It was an inevitable fact. Once it came out that professional wrestling was not a real sport but some form of predetermined entertainment, all the lingo that allowed the secrecy to continue would eventually leak out.
So as the years have gone on, we, the fans, have taken on the terms ourselves. Sometimes we do it because we think it sounds cool, other times it is to keep outsiders out of our conversations and others do it because they feel it is now a natural part of the community.
As the years have progressed, some fans have begun using terms against their true purpose or have lost their meaning because of hyperbolic situations.
Here I am going to list my personal top five misused terms (some of which I am guilty of myself) in the business today.
This one of those terms that usually holds a lot of irony. I'm sure we have all seen a comment at some point, whether it was seen on this site or another, that damns the Internet Wrestling Community.
Usually this is when the dirt sheets are suggesting a rather implausible story (e.g., Cena turning heel) or when one holds the opposite opinion to the current career path of a particular wrestler (e.g., John Morrison fans who constantly wanted him to be World Champion).
It is ironic because everyone who likes to participate in discussion about pro wrestling on the Internet, whether they write articles like myself or just like making their opinions known, is part of the IWC. Somewhere along the line, IWC has become the brand for fans with a rather ruthless and unorthodox opinion. Those most likely to be branded as IWC are fans against what the majority believe to be appropriate for the contemporary discussion.
The truth of the matter is that you, me and everyone who loves to discuss wrestling on the World Wide Web are part of the IWC. So what should we call the rather obnoxious and loud members of the community?
How about 10 Percenters after Eric Bishoff's famous quote? Sure, Bishoff was using to to describe the entire IWC community, but we could twist his own term into something of our own. It will be a good way to differentiate us normal members of the IWC from the louder ones.
When a wrestler has been buried, it usually implies that they have been pushed down the ranks of the company or are being punished for actions in their past.
The best modern example of this is John Morrison. After his actions against Trish Status in the buildup to their WrestleMania XXVII match and the way he handled Melina's release, John saw a gradual decline in his standing within WWE.
At Extreme Rules 2011, he was in the main event competing for the WWE Championship. Just before his release, he was jobbing to almost every mid-card and main event star who needed a win to get over.
Recently, the term has been used by certain fans when they want to exaggerate a situation to make something seem more severe than it actually is, or the dirt sheets use the term to cause sensationalism within the community.
Just take a look at Zack Ryder since winning the United States Championship. The night after winning the belt, he was in Raw's main event. A six-man tag team match with WWE Champion CM Punk and World Champion Daniel Bryan against The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler.
The next week, he was placed back in the mid-card in a mixed tag match with Eve Torres against Tyson Kidd and Natalya. Mere hours after this match took place, Ryder fans claimed he was being buried by being placed in an insignificant match while the dirt sheets claimed their opinions were correct by claiming Ryder was being blamed for the low ratings for the previous week's main event.
Now what people failed to realise is that Ryder is a mid-carder. The US title pretty much confirms that he is currently the largest drawing mid-carder at that. He is not a main event star, and considering his standing at the beginning of the year, he's doing pretty well to get the occasional main event slot.
The very next week would also prove how much the term was being overused. The main event was John Cena, Big Show and Zack Ryder against Mark Henry and Jack Swagger. So expect more reports on Ryder being buried next Monday when he fails to make it into the main event slot.
This is not so much a misused term, but rather one that never gets used. Possibly because it's a term that transcends professional wrestling and is used in proper sports. The term is one to describe a champion who is not really made of the material worthy of holding the belt. They are easy to beat and expected to lose the belt upon their next defense.
Still, the term used to be applied to wrestling back in the territorial days, usually when a heel won the belt on the back of a shocking or unexpected decision. After all, in the WWE, most heels before Billy Graham barely lasted a few weeks with the belts.
Recently, however, the World title reigns of Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger should allow the return of the phrase. We all use the word "jobber" too much and should have something special reserved for belt holders.
I personally think saying someone is being booked as a "paper champion" sounds much better than the regular "jobber" comment.
When a wrestler lacks certain skills to cut it in the ring, they have to compensate for it in other ways. Some cover their tracks with amazing charisma, others use their looks to get by. And then there are spot monkeys.
A type of wrestler who makes a name for themselves by performing multiple pre-planned moves without rhyme or reason in regards to the flow of the match. Probably the best example would be Sabu, who would constantly use springboard moves and dives to defeat any other opponent, regardless of their standing.
Recently, people (for some reason) have begun using the term to show disdain with high flyers. Especially ones who lack the ability to work a match properly without botching the simplest of moves (e.g., Sin Cara) and thus, cover it up with an acrobatic feat.
The truth is that a spot monkey can be any sort of wrestler. During her first run in the WWE, Gail Kim would use multiple submission moves in a match but not work on the same limb, causing the flow of the match to stutter.
It is worth mentioning that spot monkey is only a derogatory term for some. Shane McMahon is a positive example of the role. A special attraction who only competed a few times a year and worked his spots into the story (see vs. Big Show at Backlash 2001 or vs. Kurt Angle at King of the Ring 2001).
Here's the one I have almost seen used wrong every time it's been said. Not that I blame anyone for misusing the term, because even the wrestling industry seems to have forgotten what it means.
In its correct usage, a mark can mean one of two things. In a description of someone who is not involved in the business, a mark is merely a paying fan. For those who are part of the business, it's a performer who can't separate their real-life personality from the character they play. When wrestling's little secret of being pre-determined began to become apparent, the IWC began to christen some fans as smart marks (smarks for short). These where guys who were fans of wrestling despite knowing it was pre-judged.
The term itself developed from con artists who used to "mark" people out as their next target. Since pro wrestling used to try and con the audience into believing it was real, this made sense.
Obviously, with the lack of people who actually think the show is 100 percent real anymore, the term was going to be twisted. Still, in the end, a mark is still just a fan.
This also brings me to the term "marking out." One of my favourite lines about this term comes from James Guttman's book World Wrestling Insanity, where he says:
Mark doesn't mean 'cheer' either. A lot of people will say, 'When so-and-so returned to Raw, I marked out!' Well, unless you started throwing quarters at your television, you didn't.
No, instead of just being a term used to describe fans, it has become a lot more malicious in use. Among the community, mark is now used to insult a fan who others believe has large amounts of knowledge of wrestling or care too much about what they are seeing onscreen. In other words, the wrestling equivalent of a geek.
As for smark, this is now a term people in the business use to insult fans who they believe are overly critical of the show. Eric Bischoff, on regular occasions, used it when trying to bat away the burning comments on TNA's lack of success since he joined the company.
Now, I accept that over time the meaning of words change. I am just highlighting how far some of these terms have drifted from their initial use. Of course we can carry on calling people marks as a way to describe wrestling geeks, because that's what happens in the real world.
After all, there are several words in the English language that don't exactly have the same meaning as they did 50 years ago.