Glossary of professional wrestling terms

Professional wrestling has accrued a considerable nomenclature throughout its existence.[1] Much of it stems from the industry's origins in the days of carnivals and circuses.[2] In the past, professional wrestlers used such terms in the presence of fans so as not to reveal the worked nature of the business.[1][2] In recent years, widespread discussion on the Internet has popularized these terms.[1] Many of the terms refer to the financial aspects of professional wrestling in addition to in-ring terms.[2]


The Shield Teamwork
The Shield performing a beat down on Kane



The Authority plus Kane and Randy Orton
Kane (second left) as enforcer for The Authority


Irwin R Schyster in 1994
Mike Rotunda used a tax collector gimmick as Irwin R. Schyster



André the Giant in the late '80s
André the Giant was a notable monster heel late in his career


The Ultimate Warrior April 2014
The Ultimate Warrior was popularly billed as being from parts unknown


NWo WM31
The nWo performing a run-in during WrestleMania 31


Dolph Ziggler with AJ Lee & Big E Langston
Dolph Ziggler (with title belt) accompanied by a valet (AJ Lee) and an enforcer (Big E Langston) as seconds.
The Shield's fist pose
Stables can vary in size, from three-man units like The Shield (pictured) who feature similar outfits, to large groups with varying membership such as The Heenan Family. Dean Ambrose (right) played the de facto leader and mouthpiece of the group[30][31] while Bobby Heenan was the spokesperson of The Heenan Family.


Christian v Orton at MITB 2011
The TitanTron (background) at Money in the Bank in July 2011



  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 "Torch Glossary of Insider Terms". 2000. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Kerrick, George E. (Summer 1980). "The Jargon of Professional Wrestling". American Speech. 55 (2): 142–145. doi:10.2307/3050508.
  3. ^ Caldwell, James (April 1, 2015). "ROH news: New Japan's top star announced for ROH vs. New Japan tour, ROH releases "Field of Honor" details". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  4. ^ 全日諏訪魔VS大日関本シングル対決実現. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). December 19, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Nicholas Sammond, Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling (2004).
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.65)
  11. ^ Ross, Jim (May 5, 2015). "Samoa Joe on Ross Report podcast tonight". JR's BarBQ. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Clapp, John (February 17, 2013). "WWE Champion The Rock def. CM Punk". WWE. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George by Joe Jares, Tempo Books, 1974, p. 85.
  14. ^ a b Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide (p.106)
  15. ^ a b Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.90)
  16. ^ Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Stone Cold Truth (p.83)
  17. ^ Wrestling Booker's Glossary of pro wrestling terms at the Wayback Machine (archived June 13, 2008)
  18. ^ a b c "Grantland Dictionary: Pro Wrestling Edition". August 13, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Pro Wrestling Primer: Glossary of terms". The Evil Eye Blog. 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  20. ^ Mancuso, Ryan (September 11, 2006). "Complete Playbook: The Great Muta Vol. 2 Revenge of Muta Commercial Tape". Retrieved October 24, 2007.
  21. ^ Cory Kilgannon (March 15, 2012). "From Inside a Bad-Guy Wrestler, a Brutal Artist Screamed for Release". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "Young WWE fan Nicholas teams with Braun Strowman against The Bar". YouTube. WWE. April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "WWE WrestleMania 34 results: Braun Strowman picks 10 year old WWE fan 'Nicholas' as mystery partner". Forbes. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  24. ^ John Powell (June 18, 2000). "Booker T: Wrestling's consummate performer". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  25. ^ Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew. pp. 192–193.
  26. ^ Ross, Jim; J.R.'s Family Bar-B-Q® (December 24, 2013). "#RAW Christmas Feedback..." J.R.'s Place blog. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  27. ^ "AAA Triplemania 2017 today, complete lineup". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  28. ^ X-Pac on: Yokozuna. YouTube. 31 December 2014.
  29. ^ Kaelberer, Angie Peterson (2003). The Hardy Boyz: Pro Wrestlers Matt and Jeff Hardy. Capstone Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-7368-2142-2.
  30. ^ Khan, Steve. "Examining Dean Ambrose's roller coaster ride to the top of WWE". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  31. ^ "The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family: Tale of the Tape". WWE. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  32. ^ "The nWo". Legends of Wrestling. Season 1. Episode 28. 1 July 2011. 2 minutes in. Classics on Demand. WWE.
  33. ^ "Heart to Hart: 90 Minutes on the Phone with Bret 'The Hitman' Hart".
  34. ^ Beaston, Erik (17 April 2016). "10 Greatest Wrestling Technicians In WWE History".
  35. ^ a b Jeff Clark (September 7, 2007). "The Luchagors Drop a Powerbomb". Stomp and Stammer. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  36. ^ The Masked Man (David Shoemaker) (June 28, 2011). "Punk'd". Grantland. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013.
  37. ^ "What is "X-Pac heat"?".


