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Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of jargon throughout its existence. Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circuses. In the past, professional wrestlers used such terms in the presence of fans so as not to reveal the nature of the business. Into the 21st century, widespread discussion on the Internet has popularized these terms. Many of the terms refer to the financial aspects of professional wrestling in addition to in-ring terms.
- A wrestling event where a company's biggest wrestle. Compare and .
- A group of a wrestling promotion's top stars who wrestle at an A-show. Compare .
- To suddenly discontinue a , , or due to a lack of fan interest or some other caveat (like injury), usually without explanation.
- A term typically only used in Japanese puroresu for a wrestler designated as the face of the promotion. Not necessarily the same as the top champion. Examples of aces include Hayabusa in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, Hiroshi Tanahashi in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Mayu Iwatani from World Wonder Ring Stardom, and Kento Miyahara in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
A management employee, often a former wrestler (though it can be a current wrestler), who helps wrestlers set up matches, plan storylines, give criticisms on matches, and relay instructions from the . Agents often act as a liaison between wrestlers and higher-level management and sometimes may also help in training younger wrestlers. They are referred to by WWE as "producers" and by AEW as "coaches".
- A cooperative relationship developed between two or more wrestlers, whether wrestling as a tag team or in individual matches. Differentiates from a and a as the wrestlers are not packaged together, but are presented as a group of individuals working together for a common short-term goal. Alliances are often formed for the specific purpose of retaining titles between the members of the alliance, or to counter a specific foe or group of foes. The formation of an alliance can be a storyline of its own.
- Andre shot
- A camera trick by which a wrestler is made to appear larger by placing the camera below the wrestler and shooting upward. Named for André the Giant, a frequent subject of such camera shots.
- 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 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. The term refers to the magazines at one time connected to journalist Bill Apter, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
- A message delivered from backstage, either to the referee (using their earpiece) or the commentary team (using their headsets) instructing the wrestlers and other on-screen talent on what to do, usually in order to work around a botch by changing the match on the fly.
- A wrestling event featuring the middle and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion. Sometimes includes well-known wrestlers making a return or finishing up their career. Compare and .
- The group of wrestlers on a . Frequently, the B-team will wrestle at a venue the same night wrestlers on the are wrestling in a different event, although a promotion will sometimes schedule an event with B-team wrestlers to test a new market. Compare .
- See .
- beat down
- An in which a wrestler or other performer is the recipient of a one-sided beating (sometimes with brief s), usually by a group of wrestlers or after being lured into a compromising position.
- A now-obsolete practice used in the territorial era in which television tapes were distributed to stations within a promoter's territory.
A wrestler intentionally cutting themselves (or, more rarely, allowing themselves to be cut by the opponent or referee) to provoke bleeding to the opponent's offense.
- blind tag
- 1. A tag made in a tag team match where the wrestler on the apron tags their partner unbeknownst to them or without their consent.
- 2. A tag where the tagger's opponent is unaware a tag has occurred, leaving them open to a blindside attack as they attempt to attack the wrestler who has been tagged out. Most often occurs when the partner in the ring is thrown against the ropes or backed into their own corner.
- An attractive male wrestler, used to attract groupies to events.
- blown spot
- See .
- blow off
- The final match in a . 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 exhausted during a match.
- bonzo gonzo
- An used in tag team and other multi-party matches in which all wrestlers are in the ring and the referee cannot restore order.
To determine and schedule the events of a wrestling . The person in charge of setting up matches and writing is a "booker". It is the wrestling equivalent of a screenwriter. A booker can also be described as someone who recruits and 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". Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show (i.e., "a booked match").
- boom boom boom
- A match segment, often near the end of tag team or multi-party matches, when competitors perform their signature moves in quick succession.
- Something (usually a scripted move or spoken line) which does not go as planned due to a mistake.
- Bret's rope
- The second rope of a wrestling ring, the middle rope, often considered the most dangerous rope. Named after wrestler Bret Hart, who frequently struck from this rope.
A match that ends in a time limit draw.
- To fall on the mat or ground. A flat back bump is a bump in which a wrestler lands solidly on their back with high impact, spread over as much surface as possible. A "phantom bump" occurs when a wrestler or referee takes a bump without a plausible reason (usually due to a or other mistake).
The lowering (relegation) of a wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. The opposite of a , it is the act of a promoter or causing a wrestler to lose popularity, momentum and/or credibility, or damaging their gimmick through means such as forcing them to lose in matches, losing continuously, allowing opponents to no- or of said wrestler's , or forcing them to participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines, or not using them at all. A burial is often used a form of punishment due to real-life backstage disagreements between the wrestler and the booker, the wrestler falling out of favor with the company, or sometimes to demote an unpopular performer or .
- Professional wrestling; instead of "profession" or "sport".
- bust open
- To start to bleed, usually from the head after being hit with something like a chair, and typically (but not always) after .
- An event featuring the lowest level of talent in a promotion, most notably rookies and entry-level talent. Often used as a derogatory adjective. Compare and .
- To instruct the other wrestler of what is going to happen in the match. Also refers to commentators detailing what is happening during a match.
- call it in the ring
- To make up moves and storytelling in a match on the fly, rather than rehearse them in advance. It is essentially the wrestling equivalent of improvisational theatre.
- camera kills
- Empty seats that are not sold due to being right behind a permanent camera location which would result in an obstructed view.
- 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 are said to be "top of the card" or the and generally go on last, while the preliminary matches between lesser-known opponents are said to be the "undercard".
