open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Dirty Pair have run into this a couple times (not surprising since they were inspired by a real-life tag team). One OVA has them investigated drug-use by fighters, with Kei entering the ring. A TV episode has them competing with an in-universe tag team to track down a shaggy-cat.
- Episode 3 of Heaven's Lost Property season 2. The gang participates in another festival at the Satsukitane shrine, but the theme this year is professional wrestling. With a ten million yen prize, Tomoki debuts as Mask Du Pants. Using ecchi wrestling holds and finishing moves, Tomoki advances easily through the tournament, and battles the Angeloids in a tag team elimination match. The finals pit him against Mikako in an electrified steel cage match. He gets the advantage until another masked wrestler, implied to be Sohara, interferes and delivers a devastating backbreaker on him. Afterwards, Mikako awards the prize to Tomoki, but he must fight for the World Title against Judas, who was the shooting range man from the previous year.
- Maicchingu Machiko Sensei had a few episodes centering around either pro-wrestling, school centered Olympic wrestling, or sumo wrestling. Naturally Kenta often use Defeat by Modesty tactics while wrestling women (two are school matches and one is a professional event). He does it to Machiko once. Later, he wrestles a blonde wrestler who doesn't seem to care much, averting this trope.
- The World God Only Knows. The 7th target, the student teacher, is a huge wrestling fan. Keima meets her at a wrestling event as part of the "conquest".
- Spider-Man's origin story involving him in the ring with Crusher Hogan.
- Thing from the Fantastic Four had issues dealing with his entry in a super-powered wrestling federation in both the FF series and his own self-titled series. This federation is called "Unlimited Wrestling Federation" and he is an undefeated champion.
- Issue #18 of The Powerpuff Girls (DC Comics, Oct. 2001) dealt with a monster caterpillar with a wrestling get-up. Blossom and Buttercup have to wrap it up in adhesive tape (Bubbles was too busy protecting a butterfly from getting its wings wet), which in turn transforms the caterpillar into a monster wrestling butterfly. Blossom and Buttercup get their clock cleaned by the winged beast—Bubbles runs away from home after the scorn heaped upon her for not participating earlier.
- An issue of Archie's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series featured the turtles traveling to another dimension where Ace Duck wrestles Leatherhead in a huge arena. They are quickly selected to participate.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Issue #29, we learn Cheerilee's twin sister Cherry Blossom is a pro wrestler when the heroes attend an event. When Cherry Blossom gets injured, they talk Cheerilee into taking over for her while she recovers. Rarity eventually joins her as her tag team partner. Before this, Cheerilee had issues with her sister and thought wrestling was barbaric, but then she learned that the wrestlers are good friends outside of Kayfabe and that Cherry Blossom does it to cheer up children.
- One Mickey Mouse Comic Universe story had Mickey investigate a traveling group of wrestlers for thefts happening in the towns they visited, finding both confirmation that the matches are scripted... And discovering that the wrestlers also have legitimate fighting skills. The bit about the skills is made clearer when the culprit, a rather skinny cruiserweight, is unmasked and a dozen cops try and arrest him expecting no resistance only for him to kick their collective asses until the other wrestlers (that Mickey had in the next room just in case) join the frame.
Films — Live-Action
- In the original book Forrest Gump, Forrest has a short wrestling career as "The Idiot" and wrestles wearing a diaper. Lieutenant Dan (as his manager) complains that he should be "The Spaceman" using the fact that he had previously been an astronaut; but the promoter says that they already have a Spaceman, and besides no-one would believe it.
- The Hardy Boys Casefiles had a book, Choke Hold that took place at a wrestling event.
- In Mama's Family episode "Mama Mania", Naomi fills in for the Tag Team partner of a former classmate of hers named Dee Dee, Naomi agrees when Dee Dee says she'd do all the wrestling. When Thelma accidentally knocks out Dee Dee, Thelma fights in her place. Thelma and Naomi win becoming Tag Team champions. The fact that the opponents were Dumb Muscle helped.
