Pro Wrestling

List of professional wrestling terms

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Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of slang, in-references, and jargon. Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circuses, and the slang itself is often referred to as "carny talk." Often wrestlers used this lingo in the presence of fans so as not to reveal the worked nature of the business. In recent years, widespread wrestling discussion on the Internet popularized the terms. In fact, many of the terms refer to the money-making aspect of the sport rather than the athletics themselves.


A wrestling event where generally a company's biggest "draws" perform.
A group of a wrestling promotion's top stars who compete at a given event. (Compare "B-Team")
Abortion (or abort)
To discontinue a feud, angle, or "gimmick" suddenly, usually without explanation or due to a lack of fan interest. This is an older term, not generally used today because of its objectionable basis.
Agent (road agent)
Management employee, often a former veteran wrestler, who helps wrestlers set up matches, plans storylines, and relays instructions from the bookers. Often acts as a liaison between wrestlers and higher-level management. Referred to as "producers" by WWE. Sometimes they help train and teach younger active wrestlers and give criticism.
A fictional storyline. An angle usually begins when one wrestler attacks another (physically or verbally), which results in revenge. An angle may be as small as a single match or a vendetta that lasts for years. It is not uncommon to see an angle become retconned due to it not getting "over" with the fans, or if one of the wrestlers currently involved in the angle is released from his contract.
Apter mag
An old-style professional wrestling magazine that sticks to kayfabe and usually consists of made-up articles and interviews. The term refers to the magazines at one time connected to journalist Bill Apter, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Attitude Era
Refers to a time period from WrestleMania XIV to WrestleMania X-Seven when the World Wrestling Federation product shifted from being family-oriented entertainment to being "edgier," more crude, and dealing with more "adult" situations (frequently sexual in nature).


a wrestling event featuring the middle and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion.
group of wrestlers on a B-Show. Frequently, the B-Team will compete at a different venue the same night wrestlers on the A-Team are competing in a different event, although a promotion will sometimes schedule an event with B-Team wrestlers to test a new market.
a good guy.(Compare "tweener" and "heel")
Backyard wrestling
the act of staging pro-style wrestling (not to be confused with sport wrestling or amateur wrestling) as a hobby rather than a job, usually (but not always) by untrained performers, predominantly teenagers. The term can also be used for an independent promotion that has very little, if any, notability.
Beat down
when a wrestler or other performer is the recipient of a beating, usually by a group of wrestlers.
a sharpened object used for "blading". The blade is usually concealed in tape on the hands or somewhere it can be utilized without being obvious. Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide (p. 106)
the act of cutting ones self or another person open in order to bleed, usually done on the forehead (also called "juicing"). The opposite of bleeding hardway.
when a referee has his back turned while the other side is cheating. Usually done by heels in order to gain the advantage in a match.
Blind tag
a tag made in a tag team match where the wrestler on the apron, tags his partner unbeknownst to him or without his consent. It can also refer to such a tag where the tagger's opponent is unaware a tag has occurred, leaving him open to a blind-side attack. Most often occurs when the partner in the ring is thrown against the ropes or backed into their own corner.
Blow off
the final match in a feud. While the involved wrestlers often move onto new feuds, sometimes it is the final match in the promotion for one or more of the wrestlers.
Blow Up
to become cardiovascularly exhausted during a match.
Blown Up
Out of breath, lacking the cardiovascular endurance to keep up in a match at the pace it has been going.
a term that refers to the predetermined nature of wrestling. For example, a booker will book a wrestler to win or lose a match, or a booker will book a wrestler to engage in a particular storyline.
the person in charge of setting up matches and writing angles; referred to as the "Creative Team" by WWE. It is the wrestling equivalent to a screenwriter.
what a "booker" does. Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show.
a scripted move that failed.
a time limit draw
when a wrestler hits the mat or ground. Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p. 65)
refers to the worked lowering (relegation) of a popular wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. It is the act of a promoter or booker causing a wrestler to lose popularity by forcing him to lose in squash matches, continuously, and/or participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines. It can be a form of punishment for real-life backstage disagreements or feuds between the wrestler and the booker, the wrestler falling out of favor with the company, or the wrestler receiving an unpopular gimmick that causes him to lose credibility regardless of win-loss record. It is also a result of a company seeing a wrestler as having no potential or charisma. The term can also be applied to a wrestling company that jumps the shark, rapidly loses ratings, fans, and finally becomes bankrupt. According to many critics, the most infamous burial of a company was The Fingerpoke of Doom, a pivotal incident in the Monday Night Wars that took place in January 4, 1999 on WCW Monday Nitro at the Georgia Dome.(Compare "push")
the term used to describe professional wrestling instead of referring to it as a profession or sport.
Busted open
term used to describe a wrestler that is bleeding. (Compare "juicing")


