Follow TV Tropes


Insistent Terminology / Pro Wrestling

Go To

"I, I don't know why people continue to use this character terminology, it is very strange, it is very foreign to me. This is who I am."
Matt Hardy, Talk Is Jericho
  • Pro wrestling isn't "fake". You can call it anything else (scripted, simulated, worked, etc.) but "fake" will upset people, sometimes fans more than the athletes themselves.
    • This can be zig-zagged. Fans and wrestlers don't appreciate "fake" used to disparage pro wrestling (especially considering the idiot spouting off probably has no issue with James Bond or the like), since the wrestlers really are falling off the ladders and such. So beyond being insulting, "fake" is an incorrect term. On the other hand, wrestlers have admonished other wrestlers, who are either hitting entirely too hard, or are doing unnecessarily risky spots, by saying that wrestling is FAKE and you aren't supposed to clobber the other guy or kill yourself doing it.
  • Advertisement:
  • During the mid-nineteen/eighties, children of the Japanese diaspora began referring to Japanese pro wrestling exclusively as puroresu in an effort not to be associated with the WWF or GLOW when they admitted to being pro wrestling fans. Unlike say, Lucha Libre, which means something different in the language and was intended to be an offshoot of pro wrestling from the very beginning, puroresu was initially just what came out when someone who doesn't speak much English said "pro wrestling" untranslated. While the intentions were largely forgotten by the next generation of pro wrestling fans, "puroresu" has stuck. There have even been official events in the USA billed as such.
  • Some wrestlers, such as Ric Flair, have gotten away from some traditional terms like "heel", preferring to be called "bad guy" now that "marks" know it.note  Fans are marks because they get hooked by angles but some fans identify as smarks, since they know pro wrestling is show business. The argument here is that marks still get worked and the only "smarts" are those who have worked in the industry and thus intimately know how to work marks.
  • WWE does this so often that it's probably easier just to list them all (it should be noted that many other wrestling promotions have begun using some of the same terminology, especially "sports entertainment" and "superstars"):
    • Most famously, pro wrestling itself is "sports entertainment" (sometimes just "entertainment"). When a WWE wrestler is written to be "rebelling" against the company, they'll say "professional wrestling." Vince McMahon will say "rasslin" if he's intending to mock someone. (Roddy Piper was a mediocre rassler before McMahon made him a superstar, etc.)
    • Wrestlers are "Superstars."
    • Until April 2016, female wrestlers were "Divas" (they're now "female Superstars").
    • For a brief period in 2006, male wrestlers on the ECW brand were "Extremists" and females were "Vixens" (this was dropped with most of the other unique aspects of the ECW brand).
    • Even on topics outside of kayfabe, "character" will always be used in place of "gimmick", even though "gimmick" was coined to more accurately explain how the job is different than playing a character.
    • Advertisement:
    • Championship belts are just "championships" or "titles" (never "belts" and definitely never the old timey-sounding "straps"). Becky Lynch seems to have broken this one, though, after her double-championship win and dubbing herself "Becky Two-Belts".
    • WWE's fanbase is the "WWE Universe."
    • WWE Raw is "the longest-running weekly episodic television program in history," ever since they legitimately took the title from Soul Train. This however, is mostly done since other scripted shows have run longer, but do so seasonally, or in cases of news and sports programs, are not episodic but may have ran longer.
  • Total Nonstop Action is also guilty of this, to a lesser degree:
    • Gimmick matches are "concept matches."
    • Female wrestlers are "Knockouts."
    • On at least one occasion, the live audience was told they were "cast members" (insinuating they should cheer and boo the wrestlers the company wanted them to).
  • On the flip side, other wrestling companies who don't even have "writers" or such have fallen into using WWE terminology just because WWE is so insistent it starts to wear off. Alternatively, you can tell where WWE penetration isn't particularly strong by how little of its terminology they pick up ("championships" are events in CMLL and the International Wrestling Cartel while wrestlers hold "titles" and "belts", for instance, while New Japan Pro-Wrestling does refer to the IWGP belts as "championships", though given that they call a governing body a "grand prix" Engrish is also clearly in effect).
