Sunday, April 2, 2023

Vince McMahon's Neokayfabe


New Yorker - "How Much Does Pro Wrestling Matter?"

"McMahon’s product would maintain its onscreen façade, but in public he and his performers would otherwise obfuscate where fiction began and ended. In time, pro wrestling’s authenticity and farce would blend into a new pseudo-reality that Riesman dubs “neokayfabe.” Elements might be fake in ways that appeared real, and real in ways that appeared fake. Each provided cover for the other, and in both ways served the promoter’s ends. A real-life love triangle among performers, reported in the industry trades, could become the basis for an in-character blood feud that fans might invest in all the more; a wrestler might appear to veer off script to air workplace grievances but actually be advancing a meta story line. This cagey murkiness would redefine both McMahon and his industry—and, in Riesman’s telling, his country."

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