when one wrestler instructs the other of what is going to happen in the match.
Canned heat
when cheers or boos are pumped into an arena via the sound system or added to a television show in post-production.
the lineup of the matches that will be staged at a given venue for a given performance. The card is generally performed in a roughly inverse order to the way in which it might be printed for posters or other promotional materials. The major matches between well-known opponents may be for "titles" and are said to be "top of the card" or "headliners" while the preliminary matches between lesser-known opponents are said to be the "undercard." In Lucha libre, cards are generally five matches although big events might have more and smaller promotions might not run the full five match card. The first match is called the Primera Lucha, the second is called the Segunda Lucha, the third is usually the Combate Especial or the Lucha Especial, the fourth or second to last match is called the Lucha Semifinal, and the main event is called the Lucha Estelar or Lucha Estrella.
A language used by wrestlers to talk to each other around people not associated with the business so they would not understand what they were saying, often used to keep the secrets of the business.
in kayfabe, a recognition of a wrestler being the best in his or her promotion or division in the form of a championship belt (also "title" or "strap"). Outside of kayfabe, championships are won/held by a wrestler whom the bookers believe will generate fan interest in terms of event attendance and television viewership.
Cheap heat
when a wrestler (often a heel) incites a negative crowd reaction by insulting the crowd (by insulting the city or a local sports team) or by using a news event as part of his promo.
Cheap pop
when a wrestler (often a face) incites a positive crowd reaction by "kissing up" to the crowd (for example, mentioning the name of the city or complimenting a local sports team). Heels often follow the same principle but in reverse: insulting the city or bringing up something it is infamous for (such as an under-performing sports team) to get booed.
Cheap shot
when a wrestler uses a low blow or a foreign object to get an advantage over his opponent.
when two wrestlers work well together by pulling off each other's moves well and telling the story well to the audience.
Clean finish
when a match ends without cheating or outside interference, usually in the center of the ring. (Compare "screwjob")
Closet champion
a current titleholder (usually a heel) who ducks top-flight competition, cheats to win (often by managerial interference), and—when forced to wrestle good opponents—deliberately causes himself to be disqualified (since titles often do not change hands by disqualification) to retain his title.
a term used by wrestlers and promoters to discuss the amount of bloodshed in a match.
Color commentator
a member of the announcing team who assists the play-by-play announcer by filling in any time when play is not in progress, providing humor, and explaining storylines.
an event which occurs when two or more rival promotions put together one card or wrestling event. Some promoters have used cross-promotion style angles to further interest. Cross promotion dates back to the early days of wrestling as challenges between rival promoters in the same area often occurred.
a term that lets other wrestlers know when something should happen, usually after a move.
Curtain Call or The MSG Incident
the incident at Madison Square Garden in the spring of 1996, when WWF superstars Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, and Triple H (The Kliq) broke kayfabe in front of a live sold out New York crowd, playing it out in a farewell to the crowd and a group hug.


Dark match
a non-televised match at a televised show used to warm up the crowd (compare "house show"). A dark match before the show is often used to test out new talent or to warm up the crowd. A promised dark match after the show is typically set featuring main-event level wrestlers in order to sell more tickets and send the crowd home happy.
Dead weight
when a wrestler goes limp in the middle of a move. This could be done intentionally, either to make his opponent look weak or just "rib" him, or unintentionally because the "dead weight" wrestler is unfamiliar with the cooperation needed to pull off a particular wrestling hold (or just not paying attention) or as a result of injury. See (Sandbag)
a decision simply refers to the result of a match, by whatever means it came about.
Dirt sheet
an insider newsletter (or website) in the professional wrestling business.
aside from the usual colloquial meaning of a hard to work with individual, this term is used, mainly by WWE, to refer to any woman involved in wrestling, either as "eye candy" or as a wrestler (or frequently both).
Double turn
the rare occurrence when both the heel and the face switch roles during an angle or a match. An example of this is the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match at WrestleMania 13 and the Powers of Pain/Demolition at Survivor Series 1988.
a wrestler who is able to attract the attention of the audience; someone fans are willing to pay to see.
Drawing power
having recognition with the fans as a star, with fans paying to see them.
when a wrestler is booked to lose to a contender (the loser agreed to drop the match to the winner).
Drop the belt
When a champion is booked to lose to a challenger; thus having the title and belt change hands. It is usually seen as an honor to give another wrestler the championship; conversely those who refuse to drop the belt and hog the title are seen often unfavorably.
a very poor, boring, or otherwise uninteresting match. It can also be a match with morally objectionable elements.
Dusty Finish
typically a finish in which the face appears to win a big match, but the decision is later reversed. Can also refer to an ambiguous finish to a match where either wrestler can be claimed the winner. The "Dusty" in the term refers to Dusty Rhodes, who booked many such finishes in NWA and later in WCW.


