Glossary of professional wrestling terms

Glossary of professional wrestling terms

Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of slang, in-references, and jargon.[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 money-making aspect of the sport rather than the athletics themselves.[2]

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a wrestling event where generally a company's biggest "draws" wrestle.[1]
a group of a wrestling promotion's top stars who compete at a given event.[1] (Compare "B-Team")
Abort (or Abortion)
to discontinue a feud, angle, or "gimmick" suddenly, usually without explanation or due to a lack of fan interest.[1] This is an older term, not generally used today because of its objectionable basis.[1] The term is also used by various reviewers to discredit particularly bad angles or shows.
Agent (or Road agent)
management employee, often a former veteran wrestler, who helps wrestlers set up matches, plans storylines, and relays instructions from the bookers. Often acts as a liaison between wrestlers and higher-level management. Referred to as "producers" by WWE. Sometimes they help train and teach younger active wrestlers and give criticism.
the personality type used by wrestlers. For example, if they are a babyface, they are said to be "face-aligned". See also heel and tweener.
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 released from his contract.
Apter mag
an old-style professional wrestling magazine that sticks to kayfabe and usually consists of made-up articles and interviews.[1] The term refers to the magazines at one time connected to journalist Bill Apter, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[1]
The Attitude Era
refers to a time period from King of the Ring 1996 to WrestleMania 17 when the World Wrestling Federation product shifted from being family-oriented entertainment to being "edgier," more crude, and dealing with more "adult" situations (frequently sexual in nature).


a wrestling event featuring the middle and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion.[1]
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 good guy.[1] (Referred to as a Blue-Eye in British Wrestling.) See also heel and tweener.
Backyard wrestling
the act of staging pro-style wrestling (not to be confused with sport wrestling or amateur wrestling) as a hobby rather than a job, usually (but not always) by untrained wrestlers, predominantly teenagers.
Beat down
when a wrestler or other performer is the recipient of a beating, usually by a group of wrestlers.[1]
the act of cutting oneself or another person open in order to bleed, usually done on the forehead (also called "juicing").[3] The blade is usually concealed in tape on the hands or somewhere it can be used without being obvious.[3]
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 cardiovascularly exhausted during a match.[1]
see Babyface
a term that refers to the predetermined nature of wrestling and the logistics of executing same. 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."[4] Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show.[1]
a scripted move that failed.
when a wrestler hits the mat or ground.[1][5] 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] Phantom bumps are most commonly performed when the offensive wrestler is new.
A time limit draw.
Burial (or Bury)
refers to the worked lowering (relegation) of a popular wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. It is the act of a promoter or booker causing a wrestler to lose popularity by forcing him to lose in squash matches, continuously, and/or participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines. It can be a form of punishment for real-life backstage disagreements or feuds between the wrestler and the booker, the wrestler falling out of favor with the company, or the wrestler receiving an unpopular gimmick that causes him to lose credibility regardless of win-loss record. It is also a result of a company seeing a wrestler as having no potential or charisma. The term can also be applied to a wrestling company that jumps the shark, rapidly loses ratings, fans, and finally becomes bankrupt. According to many critics, the most infamous burial of a company was The Fingerpoke of Doom, a pivotal incident in the Monday Night Wars that took place on January 4, 1999 on WCW Monday Nitro at the Georgia Dome.[6] (Compare "push")
the term used to describe professional wrestling instead of referring to it as a profession or sport.[2]


an event featuring the lowest level of talent in a promotion. Often used as a derogatory adjective.
when one wrestler instructs the other of what is going to happen in the match.[1]
Canned heat
when cheers or boos are pumped into an arena via the sound system or added to a television show in post-production.[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.
A language used by wrestlers to talk to each other around people not associated with the business so they would not understand what they were saying, often used to keep the secrets of the business.[1] (see kayfabe)
A phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Example: "Can you smell what The Rock is cookin'?"
in kayfabe, a recognition of a wrestler being the best in his or her promotion or division in the form of a championship belt (also "title" or "strap"). Outside of kayfabe, championships are won/held by a wrestler whom the bookers believe will generate fan interest in terms of event attendance and television viewership.
Cheap heat
when a wrestler (often a heel) incites a negative crowd reaction by insulting the crowd (by insulting the city or a local sports team, like wearing a Yankees jersey in Boston) or by using a news event as part of his promo. A famous team to use this technique is Edge and Christian.[1][2]
Cheap pop
when a wrestler (often a babyface) incites a positive crowd reaction by "kissing up" to the crowd (for example, mentioning the name of the city or complimenting a local sports team). Heels often follow the same principle but in reverse: insulting the city or bringing up something it is infamous for (such as an under-performing sports team) to get booed.
Cheap shot
when a wrestler uses a low blow or a foreign object to get an advantage over his opponent.
to draw blood. Especially in UK Professional Wrestling. A promoter might say "I want some claret in this match".
Clean finish
when a match ends without cheating or outside interference, usually in the center of the ring. (Compare "screwjob")
originally coined by Dusty Rhodes, it is the act of two or more people beating on another with at least four fists simultaneously.
Closet champion
a current titleholder (usually a heel) who ducks top-flight competition, cheats to win (often by managerial interference), and—when forced to wrestle good opponents—deliberately causes himself to be disqualified (since titles often do not change hands by disqualification) to retain his title.[1]
a term used by wrestlers and promoters to discuss the amount of bloodshed in a match.[1][3][7]
Color commentator
a member of the announcing team who assists the play-by-play announcer by filling in any time when play is not in progress, providing humor, and explaining storylines.
Crimson Mask
where a superstar has been bleeding so that their face is 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.
Curtain Call (or the MSG Incident)
the incident at Madison Square Garden in the spring of 1996, when WWF superstars Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, and Triple H broke kayfabe in front of a live sold out New York crowd, playing it out in a farewell to the crowd and a group hug.