- A term for a wrestler whose purpose is to use their in-ring abilities to make their opponents look as good and strong as possible. This is different from an in that a wrestler is used as a carpenter because they are recognized as having great in-ring abilities and experience. Often (but not always) a carpenter is an older, more experienced wrestler, tasked with making less experienced wrestlers (often in the beginning stages of receiving a ) look like a credible threat going into their next . In modern times, a carpenter is also used when a company is preparing to present a recent signee who may not be familiar to the audience, in an effort to help the wrestler best showcase their abilities. Because of their skill and role in building up talent, carpenters are regarded with a great deal of respect.
- The act of one wrestler guiding a typically less experienced or skilled performer through a match. A "carry job" refers to a match or in which a particularly skilled performer is able to make an inferior wrestler look good or is perceived to be doing all the work.
- chain wrestling
- A sequence of traditional grappling moves usually employed near the start of a match. More common in Japan, the UK and Mexico than in the US.
- champion's advantage
The rule that a reigning champion, should they lose during a title defense by countout or disqualification rather than by the traditional means of pinfall or submission, would retain their title despite losing the match; it can sometimes be revoked as part of a storyline.
- 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 (such as mocking a local town or sports team), usually used in a negative light. Foreign heel wrestlers, like Iron Sheik, often get this by insulting whatever country they're performing in. Compare .
- cheap pop
- The incitement of a positive crowd reaction by "kissing up" to the crowd. Mick Foley would often do this by saying "It's great to be here in (insert name of city and state)!" While The Rock would begin many promos by saying “Finally, The Rock has come back to (insert name of city or state)!”, often follow the same principle, but in reverse to get booed. Compare .
- clean finish
- A match ending without cheating, outside interference, or any type of controversy, usually in the center of the ring after executing a . Compare and .
- clean wrestling
- Matches pitting two with no storyline animosity against each other, both obeying the rules throughout. Such matches are characterized by an emphasis on displaying technical wrestling skill instead of the audience and a general air of sportsmanship. Although a staple of British and Japanese wrestling, it is uncommon in North America. One notable "clean" match which took place in North America is Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI in 1990.
- closet champion
- A titleholder (usually a ) who ducks top-flight matches, cheats to win (often by managerial interference), and—when forced to wrestle good opponents—deliberately causes themself to be disqualified (since titles often do not change hands by disqualification) to retain the title.
- The amount of bloodshed in a match.
- A moment in which a wrestler is being dominated and then manages to turn things around and fight back successfully. Usually done by to earn sympathy and support from the audience. The expression "feeding a comeback" refers to behavior by to increase the dramatic impact of a comeback. See also .
- crimson mask
- A face covered in blood, comparable to a mask.
An event which occurs when two or more rival promotions put together one or wrestling event. Some promoters have used cross-promotion style to further interest. Cross-promotion dates back to the early days of wrestling as challenges between rival promoters in the same area often occurred.
- curtain jerker
A point in a match in which the heel stops the face's attack or comeback and goes on the offensive.
- dark match
- A non-televised match at a televised show (compare ). A dark match before the show is often used to test new talent or warm up the crowd. A dark match after the show typically features level wrestlers, in order to sell more tickets and send the crowd home happy, without affecting TV storylines. Some promotions may tape the dark matches, such as All Elite Wrestling, which shows the dark matches on YouTube at a later date.
- deathmatch wrestling
- , popular in Japan, Mexico, and some parts of the United States. In deathmatch wrestling, many of the traditional rules of professional wrestling are not enforced and the usage of objects such as barbed wire, panes of glass, fluorescent light tubes, and weed whackers occurs. Deathmatches are typically much bloodier and more violent than typical wrestling contests. The bloodiest and most violent form of
- dirt sheet
-  An insider newsletter (or website) in the professional wrestling business. Sometimes written in a negative tone or as a means to "get dirt".
- double down
- A point in the match in which both wrestlers are prone in the ring.
- double shot
- Where a wrestler competes twice in one day.
- double team
- A tactic used in a tag team match when both members of a tag team gang up on one of the opponents, or a move that involves two wrestlers working in unison.
- double turn
- The occurrence when both the and the switch roles during an or a match. Arguably the most famous example is that of Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13, where Austin entered as a heel and Hart entered as a face, but due to Austin fighting on through blood and passing out to a move by Hart, and Hart's post-match , the two switched roles to end the match.
- A wrestler or 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.
- To lose a match or championship (the loser agreed to drop the match to the winner).
- Dusty finish
- A in which the appears to win a big match, but the decision is later reversed due to some sort of technicality, such as by other 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 claim to be the winner. Named after Dusty Rhodes, who many such finishes in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and later in World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Also lackey or heavyA (typically larger) wrestler who accompanies another wrestler as a to matches and acts as a bodyguard.
- 2. An individual who acts in a "special guest referee" capacity from outside the ring, ostensibly to maintain order.
- enhancement talent
- See .
- Pimpinela Escarlata, America's Goldust and Vito, Wales' Adrian Street, and Japan's Yosuke Santa Maria. A wrestler (typically a Mexican luchador) who competes in drag. Examples of exóticos include Mexico's
- extreme wrestling
- and weapons. Extreme Championship Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling are known for using this style. A style of professional wrestling that makes frequent use of
A wrestler who is heroic, who is to be cheered by fans. are the opposite of faces and faces commonly perform against heels.
