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"Tonight, the arena is sold out. A dozen shades of gray will square off in a pageantry of war. The opponents are unlikely in the real world, but in the amphitheater of our imagination, they're well matched. The punk rockers note  will battle the mountain men.note  The black separatists will fight the post-apocalyptic warriors. The gang-banger will rumble with the aristocrat. The futurenote  will struggle with the past, and the living will duel with the dead. In the end, just like a good Soap Opera, no issues will be resolved; the story is "To Be Continued". The combatants will live to fight another night, in another town. Is wrestling fake? Absolutely. It's as fake as your imagination, as phony as your daydreams."
Steve Allen, The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling

Professional Wrestling, as the term is understood today, is a cooperative endeavor 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, amateur/Olympic wrestling, and (since The '90s) Mixed Martial Arts (which themselves grew partially out of pro wrestling). Modern professional wrestling derived from Catch Wrestling, 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,note  the sport had evolved into a "work" where the winners of bouts were determined ahead of time by the organizers, with wrestlers working "face" or "heel" to elicit respective cheers or boos from the audience. 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 WWE, WCW, ECW, and almost every other major promotion in North America and some outside of it 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 World Wide Wrestling Federation (later the World Wrestling Federation [WWF], now World Wrestling Entertainment [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 to twenty-eight days per month on average—most of a match's details will be improvised, with only the beginning, the end, and a few key "spots" in between specifically planned; the mark of a good wrestler is being able to make a match flow naturally, despite only having this sort of rough outline). WWE's programs remind one of nothing so much as a Soap Opera for guys (and indeed the terms "the soap opera for men" or, in recent years, "redneck anime", have become frequent nicknames for the business as a whole), 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 ritualistic 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. Some of the larger wrestling organizations will have full booking teams, made of agents (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 you at the moment"). Booking wrestling matches and angles 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 WWE's terrible "Invasion" vanity trip.

Bookers are not to be confused in the wrestling world with "managers". A wrestler's public "manager" will rarely actually advise on their career or manage their business affairs (exceptions include Paul Ellering, who actually was The Road Warriors' real-world business manager as well as their public manager). Rather, the manager is a hype man (especially for wrestlers who are gifted at the physical side of the sport but lacking in articulacy or improv ability) whose main job is to hype his wrestler at every opportunity, insult opponents, and get comically or dramatically embroiled in the ring action. The manager can also be useful for a wide variety of plots. If a wrestler has a communication-impaired gimmick as a "foreigner" or "monster", the manager can speak for them. An easy way of creating a kayfabe "alliance" between a group of wrestlers is to have them share a manager, or a rivalry between wrestlers can be created by making their managers business rivals. In the case of the Wrestling Monster, the manager will often be the Kid with the Leash. A good way of giving a face a temporary Face–Heel Turn is to suggest that he is being duped, manipulated, blackmailed, or even subjected to some kind of supernatural control by an evil manager.

Despite all this show-business, Professional Wrestling is very real in the sense that behind the simulated Hollywood fantasy there's a real danger. Matches are "fake" only in that they have a predetermined outcome, and Professional Wrestlers, in this regard, are more like stuntmen: they're acting out a scene, but physically, and with the chance of injury, not to mention they get no second takes. Many pros have backgrounds in amateur wrestling or other legitimate martial arts and are fully capable of handling themselves in a real fight (many drunken fans have learned this over the years); a large part of training as a professional is learning to hold back, because despite 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. Just because it looks nothing like a real fight and more like a Hollywood fight scene does not mean that Pro Wrestlers aren't seriously putting themselves at risk in every match - Professional wrestlers literally put their lives in their opponents' hands several times in a single match; the slightest misstep can (and often does) result in broken bones, 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:

Now has a Media Notes page that attempts to debunk the nasty stereotypes about the business. Not that it will work. In case you are interested in the times in which professional wrestling was a legitimately competitive sport, see the catch wrestling Useful Notes page.

See Wrestling Tropes for tropes exclusive to or primarily found in the medium. Thanks to the various wrestling related Tropes that have been named, it now has its own page.

We are always open for new pages about wrestling. See this page for a list of page requests.

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    Sample of Pro Wrestling Promotions By Region 

USA, 50 States


  • Dominican Wrestling Federation [Inactive - 1988-?]
  • Dominican Wrestling Entertainment [Active - 2008- ]
  • IWA (Puerto Rico) [Active- 1999-2012, 2018-]
  • WWC (World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico] - [Active 1973- ]
  • Latin American Wrestling Entertainment - [Active 2021- ]
  • Liga Wrestling(Puerto Rico) [Active 2012- ]



  • Continental Wrestling Entertainment [Active - 2015- ]
  • Monster Factory Wrestling [Defunct - 2011-?]
  • Rancor Fighters [Active - 2021- ]
  • Ring Ka King [Defunct - 2011-?]


  • AAA [Active - 1992- ]
  • CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) [Active - 1933- ]
  • IWRG [Active - 1996- ]
  • Lucha Liga Elite [Active - 2014- ]
  • LLF [Active - 2000- ]
  • LLI\UWA [Defunct - 1975-1995]
  • Toryumon Mexico [Active - 1997- ]

UK and Ireland

Continental Europe

  • GBG Wrestling [Active; 2002-, Sweden]
  • westside Xtreme wrestling [Active; 2000–, Germany]

South America

  • 100% Lucha [Defunct - 2006-2010, Argentina]
  • Titanes En El Ring [Active - 1962-1988, 1990, 2001, 2017-..., Argentina]
  • FILL [Active - 2007-, Brazil]
  • BWF [Active - 2002-, Brazil]


  • Nigerian Pro-Wrestling Federation [Active - 1981- ]
  • Pro Wrestling Africa [Active - 2015- ]

South Africa

  • AWF/African Wrestling Alliance [Active - 1995- ]
  • Word Wrestling Professionals [Active - 2002- ]


  • WCW (World Championship Wrestling) [Defunct - 1964-1978] note 
  • AWF (Australasian Wrestling Federation [Active - 1999- ]
  • PWA (Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia) and PWWA (Pro Wrestling Women's Alliance) [Active - 2007- ]

    People in Pro Wrestling with Pages 

    Stables and Tag Teams 
Indexes for the different teams can be found here (for duos), here (for trios) and here (for 4+ member groups).

    PPVs and Other Events 

    News and Opinion Sources 


    Professional Wrestling in Various Media 

Anime and Manga

Card Games

  • Champions of the Galaxy
    • Legends of Wrestling (and many other spinoffs such as Chikara, CZW, Ring of Honor, SHIMMER and Championship Wrestling From Hollywood)
  • Raw Deal Indy Card
  • Supershow the Game
    • WWE Raw Deal

Comic Books

Fan Fic



Wrestling Shows

Other Live-Action TV


  • Momoiro Clover Z, an obscure Japanese Idol group whose gimmicks revolve around professional wrestling and Toku, they're even appearing on an actual match as Keiji Mutoh's allies. In return, several NJPW casts also appear as guests in their live concerts.
  • Insane Clown Posse have wrestled, licensing a video game and eventually starting their own promotion.
  • Filipino rock groups Parokya ni Edgar and Kamikazee have a collaboration single titled "The Ordertaker". Its music video has the bands dressing as several WWE superstars.
  • Shining Wizado, a Seattle musician who writes songs about wrestling.



