Originally Posted by savemefromvince
80% of wrestling fans thought it was real.. heels almost got killed getting out of the arena sometimes.. heels and faces traveled apart.. they never left their gimmick outside the ring..
then vince came along with wrestling entertainment, like that was a good fucking idea.
Well, as much as I agree with your sentiment 80% is a considerable stretch. I don't think that is even close to accuarate. You did qualify the remark by using the word "fan" but even most of us who were fans for the most part knew it was fake.
There is a difference in wanting to believe and actually really believing. Like many I willingly suspended my disbelief to enjoy the product more back then. I think that is where most people were at. We knew it was fake, but we played our part in the story. We defended it as real even though we knew in our hearts it was not. We simply wanted to believe, it just made it more fun.
As someone who went to the weekly matches and visited many arenas back then I would say at least 50% of the fans knew it was fake, but we willingly played along.
Wrestling in the 50's on national television was just obviously a work. In the 60's and 70's the business strove for kayfabe and actuialy turned the tide a little back to realism. Probably 50-60% of "fans" (non fans usually did not believe in greater numbers) thought it was real in the early 70's. However by the time the 80's hit the number of people who believed it was real was easily down to 40%.
I think you are giving to much credance to those who acted on their emotions. Those fans who sat on the front row and hated on the heels. Some of them were really just playing along, allowing themselves to hate because it was their part in the "play". You also must give credit to the heels. Even fans who knew it was fake were "played" like clockwork by an effective heel. They were insulted enough that they actually acted out.
A more accurate representation of the early 80's era would probably be that 30% tops believed it was real. I don't think it was Vince that took that number below 30% I believe it was just that people could not believe anymore as generations passed. When 20/20 "exposed" the sport in 1982 that number probably plummeted to 20%, and Vince's mid 1980's diminished to under 10%.