Suspending Disbelief: How Much is Too Much? Submitted by LoneLee on 09/26/2018 at 12:28 PM
Suspension of disbelief is both a choice and a duty as a professional wrestling fan. The squared-circle soap opera that many of us have followed for our entire lives has groomed our imaginations during our adolescence. Much like Santa Claus, we came to learn (close to teenage years in my case) that not everything was what it seemed to be. But did that change the original charm or allure? Or did it give us a better understanding of the artform of the business? Somewhere as the years passed by we chose to take a form of entertainment and attempt to fool ourselves into believing it can be real again.
Take a sec to process that timeline: We once believed everything we watched without question, learned it was a work, disqualified anything that canít be perceived in the real world. We know it's make believe but it can't be too make believe.
Remember when wrestling used to be FUN?
Granted, some things donít age well. Other elements are timeless. One thing that walks that fine line on a suspension of disbelief is the supernatural gimmick. It doesnít always catch on, which could be attributed to bad booking or a character too intricate to understand. Maybe it would be Papa Shango with a 20-year unbeaten streak at WrestleMania rather than The Undertaker. With that being said, who else could cast spells on foes or make blood and fire appear out of thin air but a voodoo daddy? Who can make lightning strike indoors and seemingly control souls but the grim reaper? Is Broken/Woken Matt really a vessel taken upon the by command of the 7 deities? Sometimes I think he really is.
Ahhh, but in this highly critical and politically correct era we find ourselves questioning everything even when we know it is an artform presented as entertainment.
The original purpose of my rant so far was because of one hot button among the wrestling universe: Joey Ryan and his YouPorn plex.
Iíll say that as time went on I became more accepting of such a preposterous idea. If you have the mindset of an old school veteran like Jim Cornette youíre likely not even reading anymore at this point and clicked the X in the top right corner of the page. Love ya, Corny. But I based my opinion on two things. One being the believability of an immensely sexually driven guy such as Joey performing the naughty maneuver. Would it work if The Undertaker did it? Probably not. Again, itís all about the character and his cosmos. Would it work if Val Venis had done it? Oh man, now thereís a test of strength for the ages.
The second reason being the crowd reaction he receives every single time for it. Normally he does the move in front of a few hundred people in a gym or small building, however 11,000 proud fans firmly erupted (no pun intended) at All In when witnessing the move in person. Letís not forget Joey Ryan is a very accomplished 18-year veteran in his own right. Should he win championships with the move? Whoís to say? Should Santino Marella have won championships on a national scale with The Cobra?...
Let me move on to the slightly more ludicrous concept of Chuck Taylor and his invisible grenade. This is a move that is a bit of a stretch even for myself, although I can imagine a universe where it can be explainable. An army brat, P.T.íed so hard heís hypnotized into believing he has powers until he actually does. It stops there when an opponent plays along as much as pretending to land on the explosive or run away in slow motion. That may seem absolutely ridiculous but let me ask this: Is it any different than seeing a Tombstone Piledriver finish a match where the recipient's head is visibly a foot away from the mat?
There are so many other things to touch on from wrestling a match with blow up dolls to Lucha Underground, whose entire promotion is based in a fantasy existence. Yes, kayfabe has long since been dead. This generation will never truly know the majesty projected to us by our larger than life heroes when we were kids. Although with that, the aging fan has turned the product into something far more implausible. We want real when we know itís all make believe. When really, we have the opportunity to enjoy it far more than we could have as children. Is it impossible to become that kid again one more time?
Where does suspense of disbelief draw the line for you?