The difference between fact and fiction in storytelling

I was listing to an episode of International Object and K Sawyer Paul and Geno Mrosko were talking about the line between wrestling being real and fiction. They both said that they don't care if wrestling seems real, as long as it is entertaining. I understand what they are trying to say, but I am not sure I agree and I am not sure how it would work if they WWE tried.

To start with, I do not know how you divorce wrestling from reality. At a certain level you need some suspension of disbelief to enjoy wrestling. There are too many moves that any adult knows really do not hurt. Every time I see someone use a Standing Full Nelson, I am taking out of the match and I don't care anymore. Even if the guy in the full nelson tries to sell it, I know the move does not hurt.

The tricky thing is that good fiction has a much higher bar than good non-fiction. There is a story about the book A Million Little Pieces where James Frey first tried to sell it as a novel, but it got rejected. (Yeah I know I am using wikipedia as a source, sue me) He could get it published as a memoir, because it is more compelling if it really happened.

That line between fact and fiction is really blurry in modern day. When I watch reality shows with my wife we often look at each other and say, "That's a work" when something silly and seemly staged happens. A story on a "Reality show" would not work on a drama. It lacks the skill, depth, and complexity that a story that we expect from a scripted drama.

The other odd things is that moves that really injure people always look less dangerous than the staged stuff. Wen I looks at the video of Chris Nowinski getting his last concussion, it looks like a botch, but it does not look painful. Check out the video about 4 minutes in.

I know that wrestling trying to present itself as connected to reality limits the stories that can be told, but I am not sure that wrestling is up to challenge to going full fiction without the bounds of reality. I think going full fiction lead to a lot of the Hard Core excesses that took multiple chair shots in undercard matches.


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