~ Steve Allen, The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestlingnote The sentence "The punk rockers will battle the mountain men" was said over a clip of the Tag Team the Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher), whose gimmick centered around Heavy Metal, not Punk Rock.
"To those who believe in the beauty of professional wrestling, nothing needs to be said. For those who don't appreciate wrestling, nothing could be said to change their minds."
~ Vince McMahon
Professional Wrestling, as the term is understood today, is a form of scripted "sports entertainment" in which athletes face off in loosely choreographed matches with pre-determined outcomes, in a manner resembling a type of freestyle combat loosely based on Greco-Roman wrestling. Modern professional wrestling derived from "Lancashire catch-as-catch-can", a grappling style developed by carnival promoters in late 19th century Britain, which soon gained popularity in America as a legitimate form of athletic competition. By the early years of the 20th century*
It's impossible to know exactly when wrestling started being worked because of the highly secretive nature of kayfabe in the early years; Frank Gotch, who was world champion from 1908 to 1913, is generally considered to have won and defended his title legitimately, while other sources suggest fights had been rigged as early as 1870, and worked matches devolving into legitimate fights were a common occurrence as late as the 1970s
, the sport had evolved into a "work" where the winners of bouts were determined ahead of time by the organizers. From this arrangement, a system gradually evolved of numerous territorial wrestling leagues across the US, cooperating under the auspices of the National Wrestling Alliance (which the WWE, WCW, ECW, and pretty much any other wrestling league worth mentioning all were affiliated with at one point), which sponsored the world championship and other titles, picked the champions, and arranged for the top talent from the territories to go on tour and gain national exposure. In 1963 the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, once the NWA's New England territory, split from the group, rechristened itself the Worldwide Wrestling Federation (later the WWF/WWE), and over the following decades expanded on a national scale to create the wrestling industry as it exists today.
Pro wrestling is usually full of concepts from different types of shows. Each match is roughly choreographed (though not usually in much detail since wrestlers don't have much rehearsal time, let alone for whole matches, given that they wrestle twenty-eight days per month on average—many of a match's details will be improvised). World Wrestling Entertainment's programs remind one of nothing so much as a Soap Opera for guys, complete with all the emotion, melodrama, and occasional comic relief that the phrase implies. Other organizations, such as Ring Of Honor, strive for a more gritty, realistic presentation, but still incorporate many soap opera elements.
The history of pro wrestling is a bit convoluted; until the late '80s/early '90s, promoters claimed that wrestling was a legitimate sport, and attempted to hide the fact that it was scripted at all costs. The truth is the performances are as standardized and stylized as Japanese Kabuki theatre, or Commedia dell'Arte — each match is a miniature set piece, using stock characters, "plots" and "twists". This has become more obvious in recent years with the increased sense of theatre provided by the major promoters and programs. As more and more wrestling fans grew wise to the fact that wrestling was scripted and choreographed, promoters had no choice but to reveal the secret that everybody already knew by that point anyway. Vince McMahon went so far as to televise a speech on an episode of Monday Night Raw, in which he promised to "stop insulting (fans') intelligence" and referred to Raw as an "action-adventure" series.
All wrestling organizations will have a "booker", or person who decides which wrestlers are going over on any given "card" or event. The larger wrestling organizations will have full booking teams, made of bookers (who help wrestlers lay out the matches) and scriptwriters (who tell the bookers the companies' long-term goals with the storylines). These are often called the "creative teams", or simply just "creative" (as in "Creative has no ideas for your character at the moment"). Booking wrestling matches and storylines is a difficult skill; most of the boom times for wrestling can largely be accounted for through good booking of matches. Poor booking can be disastrous: WCW was literally destroyed through terrible creative decisions, first under the stewardship of Vince Russo and a few others, then through the WWE's terrible "Invasion" vanity trip.
However, as many Sitcom plots (and Botchamania) have implied, Professional Wrestling is very real in the sense that mistimed inexperience can leave someone seriously injured. Professional wrestlers are like stuntmen; they're acting out a scene, but physically, and with the chance of injury, not to mention they get no second takes. And whatever you may have heard, they do hit each other, although their moves are generally designed to seem much more devastating than they are, and they avoid harm whenever they feasibly can without it looking too obvious. A professional wrestler literally puts his life in his opponent's hands several times in a single match; the slightest misstep could result in a broken bone, a broken neck, paralysis, possibly even death. Don't Try This at Home.
If you see a word you don't understand, it may be helpful to refer to these links:
For a guide to how to effectively book a match see here
If you see an unfamiliar name, it's very likely that it is a famous wrestler's real name or earlier persona. It's easier to just use the search function at the other wiki rather than try to use a list. As a general rule, the wrestler's most famous persona will be used instead of their real name, although different fans will have a different opinion as to which persona was the most famous, and then to add to the confusion, the WWE/F has the annoying habit of trademarking a wrestler's name so that the wrestler can't use it after they leave the promotion.
