The ABC's of Pro Wrestling
When I started reading on news sites or chatting in forums, I saw terms that I did not fully understand their meaning. Eventually I would find out what the terms meant which made my overall experience that much more enjoyable.
So I thought to myself, why not make a small list of some basic and not so basic terms for new fans or new fans on the Internet can use to get a grasp of things being written about or discussed online about wrestling?
Thanks in part to google searches and online glossaries for help on some of these terms.
Angle – Storyline usually between two wrestlers, though may involve more. Can last for a few matches or over the course of years.
Attitude Era – Period of time from King of the Ring 1996 to Wrestlemania X-Seven where the WWF shifted content from being family friendly to edgier, more adult situations. Stars from this era included The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Degeneration X.
A-show – A wrestling event where a promotion's biggest draws perform.
Blading – The act of cutting oneself or another person open in order to bleed, usually done on the forehead with a blade usually concealed in tape on the hands.
Botch – A move that has failed.
Burial – The lowering of a wrestler's status in the eyes of fans. The main way to bury a wrestler is to have a booker making a wrestler continually lose or be put into demeaning angles. The reason behind a burial can be due to backstage problems between the wrestler and booker, the wrestler falling out of favor of those in charge, or the company seeing no potential for success in a wrestler.
Canned Heat – When cheers or boos are piped in through the arena's sound system or added to a television show in post-production i.e. Goldberg chants.
Cheap Heat/Pop – When a wrestler gets a reaction from the crowd by either insulting them or kissing up to them. One way of this is to wear the jersey of the city's sports team for a pop or wear the rival team's jersey for heat.
Clean Finish – Match that ends without cheating or outside interference.
Dark Match – Match that occurs before an event goes on television, usually meant to warm up the crowd as well as test out new talent.
Dirt Sheet – Insider newsletter or website in the pro wrestling business.
Draw – A wrestler who is able to bring in an audience; someone that fans are willing to pay to see.
Enforcer – Wrestler who accompanies another to a match acting as a bodyguard. Arn Anderson coined the term as “The Enforcer” of the Four Horsemen. Another enforcer is a special guest, usually a celebrity, acting as a guest referee like Chuck Norris at Survivor Series 1994 or Mike Tyson and WrestleMania XIV.
Extreme Wrestling – Style of wrestling that relies on multiple high spots, with no limits or boundaries. Matches are fast paced with a high impact style usually seen in Mexico or Japan. Sometimes confused with hardcore wrestling which allows the use of weapons, but extreme wrestling involves more wrestling ability instead of using weapons.
Face – A good guy who the crowd is supposed to cheer and root for.
Foreign Object – An object that is illegal to use in a match such as a chair, brass knuckles, or a title belt. In WCW announcer's used the term “international objects” as Ted Turner banned the use of the word “foreign” throughout his media company.
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, used by the Jersey Triad in WCW and more recently the Spirit Squad in the WWE.
Gig – The blade a wrestler uses to cut himself.
Gimmick – A wrestler's personality and/or other distinguishing traits while wrestling. It can also be an implement used to cheat.
Go Over – To beat someone.
Hardcore Wrestling – Match where wrestlers use nothing but foreign objects or highly planned out spots. Also refers to over the top gimmick matches with no elements of a traditional wrestling match.
Heat – Negative reaction that a wrestler gets from either the crowd or people backstage.
Heel – Bad guy that the crowd is meant to boo.
Hotshot – 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 PPV in order to get a short-term boost for business. One of the most well known examples of this is when Goldberg beat Hollywood Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title on Monday Nitro.
Independent Promotion – Wrestling promotion that is too small to compete on a national level.
IWC – Internet Wrestling Community, the community of users who chat in forums to discuss pro wrestling.
Job – A scheduled loss.
Jobber – Wrestler whose only role is to lose to well-known wrestlers.
Jobber to the Stars – A mid-level wrestler who jobs to top talent but can beat pure jobbers.
Kayfabe – Term used to describe the illusion and keeping up of the illusion that professional wrestling is not staged and is reality.
Kip-Up – When a wrestler gets to their feet in a theatrical manner, used commonly by Shawn Michaels and the Rock.
