Professional Wrestling Slang

Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable amount of slang, in-references and jargon. Much of it stems from the industry’s origins in the days of carnivals, and the slang itself is often referred to as “carny talk”. Often wrestlers would use this lingo in the presence of fans so as not to reveal the pre-planned nature of the business. In recent years, widespread wrestling discussion on the Internet has both popularized and corrupted some of these terms.


A-Show, a wrestling event where the biggest draws in professional wrestling perform. Refers to the top shows run by the WWF/WWE (RAW, SmackDown! and ECW), TNA (iMPACT!) and the now defunct WCW (Nitro) .
A-Team, a group of a wrestling promotion’s top stars who compete at a given event. The organization’s second-tier of stars are called the B-Team, and so forth. (This term is not to be confused with the NBC-TV series of the same name.)
Abortion, to discontinue a feud or gimmick suddenly, usually without explanation. Usually, this is due to a lack of fan interest, if an angle is poorly executed or fans find the storyline morally objectionable. This is an older term, not generally used today because of its objectionable basis. The modernized version of this term is Scrapped.
André shot, a filming technique used to emphasize or exaggerate the height of a wrestler, either by shooting them from an upwards perspective or by filming them interacting with someone of average or below-average height. This principle is also utilized in using referees that are shorter than the average adult male, to enhance the heights of the wrestlers involved in the match. It is named after André the Giant, who often stood on a phone book during studio interviews to exaggerate his height.
Agent or Road agent, management employee, often a former veteran wrestler, who helps wrestlers set up matches and relays instructions from the bookers. Often acts as a liaison between wrestlers and higher-level management
Angle, a fictional storyline
Apter mag, an old-style professional wrestling magazine that sticks to kayfabe. It usually consists of made-up articles and interviews. The term refers to the magazines at one time connected to journalist Bill Apter, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Ironically, Apter is now involved with a magazine that is the opposite of an “Apter mag”, a “dirtsheet.”
Arm Color, a wrestler with a bloody arm. This is usually the result of blading.
Around the Horn, a tour where a wrestler puts on matches in most of the major cities a particular promotion covers.
Around the Loop, see Around the Horn.
Attitude Era, refers to a time period spanning from 1997-2001 when the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) product shifted from being ‘family-oriented’ entertainment to being edgier, more crude, and dealing with adult situations (frequently sexual in nature). There is debate about when the Attitude Era proper began, but many agree that the double-turn finish of the match between Steve Austin and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13, in the Spring of 1997, kicked it off. Others believe that the invasion by Extreme Championship Wrestling in the same year was the real start. It is generally accepted that this era ended in the Spring of 2001 when Vince McMahon acquired what was left of WCW, eliminating his last relevant competitor (at the time).
B-Show, a wrestling event featuring the middle and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion. (WWE Velocity and HEAT, TNA Xplosion, WCW Saturday Night)
B-Team, group of wrestlers on a B-Show. Frequently, the B-Team will compete at a different venue the same night wrestlers on the A-Team are competing in a different event elsewhere, although a promotion will sometimes schedule an event with B-Team wrestlers to test a new market. See also A-Team
Babyface, a good guy (compare “tweener” and “heel”)
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 performers, predominantly teenagers.
Bait and Switch, When a promoter teases the fans into believing one thing is going to happen and switches to something else resulting in shock and surprise (best-case scenario) or confusion and disappointment (worst-case scenario).
Batman match, alternate term for a very poorly executed match, with blown spots and showing light. This term takes its name from the 1966-1968 ABC-TV series, which featured bizarre and deliberately silly fight scenes with comical choreography.
Beat down, when a wrestler or other performer is given a massive beating, usually by a group of wrestlers.
Bizarro World, coined by Jerry “The King” Lawler (most likely taken from his love of comic books), in which a cities fans chant for the heel, boo the face, or generally react in an unexpected way to the action presented. Lawler uses this nickname for the country of Canada which tends to cheer for any Canadian wrestler despite their alignment.
Blade, a sharpened object used for “blading”. The Blade is usually concealed in tape on the hands, or otherwise somewhere it can be utilized without being obvious.
Blading, the act of cutting ones self or another person open in order to bleed, usually done on the forehead. (compare “juicing”)
Blind, when a referee has his back turned while the other side is cheating. Usually done by heels in order to gain the advantage in a match.
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. Most often occurs when the partner in the ring is thrown against the ropes or backed into their own corner.
Blow off, the final match in a feud, usually at a pay-per-view event or on cable TV. 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, when a wrestler completely exhausts all of his energy, either because he has low stamina, or by performing too many exhilarating moves early in the match making him extremely fatigued.
Blown spot, a spot that does not go as planned, also known as a “botched spot”.
Bonzo gonzo, a point in a tag team match when everyone is in the ring at once and the referee has lost control.
Booker, the person in charge of setting up matches and writing angles; referred to as the “Creative Team” by WWE.