In a tag team match, the member of a team who is dominated by the team for an extended period of the match. The tactic can be used to help get the crowd behind the face tag team and is usually followed up with a . During the 1980s, Ricky Morton of the Rock 'n' Roll Express was typically in this position while teaming with Robert Gibson; so much so that "playing Ricky Morton" has become synonymous with the term.
- A group of several wrestlers who band together and protect each other during matches. Different from a in that stables have a leader or spokesperson. Factions are also generally larger than stables.
- The ending of a match. A fall is obtained by gaining a decision in any manner, normally consisting of a , submission, countout, or disqualification. In a two out of three falls match, or a Mountevans Rules match, a wrestler must gain two decisions to win instead of only one. See also .
- fallout show
- The first televised show after a pay-per-view. Often new storylines are introduced in these episodes, and the consequences of the pay-per-view are explained. Contrast with .
- false comeback
A brief offensive flurry by a , before losing momentum back to a after being dominated for several minutes. Usually, it occurs before the actual .
- false finish
- A attempt which is kicked out of, usually after a or series of high-impact moves, and usually kicked out of just before the referee counts to three. This builds crowd anticipation toward the actual finish.
- 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. A
- fighting champion
- A champion who defends their title often, and with most or all of the outcomes being victory by pinfall or submission.
- The planned end of a match. See , , and .
- A wrestler's signature move that usually leads to the or submission.
- five moves of doom
- A particular combination of moves that a certain wrestler tends to use in every match, often in the same sequence, usually ending with their . This term is usually used pejoratively, though it was not originally intended so by Dave Meltzer, who coined the term in the 1990s to describe the finishing sequence of Bret Hart, and later used by fans to describe that of John Cena.
- forbidden door
The imagined barrier between competing wrestling promotions; wrestlers who are signed to one promotion but make appearances for another as part of a talent exchange agreement are said to have entered or passed through the Forbidden Door. The term was coined in January 2020 by New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Hiroshi Tanahashi when speaking of his desire to challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship. The term was further popularized by AEW general manager Tony Khan during an appearance on Impact Wrestling television during AEW wrestler Kenny Omega's concurrent reign as both AEW World Champion and Impact World Champion in 2021, and further codified in 2022 with AEW and NJPW announcing a joint pay-per-view with that title, which became the first of an annual series.
- 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 , interfering wrestlers, or (less commonly) audience members. If a foreign object is used behind the referee's back, it usually leads to a . The same object is typically less effective in a match where it is legal. At one point in World Championship Wrestling (WCW)'s history, this was referred to as "international objects" by commentators due to a misunderstanding of WCW owner Ted Turner's objections to the use of the word "foreign" applied throughout his media empire, when he intended only to restrict the word's use on his news networks.
- Freebird rule
- A "rule" that allows a three-wrestler stable to challenge for and defend a tag-team championship with any two of its members. Named for The Fabulous Freebirds, who popularized this concept.
- future endeavored
- Fired or leaving a promotion. Inspired by WWE's announcement of a wrestler's release, typically wishing the subject "all the best in their future endeavors."
- garbage wrestling
- 1. Unscientific, violent wrestling, incorporating props such as explosives, thumbtacks, barbed wire, and fire.
- 1. Steroids.
- 2. Stamina, as in "out of gas".
- Exhausted or out of breath during a match.
- The blade a wrestler uses to cut themselves. See .
- 1. The character portrayed by a wrestler. Can be used to refer specifically to the motif or theme evoked by a character, as indicated by their name, costume or other paraphernalia, or to refer to any aspect of the ed presentation, sometimes negatively (e.g., a gimmick match, which can also have an event based on it, such as WWE Hell in a Cell, referred to as a gimmick event/PPV).
- 2. A wrestler's .
- glorified jobber
A who defeats "pure jobbers" as well as mid-card wrestlers in matches, but consistently loses to level wrestlers.
- go away heat
- When a wrestler, or , evokes a negative reaction not through their of the audience but because the audience are not entertained by the wrestler and do not want to watch them perform. Compare .
- go home
- To finish a match. One wrestler would 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. So named because the promotion will often have no in the next few days before the pay-per-view, in order to give the wrestlers a chance to literally go home and rest up so they may bring their A-game at the pay-per-view. Contrast with .
- going into business for him/herself
- When a wrestler starts working for their own benefit rather than the mutual benefit of themselves and their opponents or partners, typically by refusing to or by saying something not agreed to in a . A type of .
- A championship belt.
- good hand
- A decent, skilled, dependable performer, that gels with the wrestlers he or she works with and consistently puts on a good show.
- go over
- To win in a wrestling match.
- Gorilla position
- The staging area just behind the curtain where wrestlers come out to the ring, named after Gorilla Monsoon, who could often be seen standing there during WWF/WWE PPVs. The Gorilla Position in World Championship Wrestling was named after Jody Hamilton and was commonly referred to as the "Jody Position." In All Elite Wrestling, the "go position" is named the "Dusty Position" after Dusty Rhodes.
- Refers to a wrestler who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to making mistakes because of their inexperience.
- A deep cut that bleeds a lot, usually caused by a mistake while , but can be intentional. An example happened at the Judgment Day PPV in 2004, when Eddie Guerrero accidentally hit a blood vessel when blading.
- hard camera
- The main camera(s) that shoots the ring from the crowd. These are positioned in the first level of permanent seats usually at about the center court/center ice area of a venue.
