Wrestling with Kayfabe: Professional wrestling is somewhat of a cultural oddity, as it blurs the lines between reality, fiction, sport and theater. Join Robert, Julie and "Art of Wrestling" podcaster Colt Cabana as they lock up with wrestling's mind-twisting layers of fiction. Enjoy part II of this podcast, Undercover Actors and the Shadow Self. Image: French pro-wrestler L'Ange Blanc in Paris, 1959. (Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty )
What's this? A Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode about pro-wrestling?
Indeed it is --and trust us, we have a suitably mind-blowing angle on the nature of kayfabe.
Kayfabe, for those of your not in the know, is the traditional carny code of pro-wrestling. In short, you can boil it all down to "don't tell the fans how the magic works." Or you wax philosophic and see it as A "Complete example of the general process by which a wide class of important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery." That quote comes from economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein and as soon as we read it, we knew the time for pro-wrestling episode was upon us.
But it's one thing for my to talk about pro-wrestling as a fan and Julie to approach it as an outsider (or mostly an outsider). I figured we needed a little expert insight. So we also reached out to pro-wrestler Colt Cabana. He's wrestled around the world, hosts "The Art of Wrestling" podcast and was cool enough to chat with us for a few minutes about kayfabe and pro-wrestling.
The episode is the first in a two part series examining what happens when we cloak the world or our very lives in a veil of useful fiction. But this is the only one that contains headlocks and lucha masks.
Oh, and since we go into wrestling and the history of wrestling a bit, here are a few clips -- and don't forget to check out WrestlingRoots.org and WeLoveColt.com. We'll start off with some 1903 catch wrestling, followed by some Lancashire-influneced British pro-wrestling and finally some work from Colt himself.
And then enjoy part II of this podcast, Undercover Actors and the Shadow Self.