Tabletop Games


  • The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity


  • SLAM Buddies

Video Games


Web Original

Western Animation

    Tropes Examples A-Z 
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • The cliche is true. Old wrestlers never retire. Even if they're not that personally invested in wrestling, even if their knees turn to powder, even if have a profitable side-venture going, they'll be back. Every time.
    • "Retirement" matches in professional wrestling rarely stick. (See the 1001 "firings" or "retirements" in the last few years. It's done purely to work the crowd; the number of times people "retire" and are back the next week is ridiculous.) Furthermore, declarations of retirement often give way to part time work in the business part time or otherwise become less extensive than initially suggested more times than not. (Sometimes for money reasons, sometimes just for the love athletes have for their sport). Triple H is a sterling example of juggling both roles.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: None of the televised wrestling matches seem to end when the show goes to commercial. But if they did, it would be really aggravating. This started out as a common tactic of the Southern promotions: "We'll keep the tape machines rolling, and if this match finishes while we're in commercial, you'll see what happened!" The few exceptions to this trope are:
    • It happened on an early edition of WWF Raw when Mr. Perfect beat Rick Martel during a commercial break. They quickly replayed the finish when the show resumed.
    • It also happened on a 2011 episode of SmackDown when Mark Henry was legitimately injured during a match and they had to improvise a countout finish.
    • Kofi Kingston beat Cesaro during an ad break in 2014 as part of promoting the WWE Network. Only people watching the live stream saw the finish of the match.
  • Anti-Hero: Professional Wrestling thrives on these type of heroes, as the very nature of the show requires even the most idealistic to pound someone into a gooey paste for a living. Plus, if a woman dumps a man and betrays his trust, the audience will often demand physical retribution from the wronged hero.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: It's quite common that wrestlers, usually the heels, will insult or intimidate interviewers for asking obvious questions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Several moves look great in the ring, but are banned or restricted due to the danger of inexperienced wrestlers performing them incorrectly and injuring their opponents or themselves.
    • With the exception of The Undertaker and Kane, the former being an experienced long-time star capable of delivering it correctly and the latter being his half-brother in kayfabe and also with a long record of delivering it safely, piledrivers are banned in the WWE (be it the original sit-out version or the kneeling "Tombstone" version used by 'Taker and Kane) due to the risk of opponents sustaining concussions. Randy Orton dropped his punt kick from his regular move roster for the same reason (not to mention that, being relatively easy to do, consisting simply of kicking someone in the head while they're in all fours, makes it prone to be easily mimicked by children), only being permitted to use it for big moments as a sort of Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
    • Wrestlers will take safe positions during a fall to minimize the chance of serious injury, like rolling and tucking their chins, but sometimes these protective measures can be counterproductive for specific moves. AJ Styles' signature facebuster is nothing more than a very safe faceplant on the mat in theory, but only if you don't tuck your chin, which goes against a wrestler's training instinct; it's broken the necks of Lionheart and Yoshi Tatsu, and James Ellsworth could have broken his neck too if not for AJ Styles correcting for it at the last moment.
  • B Show:
    • With non-televised events (often known as "house shows"), a B-Show roster is comprised of middle- and lower-level talent of a wrestling promotion, and can sometimes include well-known wrestlers making a comeback, finishing a career or making a special appearance. These shows will perform either in smaller markets – often, new ones being tested – or in established markets on the same night that the A-Show roster is performing in another market. Secondary individual title matches, or sometimes matches for the tag team titles, are often considered the main event, although sometimes the flagship title is contested between the champion and a challenger who normally may not receive this opportunity on an A-Show. These shows often have a unique experience and flow to them, and very often B-Show wrestlers are able to develop their skills enough to be promoted to the A-Show.
    • 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.
    • When ECW was brought back as a WWE television brand it was almost a middle ground of this trope. It had its own angles and World title. It was considered an actual brand with 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., a context now given to WWE Developmental Program WWE NXT in Florida.
    • Velocity and Heat were B Shows to SmackDown and Raw respectively.
    • Main Event and Superstars are both considered the B show to both SmackDown and Raw. NXT could be thrown in there too, even though these days it's a show for their developmental talent.
    • Back in the day, WWF Wrestling Challenge was considered the B show to WWF Superstars of Wrestling, in that most of the major angles began on and title changes were aired on Superstars, although Challenge would always air noteworthy segments.
  • Backhanded Apology: A standard part of wrestling Trash Talk.
  • Backyard Wrestling: A profession not widely respected among traditional promotions but many of wrestling's biggest stars started out this way, such as The Hardy Boys. More literally, some "falls count anywhere" matches have ended up in actual backyards.
  • Balls of Steel:
    • 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.
    • Joey Ryan has this as his gimmick.
  • Bears Are Bad News: "The wrestling bear" gimmick goes back to at least the 1930s with Ginger. Usually the matches are actually against the bear's trainer, who will use the bear to threaten the heels who mess with him, but some men such as Willie Williams and Kamala actually did wrestle the animal itself. Williams won.
  • 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 modeling. Women wrestlers who aren't conventionally beautiful usually get a free pass and are considered wrestlers regardless of whatever experience they have.note  This can sometimes cross over into the men's divisions with the guys getting called "gay" and "pretty boys".
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Used to varying degrees with female wrestlers. WWE and TNA's women never bleed on purpose, by contrast women in Japanese feds brutalise each other just as much as the men, even in the more mainstream promotions like AJW. 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, and also by AEW in bloody matches between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa in 2021 and 2022. TNA averted it some times, having Roxxi bleed out constantly in her matches (to the point of being nicknamed "The Hardcore Knockout"), and having a First Blood Match in 2010 between Daffney and Tara, though only somewhat in the latter, because at the conclusion of that match there was only a tiny trickle of blood. For reference's sake, here's what Japanese women's pro wrestling looks like. Brutal.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Originated in WWE (WHAT?!) by Stone Cold Steve Austin (WHAT?!), this has become a fan chant (WHAT?!) at WWE events. (WHAT?!)
  • Blasphemous Praise:
    • WWE billing Triple H as "King of Kings", seeing as how it is a title normally given to Jesus.
    • Some people started bringing signs saying "Foley is God." He expressed his preference for them not to do that so the signs changed to "Foley is Good," which became the title of his second memoir.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: See MacGuffin below.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good:
    • 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. Monster heels are an exception to this tendency, and instead gain heat by using excessive force and putting faces out of commission through brute strength.
    • Prominent examples (as heels, of course):
      • Ric Flair
      • Chris Jericho
      • The Miz
      • 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 his opponents.
    • 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 (often illegal) tag team maneuvers. This builds tension for the Hot Tag, whereupon the fresh babyface finally tags in and demolishes the heels singlehandedly.