Booking, what a “booker” does. Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show.
Botch, a scripted move that failed.
Bozark, old term for a female professional wrestler.
Bowling Shoe Tendencies, coined by Jim Ross, frequently used as a “Viewer Discretion Advised”-type warning to alert the viewer that the following match-up, event, or angle could easily end up being “Bowling Shoe Ugly”.
Bowling Shoe Ugly, coined by Jim Ross, this term refers to something in wrestling that is just downright bad, often offered up as a sort of apology to the viewer.
Boys, what wrestlers call themselves (as in “the boys in the back”)
Broadway, when two wrestlers wrestle to a draw in a 20 to 60 minute time limit match.
Bull, an older, more “carny” term for a wrestling promoter.
Bum, an unknown performer, usually new, who job is losing to more experienced wrestlers.
Bump, when a wrestler, referee, valet/diva or others hit the mat or ground.
Bury, the act of a promoter or booker causing a wrestler to lose popularity by forcing him to lose matches badly (squash) and/or making him participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines (compare “push”).
Call, When one wrestler instructs the other of what is going to happen in the match.
Canned heat, when cheers or boos are pumped into an arena via the sound system or added to a television show in post-production. It is also known as “sweetening the crowd”.
Card, the lineup of the matches that will be staged at a given venue for a given performance.
Carry, the act of one wrestler doing most of the work (selling moves, calling spots) to make a match watchable.
Catchphrase, a phrase or expression that is repeated in promos and interviews to encourage crowd interaction.
Championship, 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 (for example, by insulting the city, or a local sports team) or by using a news event as part of his promo.
Cheap pop, when a wrestler (often a face) 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).
Cheap shot, when a wrestler uses a low blow or a foreign object to get an advantage over his opponent.
Circus, derogatory reference to a promotion’s extensive use of cartoon-type gimmicks. Often used in reference to the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s and early 1990s, due to gimmicks such as clowns, animal mascots and wrestlers adopting animal-like characteristics.
Clean finish, when a match ends without cheating or outside interference, usually in the center of the ring. (compare “screwjob”)
Clean house, when a wrestler eliminates everyone in the ring, either in a battle royal or during a save.
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.
Clubberin’, a rain of heavy blows from the brawling style of wrestling. Coined by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.
Color, a term used by wrestlers and promoters to discuss the amount of bloodshed in a match, i.e. “getting good color” would end up looking like a Crimson Mask.
Color commentator, the commentator who adds interest and excitement to matches. Often biased towards the heel. Typically a former pro-wrestler.
Clusterfuck or Cluster, a large fight in the middle of the ring with a great number of wrestlers. Usually used to end a match or a show.
Crash TV, a style of booking characterized by short matches and promos. So named because of the sheer amount of TV slammed into a show. Popularized by Vince Russo.
Crimson mask, a face covered in blood
Curtain jerker, the first match on the card, or a wrestler who wrestles in the first match of the card, especially on a regular basis
Dark match, a non-televised match at a televised show used to warm up the crowd (compare “house show”). A dark match before the show begins is usually used to test out new talent (often local to the event). A dark match after the show typically features main-event level wrestlers either to sell more tickets, or send the crowd home happy.
Daydreaming, A term used to refer to someone laying down for the pin.
Dead weight , when a wrestler goes limp in the middle of a move. This could be done intentionally, either to make his opponent look weak or just rib him, 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). An example of unintentional dead weight would be Hulk Hogan’s body slam on Zeus during the 1989 Survivor Series where Hogan had to rely entirely on his own strength to lift the relatively untrained Zeus.
The Deal, another term for title belt.
Dirtsheet, a newsletter, magazine, or website that portrays wrestling as scripted entertainment, rather than portraying it as a sport. Dirtsheets often offer backstage information and gossip about wrestlers and others involved in wrestling.
Diva, generally synonymous with valet, but can refer to any woman involved in wrestling, either as “eye candy” or as a wrestler. This term originated from WWE. See also Superstar.
Do business, when two wrestlers work together to get a match or an angle over. Also when a wrestler does a job or angle when asked regardless of whether it helps him/her.
Dogging, to put in minimal effort.
Doing business on the way out, to job before leaving a particular promotion.
Double-clutch, to hesitate and bounce before jumping off the top rope, resulting in limited airtime and height.
Double juice, when two wrestlers blade during a given match. Can be expanded to “triple juice”, “quadruple juice”, etc.
Double turn, the rare occurrence when both the heel and the face switch roles during an angle or a match. The best example of this is the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match at WrestleMania 13.
Draw, to be able to attract the attention of the audience.
Drawing Power, Having recognition with the fans as a star, someone fans pay to see.
Dropping the strap, when a titleholder agrees to be booked to lose the title to a contender
Dud, a very poor, boring or otherwise uninteresting match. Can also be a match with morally objectionable elements. Occasionally called by Jim Ross, “bowling shoe ugly”.