Dark match
a non-televised match at a televised show used to warm up the crowd (compare "house show").[1] A dark match before the show is often used to test out new talent or to warm up the crowd.[1] A promised dark match after the show is typically set featuring main-event level wrestlers in order to sell more tickets and send the crowd home happy.
To go limp in the middle of a move.[1] This could be done intentionally, either to make an opponent look weak or just "rib" him,[1] or unintentionally because the "dead weight" wrestler is unfamiliar with the cooperation needed to pull off a particular wrestling hold (or just not paying attention) or as a result of injury. Intentionally deadweighting is considered very unprofessional and can lead to injury to either party involved. See (Sandbag)
Dirt sheet
an insider newsletter (or website) in the professional wrestling business.[8]
aside from the usual colloquial meaning of a hard to work with individual, this term is used, mainly by WWE, to refer to any woman involved in wrestling, either as "eye candy" or as a wrestler (or frequently both).
Double turn
the rare occurrence when both the babyface and the heel switch roles during an angle or a match. An example of this is the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match at WrestleMania 13 and the Powers of Pain/Demolition at Survivor Series 1988.
a wrestler who is able to attract the attention of the audience; someone fans are willing to pay to see.[1]
when a wrestler is booked to lose to a contender (the loser agreed to drop the match to the winner).
Dusty Finish
typically 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. 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] The first, and most infamous, case of this was Starrcade (1985) when Rhodes faced Ric Flair for the NWA World title after a long layoff by Rhodes due to injury by Flair and his henchmen. Rhodes would win the match, by pinfall, as a second referee came in for the count, but original referee Tommy Young would later reverse the decision (disqualifying Flair for interference by Ole and Arn Anderson while Young was knocked outside the ring), with the fans only finding out on the next week's television programming. The Dusty Finish is often seen as quite deceptive to the fans, and is not usually well-received.


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". Another definition is an individual (usually a celebrity) who acts in a "special guest referee" capacity from outside the ring, usually favoring one wrestler over another (such as Chuck Norris at Survivor Series 1994 or Mike Tyson at WrestleMania XIV).
Extreme wrestling
a style of wrestling based heavily on highspots, no limits, and no boundaries. Matches that are more fast-paced and over the top with high impact style are seen in Japan and Mexico. Sometimes confused with hardcore wrestling due to the fact that the rules are more relaxed allowing the use of chairs and tables, but it involves much more wrestling abilities than hardcore wrestling.


Face (or Babyface)
the good guy, or the wrestler who the crowds are intended to cheer for.[9]
usually, the ending of the match. A fall is obtained by gaining a decision in any manner, normally consisting of a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. In a two out of three falls match, a wrestler must gain two decisions to win instead of only one. (See near-fall)
False comeback
when a babyface mounts a brief offensive flurry before losing it to a heel wrestler after being dominated for several minutes.[1] Usually, it occurs before the actual comeback. Hulk Hogan tended to use this to "sell" an improbable comeback.
False Finish
a match ending pinfall which is kicked out of, usually after a finishing move or series of high impact moves. This builds crowd anticipation towards the actual finish.
a battle between two or more wrestlers or stables, often involving matches, promos, and angles.[1] A feud usually lasts for several months.
the planned end of a match.[1] (See "Dusty Finish" and "Clean finish")
a wrestler's signature move that leads to a finish. Some Finishers Include Randy Orton's RKO, Eddie Guerrero's Frog Splash, John Cena's Attitude Adjustmentor[1], or Diamond Dallas Page's "Diamond Cutter" This can be a unique move entirely(like Razor Ramone's Inverted Crucifix) or a known standard move with a new name.
Five Moves of Doom
a particular combination of moves that a wrestler uses in every match, often in the same sequence, and usually leading to the finish. Often associated with Bret Hart (debated) , Hulk Hogan or, more recently John Cena.[1]
Flair flip
a move, popularized by Ric Flair, where a wrestler is flipped upside down upon hitting the corner turnbuckle and often ends up on the other side of the ropes on his feet on the ring apron.[1]
Flair flop
also a Ric Flair specialty, it involves falling flat on one's face as a delayed sell of an opponent's offense.[1]
Foreign object
an object that is illegal to the match, such as a chair, brass knuckles, or garbage can.[1] WCW announcers called these implements "International Objects" for a time in the 1980s when WCW owner Ted Turner banned use of the word "foreign" throughout his media empire.[10]
Freebird rule
an unofficial rule which allows any two members of a stable with three or more members to defend a tag team championship. Named for The Fabulous Freebirds, who did this in Georgia Championship Wrestling.