- Similar to the Mama's Family episode, Family Matters episode "Psycho Twins", Urkel and Carl take over for his former classmate and his tag team partner after they drink a potent soporific called "Snooze Juice" that Urkel carelessly left. Carl and Urkel (under the name the Psycho Twins hence the title) were facing real pro-wrestlers, the Bushwhackers, who offered to go easy on them. When Urkel revealed to them that Carl was a cop, the Bushwhackers (who hate cops) attacked them legitimately and started a fan-riot. Afterwards Carl and Urkel were heavily bandaged up. This has been inducted into WrestleCrap.
- Boy Meets World has "The thrilla in Philla" where class bully Frankie's father is pro-wrestler Vader. The episode starts as a collegiate wrestling rivalry between Corey and class-bully Joey. Until Vader shows up and he Joey and Frankie team up against Corey. Eric, Mr. Feeney and Mr. Turner come to his aid and get Vader to back off. Vader than say the next time he'll take on Feeney in a Texas Death Match.
- The show Learning the Ropes is about Robert Randall, a teacher, vice principal and father of two who moonlights as a pro wrestler named the "Masked Maniac". Several NWA wrestlers, including Ric Flair often guest star.
- The show Nikki stared Nikki Cox (of Unhappily Ever After fame) as Las Vegas showgirl living in Las Vegas with her husband, a professional wrestler. Suffice to say several episode were Pro Wrestling Episodes.
- Xena: Warrior Princess has at least two: one visited event and one Xena stages herself.
- Charmed had an episode involving not a show but a professional wrestling training program. The witches were challenged to take on Booker T and Scott Steiner in order to get...something. The best wrestling was in a cameo by Buff Bagwell.
- Night Man once went to a WCW event because one of his friends was an avid fan of new wrestler, the "Golden Boy".
- Angel has the Vampire Detective visit a lucha libre event with a retired wrestler who is so disgusted with the shows he never sits through the whole thing. The show in fact regularly holds tributes to the guy as Angel witnesses but he never stays long enough to see them honor him. The rest of the plot is more of a homage to El Santo and his film career (spent fighting gangsters, robots, vampires and other monsters).
- The main cast goes to see a Professional Wrestling event on That '70s Show which features modern wrestlers like The Rock playing his own father, Rocky Johnson(the Hardys had roles too). "Wrestling is Fake" is mentioned (though it wasn't common knowledge in the time period, Red is said to have wrestled himself in the past).
- Quantum Leap had a wrestling episode but as every episode has a different premise, it was probably inevitable.
- Zeke and Luther get themselves involved in a professional wrestling show.
- Married... with Children had two.
- Both featured a Bundy from the main cast getting manhandled by wrestlers at the show. One did it for money and the other got himself booked by accident. One of the wrestlers was said to be Peg's cousin and was played by King Kong Bundy.
- King Kong Bundy made an appearance as himself. The Bundys and their neighbors the Rhoades (Steve and Marcy) were named for King Kong Bundy and Dusty Rhodes. This was something of a parody of Growing Pains, where the main family, the Seavers, and their neighbors, the Koosmans, were named for New York Mets baseball players Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.
- On the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids TV show, Bret and Owen Hart come to the Szalinskis' hometown and get hurt accidentally by Diane and Chief McKenna. They ask Wayne and the chief to wrestle in their place because wrestling promoters "aren't very understanding" on why a match can't take place. Not only did they beat their opponents (due to Wayne's strength-enhancing suit and an abrupt redition of "Pop Goes the Weasel") but it turns out the opponents were escaped convicts. Particularly notable in that at the time Bret and Owen were wrestling for Arch-Rival Promotions WCW and WWF respectively. They were in the mist of the Monday Night Wars and didn't want the wrestlers fraternizing in any kind of way.
- On The Jeff Foxworthy Show, the episode "Wrestling Opera" had Jeff take his son to a night of pro wrestling to avoid a class trip to the opera. Randy Savage and WCW boss Eric Bischoff guest star.
