The book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Professional Wrestling is filled with this type of error, leading many smarks to claim it's "by complete idiots, for complete idiots". As just one example, the real name of wrestler The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) is given as Rocky Melvin, and Owen Hart's finishing move is said to be a dropkick. Surprisingly, late wrestler and wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano was one of the co-authors (the other was boxing expert Bert Sugar); however, as anybody who met Albano in person or seen him on TV will attest, he was a real life cloudcuckoolander, so it's not all that shocking that he could screw things up this badly. There was a second edition of the book that updated some information and corrected some of the errors but only replaced those with new ones.
Following the Chris Benoit murders in 2007, The Today Show did a report on wrestlers who died young. One of the reports said that Owen Hart died from a heart attack. For the uninitiated, Owen actually fell to his death while preparing for an entrance that would see him rappelling from the rafters into the ring at a pay-per-view event. It's only by sheer coincidence that Owen's death wasn't seen on TV because the WWF aired a backstage interview during the moment that it happened. It was a major news story and you'd think that it might stick out enough for them to get the cause of death right, but apparently not. On that same broadcast, they broadcasted Owen's face on The British Bulldog's profile.
Also, Nancy Grace mentioned something about Benoit "being demoted from the Four Horsemen to Raw". The Horsemen, of course, were a stable that broke up once and for all in 1999, and Raw is WWE's top brand. Here's the actual quote:
Nancy Grace: "Mr. [Bret] Hart, question. Regarding [Chris Benoit's] career, I know that he had gone from the elite, one of the Four Horsemen, down to Raw. And that's a little bit of a demotion. How badly do you think he took that?"
Grace also featured a list of wrestlers who died of drug induced and/or non-accidental causes during one of her shows. The list not only included the aforementioned Owen Hart, but also Bruiser Brody (who was killed although his killer claimed self-defense and was acquited on those grounds), Marianna Komlos (a.k.a. Mrs. Cleavage), who died of breast cancer and had never wrestled in a match, Junkyard Dog and Joey Marella (who both died in car accidents), and André the Giant, who died of heart failure, caused by his Acromegaly (Gigantism).
Grace mentioned several of these names again (updated to include guys like Chris Candido, who died of a blood clot following leg surgery, and referee Mark Curtis, who died of stomach cancer) while covering the death of The Ultimate Warrior whom she claimed was a "Top WWE Superstar" at the time of his death, less than 72 hours after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, an honor for which he appeared on WWE television for the first time in years.
One of the heads of The CW shortly after the Benoit murders claimed that her network wouldn't be troubled by it because "Benoit was never featured on SmackDown". Apparently she never watched her own programming, as Benoit had been part of the SmackDown brand for two years before being drafted to the ECW brand, and for several years prior to a jump to Raw (when The CW was still UPN).
Former WWE play-by-play commentator Mike Adamle is a former commentator for this exact reason. His very first night on the job, he referred to Jeff Hardy as "Jeff Harvey", and, after he was assigned to WWE's ECW brand, made a habit out of referring to his partner, Tazz, as "The Tazz", among other gaffes that showed that he really didn't know a thing about WWE or wrestling in general. The latter, by the way, was a running gag in WWE right up until Tazz left the company, despite the fact that Adamle was wished well in his future endeavors long before Tazz was.
Muhammad Hassan was a controversial wrestler whose gimmick was that, despite being a born-and-raised American, being of Middle Eastern descent saw him face racism of all kinds on a nearly daily basis following 9/11. In 2005, as part of one of Hassan's last appearances on WWE programming, he called forth a group of men dressed in ski masks to attack The Undertaker (a segment which had the misfortune of airing on the same day as an actual terrorist attack). In response to the backlash (besides the usual "It was only a 'terrorist attack' because I'm of Middle Eastern descent" defense), Hassan took things a step further and, in an in-ring promo, attacked a writer at The New York Post for an article in which "Undertaker attacked by Arabs in ski masks" was written. Hassan said of the article: "They were in ski masks! How does he know they were Arab?" As Hassan effectively made that writer and The New York Post as a whole sound like a bunch of racist bastards, fans seemed to actually take his side... until he intimated that the article proved his point: all Americans hate Middle Easterners (which garnered Hassan a massive amount of heel heat). After that speech, UPN (the network that carried SmackDown! at the time) demanded that WWE take Hassan off TV. WWE did this, and following his final match (talked about below), he and his manager Daivari were sent down to developmental territories, where Hassan was eventually released. Many fans believed The New York Post influenced UPN's decision and really were (or still are) the racist bastards Hassan called them out to be.
