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Wrestling / WWE
aka: World Wrestling Federation

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Then. Now. Forever. Together.

WWE, short for World Wrestling Entertainment,note  is a "global entertainment" juggernaut specializing in professional wrestling. It was formerly known as the Capital Wrestling Corporation, World Wide Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Federation. In 2002, a trademark dispute with the nonprofit World Wide Fund for Nature required the company to settle on the current initialism.

The company was founded in 1952 by Roderick "Jess" McMahon (1882-1954) and Raymond "Toots" Mondt (1894-1976) to promote wrestling matches in the New York City area. Vincent J. McMahon (1914-1984) took over in 1954, following the death of his father. Vincent expanded the company to cover the entire northeastern United States from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh to Maine. Run by Vincent K. McMahon (1945-) after acquiring the company from his father in 1982, the then-WWF revolutionized — and monopolized — the pro wrestling world in the 1980s, using a series of closed-circuit broadcast events, colorful characters, and clever cross-promotion with MTV to transform wrestling from a regionalized industry with a series of small players in a loose confederation into its own private Idaho, and transforming themselves into a multi-billion-dollar global entertainment conglomerate. In 2022, McMahon stepped down from day-to-day management of the company he owned, and would fully resign from the company in 2024 after a sex scandal, leaving the promotion in the hands of WWE President Nick Khan, with son-in-law Paul "Triple H" Levesque (1969-) taking his place as head booker. In 2023, WWE announced a merger with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, creating a large combat sports powerhouse owned by UFC owner Endeavor Group Holdings.

WWE currently has five different television shows that they produce weekly: Raw and SmackDown are the A shows, which air live on weekly television, and are currently treated as two separate brands, with the characters and storylines not interacting except at special pay-per-view events.note  NXT started out as a developmental show, but thanks to heavily featuring technically-gifted former indy darlings and the quality of its matches and storylines, has gained a fanbase and become a brand unto itself, albeit one often treated by WWE booking as subordinate to Raw or SmackDown (though the focus has since mostly shifted back to developing new talent). Main Event acts as the B Show for Raw and SmackDown, while NXT Level Up (stylized as "LVL UP") is NXT's B show.

They currently hold twelve Premium Live Events (formerly called pay-pay-views) a yearnote :

Four magazines about WWE (WWE Magazine, WWE Kids, WWE Presents, and Raw Magazine) were also published.

WWE also operates its own film studio, which produces star vehicles for its talents, mostly comedy and straight-to-DVD fare. For every Scorpion King (Rock) and Marine (Cena), for instance, you get Leprechaun: Origins (Hornswoggle) and The Chaperone (Triple H). The Marine series is showing healthy life on Blu-ray, though, with Cena being succeeded by Ted DiBiase Jr. and The Miz.

WWE launched its own subscription 24/7 web-stream and on-demand service, the WWE Network, on February 24, 2014, which carries WWE's pay-per-views and B-shows, as well as NXT, a number of original documentary/reality programs, and selections from WWE's massive tape library (in addition to 70 years worth of their own footage WWE owns the rights to WCW, ECW, SMW, the AWA, WCCW, and several other promotions that don't have a page.) In January 2021, WWE announced that it would close the service in the United States and move all programming to Peacock, for that service's premium subscribers, though it will remain in operation overseas.

WWE currently recognizes 15 championships across three brands;





  • NXT Champion: Trick Williams since April 23, 2024
  • NXT North American Champion: Oba Femi since January 9, 2024
  • NXT Tag Team Champions: The Supersonic Duo (Nathan Frazer and Axiom) since April 9, 2024
  • NXT Women's Champion: Roxanne Perez since April 6, 2024
  • NXT Heritage Cup note  : Tony D'Angelo since May 14, 2024

Tropes associated with WWE:

  • Aborted Arc: Happens not infrequently, owing to many storylines only being developed as they go along rather than pre-planned in their entirety; plus they are played out in a volatile live environment where participants can get injured mid-arc or otherwise fall from favour. Plots can be dropped abruptly due to an unfavourable initial response from higher-ups (like Vince McMahon), a change of writers, or unexpected audience reactions sending the wrestlers involved onto a different path or even through the Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • Acrofatic: There have been numerous wrestlers who, despite their bulk, have been able to pull off some impressive moves more suited to lighter wrestlers: Dusty Rhodes was able to get airborne for dropkicks, Vader was able to use the top turnbuckle quite effectively. And then there's Big Show who, when he's on top of his game, has a knack for pulling off feats that a 500 pound man has no business attempting.
  • Action Girl: At least half of the women qualify. For the rest, hope they are not being pushed as wrestlers. However since the Women's Evolution took off back in 2015, the WWE Women's Division has eventually evolved into a World of Action Girls with talents coming from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and even Japan.