- hardcore wrestling
- technical wrestling, instead focusing on moderate brawling techniques and the use of weapons. A style of wrestling that emphasizes brutality and real violence with matches typically involving minimal
- A wrestler drawing blood by any means other than blading, typically from a legitimate strike or .
- head drop
- A move which, as a result of a or otherwise, causes the receiver to be dropped on their head, often resulting in a concussion or other injury such as a broken neck. Also, especially in puroresu, the term can refer to a which is intended to make a move appear as if the receiver landed on their 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. Some wrestlers have used moves where the receiver lands on their head as their , including Kenta Kobashi, who used the highly dangerous Burning Hammer as his finisher.
- , this is seen as a good thing, as it means fans are reacting in the desired way. 1. Negative reactions (such as booing) from fans. When the heat is directed at a
- 2. Real-life tension or ill will between two wrestlers, or a wrestler and the promotion.
- A wrestler; usually a jobber who is used against a more valued opponent to "heat them up" perhaps after a recent loss or succession of losses.
A wrestler who is villainous, who is to be booed by fans. are the opposite of heels, and heels commonly perform against faces.
- To choreograph a match (or series thereof) to cover up a wrestler's injury, inexperience, or lack of ability.
- A high-stakes move which is perceived to be risky and very dangerous, often legitimately.
- A popular / persona based on the idea of a performer having real-world success and fame which transcends the wrestling business. Used by wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Batista, and The Miz.
- 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. Primarily a holdover from the days where professional wrestling had to maintain , a hooker would be used against a local non-wrestler brawler to enhance the belief that professional wrestling was "real". Additionally, the champion would most often be a hooker in order to avoid his opponents trying to on him. One of the most famous hookers in wrestling history was world champion Lou Thesz.
- A wrestler who is physically large, but lacks other skills. A match between two large men who use plenty of strikes is sometimes known as a "hossfest".
- A rushed , 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. Also applies to or that are done for shock value rather than acting as a part of an ongoing storyline.
- hot tag
- In a tag team match, the 's tag to a fresh partner after several minutes of being dominated by both , usually immediately followed by the freshly tagged partner getting in a quick burst of offense. 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, or a legal tag being made while the referee is distracted, resulting in the referee forcing the fresh partner out of the ring because "he was not tagged in").
- The amount of money drawn at a particular event. Also, a term denoting how many fans are in attendance for an event (e.g., "that looks like a packed house tonight").
- house show
An untelevised event.
- Hulking up
- A type of spot that involves the face suddenly start to their opponent's offense, recovering more strength with every blow before finally striking back. Named after Hulk Hogan, who regularly used this as a part of his matches.
- idol wrestler
- A Japanese term for wrestlers who are known for their attractive appearance and may be involved in the Japanese idol industry. Idol wrestlers often sing songs and model in photo-books and/or on various video releases. Examples include Takako Inoue, Cutie Suzuki, and Riho.
- impromptu match
- A match that takes place, specifically on pay-per-views, that was not advertised on the before the event.
- independent promotion
A smaller wrestling company that operates at a local (rather than national) level and typically employs freelance wrestlers, as opposed to signing wrestlers to exclusive contracts.
- A term used by WWE during their brand extension to reference a match between talent from the Raw, SmackDown, ECW, or NXT brands.
- Also known as . A match or event involving wrestlers from two or more different promotions wrestling, usually against each other, on the same .
- The act of someone who is not part of the match (including a ) 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 Internet users (some of them on social media) who discuss professional wrestling online.
- jerk the curtain
- To wrestle the first match of the . Refers to the curtain separating the entranceway from backstage. A wrestler commonly booked in this position is a "curtain jerker". In recent years, this term has become much less pejorative, with many main event level wrestlers choosing to have the first match of the show, as a way to "set the tone".
- To lose in a wrestling match.
A wrestler who routinely loses in order to build the credibility of other wrestlers.
- Shorthand for joshi puroresu; Japanese women's professional wrestling.
- 1. Steroids. Same as .
- 2. Blood, usually from the forehead. See also .
- The presentation of professional wrestling as being entirely legitimate or unscripted. Prior to the mid-1980s, this was universally maintained across all wrestling territories and promotions.
- To use the legs to kick or power out of a pin by using the force made to lift the shoulders off the mat.
- king's road
- This term describes the style of wrestling All Japan Pro Wrestling uses. It is a fusion of the Japanese and a more American style of professional wrestling. King's road practitioners incorporated increasingly more strikes and during the 1990s.
1. Refers to real-life incidents or events that have not been or scripted and are therefore not part of the fictional and presentation. It is often used to describe a genuine injury to a wrestler, as opposed to one scripted as part of a storyline.
- 2. Used to describe a wrestler who has a genuine background in another combat sport (typically boxing, other wrestling codes, or mixed martial arts) and so has proven "real" fighting skills.
- lesbian pollen
- When a female wrestler is lesbian in kayfabe to play mind games on her opponent. Examples of this are the Dawn Marie/Torrie Wilson storyline, and the Trish Stratus/Mickie James storyline. The term originated from OSW Review.
- lights out
- A in which the house lights are suddenly turned down to allow for a surprise of some kind.
- local competitor
- An unsigned wrestler that is usually put into matches with company wrestlers to build the other's momentum. Often used so known wrestlers from the promotion do not have to .
- local medical facility
- WWE's term for 'hospital'. Used in kayfabe scenarios when a wrestler is injured and was coined to prevent fans from calling an actual hospital during the time in which kayfabe was not yet broken.