a non-Japanese worker in Japanese promotions. This is not specifically a wrestling term, simply the standard Japanese term for a foreigner (considered derogatory by some foreigners though not implicitly intended to be).
1. Steroids[1] (see also juice and roids) or 2. Stamina (as in "out of gas", when a wrestler is tired and unable to wrestle properly) Similarly, "tank" can be used to describe one's ability to wrestle for long periods of time (e.g. at the 2005 Royal Rumble, Jim Ross noticed that Chris Benoit was still in the ring after the 30th man had entered, despite him being #2, and remarked "Benoit's got an extra tank other guys don't have.")
the blade a wrestler uses to cut himself.[1]
a wrestler's personality and/or other distinguishing traits while wrestling. It can also be an implement used to cheat.[2] Some gimmicks, like CM Punk's being straight edge, are based on real life.
the championship belt.
Go over
to beat someone.[1]
refers to a wrestler (often called a green horn) who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to make mistakes because of their inexperience.[1]
a deep cut that bleeds a lot,[7] usually caused by a mistake while blading but can be intentional.[1]


when a wrestler twists the second rope over the third with his neck caught in-between, which results in the illusion of the wrestler hanging by his neck from the ropes. This could be dangerous if the ropes are not properly tensioned, as back in 1992 Mick Foley ripped off his ear in this move because of overly tight ropes.[9]
blood produced by means other than blading.
Hardcore wrestling
wrestlers use nothing but weaponry or highly planned out spots to attack each other; the term also refers to outrageous gimmick matches that have no obvious elements of traditional in-ring competition.[1]
see Paying dues.
a wrestler getting a negative crowd reaction.[1] (See "cheap heat" and "canned heat") Can also refer to a wrestler having negative relations with the other wrestlers or the bookers/administration of a promotion -- as in "He has heat with the locker room for last week's incident."
Head drop
a move which, as a result of a botch, causes the receiver to be dropped on their head, often resulting in a legit concussion or other injury such as a broken neck. Also, especially in puroresu, the term can refer to a bump which is intended to make a move appear as if the receiver landed on his/her head. In reality, the full force of the move is intended to be taken on the upper back and shoulders, though such moves still carry a high degree of legitimate risk with them.
a bad guy or the wrestler who the crowds are intended to boo.[1][9] See also babyface and tweener.
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] In the early 20th century, one who has worked for carnivals taking on "all comers." Since these types of events are on the decline, this word is falling out of common usage. A hooker is the opposite of a pure wrestler.
when a promoter or booker rushes to a feud, a climax of a feud, or books a big match on television instead of at a pay-per-view in order to get a short-term boost for business.[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, when a babyface wrestler tags in a fresh partner after several minutes of being dominated by his opponents, usually immediately followed by the freshly-tagged-in babyface 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).
House show
a non-televised show.[1] (Compare "dark match")


Independent circuit (or Independent promotion)
refers to a wrestling group that is too small to compete on a national level or is not owned by a big corporation.
Refers to 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
Refers to wrestling storylines in which a group of wrestlers, normally wrestlers who had recently appeared in one promotion, then 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. The concept originated in Japan, following the demise of the IWE in 1981. Due to the lack of competition brought on by the territorial system used in the United States at the time, the idea would remain unknown there through the 1980s. A prototype invasion angle did occur in Memphis in late 1983 involving Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo, late of their father's "outlaw" ICW promotion. The best known examples of invasion storylines are The Outsiders, which evolved into the nWo, during the 1990s, and The Invasion, which occurred in 2001, when WCW and ECW went out of business.
Internet wrestling community, the community in webboards or forums that discussing about pro wrestling.


a wrestler who loses in order to make another wrestler look good.[11]The term was brought into popular usage by The Rock.
a scheduled loss.[1]
a wrestler whose primary function is losing to better-known wrestlers.[1][2]
Jobber to the stars
a mid-level wrestler who jobs for top talent but can defeat pure jobbers.[1]
steroids.[1] (See gas and roids). It can also mean blood,[2][3] usually from the forehead.[1]
Jump Ship
To switch to a different promotion or to move over to a different brand.


term used to describe the illusion (and up-keep of the illusion) that professional wrestling is not staged (i.e. that the on-screen situations between wrestlers represent reality).[1] Also used by wrestlers as a signal to close ranks and stop discussing business due to an uninformed person arriving in earshot.[1][12] The term is said to have been loosely derived from the Pig Latin pronunciation of the word "fake" ("akefay").
when a wrestler rises to their feet in a theatrical way, used commonly by Shawn Michaels and The Rock, and can lead to a superhuman comeback.
when a competitor is knocked out by their opponent, usually by a large blow to the head or by exhaustion. This can be by accident or intentionally. This is usually a term used in "Last Man Standing" matches after a 10 count is issued to a downed competitor. In kayfabe, however, a wrestler can be announced as having been "won by knockout". This is rarely utilized in American wrestling. Matches under the round-based system used in the United Kingdom and continental Europe can be won by knockout in addition to fall(s) and/or submission(s). In Japan, Hulk Hogan won a controversial victory over Antonio Inoki in 1983 by knockout, long debated as a possible shoot by Hogan. Knockout is also a term used as a brand name for the female wrestlers of TNA.


