I’ve edited together a little video rant above exploring the concept of Kayfabe in wrestling, what it meant, what it means now, and WWE’s problematic use of the term “Sports Entertainment.”
I believe that kayfabe is well and truly dead, but the shows themselves should still be treated as seriously as possible. Calling wrestlers superstars or entertainers, and hyping that they’re here to entertain the fans, is just as stupid in my mind as Vince Russo’s classic storylines about “breaking the script.” There is no need to break the fourth wall ON THE SHOW. Just give us a good show!
However I also believe that we’re in an age where the fans are sophisticated and yearn for more access to the inner workings of the product, just like TV and film fans do. I think if WWE creates a good product that keeps fans engaged from start to to finish (including calling it “wrestling”), once the show is over there’s no reason why they can’t fully open up, like AMC do with the Talking Dead, or Breaking Bad’s writers did on their podcast.
If WWE is to be accepted and understood by the mainstream, they need to respect themselves enough to enthusiastically discuss what they actually do and why they do it. This goes far beyond calling the show “Sports Entertainment.”