Glossary of professional wrestling terms

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Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable nomenclature through its long existence.[1] Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circuses,[2] and the slang itself is often referred to as "carny talk." In the past, wrestlers used this lingo in the presence of fans so as not to reveal the worked nature of the business.[1][2] In recent years, widespread wrestling discussion on the Internet popularized the terms.[1] Many of the terms refer to the financial aspects of pro wrestling in addition to performance-related terms.[2]


A wrestling event where a company's biggest "draws" wrestle.[1]
A group of a wrestling promotion's top stars who compete at an A-Show.[1] (Compare "B-Team")
To discontinue a feud, angle, or "gimmick" suddenly, usually without explanation or due to a lack of fan interest.[1]
A 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 and sometimes by other companies. 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.[2] 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 fired.
Apter mag
An old-style professional wrestling magazine that sticks to kayfabe articles.[1] The term refers to the magazines at one time connected to journalist Bill Apter, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[1]


A wrestling event featuring the middle and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion. Can sometimes include well-known wrestlers making a return or finishing up their career.[1]
The group of wrestlers on a B-Show.[1] 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 wrestler positioned as a fan favorite, also called a "face".
Beat down
A situation in which a wrestler or other performer is the recipient of a beating, usually by a group of wrestlers.[1]
A wrestler intentionally cutting himself to provoke bleeding. Also known as juicing.
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 blindside attack. Most often occurs when the partner in the ring is thrown against the ropes or backed into his own corner.
Blow off
The final match in a feud.[1] 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.[1]
Blow up
To become exhausted during a match.[1]
To determine and schedule the events of a wrestling card. The person in charge of setting up matches and writing angles is "the booker."[1] It is the wrestling equivalent of a screenwriter. A booker can also be described as someone who recruits and/or hires talent to work in a particular promotion. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa defined a booker in 1956 as "...any person who, for a fee or commission, arranges with a promoter or promoters for the performance of wrestlers in professional wrestling exhibitions."[3] Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show.[1]
To attempt a scripted move or spoken line that does not come out as it was originally planned due to a mistake, miscalculation, or a slip-up.
A time limit draw.
To fall on the mat or ground.[1][4] A flat back bump is a bump in which a wrestler lands solidly on his back with high impact, spread over as much surface as possible.[1] A phantom bump occurs when a wrestler or referee takes a bump even though the move they are selling was visibly botched or otherwise not present.[1]
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.
Professional wrestling; instead of "profession" or "sport".[2]
Bust open
To start to bleed, typically from the head after being hit with something like a chair, and typically after blading. The commentators will usually refer to the bleeding wrestler as being "busted [wide] open", to sell the illusion that a blunt force laceration is the source of the bleeding.


An event featuring the lowest level of talent in a promotion. Often used as a derogatory adjective.
To instruct the other wrestler of what is going to happen in the match.[1]
The lineup of the matches that will be staged at a given venue for a given performance.[1] 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.
The act of one wrestler guiding a typically less experienced performer through a match. Also refers to a match or angle in which a particularly skilled performer is able to make an inferior wrestler look good, or is perceived to be doing all the work.
Cheap heat
The incitement of a negative crowd reaction by insulting the crowd en-masse, typically by bringing up something unrelated to the wrestling business (for example by insulting the city or a local sports team, like wearing a Yankees jersey in Boston, or by using a news event as part of a promo).[1][2]
Cheap pop
The incitement of 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 to get booed (see "Cheap heat" above).
Cheap shot
An underhanded tactic, such as a low blow or a foreign object to get an advantage over an opponent.
To draw blood. Most commonly used in British professional wrestling.
Clean finish
A match ending without cheating or outside interference, usually in the center of the ring. (Compare "screwjob")
Clean wrestling
Matches pitting two babyfaces with no storyline animosity against each other, both obeying the rules throughout. Such matches are characterised by an emphasis on displaying technical wrestling skill instead of working the audience and a general air of sportsmanship. A staple of British and Japanese wrestling, less frequent in American and Mexican wrestling.[5]
Closet champion
A 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.[1]
The amount of bloodshed in a match.[1][6][7]
A match in which a wrestler is being dominated and then manages to turn things around and fight back successfully. Usually done by faces to earn sympathy. The expression feeding a comeback refers to something heels do to increase the eventual dramatic impact of a comeback.[8] May become a false comeback if ended prematurely.
Crimson mask
A face covered in blood, comparable to a mask.
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.


