“Wrestling is fake.”

Hearing that for the first time is one of those defining moments of your childhood – not unlike discovering that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real.

Then we got older, and those T-shirts emblazoned with images of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock sank deeper and deeper into our cupboards as memories of D-Generation X and the New World Order slowly faded; forgotten relics of a simpler age.

But then you get old enough to make a trek out to Joo Chiat and sit ringside under the Friday night lights as the wrestlers of Grapple MAX, Malaysia Pro Wrestling, Michinoku Pro Wrestling and Philippine Wrestling Revolution do battle.

You see athletes put their bodies on the line; you see fans in raptures and consumed by rage in turn; you see passion, you hear riotous laughter and you almost forget that you’re essentially in a suburban backyard in Singapore.

The results at Grapple MAX: Enter the Ring might have been decided before a suplex was delivered, but every bit of drama – and hilarity – that got us there was 100% real.

Photography by: Kurt Ganapathy

Curated by: Arman Shah