Professional wrestling is an athletic form of entertainment based on a portrayal of a combat sport.
Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight.
A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport with one-on-one combat.
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Taking the form of live events held by touring promotions, it portrays a unique style of combat based on a combination of adopted styles, which include classical wrestling, catch wrestling and various forms of martial arts, as well as an innovative style based on grappling, striking, and aerialism.
Catch wrestling is a classical hybrid grappling style that was developed in Britain circa 1870 by J. G. Chambers, then later refined and popularised by the wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed their own submission holds, or "hooks", into their wrestling to increase their effectiveness against their opponents.
Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage.
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Various forms of weaponry are sometimes used.
The content including match outcomes is choreographed and the combative actions and reactions are executed in special manners designed to both protect from, yet simulate, pain.
These facts were once kept highly secret, but they are now openly declared as the truth.
By and large, the true nature of the content is ignored by the performing promotion in official media in order to sustain and promote the willing suspension of disbelief for the audience by maintaining an aura of verisimilitude.
The term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.
Verisimilitude is a philosophical concept that distinguishes between the relative and apparent truth and falsity of assertions and hypotheses.
Fan communications by individual wrestlers and promotions through outside media will often directly acknowledge the fictional nature of the spectacle, making the predetermined nature of the sport something of an open secret.
An open secret is a concept or idea that is "officially" secret or restricted in knowledge but is actually widely known; or it refers to something that is widely known to be true but which none of the people most intimately concerned is willing to categorically acknowledge in public.
In general, spectacle refers to an event that is memorable for the appearance it creates.
The presentation of scripted events as legitimate is known as kayfabe.
In professional wrestling, kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature of any kind.
Although the combative content is staged and communicated between the wrestlers, there are legitimate physical hazards resulting in serious injury and death in limited cases, due to the realism and contact involved in the performance.