- In the short-lived UPN show The Mullets, the Mullet brothers get tickets to "Wrestlemania" (but as shown, it's clearly just a WWE House Show, not actually Wrestlemania. They give the tickets to their mom, the former Mrs. Mullet, who is thrilled. Her new husband, not so much. The Dudley Boys appeared as themselves.
- Are You Being Served? has a Boxing Episode that turns into a Wrestling Episode. Captain Peacock is challanged to a boxing match, but has to back out, so Mr. Humphries takes his place in a wrestling match instead. The episode guest-stars British Wrestling legend Jackie "Mr. TV" Pallo.
- The Adventures of Superman: Superman foils the schemes of the Villain of the Week, who is out to cripple all the wrestlers in town whose contracts he doesn't own.
- Bonanza: Hoss accidentally hurts the wrestler in a travelling carnival and takes over the gig while the wrestler recuperates.
- Little House on the Prairie: In the 1979 episode "The King is Dead", the sport's early carny origins are exposed, although in the climactic scene the champion wrestler in this episode — an aging athlete suffering from heart failure — defeats a loudmouthed challenger using his own, legit athletic skills (putting the arrogant challenger in a legit bearhug and refusing to let go until the mouthy youngster passes out); he dies shortly after winning the match. The champion wrestler's manager, played by Ray Walston (of My Favorite Martian fame) is named Jimmy Hart ... the real name of a young musician who would become one of the best-known WWF personalities in the 1980s and 1990s.
- The Dick Van Dyke Show: at the end of an episode which is about the new song/dance craze The Twizzle (a combination of the Twist and the Sizzle), Sally comes in with a new version: the Twazzle, a combination of the Twizzle and wrestling. Done by "Classy" Freddie Blassie.
- The A-Team: The 1985 episode "Body Slam" starred Hulk Hogan in a plot that made heavy use of Hogan's wrestling career (including footage from a 1984 match vs. Greg "the Hammer" Valentine, presented as legit), and featured several WWF faces as un-billed extras in a scene where they fight off that episode's villains. In the segment featuring the Hogan-Valentine match, the ending is altered to show the bad guys entering the arena to confront and assassinate Hogan (don't worry, they're stopped in time).
- Bull from Night Court ends up getting a job as a wrestler for a very short time. Unlike most examples it actually pretty much poked kayfabe in the eye. Notable scenes include 'You came this close to hitting me!' with a wrestler holding his hands half a metre apart, and later a wrestler going through an actual script wondering why Bull's match isn't going the way it should.
- The episode, "Bash at the Beach" of Baywatch. Another WrestleCrap inductee. Go here for more information. It's too stupid to type out again.
- The Daily Show has had occasional appearances by The Hardcore Legend himself, Mick Foley, usually identified as the Daily Show's "Senior Asskicker".
- Cold Case: In "One Fall", the team reopens the case of a dock worker who was moonlighting as an indy-circuit wrestler until he was shot dead in 1986.
- Friends: "TOW the Ultimate Fighting Championship."
- A Monty Python special for Austrian TV (which is also on the Live At City Center album) features a wrestling match of Colin "Bomber" Harris vs. himself.
- My Name Is Earl episode B.L.O.W. centers around the titular wrestling promotion (a parody of GLOW) whom Joy's arch nemesis discovered to be half sister wrestles for as a baby face. Well, the promotion and the fact Joy is going to court and needs all the sympathetic family members she can find. Unfortunately her sympathetic sister isn't sympathetic to Joy.
- The Tales from the Darkside episode "Basher Malone". A popular wrestler is contacted by a sleazy manager type who offers his services. When he refuses, the manager reveals himself to be an agent of Hell, and forces the wrestler to face a hulking demon in a two out of three falls match, with his soul forfeit if he loses. The opponent demon gets stronger and heavier from negative feelings like pride and anger, giving him the advantage.