  • Action Politician: Kane, who was elected Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee in 2018. He showed up on Raw to capture R-Truth's 24/7 Championship, and even teases doing a chokeslam.
  • Affably Evil: Mick Foley, especially in his early years as a psychotic wrestler with multiple personas.
  • All-American Face:
  • Alliterative Name: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, Kofi Kingston, Michelle McCool, Hulk Hogan, Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, The Big Bossman, Carlito Carribean Cool, Razor Ramon, Jeff Jarrett, Roman Reigns...
  • Ambiguously Gay: Billy & Chuck, until October 2002 when Chuck proposed to Billy and it was revealed a week later to just be a publicity stunt, giving Billy a CMOF when the reveal came.
    Billy: I'm not gay, and even if I was, I wouldn't marry Chuck.
  • And That's Terrible: If the Heels and the announcers didn't tell you who the heels were, most people wouldn't know who to boo.
  • Arc Hero: While the company mostly investments on their "definitive Face of the Company" it doesn't mean they won't build another superstar to serve as the contemporary. At times, these superstars will get lucky to gain equal prestige and recognition to the company's top talent or be one themselves.
  • The Artifact:
    • Several finishers and hometowns no longer fit with their gimmicks. Most notable being Triple H, who started in the WWF as an upper-class blueblood, but since that is no longer his gimmick, his finisher (The Pedigree), his hometown (Greenwich, Connecticut), and even his ring name ("Triple H" refers to the initials of his original WWE ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley) don't fit. Though he really does live in Greenwich (but contrary to his original gimmick, wasn't born there, actually hailing from Nashua, NH).
    • Even more glaring is The Undertaker, who, in what is currently portrayed as an at-least-semi-realistic combat sports league, is Death himself.
    • Believe it or not, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was once a Gorgeous George type with blonde hair. The name of his finishing move - the "Stunner" - is an oblique reference to this.
    • Ghanaian wrestler Kofi Kingston was initially billed as Jamaican, and his character's surname is the capital of Jamaica. It's now acknowledged that he's from Ghana, but the name has stuck as the character remains a Jamaican culture enthusiast. In his case it helps that there are actual Ghanaians with the name Kingston.
    • Before he changed its name to the Lighter and Softer "Attitude Adjustment", John Cena's finishing move, the "FU", was this when Brock Lesnar was off the roster, because it was named for its similarity to Lesnar's finishing move, the "F5" (both start from the fireman's carry position). His submission move is also the STF, originally the STFU.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • There are almost innumerable examples in WWE of talents appearing as an extra in some sort of non-competitive capacity (as in, not even a Jobber that gets to wrestle a match) before becoming very visible in-ring performers. These early appearances are sometimes referenced in angles.
    • Lita and Victoria started out as The Godfather's Hoes. Carmella, Alexa and Becky were part of Adam Rose's entourage (the "Rosebuds"). Alexa was part of the Triple H's posse, too, which explains her very large rocket. The fast track to being a top female superstar is to sneak into another star's entourage.
    • One of the most notable in recent memory was CM Punk posing as a mobster of John Cena's elaborate WrestleMania 22 entrance in Chicago, Punk's hometown. (Before that, Punk had matches on Heat before his WM appearance.) Several years later, Punk would become Cena's biggest rival and feud with him in what could be argued was a pivotal angle for WWE and for the wrestling industry itself. Punk himself would even mention this during the build-up to their match at Money in the Bank.
    • Hornswoggle got a ton of segments: A romance angle with Melina. He messed around with Jonathan Coachman and Steven Regal. He eventually won Vince's love for a few weeks and was pitted against The Great Khali (Getting booked into a long-term angle with Vince can really make your career. The only person it didn’t really benefit was Kevin Owens, but he was already main-event caliber, anyway.) Him and Finlay tore it up a bit as buds. Then he got to compete in a mini five-man Rumble against little people equivalents of Mr. Kennedy, John Cena, Kane, Batista, and Khali. He turned out to be the anonymous GM. A computer, who was being operated by a dwarf half-son of the CEO of the company, was in charge of The Authority for the better part of a year or so. Then he and Finlay turned on McMahon, causing McMahon to beat up Hornswoggle with JBL's help. Then JBL revealed Finlay was Hornswoggle’s real dad and that led to them feuding. It led to him and Finlay opening WM24. Hornswoggle retired as the undefeated Cruiserweight Champion.
    • Another impressive example is WrestleMania XXX, where Triple H's entrance depicted him in full Evil Overlord mode sitting on a throne surrounded by a cadre of masked ladies. Said ladies were Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Alexa Bliss, all of whom were in NXT at the time (and this was before NXT became the hottest thing in wrestling). By 2021, all three would not only be on the roster, but each has multiple Women's Title reigns to their credit and be on the WrestleMania card in those title matches three years later.