Legitimate (or Legit)
term used to describe a match or event which has not been booked, or a performer who relies on wrestling skill and ability, as opposed to his gimmick, to gain notoriety and popularity with fans. The term is also often extended to mean a wrestler with a legitimate background as an actual street fighter or brawler (the individual may be a former professional boxer, a stuntman, martial artist, or have crossed over from some other professional or amateur sport), who brings legitimate fighting skills to the apparent, but often tightly controlled, "chaos" of the pro wrestling arena. The term can also be attributed to an incident where a legitimate injury occurs during a professional wrestling match. Often used as a synonym for shoot.
Legit heat
a real-life conflict between wrestlers.
Little Jimmy
Little kids who watch wrestling. First used in WWE by R-Truth, compared John Cena's fans to the American comic character, Little Jimmy.
Lock up
a grapple at the beginning of a match.[13]
Low blow
A hit to the opponent's groin.
An unskilled or inexperienced wrestler who typically fights at the beginning of a show.
Lucha libre
translates to "Free Fighting".[1] It is used to describe the Mexican style of wrestling that consists of high-flying acrobatic moves.[1] A Mexican wrestler is a luchador.
Luchas de Apuestas
With the importance placed on masks in lucha libre, losing the mask to an opponent is seen as the ultimate insult, and can at times seriously hurt the career of the unmasking wrestler. Putting one's mask on the line against a hated opponent is a tradition in lucha libre as a means to settle a heated feud between two or more wrestlers. In these battles, called luchas de apuestas ("matches with wagers"), the wrestlers usually "wager" either their mask or their hair, though there are wagers involving other items as well. While the culture of Luchas de Apuestas is unique to Mexico, matches of this sort do occur elsewhere. A famous example in the United States took place during the 1977 promotional war in Memphis. Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler engaged in a feud which lasted for several months. The blow off match, a hair versus hair match in which Dundee lost his hair, in fact did not end the feud. The following week, Lawler put up his hair against the hair of Dundee's wife Beverly and was once again victorious.[14]
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 eventer
a wrestler who is viewed by management to be one of the top draws on the roster and thus is promoted in main events.
a performer assigned to accompany a wrestler to the ring and, usually, put them over in interviews.[1] They are often used to help a heel cheat and incite the crowd.[1]
insider term used to describe fans within the professional wrestling business. Any person in the wrestling business who doesn't know how to separate their "gimmick" and "real life" is also a mark.
Marking out
the act of reacting to an event in wresting as if it was legit even though the person reacting to it knows it to be staged.
The Michaels and The Jannetty
When many modern tag teams split up, there is usually someone called the "Shawn Michaels" for being recognized as the star or ending up with a more successsful singles run, while the other half of the team usually falls into obscurity; this is called the "Marty Jannetty" or simply "the Jannetty" of the tag team, which is usually used as an insult to the latter.
a wrestler who wrestles in the middle of programs, is seen as being high in seniority but less than a money draw, usually competing for the secondary title of a federation.[1]
Missed spot (or Blown spot)
a move in which the timing is off. Sometimes called mis-selling.[1]
Money match
a non-title match which was the most heavily promoted of the card that is placed near or at the end of a live event, which is the main reason fans attended the event or watched the event.[1]
Monster heel
a villain who is portrayed as unstoppable, usually to set up a feud with a promotion's lead babyface.[1] Particularly applies to heels who are physically monstrous, grotesque, or just plain scary. For example, The Great Khali made his debut in 2006 by easily overcoming The Undertaker.
Montreal Screwjob
an incident at Survivor Series in 1997 where referee Earl Hebner claimed that Bret Hart submitted to Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon ordered the bell to be rung in order to take the WWF Championship title from Hart who was exiting the World Wrestling Federation for World Championship Wrestling.
a manager who does the promos, or all the talking, for a wrestler possessing little or no mic skills.[1]
Muta scale
An informal measure among some fans, mostly smarks, of the amount of blood lost by a wrestler during a match. Ranges begin at 0.0 Muta, with 1.0 Muta being equivalent to the blood loss of The Great Muta during an infamous 1992 New Japan Pro Wrestling match with Hiroshi Hase.[15]


a match which ends in a draw normally due to a legitimate injury where the wrestler can not continue, the match is declared "out of control" (usually to prolong a feud), or because of interference. It may also come about due to an actual emergency, such as a fire where the venue must be evacuated. Derived from boxing terminology.
occurs when a wrestler's shoulders are pinned to the mat for a count of two, but the wrestler manages to escape before the referee's hand hits the mat a third time, which would signify a pinfall. The term is used more often the "closer" the referee's hand gets to hitting the mat for the third time.
giving no reaction to another wrestler's offense or moves, as a way to demonstrate a wrestler's unbelievable endurance (like Hulk Hogan), make the wrestler appear "invulnerable" to pain (like The Undertaker), or to legitimately defy an opponent, such as Road Warrior Hawk popping up from every piledriver.
when a wrestler doesn't show up for a match.[1] No-shows are usually staged, often for the purposes of a storyline. Legit no-shows are less frequent, since the wrestler (or other employee) typically faces disciplinary action after such an act.