- An episode of The Drew Carey Show featured the main cast getting professional wrestler The Disciplinarian ( Triple H ) to sponsor their microbrewed beer. It only improves their sales after Disciplinarian quits drinking and claims this beer "kicked his ass".
- The Murdoch Mysteries episode "Crabtree Mania" has Constable Crabtree investigating a murder at a 1900s local wrestling stable, and being shocked to discover that the sport may in fact be faked. He ends up in the ring with a wrestler who is not faking, and only makes it out when his girlfriend hands him a folding chair...
- The Grimm episode "Silence of the Slams" is a luchador episode, with a Jobber who gets a Mask of Power made of the flayed face of a Wesen (with the magic ritual bringing out the Game Face), and finds that With Great Power Comes Great Insanity. The take is that wrestling is usually faked, but if a guy going off-script gets the crowd's approval, the management will roll with it.
- The Bionic Woman episode In This Corner sees her attempt to track down a missing OSI agent lead her to join a pro wrestling fed with a Savage Indian gimmick.
- The Beverly Hillbillies has at least a couple. The Rass'lin' Clampetts features the family trying to curb Granny's aggression by having her watch pro wrestling on television. However, Granny gets so angry watching a baby face "Rebecca of Donnybrook Farm" get cheated and beat up that she goes to storms off to the show to do something about it. Interestingly, pro wrestling is portrayed as a city activity the country folk are new to.
- CSI: In "Mascara", one of Ray's former students is murdered and the investigation plunges the team into the mysterious world of Mexican wrestling.
- The Simpsons Wrestling can be seen this way, considering it involves Monty Burns holding a wrestling tournament and several Springfield residents take part in it.
- One of the endgame story missions in Saints Row: The Third sees the Boss and Angel de la Muerte double-team the Dragon Ascendant Killbane in an over-the-top wrestling match aptly titled "Murder Brawl", complete with live commentary, ridiculous weapons, and massacring mooks with a chainsaw. The whole episode is justified in that Killbane's entire gang is composed of evil Masked Luchadors, so his power base can only be destroyed if he is defeated in a wrestling match by another pro wrestler (the original plan was for Angel to do this, but Killbane disables him, leaving it up to the Boss alone).
- Chapter 3 in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, while not wrestling, is set in the Glitz Pit, a stadium with a similar atmosphere, sense of showmanship, and spectator behavior.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: "Mr. Fabulous" sees Theodore entered into a pro wrestling match to earn some money. His opponent is called Ivan the Terrible and is initially mistaken for a scrawny guy (courtesy of an incompletely hung poster). The real Ivan is a hulking brute and Hilarity Ensues when it's time for the match.
- In the American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Ring Around the Dragon" Jake has to rescue a giant boy who is caught up in the King Extreme Wrestling League ("K.E.W.L."), Jake himself become a wrestler in his dragon from known as Dragonfire.
- The Animaniacs episode "Fake" has Dr. Scratchansniff takes the Warners to a wrestling event. The sibs are embarrassed to be there, partially because the match is fake. Scratchansniff, frustrated with trying to reasoning with them, yells that wrestling isn't fake. All anyone else heard was "Fake!" and one of the wrestlers dragged him into the ring where they beat him to a pulp. Only then does Yakko admit that wrestling may not be fake.
- The Atomic Puppet episode "Brawl-For-All". To pay off collateral damage, Joey and AP host a charity wrestling match against a retired wrestling champion who soon shows that he hasn't lost his fighting spirit and puts up quite a fight for the superhero duo, thanks to his Hulk-like abilities. At the end, it's revealed AP and their foe had staged the entire battle, true to pro wrestling.
- The episode "The Blind Bandit" from Avatar: The Last Airbender has the Gaang check out an underground earthbending tournament in hopes of finding Aang someone to teach him the art. The tournament, "Earth Rumble VI", is a blatant Affectionate Parody of pro wrestling with a championship belt, an Foreign Wrestling Heel, and an earthbender named The Boulder who speaks in the third person and is even voiced by a semi-retired pro wrestler. Half the plot has to do with the organizer and other "wrestlers" believing that the reigning champ (Toph) worked with Aang and threw a match so they could claim the prize money.