  • Breakup Breakout: Though the USA, WWE in particular, is notorious for its attempts to invoke this trope often backfiring.
  • Breath Weapon: The "poison mist" used by many wrestlers, especially in Japan. According to Japanese kayfabe, only certain wrestlers can do it because they have a special gland that allows them to produce the mist. Most wrestlers can produce only certain colors of mist, and each has its own effects: The most common, the green mist, blinds the opponent, the red mist both blinds and burns, the blue mist puts the opponent to sleep, the yellow mist paralyzes, and The Dreaded black mist is a career ender.
    • Yoshinobu Kanemaru uses alcohol as this, unlike the mist he has to drink the alcohol before he can spit it.
  • C-List Fodder: Despite this trope involving almost exclusively lower-tier stars of a promotion, it's not as bad as one might think it may be. Often, these shows are run in smaller (or new) markets, are almost always anchored by one or two bigger-name stars (to draw fan interest and guide the younger wrestlers), and provide opportunities for the lower-rung wrestlers to work and improve skills. Secondary and tag team titles are often contested, often with lower-tier wrestlers getting opportunities they would never get on the A Show, as are unique stipulation matches. Matches against local talent are often contested as well. And the cameras may be rolling, as to capture an unexpected storyline development or title change but more often than not to allow promoters and trainers a chance to evaluate their wrestlers and use it as a learning tool. With all of this in mind, being "C-List Fodder" isn't always a bad thing.
  • Career-Ending Injury:
    • Whether from a single catastrophic injury or years of wear and tear, a wrestler's retirement is almost inevitably due to one of these: Hayabusa (botched springboard moonsault into a broken neck), Darren Drozdov (botched running powerbomb into a broken neck), "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (botched piledriver into a broken neck), Ted DiBiase (neck injury), Bret Hart (multiple concussions), the list is almost endless.
    • While real-life career-ending injuries frequently happen, the use of "career-ending" injuries is sometimes used in kayfabe, often to build drama with the involved wrestlers. If such is the case, it will be to allow the wrestlers time off - often to heal from actual injuries or to simply take time off. One example is Ricky Steamboat, who suffered a "career-ending injury" in late 1986 as part of his feud with Randy Savage.
  • Cat Fight: Apartment wrestling is the major reason why the term cat fight is associated with comedy and Fanservice, to the point "apartment wrestling" redirects to "cat fight" on That Other Wiki. It began in the 1950s when television became more widespread and bored housewives watching it began imitating pro wrestlers in the privacy of their own rooms. Presumably bedroom/living room wrestling wasn't as catchy, though it literally became apartment wrestling in the 1970s when The Fabulous Moolah began renting rooms to take pictures of her students applying holds on each other for Bill Apter's magazines, inspiring a short lived but full fledged "apartment circuit". To this day there remain fans in the US who are happy if they see a women's match degenerate into hair pulling and screaming.
  • Caustic Critic: In the English market at least, the Holy Trinity are Bad Wrestlers Exposed, You Are Not Getting Booked and The World Famous Flea Market. However, the most caustic critic is probably original Four Horseman and surly heel extraordinaire Ole Anderson, though he doesn't actively seek out platforms to voice his opinions. Bryan Alvarez of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is a particularly long running example, although less infamous due to his parody program Figure Four Online Weekly giving way to actual journalism, negativity not being the main purpose of his outings and being overshadowed by the much more placid Dave Meltzer (who ironically enough, is a favorite target of Anderson, despite Meltzer giving him a platform). Despite the name WrestleCrap usually doesn't veer into this territory.
  • The Character Died with Him:
    • Sadly, this is starting to become true as of late, as professional wrestlers nowadays seem to have very short lifespans: an enlarged heart, fibromyalgia, prescription pill and cocaine addiction, PCS, neck, back and knee surgeries all contribute to wrestlers in their forties having the bodies of 70-year-olds. Hence why many of the greats from the 1980s have already departed.
      Shane Douglas: Once again I sit here at my computer to write my epitaph of a close friend, co-worker, and pioneer. I guess that, due to the sick nature of our business, this will be a never-ending responsibility.
    • Wrestling has had a number of high-profile deaths that seem to come out of nowhere, most notably Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, or more recently Brodie Lee and Bray Wyatt. Certainly fans are now conditioned to expect any wrestler to die at any time.
    • Not to mention the fact that accidents can happen when stunts are performed in a ridiculously unsafe manner, as Owen Hart tragically showed.
    • To their credit, 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 WrestleMania 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, and they were competing in Undertaker's supposedly biggest match (and about his only one left!) every year — The Pursuit To End The Streak. 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 averse to insulting.
    • After the 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.
    • CM Punk would lampshade this trope on the July 11, 2011 edition of Raw:
      CM Punk: In the real world, the WWE has always gotten a mention or two for two reasons— the first one being that CM Punk is speaking his mind; the second one is because somebody died.
  • Cheap Heat: It's real easy to come out, act like an arrogant prick, mock the local sports teams and get booed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If a table is set up at the beginning of a match, a wrestler will go through it by the end.
  • Chickification:
    • Happens to women often when promoted from an independent 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, and Chris Jericho. Over the years, she had more and more surgery to make herself look more feminine and moved towards fighting women.
    • The women's division itself in WWE at one point went through this. Many members of the female roster weren't actual trained wrestlers, but rather models/actresses who then became wrestlers, and, as a result, were rarely the best in-ring performers (Trish Stratus is known for averting this). WWE appears to be averting the trope with the 'divas revolution starting in 2015. There have been many shows with multiple Divas matches, whereas at one point, the company could go multiple shows with no Divas matches, there's even going to be an all women Pay Per View.
  • Comically Missing the Point: People who run around insisting the professional wrestling is fake. Actually, this is only comical some of the time, as it can really piss off professional wrestlers to hear this. Professional wrestling is not fake, it's entertainment. There's a world of difference, and to enjoy professional wrestling requires Willing Suspension of Disbelief just the same way no one actually thinks Arnold is an unstoppable android from the future or that Tom Cruise really flies F-14's. The training and preparation professional wrestlers have to do is very real, as are the injuries they suffer. All this because they love it and want to put on a good show for the fans.
  • The Consigliere: Managers, while reluctant to actually set foot in the ring (usually), act as hypemen and ringside plants. Unfailingly cowardly, they will either interfere in matches or jeer the babyfaces from the safety of the commentator table.
  • Cool Old Guy: Anyone born before 1960 who's still in the game. Would you mess with Ric Flair? or Hulk Hogan? Ot Harley Race or Terry Funk when they were still living? Or the nearly 80-year-old multi-millionaire who lets himself get hit in the head with steel chairs on national television? And God help you if you piss off The Undertaker. For that matter, Batista is actually, in real life, a grandfather. Yes, THAT Batista. And he had two grandchildren before turning 40.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The technical term for this in pro wrestling circles is a "squash match". Not nearly as common nowdays as it was in the '80s, when most televised matches consisted of a star wrestler pitted against a hopeless "jobber"/"enhancement talent" 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 I where King Kong Bundy beat SD Jones in 27 seconds (although the announcers said the match ended in under 10) and SummerSlam 1988 where Ultimate Warrior defeated The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship in under 2 minutes to end a 15-month championship reign.
