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Smarks, Kayfabe, and Other Words I Swear I Didn't Make Up

“We’ve got too many guys in our business that rely on the opinion of some fan who thinks he’s smart. It’s a real issue for me…It used to be riotous—people were so wound up!! They couldn’t punch it in on the Internet and find out what’s going on.” - Ric Flair, 2015

Millions of battles have been waged upon the earth’s soil, from the dense, maximized battles of the dinosaurs, to my brother and me in 1998 arguing who should eat chipmunk poo (after a terrible dare that involved assaulting an already-injured chipmunk), to Big Show's apocryphal battle against his love of pizza and cigarettes. These are battles intended to inspire and horrify.

The WWE fanbase is fighting an equally convoluted and inexplicable battle on the digital frontier, one that unfolds in the zeroes and ones—it’s the smarks versus the world in an ever-shifting wrestling landscape.


Anyone can be into wrestling—for most, it’s a fixation generated in one’s formative years, before they grow into whatever the hell else they become, whether that be your average laborer or surgeon or Jon Stewart. The smarks are just one dimension of wrestling fandom, though their legacy is deeply rooted in the Internet, their greatest ally and the key to the exponential growth of their community. On the Internet it’s far more difficult to maintain the rhythmic illusions of professional wrestling, and smarks feel that wrestling purists can’t help but see things their way. But some of us don’t want to believe that global warming and monkey people exist, smarks. Can’t we have this one thing?

Smarks have existed in various forms since the dawn of the WWE, but the backlash against them has evolved over time. When Vince McMahon openly