- Ben 10 gives us "Ready to Rumble" where Ben enters a mutant wrestling competition as Four Arms to win the prize money to get Gwen a new laptop. Ben won but gave up the money to those who truly needed it. But that's okay, it turns out the laptop was never broken.
- The Cars Toon Monster Truck Mater, where Mater actually tells Lightning McQueen that he was originally a monster truck named Tormentor who was able to take down other monster trucks like Ice Screamer, Captain Collision, Rastacarian, Doctor Feelbad, and Paddy O'Concrete all by himself, but during the final showdown against the champion, Doctor Frankenwagon and his Monster, he had to rely on his teammate Frightning McMean to defeat both Frankenwagon and the Monster.
- Darkwing Duck visits the arena for a charity wrestling event, reassured that wrestling is not 'real' by himself and Gosalyn (Launchpad still believed in kayfabe at that point). He is, of course, mauled while Launchpad has to help save him.
- The Dial M for Monkey short "Rasslor" had a powerful alien challenging the heroes of Earth to wrestle him. If they all failed, the Earth would be destroyed. Rasslor was voiced by professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Tag Yer Ed" has first Double D beat Plank in a singles match and then the Eds get completely dominated in a 3 on 3 tag team match against the Kanker Sisters (in some part because Ed's mom said he can't hit girls).
- The Fairly Oddparents episode "Odd Jobs" has Timmy wishing his dad had a cooler job. One of which was as a Pro Wrestler named the "Pencil Pusher".
- Futurama had a robot battle episode that was a spoof on professional wrestling, with all the standard cliches including the Foreign Wrestling Heel robot opponent. Fry believes wrestling from his time was real and boxing is fake.
- Goof Troop: One of Goof's friends is a chef who has a double life as a wrestler. He grew tired of it but was contract-bound to stay in the wrestling business until someone defeats him and wouldn't throw a fight. Once Pete realized this undefeated wrestler was the chef, he was sure wrestling was fake and tried to fight him. By luck (depending on your P.O.V.), Pete won and now was bound to keep fighting until someone defeats him.
- The final episode of Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch!, "King Klong Vs. The Masked Marvel," had the bears entering Bananas the gorilla in a wrestling match offering a $500 prize to whoever defeats the Masked Marvel. Botch, the incompetent assistant to zookeeper Mr. Peevly, becomes the Masked Marvel when the real one comes down with measles. Bananas wins the fight but loses the money because there was no Animal Athlete Loophole in this match.
- Among the first episodes of Jackie Chan Adventures was when Jackie and Jade travel to Mexico where Jackie is placed into a wrestling match (technically lucha libre) against El Toro Fuerte, a wrestler who had won all of his matches, who soundly defeats him...this is Jackie Chan we are talking about. Throughout the episode, it is common knowledge with Jade and the Dark Hand enforcers that wrestling is fake, much to Paco (El Toro's biggest fan) disbelief. They turn out to be correct when it is discovered that El Toro used the Ox Talisman, which gives one super strength, to win his wrestling matches.
- The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "The Masked Jackhammer" has Jimmy become the co-star of Miseryville's biggest titular wrestling star. Hilarity Ensues.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 62, Mr. Cat sets up a wrestling match and goes up against Quack Quack. He almost wins, but Eugly beats the tar out of him for hurting Quack Quack.
- Kim Possible does this in "Pain King vs. Cleopatra", which not only had Bill Goldberg and the late Andrew "Test" Martin as voices, but also served as the debut episode for Monique, Kim's best girl friend.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: "Has-been Hero" has both Po and Quan the Unkillable use pro wrestling moves, including a vertical suplex and the Stone Cold Stunner.