- lock up
A portion of a match, usually the very start of the match, where two wrestlers join together in a collar-and-elbow tie up.
- 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)
- lumberjill (f)
- A wrestler, typically, 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 wrestler who attempts to leave or is expelled therefrom. Usually, in the case of a , he or she is actually helping one or more (rarely all) wrestlers.
- lucha libre
- Mexican professional wrestling. Translates to "free fight" and is sometimes shortened to simply lucha, the Mexican style of professional wrestling is characterized by high-flying aerial moves, colored masks, and the rapid series of holds, strikes, and maneuvers.
- The specific fusion style of professional wrestling that could involve the high-flying acrobatic moves of lucha libre and the suplexes, strong martial arts strikes, physicality, and psychology of puroresu or strong-style wrestling.
- main event
- The headline or marquee match of a show. Almost always the last match of the show, although some exceptions exist. The penultimate match on a card is sometimes referred to as the semi main-event.
- main eventer
- A wrestler who is seen as on the highest level in a promotion and typically headlines shows. Often wrestling for the world title of a promotion.
- , often by acting as a or interfering in matches on their behalf. Typically, managers are seen accompanying their wrestlers to the ring and are presented as having some sort of influence or sway over their wrestlers. A performer (usually a non-wrestler) who is paired with one or more wrestlers in order to help them get
- 1. A wrestling fan who enthusiastically believes or behaves as though they believe professional wrestling is not staged, or loses sight of the staged nature of the business while supporting their favorite wrestlers. The term is often used pejoratively, for example to refer to people who have little or no knowledge about the business, which to an insider can refer to all wrestling fans.
- 2. Used by some industry insiders to describe a participant in the wrestling industry whom they think 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 will often see a wrestler described as a "mark for him/herself."
- To be paired with another wrestler (or tag team) in a long series of matches.
- Marty Jannetty
Derisive term given to a member of a tag team who, upon the breakup of the team, achieves markedly less success than their partner. Coined in reference to Marty Jannetty, who teamed with Shawn Michaels to form The Rockers. While Michaels went to become a four-time world champion and two-time WWE Hall of Famer, Jannetty was released from the WWF two months after the team's breakup and would repeatedly be hired and fired from the promotion (and other promotions) over the next twenty years, almost always participating in storylines which related to his status as Michaels's former partner. Other wrestlers often seen as a Jannetty of a team include Rick Steiner of The Steiner Brothers, Stevie Ray of Harlem Heat, and Jim Neidhart of The Hart Foundation.
- A wrestler whose job it is to with the future performers and help get them ready for the position. Other times, mechanics are the in-ring teachers helping younger wrestlers gain experience and ability.
- mic work
The ability to generate reaction from the audience using words, and generally by speaking using a microphone.
- A wrestler who is seen as higher than a , but below a , typically performing in the middle of a show. Often wrestling for the secondary title of a federation.
- missed spot
A move or series of moves which are mistimed.
- money mark
- Someone who founds or invests in a wrestling promotion mainly to associate with wrestlers, 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 , which is a main selling point for an event.
- An extremely powerful, seemingly unbeatable wrestler, either or , who often wins matches in a quick, one-sided manner.
- A who does the , or all the talking, for a wrestler possessing poor oration skills.
- Muta scale
- An informal measure among some fans 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 Great Muta during an infamous 1992 New Japan Pro-Wrestling match with Hiroshi Hase.
- 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 . "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.
- night off
- To be paired for a match with a wrestler who is typically easy to work with.
- no contest
- A match that ends in a draw without any clear resolution. This is often due to unforeseen circumstances such as an injury, a major or which overshadows proceedings, or the referee being presented as having lost control of the match.
- To show no reaction to an opponent's offensive moves; a way to demonstrate endurance, appear invulnerable to pain, illustrate masochistic tendencies, or intentionally an opponent. Generally, no-selling is as a part of , but several wrestlers are known to have no-sold their opponent's moves for various reasons. Compare and .
- A wrestler's or performer's unplanned absence from a show in which they were , often leading to last minute changes on the show's .
- nuclear heat
- A high level of , when fans are agitated to the point of being legitimately angry or upset.
- Achieving the desired crowd reaction, with the audience buying into a performer or . who are over will be cheered, and who are over will be booed. Sometimes particular aspects of a performer's presentation may be over (such as a specific chant, a move they perform or their ring entrance) without the performer themselves being considered over. Building a rapport with the audience is described as "getting over".
- To show too much of a reaction to an opponent's offense. Over-selling may be done accidentally, for example during a , or intentionally for various reasons, as occurred in the match between Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam in 2005, where Michaels frequently over-sold Hogan's moves. Compare and .
- To give out free tickets to an event to make it look better attended than it otherwise would have been.
- Parts unknown
- A vague, fictional location. Billing a wrestler as being from "parts unknown" (rather than from their 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- era, it is used less and less, and usually with a certain air of levity. Sometimes, wrestlers can hail from other similarly abstract places, for example Stardust being billed from "the fifth dimension", Damien Demento being billed from "the outer reaches of your mind", or Danhausen being billed from "some place far away", or may have their location simply omitted from introductions, such as in the cases of Big Show and Braun Strowman.
- The culmination of an or storyline with the intention of providing gratification for the fans. Typically involves a finally overcoming a dominant .
