Kayfabe is a term that most wrestling fans are all too familiar with. The industry has evolved over the years and with that evolution has carried with it the the thin lines that separate fact from fiction.
In the by-gone eras when the Internet had not yet made its advent, wrestlers were handpicked to be given gimmicks and put as a part of various storylines. Fans stuck with these stories and watched the action unfold without once questioning the legitimacy of what transpired in the ring.
But when the Internet era took over, the lines became more blurred and reality more often than not split over into the wrestling ring. The industry took advantage of this paradigm shift and involved superstars in storylines that were more personal.
Once such a setup that will always be remembered in wrestling history is the infamous feud between Edge and Matt Hardy with Lita as the focal point.
By the time Backlash 2005 rolled around, the real story behind the separation between Matt Hardy and Lita had hit the dirt sheets. Divas legend Lita was getting booed on a weekly basis. On an episode of Raw, Trish and Lita delivered a controversial in-ring promo, with Lita getting heavily booed despite being a babyface.
Matt Hardy was released by WWE in April and was reinstated back months later. WWE went on to infuse the real-life issues among the trio to come up with an angle, which is widely regarded as being one of the greatest storylines in WWE history. There was real life heat between Matt Hardy and the newly formed couple. Lita had already betrayed her on-screen husband, Kane, by taking him out of the equation.
Fans flocked in to see the weekly updates to the storyline on Monday Night Raw, with the former best friends slated to face off at Summerslam 2005. WWE took advantage of the situation and aired many controversial promo segments involving the duo and helped generate a lot of heat.
During the match, Matt's head hit one of the turnbuckle posts, opening him up. Edge won the match as Matt was unable to compete and was bleeding profusely. The heartbroken superstar took his revenge on Edge inside a steel cage at next month's pay-per-view, Unforgiven.
A ladder match on the WWE homecoming episode of Raw ended with Lita tying up Hardy on the ropes while Edge secured the Money In The Bank briefcase that was hanging above the ring. As per the stipulation of the match, Matt left for SmackDown and the rivalry came to an end.
This storyline was one of those rare occasions where WWE decided to take advantage of the real-life animosity between the Superstars to advance the angle. While Matt and Edge were going at each other on the mic and inside the ring, fans knew that they were witnessing something very real, and that's what made this storyline so good.
With the PG era in place, one might not get to witness storylines that are of a similar nature. Even the one involving Rusev and Lashley over the courtship of Lana was an extremely subdued version of this.