Pro Wrestling Terms Vocabulary

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Angle - A storyline in wrestling used to set up a match or a feud. A good or bad angle can often be a big factor in how much money is made by matches, a good angle can also propel a wrestler to the top of the card or cause irreversible career damage. 

Babyface - The good guy in a wrestling angle. The babyface is intended to be the guy/girl the fans rally behind in their battles with the dastardly Heels. A babyface will tend to play to the crowd, make heroic comebacks or as is usually the case in Japan, fight with the most heart.

Backyard Wrestling - A form of wrestling held backstage by thrill seekers who are usually untrained. Wrestling on trampolines or whatever they can get their hands on, the (usually) kids work their "matches" by hitting each other with any foreign objects laying around or jumping off anything tall in the area. It's not something which tends to be looked on kindly within the business hence people saying that poor wrestlers look "like they came straight from their backyard".

pro wrestling vocabulary beatdown
pro wrestling vocabulary beatdown


Bait and Switch - When a promoter teases the fans into believing one thing is going to happen then switches to something else resulting in shock and surprise or downright confusion and disappointment. When done well bait and switch can save a storyline and set up programming for a few months (e.g. HHH being revealed as the mastermind behind the who ran over Austin saga as Rikishi was flopping in 2000) but when it gets executed poorly (e.g. Ric Flair being revealed as the Black Scorpion) it can ruin ratings and make the guys involved damaged goods for a while.

Beatdown - A group of wrestlers (more or less always heels) delivering a beating to one or two wrestlers.

Billy Gunn'd - Specifically relates to a failed push for a King of the ring victor in WWE inspired by the 1999 winner Billy Gunn whom the then WWF attempted to push to the moon only for Billy to bomb in spectacular fashion, thus anyone who fails to register an impact during their post KOTR push and is subsequently bumped back down to the mid or undercard is adjudged to have Billy Gunn'd his kingship.

Blade - The implement used to carry out a bladejob. The blade is usually either a razor blade or a snap off piece from a Stanley knife that should be able to slice quickly but not deeply.

Bladejob - The method wrestlers use to get blood in their matches. A blade is hidden either under the wrestlers wrist tape or in their trunks (some are rumoured to have hidden blades under their tongues in the past) and then taken out and used by the worker to quickly slice across his/her forehead (because the forehead contains no major arteries or veins but can still produce an impressive looking amount of blood). The wrestler usually does this whilst lying either face down on the mat or the floor where they hide their face whilst carrying out the bladejob although some more skilled guys (Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage) have been able to pull them off in mid air in the past, of course a good amount of blood can add infinite drama to a match which is what makes the bladejob an important part of wrestling's book of tricks.

pro wrestling vocabulary card
pro wrestling vocabulary card

Blown Spot - A spot gone wrong, if a worker for whatever reason is unable to execute a spot correctly then he/she has blown it.

Blowoff - The finishing point to a feud. Should usually be a match but in some cases can be a backstage skit. The blowoff is what all the bookers "hard" work is leading to, a successful blowoff can make a career and a draw a poor blowoff can break one.

Bonzo Gonzo - A Scott Keith-ism used during tag/multi-man matches when everyone is in the ring at once and the ref has lost control. Apparently comes from a one off 80's piece of TV. 

Booker - The man/woman who writes the angles in a wrestling company and decides which wrestlers should get pushed and which should be buried.

Brawl. A match that focuses on the less technical aspects of wrestling such as strikes

Brawler - A worker who ordinarily works a brawling style.

pro wrestling vocabulary brawling
pro wrestling vocabulary brawling


Bump - The impact a wrestler takes when falling down to sell a move. Bumps come in several forms, from a simple flat back bump to sell a series of punches, to a flipping bump to sell a snapmare, or a front bump to sell a Guerrilla press. 

Build - The meat of the match and the way the wrestlers work towards the finish, if the finish was a Figure Four leg lock then good build would be working the leg leading up to it.

Buried - When a worker is jobbed out by repeatedly losing to kill their drawing power, usually either because they've upset someone backstage, someone backstage considers them a threat to their spot or because they are leaving the company and the bookers don't want them to go to another company strong.

Buyrate - The amount of shows sold for a particular Pay Per View. Buyrates are one of the figures that mark a successful (or not so successful) company.

Card - The list of matches on a show.

