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The Kayfabe Onion *K*

Before the advent on the internet, kayfabe was a wall between the fans and the workers.

To be fair, the day will come that you can't call them marks anymore. They are all smartened up thanks to the internet.

I lost my “kayfabe virginity” in 1996 when I was told on a forum that Jack Tunney didn’t run WWF, but Vince did. I never knew what the word “kayfabe” meant until I broke it around the first few weeks of my wrestling training (because none of them cared enough to sit me down and give me a tutorial about the traditions, so they still blamed and punished me even though I had no clue).

Over time, the wall became a curtain. It was flexible and breaking the fourth wall was much more apparent once WWF turned into WWE. They acknowledged that their craft was an art instead of a sport. It wasn’t until I was on the set of American Idol that I realized something profound.

Reality TV had perfected Kayfabe to a science. I will not tell you how they did it, but they had levels of secrecy between their performers, the production, and the office. Instead of the curtain that Pro Wrestling had, they made it into an onion.

With the internet in full swing, those who aren’t under contract to spill the beans on things can still spill the beans. Kayfabe as we used to know it is dead, but it can be altered to the information age. What we need to accept as a society is that there will be no such thing as true privacy anymore. What we can do is understand the layers of knowledge and how best to manage our secrets to ourselves and for the fans.

Think about it. At what age are children being exposed to phones. A four-year-old can Google Santa Claus and find out he isn’t real in a hurry. Likewise, anyone interested in Pro Wrestling can Google things well and learn about moves, how the locker room works, and all sorts of stories.

Instead of judging someone “smart” to the business or not, let us take these things into consideration.


  • 1) Casual
    • They know Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and know what wrestling is, and if they watch it at all, they take it at face value as a fun night out


  • 2) Fan
    • They know what Pro Wrestling is and follow their favorite wrestlers in their public and private lives. They buy merch, maybe listen to dirt sheets, but don’t produce things on their own.


  • 3) Influencer
    • Not only are they fans, but they eat up even what is behind the locker room and surf the internet for juicy details, maybe travel multiple states to see wrestling, and have their own podcast or other commentary which they wish to make public.


  • 4) Techie
    • These are the fans that actually pitch in to help in shows, but are not necessarily “in” the business. If they are, they are making a transition to prove their worth. These are usually fans that put away chairs or the ring, might stand in as a ring announcer, they work the merch table, that sort of thing. Family of wrestlers who help out are also in this category, as they may not be as smart to the business as their family in the ring.


  • 5) Trainee
    • The only difference between this and Techie is that they have been accepted as a trainee of a school or have an apprenticeship with a Pro Wrestler to train under.


  • 6) Worker
    • You are fully trained and are taking bookings. You know what a promoter tells you, and you make friends, enemies, and everything in between. Yet most seem content with having their match and getting their payday.


  • 7) Creative
    • Bookers and anyone who does the double job of media as well as being a worker fall under this category. Media (should) know the gears behind a show better than the workers because these are the camera guys, the editors, and people who make the workers look good for the sake of the companies they work for.


  • 8) Office
    • The promoter and anyone who has a slice of the company pie. They should know their workers and paperwork more than they know themselves if they want to stay successful. Smart office people keep their ears to the ground of other offices and need to stay in the loop at all time.


  • 9) Personal
    • The utmost important kayfabe of all; your own damn business. Mind it or die. Only you and your significant other if they are in the business should know your personal moves.


It might seem complicated, but realize how much someone should know in the positions they are in. Workers don't need to know how a soundboard works or what theme music should be in the main event when he's working the first match of the evening. It is handy knowledge to have, but not immediately useful.

We can still keep secrets, we just need to reorganize what secrets are kept where rather than hide them completely.

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Sarah Whitaker
Sarah Whitaker

From American Idol, to the Professional Wrestling Industry, I am an eccentric adventurer hoping to change reality between my spiritual views, and my knack for solving problems.

The Kayfabe Manifesto
The Kayfabe Manifesto

A manifesto is a declaration of intentions, usually having to do with politics. I don't claim to be the end-all be-all of Professional Wrestling, but I have views that I want to share in order to make people think of ways to evolve the craft.

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