    • The difference here is that a wrestler can be curbstomped and still "win", such as when Batista totaled Chris Benoit on Monday Night Raw but was disqualified for refusing to relent while Benoit was tied up in the ropes or Paul Burchill's literal curb stomping of Mr. Kennedy. They do not lose as much credibility this way and at times makes the curbstomper look incompetent for ultimately being unable to do their job (win matches) correctly.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: When a wrestler performs a finisher during a match, it isn't always enough to end it despite the beating their opponent may have already taken beforehand, yet if a wrestler performs a finisher outside of a match the victim often stays down for a very long time.
  • Cyclic Trope: How appreciated technical wrestling is versus more simplistic styles. As this video explains, no matter how over a Hulk Hogan or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin may be, wrestlers with solid technical skills (a Bret Hart or Kurt Angle or Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan) are always the fallback position.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • The pro wrestling term for this is "getting buried".
    • Random shifts in alignment can also cause this. The theme of "a wrestler well-respected by fans who would honestly prefer to cheer someone who does high risk moves than boo them" would become a staple of the Sports Entertainment genre.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
    • Hulk Hogan defeating André the Giant at WrestleMania III was viewed as this.
    • Whether or not Bill Goldberg has ever been pinned cleanly is up for debate (mostly due to the issue of semantics regarding the word "cleanly").
    • The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Started at WrestleMania VII and went to XXX.
  • Dented Iron: As careers progress, the pads and ring gear get switched out from models designed to cushion to those that squeeze nerves and muscles in ways that make functioning with damaged parts still possible.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Montreal Screwjob is the most infamous example, and the "Dusty Finish" is probably the most common.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Can happen alongside Breakup Breakout.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In August 2017, Natalya condemned Naomi for, among other things, turning the SmackDown Women's Championship belt into "a toy" (Naomi had flashing lights added to it upon winning the title, as part of her "Feel the Glow" gimmick). This seems very similar to what many people said about John Cena's WWE Championship "spinner" belt, but the latter was never brought up in kayfabe.
  • 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.note  If you meet a wrestler, it is considered proper etiquette to address them by their ring name. According to some sources, this even applies to new wrestlers— if Undertaker introduces himself to you and says "I'm The Undertaker", don't call him "Mark" or "Calaway", call him "Undertaker". (Once you've known him for a while, he'll let you use "Taker".)
  • Double Standard: Many, usually invoked by heels, such as the "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 can be just as lethal 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... some wrestlers are so good at what they do that their villainous actions are ignored, and the crowd cheers for them anyway.
  • 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.
  • Easily-Distracted Referee: It is a job requirement for any referee in pro-wrestling to be easily distracted, and exacerbating the circumstance is that a referee will rarely make a call based on something he didn't see (even if he's detained with one wrestler in a one-on-one match, there's a sound of steel hitting flesh somewhere behind him, and suddenly the other wrestler is unconscious— Eddie Guerrero would take advantage of this fact many times during his career).
  • Easily Forgiven: In pro wrestling, the fact that someone may have said or done something horrible doesn't mean that their victim won't eventually let bygones be bygones and become friends again, seemingly with no limit. This goes from saying horrible things about another wrestler (Charlotte Flair towards her father Ric, for example), to selling out one's own wrestling family (Seth Rollins towards Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose), to literally trying to cripple someone (Triple H towards Shawn Michaels, Kevin Owens towards Sami Zayn).
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Thanks to The Rock.
  • Feud Episode: Pro wrestling is almost entirely composed of this.
  • Finishing Move: The finisher is a one-time only move, usually exclusive to that wrestler (unless inherited or stolen from somebody else in kayfabe) which usually lays out the opponent in one shot. We say usually, as kickouts are known to happen.
  • Fireballs: Used to be somewhat common, especially in the southern "wrasslin" territories, but a combination of obvious safety issues and a badly botched and embarrassing attempt at one of these by Hulk Hogan in a match with Ultimate Warriornote  has mostly relegated these to the deathmatch promotions.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Known to fans as "Evil Foreigners" and not all evil foreigners are heels, Kaientai turning face but still being EVIL! Indeed!
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Rosey, Super-Hero In Training.
    • 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.
    • Terri, Jacqueline, and Ryan Shamrock: the Pretty Mean Sisters.
  • The Gambler:
  • 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 their opponent can no longer make use of the limb in question.
  • George Jetson Job Security:
    • In the USA, the major promotions treat their talent as "free agents" and so can fire and hire them much easier than most other employers (though they often get away with working these "free agents" just as hard as any employee).
    • Also true In-Universe. Some wrestlers have been "fired" in kayfabe and rehired several times ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin is probably the best example—he's been arrested on WWE television many times). Even if they are stated to be absolutely and permanently fired, there's a pretty good chance it's not going to be their last match or appearance.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff
    • Jushin Thunder Liger is regarded as one of the best Japanese wrestlers ever, in the United States. In Japan, he's respected, but was never the most popular super junior compared to say, Último Dragón or Tiger Mask.
    • Vampiro was regarded as nothing special in Canada, but in Mexico, he was a major draw for every enterprise he worked for, with the exception of Lucha Libre Internacional, where he was rejected fiercely.
    • Bob Sapp was another forgotten NFL transfer on the independent circuit of the US. But in Japan he became one of the most popular athletes and one of the best-paid athlets in the world, going so far as to become International Wrestling Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion.
    • The Great Khali, for all his poor wrestling ability, was massively popular in his homeland of India. He managed to draw 60,000 people to what were basically showcases for CWE students he represented.
  • The Gimmick: For the most part, to work in the professional wrestling industry is not like being an actor on stage playing a character part, but more so being yourself with a gimmick that (hopefully) makes you readily identifiable and easy to remember. Scotty Flamingo is Scott being the best (or most annoying) womanizing party boy he can be. Scotty The Body is Scott showing off as much as he can. Raven is Scott with depression. Fans know they are all the same person and all three gimmicks work because of Scott's real personality. The colorful masks of Lucha Libre allow for secret identities and reused gimmicks, but the most successful tend to work on the same principle of making yourself more identifiable and memorable. Simply sticking another man in Místico's mask did not make him as popular as the last, while the third Dragon Lee's personality was distinct from his predecessors and he was accepted as a new luchador by the crowds.
  • Good Is Dumb:
    • 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 (Triple H even told Flair, during said plotting, that Batista isn't very smart).
    • The most egregious example of this is Sting, who is commonly referred to as "The dumbest man in wrestling." Although he's averted it mightily over his years in TNA and later AEW.