Dark match
A non-televised match at a televised show (compare "house show").[1] A dark match before the show is often used to test new talent or warm up the crowd.[1] A dark match after the show typically features main-event level wrestlers, in order to sell more tickets and send the crowd home happy, without affecting TV storylines.
Dirt sheet
An insider newsletter (or website) in the professional wrestling business.[9]
Double team
A tactic used in a tag team match when both members of a tag team gang up on one of the opponents.
Double turn
The occurrence when both the face and the heel switch roles during an angle or a match. An example of this would be at WrestleMania 13 when Bret Hart and Steve Austin switched roles after Austin passed out from Hart's sharpshooter.
A wrestler or storyline that attracts the attention of the audience; someone fans are willing to pay to see. Derived from the term drawing money, meaning the wrestler makes money for the promotion.[1]
To lose a match or championship (the loser agreed to drop the match to the winner).
Dusty Finish
A finish in which the face appears to win a big match, but the decision is later reversed due to interference by other heels to save the heel champion, as, in most federations, the title could not change hands on such a disqualification. It can also refer to an ambiguous finish to a match where neither wrestler can be claimed the winner.[1] The "Dusty" in the term refers to Dusty Rhodes, who booked many such finishes in NWA and later in WCW.[1]


A wrestler who accompanies another to matches, and acts as a bodyguard.[1] This term was coined by Arn Anderson, whose nickname was "The Enforcer". Or, an individual who acts in a "special guest referee" capacity from outside the ring, ostensibly to maintain order.


Also referred to as "babyface". A wrestler who is heroic or a "good guy", who is booked to be cheered by fans.[1] Heels are the opposite of faces, and faces commonly perform against heels.
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 near-fall)
False comeback
A brief offensive flurry by a face, before losing momentum back to a heel after being dominated for several minutes.[1] Usually, it occurs before the actual comeback.
False finish
A pinfall attempt which is kicked out of, usually after a finishing move or series of high impact moves, and usually kicked out of just before the referee counts to three. This builds crowd anticipation towards the actual finish.
A staged rivalry between multiple wrestlers or groups of wrestlers. They are integrated into ongoing storylines, particularly in events which are televised. Feuds may last for months or even years or be resolved with implausible speed, perhaps during the course of a single match.[10]
The planned end of a match.[1] (See "Dusty finish" and "Clean finish".)
A wrestler's signature move that usually leads to the pinfall or submission.
Five Moves of Doom
A particular combination of moves that a wrestler uses in every match, often in the same sequence, usually ending with their finisher.
Foreign object
A weapon that is not allowed to be used in the match. Usually found under the ring or ringside, in a wrestler's tights, or handed to wrestlers by managers, interfering wrestlers or (less commonly) audience members. If a foreign object is used behind the referee's back, it usually leads to a pinfall. However, the same object is typically less effective in a match where it is legal.


Steroids,[1] or stamina (as in "out of gas").
Exhausted or out of breath during a match.
The blade a wrestler uses to cut himself.[1]
The character portrayed by a wrestler. Can also be used to refer specifically to the motif or theme evoked by a character, as indicated by their name, costume or other paraphernalia.
Go home
To finish a match. One wrestler will tell the other to "go home" when it is time for them to execute the planned ending for their match. Referees may also tell the wrestlers to go home (usually after receiving word to do so from a producer backstage).
Go-home show
The final televised show before a pay-per-view event.
The championship belt.
Go over
To beat someone.[1]
Gorilla Position
The staging area just behind the curtain where wrestlers come out to the ring, named after Gorilla Monsoon.
Inexperienced. Refers to a wrestler who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to make mistakes because of their inexperience.[1]
A deep cut that bleeds a lot,[7] usually caused by a mistake while blading but can be intentional.[1]


Bleeding by means other than blading.
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.
Boos or negative reaction coming from the fans directly to the heel wrestler. From a booker's standpoint, this is positive as it means the heel is getting the desired reaction from the fans.
A wrestler who is villainous or a "bad guy", who is booked to be booed by fans.[1] Faces are the opposite of heels, and heels commonly perform against faces.
A top-rope move, or a series of maneuvers perceived as dangerous.[1]
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.[1]
A wrestler who is physically large but lacks other skills.
A rushed feud, climax of a feud, or big match on television instead of at a pay-per-view in order to get a short-term boost for business.[1] Also applies to angles or turns that are done for shock value rather than acting as a part of an ongoing storyline.[1]
Hot tag
In a tag team match, the face's tag to a fresh partner after several minutes of being dominated by both heels, usually immediately followed by the freshly tagged partner getting in a quick burst of offense.[1] 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.)
The amount of money drawn at a particular event.
House show
Main article: House show
An untelevised event.


