Shoot (professional wrestling)

Shoot (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a shoot refers to any unplanned event – that is, an event that is "real" and not staged. The term originally referred to a takedown in amateur wrestling; this was adapted to mean a legitimate attack or fight (as compared to the staged nature of professional wrestling), which was in turn broadened to mean unstaged events in general.


Since the early twentieth century, professional wrestling became more of an artistic rather than sporting spectacle. As such, virtually everything in pro wrestling is worked (a part of the show), and shoots rarely occur. Shoots in general are against the nature of the business, similar to an actor ad-libbing or dropping character during a performance. Performers who shoot during a wrestling event are often punished (often by lower pay or relegation to opening bouts) or even fired, since it is thought that they cannot be trusted to act according to the bookers' wishes.

While the term technically only applies to wrestling performers, crowds also cause shoots by interfering in events, usually by assaulting a wrestler. For example, if a wrestler was standing at ringside, some of the spectators will throw objects at him/her. An example of this involved a fan punching Vampiro during a crowd brawl at a World Championship Wrestling event, causing both him and his opponent for the night (Mike Awesome) to attack the fan. Another was a fan's attempt to attack Hulk Hogan shortly after his heel turn in 1996, only to be foiled by Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and WCW security.

In 2002, during a ladder match in the WWF, a fan pushed over a ladder Eddie Guerrero was standing on. Guerrero landed safely on his feet. As the referee grabbed the fan to remove him from the ring, Guerrero landed a punch on the fan, and kicked him as the ref dragged him to the ground. Security soon stepped in to remove the offending fan.

In 2008, during the 2nd of June episode of Monday Night RAW a fan jumped the security barricade and entered the ring during the main event between John Cena and Jeff Hardy causing Cena to break his submission hold on Hardy and both watched security taking the fan out with laughter.

Shoots can also occur when wrestlers stop cooperating in a match. This may occur to teach one of the wrestlers "a lesson" for whatever reason.

Worked-shoot is the term for any occurrence that is scripted by the creative team to come off as unscripted and therefore appear as though it were a real life happening but is, in fact, still part of the show. This can be seen as an example of the writers breaking the fourth wall and attempting to court the fans who are interested in shoots (e.g. events outside of the traditional in-ring wrestling matchups). This community of "smart" pro-wrestling fans are sometimes referred to as "smarks". Noteworthy for the frequency of this tactic is professional wrestling writer Vince Russo.

hoot interview

Some interviews or promos during wrestling shows are described as being a "shoot", when a wrestler will refer to something "real world" (such as a wrestler's real name or unscripted real incidents) these are portrayed as being unscripted and genuine. When the interviews are not genuine, this would be an example of a worked shoot.

A "true" "shoot interview" is generally conducted and released by someone other than a wrestling promotion. They are conducted out of character with a wrestler generally being interviewed about their career and asked to give their opinion on other wrestlers and specific events in their past. While some wrestlers used these as an opportunity to insult people or promotions they dislike, many are more pleasant. These shoots are often released on DVD.

Other shoots

Example of spontaneous events that are not shoots include mistakes by wrestlers (these are known as botches) or matches where the wrestlers are good enough to not need to plan and rehearse beforehand and make it up on the spot as time dictates.

The related term "shoot-fighting" (also known as shoot wrestling) is often used by wrestling fans to refer to mixed martial arts competitions, which, while superficially similar to wrestling matches, are actual athletic competition rather than scripted entertainment. Drawing from this related term, a shooter or shoot-fighter is not a wrestler with a reputation for being uncooperative but one who uses legitimate hooking skills as a gimmick. A prime example of this tactic is Dean Malenko, who used "The Shooter" as a nickname (see also legit).

Examples of shoots

*Stanislaus Zbyszko defeated champion Wayne Munn on April 15, 1925 for the World Title, when Munn was scripted to retain. A similar situation occurred on March 2, 1936 when Dick Shikat defeated champion Danno O'Mahony. Apparently the winners felt they deserved the title, and genuinely out-wrestled their opponents.
*The Greg Wojciechowski $10,000 Challenge: In the World Wrestling Association, Wojciechowski, who wrestled as "The Great Wojo", offered $10,000 to anybody from the audience who could pin him in the ring in a shoot match. Wojciechowski, who was a 4-time AAU heavyweight champion and 1-time NCAA heavyweight champion, used not only his professional wrestling skills, but also his amateur wrestling skills to remain undefeated in these challenges. In addition, several of the challengers were apparently legitimately hurt in these matches.
*The MSG Incident (see The Clique).
*The Montreal Screwjob is a shoot, in that an 'agreed-upon' plan was secretly switched in order to take the WWF Title from Bret Hart.
*In a match between Tiger Mask and Akira Maeda on September 2, 1985 the referee stopped the match because the two were actually beating each other up.
*Mick Foley has produced many comical shoots during his career, once causing three different wrestlers and the referee to lose all composure and burst out with laughter.Fact|date=October 2007
*On June 12, 2005, at the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, during a large scale brawl after the main event John Bradshaw Layfield actually struck The Blue Meanie, who needed 12 stitches in his head. In a rare occurrence, WWE actually addressed the issue on their regular programming and attempted to work it into a storyline.
*Booker T and Batista got into a fight on-set during the filming for a SummerSlam 2006 TV commercial. At first this appeared to be a "work," but both Batista and Booker T have claimed it to be a real fight, each alleging the other showed him disrespect.Fact|date=October 2007
*In 1984, while filming a segment on professional wrestling, reporter John Stossel made a mention to wrestler David "Dr. D" Schultz that wrestling was fake. Yelling "You think this is fake?", Schultz assaulted Stossel, slapping him and knocking him to the ground twice. Stossel claimed that he still suffered from pain and buzzing in his ears eight weeks after the assault. [cite news | url= | title=TV NOTES;ABC REPORTER MAY SUE WRESTLER WHO HIT HIM | last=Kaplan | first=Peter W. | publisher= New York Times | date=1985-02-23 | accessdate=2007-09-28] (Stossel now regrets his decision to sue, according to his first book.) Schultz maintains that he attacked Stossel because the head of the WWF wanted him to. [] []
*The Legion of Doom had been scheduled to 'drop' the WWF Tag team titles, they only informed their opponents that they were going to retain them at the start of the match in front of a live audience and on Pay-per-view.