Sadly, this is starting to become true as of late, as professional wrestlers nowadays seem to have very short lifespans. Prior to drug testing (which was implemented after one such death), wrestling has had a number of high-profile deaths that seem to come out of nowhere, most notably Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. Certainly fans are now conditioned to expect any wrestler to die at any time.
Jim Cornette's opinion on the reasons for this can be listened to here and here.
Given that there are a ton of people that have worked in the pro wrestling business, young wrestler deaths are only slightly disproportionately more common than for other sports and physical labor occupations. While drugs and steroids have certainly taken more wrestlers than they should have, there are just as many wrestlers from when the territorial system was at its peak (and there were a lot more wrestlers than there are now) who die naturally in their 70s and beyond.
To their credit, the WWE has worked hard in making their company more safe, from eliminating chair shots to the head (which wrestlers like Shelton Benjamin have stated can cause headaches for up to a week) to a stricter drug policy.
According to WWE themselves, Triple H and The Undertaker (two of their biggest names) were both fined after Triple H hit 'Taker in the head with a chair during their match at Wrestle Mania XXVII. To put this in perspective, at the time of that event, Triple H was an executive vice president in the company as well as the son-in-law of the owner while Undertaker was their most veteran performer with among the largest amounts of influence. So they took the health of their performers so seriously, they were willing to fine people that would be otherwise untouchable and who they would otherwise be adverse to insulting.
Much like the blood at WrestleMania 13 (which was intentional) the shots added a drama to the match that may not have been there otherwise. Used at the right time these things create drama and tension, used wrongly and your audience doesn't care....
After the recent passing of Randy Savage a report was put out that showed over 25% of performers from WrestleMania VII in 1991 were dead. At 58, Randy Savage had lived over 10 years longer than the other deceased.
Pick a wrestler who named a famous pro-wrestling event as the reason he got into the business: e.g., Mick Foley or Edge.
Edge was named "Most Likely to be WWF Champion", was in the audience at WrestleMania VI, and won a training camp to become a wrestler by writing an essay. It was destiny.
HHH deserves extra special mention. He went from diehard fanboy to WCW jobber to breakout WWE Superstar to marrying the boss' daughter, and if Shane McMahon's departure from the company holds up, he and his wife Stephanie McMahon Levesque are the heirs to the WWE empire.
Xplosion to Impact, Thunder to Nitro. People often cite Smackdown as a B-Show compared to RAW, but it's more like a second A-Show in terms of this trope.
The modern ECW was almost a middle ground of this trope. It had its own storylines and World title and was considered an actual brand that is given PPV time, but its main purpose was to get talent ready for the A shows by giving them television experience and having them work with seasoned veterans such as William Regal, Tommy Dreamer, Finlay, etc.
Velocity and Heat are (or were, last time I checked) B Shows to Smack Down! and RAW respectively.
WWE Superstars (the show, not the wrestlers) and WWE NXT are both considered the new B show to both Smackdown! and Raw.
This trope was used once when Chyna was wrestling Road Dogg and he wore a cup.
Part of indy wrestler The Human Tornado's gimmick was that he absolutely no-sold all groin shots - in fact it was more likely that his opponent would hurt him/herself trying one.
Azusa Kudo, of FMW, was able to shrug off any and all groin shots due to his gimmick being a post-op transsexual.
Beauty Is Bad: Female wrestlers who are pretty usually have to work extra hard to prove themselves as wrestlers and even then they will get hated purely because they are pretty. God help them if they have ever done even a bit of modelling. Women wrestlers who aren't conventionally beautiful usually get a free pass and are considered wrestlers regardless of whatever experience they have. This can sometimes cross over into the men's divisions with the guys getting called "gay" and "pretty boys".
Used to varying degrees with woman wrestlers. WWE and TNA's women never bleed on purpose, by contrast Japanese women brutalise each other just as much as the men. Averted occasionally, particularly in 2002-03 in WWE where there were a lot of women's hardcore matches and the likes of Victoria and Trish Stratus bled quite a lot. Roxxi in TNA is another aversion.
Also somewhat averted in a 2010 TNA match between Daffney and Tara, which was a First Blood Match. Only somewhat because at the conclusion of that match there was only a tiny trickle of blood.
Big "WHAT?!": Originated in WWE (WHAT?!) by Stone Cold Steve Austin (WHAT?!), this has become a fan chant (WHAT?!) at WWE events. (WHAT?!)
Most face/heel rivalries in Professional Wrestling play out like this, with most of the drama centered around the heel cheating and tricking his way to victory against a more powerful and/or skilled babyface. Whereas a heel who's legitimately skilled gets cheered a lot of the time, the heel still gets booed because the fans know he doesn't "deserve" to keep winning and are waiting until he finally gets demolished.
Prominent examples (as heels, of course):
Jerry Lawler was pretty much the Ric Flair of Memphis.
Triple H is a perfect example of both. As a heel, he can't win a match clean to save his life, yet as a face, all he needs are his fists and maybe a sledgehammer in order to take out the rest of the roster.