    • Speaking of which, the women's roster has a whole ever since the rebranding of the WWE Divas Division to the WWE Women's Division which allowed more nuanced and serious storylines, increased number of women's matches on the shows, unique characters and allowing the women to compete in stipulation matches that were previously been reserved for men such as the Royal Rumble match, the Elimination Chamber match, the Hell in a Cell match, the Money in the Bank ladder match, the TLC match, Falls Count Anywhere match, street fights, Last Woman Standing match and steel cage matches. As a result, fans have pretty much stopped using women's matches as the bathroom break these days.
    • All the way back at WrestleMania VI in 1990, saw the tag team of Rhythm n' Blues being driven out to the ring in a 1950s-style car. The man driving the car was none other than future WCW superstar Diamond Dallas Page.
  • Ass Kicks You: Any wrestler who would use a butt-drop as a move, including Yokozuna, Earthquake, Doink the Clown, Rikishi, and Goldust. Goldust, Naomi, and Asuka use a jumping butt attack (a butt-butt, the name is most associated with 1980s great Iceman King Parsons.)
  • Ass Shove:
    • The JR colonoscopy skits.
    • "The Rock is going to take (some object, usually his boot but other times whistles, a camera, the Smoking Skull championship belt, Curtis Hughes, et al), shine it up nice and pretty, turn that sumbitch sideways and stick it straight up your candy ass!"
    • Rikishi would use this to attack his opponents after knocking them down in the ring turnbuckles, shoving his own ass in their faces in a move dubbed "The Stink Face."
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin did this to Vince McMahon with a catheter when he was in the hospital. Vince's pained scream upon the catheter's entry into his rectum says it all.
  • The Assimilator: Since its inception, WWE's biggest draws cut their teeth someplace else. Verne Gagne with his AWA was the wizard behind most of the 80s Superstars. The Attitude Era was dominated by ex-WCW guys whom Eric Bischoff fired because he thought they couldn't draw. The 2000s drifted away from WWE's southern base to incorporate some East Coast names. Later, the company primarily poached ROH wrestlers.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: In 2004, Mick Foley thought the big giant screens seen at political conventions resembled the Titantron, and since politics was, in his eyes, an imitation of WWE, he figured maybe WWE could imitate politics. This resulted in a pitch to Vince McMahon for an angle where Randy Orton would do political attack ads against Mick Foley. "Mick Foley claims to be a hardcore legend, but is he really?" McMahon laughed and approved the idea for storyline in early 2004.
  • Author Appeal:
    • McMahon is a 6'2" (1.88 m) ex-bodybuilder himself, and it's no secret Vince seems to think tall, very muscular men make the ideal wrestler. So it's no surprise those types are often the champion. Just ask Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Triple H, to name a few. When you're wrestling in front of 17-60,0000 fans inside a massive dome, the size of the wrestler does matter. And the extra padding comes in handy when taking bumps. Philosopher Kevin Nash spelled it out in his inimitable style:
      "You put two fucking guysnote  (that were great workers) that were the same height as the fucking referees, and... I'm sorry, man. Are you going to watch a porno movie with a guy with a three-inch dick?"
    • "Superstar" Billy Graham got the wheels turning on the concept of a larger-than-life, charismatic, ex-bodybuilder type. Hulk Hogan followed this basic outline, but in being the megastar he was, he set the mold and was the true prototype of a patented Vinnie Mac babyface superman: Goofy, wins often, rainbow-colored merch, spouts slogans.
    • Vince doesn't care much for high spots ("flippy shit!") or martial arts, thus eliminating the main draw of Cruiserweight Divisions. When they do appear on Raw, it usually involves said Cruiserweights doing Heavyweight spots (suplexes and holds). Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, and Rey Mysterio Jr. are all superstars who have figured out how to incorporate these spots into a Heavyweight-style match. John Morrison seems to have figured out how to game the system, too. Evan Bourne is terrible at it. Most conspicuous of all was X-Pac back when he was being pushed; a series of neck injuries forced him to wrestle like a big man, despite his small stature. NXT has a little more leeway when it comes to this style. This is probably one of the few that can be justified; Hayabusa once missed a springboard moonsault and didn't walk for a decade. Vince's strong dislike of high flying moves makes a lot more sense when you factor in corporate liability and teaching kids (many of them underage) to try these lethal moves in their backyard. And then, there is always Benoit...
      • That said, either Vince's hardline stance against cruiserweights of various shades is softening or someone was able to convince him of their niche value - in 2016, after what felt like years of rumors, the division was revived; first with a tournament, then with WWE signing a large chunk of the field to contracts for a division to be featured on WWE Raw with its own championship, and then with the division getting its own one-hour WWE Network time block.
