It's impossible to utter the words pro-wrestling without prompting a smirk from whoever is in earshot. Stripped of context, this doesn't make any sense. Wrestling is one of the most grueling sports in existence, demanding an exhausting training regime and uncanny strength for any participant. Wrestling is so legit that it's arguably the most indispensable discipline in mixed martial arts. So how did the "professional" variant of wrestling become viewed as a cartoon show replete with comedically exaggerated characters and enough melodrama to compete with soap operas? Long story short: because pro-wrestling was originally too real to exist.
In the halcyon days of professional wrestling, which is over a century old, combatants would grapple for hours and accrue nasty injuries that prohibited them from earning a living for several months. To limit these injuries and heighten the drama for the audience, wrestlers began to "cooperate" with each other – unbeknownst to the promoter and referees. Once the latter became aware of the practice, wrestling slowly began to morph into its current form. To see the entire evolution, check out the video linked above.