- phantom title change
- An occasion when a wrestler is announced as having won a championship from another wrestler in a match which did not actually occur, often due to the previous champion having left the promotion. In the era of territories, non-existent title matches were often said to have taken place in a different part of the country.
- Philly pop
- The act of a promotion bringing in a former Extreme Championship Wrestling wrestler when in Philadelphia.
- The act of "breaking" an opponent's ankle, arm, or neck by placing it between the seat and headrest of a steel chair and then stepping or jumping on the chair or striking it with a second object. Named for Brian Pillman, who suffered a severe ankle injury (in kayfabe) when attacked in this manner by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- . Holding a wrestler's shoulders to the mat for a three count, to win a
- pipe bomb
- A where the wrestler giving the promo appears to break and touches on real-life topics that are considered taboo, such as backstage politics or issues which are not typically addressed in storylines due to bad publicity. This was a term first used by CM Punk.
- A wrestler, stagehand, or paid actor who poses as a fan, usually seated in the front row of an event. Plants are often victimized or attacked by wrestlers in order to gain , or are used to participate in matches or storylines after being "randomly selected" from the crowd. Notable examples of plants were the WWE debut of Santino Marella, who won the Intercontinental Championship after being picked out of the crowd, or at WrestleMania 34 when a 10-year-old boy named Nicholas (in reality the son of referee John Cone) was chosen by Braun Strowman to be his tag team partner in his match against Cesaro and Sheamus.
- The act of luring away key talent from one company to another, usually with offers of higher pay. It is sometimes done deliberately to weaken a company by taking away their top draws. Poaching is typically done by larger companies. A more extreme form of poaching, wherein multiple wrestlers from a company are lured away, is referred to as raiding.
- police woman
A wrestler, often a respected or feared shooter or street fighter, responsible for enforcing the promoter's will against recalcitrant wrestlers by performing unscripted or painful moves within a match, punishing or intimidating them for defying the management. In today's industry it is a largely outdated because such tactics are illegal if they can be proved. Typically, it is only still used by and outside commentators who believe one wrestler is deliberately placed in matches against more dangerous opponents and injured deliberately after disagreements with management. While allegations of this sort persist, including being made by wrestlers themselves, few have been proven. Also describes a wrestler who keeps order in the locker room by threats of physical force.
- A cheer or positive reaction from the crowd.
- popcorn match
- Originally described a post-intermission match viewed as not important enough to keep fans from trips to the concession stands. Now describes a more lighthearted match designed to provide relief of dramatic tension.
- 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 .
A wrestler will make themselves dead weight, to prevent their opponent from lifting them up for a move. Though usually planned in a match, it can also be deliberately done by a wrestler who doesn't want to be lifted for a move, which can make the move harder to be properly executed and can cause a higher risk of injury to either one of the wrestlers.
- The act of forcefully exiting the ring.
- A free television program aired prior to a pay-per-view event (usually carried via outlets such as television provider barker channels, live streaming on a promotion's website or social media platforms, or on a promotion's normal television outlet). It functions similarly to pre-game shows in televised sports, containing previews and analysis of the pay-per-view's matches, and recaps of the storylines that led up to the event. They may also include one or more preliminary undercard matches.
- A series of matches in which the same wrestlers face each other, usually due to the two being scripted in a .
- An in-character interview or monologue. Often includes either an in-ring or backstage interview or some other type of skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or . 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, tag team, , or ), it is said to be cut "on" the target. A promo is an essential part of any wrestling show and is named as such as it is meant to "promote" an upcoming show or a future segment on the current show.
- An aspect of the business which is consciously presented in a way that will made it look as strong and credible as possible. Wrestlers can be protected by them in a way which emphasizes their strengths and hides their weaknesses as a performer, while a move can be protected by having opponents strongly and rarely .
- pull apart
- A brawl so vicious that the combatants need to be pulled apart by others.
- pure wrestling
- See .
- New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Also broadly used to refer to all Japanese professional wrestling. The term can be transliterated as "pro-wres". In the strict sense, a style of Japanese professional wrestling popularized by
- rising of a wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. Compare The
- put over
- The act of one wrestler helping to boost the status of another, most often by losing a match or by their opponent as a credible threat.
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 Mid-South region of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas (primary city is Memphis, Tennessee), and as a result, the southeastern United States, which emphasizes and , generally with fewer matches and longer , hence the more recent "southern style" or to be specific compared to the Carolinas (Jim Crockett) or Georgia styles, "Memphis style".
- A term for returning a particularly move back to a wrestler. This is usually done when one wrestler is being legitimately hit by his/her opponent's blows, and the wrestler being hit will send a legitimate move or hit back to the opponent as a wordless reminder to not hit so hard. Can also be used to refer to other aspects of the wrestling presentation, such as in a .
- ref bump
- A scenario where the referee of the match takes a and is removed from the match due to being (in ) knocked out, temporarily or permanently. This usually occurs to allow a storyline to progress (such as a by a third party or by a ).
- rematch clause
When a champion loses their title to another, this may be invoked as a storyline plot device to procure a title rematch in the near future (often the next pay-per-view event) in order to continue a . In recent years, this clause has often been explicitly ignored in storylines.
- To give a wrestler a new .
- rest hold
- A loose hold applied during a match, during which wrestlers catch their breath or plan the next series of together.
- A practical joke played by or on a wrestler.
- ring general
- An experienced wrestler who knows how to work a match to its full potential.
