Acceptable Targets: Professional Wrestling in general seems to be this to anyone who is not a fan.
Within the pro wrestling circle we have TNA, the red-headed stepchild of the red-headed stepchild of entertainment. Though it's not the product or the performers that are acceptable to hate — it's the management. The very, very incompetent management. When people say that TNA's management is more likely to kill TNA than its competition and/or its hatedom is, they're not lying.
WCW is also this to a lesser extent. Despite it's 84-week winning streak in the Monday Night Wars they lost their momentum due to catastrophic mismanagement similar to TNA above and eventually went out of business, being purchased by their Arch RivalWWE for a fraction of what it was once worth. While WCW still has fans nearly two decades after it's closure, most wrestlers, critics and Smart Mark fans continuously bury the promotion whenever it's mentioned.
Award Snub: It's very hard to judge who the best in pro wrestling is. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter tries to avoid narrow ranges by putting multiple categories to vote, depending on style of wrestling(best technical wrestler, best brawler), attendance/gate(best box office draw), booking(feud of the year), crowd response, etc but comes under fire for relying on votes of wrestlers, who naturally tend to vote against many fan favorites, especially regarding its hall of fame. Pro Wrestling Illustrated judges based on objective wins or losses, meaning you can go through a year of clumsy squashes against men half your size in one company and wind up higher than a guy brilliantly taking apart men twice his size in another because he happened to lose more. Scope is also a problem, as pro wrestling matches happen on every continent but Antarctica, often simultaneously. No one can be expected to cover it all, though some groups make valiant, if contentious, efforts.
Jack Pfefer is seen as an innovate promoter who paved the way for developments such as Tag Team and midget wrestling. He is equally viewed as a spiteful asshole whose revealing of business secrets and deliberately phony theatrics made it harder for more subdued grappling and mat technique to get over and or ensured legitimate pro wrestling would never return. He was largely responsible for the success of Buddy Rogers, was a great friend of Stu Hart and helped many women wrestlers like Mildred Burke and Fabulous Moolah. He purposefully sabotaged the whole of New York's promoters multiple times and ran Chicago into the ground. Many a debate has been raised over whether he was ultimately good or bad for the industry.
Mil Mascaras is beloved by fans and most promoters, but there are wrestlers in USA and Canada who think he has an over inflated ego due to him bashing their styles of wrestling and having a tendency to No Sell.
The women seem to be very prone to this. Unless your name is Lita, Mickie James or Trish Stratus (and even Trish is becoming a Base Breaker to an extent. See Seinfeld Is Unfunny below), pretty much all WWE Divas or TNA Knockouts are either base breakers or complete scrappies, at least among smarks. Even many women in the indies have divided opinions.
Among bookers, Gabe Sapolsky is either one of the greats or one of the fools who got lucky. Even critics are split, some like those at PWPonderings expressing nostalgia for him when things exceeded their expectations while others like Quebrada.net were writing/typing in depth analytical breakdowns to prove he didn't know what to do with the talent he had even during the three years he won The Wrestling Observer's "Best Booker" award. For the most part, the "Great" crowd was louder when he was booking ROH and FIP and the "Lucky" detractors were noisier when he was booking Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE.
Among commentators, Don West and Matt Striker are among the most critically praised an panned. To summarize, they put a lot of effort into their work but tend to say stupid things, with the love and hate depending on how much any given listener appreciates or is annoyed.
Pro Wrestling fans vs. Boxing fans, then vs. Mixed Martial Arts fans, in regions where MMA isn't considered a sub genre of pro wrestling (in Japan, for example, it is). Or pretty much fans of any entertainment, athletic or not.
Within the industry, Casual fans vs. Hardcore fans (especially those who self-identify as smarks) since the two groups look at the product in different ways. Casual fans watch the show the way it was meant to be seen (with Kayfabe in tact) whereas smarks care more about analyzing the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business and are more interested in technicality than Five Moves of Doom.
El Santo vs The Blue Demon, even though the former was more popular there remains a vocal minority that insists the latter was the better wrestler. Doesn't help that their rivalry never came to a conclusive end.