The extent to which a performer has been accepted by fans. A face wrestler is considered over when he is being cheered and supported by fans, whereas a heel is considered over when he is booed and hated. The term suggests that the fans are buying into what the wrestler is selling, meaning his character and perceived abilities. Since 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 him over." Other ways to put over another wrestler is to convincingly sell his offense, or to give an interview that talks up the main qualities and abilities of another wrestler's character.
showing too much of a reaction to another wrestler's offense. For example, tumbling head over heels all the way across the ring from a simple punch would be an over-sell.


to give away a great number of free (comped) tickets to increase the size of the crowd for publicity.[1] Up-and-coming promotions may do this as a form of advertisement, whereas struggling companies may do this to make their turnouts look better than they really are.
Paper Champion
a weak or easily beatable champion.
Parts Unknown
Billing a wrestler as being from "Parts Unknown" (rather than from his real hometown or another actual place) is intended to add to a wrestler's mystique. In 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, abstract places; for example, the tag team of Deuce 'n Domino hailed from "the other side of the tracks", the Dudley family who came from "Dudleyville," The Boogeyman who came from "the bottomless pit," Shark Boy is billed from "the deep blue sea," Eric Young who, for a time, came from "Freedomville, USA," and "Now residing in an undisclosed location," and Judas Mesias, who came from "The Depths of Hell." In an interview, Chris Jericho described it as a city in central Wisconsin.
Paying dues
the concept that newer or younger wrestlers must be punished in the early parts of their careers, both in and out of the ring. When addressing a specific individual, the speaker may call it "paying your dues."[1] (See "job", "rib" and "stiff")
is a professional wrestling term for a trained wrestler or actor who poses as a fan, usually seated in the front row of an event.[1] Plants are a good tool for a heel wrestler to gain heat from the crowd.[1] Usually the "plant" is an unknown trained wrestler, often off the independent circuit.[1]
the reporting of a sporting event with a voice over describing the details of the action of the match in progress. The play-by-play person is assisted by a color commentator.
a sudden crowd reaction, either positive or negative.[1] It is measured by the amount of cheers or derision a wrestler gets during his entrance, interviews, and in-ring performance (especially when a trademark spot is performed by the wrestler).
striking or hurting another wrestler more than necessary. A wrestler who endures one or more potatoes is likely to potato the perpetrator back, which is known as a 'receipt'.[16]
The act of getting out of the ring forcefully.
a series of matches in which the same wrestlers face each other.
a promotional interview (as in "cutting a promo").[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]
manager of a promotion.[2]
a group that organizes professional wrestling events.[1]
Japanese professional wrestling
when a wrestler gains popularity with wins and positive exposure.[1] A push can be a sudden win over a major superstar, or becoming involved in a high profile angle. (Compare "bury")
Put over
to allow oneself to be pinned or otherwise defeated by someone. The person who the wrestler is putting over is said to be getting over.[1]


Rasslin' (or Wrasslin')
refers to a southern style of professional wrestling which emphasizes kayfabe and stiffness, with fewer squash matches and generally longer feuds. Also a derisive phrase, used mostly by mainstream media in its depiction of professional wrestling itself.
when a wrestler or personnel is fired or "let go" from their contract.
Rematch clause
if a champion loses his/her title to another, they may invoke this clause to have a rematch in an attempt to regain their lost championship. This can only be used once but the rematch itself can be held on either the day it is invoked or at the next major event. The concept is used for storyline purposes, and is occasionally forgotten altogether.
Rest hold
a hold applied more lightly at a designated point in a match in order to save energy.[1]
practical jokes played by or on wrestlers.[1] Wrestlers spend a lot of time together in close quarters and often resort to practical jokes, either to break the monotony or to get revenge for real or imagined wrongs.
someone involved in the pro wrestling business who is well known for playing practical jokes backstage.
Ring general
an experienced veteran who knows how to carry a match to its full potential.
Ring psychology
wrestling a match properly so that the crowd becomes personally involved in the show.[17]
Ring rat
similar to a rock and roll groupie, it is someone with amorous feelings for wrestlers and frequents wrestling events to flirt or pursue sexual liaisons with wrestlers.[1][18] They can also be referred to as arena rats.[2]
Ring rust
when a wrestler is out-of-practice, and thus more prone to miss spots, as a result of a long period away from wrestling.
slang phrase for steroids.[19] Roid Rage is the paranoia, depression, and explosive outbursts caused by excessive steroid use.[19]
occurs when one or more individuals who are not actively participating in a match run into the ring.[1] Run-ins are almost always made by heels, typically to further a feud with a babyface.[1] More often than not, a run-in will result in a "beat down" in which the heel(s) pummel the babyface(s) until the script calls for the beating to stop, either from the heels' satisfaction with their handiwork, a retaliatory run-in by one or more babyfaces, or (less often) the entrance of one or more authority figures (referees, agents, security personnel). Sometimes a run-in results from a babyface wanting to stop a heel from physically punishing a weaker opponent, usually to set up a feud.
Rushed finish
when the end of a match is hurried, usually due to a botch, injury, or time constraints. A match may have a rushed finish for the following reasons: a person in the match is injured, and needs the match to finish as soon as possible to protect themselves (they often do this by rolling up their opponent for a pin or causing a disqualification); the match is a timed match, where the viewers can see a clock, and the match must end before a certain time on the clock, for storyline purposes; the match is televised, and it had been going on for too long, so its end had to be shortened; or there was a botch in the match, and the wrestlers have to recover the situation to make it look realistic.