Dusty finish, an ambiguous finish to a match where either wrestler can be claimed the winner. The term refers to Dusty Rhodes, who booked many such finishes in NWA and later in WCW.
Enforcer, a wrestler who accompanies another to matches, and acts as a bodyguard. This term was coined by Arn Anderson, whose nickname was “The Enforcer”.
Enmascarado, Spanish term for a masked wrestler.
Extreme wrestling, a style of wrestling based heavily on highspots and weapon attacks. See also Hardcore wrestling.
Extremists, term used by WWE to refer to its ECW brand wrestlers to emphasize that they, and the ECW brand, are more “extreme” in comparison to the Raw and SmackDown! superstars.
Face, short for “babyface.”
Face in Peril, a more generic form of Ricky Morton, a face in a tag team that gets sympathy by being beaten on and stopped from making a tag.
False comeback, when a face mounts a brief offensive flurry before losing it to a heel wrestler after being dominated for several minutes. Usually, a false comeback happens before the actual comeback. Also referred to as a hope spot.
False finish, a spot which the audience expects to finish the match but the wrestler kicks out or makes it to the ropes, used to build excitement during the home stretch.
Fan cam, a video of a wrestling event taped by a member in the audience.
Fan Favorite, alternative name for Face often used in magazines like PWI.
Feeding, the heel’s role during a babyface comeback where he runs at the babyface only to be repeatedly fended off, with the hope that the series of bumps by the heel will generate positive fan heat for the babyface. A babyface could also feed the heel in hopes of generating fan sympathy.
Feud, a battle between two or more wrestlers or stables, often involving matches, promos and angles. A feud usually lasts for several months.
Fighting Spirit, a demonstration of a wrestler’s will to win in the face of adversity, usually in a spot involving the no selling of a supposedly powerful or match-ending move. Originates from puroresu, though some American indy workers influenced by puroresu have since began to implement such spots into their matches.
Finish, the planned end of a match (see also “Dusty Finish,” “Clean Finish”)
Finisher, a wrestler’s trademark move.
Five Moves of Doom the particular combination of moves that a wrestler uses in every match, often leading up to the pin. Originally a reference to Bret Hart and his perceived tendency to use the same moves, often in the same sequence, to end many matches.
Five Star Bump when a wrestler takes an impressive, massive, bump. Two good examples of this are Mick Foley’s bump from top of the Cell at King Of The Ring and Jack Evans’ two bumps from the top of the cage at CZW’s Cage Of Death 6.
***** (Five Star) Match, a perfect match, not just one of the best matches of the year but one of the best matches of all time.
Flair Flip, a move, popularized by Ric Flair, where a wrestler is flipped upside down and often ends up on the other side of the ropes on his feet on the ring apron.
Flair Flop, Ric Flair’s trademark gimmick of selling a blow by taking a few steps and then falling face-forward with his legs going backward.
Flat back bump, a bump in which a wrestler lands solidly on his back with high impact, spread over as much surface as possible.
Flub coverup, when a poorly executed maneuver is called a “variation” by the announce team.
Fluff, a move or punch that is made to look or sound as though it hurt but the opponent feels nothing.
Following, a term used for a wrestlers’ fanbase.
Foreign Object, an object that is illegal to the match, such as a chair, brass knuckles, garbage can, etc.
**** (Four Star) Match, an exciting and entertaining match, given four out of a possible 5 stars. Considered to be a Match of the Year candidate.
Freebird rule, unofficial rule which allows any two members of a larger tag team to defend the tag titles. Named after the Fabulous Freebirds, who first did this in Georgia Championship Wrestling.
Front office or Office, the headquarters and staff that handles the administrative affairs of a wrestling promotion.
Gaijin, an American, or other foreign worker in Japanese promotions. (Not a wrestling term, as it is a Japanese word for a foreigner.)
Garbage Wrestling, “hardcore” matches or extremely spot heavy matches wherein wrestlers use nothing but weaponry or highly planned out spots to attack each other, also outrageous gimmick matches that have no obvious elements of traditional in-ring competition. The term was coined by Giant Baba of All Japan Pro-Wrestling when he referred to Atsushi Onita’s FMW promotion (which used barbed wire and other such dangerous implements) as “garbage.” The term later evolved to encompass spotfests as well.
Gas, steroids (see also juice and roids). Also, stamina (as in out of gas, when a wrestler is tired and unable to perform properly)
Gate, amount of money generated from ticket sales. Merchandise sales are often a part of “the gate”.
Geek, to cut oneself.
Get the tights, grabbing the opponent’s upper part of the trousers or shorts, or the lower part of the shirt or tank top in order to get the pin.
Gig, the blade a wrestler uses to cut himself.
Gig mark, A scar from blading.
Gimmick, a unique trait that defines a wrestler’s identity, or an implement used to cheat i.e., Jeff Jarretts gimmick of knocking out opponents with his guitar (the guitar itself is also a “gimmick”). Can also mean a wrestler’s attire or outfit.