a wrestler who accompanies another to matches, and acts as a bodyguard. This term was coined by Arn Anderson, whose nickname was "The Enforcer". Another definition is an individual (usually a celebrity) who acts in a "special guest referee" capacity from outside the ring, usually favoring one wrestler over another (such as Chuck Norris at Survivor Series 1994 or Mike Tyson at WrestleMania XIV).
Extreme wrestling
a style of wrestling based heavily on highspots, no limits, and no boundaries. Matches that are more fast-paced and over the top with high impact style are seen in Japan and Mexico. Sometimes confused with hardcore wrestling due to the fact that the rules are more relaxed allowing the use of chairs and tables, but it involves much more wrestling abilities than hardcore wrestling.
term briefly used by WWE to refer to its ECW brand wrestlers to emphasize that they, and the ECW brand, are more "extreme" in comparison to the Raw and SmackDown! superstars.


short for "babyface", which means the good guy, or the wrestler who the crowds are intended to cheer for.
see "stable."
usually, the ending of the match. A fall is obtained by gaining a decision in any manner, normally consisting of a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. In a two out of three falls match, a wrestler must gain two decisions to win instead of only one. (See decision and near-fall)
False comeback
when a face mounts a brief offensive flurry before losing it to a heel wrestler after being dominated for several minutes. Usually, it occurs before the actual comeback.
a battle between two or more wrestlers or stables, often involving matches, promos, and angles. A feud usually lasts for several months.
the planned end of a match. (See "Dusty Finish" and "Clean Finish")
a wrestler's signature move that leads to a finish.
Flair Flip or Flair Flop
a move, popularized by Ric Flair, where a wrestler is flipped upside down upon hitting the corner turnbuckle and often ends up on the other side of the ropes on his feet on the ring apron.
Flat back bump
a bump in which a wrestler lands solidly on his back with high impact, spread over as much surface as possible.
Foreign object
an object that is illegal to the match, such as a chair, brass knuckles, garbage can, etc. WCW announcers called these implements "International Objects" for a time in the 1980s when WCW owner Ted Turner banned use of the word "foreign" throughout his media empire.
Freebird rule
an unofficial rule which allows any two members of a stable with three or more members to defend a tag team championship. Named for The Fabulous Freebirds, who famously did this in Georgia Championship Wrestling. The New World Order used this rule when holding the WCW World Tag Team Championships. A more modern example would be The Spirit Squad, a five-man group that collectively held the WWE World Tag Team Championships throughout 2006.


a non-Japanese worker in Japanese promotions. This is not specifically wrestling term, simply the standard Japanese term for a foreigner (considered derogatory by some foreigners though not implicitly intended to be).
Garbage wrestling
"hardcore" matches or extremely spot heavy matches wherein wrestlers use nothing but weaponry or highly planned out spots to attack each other; the term also refers to outrageous gimmick matches that have no obvious elements of traditional in-ring competition. The term was coined by Giant Baba of All Japan Pro-Wrestling when he referred to Atsushi Onita's FMW promotion (which used barbed wire and other such dangerous implements) as "garbage." The term later evolved to encompass spotfests as well.
1. Steroids (see also juice and roids) or 2. Stamina (as in "out of gas", when a wrestler is tired and unable to perform properly)
amount of money generated from ticket sales. Merchandise sales are often a part of "the gate."
Get over
a campaign designed by the bookers to make a wrestler (or a group of wrestlers) either popular or a credible threat; in other words, someone that an audience would pay to see.
the blade a wrestler uses to cut himself.
a wrestler's personality and/or other distinguishing traits while performing. It can also be an implement used to cheat. In recent years, the emphasis has been on more realistic gimmicks (with rare exceptions such as The Undertaker) which portray the wrestler as an actual person, albeit with exaggerated personality traits, as opposed to previous years during which gimmicks could be best described as "cartoonish". A wrestler may be expected to portray many gimmicks during their career, most of which may be implausible or inconsistent. Sometimes a wrestler may undergo a complete change of on-screen personality from one week to the next.
Gimmick table
place where a (usually independent) wrestler sells his merchandise, usually by the concession stand.
Go over
to beat someone.
Gorilla Position
the staging area just behind the entrance curtain, where wrestlers wait before they come into view of the crowd. Named after Gorilla Monsoon, who established the position's importance and could often be found there.
refers to a wrestler (often called a green horn) who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to make mistakes because of their inexperience.
a deep cut that bleeds a lot, usually caused by a mistake while blading but can be intentional.


