Most fans of professional wrestling and WWE started out watching it as kids and their love for the “sport” blossomed from there. During the formative years of growth, a child can be easily convinced to “buy” the reality quotient of a show and believe in multiple aspects to be authentic.
This is true for most wrestling fans who spend their time watching RAW or other shows and are furious at the heels for cheating to win, or are happy that the babyface overcame all the odds to walk out with the championship.
Over time, fans are forced to grow up and look back at the absurdity of some of the things that they accepted as the truth in professional wrestling. Here are ten of the dumbest things in wrestling that you might have believed as a child.
#10 Referees have the easiest job
Upon realizing that wrestling is scripted, with winners and angles pre-determined, many young fans think that being a referee is the easiest job. After all, neither does the referee have to actually maintain order, nor does he/she have to take huge bumps. That makes the job easy, right?
However, that isn't the case at all. In fact, working as a referee in WWE or any other promotion might be one of the toughest jobs in the wrestling industry. The referee ensures that the match goes on as planned, and communicates production instructions to the wrestlers. Apart from that, the officials also need to check if wrestlers are legitimately injured or not and play a vital role in case of improvisations or if things go south in a match.
Doesn't seem like an easy job, does it?
#9 On-screen siblings are related by blood
The Dudley Boyz, Edge & Christian, Undertaker & Kane, and countless other performers have been presented to fans as a family by WWE. Be as brothers or otherwise (e.g. Kurt Angle & Jason Jordan), this has been a staple of professional wrestling for years. A lot of younger fans wholeheartedly bought these pairings as legitimate and argued if someone said anything different.
In their eyes, Undertaker really did burn down his family home while Kane was inside, Bubba and D-Von were the half-brothers from Dudleyville, Edge and Christian were estranged brothers brought together by Gangrel, and the list goes on.
#8 The Hardcore title was actually defended 24/7
Some of the wildest moments of the Attitude Era came from the Hardcore Division during the 24/7 rules period. The Hardcore Championship storyline included the 24/7 rule, which meant as long as you had a referee with you, you could find the Hardcore Champion anywhere in the world and challenge for the title.
It was common to see wrestlers exchanging blows in airports, on the street, in bars, and in the back of the arena, all in order to win the Hardcore Championship. Younger fans were led to believe that whoever the current champion was at the time was always looking over their shoulders. Crash Holly, a frequent holder of the championship, was once pinned while napping backstage by Gerald Briscoe.
Holly had been unable to sleep on his own due to the constant threat of challenges to his title, so he hired the APA to guard him while he slept. This example hammered home the idea that he was never safe and was always on edge, leading to children believing that the Hardcore Championship was legitimately defended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The same scenario is now being repeated for the 24/7 title that was introduced by WWE in 2019
#7 General managers and on-screen authority figures actually had power
General managers, commissioners, and presidents, on-screen authority figures have been a staple of WWE since 1980s. The character provides a figurehead to move several storylines along with the “authority” to make matches, fire people, and run the show.
Since 1997, the on-screen authority figure has mostly been portrayed as a heel due to the success of the Stone Cold and Mr. McMahon rivalry. Younger WWE fans, especially during the Austin-McMahon feud, view the authority figure as actually having the power to make decisions on the show.
#6 Al Snow was actually crazy
While watching WWE at a young age, many fans thought Al Snow was crazy. During that time he would come to the ring either talking to himself or his disembodied mannequin head, named Head. There are also examples of him having a social relationship with a mounted deer head (Pierre, the Hardcore Reindeer), and a Chihuahua (Pepper).
In addition to believing these things talked to him, Snow also showed some form of mental link with Head, and in a storyline with Prince Albert, Albert nailed a railroad spike into the top of Head, causing Al Snow to suffer from headaches and be incapacitated during matches.
The Attitude Era was home to some of the most outlandish characters in WWE history, and Al Snow is an example of someone who took something, made it his own, and made fans believe in it.
#5 The Brood used real blood to give people bloodbaths
The vampiric trio known as The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, & Christian) was a staple of the Attitude Era of WWE. During that time, they were known for giving people a “Blood Bath.”
During a match or segment on television, the lights would go out, the Brood’s entrance music would play, and when the lights would come back on, someone would be covered in “blood.” Their victims included Kane, Debra, and Ken Shamrock, just to name a few.
Why wouldn’t a young fan believe they used real blood to do that to people? They were already acting like vampires. The reaction of the victim also led to further belief in the use of real blood as they would often act horrified at the sight.
The most recent "Blood bath" took place while Edge was feuding with Seth Rollins in 2021. Due to PG guidelines, The Visionary was bathed in a black liquid, with it being referred to as "Brood Bath" by the commentators.
#4 The on-screen characters are real
In interviews, multiple people involved in the professional wrestling business will tell you that the best characters are people with their personalities turned up to 11. However, fans are led to believe that in their everyday lives wrestlers are still these same characters. Stone Cold, for instance, is a beer-guzzling, swearing, no-nonsense bada**.
This belief found its roots in the early days of professional wrestling when heels acted like heels, and babyfaces acted like babyfaces in public and they were not allowed to hang out with each other.
While the mentality was different in the late 90s, and especially in today’s WWE, fans earlier believed that the colorful characters they were exposed to on TV each week, were an accurate depiction of that person in reality.
#3 Masked wrestlers never took off their masks
While there are cases of this being true (think Lucha Libre in Mexico), for the most part, once the show is over a wrestler removes their mask and leaves the building. To protect certain characters on TV, WWE would often show them arriving with their masks.
This measure taken by WWE led younger fans to believe that these wrestlers never removed their masks. Guys like Kane, Vader, and Mankind were seldom seen without their masks (until they were removed via storyline on TV).
#2 WCW was actually invading WWE
As a young fan, I remember feeling shocked when I witnessed Lance Storm run in and greet Perry Saturn with a superkick on Monday Night Raw in 2001. That occurrence kicked off the Invasion angle when WCW (and later ECW) would attempt a hostile takeover of WWE. The story stated that Shane McMahon had “purchased” WCW, and Stephanie McMahon would take over ECW to become the Alliance.
Regardless of the manner in which the angle played out, young fans believed that there was a chance of the Alliance taking over the WWE. I sat at my school and discussed what the WWE stars could do to stop them from succeeding, and what would happen if they couldn’t stop the Alliance. It was a great time being a fan of professional wrestling.
#1 No cooperation during matches
The terms “calling spots” or “get to the finish” are still extremely foreign to a young WWE fan. Most children watch wrestling with the belief that one performer is performing a move on the other performer without any assistance from them.
Why would someone help their competitors powerbomb them? You mean to say that he helped hold himself up during the delayed vertical suplex?
There comes a time in almost every wrestling fan’s life when they are “smartened up” to the reality of a wrestling match. It would most likely be a safe bet that a lot of adult wrestling fans wish they could return to the childhood mentality that the competition was real and forget about concepts like long-term booking and turning heel.
We asked Bret Hart what he thought of Vince McMahon retiring right here