10 Wrestling "Shoots" That Were Total Works

Real? Fake? Does it matter?

cm punk pipebomb

There's an old adage that states that in pro wrestling, whatever makes it to television is fake. As much as a given angle may seem to be getting "real" in the moment, everything is pre-produced to the point where there's no room for error. All the fans see is the script being played out before them.

Of course, fans with more than a cursory familiarity with pro wrestling know that it isn't that simple. Twenty years ago, Vince McMahon screwed Bret Hart out of the WWE Championship at the Survivor Series, making for a very real, very live crisis. Since then, backstage disputes have made their way onto ours screens, fans have run into the ring, and injuries and tragedies have plagued the sport.

The result of all of that is a gray area between fact and fiction, where certain angles or matches were executed realistically enough that fans still debate about whether or not they were "real" or "fake."

Admit it - we've all been duped at one point or another. But there's no shame in that; these angles were designed to fool us into believing - for just a second - that they were as real as real.

10. WWE Vs. TNA In Evolve

Shawn Michaels Collapses on Raw 1995

In 2015, EVOLVE Wrestling began working with WWE in a mutually beneficial capacity. EVOLVE helped give Matt Riddle experience and lent talent like Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa to WWE, and in return, WWE had stars like Sami Zayn appear at EVOLVE shows for autograph signings. As it became more and more clear that EVOLVE and WWE were working together closely, booker Gabe Sapolsky decided to turn it into a great storyline.

When Gargano and Drew Galloway lost the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles to Catch Point at EVOLVE 59, Galloway turned on Gargano, citing "Johnny Wrestling's" WWE ventures as anathema to Galloway's own quest to save independent wrestling. Soon, Galloway brought fellow TNA star Ethan Carter III into EVOLVE for the program, leading to some very cutting promos aimed at the WWE machine.

Though EVOLVE was never able to bill the feud as a WWE versus TNA war, it was clear that was the subtext. Fans wondered how it worked, and if the WWE-EVOLVE relationship would be jeopardized by Galloway and Carter's promos. Of course, Sapolsky wouldn't have done anything without WWE's okay, meaning that it was all a compelling work.

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Scott Fried is a Slammy Award-winning* writer living and working in New York City. He has been following/writing about professional wrestling for many years and is a graduate of Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scottfried. *Best Crowd of the Year, 2013