when a wrestler twists the second rope over the third with his neck caught in-between, which results in the illusion of the wrestler hanging by his neck from the ropes.
Hardcore wrestling
matches that focus on the use of weapons such as chairs, chains, fireballs, ladders, and tire irons, often combined with brawling all over the arena, rather than traditional wrestling holds and techniques, also referred to by some as garbage wrestling.
a wrestler getting a negative crowd reaction. (See "cheap heat" and "canned heat")
Head drop
a move which, as a result of a botch, causes the receiver to be dropped on their head, often resulting in a legit concussion or other injury such as a broken neck. Also, especially in puroresu, the term can refer to a bump which is intended to make a move appear as if the receiver landed on his/her head. In reality, the full force of the move is intended to be taken on the upper back and shoulders, though such moves still carry a high degree of legitimate risk with them.
a bad guy. (Compare "tweener" and "face")
a top-rope move, or a series of maneuvers perceived as dangerous.
a wrestler with strong legitimate mat-wrestling abilities and an array of match-ending (or in extreme cases, career ending) holds known as "hooks," hence the name. In the early 20th century, one who has worked for carnivals taking on "all comers." Since these types of events are on the decline, this word is falling out of common usage. A hooker is the opposite of a pure performer. Examples of a hooker include Lou Thesz.
a term used chiefly in the past by Jim Ross of WWE to refer to large wrestlers with a very limited move capacity, inspired by Hoss Cartwright of Bonanza.
when a promoter or booker rushes to a feud, a climax of a feud, or books a big match on television instead of at a pay-per-view in order to get a short-term boost for business. Also applies to angles or turns that are done for shock value rather than acting as a part of an ongoing storyline.
Hot tag
in a tag team match, when a face wrestler tags in a fresh partner after several minutes of being dominated by his opponents. Often the hot tag happens after several teases (where the other face is enticed into the ring, only to be stopped by the referee and the heels getting away with illegal tactics).
House show
a non-televised show. (Compare "dark match")
Hulking Up
when a wrestler begins to come back in a match by no-selling a wrestler's moves and fights back. Named for Hulk Hogan, who did this in many of his matches in America. (See "Superhuman Comeback")


short for "independent promotion," refers to a wrestling group that is too small to compete on a national level or is not owned by a big corporation.
Invasion storyline
Refers to an angle in 2001 from WrestleMania X-Seven to the Survivor Series relating to the World Wrestling Federation's purchase of World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It involved the WCW wrestlers "invading" WWF television in an attempt to "take over" the WWF. In June 2001, the angle grew in intensity as the WWF storylines somewhat abated to make room for the central Invasion storyline. WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) merged to form The Alliance and challenged the WWF's control over the wrestling industry.


a scheduled loss.
also known as a job man, a wrestler whose primary function is losing to better-known wrestlers.
steroids. (See gas and roids). It can also mean blood, usually from the forehead.
bleeding (frequently, but not always, self-inflicted). (Compare "blading".)


term used to describe the illusion (and up-keep of the illusion) that professional wrestling is not staged (i.e. that the on-screen situations between performers represent reality). Also used by wrestlers as a signal to close ranks and stop discussing business due to an uninformed person arriving in earshot. The term is said to have been loosely derived from the Pig Latin pronunciation of the word "fake" ("akefay").
When a competitor is knocked out by their opponent, usually by a large blow to the head, or exhaustion. This can be by accident, or intentionally. This is usually a term used in "Last Man Standing" matches after a 10 count is issued to a downed competitor, or in kayfabe, where a wrestler is announced to have "won by knockout", a term rarely used in wrestling. Also a term used to describe female wrestlers in TNA.


short for "legitimate". A term used to describe a match or event which has not been booked, or a performer who relies on wrestling skill and ability, as opposed to his gimmick, to gain notoriety and popularity with fans. The term is also often extended to mean a wrestler with a legitimate background as an actual street fighter or brawler (the individual may be a former professional boxer, a stuntman, martial artist, or have crossed over from some other professional or amateur sport), who brings legitimate fighting skills to the apparent, but often tightly controlled, "chaos" of the pro wrestling arena. The term can also be attributed to an incident where a legitimate injury occurs during a professional wrestling match. Often used as a synonym for shoot.
Legit heat
a real-life conflict between wrestlers.
Lock up
a grapple at the beginning of a match.
Low blow
where a wrestler hits the other wrestler in the crotch.
A wrestler who wrestles usually at the start of the program or sometimes even performs rarely.
Lucha libre or Lucha
Mexican professional wrestling, which translates to "Free Fighting". It is used to describe the Mexican style of wrestling that consists of high-flying acrobatic moves.
a Mexican wrestler.