Gimmicked, an object that has been altered to break easily.
Gimmick Table, place where a (usually independent) wrestler sells his merchandise, usually by the concession stand.
Gizmo/Gizzmo, old term for gimmick.
Go home, a saying that a wrestler is told by a ringside commentator or the referee. It indicates that the wrestlers should end the match shortly thereafter. Also see Take (it) home.
Go over, to beat someone.
Goozle, the single handed choke hold a wrestler puts on his opponent before a chokeslam is executed.
Go through, a time limit draw.
Going bush, moving from a major league promotion to a regional or independent promotion.
Going into business for ones-self, when a wrestler goes against what has been discussed for a match or segment and improvises, usually for the benefit of their own character or persona.
Gongus Wrongus, refers to the futile ringing of the bell during a post-match beatdown.
Good Hand, a wrestler who other wrestlers enjoy working with due to that wrestler being in total control during the match, not getting lost, and not working too stiff or too light. Also called a “Steady Hand”.
Gorilla position, the staging area just backstage of the entrance curtain. Named in honor of WWF mainstay Gorilla Monsoon who would stand there often. The term has since been applied to this area in most U.S. promotions.
Green, refers to a wrestler (often called a green boy, green horn, or green as grass) who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to make mistakes because of their inexperience.
Gusher, a deep cut that bleeds a lot. Usually this is caused by a mistake while blading but can be intentional.
Ham-and-Egger, a jobber. The term originates from the salaries paid to enhancement talents, which are low, but can still buy a simple meal. The expression was used most extensively by legendary manager and color commentator, Bobby Heenan. It is derived from the first “Rocky” movie, where he tells Tallia, “I just fight for ham and eggs.”
Hardcore wrestling, matches that focus on the use of weapons such as chairs, chains, fireballs, ladders, and tire irons, often combined with brawling all over the arena, rather than traditional wrestling holds and techniques, also referred to by some as “garbage” wrestling.
Hard way, when a move does much more damage than a worked move.
Hard-way juicing, bleeding that is not self-inflicted. (compare “blading” and “juicing”)
Heat, a wrestler getting a crowd reaction (see also “cheap heat”, “canned heat”)
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.
Heat vacuum, a phrase associated with workers who are not able to get any crowd reaction, either positive or negative.
Heavy, a wrestler who is hard to lift.
Heel, a bad guy (as in “monster heel”; compare “tweener” and “babyface”)
Highspot, a top-rope move, or a series of maneuvers perceived as dangerous.
Hood, the mask of a masked wrestler.
Hooker, a wrestler with strong mat-wrestling abilities, usually 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.
Hope spot, when a babyface is being beaten on by a heel and teases a brief comeback, only to have the heel take over offense again. (also known as a comeback spot)
Hoss, a large wrestler who lacks talent, and has a low workrate.
Hotshot, when a promoter or booker rushes to a feud, a climax of a feud, or books a big match on TV instead of at a PPV in order to get a short-term boost for business. Also applies to angles or turns that are done for shock value rather than acting as a part of an ongoing storyline.
Hot Tag, in a tag team match, when a face wrestler tags in a fresh partner after several minutes of being dominated by his opponents. 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 (compare “dark match”)
Hulk Hogan Pop, a loud and long pop that a wrestler gets from the crowd. Named after Hulk Hogan from his returning to cut a promo and often getting delayed by the fan reaction.
Hulking Up, when a wrestler begins to come back in a match by no-selling a wrestler’s moves and fights back. Named for Hulk Hogan, who did this in many of his matches in America.
Indy, short for “independent promotion”, refers to a wrestling group that is too small to compete on a national level.
International Object, a 1980’s alternate term for “foreign object” during a time when Ted Turner had a policy on his networks that no one was to use the word “foreign”, but instead “international”. Wrestling announcers on TBS picked up on this, and a foreign object is still occasionally, jokingly, called an “international object”.
International Spot, A spot generally used at the start of a match.
Internet wrestling community (or IWC), fans (often smarks) who talk about professional wrestling via the Internet.
Job, a scheduled loss (also “jobbing”, “jobber”, “jabroni”, and “job cleanly”; compare “screwjob”).
Jobber, a wrestler whose primary function is losing to better-known wrestlers. Some synonyms include preliminary wrestler, enhancement talent, loser, jabroni, babaganoosh and ham-and-egger.
Jobber to the Stars, a mid-card wrestler who is fairly well-known and gains victories over lesser-known wrestlers on occasion, but is primarily used as a jobber to talent higher on the card than him.
Joshi, Japanese women’s wrestling.
Juice, steroids. Also, blood.
Juicing, bleeding (frequently, but not always, self-inflicted) (compare “blading” and “hard-way juicing”).
Kayfabe, term used to describe the illusion (and up-keep of the illusion) that professional wrestling is not staged (i.e. that it is authentic athletic competition, and that the on-screen situations between performers represent reality). The term is said to have been loosely derived from the Pig Latin pronunciation of the word “fake” (“akefay”).
