Five superstars in Pro-wrestling who never broke kayfabe

Nikita Koloff

Back in the old days, professional wrestling was anything but flashy attires and male cheer leaders. The business used to be a lot tougher, and a lot harder to get into. The industry was referred to as a “circus”, with big men travelling from one town to the other within their territory and fighting their opponents. Sometimes, just to prove how tough they were, they used to issue an open challenge to the fans and beat up their opponents. Keeping professional wrestling “real” was everything to these old school wrestlers, as none of the fans had even the slightest idea about “kayfabe” and the industry being scripted. It was during these times that the business garnered respect and attention from the entire North American audience.

The old school mentality has been keeping the image of professional wrestling being as real as possible. The wrestlers used to keep their gimmicks everywhere, and never used to go out of character. They didn’t want the fans to even have the slightest of doubt about the industry being scripted and thought out, and hence, wore the same dresses, spoke the same language and acted the same way outside the ring. In this article, I take a look at five such old school wrestlers who never broke kayfabe. Before I get to that, let me explain what “kayfabe” means. It is usually the gimmicky part of pro wrestling; the characters, gimmicks, anything and everything that is “scripted” in professional wrestling. It doesn’t have to do with any accidents, but with the superstars breaking character and being anything but their gimmick. Without further ado, let us get down to the list.

5. Story of Nikita Koloff

Nikita Koloff

Remember the tough Russian who used to go by the name of Nikita Koloff? The same guy who had a screaming partner in Ivan Koloff? Nikita was at a time the biggest heel in professional wrestling. Why? Due to the problems between the United States and Russia, people in the US started to hate the Russians. What better way to capitalize on this than to introduce a Russian performer? The only difference was, Nikita was as American as you could get.

Nelson Scott Simpson was told that he’d be playing the “Russian nightmare” character, and he decided to completely immerse himself into the character. Scott legally changed his name to Nikita, took lessons in Russian and would only communicate in Russian language till he retired! He would speak to people only in Russian, even while renting an apartment! He went so far as to list his birth place as Lithuania on his son’s birth certificate! Talk about being obsessed.

http://youtu.be/8Rmn8vUZT10

4. The double life of George “The Animal” Steele

George “The Animal” Steele

George “The Animal” Steele

For all the fans who witnessed The Animal, he was like a massive bear ready to snap at any moment. So it would surprise quite a few to know that James Myers, George’s real name, was a PE teacher at a school! George would never reveal his double identity to anyone, and would travel to other territories on purpose to wrestle as George Steele!

Since there was no internet or proper cable network, no one could pin point the double life of George. Rumour has it that only a couple of people ever found the resemblance between George and James, but no one could reveal his secret identity. You wouldn’t want to tick “The Animal” off, now would you?

http://youtu.be/–cnq7e1iVM

3. Bret Hart breaks his sternum and ribs

Bret Hart

Bret Hart

Bret Hart belongs to the old school generation of wrestlers, even though he found himself in the wrong era. Bret, being the son of legendary promoter Stu Hart, lived true to his character, and often would stay in character even in his personal life. Bret Hart respected and loved the business, and was of the old school idea that no matter what happened, the show must go on.

During his match with Dino, Bret landed hard on the guard rail, breaking his sternum and ribs in the process. While Bret was gasping for air, Dino didn’t realize the gravity of the situation and landed some stiff kicks on Bret. Bret, being true to his character, never gave up, nor could he call an audible (Tell the referee he was legitimately hurt). After minutes of landing some kicks, Dino and the referee realized something was wrong, and the match was changed on – the – fly. And we wonder how the wrestlers used to die in the ring!

http://youtu.be/AmiwW0-GIOs

2. El Santo’s masked life

El Santo

El Santo

El Santo is Mexico’s biggest icon, and the greatest legend to perform in the country. He was so popular that there were some movies and cartoons made on El Santo, and people used to love him for that. He was the country’s biggest pop culture icon, and his appeal and popularity transcended wrestling. This led to Rodolfo being El Santo throughout his life, wearing his mask for 42 years!

You heard that right! El Santo refused to take his mask off for more than 40 years, and would even eat at his place with his mask on. If there was a third person around, he refused to reveal his true identity, and when he passed away, he was buried with his mask on!

http://youtu.be/l6dZHtIDcsE

1. The story of Tim Woods

Tim Woods

Tim Woods

Tim Woods’ story is probably one of my favourite old school wrestling stories of all time. This personifies the importance of keeping kayfabe in the old days. Woods, along with Johnny Valentine, a young Ric Flair and another wrestler was involved in a plane crash, which resulted in the death of the pilot, two of the wrestlers retiring for good and Woods breaking his back along with Ric Flair. The only problem was, Tim was supposed to face Johnny, and Tim was the good guy while Valentine was the hated villain. If people found out that Tim and Johnny were travelling together, that would imply that both of them were friends!

Tim, being the old school wrestler, fought 2 weeks after the plane crash with a broken back! Although it didn’t result in any further damage, this shows that the professional wrestlers would go to any length to protect the integrity of business. Even Ric Flair started wrestling just 6 months after the plane crash, which was described as a miracle!

http://youtu.be/SoszwVfG5z0

Vince Russo answers who killed WCW HERE

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