    • Also applies to people under Vince. Triple H often has the same mindset as Vince but also has called for "Ring of Honor-types", John Laurinaitis hired bikini models (e.g., Kelly Kelly) and people with interest in Japanese wrestling (e.g., MVP), Jim Ross brought in fitness models (e.g., Trish Stratus) and along with Jerry Brisco likes bringing in college athletes (e.g., Brock Lesnar and The World's Greatest Tag Team).
  • Author Avatar: The McMahon family (and to an extent, Triple H, who married into the family)
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The winner of King of the Ring. Harley Race originated the gimmick of wearing an ermine cape and crown, sometimes accompanied by a "Queen" who is picked from his valets — in Harley's case, The Magnificent Moolah. Sherri went all Lady Macbeth and attacked Macho "King" Randy Savage when he lost a retirement match. Sharmell would claim the scepter while married to winner Booker T. A more meta example with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin who won King of the Ring but instead of receiving a crown, gave his iconic "Austin 3:16" speech which was only the beginning towards his megastardom.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Vince McMahon. In fact it's the entire premise for his onscreen persona. Before Vince, there were no heel bosses. Eric Bischoff also deserves credit for turning heel after a run as WCW's milquetoast commentator; though his position as Exec Producer of WCW was inside knowledge, his heel turn made it official, and he 'took over'' WCW with the help of his stable, the New World Order. This is what inspired commentator Vince to do the same.
    • Eric, as RAW general manager, better fit this trope — as did Paul Heyman as both SmackDown general manager and ECW chairman. Longtime SmackDown general manager Teddy Long, however, is an inversion: He tolerates no disrespect or Loophole Abuse by the heels.
  • Badass Biker: The Disciples Of Apocalypse, The Undertaker's "American Badass"/"Big Evil" gimmick, Bullet Club.
  • Badass Family: The Guerreros, the McMahons, The Samoans, the Harts/Neidharts, The Wyatt Family
  • Badass Longcoat: Both the Undertaker and Edge have worn long coats during their entrances, and the two are definitely badass.
  • Badass Boast: If you don't boast about something, there is something wrong.
    Triple H: Now either fight me, or sit around and bleed!note .
  • Bad Mood as an Excuse: Used in excess by heel characters, though face characters aren't immune to this, either. In general, it's dangerous to your well being to be around a wrestler when they're frustrated.
  • Battle Strip: Many wrestlers take off their shirts and coats before a match, some actually ripping it off.
  • Big Bad: Vince McMahon, nearly constantly. In the year 2006, he took this Up to Eleven by paying off a bewilderingly diverse Carnival of Killers (Shelton Benjamin, the Spirit Squad, Chris Masters, and Umaga just to name a few) to either convert to McMahonism, rid WWE of D-Generation X, or both. In fact, practically every heel on RAW (and even some from SmackDown! and ECW) were either on the take or pressed into working for Mr. McMahon.
  • Big Fun: Haystacks Calhoun, Uncle Elmer, Rikishi (as a face)
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Sometimes people such as Rey Mysterio Jr. or Maryse will cut part of a promo in their native language, or sometimes the whole thing.
    • Inadvertently inverted by Maryse on the 09.27.2010 edition of RAW: she and Ted DiBiase received a piece of paper with "next week, you will be mine" written on it. Maryse read it in French first, saying: "la semaine dernière, tu étais à moi", which translates as "last week, you were mine", (in other words, not what was written), and probably made many French-speaking fans weep.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Admittedly, pretty much every character in WWE has been a heel at some point during his or her career. Very few even come close to being full-time heroes like Tito Santana and Rey Mysterio, although there are some who just barely miss out (like Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, and R-Truth). Hulk Hogan and John Cena had heel runs early in their careers but have since become permanent babyfaces.
    • Black-and-White Morality: Doesn't stop most feuds from being presented as this, though. The '80s/Hulkamania era is probably where this was played the straightest, with all the faces essentially being portrayed as real life superheroes and all the heels being played like real life supervillains, with very little room for ambiguity. Black-and-Gray Morality really took off in the Nineties, when anti-heroes and the Heel–Face Revolving Door started to become much more common.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Anyone who wins the Money in the Bank briefcase will, without fail, start to go on a losing streak. This has been averted by some though.
    • In a sense, any champion, as holding a title puts a giant bullseye on a wrestler's back. The Hardcore and 24/7 titles in particular require the current holder to be incredibly vigilant and wary of their surroundings.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first and last Royal Rumble of the Turn of the Millennium are won by third generation superstars.
