If kayfabe isn't already dead, it's definitely on its last legs. Social media has made it impossible to maintain, and while those of an old-school persuasion still cling onto it for dear life, the damage can't be undone. In the words of Jim Cornette, "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube," and now that everybody knows wrestling is predetermined, they'll never be convinced otherwise.
Things weren't always this way however, and before the business was completely exposed, kayfabe wasn't just an expectation, but a requirement. Wrestlers were method actors charged with the task of maintaining the illusion at all costs, and while this mindset has gradually died-off over the years, the likes of The Undertaker will take it to their grave.
Some wrestlers are so committed to their characters that they eventually become them, with many going to extreme lengths to convince the audience. It is becoming increasingly rare in the days of Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns taking Instagram snaps at Disney World, but wrestling history is littered with stories of performers going the extra mile for the sake of the business, even when it came with a personal cost...
10. Blindness Turns The Sandman Into A Hermit
The beer-guzzling, chain-smoking, Singapore cane-swinging Sandman didn’t exactly come off as a wrestling traditionalist on camera, but he was always dedicated to preserving kayfabe behind the scenes. The most famous example of this came in 1994, when Sandman had a lit cigarette flicked in his eye during an "I Quit" match with Tommy Dreamer, "blinding" his character.
Sandman soon revealed that he would have to retire as a result of the injuries, and spared no effort in selling the injury. As revealed by Paul Heyman in WWE’s Rise And Fall Of ECW documentary, Sandman rendered himself housebound during the angle, going as far as having his wife take care of simple acts like answering the door for him, and on the few occasions he did go out in public, he did so with heavy bandages over his eyes.
The former ECW Champion essentially played a blind man in public just to get an angle over. A smart move, as the company’s events almost exclusively took place in Philadelphia (where Sandman lived) at the time, and eagle-eyed fans wouldn’t have bought into him tearing the bandages off and revealing the ruse had they seen him no-selling in public.