A variant specific to tag team matches, and forming the standard psychology for most of them: The heel team is more skilled at actual tag team wrestling, isolating one face and utilizing numerous tag team maneuvers. This builds tension for the Hot Tag, whereupon the fresh babyface finally tags in and demolishes the heels singlehandedly.
Happens to women wrestlers often when promoted from a indie promotion to a major one and or because of a poorly-executed gimmick change.
Chyna started in the WWF looking very manly, and could hold her own with male wrestlers such as Kane, X-Pac & Chris Jericho, over the years however she had more and more surgery to make herself look more feminine and moved towards fighting women. She's now out of the wrestling business and makes a living as a porn actress.
The womens division itself in the WWF has gone through this, female wrestlers used to compete in anything from steel cage matches and street fights to Evening Gown matches, nowadays, they just get the occasional 2 minute match every other week as that all they can handle.
Cool Old Guy: Any wrestler who's in their late 40s or older, but can still kick ass and take a beating. Embodied by the one and only Funker himself, Terry Funk.
The technical term for this in pro wrestling circles is a "squash match". Not nearly as common nowdays as it was in the 80's, when most televised matches consisted of a star wrestler pitted against a hopeless "jobber" who would be destroyed in a matter of minutes without offering any offence at all. Still occasionally happens in modern times, especially if a wrestler is being given a "Goldberg push."
Perhaps the two biggest examples are WrestleMania 1 where King Kong Bundy beat SD Jones in 27 seconds and Summerslam 1990 where Ultimate Warrior defeated The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship in under 2 minutes to end a 15 month championship reign.
Brodus Clay on his recent return ran a string of 80s style Curb Stomps as the Funkasaurus.
Demoted to Extra: The pro-wrestling term for this trope is referred to as being buried.
Notable examples include Tatanka, the Undertaker (moreso early in his career, but even now it's considered a formidable task), Hulk Hogan in the 80's, Rob Van Dam as ECW World Television Champion, Brunno Sammartino's legendary world title reign, and most famously of them all, Bill Goldberg.
So far averted with The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Started at Wrestlemania VII and still going strong. It's basically a new gimmick; in the leadup to every WrestleMania, somebody steps up and claims they're going to end the streak.
Most recently displayed (in the same week, no less) with Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.
Do Not Call Me Paul: Triple H and The Big Show have both said this to fans that have called them by their birth names. If you meet a wrestler, it is usually a good idea to address them by their ring name.
Double Standard: Many but one of the more recent ones involves the infamous "Piggie James" angle. People were outraged at Michelle and Layla making fun of Mickie's weight and anyone who called Mickie overweight on the IWC was immediately vilified. Yet many people started cruelly calling Michelle "Skeletor" on the internet and calling her underfed and a stick insect. Anorexia is just as big a problem as obesity and Michelle has struggled with anorexia in the past.
Draco in Leather Pants: The pro wrestling term for this trope is called Popular Heel. CM Punk, The Road Warriors, Chris Jericho, and on and on and on...
Early Installment Weirdness: Most wrestlers go through several looks or gimmicks before hitting superstardom. A select few are so dramatically different it's hard to believe they're the same person. See Scott Hall's Hulk-like physique and mustache in AWA, or Stone Cold Steve Austin's long blond hair in World Class Championship Wrestling.
Evil Is Dumb: Edge has nearly been bent in half by the World's Greatest Tag Team, bloodied in steel cages and forced to wrestle giants with a broken hand and not use his cast. He was still able to win through sheer determination and will to win. As a Rudo, he can hardly win a match without relying on shortcuts, outside interference, manipulation of the general manager or outright cheating
Fan Dumb: Like you wouldn't believe. From the people who say that only WWE matters to the elitist snobs who only watch ROH and NOAH, wrestling fandom is filled with back-biting "Stop Having Fun" Guys and fans who call it ruined a bit too often.
Fan Hater: Yes, we know it's staged! You can stop "informing" us.
Pretty much any wrestlers involved in a feud can have this.
A good example was when Randy Orton approached John Cena backstage at Backlash 2007 just before their Fatal Four-Way match with Shawn Michaels and Edge. He suggested that he and Cena team up to take out the competition, but unfortunately he used the words "get together" - and, to top it off, tried to appeal to Cena's vanity by noting how "young" and "good-looking" they both were. Cena, being the Deadpan Snarker he was, replied that, while he was okay with Orton's lifestyle, "that's not how I roll." He then walked off, leaving Orton yelling, "Very funny, Cena! But you know how this is going to end - with you on your back and me on top of you!" Enter the always-outspoken Ron Simmons, complete with his "DAMN!" T-shirt. Hilarity Ensues.
Also, in WCW for a short time, Lance Storm held the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title.
Terri Runnels also ran the Terri Invitational Tournament in 1999.
TNA. That is all.
Terri, Jacqueline, and Ryan Shamrock: the Pretty Mean Sisters.
The Gambler: Kinda. Wrestling had a The Gambler, but he wasn't very lucky.