  • Newsletters (such as The Wrestling Observer Newsletter) are referred to exclusively as "dirtsheets" or "inside trade papers" depending on whether the person is portrayed in a negative or positive light or what information is being reported. (For the record, most involved in putting out such things prefer the terms "column", "magazine", and yes, "newsletter", where applicable.)
  • Similar to, and possibly the inspiration for, the Grinch movie example elsewhere, is wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Piper is legitimately of Scottish descent, and often wears a traditional kilt to the ring. Of course, his opponent will invariably comment about how he doesn't want to wrestle someone in a "skirt". Piper's response: "It's not a skirt, it's a kilt!", followed by some serious pummeling. The apex of this came at the 1992 Royal Rumble, where "broadcast journalist" Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was openly rooting for Ric Flair and mocking Piper at every turn, until Piper saved Flair from an attack.
    Heenan: It's a kilt. It's not a skirt, it's a kilt!
    (30 seconds later, Piper attacks Flair)
    Heenan: YOU SKIRT-WEARING FREAK! It's not a kilt, it's a skirt!
  • 237 lbs? "Playboy" Buddy Rose is a slim 217, thank you.
  • Ultimate Warrior's arm tassels are "Belief Banners".
  • Weapons that aren't supposed to be used in a wrestling match are commonly called "foreign objects". During a period of time in which WCW was trying to present itself as a cleaner and more tolerant alternative to the WWF, these were renamed "international objects" because standards and practices didn't like that use of the word "foreign". This came about due to a miscommunicated directive to all Turner divisions (most specifically, CNN) to replace speaking instances of the word "foreign" with "international" in a news context. Nobody at WCW thought to get the directive rescinded in their case, and since they were in the middle of a financial downward spiral, it was easier just to go along with it.
  • Bryan Alvarez insists on calling wrestling moves by the name he finds to be the coolest, directly in the face of proper context at times. Who cares who invented it? The STO is still the Downward Spiral to him. What, they're kind of different moves? He's still going to call the Glam Slam a Bitch Clamp! No, you're the one who'd best learn the difference!
  • Every suplex is a Tazzplex when done by Tazz.
  • Michael Cole has a tendency to substitute "skull" for head and "spine" for back, no matter how accurate or relevant the wording might actually be. In this sense, the Smackdown vs Raw games are better than his usual broadcast work, as he will be more likely to say "squeezing down on the head" or "small of the back".
  • Jillian Hall did not have a wart, mole, growth, tumor or rice cake! Just a blemish!
  • "Horse" became a common greeting for Passion after Trina called her such at a PGWA event. Passion, for her part, insisted she was not a horse but a thoroughbred.
  • What's this? Why does TV Tropes have no pages with text about Osamu Nishimura? We know not this person you speak of. Perhaps you meant Mr. Muga?
  • A certain someone has a tendency to demand a certain introduction when in certain venues, emphases italicized: "Standing at 5 foot 5 inches of perfection, weighing in at 120 perfect pounds, she is from the most perfect city in the world, Lisbon in the great nation of Portugal, Portugal's Perfect Athlete, SHANNA!"
  • Forget everything you know about Bad Influence and especially don't bring up anything about Fortune or The Addiction. The Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organization is an entirely new alliance!
  • Former WWE Authority figure John Laurinaitis seemed to make it fit to refer to himself (and have everyone call him) as "Mr. John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw." Later it became "General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown".
  • The X-Box 360 Lucha Libre game had the tag line "It's not pro wrestling! It's Lucha Libre!" Never mind the terms are often used interchangeably in the industry itself, such as the Lucha Libre Internacional having all its titles over seen by the Universal Wrestling Association or the World Wrestling League having the tag line "Un nuevo mundo de lucha libre". Even arguing "Lucha Libre" and "Pro Wrestling" are different is a generalization as there are several different styles of "Lucha Libre" and "Pro Wrestling".
  • Do NOT let Scott Steiner hear you refer to a Frankensteiner as a Hurricanara. You have been warned. He's technically correct. A Hurricanrana requires the user to end the move by hooking the opponent's legs in a pin. Without the pin, the move would be more accurately called a Back Flip Head Scissors.
  • Barry O. From the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, thank you.
  • The current top championship in the National Wrestling Alliance is the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. Not "World" or "World's"—"Worlds".


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: