Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Professional Wrestling Terminology
Are there words or phrases you hear in professional wrestling or from wrestling fans that you are not sure what they mean? Well, hopefully this article will clear a few of them up for you. Now, I know there will be some words and phrases here that are very simple and most of you will know what they all are but believe it or not, there are some who will not know what the words mean until they read this article. In any event I hope you will find it a fun as well as informative article to read.
KAYFABE- Let’s start with one of the most popular wrestling terms in recent years. Kayfabe is basically a pro wrestling code of ethics. It means simply to be in character around outsiders of the business. Kayfabe is from an old carnival term called Kay Fabian. Kay Fabian was a name used by carnies when they called home after arriving at a new location. They would call collect and when the operator asked for their name, the carnie would say Kay Fabian and when the person being called heard the name, they would deny the charges but know that their loved one or friend arrived safely. It was a code and used to beat the collect call prices on the phone bill.
SHOOT- A “shoot” is something that happens outside of “Kayfabe” and is not part of the storyline in pro wrestling. A famous example of a shoot is the infamous “Montreal Screw Job” in which Bret Hart lost his title to Shawn Michaels without being pinned or submitting. It happened at the 1997 Survivor Series in Montreal. Vince McMahon knew Bret Hart was leaving the WWE for another organization and he was going to make sure that he didn’t leave the WWE as the champion. Shawn Michaels put Bret Hart in the “Sharp Shooter” submission hold and Vince McMahon ordered the bell to be rung and had the referee declare Shawn Michaels the winner and the new champion. It is unsure whether Michaels had any knowledge of what was going to happen.
Dark Match – A dark match is a match at a televised event that is not televised.
Blading – When a wrestler cuts himself with something he has concealed on his body. Usually a small razor blade or a small sharp piece of metal that he has in his taped wrists or in his boot or trunks somewhere.
Foreign Object – Something brought into the match to gain an advantage or a victory for a wrestler. It is usually something small like brass knuckles or anything that is easily hid on a wrestler’s person. In the mid 90’s, the WCW made fun of all the political correctness that was running wild in the country at the time and called it an “International Object”.
SMARK – A smark is a “smart mark”. Someone who knows what goes on behind the scenes of professional wrestling but still enjoys watching the events.
SELL – When a wrestler “grimaces” or screams out in pain or writhes around on the ring like he or she is really hurt after having a move performed on them.
NO SELL – When a wrestler stops “selling” the move because he or she gets a second wind and comes back in a match. Hulk Hogan made this famous. After being hit in the head a couple of times, he would have a type of angered look on his face, and block the next punch and then start delivering some clubbing blows of his own.
Well there they are. Some of the most used terms in professional wrestling that you may or may not know the meanings of.