- Looney Tunes:
- Mr. Magoo cartoon "Hotsy Footsy", in which Magoo wanders away from a dancing competition and into the wrestling arena next door and defeats the champion with his fancy footwork.
- The Powerpuff Girls had "Impeach Fuzz," in which the Mayor loses his job as Mayor of Townsville to Fuzzy Lumpkins. When Fuzzy puts on the Mayor's prized hat, the two fight it out in a wrestling ring.
- In the Regular Show episode "Really Real Wrestling," Mordecai and Rigby were trying to get tickets to see a live pro wrestling event; Pops got the tickets, but Benson told them to watch Pops after Rigby accidentally injured him. The two and Pops while injured sneaked out to go to the event, only for them to end up actually participating in the main event, where Pops ended up winning because Four-Armageddon slammed his hip back into place.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show, episode "Mad Dog Hoek". It mocked the notion of "wrestling is fake" by having Ren and Stimpy get absolutely clobbered until the other side's watch alarm goes off, at which point one says "Hey, buddy! It's time to throw the fight!", at which point they promptly drop to the mat, leaving the barely conscious Ren and Stimpy to be declared the winners.
- The Rugrats episode "Wrestling Grandpa", being mostly from the babies' POV, has this trope in spades.
- This shows up twice in Scooby-Doo: first in the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode "Wrestle Maniacs" and later in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode also called "Wrestle Maniacs".
- The movie Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, set at Wrestlemania and featuring dozens of WWE wrestlings as guest stars.
- Even though The Simpsons has referenced wrestling several times before (including having Bret Hart visit Mr. Burns' house), there was no full episode devoted to wrestling until "Gorgeous Grampa". Grampa Simpson confronts his past as Springfield's most reviled pro-wrestler, especially when Bart begins following in his footsteps.
- "WTF", an episode of South Park, has the kids get really into wrestling after seeing Edge and John Cena. They don't really care about wrestling so much as for Chewing the Scenery and bathos. This is presented as better than the alternative, though — at the end of the episode, a real fight breaks out between all the boys. This causes everyone in the stands to get up and leave, as the clumsy, unchoreographed brawl is idiotic and boring.
- The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Pildriver" (Season 6, 1997). Although not taking place at a wrestling event, the episode was very wrestling-centric, mainly due to the fact that the episode guest-starred "Macho Man" Randy Savage as Space Ghost's retired wrestler grandfather, Leonard Ghostal.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Krusty Krushers, which has Mr. Krabs entering SpongeBob and Patrick a wrestling match to defeat the two undefeated wrestlers in order to win money.
- Steven Universe:
- In "Tiger Millionaire", Steven finds that Amethyst is involved in Beach City's local pro wrestling circuit as the notorious "Purple Puma" as a way to blow off steam. Steven gets in on the act, but takes his role as the eponymous Heel Tiger Millionaire too far when he snubs his lone fan Lars.
- In "Tiger Philanthropist", Amethyst gives up wrestling because, thanks to recent Character Development, she no longer needs it as an outlet for her frustration. Steven tries to retool his Tiger Millionaire persona as "Tiger Philanthropist" because of how much Lars enjoyed seeing him wrestle, but he finds Lars doesn't like the direction Steven's taken his wrestling persona.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, Pro Wrestling has become a legit sport. However, being from the past, Raphael is unaware of this and treats it like it's all a show, at least until he gets his shell kicked by a disgruntled wrestler, Tripple Threat, who becomes a recurring villain.
- The Teen Titans Go! episode "Oh Yeah!" is this with the Titans wanting to be over the top wrestlers. Robin is the Deadly Dandy, Beast Boy is the Wild Man, Starfire is The Yeller and Raven is The Grave Mistake.
- In the Time Squad episode, "Ludwig Von Bone-Crusher" Tuddrussel becomes "The Law Man" and competes with various music composer turned wrestling stars in order to eventually get the chance to defeat Beethoven, the champion of Vienna's wrestling circuit.
- Uncle Grandpa has "The History of Wrestling", with special guest star Ric Flair.