    • The New '10s began and ended pretty much the same way;
      • The decade begins and ends with an estranged top wrestler returning to the company in a non-wrestling capacity after his highly controversial exit.
      • Batista ended his original tenure with the company in 2010. He had his last match before his official retirement in 2019.
    • The April of both the second year and the penultimate year has a prominent non-U.S. born wrestler with a one-syllable name ending in "-ge" announcing their retirement due to neck-related Career-Ending Injury. The only difference is that the 2011 retiree was male and the 2018 retiree female.
      • In December 2019, Daniel Bryan gives himself an Important Haircut to mirror his debut look in 2010. Sheamus also reverts to his original hairstyle since 2014 around the same time.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • It's extremely rare that they actually do this, rather than just Leaning on the Fourth Wall, but it finally happened (pretty much) in NXT season 3. During Goldust and Aksana's wedding, Michael Cole wondered aloud why Goldust was getting along with his brother after seemingly hating him previously, and Josh Matthews responded with "You know this is fake, right?" After a few seconds of mock-disbelief, they went right back into taking the ceremony pseudo-seriously. Until the re-launch at a developmental territory, NXT in general had increasingly begun to break or lean on the fourth wall, whether it was through commentary or someone like Dolph Ziggler mockingly accusing a challenge of being rigged and Matt Striker simply answering with "Ya think?" The pros at their seats were also generally not in character and so it wasn't uncommon to see the various heels and faces chatting or otherwise doing something unrelated to the show.
    • During his now-iconic worked shoot promo in 2011, CM Punk briefly made reference to the fourth wall, even going so far as to waving directly to the camera. Since then, his character has given him the freedom to escape the confines of the show's premise anytime he wants.
      CM Punk: Woops, I'm breakin' the fourth wall!
    • Most Worked Shoot angles are this by default, since they hinge on acknowledging that wrestling is scripted and the people involved are playing characters and are booked to win/lose/play the character they play. A lot of this happened before and during the ECW One Night Stand PPV in 2005, particularly from Joey Styles and Paul Heyman, where they pretended to shoot on WWE.
  • Break the Cutie: Done very, very cruelly with Mickie James. There's a reason that more than one wrestling publication called that angle pretty much a humiliation for not just WWE, but the entire industry.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • This was done to Lita after her retirement match at Survivor Series 2006, when Cryme Tyme auctioned off a box of her unmentionables, which included her panties and yeast cream.
    • Vince McMahon did this to Trish Stratus on a Raw segment in 2000, forcing her to bark like a dog and take her clothes off, before dumping sewage on her.
    • Done to Vickie Guerrero as she was on her way out of her first stint with the company. After she lost a Hogpen Match at Extreme Rules 2009 (which was humiliating enough in itself) she announced on Raw the next night that she would resign as General Manager. This prompted Edge, her on-screen husband at the time, to come out and repeatedly insult and demean her, admitting he never really loved her before asking for a divorce.
  • Brick Joke:
    • During the 900th episode of Raw, Edge referred to Sheamus as Beaker. On the Halloween 2011 episode of Raw, when the Muppets guest hosted Raw to promote their new movie, Sheamus came face to face with Beaker. Turns out they're cousins.
    • Over a decade and a half ago, there was a storyline involving Mark Henry, Mae Young, and the latter giving birth to a hand. About 16 years later on RAW 1000, the "hand baby" actually reappears. note 
  • Broad Strokes: WWE is notorious with these, particularly in a wrestler's championship accomplishments. Most notable examples include;
    • The history of the Big Gold Belt. WWE doesn't consider the reigns of wrestlers who won it in WCW as valid to their history as world champions unless they've won WWE's World Title beforehandExamples or subsequently won any of the company's World TitlesExamples.
    • Upon her return in 2009, Gail Kim was touted as a two-time Women's Champion. She only has one Womens' Title reign in WWE, which was in her debut in 2003. The other title reign they're referring to was her inaugural reign as the TNA Knockout's Champion in 2007.
    • Superstars' title reign(s) in NXT. The Women's Championship reigns are included in the superstar's title history (and is even a requirement for the Grand Slam) in the main roster. The male title reigns (NXT World, North American, and Tag Team Chamionships) aren't, though they're not completely ignoredExamples.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Santino Marella, after his initial baby face run failed to get over in Italy.
    • Chavo Guerrero Jr.. Because there's nothing more humiliating than jobbing to Hornswoggle over and over and over again. Or doing it while wearing an eagle costume. When his uncle Eddie Guerrero (who was only three years older, and like an older brother to him) died, and the company engaged in about a year of what fans derisively refer to as "Eddiesploitation", it was Rey Mysterio who got the big push as Eddie's successor. Despite the fact that Mysterio and Eddie had little connection beyond both being Hispanic and having feuded several times in the past. It's been said that Chavo was offered the big push before Rey, but turned it down.
