How I learned the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and pro wrestling was staged (2024)

I remember the day I found out that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real.

I was eight. It was late at night, and I couldn’t sleep. As I lay in bed, waiting for the dental damsel enamored with enamel to arrive, I heard my mother creep into my room.

“M., are you up,” I heard her whisper. Immediately, I wondered what shenanigans of mine she had discovered and opted to remain quiet, eyes closed shut, pretending to sleep.

Within a few moments, the cup where my tooth was placed began to rattle. The next thing I heard was the rustling of paper and the dropping of coins into the cup.

And then, my mother was gone.

I remained in bed for some time before I got up and saw that my tooth had also disappeared. In its place was a wad of cash and some quarters. I wish I could recall how much I received, but I was stunned. It was as if the entire world collapsed around me. Suddenly, I was left to reconcile with the fact that my mother had lied to me about the Tooth Fairy.

“If the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, what about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? It’s all been a lie.”

Back then, fights would break out in school if one questioned the legitimacy of that holy trinity. Now that I knew the truth, I felt I had been fighting for the wrong side. I was devastated.

Granted, I wasn’t so devastated to let my mom in on my discovery. Hell no. I milked Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for another two years until everyone decided to come clean about what they knew and when.

When it came to pro wrestling, my mother was eager to pull me away from it, often telling me that it was fake. One night, she woke me to watch an ABC Nightline special that exposed wrestling’s reality. Despite being stunned by the revelations, I no-sold her efforts to spoil my enjoyment, calling it nonsense (the term ‘fake news’ hadn’t been invented yet) before going back to sleep.

Though I denied it, that moment changed how I viewed wrestling. I went through the stages of grief, denying the truth for a long time. Eventually, I saw through all the tricks which had been right in front of me for years.

Before, when a wrestler had their face slammed against a cage, they were sure to come up bleeding, ravaged by the effects of steel. But after that special, I noticed wrestlers rubbing their fingers against their foreheads in a hurried manner. “Damn, that guy really is cutting himself.”

Soon, I could spot a blade job coming from a mile away.

Still, I accepted pro wrestling for what it was, warts and all, because I was mesmerized by the drama, and the characters were real.

Ah, yes, the characters.

As much as I came to know and understand about wrestling, nothing hit me harder than the day I learned the truth about Nikita Koloff. Discovering that Koloff was an American named Scott Simpson from Minnesota and not the real-life version of Ivan Drago sent to destroy America through wrestling was, hard as it is to believe, a profound shock to me. To find out his accent and persona were entirely fabricated was particularly disappointing.

How I learned the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and pro wrestling was staged (1) Wrestling World magazine - August 1986, via Internet Archive

The revelation was especially painful because even my father, who disliked wrestling, admired Nikita. Like Koloff, or so we thought, my dad was an immigrant, and he admired Nikita’s character. I could never bring myself to tell my dad the truth, even before he passed away.

Additionally, the realization that Ivan Koloff, Nikita’s supposed uncle, was not related to him and was a French-Canadian was also disheartening

Yet, despite those revelations, I’ve forgiven it all as my love for pro wrestling endures. The captivating performances and my early susceptibility to belief have shaped my enduring affection for this crazy genre, enriching my life in ways I continue to appreciate.

And that is 100% real.

Now, it’s your turn, Cagesiders. How did you react when you learned the truth about pro wrestling? What was your moment of truth?

Let’s commiserate together in the comments section.

How I learned the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and pro wrestling was staged (2024)
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