Isn't it interesting how Triple H breaking character is still such a big deal?
I mean, think about it. Kayfabe effectively died years ago.
We know that wrestlers are playing characters. We know that the villains are play-acting.
And yet one performer breaks character to comfort a crying child and it's suddenly the controversy of the week.
Now I don't watch WWE. I don't have anything against the company or the people who like their product: it's just not my thing.
But the issue of staying in character is universal to all wrestling, so I want to talk about it.
Now do I think that Triple H did the right thing?
I say yes. Definitely.
Whether you like it or not, the WWE are making a conscious effort to be more child-friendly. And that includes making their live shows a safe place for kids to be.
And if that means dropping out of character for a moment, so be it.
Imagine what would have happened if he hadn't broken character.
I'm not saying that parents would have refused to bring their kids to wrestling events in droves. But maybe a few of them would have thought twice.
After all, wrestling events could be upsetting. Why would you risk it?
But let's think about this more broadly. How far should wrestlers go when it comes to staying in character? Particularly in this age of social media?
Pick any wrestler and go to their Twitter feed or Instagram page. I guarantee you'll find that the line between character and person is hard to define.
Some parts are in character, like people in feuds sniping at each other in Instagram comments.
And then at other times, you get candid shots of wrestlers hanging out who wouldn't be around each other in character.
It's a confusing mess of acting and reality that you don't get anywhere else. Not even with the actors in Marvel movies, and I know you've seen all the jokes about how they basically are their characters. Everyone has.
Or how about when you just chat to a performer outside the ring? Should they be in character then?
Look at Marty Scurll, for example. In the ring? The villain of British professional wrestling. Outside of the ring? One of the nicest human beings I have ever met.
But does that change how I see his character? Of course not.
I know that when he's playing the bad guy, we boo him. It's the unspoken contract between performer and audience.
And that I think is the heart of the issue.
We as audience members know that wrestlers are acting and we willingly buy into it. We actively suspend our disbelief.
And that's why it doesn't matter that Triple H broke character to comfort a crying kid. Or that Rockstar Spud works out with the BroMans. Or that Scurll is nice outside the ring.
In character or out of character: it doesn't matter as long as everybody is having a good time, right?
Related Post: The First Step in Change is Admitting You Were Wrong