An old gimmick of Kevin Nash in was that of "Vinnie Vegas", a fast talking conman and gambler. His finisher (now used as one of The Undertaker' Five Moves of Doom) was "Snake Eyes" (dropping your opponent face-first onto a turnbuckle).
Game Breaking Injury: Submission artists employ this tactic all the time. They will use a variety of locks and holds that target a specific part of the human body until it will become too painful to use. Not actually referring to Triple H's quad tears.
A lot of wrestlers working in America remain hugely popular in their country of origin or descent, despite being low-card acts in the US. Some examples:
Stan Hansen of AJPW, who is vaguely notable to American pro wrestling history but remains one of the most popular and recognizable stars in Japan years after his retirement;
Terry Gordy and Steve Williams were enormously renowned in their territorial days but resigned to relatively bit roles on WWE and WCW were also very popular in AJPW, teaming as the Miracle Violence Connection.
Mark Jindrak, a mid-carder from WCW and WWE, revived his career in Mexico as Marco Corleone;
Genki Horiguchi, a lower-card Dragon Gate wrestler whose Bald of Awesome gimmick has made him one of DG's most popular wrestlers in the US.
Similarly with Akira Tozawa. A generally middle of the road guy in Dragon Gate (who wasn't even the highest ranked member of the stable that bore his name), in the summer of 2010 he began an extended tour in the United States wrestling mainly for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. His ability to put on great matches and seemingly crazy/eccentric personality quickly won over American crowds making him a far bigger deal on the American indies than he had been in his home promotion.
Hulk Hogan and his all-American character is popular in Canada, and absolutely beloved in Toronto. After returning to WWE as the leader of the New World Order, his face turn was induced by the Toronto fans who adamantly refused to boo him.
Generally played straight, although occasionally subverted. Batista, who turned face when he heard his stablemates plotting against him and who displayed above average keenness as a face, is the biggest of those.
The most egregious example? Sting, who is commonly referred to as "The dumbest man in wrestling". Although, he's averted it mightily over his years in TNA.
Professional wrestling has its own specific flavors. Both are just as subjective as the trope itself but are recognized and worked around by bookers and promoters.
Within the scope of an individual show, matches need to be ordered properly to avoid the crowd burning out. Putting an incredibly awesome match in the middle of the card will essentially cause the show as a whole to Jump The Shark and multiple awesome matches need to be spaced out with not-as-awesome matches and promos.
For the promotion as a whole, overuse of gimmicks and generally turning everything Up to Eleven is a good way to gain short-term ratings and attendance spikes but can leave everything overexposed: too much hardcore wrestling, for example, will cause the audience to be desensitized and force the wrestlers to come up with more violent ways of maiming themselves while having all-out brawling street fights once in a while in big situations will keep things special.
Launcher of a Thousand Ships: No wrestler that's had a decent amount of airtime and attention in WWE in the last ten years has gone without being paired with somebody else in either a straight or slash fic. (Yes. Even Vince Mc Mahon. He's got Linda, remember?)
Leotard of Power: An older wrestling costume design that still shows up nowadays every once in a while.
Somewhat surprisingly, you don't have to have tremendous physical strength to execute a number of non-luchador moves. Part of this is the fact that a large number of moves require (or are much more safely performed) with the cooperation of the person getting slammed or what have you.
Take Shawn Michaels, for instance. He looked pretty scrawny compared to most other main-eventers, but he could still execute a scoop slam.
No Such Thing As HR: A contract dispute with the boss? A love triangle with another wrestler and his girl? Suspicions of trying to stage a hostile takeover of the company? There's only way to settle something like that... in the ring!
Popularity Power: Wrestling runs on the fans taking an interest in you rather than liking you. It's an old expression among wrestlers that "it doesn't matter if the fans love you or hate you, as long as they care".
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: For all we know, WWE may have INVENTED this trope. Just ask The Rock ("If ya suh-mellllll....what the ROCK....is....COOKING!") or Booker T ("Can you dig it....SUCKA?!) or especially the guy who stamped his whole goddamn meal ticket with this trope ("MMMMMisterrrrrr....Kennedy....KEN-NE-DY!")
Via intentional disqualification (or count out) by the (usually) Heel champion who knows the (usually) Face challenger has them beat. Often leads to a "Title changes hands via DQ (or count out)" stipulation being added to prevent this.
Wrestlers' real-life issues often provide fodder for their self-based characters' wrestling storylines.
One of the most famous examples is the Matt Hardy/Edge feud: Edge stole Matt's girlfriend (Lita) while he was out with an injury (and subsequently released by WWE); when Matt returned, his first feud was with Edge, and much ado was made of the Edge/Lita/Matt triangle.
His brother Jeff's drug issues were also used as the basis of Jeff's feud with the Straight EdgeCM Punk.
Reformed But Not Tamed: This happens a lot in Darker and Edgier programming where a wrestler who started as a heel will immediately turn into a face due to his popularity with the crowd, but they will still behave the same way they started as a heel. A noticable example is Stone Cold Steve Austin in the late 90's after Bret Hartturned heel in Wrestlemania 13. He still get into fights with the faces and will give anyone a Stunner no matter who they are.