Main eventer
a wrestler who is viewed by management to be one of the top draws on the roster and thus is promoted in Main Events.
a performer assigned to accompany a wrestler to the ring and, usually, put them over in interviews. They are often used to help a heel cheat and incite the crowd.
a fan who believes that the characters and events of some or all of professional wrestling are real. The term can also be applied to a fan who idolizes a particular wrestler, promotion, or style of wrestling to a point some might consider excessive. (Compare "smark")
An act of reacting to an event in wresting as if it was legit even though the person reacting to it knows it to be staged.
a wrestler who wrestles in the middle of programs, is seen as being high in seniority but less than a money draw, usually competing for the secondary title of a federation.
Missed spot (or blown spot)
a move in which the timing is off
Money match
a non-title match which was the most heavily promoted of the card that is placed near or at the end of a live event, which is the main reason fans attended the event or watched the event.
Monster heel
a villain who is portrayed as unstoppable, usually to set up a feud with a promotion's lead face. Particularly applies to heels who are physically monstrous, grotesque, or just plain scary.
Montreal Screwjob
an incident at Survivor Series in 1997 where referee Earl Hebner claimed that Bret Hart submitted to Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon ordered the bell to be rung in order to take the WWF Championship title from Hart who was exiting the World Wrestling Federation for World Championship Wrestling.
a manager who does the promos, or all the talking, for a wrestler possessing little or no mic skills.
Muta scale
An informal measure among some fans, mostly smarks, of the amount of blood lost by a wrestler during a match. Ranges begin at 0.0 Muta, with 1.0 Muta being equivalent to the blood loss of The Great Muta during an infamous 1992 New Japan Pro Wrestling match with Hiroshi Hase.


a match which ends without a winner normally due to a legitimate injury where the wrestler can not continue, to prolong a feud, or because of interference.
occurs when a wrestler's shoulders are pinned to the mat for a count of two, but the wrestler manages to escape before the referee's hand hits the mat a third time, which would signify a pinfall.
giving no reaction to another wrestler's offense or moves.
when a wrestler doesn't show up for a match. No-shows are usually staged, often for the purposes of a storyline. Legit no-shows are less frequent, since the wrestler (or other employee) is usually fired or suspended afterward.


Outlaw Rule
In a tag match involving more than two teams, teammates cannot pin each other in order to win a match. Named after the New Age Outlaws, who pulled this off in a three-team tag match.
refers to a performer whom the fans care about (either positively or negatively) or the act of making someone look good, often by losing to them.Wrestlers can be over as either faces or heels. The term suggests that the fans are buying into what the wrestler is selling, meaning his character. One of the most common ways a wrestler can be "put over" is by winning a match. It's also possible to put someone over by taking bumps or selling a move.
showing too much of a reaction to another wrestler's offense. For example, tumbling head over heels all the way across the ring from a simple punch would be an over-sell.


to give away a great number of free (comped) tickets to increase the size of the crowd for publicity. Up-and-coming promotions may do this as a form of advertisement, whereas struggling companies may do this to make their turnouts look better than they really are.
Parts Unknown
Billing a wrestler as being from "Parts Unknown" (rather than from his real hometown or another actual place) is intended to add to a wrestler's mystique. In the post-kayfabe era, it is used less and less. Sometimes, wrestlers can hail from other, abstract places; for example, the tag team of Deuce & Domino hailed from "the other side of the tracks" and the Dudley Family who came from "Dudleyville."
Paying dues
the concept that newer or younger wrestlers must be hazed or punished in the early parts of their careers, both in and out of the ring. When addressing a specific individual, the speaker may call it "paying your dues." (See "job" and "rib")
Phantom bump
when a wrestler or referee takes a bump even though the move they are selling was visibly botched or otherwise not present. Phantom bumps are most commonly performed when the offensive wrestler is new.
is a professional wrestling term for a trained wrestler or actor who poses as a fan, usually seated in the front row of an event. Plants are a good tool for a heel wrestler to gain heat from the crowd. Usually the "plant" is an unknown trained wrestler, often off the independent circuit. (Note: not all attacks on fans are on "plants". Occasionally, a wrestler will start a legit attack on a real fan who has engaged in behavior such as spitting, cursing, or insulting the wrestler's family members). Alternatively, to get over, some heels may do such actions as grab a fan's hat and throw it away, or grab his sign and tear it in half.
the reporting of a sporting event with a voice over describing the details of the action of the match in progress. The play-by-play person is assisted by a color commentator.
a sudden crowd reaction, either positive or negative. It is measured by the amount of cheers or derision a wrestler gets during his entrance, interviews, and in-ring performance (especially when a trademark spot is performed by the wrestler).
after taking a slam to the mat, powder simply means to roll under the bottom rope out of the ring.
a promotional interview (as in "cutting a promo"). Often includes either an "in-ring interview" or (on television) a skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or feud.
manager of a promotion.
a group that organizes professional wrestling events.
Japanese professional wrestling
Put over
to allow oneself to be pinned or otherwise defeated by someone or to compliment them in an interview. The person who the wrestler is putting over is said to be getting over.
the story of a match. It can be as simple as a wrestler going after someone's bad leg or trying to hit a move to which the wrestler knows they have a weakness.
when a wrestler gains popularity with wins and positive exposure. A push can be a sudden win over a major superstar, or becoming involved in a high profile angle. (Compare "bury")


