"Is WWE fake?" is a question that we've all asked each other and our friends multiple times when we were younger. It would often be a topic of debate, but despite it all, we would still end up watching it anyway. But to answer the question "is WWE real or fake?" is not as simple and straightforward an answer as you might expect.
WWE brands itself as "sports entertainment" and not pro-wrestling. The reason for this is because in the 1990s, to get more levy and pay fewer taxes, Vince McMahon admitted to the Supreme court that WWE(then called WWF) is not a real sport, but simply a form of entertainment. And to his and the company's credit, it worked. The term "sports entertainment has defined the company through several different eras and decades, up until the current PG era.
Is WWE real, though? The fact of the matter is that the competitive matches and fights between superstars are not real, as the matches have pre-determined outcomes. However, this doesn't take away from the fact that it's an athletic form of entertainment, and that all superstars train like athletes.
WWE(and pro wrestling in general) comprises of superstars portraying fictional characters on television with scripted rivalries and subsequently, scripted matches. However, that hasn't stopped WWE from blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
There are very few other forms of live entertainment that have broken the fourth wall and blended real-life incidents into a storyline. Take, for example, CM Punk's famous Pipebomb, where he referenced and vented out his real-life frustrations with the company, all on live television. WWE told CM Punk to go all-out, but when they felt he was taking it too far, they would cut off his mic, which is exactly what happened.
However, contrary to popular belief, bringing real-life and backstage aspects into storylines didn't start off with Punk's famous promo. It's something that's happened occasionally since the 1990s. Even in 2016 and 2017, The Miz was involved in several segments called " Worked Shoot promos".
A shoot promo is when the wrestler's promo is completely off-script and based on reality. A "worked shoot" is where the lines are blurred. It's using real-life elements to add to the storylines. The Miz was involved in a "worked shoot" promo with Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack, with Enzo Amore on RAW, where he referenced the fact that Enzo had gotten kicked out of the WWE European tour bus in real life.
The bigger stars are also no exception to this. John Cena's program with Roman Reigns involved a large part of reality being brought into the story. Roman Reigns has done the same with Brock Lesnar as well.
So to answer the question "is wrestling real?" , it isn't. But even that can't be counted as a straightforward answer. As mentioned, the outcomes of matches are predetermined, the superstars portray characters just as they do in any television show, but due to the physical and athletic nature of wrestling, injuries occur frequently and superstars bleeding in the ring is also legitimate, 98% of the time.
WWE superstars and wrestlers, in general, get a lot of flak from a lot of people for being "fake fighters" or participating in a "fake sport", but what many people don't understand is that they put their bodies on the line every single night and are at risk of injury constantly. From their hectic travel schedules to their training and the fact that they go all out for our entertainment, they deserve nothing but the highest respect.