Breaking the Fourth Wall: How WWE is bringing realism back

The lines are getting blurred, but is WWE choosing to rip up the scripts and let things loose moving forward?

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If you have been watching WWE programming recently, particularly Monday Night Raw, you would have noticed a very different structure to the customary style of promos. At the recent No Mercy Pay-per-view event, Roman Reigns defeated John Cena in a ‘taking of the torch match’. Regardless of your opinion of the match, what can’t be denied is how fascinating the build-up was.

To hype their upcoming clash, Cena and Reigns were going back and forth ‘shooting’ on each other and their positions in the company. What made it more intriguing, was that Reigns is considered the company’s top guy and essentially ‘the new John Cena’. This was brought to attention within these promos with Cena calling his adversary ‘a John Cena bootleg’, and calling him out on his ineffective promo work, while Reigns chastised Cena for his part-time status and lack of ability in the ring. These are all legitimate gripes that the fan base has or has had with both performers. While Cena arguably came out on top in these mic battles, it can’t be argued that the feud made both superstars bring their A-game. 

Changing the game

WWE has seemingly decided to smash the fourth wall to provide more of an injection of reality in their programming. A fourth wall is a theatrical practice that separates performers from the audience watching to maintain the illusion of theater. The fourth wall is broken when either the audience or the fictionality of the performance or characters is addressed. With this programme, it is apparent that the effects of the famous CM Punk ‘Pipe Bomb Promo’ from 2011 are still rippling through the WWE. 

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