refers to a southern style of professional wrestling which emphasizes kayfabe and stiffness, with fewer squash matches and generally longer feuds. It was synonymous with the NWA-affiliated promotions. Rasslin' included TV tapings at smaller venues, as compared to the larger and more well-known arenas utilized by northern U.S. promotions such as the AWA and WWF/E. The term is derived from a phonetic spelling of how the word "wrestling" sounds when spoken with a heavy Southern accent. It is also commonly used in a derogatory manner by non-Southern wrestling fans to describe that style of wrestling. When Ted Turner purchased Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988, he allegedly called Vince McMahon to tell him that he was now in the "rasslin'" business. McMahon allegedly differentiated his company's style by responding, "That's great, Ted. I'm in the entertainment business."
Ref bump
when the referee for a match is intentionally knocked out, generally to allow outside interference or other illegal act.
Rest hold
a hold applied more lightly at a designated point in a match in order to save energy.
practical jokes played by or on wrestlers. Wrestlers spend a lot of time together in close quarters and often resort to practical jokes, either to break the monotony or to get revenge for real or imagined wrongs.
someone involved in the pro wrestling business who is well known for playing practical jokes, such as D-Generation X.
Ring general
someone who commands a match with drama, believability, and awe
Ring psychology
wrestling a match properly so that the crowd becomes personally involved in the show.
Ring rat
similar to a rock and roll groupie, it is someone with amorous feelings for wrestlers and frequents wrestling events to flirt or pursue sexual liaisons with wrestlers. They can also be referred to as arena rats.
Ring rust
when a wrestler is out-of-practice, and thus more prone to miss spots, as a result of a long period away from wrestling.
Road agent
(see agent)
Roid Rage
paranoia, depression, and explosive outbursts caused by steroid use.
slang phrase for steroids. (See gas and juice)
occurs when one or more individuals who are not actively participating in a match run into the ring. Run-ins are almost always made by heels, typically to further a feud with a face. More often than not, a run-in will result in a "beat down" in which the heel(s) pummel the face(s) until the script calls for the beating to stop, either from the heels' satisfaction with their handiwork, a retaliatory run-in by one or more faces, or (less often) the entrance of one or more authority figures (referees, agents, security personnel). Sometimes a run-in results from a face wanting to stop a heel from physically punishing a weaker opponent, usually to set up a feud.
Rushed finish
when the end of a match is hurried, usually due to a botch, injury, or time constraints. A match may have a rushed finish for the following reasons: a person in the match is injured, and needs the match to finish as soon as possible to protect themselves (they often do this by rolling up their opponent for a pin or causing a disqualification); the match is a timed match, where the viewers can see a clock, and the match must end before a certain time on the clock, for storyline purposes; the match is televised, and it had been going on for too long, so its end had to be shortened; or there was a botch in the match, and the wrestlers have to recover the situation to make it look realistic.