Examples of "worked shoots"

*The idea of a "worked shoot" reached a peak and was popularized in the final days of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by the (then) newly hired writer/booker Vince Russo. Russo believed that, with the internet catching on in popularity, people and wrestling fans were becoming increasingly aware of the scripted aspect of wrestling, even so far as to learn insider terms such as "booker", and "kayfabe". So, to try and stay relevant, Russo starting writing worked shoots, events or promos that seemed to be real and unplanned, when in reality they were still part of the show.

*Perhaps the longest example of a worked shoot was the bitter feud in the early 1980s between Jerry Lawler and performer Andy Kaufman, which started after Kaufman opened a $1,000 challenge to any woman, claiming he could not be pinned by one. Lawler and Kaufman even appeared together on "Late Night with David Letterman" and staged a physical altercation there. The depth of the "working" escalated with Kaufman being admitted to hospitals and wearing a neck brace in public for months. The reality of the events was left ambiguous until over 10 years after Kaufman's death.

*When Bob Backlund lost the WWF Title to the Iron Sheik in 1983, his manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel without Backlund's consent.

*The "Pillman's got a gun" storyline in 1996, in which Brian Pillman pulled a gun on Steve Austin on-camera when Austin "invaded Pillman's home."

*In the April 5, 1999 episode of WWE "Raw Is War", Ken Shamrock allegedly became fed-up with the abuse endured by his (kayfabe) sister, Ryan, and called out The Undertaker, repeatedly referring to him by his real name, Mark.

*During a fallout between Mick Foley and The Rock and their tag-team The Rock and Sock Connection, Foley started yelling at the Rock, then called him his real name, "Dwayne" (with what sounded like sarcastic emphasis).

*At WCW's Bash at the Beach 2000, Vince Russo delivered a scathing promo regarding the result of the previous WCW World Title match between Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan where Jarrett laid down for Hogan as Hogan had invoked his creative control clause because he refused to lose the match. Russo came out to explain that the result had been nulified and Hogan had been (legit) fired. Debate rages as to whether the incident was worked or not. Both men say it was a work, but both claim a different outcome was agreed upon. In his book, 'Controversy Creates Cash', former WCW President Eric Bischoff claims that Hogan, Russo and himself had agreed on the outcome of the bout prior to the match. Hogan was booked to win, and then kayfabe walk out on WCW, taking the Heavyweight title with him. The company would then start a tournament for the a new version of the belt, with Hogan returning to proclaim himself the real champion prior to the final of the tournament, leading to his inclusion in the match. According to Bischoff, Russo went out to the ring after the match and did a shoot on Hogan, putting an end to the planned angle, which it was hoped would rejuvenate the company.

*At World Championship Wrestling's New Blood Rising, Goldberg sandbagged a powerbomb attempt by Kevin Nash during a three-way match also involving Scott Steiner, and pushed him away. The commentators acted like the incident was a shoot, and acted like they were completely unprepared for the match afterwards, while the wrestlers also acted like they were improvising. This led to a storyline in which Nash and Goldberg traded (worked) shoot promos at each other, all treated as real shoots by announcers, to later build up to a one-on-one match.

*On the July 25, 2005 edition of "RAW", Shawn Michaels cut an in-ring promo for his upcoming match with Hulk Hogan at SummerSlam. Notably, he finished the promo by telling Hogan "Whatcha gonna do when the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, won't lay down for you?" This is not only a play on Hogan's normal "Whatcha gonna do..." catchphrase, but is also a thinly veiled reference to the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom, a 1999 incident in which Michaels' old friend Kevin Nash blatantly laid down for Hogan in a WCW Championship match. Fact|date=October 2007

*On the November 2, 2006 edition of "TNA Impact!", Kip and B.G. James announced they were quitting. Kip James grabbed a microphone and tried to say something further, but it was cut off. Kip then tried to use the announcer's headset, but it was cut off as well. Frustrated, he started yelling loudly to the crowd but he was cut off as the show went to a "sudden" commercial break. When the show returned, the announcers speculated that they may have been frustrated due to the influx of new talent entering TNA. It was reported that the segment was a worked shoot that Vince Russo had written in order to renew interest upon their eventual return.

*On the November 5, 2007 edition of "Monday Night Raw", D-X commented "I wonder who writes this crap?", and then answered their own question by saying, "I don't think anyone does, they're all on strike!". This is a reference to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike. Also, during the segment, Triple H told Shawn Michaels to get out the show run-through sheet, which Michaels pulled out of his boot, revealing that the show is scripted. He even went so far as to explain to the midget-wrestler Hornswoggle that, according to the run-through sheet, it was not yet time for him to appear.

ee also

*Shoot wrestling
*List of professional wrestling slang
*Vince Russo
*Breaking the fourth wall
*Breaking character


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