- ring psychology
- The process of wrestling a match in such a way that the crowd becomes emotionally involved. Performing an engaging match requires acting skills and a good grasp of dramatic timing.
- ring rat
- Similar to a groupie, one who frequents wrestling events to pursue sex with wrestlers.
- ring rust
- A detriment to wrestling ability resulting from lack of practice during a hiatus.
- Road Warrior Pop
- A loud roar of approval that a wrestler receives from the fans when making their entrance to the ring, in reference to popular tag team the Road Warriors, also known as Legion of Doom.
- rope break
- A break of the pin count or submission when a wrestler has his hands or feet on the rope or under the rope.
- Helping a less popular wrestler get by associating them with a more prominent or popular wrestler.
- A wrestler whom Pro Wrestling Illustrated referred to a heel as in its early years of circulation
- The unexpected entry of a new wrestler(s) or returning wrestler in a match already in progress. Run-ins are usually made by heels, typically to further a feud with a face. This is usually done with a . Sometimes a face will do a run-in to protect another face from a heel who is cheating or overly punishing the weaker opponent, often beginning 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. The term "audible" is also used, referring to the finish being known to happen upon verbal instruction from outside the ring.
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 move is typically done deliberately to make the attacker appear weak or unskilled, but can also be the result of a . Sandbagging can be dangerous, as many moves require specific actions by the target to lower the risk of injury.
- A match that ends in chaos rather than in a decisive finish, usually due to a number of wrestlers not involved in the match running in and preventing a clean finish, often designed to end a match or .
- scientific wrestler
- A wrestler whom Pro Wrestling Illustrated referred to as a babyface as in its early years of circulation.
- An unfair and controversial finish, often involving cheating or outside interference. A screwjob is part of the story and is used to generate heat or sympathy while allowing a popular babyface to lose . A screwjob occurs when the finish is changed without informing the losing wrestler. One famous instance of this was the Montreal Screwjob at the 1997 Survivor Series, when Shawn Michaels won the WWF Championship from Bret Hart after Vince McMahon ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell.
- A person accompanying, or "seconding", a wrestler to a match. Typically a , , , tag team partner or mate, the second is typically listed on the card alongside the wrestler they are supporting.
- To react to something in a way which makes it appear believable and legitimate to the audience. Typically refers to the physical action by a wrestler of making an opponent's moves look impactful, but it can be used to refer to any aspect of the presentation, notably including commentator reactions. Compare and .
- To forcefully throw a wrestler from inside the ring to the floor outside through the ropes.
- , or attacking an opponent. When a wrestler or personality deliberately goes off-script, either by making candid comments or remarks during an interview, breaking
- shoot style
- strikes, realistic submission holds, and occasionally a round system or other specific rules and ways to win in an attempt to give professional wrestling a sports-like feel. Satoru Sayama and Akira Maeda in the UWF and Nobuhiko Takada in the UWFi popularized the style. A style of professional wrestling that originates in Japan. Shoot style wrestling employs
- signature move
- A move a wrestler regularly performs, for which the wrestler is well known. Also, a term used for a special move done before their finisher.
- slow burn
- A storyline that develops over a long period.
- Short for "smart ". Someone who has inside knowledge of the wrestling business, but is not speaking from their own personal experience with the business and has typically obtained that knowledge through dirt sheets. Often used as a term of derision for know-it-all fans.
- Having inside knowledge of the wrestling business. Originally used to refer to those who were aware of the existence of and the scripted nature of professional wrestling. The act of teaching someone inside knowledge of the wrestling business is referred to as "smartening up" someone.
- To apply real pressure to a hold, either to make it appear more realistic to the audience, or to exact supremacy or revenge over an opponent. Compare .
- sports entertainment
- WWE uses to describe both its own product and professional wrestling as a whole. It was first used by the promotion in the 1980s and is intended to acknowledge wrestling's roots in competitive sport and dramatic theater. The term
- Any planned action or series of actions in a match. Variations include the , , , and take-home spot. Compare .
- A match which consists mainly or entirely of pre-planned , normally with little flow and no logical transitions between moves and with little or no storytelling. Often used as a derisory term for matches which are seen to prioritize high-impact stunts over .
- Derogatory term used to denote a wrestler who is believed to rely heavily on in order to mask a lack of basic wrestling ability.
- squared circle
- The wrestling ring.
- An extremely one-sided match. Sometimes called Tomato-can match. Squashes generally feature star wrestlers or wrestlers receiving a quickly and easily defeating , usually to help get a or moveset[definition needed] .
- A team of three or more wrestlers, usually , who generally share common motives, allies and adversaries within a storyline (or through multiple storylines) and are often presented as having the same or very similar . Stables sometimes have several members partake in more separate activities, such as Owen Hart and the British Bulldog having their own tag team while also being part of the larger Hart Foundation. This is also rather common in Japanese promotions, where large stables (such as Chaos and Bullet Club) will also have various teams and sub-groups within them. A stable differs from a in that a stable consists of wrestlers who share a common leader, for example as a manager or valet, who directs the wrestlers and speaks for them.
- A microphone ("the stick"), used to deliver a .
- Using excessive force when executing a move, deliberately or accidentally, thus causing the opponent increased legitimate pain.
- Sting money
- A term from the 1990s used to refer to a lucrative contract, such as the one held by Sting in World Championship Wrestling.
- A championship belt.