A particularly nasty one surrounds Bruiser Brody, especially regarding any suggestion that his death was anything but murder. Who should be held responsible and how they should be dealt with is in turn a broken base on a side of a broken base, ranging from simply giving Invader #1 a retrial to condemning everyone who can be associated with Invader #1 in any way following the incident to hell.
Also, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart has finally settled their differences, but that doesn't stop their respective fans from engaging in flame wars regarding who was better.
In the new Millennium, WWE vs. TNA vs. Ring of Honor, though despite the addition of wrestlers made famous by either WWE or WCW, TNA's ratings remain stagnant.
From within the WWE itself are Raw vs. Smackdown (the flagship sports entertainment show vs. the wrestling show, made worse when the Draft often relocates a lot Smackdown talent to Raw), brand extension fans vs. unified company fans, Cena fans vs Cena haters, Superstars (especially Divas) with indy wrestling backgrounds vs. WWE/NXT homegrowns, Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole, and combinations of the WWE's different eras (Rock and Wrestling vs.The Wrestling/Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era vs. Ruthless Aggression Era vs. WWE Universe Era)
People who agree with WWE regarding making Chris Benoit an Un-Person and those who want him in the Hall of Fame and his matches on DVD.note There was a Benoit DVD, 2004's Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story. WWE took it out of print following the tragedy.
If Twitter is anything to go by, Nikki Bella fans and AJ Lee fans absolutely despise each other.
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.
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, who 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.
Hulk Hogan and his all-American gimmick 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.
Brillante Jr/La Sombra, best known for his stints in CMLL, who is loved by Germans despite never wrestling in Germany or Europe for that matter.
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, although this is largely due to the efforts of US promoters trying to get his baldness over so that "HAGE" wouldn't be Lost in Translation.
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.
Mention professional wrestling to your average Filipino casual fan/non-fan and the first name they'll usually tell you is Batista. That's largely because Dave Bautista's father is Filipino and/or because he's made a successful transition to film, but despite his age, his arguable lack of skill for many smarks, backstage rumors, and the whole "Bootista" run of 2014, he's still arguably the most popular wrestler, period, among his father's countrymen. That's despite the presence of younger Filipino-Americans like Zema Ion/DJ Z and Manik/T.J. Perkins, and the rise of Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) in 2015.
Hype Backlash: Seemingly becoming more common nowadays as fans sometimes turn on wrestlers/personalities that are shoved down their collective throats (Roman Reigns for example) or, conversely, cheer for more entertaining villains.
Internet Backdraft: Mentioning anything about pro wrestling online will almost guarantee a Flame War. If it's not the haters attacking the fans for liking the craft, it'll be fans attacking other fans for not liking the wrestlers or promotions that they like.
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 McMahon. He's got Linda, remember?)
Love It or Hate It: Either you like professional wrestling or you don't. There isn't much of a middle ground.
Memetic Badass: Vacant. After a period where both the WWE and TNA titles were vacated during the later half of 2013 for extended periods, the IWC decided that "Vacant" must be some sort of invisible mystery wrestler, and a quick search of title histories shows him to be among the most decorated professional wrestlers of all time.
Older Than They Think: Given that the practice of working matches dates back to at least 1880 (and that's just works, wrestling itself is at least as old as Sumeria) and that virtually all matches were worked by 1920, there was very little that was truly "new" in professional wrestling by 1970. If someone does come up with something truly believed to be "new" it will be called a "Northern Light" and even to this day a good many Northern Lights (especially when it comes to moves and match stipulations) are done by accident. Basically, if you actually thought and planned it, it's a good chance someone in wrestling has done so before.
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 also a great many wrestlers and promoters who swear at them.
Fans who refuse to accept that wrestling is staged entertainment and not real athletic competition, even though people who actually fall into this category are almost nonexistent today despite what many wrestling detractors may think.
These days, it's most likely the hardcore smarks who despise any wrestler who isn't an average-sized, average-looking technical wrestler who spent 15 years on the indy circuit before making it to the bigger promotions, complain constantly (especially about WWE or TNA), are never satisfied with anything, and believe they can run a wrestling company better than the actual promoters.