The act of someone who is not part of the match getting involved; this may involve distracting or assaulting one or more of the participants in the match.
Invasion storyline
A storyline in which a group of wrestlers from one promotion appear in another promotion. In some cases, this happens suddenly without advance warning or notice, and usually involves the invaders attempting to take the promotion over.
Internet wrestling community; the community of users (some of them smarks) that discusses pro wrestling online.


Jerk the curtain
To wrestle the first match of the card. Refers to the curtain separating the entranceway from backstage. A wrestler commonly booked in this position is a curtain jerker.
Steroids.[1] Also blood,[2][6] usually from the forehead.[1]
To lose in a wrestling match.
A wrestler who routinely loses in order to build the credibility of other wrestlers; referred to euphemistically as "enhancement talent".[1]
Jobber to the stars
A slightly higher level of jobber who loses to established stars while still winning squash matches of his own


Main article: Kayfabe
The presentation of scripted actions and worked matches as being legitimate or real.
To use the legs to literally kick or power out of a pin by using the force made to lift the shoulders off the mat.


Used to mean real or in the real world in a number of different contexts. When things are said to be legit then both the audience and performers understand whatever it's describing is literally, really what it is claimed to be and not a part of kayfabe or the performance aspect of wrestling. This can refer to many things including:
  • A wrestler with a genuine background in another combat sport (typically boxing, other wrestling codes or mixed martial arts) and so who has proven 'real' fighting skills.
  • A performer who relies on wrestling skill and ability, as opposed to his gimmick, to gain notoriety and popularity with fans.
  • A match or event which has not been booked, and so is not practiced and scripted and relies on the individual skill of the wrestlers over practiced spots.
  • An incident where a real injury occurs during a match is known as a 'legit injury', and a maneuver that causes significant pain even when done perfectly (like the Mandible claw) is said to cause 'legit pain'.
A wrestler who typically wrestles near the beginning of a show and does not participate in major storylines or matches. Often seen as being at the bottom of a promotion's hierarchy.
Lumberjack (m) or Lumberjill (f))
A (most often) wrestler who stands close to the ring, usually in a lumberjack match, in which he or she (and others similarly called upon) are to forcibly return to the ring any competitor who attempts to leave or is expelled therefrom. Usually, in the case of a heel, he or she is actually helping one or more (rarely all of them) wrestlers.


Main event
The most heavily promoted, typically final match on a card. Also called a headliner.
Main eventer
A wrestler who competes in main events. Typically among the biggest stars in a promotion and considered to be a draw. Also called a headliner.
A performer (usually a non-wrestler) who is paired with one or more wrestlers in order to help them get over. Typically managers will be seen accompanying their wrestlers to the ring and are presented as having some sort of influence or sway over their wrestlers.
A wrestling fan who enthusiastically believes that professional wrestling is not staged.[11] Also sometimes used by industry insiders to describe a participant in the wrestling industry who believes that any aspect of the industry is more important than the money they can earn; for example, being preoccupied with holding a title belt rather than being paid more.[12]
A wrestler whose job it is to feud with the future main event stars and help get them ready for the position. Other times, mechanics are the in-ring teachers helping younger wrestlers gain experience and ability.[13]
A wrestler who is seen as higher than a low-carder but below a main eventer, typically performing in the middle of a show. Often competing for the secondary title of a federation. An upper-midcarder is a wrestler who can transition between the midcard and occasional main-event programs.[1]
Missed spot or blown spot
A move or series of moves which are mistimed. Sometimes called mis-selling.[1]
Money mark
Someone who founds or invests in a wrestling promotion for the purpose of being part of the wrestling industry, often willfully or ignorantly disregarding financial risks a profit-focused investor would avoid.
Money match
A highly-promoted non-title match at or near the end of a card, which is a main selling point for an event.[1]
A manager who does the promos, or all the talking, for a wrestler possessing little or no mic skills.[1]
Muta scale
An informal measure among some fans, mostly smarks, of the amount of blood lost by a wrestler during a match. The scale begins at 0.0 Muta (no blood), 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.[14]


