Angle – A storyline. Angles are what add to the soap opera element of professional wrestling. Blade – Wrestlers use a small razor blade to cut open the skin (usually on the forehead) and cause the flow of blood. The act of blading is usually done to add dramatic effect to a match. Whenever a wrestler bleeds in a match, it usually means he has bladed. However there are some wrestlers, Chris Jericho, who disagree with blading and have to use blood packs. Blading can also be known as “juicing.”
Booker – The person who is in charge of creating storylines, deciding which wrestlers to push, writing TV shows, etc. The booker is basically in charge of putting together a product that the fans will find entertaining. His position is one of great power and extreme importance. In the case of large promotions like the WWE and WCW, there are usually several bookers. The booker can be anybody from the promoter himself to an active wrestler on the roster (e.g. at one time, Kevin Nash in WCW). In the past, members of the WWF booking committee have included Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, Bruce Pritchard and Vince Russo.
Bump – The reception of a wrestling move, usually one in which the wrestler is thrown or becomes airborne in some other way. If a wrestler falls off, gets pushed off, or gets thrown off the ring apron and lands on the ground, he just took a bump.
Call – Despite belief, the idea that wrestling matches are scripted move-for-move is false. Instead, wrestlers call their moves by whispering or muttering something into their opponent’s ear, and from this the opponent will know what move he is to perform or be ready to receive. One of the reasons why so many wrestlers have long hair is that this makes it easier to hide calls. Fans watching at home can sometimes hear a wrestler call a move if he says it too loudly or does it while the camera is too close (e.g. at a WWE Smackdown taping Rob Van Dam called out to William Regal “Dropkick coming”).
Chair Shot – When a wrestler gets hit with a chair it is always a steel folding chair. That’s because the structure of those chairs allows it to absorb most of the force of the blow. You can generally whack someone over the head as hard as you like without doing much damage to the other guy. More inexperienced wrestlers will use their hands to block the chair, but in proper hands, the force of the chair directly on the head isn’t much worse. A shot to theback barely hurts at all (but don’t be stupid enough to try it at home!).
Dark match – A match that takes place either before or after a televised event begins or ends and is not shown on TV with the rest of the matches.
Dirt Sheet – A publication that looks at wrestling from an inside, behind the scenes perspective and doesn’t buy into the idea that wrestling is real. A dirt sheet doesn’t cater to marks the way a publication from a promotion would, rather it is geared toward those who are more knowledgeable of the inner workings of the business. For the most part, dirt sheets are looked upon very negatively by those who work in the business.
Dud – A match that is especially poor.
Face – A wrestler who is liked by the fans. Wrestlers are generally divided into two groups, the good guys (the faces) and the bad guys (the heels). Until recently, faces were generally those wrestlers who played by the rules and more or less acted like nice guys. Today, the most popular wrestlers are often those who don’t play by the rules, don’t respect authority, and act like anything but nice guys, e.g. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Also known as babyface, good guy, or fan favourite.
Finish – The end of a match. While most of the match is improvised by the competitors, there will usually be a planned finish that has been discussed beforehand. In the WWF, Pat Patterson had a lot of input into the finishes of matches.
Gimmick – A character that a wrestler is given to make him interesting. While gimmicks have always been a part of pro wrestling, from the mid-80s to the early-90s, gimmicks ruled. The WWF was often referred to as a “circus” during that time because of the number of cartoon-like gimmicks that their wrestlers were given. At a given time you could turn on a WWF show and see clowns, evil dentists, race car drivers, garbage men, plumbers and more. It is largely due to this overkill that gimmicks have been drastically toned down in the past few years.
Heat – Feedback from the crowd. A heel wrestler will try to get heat from the crowd by doing things to get them angry, such as cheating or insulting there state. If the heel has a lot of heat with the crowd, he is doing his job. If a heel is drawing face heat, then he will usually be made into a babyface to sustain that heat (e.g. The Undertaker in 1992). Rocky Maivia (before he became “The Rock”) is the best example of the opposite: a babyface drawing heel heat (‘Rocky Sucks!’, ‘Die Rocky, Die!’).
Heat Machine – A ‘machine’ that wrestling promotions use on some of their taped wrestling programs to make it seem as if the crowd is really into what is going on. It cannot be used on live programs and is only used sometimes now on taped shows. Also known as ‘canned heat’.
Heel – The opposite of a face. The heel is the “bad guy” and is usually characterized by somebody who cheats and badmouths the fans.
Hot – Used to describe the overall manner of the audience at a live event. If the crowd is vocal, excited, and into the action, it is said to be a “hot” crowd. On the other hand, if the audience is disinterested or lethargic, it is said to be a “dead” crowd. Often a crowd will start off “hot” but be “killed” by a series of dull matches.
