but the teeth are ungritted and everything’s breezy once again. I was at the majority of the ICW tour shows and even though I’ve not wrote anything on them yet (I’m gonnae) one thing the tour certainly done is restore my own ability to suspend disbelief and see wrestling for the escapism it is and has always been. Without that, and the influence of “kayfabe” we might as well all just chuck it.