An occurrence in which 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. "Two-and-a-half count" or other fractions used to denote even closer "counts", such as "two-and-three-quarters", are often used many times in matches to build excitement. Occasionally related to "False Finish".
To show no reaction to an opponent's offensive moves; a way to demonstrate endurance, appear invulnerable to pain, legitimately undermine an opponent or to illustrate masochistic tendencies. Compare sell.
A wrestler not showing up for a match.[1] No-shows can be staged for storyline purposes. Legitimate no-shows are less frequent, and the offender typically faces disciplinary action.
Number-one contender
The wrestler who is next in line for a championship match.


Accepted by fans, and getting the desired reaction from them. A face wrestler is considered over when they are being cheered and supported by fans, whereas a heel is considered over when they are booed and hated. The term suggests that the fans are buying into what the wrestler is selling, meaning their character and perceived abilities. Because outcomes of matches are predetermined and participants are not actively competing to win a match, winning a match is referred to as "going over" in the wrestling industry. To lose to another wrestler in a match is referred to as "putting them over." Other ways to put over another wrestler is to convincingly sell their offense, or to give an interview that talks up the main qualities and abilities of another wrestler's character.
To show too much of a reaction to an opponent'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 out tickets to an event to make it look better attended than it otherwise would have been.
Paper champion
A weak or easily beatable champion, usually awarded the title by dubious means.
Parts Unknown
A vague, fictional location. 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 some territories, the phrase commonly was applied to masked wrestlers. In the post-kayfabe era, it is used less and less, and usually with a certain air of levity. Sometimes, wrestlers can hail from other similarly abstract places.
The culmination of an angle or storyline with the intention of providing gratification for the fans. Typically involves a face finally overcoming a dominant heel.
Holding a wrestler's shoulders to the mat for a three count, to win a fall.
A wrestler or actor who poses as a fan, usually seated in the front row of an event.[1] Plants are a good tool for a heel wrestler to gain heat from the crowd,[1] although there is a rare instance where said plant attacks the heel wrestler. At major shows, the plant is often a lesser-known wrestler from the independent circuit.[1]
A wrestler, often a respected and/or feared shooter or street fighter, responsible for enforcing the promoter's will against recalcitrant wrestlers by physical intimidation. Also referred to as a "house shooter".[1]
A cheer or positive reaction from the crowd.
A strike to the head which makes real contact. A wrestler who endures one or more potatoes is likely to potato the perpetrator back, which is known as a 'receipt'
The act of forcefully exiting the ring.
A series of matches in which the same wrestlers face each other.
An in-character interview or monologue.[1] Often includes either an "in-ring interview" or (on television) a skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or feud.[1] The act of performing a promo is referred to as "cutting", as in "cutting a promo." When the promo is aimed at a specific opponent (which can be an individual, team, or stable), it is said to be cut "on" the target.
The worked rising of a popular wrestlers' status in the eyes of the fans.


Rasslin' (also Wrasslin' or Southern Style)
Originally, along with "grunt-and-groan", used by the mainstream media when presenting a derisive story on professional wrestling, which often stereotyped the participants and audience. Now refers to a style of wrestling popular in the southeastern United States, which emphasizes kayfabe and stiffness, generally with fewer squash matches and longer feuds, henceforth the more recent "Southern Style".
Ref bump
A scenario, where the referee of the match takes a bump and is knocked out and taken out of the match.
Rematch (or Return) clause
When a champion loses his/her title to another, this may be invoked to procure a title rematch in the near future. This fictional clause is often ignored in storylines.
To give a wrestler a new gimmick.
Rest hold
A loose hold applied during a match, during which wrestlers catch their breath and/or plan the next series of spots together.[1]
A practical joke played by or on a wrestler.[1]
Ricky Morton Money
Getting heat with a wrestler who is far more over with the fans in the hopes of working a program with them, and getting a big payday (blow-off match). (Example: "Is he trying to get some Ricky Morton Money?")
Ring general
An experienced wrestler who knows how to work a match to its full potential.
Ring psychology
The science of wrestling a match in such a way that the crowd becomes emotionally involved in the show. Good acting skills and a sense of dramatic timing.[15]
Ring rat
Similar to a groupie, one who frequents wrestling events to pursue sex with wrestlers.[1][16] Also known as arena rats.
Ring rust
A detriment to wrestling ability resulting from lack of practice during a hiatus.
Helping a less popular wrestler get over by associating them with a more prominent wrestler.[17]
The act of a wrestler(s) not officially involved in a match running into the ring.[1] Run-ins are usually made by heels, typically to further a feud with a face.[1] This is usually done with a "beat down". Sometimes a babyface will do a run-in to stop a heel from overly punishing a weaker opponent, usually setting up a feud.
Rushed finish
A match finish which occurs sooner (and often differently) than planned. It is used when a wrestler is legitimately injured and cannot continue as planned, when the match is approaching its time limit (or a television segment is running long), or after a botch significantly changes the plot of the match.