  • Gratuitous English: Japanese promotion names such as Wrestle And Romance (later Wrestle Association R) and Big Mouth Loud. American wrestlers/promoters/reporters who never learned Japanese often find themselves speaking in broken English when they're with Japanese wrestlers.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Naturally, since hamminess is any wrestler's stock in trade.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: The format of most wrestling promos.
  • Hope Spot: Spot being a professional wrestling term, there is bound to be at least one of these on any given wrestling show. Oh sure, we known Kurt Angle is unlikely to lose to Eugene since he's already been announced to be in an upcoming match against WWE Champion John Cena, posters and pre-orders all ready but that doesn't mean Eugene is not going to get any two counts before it's over.
  • Hot-Blooded: The exception here for a long time were the Japanese fans, known for politely sitting with their hands clasped and maybe giving light applause every now and then, unless your were Inoki, Chigusa or something. The wrestlers by consequence tended to scream and sell more than elsewhere to make up the difference.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: It's generally agreed that "legit" professional wrestling matches started to fall out of favor in 1876 after a Collar and Elbow style match between Jacob H Martin and James Hiram McLaughlin went on for six hours without a decisive winner at Whitney's Opera House in Detroit on June 29 of that year. By working matches, you could keep long matches interesting and ensure they never went on that long without depriving anyone a winner.
  • Ho Yay: While virtually everything about wrestling is this, special mention should go to old video packages meant to showcase tag teams to female audiences.
  • Incoming Ham: Any wrestler with entrance music. Bonus points if that music opens with said wrestler's catchphrase, or some kind of loud sound effect (the sound of breaking glass at the start of Steve Austin's theme easily being the most prominent example).
  • Invincible Hero:
    • A complaint most infamously leveled against Hulk Hogan, and later at John Cena. Tends to get invoked against any Face champion who is dominant enough, though.
    • The Ultimate Warrior is arguably the prime example of this trope. He only had a handful of clean losses on record. Not even Hulk Hogan could stop him (without cheating, that is).
    • Bill Goldberg plays the trope straight, but was rarely vilified for it. In fact, his 170-plus-match winning streak in WCW was one of the reasons the company was so popular.
  • Invincible Villain: Triple H, from 2002-2005. Ditto for Jeff Jarrett from 2003-2006, so much that fans called him "Triple J" and chanted for him to "DROP THE TITLE!" whenever he appeared.
  • Improbable Weapon User: There is no farm implement, piece of furniture, musical instrument, or article of clothing that hasn't doubled as a weapon at least once (probably twice — there's almost nothing original in wrestling):
  • It's Personal: Okay, try finding a promotional package for any given wrestling event that does not hype a personal feud.
  • Jerk Jock: A lot of heels (and some of the nastier faces) can be this. Coming from an entertainment full of athletes, this is expected.
  • Just Friends:
    • This trope often plays out between a valet/manager, the wrestler who is romantically entangled with said valet, and a third person who is often the wrestler being managed by the valet or someone who keeps rescuing the valet from attacks by opponents of the boy/girlfriend.
    • Triple H, Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon name dropped the trope several times when Triple H became jealous of the attention Kurt and Stephanie were paying each other when Kurt kept saving Stephanie from The Rock. Of course, it resulted in a triple threat match with The Rock for the WWF Championship, at SummerSlam in 2000.
  • Large Ham: Mostly the wrestlers, but more than a few of the announcers are guilty of this, especially when dealing with a wrestler or faction they show particular favoritism towards. If a wrestler can't talk, they're often given a manager who can.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Wrestling on TV is seemingly made of this, with the men as Walking Shirtless Scene Mr Fanservices, and the women as Stripperific Ms Fanservices.
  • Leg Focus:
    • Often used with the female manager/valet — see Miss Elizabeth in the 2-on-3 match at SummerSlam 1988 for when used minimally for maximum effect. Taken to the extreme during the Attitude Era (and similar on WCW) with Stacy Keibler and her 42 inches of "'nuff said."
    • In a rare male example, an anecdote exists that cites the reason for The Miz switching from capri shorts to trunks: Vince McMahon thought he had nice legs that he should show off.
  • Leotard of Power: An older wrestling costume design that still shows up nowadays every once in a while.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Have you seen the buildup to some of these high-profile matches? CMLL's Super Libre, ROH's Fight Without Honor and EVOLVE's End Of Evolution are more so agreements to not fight like Gentlemen.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Blame it on socio-economic distribution. The southern booking philosophy could still work in wrestling today. It would also produce shows that fewer TV networks would be willing to air.
    • Chikara was a good example of family-friendly wrestling that didn't alienate kids or insult the intelligence of adult fans. NXT is also an all-ages product that works well. Its primary demographic is the more-cliquish wrestling fans, but they can do that while being PG and having gimmicks that still appeal to kids, like Becky Lynch and Bayley.
    • You can discuss how kayfabe stuck it out longer in the south, but it was equally in relation to which areas had blue-collar, working class people. Vince Sr.'s WWF could be quite brutal as it ran in front of a lot of migrant fans (Poles, Italians, Irish, etc...), while The Sheik's territory in Detroit had its share of blood. In contrast the West Coast/flyover states were more technical and cleaned up, while in the south where there were a lot of mining towns and post-Depression communities that knew a hard life and what a hard fight looked like. (Which is still the case today in Appalachia, where coal mining is the only thing feeding a lot of communities.) So, when you're wrestling in front of two hundred ornery miners who know how a face looks when you punch it just right...
    • On the topic of WWE: The "PG Era" worked when Cena was champion, but may soon be coming to a close — now that the company has tried (and failed) to work the same magic with Cena imitators.
  • Living Legend: Bruno Sammartino was called "The Living Legend". Larry Zbyszko appropriated the name as "The New Living Legend" during a feud. Chris Jericho referred to himself as a living legend during his Undisputed WWF championship reign after he unified the WWF and WCW world titles. Other wrestlers/workers who have been labeled (unofficially) as such: Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Jim Ross, John Cena, The Rock.
    • Aside from Sammartino, it's generally accepted that the three living legends of the three main wrestling regions in the 1950s and 1960s were Lou Thesz (America), El Santo (Mexico) and Rikidozan (Japan), though Rikidõzan would meet an untimely end in 1963.
  • Lovable Rogue: The Rock, Ric Flair, Eddie Guerrero at the end of his life.
  • Made of Iron: Pretty much anyone who steps in the ring. Just cause actions are done in cooperation doesn't mean hits don't hurt like hell (which is a common misconception among the "You know it's fake, right?" crowd). A wrestler who can't take a lot of punishment is in the wrong line of work.
  • Masked Luchador: Origin unknown, birthplace Mexico. See Cool Mask.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Three-way matches, called, depending on the promotion and stipulations, a "Three Way Dance" or a "Triple Threat."
  • Monster Clown: The fanged clown Coco Blanco, Doink the Clown as a heel, Power Stable Los Payasos Diabolicos, The Psycho Circus trio...
  • Motive Rant: This is very common whenever a wrestler undergoes a Face–Heel Turn. The next week after, they will often tell the fans why they did what they did to a face wrestler, whether it's being tired of living under their shadow, because they are sick of the fans and the locker room not giving them respect, or simply because they can.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Wrestling fandom is like chickenpox: you get it when you're young, and it can come back stronger than ever as shingles when you're an adult, but it never truly goes away.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless:
    • 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 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 on the 270-pound Triple H. Ditto for Stacy Keibler.
