Historically, wrestlers upheld kayfabe—the suggestion that professional wrestling was real without contrived storylines, fictional personas, or predetermined outcomes for matches. However, kayfabe eroded over the time. Vince McMahon publicly acknowledged that not everything was on the up and up in the early days of running his company to work around state athletic commission regulations.
Years later, the advent of the Internet caused the limited sphere dirt sheets to go from something only the most hardcore fans and insiders paid attention to, to expand to any old fan who wanted to Google wrestling news and rumours. Tell-all books, documentaries, and podcasts have pulled the curtain back even further.
Despite the evolution of the business and far less effort to suggest kayfabe is a reality, there are those wrestling stars who have held fast over the years. These are people who fiercely protected their characters and the faux integrity of the business, often going to extremes in order to do so. This article looks at five such wrestlers.
#5 The Undertaker
The Undertaker may be the last man standing when it comes to protecting his kayfabe persona long after WWE stopped suggesting all of its characters are on the up and up. To add a dimension to his commitment, he wasn’t just acting like any old persona was real, but more often than not upholding the persona of the "Undead Ghoul".
The extremes to which The Undertaker has gone have included skipping sitting in the audience for Hall of Fame ceremonies and waiting until the television broadcast had ended before coming out and paying tribute to Ric Flair during his retirement promo on Monday Night Raw in 2008.
To be fair, The Dead Man has now made a handful of appearances for WWE documentaries, for example breaking kayfabe to speak about working with Triple H for the Thy Kingdom Come documentary. Maybe now that he looks to be retired we’ll see him come out of his shell a bit more in breaking character.