The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Friday Afternoon Diversion: Still Think Pro Wrestling Is Fake?

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 8, 2014 8:00PM

Before Vince McMahon pulled down the curtain between professional wrestling and its audience, the term "kayfabe" was used to describe how people in the industry portrayed staged events as real—it was how wrestlers and promoters protected their investment. Good guy wrestlers traveled and shared locker rooms with each other, bad guys did the same; rarely did they interact with each other outside the ring.

Another means of keeping kayfabe was to put aspiring new wrestlers through the motions to see if they had the physical and, more important, mental toughness to protect the business. In this video, we see Bob Roop, an acclaimed amateur wrestler who earned a spot on the 1968 U.S. Olympic team as a Greco-Roman heavyweight, stretch a wannabe grappler to the breaking point.