Pro wrestling is a sport without regulations. Over the top personalities face off against each other and fight sans rules, governed only by the rehearsed script. Wrestlers train hard for strength and agility, but it’s all an act. Charismatic adversaries battle viciously on camera, but then hang out backstage. Like movie stuntmen, their fight scenes must be practiced. Like a circus show, the audience marvels, yet rests assured that their favorite wrestler won’t get killed, while, at the same time, moves look deadly and smack downs cause real pain. The sport evolved out of the Strongman act at old time circuses. Today, matches provide unbridled entertainment, like live-action reality TV shows.
The sport is impossible to categorize, except by its fandom. Disciplined fanatics follow each melodramatic twist and turn, then track and discuss WWE and other pro league minute on social media. The dynamic is part of the show. Colorful wrestlers keep fans addicted with high-octane performances, and by inserting extra drama into their acts, on stage and off. Wrestlers rarely break character, rambunctiously engaging with the audience whenever cameras roll their way. Once in a while, real emotions spill over and memorable and controversial fights ensue, on and off script. Let’s take a look at some.
Chris Jericho vs. Bill Goldberg
This time, Chris Jericho instigated his own fight, however, the backstage brawl was ten years in the making. There was bad blood between Chris Jericho and Bill Goldberg from the time they both wrestled for the now defunct WCW league. Years later, when Bill Goldberg joined the WWE, Chris Jericho was not pleased. Tensions worsened when Bill Goldberg greeted Chris Jericho (Y2J) with a hearty back slap on day one of entering the WWE league.
Eventually, during a RAW event, Y2J heard back about Bill Goldberg’s smack talking, criticizing his performance skills. With a chip on his shoulder and score to settle, Y2J strode into the dressing room to have a few challenging words with the much larger wrestler, Bill Goldberg. “If you have something to say to me, say it to my face,” he said. Goldberg silenced the significantly smaller Y2K, swiftly seizing him by the throat. Y2K, lit to pop with Goldberg’s hand clenched around his neck, returned the favor by taking the hulking man down and putting him in a front face lock. The two wrestlers eventually patched things up, but Y2K’s backstage rout against the massive Bill Goldberg is one for the WWE history books.