- The act of causing physical harm to prospective professional wrestlers, usually by the means of submission holds. In the period, this served to protect the wrestling business from accusations of "being fake", to instill humility in newer members of the locker room, & helped to weed out those who couldn't take punishment. A professional wrestling trainer notable for "stretching" his recruits was Stu Hart, in the infamous Hart Dungeon. Other wrestlers in various territories who were used to test potential newcomers were Danny Hodge, Bob Roop, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.
- 1. Any contact made by one wrestler to their opponent (e.g., punches, kicks, chops, etc.).
- 2. A violation of WWE's wellness policy, with three strikes in an 18-month period resulting in a wrestler being released from the promotion.
- strong style
- A Japanese-inspired professional wrestling style that is , yet aims to deliver realistic performances, through martial arts strikes and .
- super finisher
- A move rarely used by a wrestler, but one that almost always ends a match. Some notable examples include Randy Orton's Punt Kick and Kenta Kobashi's Burning Hammer.
- WWE's term for wrestlers on their roster.
- A sudden change in the direction of a storyline to surprise the fans. Often, it involves one wrestler on an ally in order to join a supposed mutual enemy. Swerves frequently start between the former allies. This also refers to when a leads fans to believe that something is going to happen (or someone could appear) at a show, before doing something entirely different.
- To indicate a . A teases a turn if they start exhibiting heel behaviors and a heel indicates a face turn if they start exhibiting face behaviors or fall victim to the misdeeds of a more nefarious heel.
- technical wrestling
- A style of wrestling focussed more on holds, takedowns, submissions, and grappling.
- A wrestler who employs or masters so called technical wrestling style. Bret Hart is a commonly cited example of a great technical wrestler.
- Titan Towers
- A nickname for WWE's corporate office in Stamford, Connecticut.
- A video screen above the entrance stage area, used for showing entrance videos, backstage segments, promos, and the match-in-progress for audience members seated too far back from the ring. A play on the name of Sony's JumboTron and Titan Sports, the then-parent company of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), 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, such as World Championship Wrestling, which used the TurnerTron (which was sometimes called NitroVision).
- 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 (to avoid one, to save the match up for a bigger show, or, more rarely, when the wrestlers refuse to work with each other).
- A switch in alignment of a wrestler's character. Turns involve a wrestler going from to or vice versa. 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). Transitioning from a face into a heel is called a 'heel turn' and the opposite is called a 'face turn'.
- A morally ambiguous wrestler who is neither a nor (an in-betweener), also sometimes describes a heel who is usually cheered or a face who is usually jeered, especially when two faces or two heels face each other. (See also: antihero)
- championships when merged by one champion. The state of two or more
- The state of a championship not held by any wrestlers.
- A person, usually female, who accompanies a performer to the ring. Usually serves to titillate or agitate the crowd, or to in the match.
- vanilla midget
- A derogatory term created by Kevin Nash to describe wrestlers who are good ring-workers, but believed to be too small and boring to ever succeed on a large stage.
- 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, to get a wrestler before their TV wrestling debut or to signify an impending return.
- visual fall
- A that the referee does not see, but the crowd does. It is usually followed by a late 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 had done enough to win by pinfall.
- 1. (noun): Anything planned to happen, or a "rationalized lie". The opposite of .
- 2. (verb): To methodically attack a single body part over the course of a match or an entire , setting up an appropriate .
- 3. (verb): To deceive or manipulate an audience in order to elicit a desired response.
- 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. A notable example of a worked shoot is CM Punk's pipebomb on the June 27, 2011, episode of Monday Night Raw.
- Another term for professional wrestler. Often used in the context of describing in-ring skill level (e.g., "He is a good/bad worker").
- 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".
- wrestler's court
- A term used often to describe kangaroo courts held backstage with a congregation of wrestlers; this is often used to settle backstage disputes and transgressions between performers and (sometimes) staff such as writers. In WWE, The Undertaker is known as being the "judge, jury, and executioner" and JBL the "prosecuting attorney" of wrestler's court during their full-time tenures in the company. Punishments for those found "guilty" often included the purchase of the night's alcohol or rental cars.
- write off
To book an angle and/or match so as to explain in kayfabe a wrestler's upcoming (and usually inconvenient) absence, usually in the form of being "injured".
- X division
- A high-flying, high-risk, fast-paced style of professional wrestling which was originated in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Rather than emphasizing the fact that most wrestlers who perform this style are under 220 lb (100 kg) by calling it a cruiserweight division, they decided to emphasize the high-risk nature of the moves that these wrestlers perform, removing all restraints placed on its wrestlers, and allowing them to perform almost stunt-like wrestling moves.
- 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 cross their arms and, if necessary, point to the injured wrestler. Since many fans are aware of the significance of the signal, and with referees often now having direct communication with producers backstage, it is now sometimes used in fashion, to a storyline injury.
- X-Pac heat
- When fans jeer at a wrestler because they dislike the wrestler personally as opposed to the character he or she plays in the ring. Named after Sean Waltman, known as X-Pac, who was believed to have "overstayed his welcome" by some fans, and so was jeered regardless of whether he was a or character. Compare .
- young boy
A rookie, particularly in Japanese professional wrestling. The term "young lion" is used for the trainees from the New Japan Pro-Wrestling dojo; although they usually perform at NJPW shows, typically on the lower card, they are also assigned other tasks such as security around the ring.
- Term for an arbitrary and as-yet-undefined tool intended to fill in a hole in a match or angle.
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- Total Wrestling Terms
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