  • Beekman, Scott. Ringside: A history of professional wrestling in America (Greenwood, 2006)
  • Foley, Mick (2000). Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
  • Harley Race; Ricky Steamboat; Les Thatcher (2005). The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-947-6.
  • Kerrick, George E. "The jargon of professional wrestling". American Speech (1980): 142-145. JSTOR
  • Laurer, Joanie (2001). If They Only Knew. ReaganBooks. ISBN 0-06-109895-7.
  • Mazer, Sharon. Professional wrestling: sport and spectacle (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1998)
  • Murray, Thomas E. "The language of bodybuilding". American Speech (1984): 195-206. in JSTOR
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin; Jim Ross (2003). The Stone Cold Truth. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-7720-0.

External links

Blow off

Blowoff or Blow(ing) off may refer to:

Blowoff valve

Blow-off panel, areas with intentionally weakened structure, are used in enclosures, buildings or vehicles where a sudden overpressure may occur

Blowoff, a dance event created by musicians Richard Morel and Bob Mould

A type of extra sideshow act

A type of clown act

Hydrodynamic escape

Blowing off, slang for fellatio

Blow off, in glossary of professional wrestling terms, the final match in a wrestling feud

Botch (professional wrestling)

To botch in professional wrestling means to attempt a scripted move or spoken line that does not come out as it was originally planned due to a mistake, miscalculation, a slip-up, or an error in judgment. Most botches are harmless, such as a wrestler simply flubbing a line or missing a cue, or falling before his or her opponent's move actually connects. At times, however, a poorly timed or executed move has resulted in serious injury or even death.

Dirt sheet

In the English speaking professional wrestling culture, a "dirt sheet" is a wrestling magazine or website that covers professional wrestling from a real-life perspective as opposed treating the storylines as real. Another word sometimes used for these publications is "rag sheet."

Face (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a face (babyface) is a heroic or a "good guy" wrestler, booked (scripted) by the promotion with the aim of being cheered by fans. Traditionally, they wrestle within the rules and avoid cheating (in contrast to the villains who use illegal moves and call in additional wrestlers to do their work for them) while behaving positively towards the referee and the audience. Such characters are also referred to as "blue-eyes" in British wrestling and técnicos in lucha libre. The face character is portrayed as a hero relative to the heel wrestlers, who are analogous to villains. Not everything a face wrestler does must be heroic: faces need only to be clapped or cheered by the audience to be effective characters.

The vast majority of wrestling storylines involving faces place a face against a heel, although more elaborate set-ups (such as two faces being manipulated by a nefarious outside party into fighting) often happen as well. In the world of lucha libre wrestling, most técnicos are generally known for using moves requiring technical skill, particularly aerial maneuvers and wearing outfits using bright colors with positive associations (such as solid white). This is contrasted with most villainous rudos that are generally of them known for being brawlers, using physical moves that emphasize brute strength or size while often having outfits akin to demons or other nasty characters.

Feud (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a feud is a staged rivalry between multiple wrestlers or groups of wrestlers. They are integrated into ongoing storylines, particularly in events which are televised. Feuds may last for months or even years or be resolved with implausible speed, perhaps during the course of a single match. WWE's terminology discouraged the use of the term along with the word "war".

Gimmick (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a gimmick generally refers to a wrestler's in-ring persona, character, behaviour, attire and/or other distinguishing traits while performing which are usually artificially created in order to draw fan interest.

These in-ring personalities often involve costumes, makeup and catchphrases that they shout at their opponents or the fans.

Gimmicks can be designed to work as good guys (babyfaces) or villains (heels) depending on the wrestler's desire to be popular or hated by the crowd. A tweener gimmick falls between the two extremes. A wrestler may portray more than one gimmick over their career depending on the angle or the wrestling promotion that they are working for at that time.

Promotions will use gimmicks on more than one person, albeit at different times, occasionally taking advantage of a masked character which allows for the identity of the wrestler in question to be concealed. Razor Ramon was portrayed by both Scott Hall and Rick Bognar.

Occasionally, a wrestler uses a gimmick as tribute to another worker; such is the case of Ric Flair's Nature Boy persona which he took on as an homage to the original Nature Boy, Buddy Rogers.

When a wrestler acts outside his or her gimmick this is known as 'breaking kayfabe', a term showing pro wrestling's linkages to theatre, where the more common term "breaking the fourth wall" is used.

Gimmicks are annually rated for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards by the publication's owner, professional wrestling journalists, and various industry insiders, such as Dave Meltzer, promoters, agents and performers, other journalists, historians, and fans. The two awards are given to the best and worst gimmick of that year. Current winners are Los Ingobernables de Japon and Bray Wyatt respectively.

Heat (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, heat can refer to both crowd reactions and real-life animosity between those involved in a professional wrestling angle, or match.

In terms of crowd reaction, heat is usually used to denote how much of a reaction a heel wrestler receives, but can also be used for a babyface. Although the term can in some contexts refer to either positive or negative crowd reactions, heat is usually used specifically to mean a negative crowd response (booing etc.), with its opposite being a "pop" or positive reaction (cheering, clapping, etc.).

As heat typically refers to a negative reaction that a wrestling character gets from a crowd in a performance setting, it has also become slang for a negative reaction that a wrestler gets backstage from colleagues, management or both. Backstage heat can be garnered for both real and perceived slights and transgressions.

Heel (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a heel (also known as a rudo in lucha libre) is a wrestler who portrays a villain or a "bad guy" and acts as an antagonist to the faces, who are the heroic protagonist or "good guy" characters. Not everything a heel wrestler does must be villainous: heels need only to be booed or jeered by the audience to be effective characters.

To gain heat (with boos and jeers from the audience), heels are often portrayed as behaving in an immoral manner by breaking rules or otherwise taking advantage of their opponents outside the bounds of the standards of the match. Others do not (or rarely) break rules, but instead exhibit unlikeable, appalling and deliberately offensive and demoralizing personality traits such as arrogance, cowardice or contempt for the audience. Many heels do both, cheating as well as behaving nastily. No matter the type of heel, the most important job is that of the antagonist role, as heels exist to provide a foil to the face wrestlers. If a given heel is cheered over the face, a promoter may opt to turn that heel to face or the other way around, or to make the wrestler do something even more despicable to encourage heel heat.

In "native" wrestling e.g. American wrestling, it was common for the faces to be "native" (e.g. Hulk Hogan) and the heels to be portrayed as "foreign" (e.g. Alberto El Patrón, Ivan Koloff, The Iron Sheik, Rusev, Jinder Mahal and Muhammad Hassan).

In the world of lucha libre wrestling, most rudos are generally known for being brawlers and for using physical moves that emphasize brute strength or size, often having outfits akin to demons, devils, or other tricksters. This is contrasted with most heroic técnicos that are generally known for using moves requiring technical skill, particularly aerial maneuvers.

House show

A house show or live event is a professional wrestling event produced by a major promotion that is not televised, though they can be recorded. Promotions use house shows mainly to cash in on the exposure that they and their wrestlers receive during televised events, as well as to test reactions to matches, wrestlers, and gimmicks that are being considered for the main televised programming.

House shows are often used to promote upcoming televised events, especially pay-per-views, and will then feature matches between wrestlers who are scheduled to work a match at the pay-per-view. This allows them to secure a 'feel' for each other's style and test out specific parts of matches planned for pay-per-view.

From the 1950s to late 1980s, most major matches and title changes happened at house shows, largely due to the costs to produce a TV show at the time, plus the lack of more modern technology making it significantly harder to tape a TV show. TV shows were taped in small studios, and featured squash matches, run-ins, and promos which revolved around feuds to be settled at the house show. Some of these big matches later aired, often scheduled "for TV time remaining", which usually ran out as the match built to a finish, hopefully making fans regret missing it and buy tickets to the next show. This changed in the 1990s as the formula for TV shows had changed completely by the time, largely due to the advent of Monday Night Raw and the then-new Monday Nitro which changed the way TV shows were taped and proved to be a huge success for the WWF and WCW, respectively.

House shows are similar to dark matches with both being untelevised events. The only difference is that dark matches are untelevised matches in TV programs which were already being televised.

House shows are also often designed to make the face wrestlers to win most matches, largely to send the crowd home happy. Though, if a heel defends a title, the face may win by disqualification if this is the case.

Job (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling slang, a job is a losing performance in a wrestling match. It is derived from the euphemism "doing one's job", which was employed to protect kayfabe. The term can be used a number of ways. When a wrestler is booked to lose a match it is described as "a job". The act itself is described with the verb jobbing, while the act of booking (rather than being booked) to job is called jobbing out. To lose a match fairly (meaning without any kayfabe rules being broken) is to job cleanly. Wrestlers who routinely (or exclusively) lose matches are known as jobbers. A regular jobber skilled at enhancing the matches he loses, as opposed to a mediocre local rookie or part-timer, is called a carpenter. In the post-kayfabe era the term has taken on a negative connotation, leading to the use of the neutral term enhancement talent.


In professional wrestling, kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true", specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public.Kayfabe is often seen as the suspension of disbelief that is used to create the non-wrestling aspects of promotions, such as feuds, angles, and gimmicks, in a manner similar to other forms of fictional entertainment. In relative terms, a wrestler breaking kayfabe during a show would be likened to an actor breaking character on-camera. Also, since wrestling is performed in front of a live audience, whose interaction with the show is crucial to its success, kayfabe can be compared to the fourth wall in acting, since hardly any conventional fourth wall exists to begin with. In general, everything in a professional wrestling show is to some extent scripted, or "kayfabe", even though at times it is portrayed as real-life.

Kayfabe was fiercely maintained for decades, but with the advent of the Internet wrestling community, and the sports entertainment movement, the pro wrestling industry has become less concerned with protecting so-called backstage secrets and typically maintains kayfabe only during the shows. Kayfabe is, however, occasionally broken during shows, usually when dealing with genuine injuries during a match or paying tribute to wrestlers.

Professional wrestling

Professional wrestling (often shortened to pro wrestling or simply wrestling) is a form of performance art and entertainment that combines athletics with theatrical performance. It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, that mimic a title-match combat sport. The unique form of sport portrayed is fundamentally based on classical and "catch" wrestling, with modern additions of striking attacks, strength-based holds and throws and acrobatic maneuvers. Much of these derive from the influence of various international martial arts. An additional aspect of combat with improvised weaponry is sometimes included to varying degrees.The matches have predetermined outcomes

to heighten entertainment value

and all combative maneuvers are executed with the full cooperation of those involved and carefully performed in specific manners intended to lessen the chance of actual injury.

These facts were once kept highly secret but are now a widely accepted open secret. To promote and sustain the willing suspension of disbelief by maintaining an aura of verisimilitude, the performing company avoids discussing the true nature of the performance in official media. Fan communications by individual wrestlers and promotions through outside media (i.e., interviews) often directly acknowledge the dramatic and "fixed" nature of the spectacle.

Professional wrestling aerial techniques

Aerial techniques, also known as "High-flying moves" are maneuvers in professional wrestling using the ring's posts and ropes as aids, in many cases to demonstrate the speed and agility of smaller, nimble and acrobatically inclined wrestlers preferring this style instead of throwing or locking the opponent. Due to injuries caused by these high risk moves, some promotions have banned the use of some of them. The next list of maneuvers was made under general categories whenever possible.

Push (professional wrestling)

In professional wrestling, a push is an attempt by the booker to make a wrestler win more matches and become more popular or more reviled with the fans depending on whether they are a heroic character ("face") or a villain ("heel"). It is not uncommon for a push to be accompanied by a turn or a change in the wrestler's gimmick. This is essentially the opposite of a burial, which in contrast to the high profile of a push is typically done with little or no fanfare. Sometimes the fans generate the push for a wrestler themselves when their approval for the wrestler's work generates a positive reaction from them that is not anticipated.

Shoot (professional wrestling)

A shoot in professional wrestling is any unplanned, unscripted, or real-life occurrence within a wrestling event. It is a carny term shortened from "straight shooting" which originally referred to a gun in a carnival target shooting game which did not have its sights fixed (terminology such as this reflects the professional wrestling industry's roots in traveling carnivals). This term has come to mean a legit attack or fight in professional wrestling, and its meaning has broadened to include unscripted events in general. The opposite of a shoot is a work.


Storyline may refer to

The plot or subplot of a story

The narrative of a work, whether of fictional or nonfictional basis

The narrative threads experienced by each character or set of characters in a work of fiction

The storyline method of teaching

Alternative term for an angle in professional wrestling – see Glossary of professional wrestling terms: Angle

Wrestling ring

A wrestling ring is the stage on which professional wrestlers wrestle.

Wrestling stable

In wrestling, stable has two similar but not entirely consistent meanings:

In western Pro Wrestling, it means a grouping of wrestlers who compete as a team, see Glossary of professional wrestling terms#Stable

In sumo wrestling, it means a community of professional wrestlers under the same master trainer but who may compete against each other (although competition draws do avoid this as far as possible), and the premises where they live

Glossaries of sports

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