Backyard wrestling is an offshoot of Professional Wrestling
, with one major difference: it's often not done with professionals. Often the creation of a few overenthusiastic wrestling fans and Spot Monkeys
, this sport emphasizes Kayfabe, Big Spots and Garbage Wrestling
. Several notable pro wrestlers, including The Hardy Boys and Rob Van Dam
, got their start in backyard wrestling, but official word from WWE
and other organized promotions is to discourage the practice (due to liability reasons) and not recognize tapes of backyard wrestling as training.
The whole phenomenon gained popularity during the Monday Night Wars and was due in no small part to Mick Foley
's "Dude Love" video, where he leaped off a roof.
This game has nothing to do with the Backyard Sports
Although all backyard wrestling is different, the practice as a whole commonly contains examples of:
- A Darker Me: A staggering number of gimmicks in backyard wrestling is pretty much just a guy in black clothes who does flashy dangerous moves.
- Ascended Fanboy: To name a few, Nobuhiko Takada, CM Punk, the Hardy Boyz, Shannon Moore, Bryan Danielson, Mick Foley, Eddie Guerrero, New Jack, Hiroshi Tanahashi, even the Insane Clown Posse and Hard Gay all have their roots in backyard wrestling. The "ascended" part comes from them "going legit" and being professionally trained afterwards.
- Affectionate Parody: Some leagues have gimmicks that parody established wrestlers and teams.
- Cerebus Syndrome: In 1980s, the big trends in pro wrestling were the cartoonish World Wrestling Federation, the technical wrestling displayed in direct defiance of the WWF and camp that poked fun at the state of the industry. Backyard antics were a lot less dangerous then, so while there was insistence on being legitimately trained before wrestling professional matches, wrestling in the backyard for fun was seen as okay. Then the 1990s brought the rise of brutal striking and submissions, as mixed martial arts were starting to take off, WCW struck gold with the New World Order, ECW brought ultra violence never before seen on national television aired outside Puerto Rico or Japan while the WWF found new "attitude". Backyard bouts became increasingly violent and the stance changed to don't even think of wrestling in a backyard.
- Do Not Try This at Home: One of the main reasons these disclaimers are shown on wrestling programs.
- Mr. Fanservice: Every backyard league has the good looking pretty boy with the long hair.
- Fan Nickname: More like Fan Hater nickname. The very derogative "yard tard"
- Follow the Leader: A sad amount of gimmicks and storylines are recycled from things WWE, WCW and TNA did before. They also tend to follow trends of the larger promotions. Garbage tending to die down in the yards if there have not been any major garbage matches on TV and picking back up when they are, for example
- Genre Shift: Sometimes an entire backyard fed "goes legit", such as CZW, which even had a temporary relationship with the National Wrestling Alliance.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Generally how one gets into backyard wrestling is from watching WWE on TV or something along those lines and being inspired by the whole thing. Backyarders may or may not be interested in "going pro". Some may just want the experience of wrestling without actually choosing it as a profession or spending time and money in a wrestling school.
- Love It or Hate It: Oh yes.
- Old Shame: The Ascended Fanboys mentioned above are generally believed to regret their backyard experiences and try to discourage potential wrestlers-to-be from engaging in the practice. In particular, CM Punk's departure from backyard wrestling ended up stopping him and his brother from being on speaking terms. Many former backyard wrestlers go so far as to become trainers specifically to help stop other aspiring professional wrestlers from doing backyard stuff.
- Playing with Fire: Inferno matches are very popular in backyard wrestling.
- Rooftop Confrontation: Disturbingly persists, despite being a consistent source of injuries.
- Small Name, Big Ego: An unfortunately common event in backyard wrestling is for some backyarders to hold themselves in higher regard than even trained wrestlers, the causes for such egos are varied.
- Spear Counterpart: Both genders do both, but backyard wrestling is considered such to the more private phenomenon of "apartment wrestling", since most of its participants are female. Apartments gained national attention first, despite their more private nature, because The Fabulous Moolah had her students pose for Cat Fight pictures in apartment rooms for Bill Apter's magazine during the 1970s.
- Special Effects Failure: Justified since backyard leagues rarely have the money for impressive shows, even by indie standards. Most of them have only Windows Movie Maker to work with.
- Where It All Began: Falls count anywhere matches ending up in a backyard is a rare but amusing occurrence. Matt and Jeff Hardy explicitly invoked when their TNA feud culminated in "The Final Deletion", a match filmed entirely in a backyard.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Just TRY and count how many backyard wrestling leagues have the letter X in their name, JUST TRY.