Carriable - Used to describe a wrestler who probably couldn't put on a good match with workers of his/her own level or below, but is capable of being carried to a great match by a superior worker.

Carry - When a wrestler does the bulk of the work in the match carrying their opponent and making them look good. A good carry job will be the one you don't notice but signs to look for are one guy calling most of the spots, bumping all over the place for their opponents, etc. Basically if one guy is doing a lot and one guy isn't then the guy doing stuff is the carrier!

pro wrestling vocabulary brawl
pro wrestling vocabulary brawl

Cheap Heat - No miss, easy ways of getting heel heat and something you see on TV every week. Insulting a town’s sports team is the most common example of this.

Cheapshot - A low blow, a chairshot, a shot from the manager on the outside. Basically a wrestler taking an illegal shot to gain an unfair advantage.

Chinese Fire Drill - See Bonzo Gonzo.

Counter - The counter to a move is simply the move(s) a wrestler can use to counteract it, for example a shove in the back would be the counter to the Stone Cold Stunner.

Count Out - When a wrestler is out of the ring for the ten or twenty count and the match finishes. A useful heel tactic because as we all know, title's cannot usually change hands on a count out.

Curtain Jerker - A lower card worker who more or less always works the first match on the card, hence them being the first to jerk the curtain back.

Dark Match - A non televised match at a TV taping.

Dogging - Putting in minimal effort.

Dojo - A wrestling training facility, the name originates in Japan but the name tends to get used worldwide.

Double Turn - A match/angle which the face and the heel will switch roles during it. The Bret Hart/Steve Austin double turn at Mania 13 is the best example of this.

Draw - To bring in viewing figures and therefore money, the basic aim of wrestling.

pro wrestling vocabulary club
pro wrestling vocabulary club


Drawing Power - The ability a wrestler has to draw buyrates, ratings, money and attendances based on his character, skill, look and charisma.

DUD - The bottom of the star ratings scale (unless the reviewer uses negative stars). A match given a DUD rating should be more or less of no value whatsoever.

Extreme - Seems to have hundreds of definitions in wrestling, the most common ones being the Jeff Hardy style of being extreme (i.e. jumping off things) and the ECW style of being extreme (i.e. hitting each other with things).

Face - See babyface.

Facials - Facial selling, the greatly under-rated and hugely important aspect of the whole selling shebang. Putting across emotions, pain, etc, via facial expressions.

False Finish - A spot which you'd expect to finish the match but the wrestler kicks out or makes it to the ropes, builds crowd excitement during the home stretch.

Fast Count - A heel tactic whereby a crooked ref counts the pinfall faster in an attempt to get the heel a cheap victory.

Feud - Basically dislike between two wrestlers that leads to a match.

Feud series - A series of matches between wrestlers or teams.

Filler - A match or skit that means nothing or very little and is only there to fill TV time.

Finish - The end of a match, or whatever ends a match.

pro wrestling vocabulary dojo
pro wrestling vocabulary dojo


Finisher - The move most regularly used by a wrestler to get the win in his/her matches.

Foreign Object - Chairs, tables, light tubes, thumbtacks, whatever. If it isn’t a body part then it's a foreign object.

Full House - A sold out facility.

Gaijin - Any none native worker wrestling in Japan.

Garbage Wrestling - Wrestling where being a moron replaces skill. Garbage wrestling involves punches, weapon shots and pretty much nothing else. It's called Garbage for a reason folks!

Generic offence - The same generic offence that everyone uses.

Gimmick - A wrestlers character, what bookers think will separate one wrestler from another. Gimmicks vary in wackiness and can make or break a career.

Gimmick Match - Any match that isn't straight or tag wrestling. Ladder matches, cage matches, etc, would all qualify as gimmick matches.

Going over - Winning the match or feud.

Gusher - Means bleeder, if someone calls a worker a great gusher it means they admire their blading abilities.

Hardcore - Wrestling with weapons, not the same as garbage wrestling as there’s occasionally a bit of actual wrestling involved.

Heat - The amount or type of crowd reaction a wrestler or a match gets.

pro wrestling vocabulary feud
pro wrestling vocabulary feud


Heat Vacuum - A phrase associated with workers who are not able to get any crowd reaction, either positive or negative.

Heel Corner - The heel corner of the ring in a tag match where the non active member of the heel team is waiting for the tag, the face will often be thrown here and abused by the heels.

High Spot - A high flying spot such as a moonsault.