to not cooperate with a throw and to act as dead weight, which makes the moves the wrestler is attempting much harder, if not impossible to pull off. It's usually done in protest to something that the wrestler performing the move has done incorrectly earlier in the match, such as not protecting his/her opponent or working stiff. An example of sandbagging is from WWE, where in a match with Brock Lesnar and Hardcore Holly, Holly sandbagged a powerbomb from Brock Lesnar, resulting in Holly's neck breaking when he was put down.
a school or gym that teaches students the necessary skills to become professional wrestlers. Students undergo strenuous physical conditioning while learning the basics of the wrestling industry, proper performance techniques, and character development. The courses are taught by qualified professional instructors who have usually worked for several years as professional wrestlers themselves. Some schools are affiliated with a specific promotion company, others are independent.
a match with a controversial or unsatisfying finish, often involving cheating or outside interference. A worked screwjob, is part of the storyline and the match is intended to end controversially. A shoot screwjob is extremely rare and occurs when a change is made without one of the participants knowing, creating an outcome that is contrary to what was supposedly planned for the storyline by the participants. The most famous example of a screwjob of this type is the Montreal Screwjob. Worked screwjobs include Paul Heyman betraying Rob Van Dam to help Big Show win the ECW Championship.
Reacting to an opponent's attacks in a manner that suggests that the techniques are being applied at full-force. In general, selling is the act of convincing the audience that what is happening is real. Certain wrestlers have long-established reputations for "no-selling" (generally refusing to sell) or overselling the opponent's moves.
A group of private security guards that serve much the same purpose as they normally would (throwing trouble-making fans out of the building), but they can also be used in the show itself, breaking up kayfabe fights.
any "real" event in the world of wrestling. Many former or retired wrestlers will release information seen as confidential or overly revealing about the business or a particular performer. (Compare "worked shoot")
a wrestler who has a background in legitimate fighting (originally catch wrestling, now more often mixed martial arts), or otherwise has a reputation as a tough guy. One notch below a "hooker". A well known former wrestler who had a MMA history was UFC veteran Ken Shamrock.
competitive full-contact mixed martial arts competition, used in comparison to the staged performances of professional wrestling.
One of the most common ways (aside from popping and chanting) that fans interact with the show. Fans will bring signs that they create themselves that will either show support for babyfaces or show their hatred for heels. Because of the love that fans have for making and bringing signs, it is often a huge insult (and, therefore, a good heel tactic) to have security take the signs from the fans.
Signature move
a move performed by a wrestler on a regular basis for which the wrestler is well-known. One example of this is Shawn Michaels' Sweet Chin Music.
a portmanteau of "smart mark", a phrase coined by Internet wrestling fans to describe a fan who enjoys pro wrestling despite or because they know that it is staged, as well as generally knowing the "ins-and-outs" of the company and knowing many things about the industry or wrestlers collected by sources and are posted online. "Smarks" are generally looked down on by wrestlers as well as other wrestling fans for supposed inability to suspend their disbelief. Smarks may also be criticized for believing they know more than they do in reality about the workings of the wrestling industry. (compare "mark"). The term was also the name of an on-line pro-wrestling related comic strip created by Al Isaacs and Terry Taylor.
someone who has inside information on the wrestling business.
Any move involving a very large wrestler dropping their full weight across the body of a smaller opponent. Originally coined by Big Daddy, a British professional wrestler from the 1970s and 1980s, as his signature move, the Daddy Splash.
Sports Entertainment
a term coined by WWE to differentiate its product from traditional professional wrestling as an attempt to garner interest from a broader audience. It refers to the mix of wrestling, scripted storylines, and concepts which borrow from other forms of pop-culture entertainment.
a preplanned move, which is designed to get a particular audience reaction or determine the pace of the match. Spots can be anything from an Irish Whip at a certain time, to a series of spots, for example a succession of reversals. Wrestlers who choreograph their matches before the show will usually decide on an opening spot and an ending, as well as several spots to use throughout the match. The remainder of the match will be divided between transition moves and general offensive and defensive moves. A high spot is a move that is particularly exciting. (See "missed spot")
a match which consists mainly or entirely of spots, normally with little flow between moves and no logical transitions. Referring to a match as a spotfest may have positive and negative connotations. A spotfest is normally a fast-paced, exciting match with constant displays of athleticism. When the term is used in a pejorative context, the match appears choreographed (for example, it may contain Spot shuffles, where wrestlers will put themselves in obvious danger). In addition, spotfests often contain many high risk moves (i.e. aerial maneuvers), and therefore endanger the health of the participants. Spotfests tend to be more common in cruiserweight matches.
Spot monkey
A wrestler who is well known for focusing very heavily on cramming as many high spots into a single match without regard to in-ring psychology. More commonly found working in cruiserweight or extreme style matches. It is mostly used as a pejorative term.
an extremely one-sided match which is usually over quickly. Squash matches usually consist of various wrestlers fighting unknown jobbers, usually to help get a gimmick or moveset over. They are also used to portray a larger wrestler as an unstoppable monster heel. Faces also win squash matches to show that they are prepared for a bigger challenge.
is a group of wrestlers within a promotion who have a common element—friendships, either real or storyline, a common manager, or a common storyline—which puts them together as a unit. Stables can be small alliances of three to six wrestlers (such as D-Generation X, Evolution, The Main Event Mafia, and The Four Horsemen), or supergroups that include up to half the promotion's talent roster (such as the New World Order, the WCW/ECW Alliance, Planet Jarrett, and Sports Entertainment Xtreme).
when a wrestler puts excessive force into his attacks or maneuvers on his opponent, deliberately or accidentally. Vader is an example of someone known for his stiff style of wrestling. He once broke the back of a young wrestler named Joe Thurman, who was paralyzed from the waist down for a couple of hours.
although this sometimes means "to tell on someone," it more often refers to a heel wrestler booked in the position of underling associate of another heel. The stooge will do his boss' dirty work, such as getting squashed in matches against a face (with whom the heel has a feud) to set up a run-in (and subsequent beatdown) and future match.
Strong Style
a Japanese-inspired professional wrestling style that is worked, yet aims to deliver realistic performances. The style emphasizes stiff attacks and worked shoots.
Superhuman comeback
when one wrestler, usually a face, no-sells his opponent's offense, usually after several minutes of being dominated. This tactic usually sets up the finish and victory by the face wrestler. The most common example is Hulk Hogan, but other big time promotion stars (typically the faces) are known for this, including John Cena.
a term used by the WWF/WWE when talking about a wrestler instead of "wrestler."
a sudden change in the direction of a storyline to surprise the fans. Usually, but not always, it involves one wrestler turning on an ally, often to join someone who had been a mutual enemy to that point. These swerves almost always lead to the start of a new feud between the former friends. Another kind of swerve is when a booker does everything in their power to convince the fans that something specific is going to happen at a show or someone they're expecting is going to debut (or come back), only to then do something completely different. It is sometimes the result of a false report by a wrestler to the press.