Reviews Are the Gospel: There are people (at least the smart marks) who swear by Dave Meltzer's (of the Wrestling Observer) reviews of matches. There are a great many wrestlers and promoters who swear at them.
As the years passed, many things in pro wrestling that used to be unique or shocking have become commonplace. Examples follow...
The ladder match. At Wrestle Mania X, it was very exciting and revolutionary for its time. Fans who grew up watching TLC matches may find this match boring.
The DDT was once a devastating maneuver but it is now a standard move so watching an older match end with one stretches fan's willingness to suspend disbelief. Ditto for moves like the Power Bomb, Superplex, Stampeder (running power slam), and — going back even further — the Thesz Press.
Watching old AWA matches, moves like the Clothesline and Dropkick were also match enders back in the day.
Also common among lucha libre and cruiserweight wrestlers. As the style becomes more popular, more wrestles add more flippy stuff. At Bash at the Beach '96, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psicosis created the "highspot of the night" when Rey hit a huracarrana on Psic in mid-air. But nowadays, with Jack Evan, Ricochet and PAC and the like on the indy circuit doing double rotation corkscrew shooting star presses, that just fails to impress as it did at the time.
The Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask series in the early 80's seems slow-paced and short by modern standards. At the time, those matches more or less established the notion of "high-flying" wrestlers.
Back in the 1980s, title matches could be considerably shorter than they are today (Hulk Hogan's famous victory over The Iron Sheik, for example, was barely five minutes long!) and were filmed in long shot, making you feel that you were actually in the arena, thus causing the novelty of watching a wrestling match at home on TV to come off as rather pointless. Add in the general lack of music, pyrotechnics, and so forth, and modern-day fans might think they're watching a Stylistic Suck!
Trish Stratus was a huge success story during her career - WWE had brought in various models to build its women's division into more about T&A than athleticism (Sable, Terri Runnels, Debra) but Trish herself was the first (in WWE at least) to develop onscreen from an eye candy valet with patchy mic skills to a charasmatic star who is now regarded as one of the best female wrestlers in North America. These days at least 60% of the women's division in WWE (and some of TNA's roster too) is made up of former models brought in and trained to wrestle in the hopes of replicating Trish's success. Due to this and comparison with women's wrestling on the indie circuit, many purists label Trish as "overrated" and resent her for not wrestling on the indies.
At the time of her debut in WWE, Lita's style of wrestling stood out for moves like headscissors, hurricanranas, and moonsaults, barely used by women in WWE. These days (see the Trish example above) due to having to work extremely short matches all the time, the models brought in by WWE will often learn flashy moves like hurricanranas to make their matches appear more exciting and cover up their lack of wrestling ability. If the models are former gymnasts this can work fine and they eventually develop into competent wrestlers (Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly) or they can just come across as sloppy spot monkeys. Moves such as moonsaults and hurricanranas are more staples of women's wrestling these days than men's, at least in WWE due to the retirement of the Cruiserweight division.
Averted with regards to Natalya and the Sharpshooter. Aside from a one-off Trish Stratus match, fans had never seen a woman do it before and while it's not as amazing now to see her use it, she still gets great reactions whenever she does use it to win matches.
Part of the reason she gets great reactions for it? She's the daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and was trained by the Hart family, the first woman to ever be trained in The Dungeon.
Self-Deprecation: The Hurricane may be a parody of the almost cartoonish characters of the 80s.
There is absolutely no situation that cannot be resolved with a wrestling match on PAY PER VIEW! ORDER NOW!
Kayfabe, in the old days, was major Serious Business, with at least one instance of a wrestler losing a court case because he would not break kayfabe, even under oath.
Then there's the Fan Dumb. Everything from what qualifies as a "world title" to how seriously wrestling should take itself. The fact that wrestling draws upon the framework of a sport while actually being entertainment creates a lot of this thinking, since fans often try to see some kind of order or hierarchy that doesn't exist.
She's Got Legs: Often used with the female manager/valet — which see Miss Elizabeth in the 2-on-3 match at Summer Slam for when used minimally for maximum effect. Taken to the extreme during the Attitude Era (and similar on WCW) with Stacy Keibler (42 inches of "'nuff said").
Slut Shaming: Zig-zagged. "Slut" and variations on it are popular chant against heel divas, like in the cases of Eve Torres, Stephanie McMahon, and Lita. But at other times, the heels will be prudes (like Right to Censor or Molly Holly) and the faces will be willing to strip for the audience and provide other Fanservice.
Talk Show With Fists: Many, both in-universe and out although Tuesday Night Titans was an especially good example.
Tear Jerker: Ric Flair's retirement match at WrestleMania 24. Mick Foley's 1998 King of the Ring match, which should have ended in the first five minutes. Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero winning their main event matches and hugging at WrestleMania XX. Shawn Michaels's retirement at WrestleMania 26.