    • Two words: Michael Cole. Two more words: Jillian Hall.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
  • Catchphrase: And how! Check out the Character Page for examples.
  • The Chew Toy: The Spanish Announcers' Table, which seems to exist solely so wrestlers can take bumps through it.
  • Chickification: While male WWE performers have consistently been referred to as Superstars (after "Superstar" Billy Graham), until WrestleNania 32 female WWE performers were referred to as Divas (after catty, self-serving, high-maintenance women everywhere). They were easily spotted by their hair extensions, breast implants, and non-stop jiggling/squealing whenever they move.
    • WWE has more examples on the trope's page itself than any other published series. Going from the long running Fabulous Moolah, the huge draw that was Wendi Richter and the jeered villainy of Sherri Martel to the career damaging run of Bertha Faye and pay per view pillow fights between diva search contestants, the company's whole women's division started strong in 1956 but has been afflicted with this trope since 1995. During the prototype Diva Search (ten years before it was officially called that), John Laurinaitis immediately crossed off a ton of applicants and told everyone that the message from upstairs was, "We're looking for 10s".
    • WWE is more anxious about bruising their cosmetic surgery than putting on a watchable match, a casualty of Mickie's exploding implant. Gail Kim was busy throwing unconvincing punches when she thought, nope, f**k it, I'm done during a Battle Royale and walked right out. Thing is, nobody even noticed until she stomped backstage and told Johnny Ace that she quit. He laughed in her face.
    • The Women's Championship itself was Chickified in 2010 when they retired the Women's Championship and replaced it with a garish pink and silver butterfly shaped-belt called the Divas Championship. No prior history carries over to the belt, either, which is pretty convenient. Even JBL made an on-air comment about AJ being the longest reigning Divas champion of all time (which technically she is) by snarkily bringing up the Fabulous Moolah, who had the single longest reign with any championship ever. Now anytime the company wants to push a Diva, all they have to do now is break AJ's streak, which is not hard. Nikki Bella currently holds this illustrious honor.
    • Word is Bruce Prichard didn't think women belonged in wrestling except as arm candy, and that was the start of the decline. There were always exceptions like Mickie James and Trish Stratus (who got her start in modeling) managing to transcend the roles handed to them. But WWE never really changed with the times, and with shifting attitudes toward women in both Hollywood and MMA (not to mention the easy availability of porn), the juvenilia of the 90s looks more out of place than ever, as the Diva segments hemorrhaged viewers and the company perversely trained swimsuit models to have bad matches, as it's supposedly "sexier" that way.
    • Thankfully, thanks to a Twitter row between AJ Lee and Stephanie McMahon, this seems to finally be changing. NXT's women have been allowed to work like the men for a couple years now, putting on some of the best matches period in recent years at the NXT quarterly TakeOver specials, and 3 of them were recently called up to the main roster to start a "Divas Revolution". Their debut segment on Raw got huge "This Is Awesome" chants, and since then not only have the main shows often had two different women's matches booked, but the matches themselves are booked normally, instead of the "bathroom break" pattern of 5 minute long badly booked matches that had been stinking up the women's division for years.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A case where it happened to a championship title. The WWF Light Heavyweight Title was infamous for not only disappearing frequently, but also for its champions to disappear once they'd lost the belt. Towards the end of his second reign, Dean Malenko didn't even bother carrying the belt to the ring with him. When the title was finally deactivated for good, X-Pac who was at the height of the trope he named was champion and got injured, taking the title out of the company. Presumably, he still has the belt to this day.
  • Cloudcuckooland: According to Ivory on the 2000 VHS WWF Divas: Postcard from the Caribbean:
    "Nobody's normal here, we're all a little bit wacko."
  • Cool Mask: Kane, Rey Mysterio, Mankind, both incarnations of Sin Cara.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah, both pioneers of women's wrestling who could still wrestle and take bumps in the Attitude Era despite their advanced age.
  • Cool Shades: Edge, Batista, John Morrison, Bret Hart.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Kane gives a delightful speech about his past while in an anger management class on the August 27, 2012 edition of Raw. Hilarity Ensues.
    "I grew up locked in a basement, suffering severe psychological and emotional scarring when my brother set my parents on fire. From there, I shifted around among a series of mental institutions until I was grown, at which point I buried my brother alive... twice. Since then, I've set a couple of people on fire and abducted various co-workers. Oh, and I, uh, once electrocuted a man's testicles. Years ago, I had a girlfriend named Katie but let's just say that didn't turn out too well.note  My real father is a guy named Paul Bearer, who I recently trapped in a meat locker. I've been married, divorced, broke up my ex-wife's wedding and tombstoned the priest. And, for reasons never quite explained, I have an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose.note 
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In kayfabe, WWE as presented is probably the worst company of all time. With corrupt officials, abusive bosses and a loose grasp of the law (company mergers, children's custody, etc. being settled by wrestling matches), it's strange that WWE has never come under federal investigation.
