In the wrestling climate of recent times, the idea of staying in kayfabe has not always been lived up to. We can frequently see on screen enemies and heels as acting friendly on social media. The fusion of kayfabe and reality has gone through a spell of lower importance than it has been in the past, but could the use of social media blur those lines once more?
Most wrestling fans will be aware of the recent events surrounding Rusev, in which all mentions of WWE have been removed from his Twitter and Instagram profile. Understandably, this led to a massive reaction, with many believing that he had left the WWE. However, on reflection, this is likely to have been a work and it made me think deeper in to the effect that modern day social media has upon sports entertainment.
A recent example of the combination of social media and kayfabe would be that of ‘fired’ superstars Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. With Owens taking up the handle of ‘FightSteenFight’ a throwback to his independent scene days wrestling under his actual name, Kevin Steen, and the Twitter account for Zayn’s character El Generico resurfacing, superstars are now using social media in new ways, in order to further the story that they are trying to tell.
We’ve seen further instances of keeping kayfabe alive through the likes Sasha Banks and Bayley cropping each other out of the same picture while wishing Norman Smiley a happy birthday; along with Tommaso Ciampa staying in heel character with a tweet as recent as this week.
I’ve been flooded with messages, tweets, and interview requests the past week.
Understand something: Praise from a bunch of people who do not possess the grit it requires to walk one single step in my boots means absolutely nothing to me. It’s equivalent to lint or a bottle cap.
— BLACKHEART (@ProjectCiampa) April 14, 2018
Contrary to that we also see lot’s of example’s that have the opposite effect. A feud between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax, for instance, may have been made more believable had we not already seen multiple pictures of them together on Instagram. As well as the fact that on-screen authority mega heel, Stephanie McMahon, can frequently be found posing in pictures for WWE’s many charitable endeavours.
I think that it’s clear to see the impact that social media can have upon kayfabe, in both positive and negative manners. Given social media’s effective use in a kayfabe regard more recently, I can see it starting to play a bigger role as a story enhancer going forward. With that in mind, it is unlikely kayfabe could ever hit the same levels as it has in the past, but with proper usage, I believe that social media has the opportunity to enhance kayfabe moving forward.