Cowboy BeBop at His Computer in Professional Wrestling shows us that fact-checking is for Jabronis.
Works and media
- Back in the 1980s, a Brazilian sport magazine published an article about the New Japan Pro-Wrestling, as a very famous vale tudo fighter named Ivan Gomes had had a short career there. However, the info given in the article could hardly be any more outlandish: it claimed that NJPW was a martial arts school whose leader was a seven feet tall man named Antonio Inoche, a world judo champion who had roamed the world defeating martial artists a la wuxia. If this sounds to you like the plot of an Ikki Kajiwara manga, you are not alone: at some point, one has to wonder if the authors had a bloody clue about what they were writing about or if they were instead intentionally trying to embellish the facts with the certainty that nobody in Brazil would bother to research them.
- The 1998 documentary (which means that they should've had all the time in the world to do the research, which makes it even funnier) Exposed! Pro Wrestling's Greatest Secrets reveals some secrets that every knowledgeable wrestling fan already knew (the matches are predetermined, and we must wear masks to discuss this, since our lives could be at risk), and some they didn't because no pro wrestling federation has ever used them. Two words: Stunt Granny. This example is ironic for two reasons: Harley Race was featured as the booker in the documentary and the production company behind the documentary (Nash Entertainment) was also responsible for the excellent Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed series.
- In 1999, a college professor named Sabrena Parton got Al Snow's action figure banned from Wal-Mart after interpreting the Head accessory as a metaphor for spousal abuse, believing it to be representative of an actual woman's head. 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).
- 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; it's likely she confused him with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. 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." (As for Steve Austin, Carlson probably wouldn't have been correct even on that point, since the "Stone Cold" character has never been portrayed as racist and Austin himself has gone on record saying that he does not have a homophobic bone in his body and even supports same-sex marriage!)
- The 2000 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. He even got things wrong about incidents and storylines in which he was involved. For instance, the book claimed, multiple times, that he had backed The Fabulous Moolah during the Women's Championship match at Wrestlemania I, when in fact that wrestler was Moolah's protege Leilani Kai. This error was particularly odd and glaring, since that fight marked the climax of the Rock 'n' Wrestling storyline for which Albano is best remembered. 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.
- 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 the segment was mentioned saying that the Undertaker was "attacked by Arabs in ski masks". Hassan said of the article: "They were in ski masks! How does he know they were Arab?" The fact that Hassan effectively made that writer and the New York Post as a whole sound like a bunch of racist bastards actually made fans take his side it wasn't until he intimated immediately after that the article proved his point that all Americans hate Middle Easterners that Hassan got a massive amount of heel heat back. As a result of the aforementioned segment, 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 article 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, and then win that match too and become World Heavyweight Champion, which would have made him the youngest world champion in WWE history at the age of 23. 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 (the wrestler portraying 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 Sell-Out. 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.
- 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 WCW stable that broke up once and for all in 1999, and Raw is top promotion WWE's top brand. Here's the actual quote:
: "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, his killer claimed self-defense and was acquitted 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).
- 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, in regards 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...
- 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.
- 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."
- 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 after a wrong account of Brian Pillman's death) 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 others 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.
- The 2006 documentary WWE Unauthorized is full of falsehoods, half-truths, and completely made-up "facts" that try to tell about the history of the WWE but end up failing. Perhaps one of the most glaring errors in the documentary is, when discussing the death of Owen Hart, a photo of Chris Benoit as the Pegasus Kid shows up instead of Owen as the Blue Blazer.
- Jonathan Snowden's 2012 book Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling is generally well researched, but it still voices the urban legend that Akira Maeda and Satoru Sayama clashed in Universal Wrestling Federation because Maeda wanted the promotion to focus on grappling while Sayama preferred to emphasize striking. This is not only false, but also utterly absurd in context, because while it is true that Sayama usually employed more kicks and strikes than Maeda in their matches, they both used sumissions in plenty, without mentioning that Sayama had the widest grappling background of the two. In reality, they clashed because Sayama wanted the promotion to be based on big, once-a-month events, while Maeda wanted to do as many events as possible (even including non-UWF forms of wrestling if necessary) in order to improve the promotion's income, adding to the fact that many wrestlers were wary that Sayama was cramming too much creative power and using UWF as his personal laboratory.
Within pro wrestling
- This trope is parodied frequently through Santino Marella, in his funny foreigner role, such as him calling Rowdy Roddy Piper "Rodney the Piper" and Jimmy Kimmel "Jimmeny." His biggest faux pas may be when he messes up all of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's catchprases, like "open the can of the ass-whip," "stomping a mudpie" and "those are the bottom lines."
- 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.
- 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.
- A lot of the Raw 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, while Jeremy Piven referred to SummerSlam as "SummerFest".
- 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 "chili" is a common pronunciation of "Chile" as in the country, in this case it's supposed to sound like "child" without the d).
- 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.