Hold - Any grappling move.

Hoss - A term made famous by Jim Ross, used as shorthand for big guy with low workrate.

Hot Tag - The BIG tag towards the end of US tag match. The face having been beaten down in the heel corner crawls and dives heroically making the tag allowing his frustrated partner to come in and beat the hell out of the heels.

House - The number of fans that show up for an event.

House Show - A non-televised show run by a company.

Interpromotional - A match/feud/angle/show involving more than one promotion is interpromotional.

IWC - The Internet Wrestling Community.

pro wrestling vocabulary finish
pro wrestling vocabulary finish


Jakked up - See Juiced.

Job - To lose a match. When a wrestler takes a pinfall or submits he/she is doing the job.

Jobber - A performer who loses most (or all) of their matches and wrestles in a lower card position.

Jobber to the stars - A performer who goes over the jobbers but always loses to the main event stars and tends to put stars on the rise over, Tito Santana was the classic jobber to the stars.

Joshi Puroresu - Japanese Women's wrestling, always better than people think.

Juice - Simply an insider term meaning blood.

Juiced - To be on steroids or at least to look like it, If someone says someone looks "juiced to the max" they believe them to be on steroids.

Juniors - The Japanese word for Cruiserweights.

Kayfabe - The illusion that everything in wrestling is real, for wrestlers to only talk in character about feuds and never to let the crowd in on it being worked. Not as important today as it once was.

pro wrestling vocabulary finisher
pro wrestling vocabulary finisher


Kickout - Technically a wrestler fighting their way out of a pinfall by using their leg strength, now a generic term for any kind of escape from a pin attempt.

Light Heavyweight - The WWF's classification for Cruiserweights before they bought WCW.

Long Term Selling - The art of selling an injury throughout the match, by limping, being unable to complete moves, etc.

Look - The physical appearance of a wrestler, from looks to size to muscle mass to ringwear. A good look can get a worker an instant push.

Looking at the lights - Another word for jobbing, comes from the man being pinned looking upwards into the lighting.

Luchadora - A female Mexican wrestler.

Luchadore - A male Mexican wrestler.

Lucha Libre - Mexican Wrestling. Roughly translates to Free Fight.

Main Event - The match at the top of the card and the one the company hopes will draw the most fans to a show.

Mark  - A wrestling fan who isn't "clued up" and believes everything he/she sees to be real

pro wrestling vocabulary heel
pro wrestling vocabulary heel


Midcard  - Matches/wrestlers in the middle of the card, not main eventers, not jobbers.

Money Promo - A promo that's good and meaningful enough to draw buyrates in itself.

Monster Gaijin - A big foreign worker in Japan, Japanese crowds tend to be drawn to larger than life characters like Stan Hansen or Vader.

Monster Heel - A large heel that receives a push whereby it gets to destroy people (mostly jobbers) en route to being set up for a top card babyface encounter.

Monster Push - A huge push with a worker going over anyone and everyone on their way to a quick promotion to a run at the top of the card.

MOTYC - Match Of The Year Contender, a contender for the match of the year unsurprisingly Moveset. The list of moves that a wrestler uses in his/her matches, a moveset will include strikes, throws, holds and a finisher or two, A wrestler's moveset is vital to his success as a wrestler who has a dull moveset is unlikely to get anywhere, this is less of a problem in Japan where there is more crossover in the moves workers are allowed to use but in the US major leagues with their rigid movesets in can prove a problem.

Muta Scale - Used to rate the amount of blood a performer spills during the match, based around a famously bloody 1992 Great Muta Vs Hiro Hase match where Muta's bladejob was declared so gory that all bladejobs from that point on should be measured by it (1.0 Muta) which is why you'll hear people talking about bladejobs being 0.65 Muta.

Near Fall - A kickout at a two count, usually left as late as humanly possible.

No Selling - When a performer doesn't make it look like his opponents offence is hurting him, it's also possible to no sell one their own offence by not selling a missed elbow for example.

pro wrestling vocabulary luchadore
pro wrestling vocabulary luchadore


Over - The level of reaction a wrestler is able to get from the crowd. If he gets lots of noise he's over, if his arrival is greeted by silence he isn't.

Oversell - When a worker makes a move looks like it's hurting him way more than it should be, by over dramatising or taking too impressive a bump.

Pay Per View - A big company's money making avenue. Angles are built up on free TV to book major matches, which are then put on PPV for people to pay to see.