And if there are, the assumption is that they're shrieking fangirls who don't know a Sharpshooter from a suplex.
Completely and utterly averted and destroyed with All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling. During the '70s and '80s, tag teams like the Beauty Pair and Crush Gals enjoyed massive mainstream popularity among girls to the point where arenas were packed mainly with screaming girls.
Also the majority of Hardy Boyz fans were screaming young girls, demonstrated by the massive pops they got whenever they removed their shirts during matches. The likes of Lita and Trish Stratus also proved to draw in hundreds of female fans.
Notoriously averted. World Wrestling Entertainment has (at least in recent years) gained a reputation for welcoming athletes of all ethnic backgrounds, except that it's one of the most goyish entertainment franchises in history. In the past decade alone, Glen Jacobs (otherwise known as "Kane") and Bill Goldberg have been the only two Jewish wrestlers to reach main-event status, and then only briefly. Scotty Goldman (a.k.a. Colt Cabana) famously quit the company after enduring anti-Semitic harassment from his trainer, and Paul Heyman has been outspoken in his condemnation of latent anti-Semitism in the wrestling business.
Although in this case there is a sensible reason for this, as wrestling events normally occur on Friday, Saturday & Sundays nights, Jews who follow Shabbat simply tend not to become professional wrestlers as they can only work 1/3 of the shows other wrestlers do.
However, when Paul Heyman was doing color for Raw in 2001, he made references to being Jewish nearly every week. Perhaps the best was when J.R. asked him if he'd ever had BBQ sauce on a bagel. Or when Paul insisted on calling Albert (Matt "Tensai" Bloom, who himself is Jewish)'s finishing move the Meshuginator every week. He once called Molly Holly a shiksa (a derogatory Yiddish word for a non-Jewish woman, which Molly is.) Jerry Lawler once remarked in the mid 1990s that he thought judo was what bagels were made from. Um...
Then you have them referring to Heyman as a "Creative Rabbi" in the Universe 3.0 trailer for WWE '13.
Has become a standby for Money in the Bank winners. The big fan-favorite face has just retained his championship title in a grueling effort against all odds - and, often enough, against multiple opponents. Thinking the battle is finally over, he lifts the belt triumphantly above his head to the delirious cheers of the crowd. But....not so fast, bucko! An ominous entrance theme blares over the P.A. and the face's mortal enemy - the promotion's most dastardly heel - struts into the arena carrying his Money in the Bank championship opportunity contract, which he has acquired either fairly or not. The big main-event match starts all over again as the heel cashes in his contract and - following a brave but futile effort by the exhausted face - gets a pinfall to become the new World Champion.
Only a couple of people have announced before hand when they would cash in the briefcase and stick to it; the first person being Rob Van Dam, who had a legitimate full-length title match with John Cena at ECW One Night Stand. The second; none other than John Cena, who cashed in his briefcase for a full-length title match with CM Punk on the 1000th episode of WWE Raw. He also became the first to cash in the briefcase and not win the title. Daniel Bryan said after he won Money in the Bank that he would wait and cash it at WrestleMania. Then he became the punching bag for Mark Henry during his feud with The Big Show, and at TLC after Henry's and Show's match cashed his contract in, claiming that the experience had made him realize he may not even make it to WrestleMania, and therefore passing by opportunities presenting themselves right then was foolish.
Inverted when CM Punk did this to Edge using the Money in the Bank contract. This time it was the face using the contract at the opportune moment. Punk later lampshades this, stating that had he done it to anyone but Edge, he would have been perceived as the bad guy. Edge had won a title using the exact same tactic twice, so this was seen as karma coming back to bite him.
And then hilariously averted in 2011, also by CM Punk, when Alberto Del Rio came down to cash in his contract, CM Punk kicked him in the back of the head before the referee had the chance to ring the bell.
WWE Superstars - The show for mid-to-low card wrestlers and divas. [2009- ]
WWE Tough Enough - A reality program that tries to figure out who will go one to become the next WWE Superstar. [2001-2011]
WWE NXT - A show that originally was going to find the next breakout WWE star. Later retooled in to show that showcase talent from their development system, as well as midcarders from the mainroster. [2010 - ]
Wrestlicious - a television show run by Jimmy Hart that is reminiscent of GLOW. [Active - 2008 - ]
Bob Backlund - One of the biggest stars of wrestling's territory era, he is best known for his long run as WWF champion in the late 70s to early 80s.
Wade Barrett - One of WWE's few British wrestlers, he is best known as the leader of The Nexus, arguably their most memorable stable in the past five years.
Batista - Big, bruising wrestler who's become a treasure trove of memes for hardcore wrestling fans, from his awkward quotes to his funny faces being used for photoshops.
Paul Bearer - The Undertaker's legendary manager throughout most of the '90s. Sadly, he died at a surprisingly young age.
Chris Benoit - One of the greatest technicians in wrestling history's career has been overshadowed by the horrible acts he committed in the final days of his life. He has since become one of the most controversial figures in professional wrestling history.