  • Crossover Relatives: When The Muppets appeared on WWE Raw SuperShow, it was revealed that Sheamus (often mocked for his Beaker-like hairdo) was related to Beaker in an unspecified way when they got into a conversation and Sheamus said he'd be unable to make the family reunion, but asked Beaker to tell Aunt Teresa "Hello".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Happens from time-to-time. Usually, between an incoming Big Bad and a Jobber.
    • Occasionally subverted too. Drew McIntyre made his debut like a standard jobber (starting in the ring with no entrance)... only to end up squashing the superstar he was facing and declaring himself the Chosen One.
    • This was taken Up to Eleven in the Rey Mysterio vs JBL match at WrestleMania 25. Rey Rey won the match in a matter of seconds.
    • Ultimate Warrior made a career out of them.
    • Any match with a budding superstar or tag team is this.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Attitude Era, the period in the late 1990s and early 2000s where the product was loaded with ultra-violence and sex appeal. Has recently become this since 2016 when the WWE entered the New Era (particularly ever since Triple H replaced Vince McMahon as WWE's Head of Creative back in July of 2022) has content on WWE TV Programming has gotten more violent and darker despite maintaining its TV-PG rating though it has intensified when TKO purchased the WWE back in 2023. And it's not just the men who are engaging in more violent and intense feuds: their female counterparts have also gotten involved in more violent and meaningful storylines in which the focus is on pure hatred towards each other and not childish catfights where the heels tend to mock their rivals' looks. Even the presence of blood which has previously been taboo during the Divas Era is now allowed for the WWE Women's Division as the focus has shifted from looks to wrestling ability and distinct characters.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Undertaker, if he's a face.
    • 'Taker is often rivaled in this department by Randy Orton. Despite being known as "The Viper" and hardly ever smiling, he gets enormous cheers from the fans. It must have been a Draco in Leather Pants transition.
      • A popular theory about Orton's popularity is that he reminds fans of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He dresses in similar clothing (black boots and trunks), has a snake-like nickname (The Viper compared to Austin's Texas Rattlesnake), works a slow, deliberate "no-frills" style similar to Austin's and his finisher, the RKO bears a passing similarity to Austin's Stone Cold Stunner. Orton, coincidentally (or perhaps deliberately) has since shaved his head and begun using the Lou Thesz Press.
    • Austin himself fits as well. He's a Type V Antihero (hero in name only) who dresses in dark colors, drinks beer, attacks people unprovoked (sometimes even women, civilians and the elderly) and is generally loathsome... He then turned that dial up to 11 and exacerbated this behavior as part of a Face–Heel Turn; despite the announcers screaming how reprehensible these actions were, and the other wrestlers condemning him, fans continued to cheer him simply because he was Stone Cold Steve Austin. As a result, his turn never quite took and he was turned back relatively quickly.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Everyone - and we mean everyone - gets one in WWE. Don't believe us? Just ask Hornswoggle.
  • Deep South:
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • This happens whenever a wrestler who usually who is in the midcard, and his/hers storyline and feud ends, he/she all but disappears, but might show up just to have one off match against someone, as there is a another feud that is starting up. Can also happen in the top card and said wrestler get dropped to mid card (or lower). It can be due to they are not over enough, or someone got hurt and they just get dropped as a result.
    • Time and the trajectory of their careers shows that Matt Hardy was always over, but not in a main event sense after he came back. Edge was clearly positioned as the star coming out of their feud, enjoying World Title feuds with the biggest wrestling star in a generation while Hardy moved to Smackdown where he wrestled with MNM and the Hurricane in nothing feuds. However, WWE rehiring him was probably the best thing for him because he might've sabotaged his career for good: before that, he came up with a school shooter gimmick (Angelic Diablo!) who wore trenchcoats and posed with guns.
    • Since the 2010s, many prominent mid-carders such as Kofi Kingston, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and Wade Barrett have been pushed aside by the likes of such part-time talent like The Rock and Brock Lesnar for one simple reason: part-timers sell, most of the mid-card do not. Averted for now by Kingston, who's now part of the extremely entertaining heel stable/tag team The New Day, which became so popular they were quickly turnedf back face and became one of the hottest things in WWE. As of 2019 he even became WWE Champion while the other three all left the company in 2016.