Tag team
a pair of wrestlers working together in a tag team match (a match which pits two or more teams of wrestlers against one another).
Tap out
submitting to a submission maneuver by tapping on the mat, as in mixed martial arts, rather than verbally acknowledging the submission, as was previously common in professional wrestling. In kayfabe, it indicates that a wrestler is giving up because the submission maneuver they are in is too painful. The tap out was introduced to pro wrestling by former ECW wrestler Taz, who was experienced and well-versed in Judo.
when the referee slaps the mat with his hand to count a pinfall. In theory, a 3 count lasts for three seconds; however, individual referees have their own cadence. When heel referees are used in storylines, they frequently utilize slower or faster counts to favor heel wrestlers.
Titantron or simply Tron
a screen which is directly above the stage area of the arena used for showing entrance videos, other segments, and promos. Based on the naming convention of Sony's well-known JumboTron, a large video screen used primarily in stadiums, arenas, and other public venues, the TitanTron was introduced as part of WWE's Raw set and was named after the then-parent company of the World Wrestling Federation, Titan Sports. The -tron suffix has since been used to unofficially identify other big screens used in wrestling, such as the "OvalTron" formerly used on SmackDown.
An eye disease caused by a mixture of ring dust and sweat, which caused blindness in several wrestlers including Ed "Strangler" Lewis.
Transitional champion
a holder of a traditionally-short title reign which bridges two "eras", long-running title reigns by usually-popular champions.
when a wrestler switches from face to heel or vice versa.
Hard turn
is when a wrestler becomes a heel or face in a sudden surprise plot twist (swerve).
Soft turn
is a gradual switch to heel or face over an extended period of time.
a morally ambiguous wrestler, neither a bad guy or good guy (an inbetweener), who will fight anyone regardless of alignment (e.g. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock, and Kane). This term is also used to describe wrestlers who use tactics typically associated with heels (e.g., cheating), yet are still cheered by fans in spite of (or because of) these antics (e.g. Eddie Guerrero and Ric Flair).
Two-and-a-half count
the count at which a wrestler is said to escape from a pinfall when a referee's hand comes very close to hitting the mat for a three-count.


matches prior to the main event. (See also Dark match).
the act of combining two championships into one; the result of which is either an entirely new title or the consolidation of one title into another.
when an underdog defeats someone who they realistically should not be able to, such as a new wrestler defeating a veteran, or a huge, monster-like wrestler being defeated by a smaller wrestler.


A female performer accompanying a male performer to the ring. Many times she functions as "eye candy" and plays the role of an agitator.
any piece of video footage featuring characters or events which is shown to the audience for the purposes of entertainment or edification. Usually, they are meant to either introduce a debuting character or to get a wrestler over before their TV wrestling debut. In World Wrestling Entertainment, wrestlers rarely acknowledge that they are being filmed, forcing the viewer to "suspend disbelief" as to why a camera operator would be allowed to witness and record an intimate or secretive situation.


Work (noun)
an event booked to happen, from the carnival tradition of "working the crowd." A work can also refer to the match itself. The opposite of a work is a shoot.
Work (verb)
to specifically and methodically attack, especially a single body part. To "work" on a body part (i.e. an arm) would be to repeatedly use force on that part, until it is damaged enough to be used in the finish of the match.
a wrestler, manager, valet, referee, announcer, or commentator.
Worked shoot
a scripted segment that takes place in a show with elements of reality being exposed, such as an off-screen incident between wrestlers being used as fuel for an on-screen rivalry between them. It can also be a segment that fans are meant to believe is a shoot, but is not.
a wrestler's use of "work" to develop a match. One's workrate is determined by his or her ability to "work" in an intelligent and productive manner. When used by critics, it is an analysis of the action in a match and the skill level exhibited.
Wrestler's Court
the unofficial forum among WWE wrestlers for the policing of wrestlers that violate the rules and traditions laid down by the company. The punishments meted out can range from pranking to paying for other wrestlers' travel expenses. In Matt and Jeff Hardy's book Exist 2 Inspire, they mention an incident they had with The Court while it was still headed by The Undertaker, "We got to the next house show and John Bradshaw Layfield told us, 'You guys have been sentenced to Wrestler's Court. Your trial is set for next week at Raw. Wrestler's Court is exactly what it sounds like. All the wrestlers gather in the locker room, and they hold a mock trial. The Undertaker is the judge and John Bradshaw Layfield is the prosecuting attorney. It's pretty scary, because once you get up there on the stand, everybody's against you." Judges for Wrestler's Court have included: The Undertaker, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Hardcore Holly, and Brian Adams.

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