Kick out, when a wrestler breaks a pin by kicking upward, usually right before the ref counts to three.
Kill, to diminish or eliminate heat or drawing power. There are a variety of ways to do this, but mostly it is done by having a wrestler do too many jobs. A house can be killed by too many screw-job endings. Synonymous with bury.
Lead ass, a wrestler who is often uncooperative in the ring; or, the act of being uncooperative in the ring.
Legit, anything that is “real”; for example, a “legit” wrestler has a background in actual fighting, a “legit” event is one that actually took place (outside of kayfabe), a “legit” fight is when two wrestlers actually come to blows. Often used as a synonym for shoot.
Legit heat, a real-life conflict between wrestlers.
Loose, applying holds with less force than average
Lucha libre or Lucha, Mexican professional wrestling. Translates to “Free Fighting”. Used to describe the Mexican style of wrestling that consists of high-flying acrobatic moves.
Luchador, a Mexican wrestler; Luchadores is the proper plural form.
Lucha rat, a fan that prefers Mexican-style professional wrestling over American-style.
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.
Manager, a performer assigned to accompany a wrestler to the ring and, usually, put them over in interviews. Often used to help a heel cheat and incite the crowd.
Mania Era, refers to the time period spanning from 1984-1993 in WWF/WWE history when Vince McMahon took the company from being a regionally promoted business to a successful national business. The term “Mania” denoting the era is attributed to “Hulkamania” being the dominant aspect of the era. This time is also sometimes referred to as the Showtime Era, The Superstars Era, The Hulkamania Era, or the Federation Era.
Mark, a fan who believes that some or all of professional wrestling is real (compare “smark”). The term can also be applied to a fan who idolizes a particular wrestler, promotion, or style of wrestling to a point some might consider excessive.
Marking out, a moment of enjoying professional wrestling “for what it is” rather than analyzing its staged nature
Marriage, a long drawn out feud between two wrestlers, teams, or personalities.
Máscara, a Mexican masked wrestler (from the Spanish word for mask)
Meat Squad, refers to anyone of a group of known jobbers within promotions, someone known to be jobbing is referred to as being a member of the Meat Squad
Mercy Kill, quickly ending an angle or match that has gotten to a level where the fans no longer care.
Mic Work, the art of speaking and giving promos.
Midcarder, a wrestler who wrestles in the middle of shows, is seen as being high in seniority but less than a money draw.
Missed Spot, a move in which the timing is off or it showed light.
Money Mark, someone who invests money into a promotion or starts a promotion to rub shoulders with pro wrestlers. A money mark is usually ridiculed by wrestlers when he or she is not within their presence.
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. The main reason fans attended the event or watched the event.
Money Promo, a promo that is so good and meaningful that it’s enough to draw buyrates for the PPV all by itself.
Monster heel, a villain who is portrayed as unstoppable, usually to set up a feud with a promotion’s lead face.
Moondogs, cutoff blue jeans with heavily frayed ends. This term refers to the ring gear worn by the Moondogs tag team.
MotYC, Match of the Year Candidate
Mouthpiece, a manager who does the promos for a wrestler with little or no mic skills.
Muta scale, a scale to measure the amount of blood lost by a wrestler in a match. The scale goes from 0.0 (no blood loss) to 1.0 (corresponds to the amount of blood lost by The Great Muta during a 1992 match against Hiroshi Hase, during which Muta performed what is widely hailed as the most gruesome bladejob of all time).
No-sell, giving no reaction to another wrestler’s offense or moves.
No-show, when a wrestler doesn’t show up for a match
Opposition Promotion, a promotion set up in an established promoter’s area with the intent to oust the established promoter. The idea of Opposition Promotions has mostly died out along with territorial wrestling promotions.
Over, refers to a wrestler being popular and accepted by the fans.
Over-book, to book a finish to a match that involves either interference from a large number of wrestlers who are not involved in the actual match or some other unneeded extra curriculars (i.e. destroying the ring). (Compare “clusterfuck”)
Over-sell, showing too much of a reaction to another wrestler’s offense.
Outlaw rule, a rule stating that in a four-way tag team match (where anyone is allowed to tag anyone else) partners on the same team can’t pin each other. Named for the New Age Outlaws, who once simply pinned each other to win a match.
Paper, to give away a great number of free (comped) tickets to increase the size of the crowd for publicity.
Paper, to give away a great number of free (comped) tickets to increase the size of the crowd for publicity.
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 (see “job” and “rib”).
Pearl Harbor, a sneak attack, usually before the bell rings to officially start a match; can also denote a sneak attack by one or more non-participants, or blindside attacks by managers or valets. Coined by commentator Gorilla Monsoon.
Phantom bump, when a wrestler or referee takes a bump even though the move they are selling was visibly botched or otherwise not present.