Phantom foreign object - An alleged foreign object that doesn’t actually exist but the audience is made to believe it does, often a heel will fiddle with his tights to give the illusion he's putting something in them/taking something out or keep touching hands with his manager to give the illusion that something is being passed between them.

Pillowstrikes - Strikes which look like they don't carry any impact in the slightest.

Pinfall - The 3 count that ends a match.

Plant - A member of the crowd paid by the company for whatever purpose, usually a local indy worker, often to get struck by a wrestler as part of an angle.

Playing Ricky Morton - A face getting sympathy by getting beaten on in the heel corner as the heels switch in and out and stop them getting a tag, used to build to a hot tag. Named after the role Ricky Morton often played in the Rock and Roll Express's matches.

Promo - A speech given by a wrestler/character in a kayfabe environment. The idea being that the worker is promoting his/her character.

Promoter - The man behind it all, who runs the company and takes it to towns in the hope of selling tickets etc, will often also be the booker.

Promotion - A wrestling company.

pro wrestling vocabulary midcard
pro wrestling vocabulary midcard


Psychology - The glue that holds wrestling together. The psychology of a match is in short the idea of a match, it can be as simple as going after someone's bad leg or trying to hit a move you know they have a weakness to, through to more complicated ideas like trying to get someone to loose their temper as they won't wrestle as smartly that way. Psychology when used right can make a good match great

Punt - Another word for kick. Usually used when the kick is particuarly stiff.

Puroresu - Japans pro wrestling

Push - A performer moving up the card or one in a higher card position is being pushed, It's basically pushing for acceptance (and therefore money) from the fan base).

Pyro - Pyrotechnics used at some point of a wrestlers act, usually their entrance.

Ramp - The elevated gangway to the ring used in most Japanese federations.

Rib - A joke practical or not at the expense of a performer.

Ring - The squared circle where the action takes place.

Ring Rust - An excuse for a wrestler not yet being back to his best after a prolonged absence from the ring.

Roided - See juiced.

pro wrestling vocabulary plant
pro wrestling vocabulary plant


Roids - A short term for Steroids.

Rope - The cables stretched between the turnbuckles.

 Rope Break - A worker crawling to and grabbing the ropes forcing their opponent to break their submission hold.

Rub - This is when top performer tries to get a lower card performer over by associating with them, usually not by jobbing but working a competitive match with them or allowing them to cut a promo on them or look good in an angle.

pro wrestling vocabulary worker
pro wrestling vocabulary worker


Rudo(s) - The Mexican term for heel(s), Heels are generally more pronounced in Mexico using tactics such as posing after hitting moves to draw cheap heat. Being a heel in Mexico can be a dangerous occupation as security there can be lax and Rudo's can find themselves being attacked by fans or even fighting their way out of full blown riots.

Run in - When a wrestler not involved in the match comes in and interferes he/she is running in.

Screwjob - When a match ends in such a way that you don't know who the better man really is (other than a draw of course) a screwjob is usually the heel winning by nefarious tactics, i.e. a chair shot behind the refs back or a beltshot.

Selling  - The art of making your opponents move and the emotion of the match seem real, selling is basically the art of looking hurt, pissed off or anything else that's supposed to come across, short term selling can be bumping hard for impacts or looking like your cartilage is being ripped from your bones in a submission, whereas long term selling can range from limping to sell an injury to showing emotion.

Shoot Comment - An unscripted comment a wrestler uses in a show, usually brought on by backstage politics.

Shoot Fight - A real fight.

pro wrestling vocabulary promoter
pro wrestling vocabulary promoter


Shoot Style - A worked match designed to look legit (more so than usual). Shoot style doesn't involve the use of unrealistic moves such as the irish whip and is generally based on the MMA style of fighting.

Slow count - A heel tactic done by a crooked ref who counts a pinfall slowly to give the heel a greater chance of kicking out.

Smark - A shortened term for Smart Mark.

pro wrestling vocabulary veteran
pro wrestling vocabulary veteran


Smart Mark - A fan who's clued up on the business and knows what's going on backstage via the dirtsheets, etc.

Sports Entertainment - The WWE coined term for the brand of wrestling/T & A/Shock angles that they show on their weekly TV shows.

Sportz Entertainment Finish - A typical WWE/WCW main event on free TV finish, a run in or a stable beatdown.