to not cooperate with a throw and to act as dead weight, which makes the moves the wrestler is attempting much harder, if not impossible to pull off. An alleged sandbagging incident occurred on an episode of SmackDown! in 2002 when Hardcore Holly sandbagged Brock Lesnar when attempting a powerbomb, causing Lesnar to drop Holly on his neck - leaving Holly sidelined for over a year.[1]
a school or gym that teaches students the necessary skills to become professional wrestlers. Students undergo strenuous physical conditioning while learning the basics of the wrestling industry, proper performance techniques, and character development. The courses are taught by qualified professional instructors who have usually worked for several years as professional wrestlers themselves. Some schools are affiliated with a specific promotion company, others are independent.
a match with a controversial or unsatisfying finish, often involving cheating or outside interference.[1] A worked screwjob, is part of the storyline and the match is intended to end controversially. A shoot screwjob is extremely rare and occurs when a change is made without one of the participants knowing, creating an outcome that is contrary to what was supposedly planned for the storyline by the participants. The most famous example of a screwjob of this type is the Montreal Screwjob.
a non-wrestling part of the show, which may include a promo, a backstage scene, an interview segment (for example, Roddy Piper's Piper's Pit or Chris Jericho's The Highlight Reel or Christian's The Peep Show), or any other period of the show which does not originally contain any form of violence (as segments may break into scripted fights).
reacting to an opponent's attacks in a manner that suggests that the techniques are being applied at full-force.[1] In general, selling is the act of convincing the audience that what is happening is real; a key aspect of professional wrestling.[2] Certain wrestlers have long-established reputations for "no-selling" (generally refusing to sell), "overselling" (overexaggerating the move's damage), or "mis-selling" (dramatically mistiming the impact to where it looks fake on camera) the opponent's moves.
any "real" event in the world of wrestling.[2] Many former or retired wrestlers will release information seen as confidential or overly revealing about the business or a particular performer.[1][20] (Compare "worked shoot") A shooter is a wrestler who has a background in legitimate fighting (originally catch wrestling, now more often martial arts), for example: CM Punk and his Muay Thai background; or otherwise has a reputation as a tough guy.[1]
Any event for a wrestling promotion that a wrestler is scheduled to appear at. A wrestler will often describe keeping his or her schedule of appearances as "making his or her shots". Not making ones "shots" is considered one of the most unprofessional things a wrestler can do and can easily lead to termination by the promotion.
competitive mixed martial arts competition, used in comparison to the scripted combat of professional wrestling.
Signature move
a move performed by a wrestler on a regular basis for which the wrestler is well-known.[21]
Slow burn
a program or story-line that develops over a long period of time.
Smark (or Smart Mark)
a phrase coined by Internet wrestling fans to describe a fan who enjoys pro wrestling despite or because they know that it is scripted, as well as generally knowing the "ins-and-outs" of the company and knowing many things about the industry or wrestlers collected by sources and are posted online. Smarks may also be criticized for believing they know more than they do in reality about the workings of the wrestling industry.[1] (compare "mark").
someone who has inside information on the wrestling business.[1]
Sports entertainment
a term coined by WWE to differentiate its product from traditional professional wrestling as an attempt to garner interest from a broader audience. It refers to the mix of wrestling, scripted storylines, and concepts that borrow from other forms of pop-culture entertainment.
a preplanned move,[1] which is designed to get a particular audience reaction or determine the pace of the match. Spots can be anything from an Irish Whip at a certain time, to a series of spots, for example a succession of reversals. Wrestlers who choreograph their matches before the show will usually decide on an opening spot and an ending, as well as several spots to use throughout the match. The remainder of the match will be divided between transition moves and general offensive and defensive moves. A high spot is a move that is particularly exciting.[2] (See "missed spot")
Spot monkey
A wrestler who relies mostly or entirely on high spots to make the fans excite, but rarely has any technical ability. There is a difference between a high flyer and a spot monkey. High fliers generally have technical skills and/or brawling skills to back up their high flying moves, while spot monkeys generally are just acrobats with little to no actual wrestling talent.
an extremely one-sided match that is usually over quickly.[1] Squash matches usually consist of various wrestlers fighting unknown jobbers, usually to help get a gimmick or moveset over. They are also used to portray a larger wrestler as an unstoppable monster heel. Babyfaces also win squash matches to show that they are prepared for a bigger challenge.
is a group of wrestlers within a promotion who have a common element—friendships, either real or storyline, a common manager, or a common storyline—which puts them together as a unit.
when a wrestler puts excessive force into his attacks or maneuvers on his opponent,[22] deliberately or accidentally.[1] Vader is an example of someone known for his stiff style of wrestling (he once broke the back of a young wrestler named Joe Thurman, who was paralyzed from the waist down for a couple of hours)[23], as is Jacqueline Moore according to former WWE divas who have worked with her.[9] Professional wrestling promotion Ring Of Honor is known for having a lot of stiff wrestling matches
although this sometimes means "to tell on someone," it more often refers to a heel wrestler booked in the position of underling associate of another heel.[1] The stooge will do his boss' dirty work,[1] such as getting squashed in matches against a babyface (with whom the heel has a feud) to set up a run-in (and subsequent beatdown) and future match.
word used for championship belt.
Strong Style
a Japanese-inspired professional wrestling style that is worked, yet aims to deliver realistic performances.[1] The style emphasizes stiff attacks and worked shoots.[1]
Superhuman comeback
when one wrestler, usually a babyface, no-sells his opponent's offense, usually after several minutes of being dominated. Hulk Hogan is famous for this kind of comeback, often called 'Hulking up'. John Cena has been known to do this as well. After performing his signature sit-up, The Undertaker would follow-up with this comeback.[1]
a term used by the WWE when both the Raw and SmackDown brands perform together on the same night.
a term that was first used by WWF/WWE in reference to the talent on their roster.
The move consists of one wrestler picking up his or her opponent off the ground (or mat) and then using a large portion of his or her own body weight to drive the opponent down on the mat.
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 someone who had been a mutual enemy up until that point. Swerves frequently lead to the start of a new feud between the former friends. Another kind of swerve is when a booker does everything in their power to convince the fans that something specific is going to happen at a show or someone they're expecting is going to debut (or come back), only to then do something completely different. It is sometimes the result of a false report by a wrestler to the press.[1]