Big Bossman - An ex-prison guard and a fondly-remembered upper-midcarder in both WWE and WCW, though he is probably remembered for a pair of angles in 1999 where he was portrayed as a horrible person.
The Big Show - Billed as "The World's Largest Athlete". Known through his career as one of the more versatile and talented big men to be employed by WWE, but his limited ring style hasn't earned him much respect from the fans.
Bam Bam Bigelow - The Beast from the East. He was one of the most beloved big men in pro wrestling history, but might best be remembered for a match against Lawrence Taylor.
Eric Bischoff - Now a TNA backstage employee, originally the man who made WCW a household name. He was also well known for being the corrupt General Manager of RAW for three years.
Booker T - Can You Dig It? SUCKAAAAA!!!!! One of the most recognizable African-American wrestlers of all time; he became a sensation in WCW and continued his success in WWE and TNA.
Evan Bourne - A former star in ROH who became one of WWE's most popular cruiserweights in just 4 years.
Bruiser Brody - One of the greatest brawlers in pro-wrestling history, his career was cut short after he was stabbed to death in Puerto Rico.
Mike Bucci - Best known as ECW's Super Nova/Nova, and less so as WWE's Simon Dean.
Colt Cabana - Boom Boom! A former Ring of Honor star and WWE jobber, Colt is now well known for his close friendship with CM Punk, being mentioned in his iconic "pipe-bomb" promo, his comedic style, his alter ego, Matt Classic, and his podcast.
John Cena - One of the biggest names of the modern era of wrestling, and has been referred to as a "Modern Day Hulk Hogan". However, despite his huge fanbase, he is also one of the most hated wrestlers in history due to being booked in a predictable manner.
Antonio Cesaro - Former ROH star Claudio Castagnoli; he won the United States championship in 2012.
Christian - The other half of the famous E&C duo. His career hasn't been half bad either
Chyna - Recognized as the most powerful diva in WWE history and the only female wrestler to win the Intercontinental Title.
Michael Cole - WWE's main play-by-play commentator; he was arguably the most despised figure in the company during his run as a heel commentator.
Jim Cornette - This legendary manager is now known for his role in Ring of Honor.
Christopher Daniels - The Fallen Angel. After jobbing in the WWF for a few years, he started a successful career in TNA and ROH
Bryan Danielson - A darling of the indy wrestling circuit and with internet wrestling fans, he's arguably achieved greater success in WWE as Daniel Bryan. He's also currently known for his YES! YES! YES! and NO! NO! NO! catchphrases.
Alberto Del Rio - A former luchador who went to WWE and rose to the top in just a year. But you already know that!
Ted DiBiase - Best known for his "Million Dollar Man" gimmick and for having one of the greatest evil laughs in all of wrestling.
Ted DiBiase Jr. - Son of Ted DiBiase, was a member of Legacy and after the break-up, tried to revive his father's gimmick to little success, is currently a face midcarder.
Jeff Jarrett - Originally, he was a wrestler with a country singer gimmick, now he's TNA's equivalent to Triple H.
Chris Jericho - Aside from the legendary Hart family, arguably one of the most famous Canadian wrestlers in history, having worked in both WCW and WWE. On the side, he fronts the rock band known as Fozzy.
Dwayne Johnson - One of the two main facesnote the other being Steve Austin of the Attitude Era, he went on to become a major movie star afterwards - Do you smell what he's cooking
Aja Kong - One of Joshi Puroresu (Japanese women's wrestling)'s greatest monster heels of all time.
Konnan - The biggest foreign-born star in Mexico. Helped found AAA and later became a star in WCW and TNA.
Kurrgan- Best known as either a member of the Oddities in WWE or as the "Über-Immortal" in 300.
John Laurinaitis - Originally a famous star in Japan, he has been an important backstage figure in WWE before making his transition into an on-screen character in 2011.
Jerry Lawler - His rivalry with Andy Kaufman helped make professional wrestling a worldwide phenomenon. Now, he's best known as RAW's color commentator.
John Bradshaw Layfield - WWE superstar known for his run as part of the APA/Acolytes Tag Team. Later re-invented himself as a Ted DiBiaseExpy singles competitor and became one of WWE's most hated heels.
Rey Mysterio Jr. - A former WCW competitor that went on to become theMasked Luchador of the 2000s-era WWF/E. Known as "the biggest little man in WWE." One of the few professional wrestlers to have been a face for almost all of his career.
CM Punk - An indy standout turned WWE wrestler, known for his in-ring and Real Life Straight Edge philosophy. After some initial success, he endured several years of being largely ignored and under-utilized. Then, in the summer of 2011, amid some Real Life contract issues, he grabbed a mic and cut loose with a now-iconic Worked Shoot promo. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Raven - WHAT ABOUT ME? He has been a major star in ECW, and has been a midcard staple in both WWE and WCW.
William Regal - a veteran British wrestler turned backstage personality in his semi-retirement. His own list of in-ring career accomplishments is decent, but his listofstudents is rather impressive.