What makes things worse is that Hassan was massively over as a heel, and while his in-ring skill wasn't the greatest, he was improving over time; this actually led him to get a #1 Contender's Match for the World Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker at The Great American Bash in 2005. Originally, he was scheduled to win that match and go up against Batista at SummerSlam, WWE's second biggest pay-per-view of the year. But when the pressure from UPN forced Hassan off of television, Hassan was booked to lose the match and never appeared on WWE programming ever again, which infuriated many fans who actually liked Hassan. And for what it's worth, all of the "terrorists" were portrayed by the company's (caucasian) jobbers.
It's also worth noting that Mark Copani (Hassan) was so disgusted by all this that he retired from wrestling immediately following his release, trying his hand at screenwriting and acting and eventually becoming a schoolteacher. He wouldn't even appear at another wrestling-related event for nearly five years — and even then it was alongside (and probably because of) his good friend and former manager Daivari. To put it in perspective: when The Rock kept WWE and wrestling as a whole at arm's length for seven years in order to establish himself as an actor, he was decried by certain wrestling fans and current WWE talents as a sellout. This guy said to hell with this, only briefly resurfaced five years later at an indie event, and most people are completely sympathetic to him because the politics which killed his once-promising young career were just that obscene.
In a Time web article on bad corporate name changes, WWE was given a spot thanks to its tiff with the World Wildlife Fund. Not head-banging, yet. But then the author said of the reason Linda McMahon gave: "The comment didn't do much to stamp out persistent rumors that the fights are rigged — but hey, at least she was honest." Not head-banging in 1969, maybe, but in 2009...
A college professor got Al Snow's action figure banned from Wal-Mart after interpreting the Head accessory as a metaphor for spousal abuse. The real story is that back in ECW, Cactus Jack told him to get some head in order to get ahead; Snow took this advice literally and started carrying around a mannequin head (more specifically, a styling dummy, the type of mannequin head beauty school students use to practice on before moving up to real people's hair).
Sent up in Botchamania, where the commentators will note certain match stipulations (title switches, locations, etc.) as being first time appearances. These are immediately followed by contradictory evidence. Michael Cole is infamous for these "Make Up Facts! Sound Smart!" moments.
Jeremy Piven hosted Raw alongside Ken Jeong. He referred to SummerSlam as "SummerFest".
A lot of the guest hosts who clearly don't know anything about wrestling were guilty of this. Sharon Osbourne referred to Kofi Kingston as "Coby" at the beginning of the night.
During Hollywood Hogan's original New World Order run, Mike Tenay referred to his Jimi Hendrix entrance music ("Voodoo Child") as "Voodoo Chili". To elaborate: Hendrix had a song called "Voodoo Chile" which was kind of a studio blues jam, then later took part of that and adapted it into the more conventional "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." The latter song was Hogan's entrance music. Tenay not only got the wrong song, but the wrong pronunciation (though many do say Chile as chili).
Once on CNN's Capitol Gang show, Margaret Carlson, a respected political journalist, called The Rock "a white skinhead hateful wrestling guy." The Rock is half-black, half-Polynesian (admittedly of a skin tone able to pass for "well tanned"), and at the time was not bald. Apparently no one informed her of this, because a week later she was in the pages of Time Magazine writing that The Rock was "anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, with language so coarse and vulgar that I can't repeat it here."
When reviewing WWE Money in the Bank 2010, one journalist said of the Divas' Championship match, "typical diva match, Alicia wins by cheating, let's move on". He clearly did not watch the match because what made the match stand out was the fact that Alicia Fox won cleanly without cheating.
During the Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly match on the "Power to the People" episode of Raw, Michael Cole constantly referred to Kelly as a "former champion hoping to regain her title tonight". And after the match Kelly cut a tearful promo about winning her first title.