Tag team
a pair of wrestlers working together in a tag team match (a match which pits two or more teams of wrestlers against one another).
Take down
When an opponent is taken to the mat from a standing position.
another name used to describe wrestlers.
Talent Relations
a division of the WWE that deals with the build and introduction of wrestlers. Also given the power to fire wrestlers.
Tap out
submitting to a submission maneuver by tapping on the mat (or, on occasion, on the body of the other wrestler at some obviously-seen point), as in mixed martial arts, rather than verbally acknowledging the submission, as was previously common in professional wrestling. In kayfabe, it indicates that a wrestler is giving up because the submission maneuver they are in is too painful. The tap out was introduced to pro wrestling by former ECW wrestler Tazz, who was experienced and well-versed in Judo.[20]
when the referee slaps the mat with his hand to count a pinfall. In theory, a 3 count lasts for three seconds; however, individual referees have their own cadence. When heel referees are used in storylines, they either frequently use slower or faster counts to favor heel wrestlers, or refuse to count a pin against heel wrestlers.
TitanTron (or Tron)
a screen which is directly above the stage area of the arena used for showing entrance videos, other segments, and promos. Based on the naming convention of Sony's well-known JumboTron, a large video screen used primarily in stadiums, arenas, and other public venues, the TitanTron was introduced as part of WWE's Raw set and was named after the then-parent company of the World Wrestling Federation, Titan Sports. The -Tron suffix has since been used to unofficially identify other big screens used in wrestling, such as the "OvalTron" formerly used on SmackDown, or the "PandaTron" used on TNA programming (an allusion to Panda Energy, one of the chief investors of the promotion), or the "JeriTron 5000" used on Chris Jericho's in-ring interview segment The Highlight Reel.
An eye disease caused by a mixture of ring dust and sweat, which caused blindness in several wrestlers including Ed "Strangler" Lewis.[24]
Transitional champion
a holder of a traditionally-short title reign which bridges two "eras", long-running title reigns by usually-popular champions.
when a wrestler switches from babyface to heel or vice versa.[1] A hard turn occurs when a wrestler becomes a babyface or heel in a sudden surprise plot twist. In contrast, a soft turn is a gradual switch to babyface or heel over an extended period of time.
a morally ambiguous wrestler, neither a babyface or heel (an inbetweener).[1] This term is also used to describe wrestlers who use tactics typically associated with heels (e.g., cheating), yet are still cheered by fans in spite of (or because of) these antics. The term is also used to describe wrestlers that remain popular, even though they are actually heels. (In both of the last two cases, a great example is The Road Warriors.) Recently, CM Punk is another example of a heel who is highly popular.
Two-and-a-half count
the count at which a wrestler is said to escape from a pinfall when a referee's hand comes very close to hitting the mat for a three-count. These are often used many times in matches to build excitement. Other fractions are used to denote even closer "counts" -- "two-and-three-quarters" is a common one. (see "Near-Fall")


matches prior to the main event. (See also Dark match).
wrestler who gets too little of a push.
the act of combining two championships into one; the result of which is either an entirely new title or the consolidation of one title into another. In the past, there were a number of matches booked to unify two major federations' belts, but these matches would often end inconclusively -- the unification angle only used as a drawing point.
when an underdog defeats someone who they realistically should not be able to, such as a new wrestler defeating a veteran, or a huge, monster-like wrestler being defeated by a smaller wrestler. For instance, Rey Mysterio is known for upset victories due to his small stature.


the state of a championship in which it is not held by any wrestler(s) due to scripted or legitimate circumstances and injuries.
a typically female accompanying a male performer to the ring.[25] Many times she functions as "eye candy" and plays the role of an agitator or a source of interference.[25]
any piece of video footage featuring characters or events which is shown to the audience for the purposes of entertainment or edification. Usually, they are meant to either introduce a debuting character or to get a wrestler over before their TV wrestling debut. In WWE, wrestlers rarely acknowledge that they are being filmed, forcing the viewer to "suspend disbelief" as to why a camera operator would be allowed to witness and record an intimate or secretive situation
Visionary Fall
A pinfall that the referee doesn't see, but the crowd does. It is usually followed by a late kickout when the referee eventually sees the pinfall and starts counting. It's used to heighten the drama of a match.


