Kayfabe can easily be described as the portrayal of rivalries with individuals that can be perceived as not being predetermined.
To put it simple it means the work of events or part of the story line to sale your gimmick as real or the finish.
One of the oldest art forms in professional wrestling and most important is kayfabe.
The portrayal of staged events as real is what sales the audience along with other aspects such as heel, face, pop, shoot, high-spots, and false finishes. One of the most important aspect of them is kayfabe. Breaking kayfabe can be viewed as being disrespectful to your audience. By not selling your gimmick you are frustrating the audience causing them to turn away and leave.
You can see this as one of the issues with the recent decline in ticket sales for WWE, one of the most biggest wrestling promotions. Other will argue that the beginning of kayfabe being absent was when it was first announced that WWE is listed as sports entertainment.
Others will argue that kayfabe is dead. That the raise of social media and reality shows such as Total Divas has caused the audience to loose respect and perspective of pro-wrestling. However, the absence of kayfabe is not the only issue with declining ticket sales for that company other factors do contribute to the issue such as booking, repeated story lines, no consistency with naming a heel or face, lack of managers to help put talent over, irrelevant titles, multiple commentators (over 2), inconsistency with commentator’s character(such as face|heel), over use of shoots, and more.
Kayfabe in the industry of professional wrestling was something that was to be maintained and honored. Now the industry is less concerned with protecting it.
The audience is aware that the show is predetermined. By not honoring kayfabe you are showing the audience that you know that they know it’s predetermined, but you do not respect or care about the show you are putting on.
Kayfabe was a way to show that you respected the fans, respect the business, and protect the business.
How and where did Kayfabe start?
Well that is something that may never be fully addressed or answered. There are several different stories as to how kayfabe was born. Here are some below.
- it is pig latin for be fake
- That is was originated from carny slang to protect the secretes of the business. Which I believe is most likley the true origin.
- Carny workers would call home under the name Kay Fabian. By doing this it allowed them to call home giving that code to their families, letting them know they arrived. This was for them to not pay the cost of a phone call.
- Other think it came from a wrestler named Kay Fabian.
There are acceptable times to break Kayfabe one being injury. If an injury in a match occurs then it is acceptable to change the outcome of the match or look for assistance.
The industry on social media and over use of shoots.
Example: A wrestler will shoot on TV about issues with company. Then turns around on social media either angrily confronting someone saying the exact same thing or they say something completely opposite of what they stated earlier that week.
It’s clear that this is not the only issue. It is a combination of things, without a heel or a face. The heel can not put the face over. The face can not deliver to the audience and the heel can not take from the audience. No take from the audience with any type of give causes there to not be heat. Without heat there are no packed seats.
This causes the absence of the sale of the finish.
Can Kayfabe still be done today:
However, heels need to know and be heels on social media at all times interacting with faces to put them over.
Faces- should not insult fans or make negative comments to them, doesn’t make sense if your a face, common sense.
Faces and heels should not interact on “reality TV shows” as friends or appear traveling together.
other options could be that you keep separate social media accounts one for kayfabe one private.
These are just suggestions. I am not stating that I am right or wrong. This is just some of the ideas that come to mind because of social media and today’s current society.
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