TNA's Velvet Sky spoke in a interview about how happy she was to be in a company that didn't stick her in bra and panties matches, trying to take a shot at WWE. Except WWE has not had a bra and panties match since 2007 and what does Velvet do the Impact! after the interview? Get publicly stripped to her underwear during a segment.
A recurring goof in anything that parodies wrestling: there will almost certainly be a move incorrectly referred to as a "body slam". Suplex? BODY SLAM. Flying splash? BODY SLAM. Clothesline? BODY SLAM.
For the uninitiated, a body slam (more commonly referred to as a "scoop slam" in modern WWE) is a specific wrestling move and doesn't just generically refer to someone getting slammed. This error even happens in wrestling via commentary member Michael Cole (who is no stranger to messing up his calls), where he frequently refers to Randy Orton's signature snap powerslam as a scoop slam.
Something similar comes up in discussions of WCW, as commentator Tony Schiavone was known to call a lot of different moves as a "sidewalk slam". Thus, it was a common joke among Smarks that every move is a sidewalk slam to Schiavone.
Spanish TV was guilty of this during its short broadcasting of Michinoku Pro Wrestling in 2007. The commentators (who evidently didn't have a clue about the business and treated the show more like a carnival than a wrestling show) unceasingly listed as "Michinoku Driver" virtually each flashy move featured in the matches, like hurricanranas and suicide dives. Amusingly enough, the real Michinoku Driver (a double underhook brainbuster) has never been used in M-Pro since the '90s.
This appears to be bizarrely common in Spanish sport TV, as shown in the last World Judo Championship. Again, the commentators labelled every move (even non-throwing ones) as an "uchi mata", which is a very specific judo throw.
During the infamous Heroes of Wrestling pay-per-view in 1999, Randy Rosenbloom incorrectly called the dropkick the "flying leg kick" and the "leg drop".
When WWE held a press conference to officially announce that WrestleMania 29 would be in New Jersey, New York Post writer Phil Mushnick (who previously criticized wrestling in 1997 and got promptly chewed out on WWE television by Jim Cornette in a shoot) wrote an article about it filled with inaccuracies, such as suggesting that Dwayne Johnson "resurrect that bit when he smacks a male wrestler over the head with a chair, then smacks a female wrestler over the head with a chair, and they both pass out, face-down, in each other’s crotches, simulating simultaneous oral sex — while The Rock winks and smiles."... He almost got it right, if he was referring to The Rock and Lita vs. Triple H and Trish Stratus match in an episode of Raw in 2000. However, the female wrestlers didn't receive a chair shot during the match.
Within wrestling itself (similar to the "body slam" example above) there are an unusually large number of commentators and columnists who don't know the difference between a headscissor takedown, Hurricanrana and Frankensteiner and will use the two interchangeably. For the record:
Headscissor takedown. Though if you want to get technical, a headscissor takedown is when the attacker jumps straight up, applies a headscissor to the defender and rolls him to the mat. The more commonly seen spinning version is a flying headscissor takedown. To make it worse, some commentators now call the move a "headscissors." A headscissors is a wear-down submission hold, not a flying move or takeover of any kind.
Hurricanrana. The Hurricanrana is specifically only the move where the attacker flips straight backwards and takes the defender over into a pin. If the attacker swings to the side, it's a headscissor takedown variant. Diving and corner variations exist but the positioning remains the same. The move was named after luchador Huracán Ramírez. Also, it was spelled huracarrana for years, until the "Hurricanrana" spelling became so prevalent it became accepted.
Frankensteiner. Named by Scott Steiner, who brought the move to popularity in the late '80s and early '90s. The Frankensteiner is almost identical to the Hurricanrana, but is traditionally sold as an impact maneuver with the opponent's head and neck being driven into the mat, as opposed to a the Hurricanrana which is more of a fancy pinning combination.
One Diva Dirt writer took this to a new low by referring to a Victory Roll as a "reverse Frankensteiner". Even more egregious since the Victory Roll was around for decades before the Frankensteiner was even invented, and because there actually is a reverse Frankensteiner.
Editors of wrestling books, even if the authors know better, love changing text into saying WCW stands for World Class Wrestling as opposed to the correct World Championship Wrestling. Why? Who knows.
For some reason, when Diamond Dallas Page's yoga series started getting media attention, a lot of media types called him "Dallas Diamond Page."