For those who have just become fans of wrestling, kayfabe is a term that’s used to describe something that’s portrayed as real but isn’t. A perfect example, in modern wrestling, would be the match between Roman Reigns and Rusev; two superstars who, in the ring, hate each other, but out of the ring, play PlayStation together and are the best of friends.
— Nasty Woman???? (@LyingDelilaah) January 24, 2017
The Seth Rollins knee injury is an injury that many wrestling fans believe is kayfabe, but as he told The Washington Post, it is, in fact, a real injury.
“This re-injury to my surgically repaired knee is real and a lot is up in the air right now. Wanted to take a second to thank everyone who has reached out to me over the last two days. Life doesn’t always go your way. But that is no excuse to surrender. If anything, obstacles exist to help us grow and evolve.”
— Finn Bálor (@FinnBalor) February 1, 2017
But the Seth Rollins knee injury isn’t the first time that wrestlers “broke kayfabe.”
Let’s take a look at three other instances where WWE fans confused reality and kayfabe.
1. Mean Gene Okerlund
When it comes to wrestling legends, you don’t get much more legendary than “Mean Gene” Okerlund. In the 1980’s, there was no one who was a bigger announcer, and while he was quick with the comebacks — never hesitating to stand up to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan — he usually kept a level head when it came to dealing with the wrestlers.
But that all changed in 1989 when he was announcing for the WWE (then known as the WWF) SummerSlam. He was set to interview the Intercontinental Champion, Rick Rude, and at the time of the interview, the SummerSlam poster was supposed to drop. When it didn’t, Okerlund just said “f**k it,” live on the air, and ripped the poster down himself.
It wasn’t as traumatic as the Seth Rollins knee injury, but it was hilarious.
2. Hulk Hogan vs. Jeff Jarrett
Back in the days when the WCW was a major contender on the wrestling stage, Hulk Hogan — who, at the time, was with the WCW, which was on its last legs — was facing off against Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett was supposed to “job” the fight to Hogan, and when he refused to to so, he went running to Vince Russo.
The following mess happened as a result.
Many wrestling commentators claimed that this 3o-called “Bash at the Beach%2r fiasco effectively ended the WCW, thus paving the way for the WWE to have an all but total monopoly over the world of professional wrestling. And just like the Seth Rollins knee injury, the injuries those wrestlers in the ring suffered were real.
3. The Montreal Screwjob
To this day, The Montreal Screwjob has a special place in the world of professional wrestling as being one of the worst ways a wrestler ever broke kayfabe.
Bret Hart, at the time, was the WWF champion, but the company knew he was leaving to join the WCW. Rather than give Hart the opportunity to spit on the WWF when he went over to the WCW, Vince McMahon decided to stick it to Bret Hart. The problem was, Bret wasn’t in on it.
At the Survivor Series, the referee called for the bell while Shawn Michaels had Bret Hart in a Sharpshooter. Only McMahon, the referee, and Michaels were in on the fix, and worse yet, it happened on Canadian soil (which is where Bret Hart is from).
Reminder: Hart never tapped out.
When the match was over, Hart got out of the ring and spat in Vince McMahon’s face. When Vince tried to talk to Bret in the locker room, Hart knocked McMahon out with one punch. He would never set foot inside the WWF — or the WWE — again until 2010.
At this point, the Seth Rollins knee injury threatens to keep the former Shield wrestler out of the ring. Let’s hope that the Seth Rollins knee injury is just really elaborate kayfabe, and he gets better soon!
[Featured Image by WWE]