House show – Any non-televised event.
Indy – Refers to an independent league. In the United States, all promotions other than the WWE are indies. Indies have smaller rosters, lesser known talent, significantly lower income, and they usually promote in only a few cities. Prior to Vince McMahon taking the WWF national in 1984, there were literally hundreds of successful independent promotions across the country. By the late eighties, most of the independents were unable to compete with McMahon’s huge empire and went out of business. Today there are still plenty of indies, yet only a handful are able to maintain any sort of long term success.
Job – When one wrestler loses to another, it is called “doing the job.” When one wrestler loses to another, it is called “jobbing”.
Jobber – A wrestler whose only purpose is to lose to other wrestlers, thus putting them over and making them look good. The Rock’s word ‘Jabroni’ comes from this term.
Jobber to the Stars – Similar to a jobber, except a jobber to the stars is usually a better wrestler than an ordinary jobber and occasionally wins a match against a lesser opponent.
Juice – Blood. “Hardway juice” is the flow of blood that is caused not by blading, but through legitimate means such as being punched too hard or some other accident.
Kayfabe – Is the act of acting. When a wrestler “breaks kayfabe,” he is no longer playing the character that he is in the wrestling world, rather he is just acting like himself. In the old days there was an unwritten rule that, in order to prevent wrestling from being exposed as a work, wrestlers were never to break kayfabe when they were in the presence of wrestling fans. Today that rule has largely gone out the window, as wrestlers often break kayfabe when being interviewed on talk shows or on the internet. It has even got to the point where wrestlers occasionally break kayfabe on their own shows in order to appeal to the “smart” fans.
Kliq – A behind the scenes locker room group that consisted of Kevin Nash (Diesel),Scott Hall (Razor Ramon), Triple H, Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/X-Pac) and Shawn Michaels when they were all in the WWF. During their time in the WWF they had great influence behind the scenes and often hand picked who they would face and angles they would be involved in.
Lemming – In the world of pro wrestling, the term “lemming” began in the 1980′s, referring to the WWF’s large percentage of relatively uninformed, somewhat gullible, and fiercely loyal fans. In the 1990′s, a “lemming” is a term bestowed on narrow-minded, based fans for any promotion, not just the WWF.
Main Eventer – A wrestler who usually wrestles in the main event or somewhere else near the top of the card.
Mark – What a mark is usually depends on who you ask. It can be said that anybody who follows wrestling is a mark. Others will say that the only ones who are marks are those who buy into the illusion that wrestling is real. Since the number of people who fall into the latter category is almost non existent, the first definition is probably more accurate.
Mid-Carder – Basically all wrestlers who are not jobbers or main-eventers.
Monster Heel – A term reserved for a select few wrestlers who epitomize all the qualities of a true heel. A monster heel must be the most dominate, fearless, toughest “bad guy” in the promotion. Monster heels must appear unbeatable, unstoppable, and generate extreme fan hatred as well as attendance.
Over – If a face is over with the crowd, it means that they cheer him. If a heel is over with the crowd, it means that they boo him. Regardless of whether he is a face ora heel, a wrestler’s main priority is to get over with the crowd. The more over a wrestler is, it makes sense that the promotion will find him more valuable and they will pay him more money. This term can also apply to a move which draws an instant reaction from the fans and/or can bereasonably expected to end a match when applied (e.g. The Rock Bottom).
Pop – The act of a crowd suddenly bursting into cheers for a move, entrance, interview, etc.
Potato Shot – When a wrestler accidentally delivers a blow that lands heavily and could cause legitimate damage.
Program – Somewhat similar to an angle or a story line. When two or more wrestlers are involved in a feud with each other, it can be said that they are doing a program together.
Promo – An interview. Doing an interview is called “cutting a promo”.
Promoter – Someone who promotes live wrestling events in front of an audience, although may not necessarily own/operate the wrestling league that they are promoting. For example, there are currently promoters in each major city who help the major federations secure the arena and promote the show locally when they come to that town. And although they promoted the event, they have nothing to do with booking the matches or what happens at the show.
Pumped Up – Refers to a wrestler who is massive in size due to the usage of anabolic steroids. If one wrestler says another wrestler is “pumped up”, he is basically accusing that wrestler of using steroids.
Push – When a wrestler is given a higher spot on the card than the one he currently has, he is given a push. Often a push will mean winning a title or being put in a program with a wrestler who is higher up on the card than the wrestler getting the push. A ‘negative push’ works the opposite way – the wrestler is ‘de-pushed’.
Putting Over – The act of one wrestler intentionally making another wrestler appear tougher, more skilled, and more impressive to the fans.