Pillmanized, when a wrestler “breaks” the bone of another wrestler by placing it between the seat and backrest of a folded chair and then jumping on the chair. The technique was originally used on Brian Pillman’s ankle by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a 1996 feud.
Pillowstrikes, kicks and punches which don’t look like they carry any impact.
Plant, anyone who poses (is planted) as a fan in the audience that a wrestler, usually a heel, can physically attack to score some “heat”. Usually the “plant” is an unknown trained wrestler. (Note: not all attacks on fans are on “plants”. Occasionally, a wrestler will legitimately attack a real fan who has engaged in behavior such as spitting, cursing, or insulting the wrestler’s family members.)
Plunder, weapons (garbage cans, road signs, kendo sticks, etc.) that appear under the ring only during a hardcore match. Pulling several weapons and throwing them into the ring is called “loading up the plunder”.
Policeman, a wrestler – usually one who has worked with a promotion for several years and is loyal to the top officials – who shoots with an uncooperative opponent to either make a point or as a “punishment”.
Politician, a wrestler who establishes connections with management in hopes of garnering the backstage clout to influence creative and business decisions behind the scenes.
Pop, a sudden crowd reaction (as in “name pop”, “cheap pop”) e.g. Triple H, and Jeff Jarrett.
Popcorn Match, a match that the audience doesn’t care about, put on the card to provide incentive for fans to leave their seats to buy from the merchandise or concession stands.
Possum (or playing possum), to fake an injury to get an opponent into a more favorable situation.
Post, to manipulate one’s body mechanics or position in order to make his body weight more manageable for another wrestler to lift and perform a move on.
Potato, an intentional legit punch. Sometimes done when the wrestlers are close to the crowd. Other times done as a shoot or a cheap shot at a lesser opponent (a jobber) who isn’t allowed to fight back.
Preliminary Wrestler, alternative name for enhancement talent or jobber used in magazines like PWI.
Promo, a promotional interview (as in “cutting a promo”). Often includes either an “in-ring interview” or (on television) a skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or feud.
Promotion, a group that organizes professional wrestling events.
Pull-apart Brawl, A match that originally involves two or more wrestlers but degenerates into a brawl. At that point, other face and heel wrestlers from the locker room storm the ring, after which an all-out brawl results. Usually, these matches end in a no contest or double disqualification. Alternately: Two wrestlers are brawling without regard to the rules, and other referees and officials enter the ring to break it up.
Puroresu, also Puro, Japanese professional wrestling
Put Over, to allow oneself to be pinned or otherwise defeated by someone or to compliment them in an interview to get that person over.
Psychology, the story of a match. (Just the match, not the angle.) It can be as simple as a wrestler going after someone’s bad leg or trying to hit a move the wrestler knows they have a weakness to.
Push, when a wrestler gains popularity with wins and positive exposure. A push can be a sudden win over a major superstar, or becoming involved in a high profile angle (compare “bury”).
Rasslin’, the Southern United States style and way of pronouncing “wrestling”.
Ref bump, when the referee for a match is intentionally knocked out, generally to allow outside interference, usage of an illegal weapon, or outright “cheating”.
Repackage, to completely change a wrestler’s gimmick, going beyond a simple face or heel turn. Usually, wrestlers are taken off of TV for a period of time before being repackaged. Other times wrestlers are repackaged quickly, on TV, by simply acting differently.
Rest hold, a hold applied more lightly at a designated point in a match in order to save energy (eg chinlocks).
Rib, practical jokes played by or on wrestlers.
Ribber, someone involved in the pro wrestling business who is well known for playing practical jokes.
Ricky Morton, a face in a tag team that gets sympathy by being beaten on by the heels and continually gets stopped from making a tag. The face is commonly the better worker in the tag team. Named after Ricky Morton who often played this role in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express’s matches. The wrestler in this role is now often said to be “playing Ricky Morton”
Ring Rat or Rat, someone with amorous feelings for wrestlers; someone who frequents wrestling events to flirt or pursue sexual liaisons with wrestlers
Ring Rust, when a wrestler is out-of-practice, and thus more prone to blow spots, as a result of a long period away from wrestling.
Ringer, a veteran wrestler that often administers stretching to ill-disciplined newcomers. See also policeman.
Rocketbuster, term used for a wild brawl. Coined by Tazz (see Slobberknocker)
Roids, steroids (see also gas and juice).
Rub, When a wrestler makes another wrestler look good to build them up in the eyes of the fans. Usually a wrestler with higher status will “give a rub” to an up and comer, especially when the higher status wrestler is on his way out of the company. (See also “Put over”)
Rube, a term to describe a fan who believes pro wrestling is real (see mark).
Rudo, a Mexican heel wrestler.
Rulebreaker, alternative name for heel often used in such magazines as PWI.
Run-in, when wrestlers not participating in a match interfere with it
Rushed finish, when the end of a match is hurried, usually due to a botch, injury, or time constraints.
