That line, between kayfabe and reality, isn't really a line at all—but rather a blur.
Actual wrestling companies have become lost in the confusion; ahead of WrestleMania 34, WWE leaned into fan sentiment and promoted Brock Lesnar as an uncaring mercenary who didn’t give one sh*t about the company or his Universal Championship. To put this premise over, Lesnar went over Kane in just 35 seconds on the house show loop. This meta match—we were to receive it not as storyline evidence of the Beast’s dominance, but proof of his IRL indifference—took place in Chicago, a traditional WWE stronghold.
Months later, when WWE released its Q3 financials, we learned that this revenue stream had dried up to an extent that Vince McMahon deemed it “antiquated” and in need of “reimagining”.
Even if this isolated result didn’t impact international business, the approach certainly didn’t work on its own terms. Fans listened to that instruction, and grew disenfranchised with Lesnar—but didn’t in turn lend their support to Roman Reigns. WWE blurred the line, and in doing so, muddied the waters. It felt especially insulting, in that WWE sensed what we wanted and still tried to control their own narrative.
The performers themselves are equally guilty of the self-inflicted shot…