The real world of fake wrestling

An examination of the bizarre series of events that have plagued the WWE this month.

Josh Wolf
Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.
Josh Wolf
2 min read

While I'm sure you have all heard about the tragic murder-suicide in which professional wrestler Chris Benoit slaughtered his wife and son before killing himself, an assortment of strange details surrounding the matter have begun to percolate up through the internet and major news media outlets. The most recent development involves a Wikipedia contributer who posted about the death of Benoit's wife several hours before the crime was discovered. While it appears that this was nothing more than wiki vandalism married to an unfortunate coincidence, it is just one of several which leave me wondering where the real world and fake wrestling come together.

During a June 11th WWE telecast Vince McMahon, the company's CEO, was "murdered" in a fiery limo explosion. A press release was issued announcing his death, and the television franchise geared up for a series of tributes to remember the fallen star. Of course, McMahon was very much alive and several wrestling fans were upset by the manufactured memorials. At the time, Wade Keller at the PWTorch suggested that in order, "to get the Mr. McMahon Death storyline over, script-breaking, character-breaking shows dedicated to Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero after they died are being reenacted, emulated, exploited. That is what is wrong. It's beyond insensitive. It's shameful."

To make an uncomfortable situation even more awkward, "Sensational" Sheri Martel died unexpectedly just four days after McMahon's staged death. Although it has been reported that foul play was not involved, her death was apparently not due to natural causes either. Ten days later Chris Benoit murders his family before committing suicide, and McMahon decides to come clean on the Machiavellian ruse about his own death.

Will this series of unfortunate events mean the end of staged professional wrestling? Probably not, but it certainly seems to have bled the lines between reality and fantasy for those affiliated with World Wrestling Entertainment.