Legit Heat – A real-life conflict between wrestlers.
Low Blow – A strike to the opponent's groin.
Lucha Libre – “Free Fighting,” the style most commonly associated with Mexican wrestling consisting of high-flying moves.
Mark – Insider term used to describe fans within the professional wrestling business who don't recognize wrestling is not “reality” instead of “kayfabe.”
Marking Out – The act of reacting to an incident in wrestling as if it was legitimate even though the person may know that it is staged.
Monster Heel – A villain who is made to look unstoppable leading to an eventual feud with the company's top babyface. Recent examples include the Great Khali who easily beat the Undertaker in his debut or Mark Henry is his current run as a heel.
No-Contest – When a match ends in a draw due to heavy interference, a legitimate injury or an emergency in the arena like a fire.
No-Sell – Giving no reaction at all to an opponent's moves or strikes. Famous no-sells include Hulk Hogan not selling the Vader Bomb against Vader and the Ultimate Warrior getting up immediately after a Pedigree from Triple H.
No-Show – When a wrestler does not show up for a match or event. Mostly as part of a storyline but sometime legitimate, wrestlers famous for no-showing include Stone Cold Steve Austin and Scott Hall.
Over – The extent of how much a wrestler is accepted by fans and viewers. Being over means fans accept a wrestler's abilities and accept his character.
Over-sell – Showing way too much reaction to an opponent's attack. An infamous example is the match between Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan at Summerslam.
Paper Champion – A weak or easily beaten champion.
Push – Gaining popularity through either a big win or being in a popular angle.
Put Over – When a wrestler allows themselves to be beaten by another, usually to help the opponent gain popularity.
Queen Sharmell – Real-life wife of of wrestler Booker T and was part of one of the worst matches in wrestling history when she took on Survivor winner Jenna Morasca at Victory Road 2009.
Release – When a wrestler is fired or let go from their contract.
Ring General – An experienced wrestler who can carry a match to maximum potential and enjoyment for the fans.
Rushed Finish – When the end of a match is hurried, usually due to an injury, time constraints, or botch. A recent example was the match between Sting and Jeff Hardy at last year's Victory Road when Hardy was deemed unfit to compete in the main event.
Sandbag – To not cooperate with a move or to dead weight and make the move harder to do. An infamous incident happened when Hardcore Holly sandbagged a powerbomb from Brock Lesnar which caused Holly to injure his neck.
Shoot – Any “real” event in the wrestling world.
Spot Monkey – A wrestler who relies on high impact moves in order to excite fans, but has little technical ability outside of those main moves.
Squash – A extremely one sided match that are usually over quickly.
Transitional Champ – A holder of a short title reign which bridges two “eras,'' like a long reigning champion by a popular champion.
Turn – When a face becomes a heel and vice versa, can happen suddenly or occur over time.
Tweener – A morally ambiguous wrestler, has qualities of both a face and a heel. A heel who can still remain popular with fans is also known as a tweener.
Underrated – Wrestler who gets too little of a push or who are popular with some fans but are not involved in main event level storylines.
Upset – When a wrestler is able to beat someone many thought the wrestler had no chance of winning against.
Valet – Someone, usually female, who accompanies a wrestler to the ring, meant as “eye candy.”
Visionary Fall – A pinfall that the crowd sees but the referee does not due to being distracted or knocked out.
White Heat – Heat that has become so intense that the wrestler is in jeopardy of being legitimately attacked by fans. “Classy” Freddie Blassie was well known for getting this type of heat.
Worked Shoot – Scripted segment in a show that has elements of being legitimate. Most recently done by CM Punk but made famous by Vince Russo.
X-Pac Heat – A type of “go away heat” made famous during the Invasion storyline where fans booed X-Pac endlessly and cheered his opponents even though X-Pac was a face at the time.
Yokozuna – Former WWF Champion who was one of the heaviest wrestlers of all time, weighing over 500 pounds when he started wrestling, and being almost 800 pounds near the end of his career.
Zeus – Wrestler portrayed by Tiny Lister from the movie "No Holds Barred," starring Hulk Hogan.