Back in the days before professional wrestling became sports entertainment/performance art, bad guys were ALWAYS bad guys and good guys were ALWAYS good guys unless they “turned” when bad guys (heels) could become good guys (babyfaces).
The Rock captured this situation with his famous quote “know your role and shut your mouth.”
No wrestler would ever admit that the action in the ring was “fake” or as it is known inside the industry a “work”.
This code of silence was rigorously practiced and became known as kayfabe.
Kayfabe finally blew up when an All- American, flag waving good guy named Jim (Hacksaw) Duggan was arrested on the road for a pot violation while he was sharing transportation with an Anti-American bad guy named the Iron Sheik.
Wrestling had some ‘splainin’ to do. How could these two mortal enemies be traveling together (as well as getting high together)?
The answer was simple and a long time in coming.
Coveniently, this elimination of kayfabe resulted in deregulation of the industry as wrestling no longer had to call itself a sport. Wrestlers became “private contractors “ while the characters they portrayed became property of the organization promoting them.
In other words…Jim Duggan was a private contractor named Jim Duggan whereas hie character ‘Hacksaw” Jim Duggan became a possession of the WWF (soon to become the WWF)
The character was merchandisable but not so much the real person.
Eventually, this hair spliitting scheme led to huge tax advantages for the WWF. It also enabled real people like Mick Foley to write books about his experiences portraying alter egos such as Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind. A whole new vista of non-fiction writing began, a vista unimaginable back in the days of Lou Thesz or Bruno Sammartino when kayfabe ruled the day…when everybody knew their role and shut their mouths.
All of this occurred at a time when satelite telecasting led the way to Pay Per Views which benefitted the “grand daddy of em all” Wrestlemania.
Celebrity non-wrestlers began to infiltrate Wrestlemania. Personalities like Cyndi Lauper, Liberace, Alex Trabek, Muhammad Ali, Lawrence Taylor, Dennis Rodman, Morton Downey, Mr. T and many, many others were paid a pretty penny to jump on board.
Naturally, Donald Trump became involved. At the time, Trump was heavily invested in Atlantic City casinos including the promotion of boxing title fights.
It had to come to pass that eventually the owner of WWF/WWE, Vince McMahon would collaborate with Donald Trump to the mutual benefit of both men as well as the WWE “universe” and Wrestlemania itself.
In many ways, this is where our story begins as does the Fantasyland presidency of our 45th president.