What (interjection)
first popularized by Steve Austin during his time in the Alliance, it has become a highly annoying chant from disrespectful fans, during the pauses in a wrestler's promo, to show how far from over the wrestler is, or how slow and uninteresting the promo is being delivered. Rude fans sometimes end up burying performers with this chant or just cause a nuisance, even to other audience members. More experienced speakers such as Vince McMahon can manage to drown out the what by not giving the audience clear cut pauses in his speaking. Often, the chant is used whenever a heel is speaking, with the fans chanting every time the heel pauses. When the heel makes an especially bold, arrogant, or untrue remark, fans will generally respond in unison with a much louder drawn-out chant.
Work (noun)
an event booked to happen,[2] from the carnival tradition of "working the crowd."[1] A work can also refer to the match itself.[2] The opposite of a work is a shoot.
Work (verb)
to specifically and methodically attack, especially a single body part. To "work" on a body part (i.e. an arm) would be to repeatedly use force on that part, until it is damaged enough to be used in the finish of the match. Also, the act of deceiving or manipulating a person or persons, which may or may not be done to preserve kayfabe.
a wrestler, manager, valet, referee, announcer, or commentator.[1][2]
Worked shoot
a scripted segment that takes place in a show with elements of reality being exposed, such as an off-screen incident between wrestlers being used as fuel for an on-screen rivalry between them. It can also be a segment that fans are meant to believe is a shoot, but is not, recently used by CM Punk. Made famous by Vince Russo.
a wrestler's use of "work" to develop a match. One's workrate is determined by his or her ability to "work" in an intelligent and productive manner. When used by critics, it is an analysis of the action in a match and the skill level exhibited. This word is mostly used by fans and remains unrecognized by most workers.[1]
Wrestler's Court
the unofficial forum among WWE wrestlers for the policing of wrestlers that violate the rules and traditions laid down by the company. The punishments meted out can range from pranking to paying for other wrestlers' travel expenses. In Matt and Jeff Hardy's book Exist 2 Inspire, they mention an incident they had with The Court while it was still headed by The Undertaker:

We got to the next house show and John Bradshaw Layfield told us, 'You guys have been sentenced to Wrestler's Court. Your trial is set for next week at Raw. Wrestler's Court is exactly what it sounds like. All the wrestlers gather in the locker room, and they hold a mock trial. The Undertaker is the judge and John Bradshaw Layfield is the prosecuting attorney. It's pretty scary, because once you get up there on the stand, everybody's against you.[26]


  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 by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh "Torch Glossary of Insider Terms". 2000. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Kerrick, George E. (Summer 1980). "The Jargon of Professional Wrestling". American Speech 55 (2): 142–145. 
  3. ^ a b c d Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide (p.106)
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.65)
  6. ^ Fritz, Brian; Christopher Murray (2006). Between the ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs And Failures. ECW Press. p. 41. ISBN 1550227262. 
  7. ^ a b Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.90)
  8. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.83)
  9. ^ a b c d Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.2)
  10. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.167)
  11. ^ "Define jabroni", accessed May 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.55)
  13. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.74)
  14. ^ Bowden, Scott (April 1, 2011). "Royal gems: Counting down five of the King’s greatest bouts as Jerry Lawler prepares for his first WrestleMania match". Scott Bowden presents Kentucky Fried Rasslin. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ Mancuso, Ryan (2006-09-11). "Complete Playbook: The Great Muta Vol. 2 Revenge of Muta Commercial Tape". Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  16. ^ "The manliest movie ever made". 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  17. ^ John Powell (June 18, 2000). "Booker T: Wrestling's consummate performer". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  18. ^ Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew. pp. 192–93. 
  19. ^ a b "WWE star killed family, self". Associated Press. June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-26. [dead link]
  20. ^ a b Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew, 152.
  21. ^ Kaelberer, Angie Peterson (2003). The Hardy Boyz: Pro Wrestlers Matt and Jeff Hardy. Capstone Press. p. 44. ISBN 0736821422. 
  22. ^ Paul Turenne (May 28, 2005). "Torrie toughs it out on WWE circuit". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  23. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.3)
  24. ^ Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 143. ISBN 9780060012588. 
  25. ^ a b Jeff Clark (September 7, 2007). "The Luchagors Drop a Powerbomb". Stomp and Stammer. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  26. ^ Hardy, Jeff; Hardy, Matt and Krugman, Michael (2003). The Hardy Boyz: Exist 2 Inspire. WWE Books. p. 1033. ISBN 978-0736821421. 


  • Laurer, Joanie (2001). If They Only Knew. ReaganBooks. ISBN 0061098957. 
  • Foley, Mick (2000). Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. ISBN 0061031011. 
  • Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher (2005). The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1582619476. 
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin and Jim Ross (2003). The Stone Cold Truth. Pocket Books. ISBN 0743477200. 

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