To sabotage a throw by letting one's body go limp instead of cooperating, which makes the throw much harder, if not impossible, to execute. This is typically done deliberately to make the attacker appear weak or unskilled, but can also be the result of a botch. Sandbagging can be dangerous, as many moves require specific actions by the target to lower the risk of injury.[1]
An unfair and controversial finish, often involving cheating or outside interference.[1] A worked screwjob is part of the story, and is used to generate heat or sympathy. A shoot screwjob occurs when the finish is changed without informing the losing wrestler.
Any part of a wrestling show that is not a wrestling match, such as a promo, a skit or an interview.
To react to an opponent's attacks in a manner that suggests to the audience that the attacks hurt.[1] Variations include restoring, medium sell, big sell and death sell.[18] Compare no-sell and over-sell.
When a wrestler or personality deliberately goes off-script, often making candid comments or remarks.
Signature move
A move regularly performed by a wrestler, for which the wrestler is well-known.[19]
Slow burn
A storyline that develops over a long period of time.
A fan who is aware of and interested in the backstage and non-scripted aspects of wrestling.[1] A portmanteau of "smart" and "mark."
Having inside knowledge of the wrestling business.[1]
Any planned action or series of actions in a match.[1] A "high spot" is a particularly exciting move.[2] Other variations are the comeback spot, eight spot, hope spot and take home spot. (See also: "missed spot")
An extremely one-sided, usually short match.[1] They generally feature star wrestlers against relatively unknown jobbers, usually to help get a gimmick or moveset over.
A team of three or more wrestlers, usually heels, who generally share common motives, allies and adversaries within a storyline (or through multiple storylines).
Using excessive legitimate force when executing a move,[20] deliberately or accidentally.[1]
Championship belt.
The act of causing physical harm to prospective professional wrestlers, usually by the means of submission holds. In the kayfabe period, this served the dual purpose of protecting the wrestling business from accusations of "being fake" and instilling humility in newer members of the locker room. A professional wrestling trainer notable for "stretching" his recruits was Stu Hart, in the infamous Hart Dungeon.
Strong Style
A Japanese-inspired professional wrestling style that is worked, yet aims to deliver realistic performances, through strong martial arts strikes and worked shoots.[1]
A sudden change in the direction of a storyline to surprise the fans. Often, it involves one wrestler turning on an ally in order to join a supposed mutual enemy. Swerves frequently start feuds between the former allies. This also refers to when a booker leads fans to believe that something is going to happen (or someone will appear) at a show, before doing something entirely different.[1]


Tap out
To submit to a hold by tapping on the mat (or the attacker's body), as in mixed martial arts, rather than verbally submitting, as was standard in professional wrestling until Ken Shamrock popularized tapping out in 1997. The tapout was introduced to pro wrestling shortly earlier by Tazz.[21] Tapping out may have also become more the norm thanks to the Montreal Screwjob.
TitanTron (or Tron)
A video screen above the entrance stage area, used for showing entrance videos, backstage segments and promos. A play on the name of Sony's JumboTron and Titan Sports, the then-parent company of the World Wrestling Federation, the TitanTron was introduced as part of WWF's Raw set in the mid-1990s. The concept has since been adapted by other major promotions.
Transitional champion
A short-reigning champion who serves to move the title indirectly from one wrestler to a third. They are usually used when the title is to be moved between two faces, to avoid requiring them to wrestle each other.
A switch in alignment of a wrestler's character. Turns involve a wrestler going from face to heel or vice versa.[1] There are two types of turns, the hard turn (which occurs quickly and acts as a surprise device) and the soft turn (a gradual shift in character).
A morally ambiguous wrestler, neither a face nor heel (an inbetweener).[1] Also sometimes describes a heel who is usually cheered or a face who is usually booed, especially when two faces or two heels face each other.