Russo Swerve, a sudden and drastic storyline development that is either ridiculous or done for seemingly no reason. Named after professional wrestling writer/booker Vince Russo who used it frequently. Also called a Nitro-Swerve when Russo was a WCW booker.
Sandbag, to not cooperate with a throw.
Save, when one or more wrestlers enter the ring to aid an ally.
Scientific wrestling, refers to wrestling action that relies on amateur or Greco-Roman wrestling holds and maneuvers.
Scientific wrestler, a wrestler who often utilizes a “scientific” style. Many scientific wrestlers are also excellent brawlers who use those skills when needed.
Schmozz, a non-ending, designed to keep all participants from losing any heat.
Screwjob, a match with a controversial or unsatisfying finish, often involving cheating or outside interference.
Sell, reacting to an opponents attacks in a manner that suggests that the techniques are being applied at full-force.
Send it, a wrestler telling another wrestler to “send it” is telling them to deliver a chair shot using the wrong (and unsafe) side of the chair.
Seven Year Rule the statute of limitations before a finished angle, gimmick, or storyline can be used again without being criticized for re-hashing storylines. This phrase was coined by accomplished manager and promoter Jim Cornette.
Sheep, When wrestling fans go onto a particular website to kiss up to the wrestler in hopes of “talking” to them.
Shine, the point at the beginning of most matches where the face briefly takes an advantage over the heel. This period of the match is intended to convey the talent and ability of the face and is usually ended when the heel cheats or employs unsportsmanlike tactics to gain the upper hand.
Shock TV, using risque angles and promoting controversy in order to draw ratings.
Shoot, any “real” event in the world or wrestling (as in “shoot interview”; compare “worked shoot”).
Shooter, a wrestler who has a background in legitimate fighting (originally catch wrestling, now more often mixed martial arts), or otherwise has a reputation as a tough guy.
Shootfighting, competitive full-contact mixed martial arts tournaments, used in comparison to the staged performances of professional wrestling.
Showing Light, when a wrestler visually shows making no contact to his opponent when performing an attack (also “loose”).
Showing Your Ass, an older term for a heel doing something to make the crowd dislike him or put over the face, including bumping more, complaining to the referee, playing chicken, etc. The term is thought to have come from a popular comedic move done on heels during the early days of professional wrestling where the face would perform a sunset flip and “accidentally” pull down the heel’s tights.
Showman, A wrestler who can entertain the crowd even without wrestling.
Sitcom writers or Soap opera writers, term used to disparage the WWE Creative Team for the perceived poor quality of the television shows. This comes from WWE’s own hiring practices, in that they prefer writers with sitcom and/or soap opera experience to writers with wrestling experience.
Skin The Cat, a term used to describe when a wrestler goes either over or through the ropes to the outside but is able to pull themself back into the ring without touching the floor.
Slobberknocker, term used to describe a wild brawl. Made famous by Jim Ross.
Slop Match, term used to describe a match – almost always between female wrestlers – taking place in a pool of mud or a similar substance.
Smark, (contraction of “smart mark”) a fan who enjoys pro wrestling despite or because they know that it is staged (compare mark).
Smart, someone who has inside information on the wrestling business.
Smarten Up, To reveal the secrets of professional wrestling to somebody who was previously unaware.
Sock, an older term for a masked wrestler.
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 which borrow from other forms of pop-culture entertainment.
Sports Entertainment Finish, a TV main event that ends with a run-in or stable beatdown, the final shot before going off the air being a wrestler posing over or walking away from a fallen wrestler, the fallen wrestler reacting to a beating, a victorious wrestler celebrating, etc, yet when the cameras stop rolling the face will generally regain the upper hand to send the in house crowd home happy.
Spot, a planned move, as in “high spot” (i.e. a move off the top rope) or “blown spot”.
Spotfest, several high-impact moves or finishers in a row, often seen in matches with several participants.
Spot Monkey, a wrestler who is capable of performing incredible spots but not known for any other skills.
Spot Shuffle, when a wrestler who is out of position moves into position to allow his opponent to execute a maneuver.
Spud, a match with a lot of potatoes.
Squash, an extremely one-sided match which is usually over quickly.
Stable, a group of allied wrestlers.
Stalling, a heel tactic whereby anything is done to avoid wrestling.
Star ratings, a scale used by fans and/or critics to rate the quality of a wrestling match (DUD being the worst, four or five being match of the year quality). Often used on recap websites.
Staring at the Ceiling, another term for getting pinned.
Stiff, when a wrestler puts too much force into his attacks or maneuvers on his opponent, deliberately or accidentally.
Stooge, 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. The stooge will do his boss’ dirty work, such as getting squashed in matches against a face (with whom the heel has a feud) to set up a run-in (and subsequent beatdown) and future match.
Strap, another name for the championship/title belt in a promotion.
Stretching, applying submission locks and holds with full force as a way of disciplining an inattentive or disrespectful wrestler.