    • Triple H is a great example. During his career, he's stood roughly 6'4", weighing around 270 pounds and is as muscular as almost any other wrestler you can think of. Despite this, he doesn't use power moves and isn't billed as being any stronger than the average male wrestler.
    • Cesaro averts the trope. He's roughly average-sized (but extremely toned) for a wrestler, but was at one point able to lift The Big Show for a scoop slam over the top rope to win a Battle Royal.
    • Taz(z) is an aversion as well. A stout 5'9", 230 or so pounds, he was known as The Human Suplex Machine, and would make a habit of throwing around men much larger than he.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: "Foolish child! I am the eater of worlds!", "I'm the Boogeyman, and I'm coming to get ya!"
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Abdullah the Butcher, The Boogeyman, The Undertaker, Psicosis, Kane, The Dungeon of Doom... it never ends. Santino Marella once was smacked around legitimately by Jim Cornette for ignoring this meme on the second guy.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Mention you like wrestling around a group of people, and someone will tell you the not-so-surprising news that wrestling is fake. Played straight, as they will seriously think you're not aware of this.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Employed against faces to build heat, and against heels when they get their comeuppance.
  • No-Holds-Barred Contest: In the catch as catch can days, no holds barred literally meant "all holds allowed", as air chokes, for example, were usually considered cheating. While this is still true in some post-catch pro wrestling enterprises, it often means "expect to see Garbage Wrestling". Sometimes there are distinctions between traditional "no holds barred", "hardcore rules" (garbage), falls count anywhere and any number of more dangerous Gimmick Matches, but this varies from region to region and promotion to promotion.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: A contract dispute with the boss? A love triangle with another wrestler and his girlfriend? Suspicions of trying to stage a hostile takeover of the company? There's only way to settle something like that... in the ring!
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: The mantra of Gorgeous George and practiced by heels everywhere.
  • Oh, Crap!: Typically seen when the Heel finally comes face-to-face with a Face he's been trying to avoid... or when just about anyone goes one on one with The Undertaker (although, in kayfabe, many wrestlers attempt to avert the trope against Undertaker, so as not to allow him to be fueled by their fear).
  • Older Than Dirt: Wrestling is the oldest game/sport in the world. Modern Professional Wrestling is at least older than television, with some arguing it to be as old as radio. There is evidence of worked matches as far back as the mid-1800s, though until 1920 it's impossible to tell just how much was legit or worked.
  • Painted-On Pants: Traditionally associated with female wrestlers, but it became more common on men, who traditionally didn't wear pants of any kind, as time went on. Depending on the region, there were actually laws about how much skin an athlete could show, usually more strictly applied to females, either in distribution (no legs led to such "pants") or overall (which usually lead to tights with Leotard of Power).
  • Pec Flex: Trust us. This trope is pretty popular in professional wrestling.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Mini-Estrellas, Mexican promotions CMLL and AAA having the most famous rosters of them with Mascarita Sagrada being particularly popular. Anyone under a certain height, most commonly 153 cm, can be a Mini-Estrella. Often times a young mini-estrella will hit a growth spurt and have to leave the division but sometimes a short adult, such as a dwarf, will become popular enough to face larger wrestlers too. AAA even had a "mascot" division made up of tag teams of a large wrestler and a mini version of himself or sometimes a small wrestler and a larger version of himself. While mini's never really caught on anywhere else, other regions such as US and Canada got a few decades mileage out of "midget wrestling", with a few such midgets being able to lift men three times their size, and some Japanese promotions like Ice Ribbon are infamous for hiring tiny kids without the height\weight classes lucha libre uses to protect them.
  • Poison Is Evil
    • One of the oldest and dirtiest tricks in pro wrestling is to poison an opponent by soaking some fabric on your person in an ether-based substance and getting it close to his face during the match. This practice was discontinued as pro wrestling became more corporate and liability concerns were raised. Part of the trick inevitably involves letting the poisoned fabric slip into the crowd so that the audiences knows the drugging is "legit" and suits worry someone will inhale too much.
    • The "Asian mist", known as the "poison fog" to the Japanese, that was introduced by The Great Kabuki, was initially "just" strong spices, rather than traditional "poison". However, a lore of technicolor toxins developed over time, including a babyface version in Yuji Nagata's "blue justice mist".
  • Police Are Useless:
  • Popularity Power: Wrestling runs on the fans taking an interest in you, more so 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". John Cena is arguably the codifier for this concept.
    DDT: For you gamers out there, I was playing Diablo II the other day and fought the main boss (named Diablo, oddly enough)...I had the fight well in hand. That is, until Diablo got all pissy and broke script, shooting on me with a vicious lightning attack that nearly laid me out legit. I ended up running away so I could suck down some healing potions. Since I was the top face of the promotion, though, I came back and beat the tar out of Diablo for trying to do a Paul Roma '95 on me. I've since been told after the battle that Diablo mouthed off to the bookers backstage and was quickly fired for his unprofessionalism in doing the job. If you're wanting to know where you can see Diablo, look in shareware the indies.
  • Power Stable: Usually a group of bad guys who get together to help each other win matches, though they can form for other reasons, such as Drew Gulak's campaign to sanitize CZW or Right To Censor enforcing censorship on the WWF.
  • Power Trio: While they have probably always existed in Professional Wrestling to some capacity and the NWA did it about ten years before them in the 60s, it was the Mexican UWA, who oversaw Lucha Libre Internacional, that introduced a division and title belts for "tercias matches" or trios, which was quickly copied by other organization all around the world, including the NWA, who revived their own six man tag team division in the 1980s in direct response. Los Tres Fantásticos are perhaps the most successful ever and definitely the one every other enterprise wanted to duplicate.
  • Prejudiced For Pecs:
    • Professional wrestling is notorious for the difficulty "small" (as in average-sized) people have making a break in it. Perhaps the most famous example is Jushin Thunder Liger, whom dojos in Japan refused to train after deeming him 'diminutive' despite his height being the national average. A later example would be the Minnesota Stretching Crew, both members of which had the same strength and weakness as performers (highly athletic, charisma deficient) with Shelton Benjamin having the higher work rate of the two. Brock Lesnar was larger though, so he got pushed immediately after their breakup and got to go over Shelton multiple times when they were at odds.
    • Being a big dude is half the battle. On his podcasts, Steve Austin said that someone once advised him: "This business is all about big upper bodies. So long as you're still in proportion, no one will care", and Hogan was once quoted as saying, "big arms equals big paychecks." Look at all the stars from the late 80s and early 90s, and they've all got wide shoulders, big chests, huge arms and—with the exception of a few—not-great legs. Since the business used to be about Greek-style godlike humans (albeit with not-so-godlike acting) going to war, most of the guys where big, over the top, and blond-haired. That all changed due to the Attitude Era and the influence of ECW, though you can still see it today with guys like John Cena and Rob Terry. It's well known to be Vince McMahon's Author Appeal, Eric Bischoff to a lesser extent, and the reason why Vince Jr.'s always trying to get Cena over even when someone else is selling more merchandise, and why Vince put on a ton of muscle when he got into the ring for the first time.