Rest hold – A move such as a chin lock or an arm bar that when applied allows the wrestlers involved to rest. If applied longer than about a minute, will usually incite “Boring” chants from the more vocal segments of the audience.
Scientific Wrestler – Another word to describe a face (but can be a heel), implies a wrestler who is well schooled in the art of wrestling.
Screwjob – A finish that isn’t clean, such as a wrestler being hit with a chair behind the referee’s back and then pinned. Or when another wrestler or group of wrestlers runs in and causes a disqualification. A joking term for a screwjob finish is a “Dusty finish,” named after Dusty Rhodes, who was very fond of using these types of finishes when booking for the NWA. An example of screwjobs is where a match on Raw has an unclean finish to save it for a PPV or something.
Sell – The act of receiving an opponent’s move and making it look impressive. A good wrestler is one who not only knows how to perform moves well, but also knows how to make his opponent’s moves look good. An example of a wrestler who does not sell moves well is the Ultimate Warrior.
Shill – Term for a based fan, or employee of a wrestling company, who’s inability to criticize or disagree with anything that person’s favourite promotion does ultimately negatestheir credibility.
Shoot – Reality. Something that is not in the script. Wrestling is fake, but when something from real life creeps into the show, it is called a shoot. For example, say two wrestlers who dislike each other in real life are having a match together, and they decide to settle their differences by throwing legit punches at each other during the match, that would be a shoot. If a wrestler takes a bump and breaks his arm, the injury would be a shoot because it was real and it wasn’t part of the “act”. Every so often a wrestler will be cutting a promo and he’ll start shooting, saying things that he feels in real life that may or may not happen to go along with the storyline.
Smart – The opposite of a mark, and an equally controversial term. A smart is a fan who views wrestling as much if not more from an inside perspective than from a regular fan’s perspective. A smart is likely to subscribe to one or more sheets and be familiar with all of the terms listed here. With the emergence of the Internet, the number of fans who consider themselves smart has grown rapidly. Because of this, promotions have gone after smart fans by running angles that appeal more to them. For instance, if it is known to smarts that two wrestlers have a legit beef with each other outside of the ring, a promotion might start a program with these two wrestlers to appeal to the smarts.
Smart mark (Smark) – A new term that is used mostly by those in the business to describe smarts. It is the belief of many that even though a fan may be “smart” to the inner working of the business, he still watches the TV shows and buys the tickets, therefore he’s still a mark.
Spot – A move or series of maneuvers. A “planned spot” is a move or series of moves that is planned out before the match. A ‘blown spot’ is a spot that goes wrong and a ‘spot-fest’ is a match that contains many spots but no proper transitions between the spots (e.g. Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila (Essa Rios) at WrestleMania XIV).
Squash – A short, one sided match usually involving a jobber who gets, well, squashed.
Stiff – A wrestler who moves very stiffly in the ring and just doesn’t look good, or just an untalented wrestler. Used to describe a move, such as a punch or a kick, that is delivered with such force that it looks especially realistic.
Swerve – Something incorporated into an angle or storyline that is designed to throw off the “smart” fans.
Territory – The area in which a promotion promotes. In the pre-Vince McMahon era, the hundreds of independent promotions across the country each had a certain area of the country in which they ran shows, called their territory. When McMahon took the WWF national, he made thesomewhat novel move of invading competitor’s territories with his shows and his TV. Soon the whole country and the world became the WWF’s territory.
Tweener – A wrestler (or manager) who is not a clear cut babyface or heel, but rather, falls somewhere in between. Tweeners are generally created by accident, when a heel who is supposed to be booed is instead cheered by the audience.
Valet – Invariably a female, who adds charisma to a wrestler’s persona, and creates interest in male fans. If a wrestler is using a valet, 9 times out of 10, the wrestler and his valet have a private relationship in addition to their professional one.
Work – Simply put, wrestling is a work because it is fake but it tries to lead people to believe that it is real. While a shoot is real, everything else in wrestling is a work.
Worker – Wrestlers are said to “work” a match and are thus called “workers”. The more talented they are, the better a “worker” they are considered. As a match progresses, it is possible to separate the match into “action” and “inaction” portions. When the wrestlers are doing something that’s the action, and when they’re in a resthold or lying on the mat after a double-knockout or whatever, that’s the inaction. The ratio of action to inaction is the workrate. A wrestler whose matches have lots of action and a minimum of resting has good workrate, and a wrestler who spends the entire match in a reverse chinlock has bad workrate.
Worked shoot – An angle that is made to look so incredibly realistic that people will think that it is actually a shoot. Often the people involved in a worked shoot will break character in order to make it look like whatever event just happened wasn’t part of the script. These angles are often done to appeal to the smart fans.