Spot - Any kind of move or situation can be a spot, as long as it's important to the match, it can be anything from a dive from a cage to a german suplex.

Spot (2) - A wrestlers position in the company and on the card.

pro wrestling vocabulary pyro
pro wrestling vocabulary pyro

pro wrestling vocabulary selling
pro wrestling vocabulary selling


Spotfest - A match that concentrates entirely on spots with very little thought given to stringing the spots together properly or making the match make any sense.

Spot Monkey - A limited worker who tends to only do spots in his matches without giving thought to the other aspects of wrestling, will tend to work spotfests.

Squash - A quick win for a performer, usually in impressive style with the worker doing the job getting little or no offence in.

Stable - An onscreen group of performers working as a team.

pro wrestling vocabulary undercard
pro wrestling vocabulary undercard


Staring at the ceiling - Another word for jobbing, comes from the man being pinned looking upwards.

Stalling - A heel tactic whereby anything is done to avoid wrestling, circling the opponent, grabbing the mic and cutting a promo on them and hiding in the corner and ducking away would all constitute as stalling tactics.

Star Ratings - A rating given by wrestling critics to gauge how good a match is ***** is an almost perfect match, **** is a great match and a MOTY contender, *** is a good match, ** is an average match, * is a poor match and DUD is a match of no value, quarter ratings are used to differentiate between matches, some critics will use minus (-) stars if they think a match is bad enough.

Stiff - When a worker is hitting hard or bumping hard he/she is working stiff.

pro wrestling vocabulary shootfight
pro wrestling vocabulary shootfight


Strikes - Punches, kicks, Elbows, Headbutts, Knees, any quick shot with a body part.

Submission - A move cranking a body part designed to get the opponent to tap out.

Submit - When a wrestler gives up ending the match.

Sucker Punch - A totally unexpected punch after one wrestler has lulled another into a false sense of security, usually with them facing the other way.

Swerve - When a  company goes to all efforts to make fans (or the net) believe something has happened/is going to happen and then changes the direction of the angle.

Tag - The hand slap between two workers that allows them to switch over in a tag match.

pro wrestling vocabulary squash
pro wrestling vocabulary squash


Tag Rope - A rope attached to a turnbuckle in some tag matches, the idea being that to make a legal tag you must be holding the tag rope with your other hand.

Taking a powder - A heel leaving the ring to stalk around the outside, usually after the face has gained an advantage.

Tap out - The usual method of submitting, the wrestler taps on the mat signifying he/she wants to quit.

Tecnico  - The Mexican term for face.

Token offence - The meaningless offence the worker doing the job gets in during a squash or an extended squash.

Transition - The way two wrestlers get from A to B in a match. A transition is a move used to get from spot to spot, like a spot it can be pretty much anything but it won't hold any major significance in the match result.

Turn - The transition from heel to face or from face to heel.

pro wrestling vocabulary stable
pro wrestling vocabulary stable


Turnbuckle - The metal ring holding the ropes together, padded initially, often used for heel tactics.

Tweener - A character who isn't quite a face and isn't quite a heel, designed to get booed or cheered depending on whom they work with.

Undercard - The lower card matches that begin a show.

Underdog - A wrestler that appears to have little or no chance going into a match

Valet - A (usually) good looking woman accompanying a wrestler to the ring.

pro wrestling vocabulary stalling
pro wrestling vocabulary stalling


Vocal Selling - Making moves sound like they hurt through screaming, shouting or whimpering.

Walk in - A joke term devised for Kevin Nash, basically a run in by someone too injured to run properly.

Work - Any faked match or Angle is a work.

Work (2) - When a wrestler is screwed over backstage by another they have been worked.

Worked Shoot - A faked match or angle that those involved go to any lengths to put over as real, often not telling fellow workers, dirtsheet writers or letting it out of their circle full stop, the Brian Pillman/Kevin Sullivan "Bookerman" incident was an example of this.

Worker - An Industry term for Wrestler.

Workrate - The level of performance a wrestler is able to put into his match/matches through a combination of talent and effort.

pro wrestling vocabulary threecount
pro wrestling vocabulary threecount


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The staging area just behind the curtain where wrestlers come out to the ring, named after Gorilla Monsoon. Green. Inexperienced. Refers to a wrestler who is in the early stages of their career and, as a result, may be prone to make mistakes because of their inexperience.
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