- The 2013 PWI 500 scrambled the given names of The Young Bucks with the ring names TNA gave them in order to keep calling them "The Young Bucks" while retaining distinction\trademark. Max and Jeremy Jackson in fact got it backwards, rather than if they had gone with Matt and Nick Buck.
- The official WWE Encyclopedia is generally authoritative, despite occasional spelling errors and often confusing writing (some of the descriptions being used as captions for the photos but not occurring also in the text, giving the impression that the biographies have glaring omissions). Perhaps their biggest blunder, however, is claiming that Mr. Fuji wore a top hat during his managing career in the 1980s - when he in fact wore a bowler!
- The most recent edition, as of 2020, not only kept these errors, but made some new ones. For example, their updated article on MVP claimed he retired soon after returning at the 2020 Royal Rumble. In fact, even after the Encylopedia was published and made for sale, although he had mainly transitioned into a manager for the Hurt Business, he still competed in the ring as part of said stable.
- At Wrestlemania 33, The New Day wore Final Fantasy inspired ring gear. Michael Cole claimed that he "even saw Moogle and Chocobo," as though these were character names. They're actually two species of creature in the series. This was followed by a few seconds of awkward silence, before Cole said, hey come on Corey, you know I love Final Fantasy!" It isn't entirely clear if it was a genuine gaffe or done intentionally for comedy.
- 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 (this one's especially pervasive). 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". And, oddly, he would rarely make note of actual sidewalk slams, which Kevin Nash and Booker T frequently performed. Thus, it was a common joke among Smarks that every move is a sidewalk slam to Schiavone.
- Sidewalk slams (like Kevin Nash's one) and side slams (like The Rock's Rock Bottom) are frequently switched in uninformed wrestling media. And on that note, the side slam is often misidentified as a uranage, a Judo-style throw famously used by Hiroshi Hase and rarely seen in wrestling outside of Japan.
- 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 puroresu or wrestling in general and treated the show more like a carnival than a wrestling show) unceasingly listed as "Michinoku Driver" virtually every flashy move featured in the matches, including 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 Championships. Again, the commentators labelled every move (even non-throwing ones) as an "uchi mata", which is a very specific judo throw; and what is worse, they actually failed to recognize an actual uchi mata when it was performed.
- 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". Captain Lou Albano, who joined commentary for one match, pointedly corrected him on his use of "leg drop" (probably because that's the name of another, different move). Rosenbloom went on to call any subsequent dropkick some version of "flying kick." He also misidentified a number of other moves, and badly misunderstood the finish of the Stan Lane vs Tully Blanchard match.
- Second only to the body slam is the piledriver. Anything kind of impact move can be called "piledriver". When Molly Holly worked for Teen Challenge they described her wrestling career as touring the country delivering piledrivers when in reality one could have casually followed her career from her very debut on the independent circuit all the way to her return to the indies after leaving the WWF and never have seen her even tease at attempting any kind of piledriver variation ever.
- There are also an unusually large number of commentators and columnists who don't know the difference between a headscissor takedown, Hurricanrana and Frankensteiner and will use at least 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 huracanrana 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 the hurricanrana which is more of a fancy pinning combination or a way to whip the opponent away.
- 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.
- In Japanese media, there is a strange tendency to refer to almost every variation of the vertical suplex as a brainbuster, a specific suplex variant where the receiver is dropped onto their shoulder blades/neck/head (you can probably thank the dominance of All Japan and the rapid decay of finishing moves in AJPW for that). In English media, the Jackhammer (basically a suplex dropped into a power slam) and Dangerous Buster (a suplex where one twists so the guy lands with the applier on top for an instant pin) are either mistaken for each other or just called "suplex", as if there is no visible difference. Matt Striker, while smart enough to get it right every time, jokingly called the dangerous buster "jackhammer like" when commentating on Paul Burchill's matches.
- The torture rack and backbreaker rack are two frequently mixed up even by publications that regularly cover pro wrestling. The torture rack is an elevated submission hold that focuses on the torso, while the Argentine backbreaker, popularized by Antonino Rocca and generically known as the backbreaker rack, suspends the body in a different position to specifically target the back.
- Commentator Scott Stanford bombed sadly when calling his first match - a Divas bout between Gail Kim and Alicia Fox. Fox did a northern lights suplex and Stanford exclaimed "wow, what a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker". What makes it funnier is that Fox actually did a tilt-a-whirl-backbreaker later on in the match. Stanford also referred to a powerslam as a "body to body flip". He got better though.
- Closely related to the body slam issue is the confusion over mixed or intergender tag matches. Many a commentator or reviewer has forgotten which rules apply to which type of match. To elaborate: a mixed tag team match means that only the males on the respective teams can wrestle each other legally; if the female partner is tagged in, the other female must automatically tag in too. It's implied that the partners will be disqualified if they don't follow these rules.note Intergender rules, however, mean that the males and females can wrestle each other legally. The key is in the name: any contest featuring men wrestling women is intergender. If there is no corresponding male or female partner on the other team, then it's not a mixed tag match.