  • Promoted Fanboy: The industry basically runs on this. A quite large portion of wrestlers during any given time period got into it after having watched a wrestling event or television show as a kid.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The basis of Hulk Hogan's comeback spot, Sting too. Also used by many monstrous/supernatural wrestlers, such as Kane and The Undertaker.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: While WWE didn't invent this trope, they certainly revel in it—just ask The Rock ("If ya suh-mellllll....what the!") or Booker T ("Can you dig it....SUCKA?!) or especially the guy who stamped his whole meal ticket with this trope, Mr. Kennedy ("MMMMMisterrrrrr....Kennedy....KEN-NE-DY!"). It's also a pretty good bet that, at least in WWE, every heavyweight champion will state that he's the "World. Heavyweight. CHAMPION" at least once during his reign.
  • The Quisling:
    • Usually local heels who sides with an Foreign Wrestling Heel.
    • Also, any visible executive who sides with a major heel group. Eric Bischoff's heel turn to the nWo on the November 18, 1996 WCW Monday Nitro is likely the first example of this.
    • In CHIKARA, Derek Sabato did this twice, as the liaison for the BDK and again for GEKIDO.
  • Rage Quit: 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 a rematch so as to prevent this. Sometimes, though, this doesn't need to happen in a match. For some reason, Batista comes to mind...
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Wrestlers' real-life issues often provide fodder for their gimmicks and angles. 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 Edge CM Punk.
    • The entire Montreal Screwjob.
    • In hindsight, Ric Flair's notorious "damaged goods" promo, in which he claimed to have previously dated Miss Elizabeth, wife of Randy Savage in both kayfabe and reality, had more than a bit of this. During the promo, Flair claimed that Elizabeth and Randy were having marital problems because she couldn't forget her past with Flair. At the time, the couple was having real-life marital problems, although Flair had nothing to do with them; they would be divorced by the end of the year.
  • Redemption Demotion: Sometimes when a Heel does a Heel–Face Turn, he'll lose his push as a result.
  • Redemption Promotion: Other times, when a Heel does a Heel–Face Turn, they'll get a push.
  • 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 noticeable example is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the late 90's after Bret Hart turned heel at WrestleMania 13. He still got into fights with the faces and would give anyone a Stunner, no matter who they were.
  • Ring Oldies: Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Bob Backlund, Abdullah the Butcher...
  • The Rival: Since their primordial foundations, collar-and-elbow along with catch-as-catch-can have competed with the 'sport' of 'prize fighting' for viewership. Most of pro wrestling's development, such as moving away from wrestling itself to fights and eventually decided outcomes before the fact were in response to boxing's own developments and popularity. On the other hand, boxing and pro wrestling were governed by the same athletic commissions in the USA prior to the National Wrestling Alliances's rise and remained governed by the same in Mexico even afterwards.
  • Rule of Cool: Some moves done during matches, which are depicted as being basically the equivalent of a noogie, can actually injury people if not done in controlled conditions. If a snapmare was applied the way wrestlers do it in an uncontrolled environment, it would cripple most people. A reverse chinlock can snap tendons in the neck. Again, in professional wrestling these moves are about as effective as a noogie.
  • Rule of Funny: The purpose of "exóticos" in Lucha Libre, who are more about emasculating the opponent than hurting him. Several moves such as Delirious's face wash work entirely on this rule.
  • Rule of Three: In pro wrestling, the number three comes up in many instances. A three-count is necessary for a win, many moves are done in threes (triple suplexes, for example). Also, many times, a wrestler will perform three identical strikes in a row as a filler sequence before being countered or transitioning into a follow-up sequence.
  • Schlubby, Scummy Security Guard: A variation, as security guards in wrestling aren't portrayed as being sleazy and power-hungry, but their Police Are Useless qualities are played up quite a bit. In heated feuds, between two wrestlers, whether the two are signing a contract or getting really personal in a promo, most security guards getting sent out to break up the two wrestlers from fighting will typically get knocked down like bowling pins and fail badly at being able to break up a heated confrontation despite their numbers and trying to hold the wrestlers back.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: It's common for guys and girls in the business to be told they won't succeed or they can't draw for whatever reason, so they don't get booked in on going programs or get to have matches, so they don't get over. Sometimes the bookers will throw them a bone and say, "Okay, prove to us you can be a hit with fans," and throw them into a match with no build up and no significance, often against someone it's clear they won't beat (like a midcard champion) so the crowd has no reason to care about the match and will go dead during it, making the bookers think they were right and the wrestler will never be hot, proving they shouldn't get a push, and because the wrestler doesn't get a push they can't get the fans' interest, meaning it's extremely hard for them to break out of this cycle. Aside from happening with individual wrestlers, this same effect can also happen with entire divisions and styles of wrestling - such as Cruiserweight divisions, Women's divisions, or lucha-style wrestling in the USA.
  • Serious Business:
    • 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.
      • On the flip side, wrestlers are genuine athletes and, since the earliest days, actual wrestlers. One of the earliest attempts to get butts in seats, by bringing in a professional football player to win the belt even though he had no experience wrestling, was derailed because his opponent, who did both worked matches and shoots as needed, was so insulted by the idea that he refused to follow the script and kept putting the linebacker in basic holds until the ref was forced to ignore the script and call the pin. The result was that even though there was a script in order to build drama and bring in the crowds, it was a script around a real sport and if the promoters didn't honor the athletics, the athletes might pull the rug out from under them and wrestle for real. This state of affairs lasted for decades.
    • 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.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: The realism of worked matches varies. On one hand, "shoot-style" matches endeavour to be as realistic as possible. On the other, certain wrestler gimmicks (such as The Undertaker's) and promotions (such as CHIKARA) can go into outright fantasy territory at times.
  • Spanish Announcers' Table: The table where the broadcasters for the Spanish-speaking audience sit to do their commentary became famous for, as a rule, gets demolished by a wrestling move at least once a pay-per-view. It has been even confirmed that, unlike the English team's, the table is specially designed to collapse upon impact.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Hulk Hogan may have been the Ur-Example, as his Big Damn Heroes moments after matches would inevitably lead to his music, not that of the face he had ostensibly run out to save, being played. The Kliq are pretty much the Trope Codifiers.
  • Smart Mark: Or "Smark" as it's often abbreviated is the name given to the fans who know that wrestling is staged, but enjoy it anyway. However, since practically every fan falls into that category from 1986 onward, the term has changed somewhat and now refers to a hardcore wrestling fan who has a passing knowledge of the inner workings of the business and cares more about in-ring mat work than angles or programs.
  • Spot Monkey: Term to describe a wrestler who does moves simply because they look cool rather than because they make sense at any given moment. They are also known for selling poorly.
  • Slut-Shaming: Zig-zagged sometimes. "Slut" and variations on it are popular chant against heel women, like in the cases of Eve Torres, Stephanie McMahon, and Lita. At other times, the heels will be prudes (like Right to Censor or Molly Holly) and the faces will be defiantly stripping for the audience.
  • Tag Team: Every tag team match ever, starting with Tiger Daula and Fazul Mohammed vs. Whiskers Savage and Milo Steinborn in Houston, TX on October 2, 1936 and continuing all the way to today. Mexican style parejas are less "tag" though, as simply exiting the ropes allows a partner to come in.
  • Tag Team Twins: The Harris Brothers, The Usos, the Head Hunters, the Shane Twins, the Bella Twins, The Tate Twins, TNT etc. etc. etc.
  • Take That!: Especially during the Monday Night Wars. Most shoots contains these (but not all).