Cody Rhodes - The son of Dusty Rhodes. He is one of the fastest rising young stars in WWE, with an eight-month long Intercontinental title reign to his name. Woah Oh! You're only smoke and mirrors!
Joey Ryan: Created a big stir amongst TNA and their fans with his 2012 internet angle.
Ryback - Currently squashing people on Raw and Smackdown.
Zack Ryder - Internet favorite wrestler who started out as a joke, but gained enough levels in badass to become somewhat of a formidable force in the ring. WWWYKI!note Short for "Woo woo woo you know it!"
Sable - THE Diva of the Attitude Era; she helped launch the division into what it is today.
Sabu - "The Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death-Defying Human Highlight Reel," one of the standard-bearers for the original ECW.
Bruno Sammartino - Before Hulk Hogan, Bruno was the hottest thing to ever happen to wrestling. Held the WWE championship for 11 years through popularity power.
Samoa Joe - HE'S GONNA KILL YOU One of ROH's most popular stars ever, he has also become a icon in TNA.
Damien Sandow - The Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses. YOU'RE WELCOME
Randy Savage - One of the big names in the 1980s for WWE, and later WCW. He was known for his over-the-top persona as well as being the spokeswrestler for Slim Jimsnote Snap into a Slim Jim! OOOOOOHHHHH YEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!.
Sheamus - the first Irish-born WWE Champion, winning the WWE title in his sixth month with the company.
Ron Simmons - DAMN! A longtime, now retired African American wrestler who served in WCW, ECW and ultimately WWE, otherwise known as Faarooq and for his stints on tag teams.
Sin Cara - Formerly lucha libre legend Mistico, his WWE career is considered a complete botch.
Ricky Steamboat - A Florida-born , Hawaiian-billed wrestler who became one of the industry's first superstar high-flyers. He has spent his entire career as a Face, arguably the most famous wrestler to have done so.
Scott Steiner - One half of the Steiner brothers; (in)famous for his distinctive chainmail coif, multicolored beard, obscenely muscled figure, and tendency to go overboard when presented with a mic. However, when he started in the mid-1980s, he was a great technical wrestler with a legitimate amateur background.
Tazz - Before being known as a color commentator for WWE and TNA, he was one of ECW's most fearsome and badass wrestlers despite his rather average height of 5'9".
Genichiro Tenryu - "Mr. Puroresu," one of the all-time greats in Japan and the only Japanese wrestler to ever defeat both Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki by pinfall.
John Tenta - Best known as Earthquake in WWE in the early 90s and later for his friendship with WrestleCrap founder R.D. Reynolds.
Test - A Canadian mid-card WWE Tag Team and Singles Champion best known for his big size whose life was ended abruptly when his personal problems kicked in.
Eve Torres - Model turned Diva turned Femme Fatale turned empowered General Manager's assistant. Unfortunately grabbed the nickname of "HOESKI" along the way and hasn't been able to shake it.
Manami Toyota - Joshi legend, widely regarded as the greatest ever female wrestler.
Triple H - A long-tenured veteran of WWE, 11-time WWE Champion and the husband of Stephanie McMahon; currently the most polarizing figure in professional wrestling history.
Ultimate Warrior - A somewhat mediocre wrestler known for his insane rambling promos in and out of the ring. Still, he was one of its most beloved icons.
The Undertaker - WWE's longest tenured performer, best known for The Streak, having gone undefeated at WrestleMania with a record of 21-0note It would be 23 but he missed WrestleMania X in 1994 due to a storyline, and WrestleMania XVI in 2000 due to injuries.and is widely regarded to be one of the greatest big man wrestlers of all time.
Vader - IT'S VADER TIME! He has been a star in both the US and Japan and one of the industry's most feared and most popular big men.
Dolph Ziggler - Formerly wrestling with a male cheerleader gimmick, he was repackaged into being one of the more prominent midcard heels in WWE.
Stables and Tag Teams
3MB - A midcard heel trio of Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre, with a gimmick of being rock stars.
Bella Twins - Brie and Nikki Bella, who are currently the only twin Divas in the WWE. Best known for their "Twin Magic."
ChickBusters - Kaitlyn and AJ - These two divas are former NXT rookies who teamed up for a short period of time in 2011. Today, AJ is well known for her association with Daniel Bryan...and for being the on-screen General Manager of RAW.
Demolition: "Here comes the Ax, and here comes the Smasher..."
The Dudley Boys - Bubba Ray and D-Von - The most successful, and most hated, tag team in ECW history. They had even more success, and actually became popular, in WWE thanks to a trilogy of ladder matches. They then found success in TNA; the former is now one of their top heels.
The Four Horsemen - Wrestling's first "elite" stable, made up of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson. The Horsemen are synonymous with excellence, breaking kayfabe, and Becoming the Mask.
Are You Serious - A weekly series hosted by WWE commentator Josh Mathews and Attitude Era superstar Road Dogg, making fun of gimmicks from WWE and WCW's past. It features the Ensemble Darkhorse character of "Puppet H," a muppet-like version of Triple H.