Strong Style, a Japanese professional wrestling style that is worked, yet aims to deliver realistic performances. The style emphasizes highspots, stiff attacks, and worked shoots.
Stroke, backstage influence.
Sunday Wrestling (or, Saturday wrestling), often referring to syndicated wrestling shows that aired on local TV stations on the weekends during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
Superhuman comeback, when one wrestler, usually a face, no-sells his opponent’s offense, usually after several minutes of being dominated. This tactic usually sets up the finish and victory by the face wrestler.
Superstar, a term used by the WWF/WWE when talking about a wrestler instead of wrestler.
Swerve, a surprise plot twist.
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 home, also “Take it home,” the last spot of a match, or an instruction to a wrestler to finish the match.
Tap Out, submitting to a submission maneuver by tapping on the mat.
Taterin’, Getting hit with a Potato
Technical: A worker with a legit amount of skill and athletic ability.
Técnico, a Mexican face wrestler.
Three Month Rule, a term describing the removal from kayfabe of old angles and other events, typically after at least three months have passed without on-screen mention. Anything removed under the “Three Month Rule” can, however, be restored as part of future storylines. The term is normally used only to refer to angles and events that are directly or implicitly contradicted by the current storyline, such as inaccurate claims by the announcers that a wrestler has “never beaten” his current opponent.
Tights, wrestling attire. Traditionally, wrestlers dress in some form of tights, trunks, or singlet; however, modern wrestlers are more often using unorthodox attire in the ring, such as track pants, sweatpants, and jeans. Regardless of the actual form said attire takes, it is often referred to as “tights”.
Titantron, or simply Tron a screen which is directly above the stage area of the arena used for showing entrance videos, other segments, and promos. Named for the original tron, the TitanTron, which was introduced as part of the WWE 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.
Token Offense, meaningless offense a worker doing a job gets in during a squash or an extended squash.
Trademark. in the legal sense, a word, phrase, image, or other kind of marking can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark. The owner of the mark, assuming it is valid, will then receive protection in perpetuity against anyone else using that trademark (or a mark which is so similar that it could cause confusion in the marketplace). Trademarks have been a source of controversy in wrestling because wrestling characters, names, and catch phrases can be trademarked and owned by a company instead of the wrestler utilizing it, which then bars them from using it elsewhere. In older jargon the term ‘trademark move’ was used more loosely, to refer to a certain move that was associated with a particular rassler. The figure-four grapevine was Rick Flair’s patented move, even though he probably has no ‘official’ right of ownership.
Transition, the way two wrestlers get from A to B in a match. A move used to get from spot to spot.
Transitional champion, a holder of a traditionally-short title reign which bridges two “eras”, long-running title reigns by usually-popular champions.
Turn, when a wrestler switches from face to heel or vice versa.
Tweener, a morally ambiguous wrestler, neither a bad guy or good guy (an inbetweener). This term is also used to describe wrestlers who use tactics typically associated with heels (i.e., cheating), yet are still cheered by fans in spite of (or because of) these antics.
Undercard, matches prior to the main event. (See also Dark Match.)
Unification, 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.
Vanilla Midget, a term used to describe a short, boring wrestler. Kevin Nash gained infamy with the Internet wrestling community for calling Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and several other wrestlers this when he was a booker for WCW.
Valet, a female performer assigned to accompany a wrestler to the ring and put him over in interviews.
Vignette, A taped video segment meant either introduce a debuting character or to get a wrestler over before their TV wrestling debut.
Vince’s Philosophy, Vince McMahon’s philosophy on doing live shows which states that “nothing can go wrong if it’s live”. For example; if a wrestler trips, he meant to do that.
Vocal Selling, when a wrestler makes sound to imply that he’s hurt.
Walk-in, a run-in by an injured wrestler. A joke term devised for Kevin Nash’s slowness in getting to the ring during a run-in.
Weekend Warrior, Someone who usually only wrestles independent shows on a weekend due to semi-retirement or, more frequently, because they need to have another job as they do not make enough money out of pro wrestling alone.
Work, a staged event, from the carnival tradition of “working the crowd”.
Worker, a wrestler.
Worked Shoot, a scripted segment that takes place in a show with elements of reality being exposed. Also a segment that fans are meant to believe is a shoot, but isn’t.
Workrate, a wrestler’s talent level; or, when used by critics, an analysis of the action in a match (e.g., actual wrestling vs. anything else (such as rest holds, managerial interference, etc.)).
WWE style (a.k.a. Sports Entertainment Style), the punch-kick-ref bump style of match identified with WWE.
X-Pac heat, when a wrestler receives negative heat (boos) not because his character is a heel but because fans legitimately don’t like him, or think that he is boring and should stop wrestling. Named for the crowd reactions to X-Pac at the end of his second WWE run.
X sign, a gesture made by the referee (crossing both arms) which indicates that an injury is legitimate and medical assistance is required. However the X sign has been used in a kayfabe context when the injury is not real.
Zamboni, A legit low-blow.