  • Talk Show with Fists: Although "Buddy Rogers' Corner" predated it, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's segment "Piper's Pit" is easily the Trope Codifier and the standard against which all others are compared.
  • The Theme Park Version:
    • In relation to amateur wrestling and mixed martial arts...though the latter was originally a creation of pro wrestling.
    • Literalized by WCW starting in 1993 with the infamous "Disney tapings," when they did huge TV tapings for their syndicated weekend show WCW Worldwide, at a studio at Disney World in Orlando. These tapings served to give away title changes and other developments months in advance, exposing the business and essentially etching everything in stone. This also meant that WCW drew ZERO dollars at the gate.
    • TNA took this even further, doing both their weekly TV show AND their "PPVs" at Universal Studios, also drawing zero dollars at the gate.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet:
    • More like "There Are No Female Wrestling Fans", 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 averted in the case of British wrestling when it was televised on World of Sport in the 1970s and 1980s; back then, middle-aged and older women were among wrestling's biggest fans (Big Daddy in particular had a large female following that was said to include Queen Elizabeth II.
    • 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.
    • Likewise, most wrestler fansite owners are female. Even official ones.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: The face angrily stomps out to the ring and proudly continues tradition as he demands the heel to get out there.
  • Tonight in This Very Ring: Basically short hand for "Soon, you are going to see something we did not advertise prior!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: It was all too often during WCW's nWo era (and, to be sure probably elsewhere as well) for fans, for whatever reason, to rush into the ring and take a poke at whichever wrestlers were there. This was massively inadvisable for two main reasons; for one, the camera will immediately pan away, denying said fan his 15 seconds of Fame and discouraging anyone else from trying it in the future - "Hey, we can get on TV!" And second, as soon as said fan hits the ring, it gives the wrestlers the legal right to defend themselves against whatever shenanigans he's trying to pull. In other words, they can beat the shit out of you and not face any consequences for it. And in some cases, they may not even get as far as the wrestlers - there have been instances where invading fans have been taken down by referees before even getting to the wrestlers themselves. Remember, referees are often trained as wrestlers themselves or otherwise intimately familiar with what's going on.
  • Underwear of Power: You want a list? Too many to count. This has its roots in the carnival and circus strong men, which is why the mawashi, singlets, and other clothing or lack there of otherwise associated with wrestling are less common here.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Triple H appears to have it since becoming COO of the company.note  Spike Huber, who was married to Dick the Bruiser's daughter, had it until the divorce, after which Bruiser blacklisted the guy out of the business.
  • Unnecessary Roughness
    • From least to greatest, closed fists, small joint manipulation, scratching, hair pulling, facial stretching(fish hooking the mouth, bending the nose, pulling the ears), eye pokes, biting, airway chokes(blood chokes are valid), attacking before the bell, using the opponent's clothing for leverage, not giving a clean break from the ring ropes, greasing your skin, strikes to the groin, using foreign objects, ripping off a luchador's mask and outside interference are grounds for disqualification in professional wrestling. You're usually fine so long as you stay below ring ropes and almost always if you stay below restricting the airway.
    • Chikara takes it a step forward with the "castigo excesivo" rule allowing the referee to disqualify based on anything deemed "excessive punishment".
    • ROH has a sliding scale from the stricter "pure wrestling", to "standard", to "relaxed rules", to "fight without honor".
  • Unrelated Brothers: Edge and Christian, most Andersons, The Dudley Boys (who even claimed to be "Twin brothers from different mothers"), etc.
  • Wag the Director: Savvy wrestlers who can no longer work without risk of permanent injury can cultivate other opportunities as a trainer, commentator, or — most ominously — booker. The SOP goes as follows:
    1. pack the roster and booking committee with friends and relatives
    2. bury the undercard with completely ridiculous matches and gimmicks
    3. keep a select few guys protected and book them into the main event constantly
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Most male wrestlers tend to go shirtless in the ring.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: Two wrestlers go for a Clothesline or Cross body splash at the same time. Double Knockout ensues.
  • Wild Card: The pro wrestling term for this trope is called Tweener, which previously served as the Trope Namer.
  • World of Badass: Unless you are a referee or an announcer, though even they have their moments sometimes.
  • World of Buxom: Breast implants became noticeable in pro wrestling during the mid 1990s and were pretty wide spread before the decade was even over. Luna Vachon and Jacqueline Moore used to standout among women wrestlers because they were so stacked but don't look all that special when you've got enhanced fitness models and enhanced body builders being pushed into the ring, even wrestlers they use to be much larger than like Madusa getting boob jobs.
  • World of Ham: Wrestling is home to so many enormous slices of ham. When someone as hammy as John Cena looks fairly normal by comparison, you know you're in a World of Ham.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay:
    • WWE and, to a certain extent, WCW, were known for having up until the dawn of the Attitude Era (though a few others popped up afterwards) various wrestlers whose gimmicks were that they worked a second job in their downtime. Examples include: Irwin R. Schyster, the wrestling IRS agent; the Big Boss Man, the wrestling prison guard; Brutus Beefcake, the wrestling barber; The Repo Man, the wrestling, well, repo man; Isaac Yankem, the wrestling dentist; Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz, the wrestling baseball player; Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, the wrestling racecar driver; among others. AEW plays with this trope with Dr. Britt Baker, another wrestling dentist... who (unlike Isaac Yankem) is really a dentist with a full-time practice.
    • This can also apply literally in real life. "The audience isn't the marks, we're the marks" is an old wrestler's joke. In the WWE, the biggest promotion in the US, most were probably paid in the 45k-80k range up until around 2018 or so. Which seems like a lot until you factor in that they're technically all independent contractors and so must pay their own travel costs, medical costs, and so forth. The creation of AEW (who's ownership doesn't even care if the company is profitable) in 2019 helped bumped up the pay scale a bit as wrestlers could now get a legitimate offer elsewhere to use as leverage, most on-air talent in WWE is now making at least 6 figures. At one point, it came to light that the TNA Women's Champion was working a second job at a Sunglasses Hut in order to pay the bills. Now imagine the pay scale for those working in smaller promotions.
      Bob Holly: I think wrestling today would be better if Eric Bischoff had managed to buy out WCW and keep it going. Competition is good for the industry and was definitely better for the wrestlers. For a few years, we were in a position to get paid better. I still don't feel we were ever paid entirely fairly. Both companies were making so much money that they could have afforded to pay the boys a lot more...
    • Some try to make their personas more interesting by incorporating a second job. Sometimes it is real, such as Paul Bearer the mortician; sometimes it is just for show, such as Honky Tonk Man; and sometimes the job pays so poorly that they're forced to apply for food stamps, like Jesse Neal.
      Paul Bearer: The promoters are the ones who actually prostitute the young talent. They know how much the kids want to wrestle, and will have them drive for hours, set up their ring and not even offer then a hamburger muchless gas money. It is a damn crying shame, taking advantage of the unknowing just to pad their pocketbooks.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • 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 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, Punk kicked him in the back of the head before the referee had the chance to ring the bell.