The state of a championship not held by any wrestler(s).
A person, usually an attractive female, who accompanies a male performer to the ring.[22] Usually serves to titilate or agitate the crowd, or to interfere in the match.[22]
Any piece of video footage featuring characters or events which is shown to the audience for the purposes of entertainment or edification. Usually meant to introduce a debuting character or to get a wrestler over before their TV wrestling debut.
Visual fall
A pinfall that the referee does not see, but the crowd does. It is usually followed by a late kickout when the referee eventually sees the pinfall and starts counting. It is used to heighten the drama of a match by showing that the pinning wrestler "would have had him".


Work (noun)
Anything planned to happen,[2] from the carnival tradition of "working the crowd."[1] The opposite of shoot.
Work (verb)
To methodically attack a single body part, setting up an appropriate finisher. Also, to deceive or manipulate an audience.
Worked shoot
The phenomenon of a wrestler seemingly going "off script", often revealing elements of out-of-universe reality, but actually doing so as a fully planned part of the show.[23]
Workrate (noun)
The in-ring performance level a wrestler puts into their matches, judged by a combination of skill and effort. A wrestler considered talented in the ring has a "high workrate".


X signal
A signal used by referees during a match to indicate that a wrestler is unable to continue and may need medical attention. The referee will make an X with his arms and, if necessary, point to the wrestler who is hurt. Since the fans have picked up on the significance of the signal, it is now sometimes used in kayfabe fashion, to sell a storyline injury.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx "Torch Glossary of Insider Terms". 2000. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kerrick, George E. (Summer 1980). "The Jargon of Professional Wrestling". American Speech 55 (2): 142–145. doi:10.2307/3050508. 
  3. ^ Riley, Judge William F. (October 15, 1956). "United States v. National Wrestling Alliance (consent decree)". United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. As hosted at Wrestling Perspective. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.65)
  5. ^ Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George by Joe Jares, Tempo Books 1974, p85
  6. ^ a b Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide (p.106)
  7. ^ a b Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.90)
  8. ^ Jim Ross: "he could feed a comeback"
  9. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.83)
  10. ^ "Pro Wrestling Torch Glossary of Insider Terms". Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  11. ^ "Grantland Dictionary: Pro Wrestling Edition". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  12. ^ "Torch Glossary of Insider Terms". Pro Wrestling Torch. 2008. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Pro Wrestling Primer: Glossary of terms". The Evil Eye Blog. 2009. Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  14. ^ Mancuso, Ryan (2006-09-11). "Complete Playbook: The Great Muta Vol. 2 Revenge of Muta Commercial Tape". Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  15. ^ John Powell (June 18, 2000). "Booker T: Wrestling's consummate performer". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  16. ^ Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew. pp. 192–93. 
  17. ^ Ross, Jim; J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q® (2013-12-24). "#RAW Christmas Feedback...". J.R.'s Place blog. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  18. ^ Jim Ross: "A babyface has to learn the various levels of selling... restoring, a medium sell, the big sell, the death sell... selling's engaged, it's on different shelves."
  19. ^ Kaelberer, Angie Peterson (2003). The Hardy Boyz: Pro Wrestlers Matt and Jeff Hardy. Capstone Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-7368-2142-2. 
  20. ^ Paul Turenne (May 28, 2005). "Torrie toughs it out on WWE circuit". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  21. ^ Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew, 152.
  22. ^ a b Jeff Clark (September 7, 2007). "The Luchagors Drop a Powerbomb". Stomp and Stammer. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  23. ^ The Masked Man (David Shoemaker) (June 28, 2011). "Punk'd". Retrieved June 6, 2013. When he was cut off, [CM] Punk was starting to tell a "personal story" about [Vince] McMahon and the anti-bullying commercials that the WWE has been running lately. Instead, the mic went dead and the screen went black. This is a staple of the pro wrestling "worked shoot" promo — when a wrestler seemingly goes off script and breaks down the fourth wall in addressing the audience (this is a "shoot"), but when in reality the whole thing is part of the script (thus it's "worked"). 


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