    • When Triple H took over WWE Creative following Vince's departure in 2022, he relegated the 24/7 Championship (which had been a prominent staple in comedy skits on Raw) to premium live events. Even when the current 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke had a match with Dakota Kai, the belt was nowhere to be seen. This is in stark contrast to the Intercontinental and US title championships, which Triple H made more prominent over the weeks. When the belt finally appeared again on Raw, Nikki Cross quickly captured it from Dana Brooke before throwing it in the trash, putting an end to the belt and deactivating it.
  • Designated Villain: invoked Some of the heels who get the most negative reactions from audiences are really more annoying or misguided than truly evil. Jillian Hall (whose only real crime is having an atrocious singing voice and not realizing it) is a perfect example. If such a heel is booked to be part of an important or semi-important storyline, the writers will usually have him or her quickly kick dogs.
  • Discontinuity Nod:
    • In a 2007 promo on Raw, Shawn Michaels and Triple H took shots at the infamous Katie Vick angle.
      Shawn Michaels: I don't know who writes this garbage, but this is the worst debacle since that whole Katie Vick thing years ago!
    • CM Punk also took shots at Katie Vick in an episode of Raw.
      CM Punk: Just look it up on YouTube, and it'll drive you to drink, and then you can come to me and I'll save you!
    • Kane's anger management speech on a 2012 episode of Raw also referred to the Katie Vick storyline. See Continuity Cavalcade above.
    • Amidst the bizarrely entertaining hodgepodge of half-intentional comedy that is NXT season 3, there have been at least a few of these; for example, during the Goldust/Aksana wedding, Michael Cole said of the minister "Is that Al Wilson?" (See Out with a Bang below.)
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Very popular with heels, and often a starting point for a feud. Faces aren't exactly innocent of using this either.
  • Double-Sided Book: During the Ruthless Aggression Era, the company's souvenir programs were divided into two parts printed upside-down from each other, with one half showing the roster of Monday Night Raw and the other half showing the roster of Thursday Night SmackDown.
  • Drafting Mechanic: WWE has used a (scripted) draft from 2002-2011, then again starting in 2016, to distribute talent between its various "brands". This is done to create drama (splitting tag teams, separating rivals, etc.), sometimes move championship titles between the shows, refresh the brand's talent, and open up fresh storylines.
  • The Dragon: Shane O'Mac to his father Vince when both are heels. Alternatively (or perhaps at the same time), Vince will use a top heel wrestler as this. The best example is The Rock when he was the "Corporate Champion".
  • Dragon Ascendant: The Rock in The Nation of Domination and Triple H in D-Generation X.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Often played straight, with a cocky heel accompanied by large, silent, not-especially-bright Mooks – but sometimes subverted: some very muscular wrestlers like Batista, Bobby Lashley or Triple H, although not being geniuses, aren't stupid either.
    • One of Triple H's Red Barons is even "The Cerebral Assassin".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Many superstars are used as enhancement talent or extras for skits before joining the main roster.
  • End of an Era: July 22, 2022, four decades after acquiring the company from his father, Vince McMahon retires from WWE, to be replaced by his daughter Stephanie as CEO (sharing the position with Nick Khan) and his son-in-law Triple H as head of creative.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Virtually a given in any Triple Threat Match. Is especially funny in the Royal Rumble Match, particularly in 2005 when Muhammad Hassan tried to participate. He didn't last too long.
    • The build up to Team WWE vs. The Nexus at Summerslam 2010 involved John Cena and Bret Hart forging a fragile alliance with Edge and Chris Jericho. In a matter of weeks, Edge and Jericho would join the team, quit the team, and rejoin six days before the match. The only thing that kept the team together was mutual hate for Nexus, and it only lasted until Edge and Jericho's eliminations from the team.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Kelly Kelly. There was more than a little Les Yay evident when Candice Michelle enthusiastically accepted Kelly's invitation to join her in an ECW dance performance. Before that, Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson, though they were not happy about it.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: John Morrison and Shawn Michaels, notably.
  • Evil Is Petty: Often used to gain heel heat, especially if said heel isn't getting the right kind of audience reaction. Kurt Angle once tried every offense tactic in the book in one promo "and these people still cheer for him"!
  • Evil Laugh: Ted DiBiase Sr., Doink the Clown, Boogeyman, Vickie Guerrero...many.
  • Evil Power Vacuum:
    • 2009-2011 was horrible for WWE's main event, and arguably the source for both the demise of the brand extension in 2011 and the company's reliance on part-timers in the New Tens. Starting with the departure of Jeff Hardy, several top stars left the company, went into retirement, or adopted part-timer status over this period of time: Shawn Michaels, Batista, Chris Jericho, Triple H, The Undertaker, and Edge. By the time of Edge's retirement, the main event scene had decayed to only two main event talent: John Cena and Randy Orton. WWE had already seen the writing on the wall in 2010 and had done its best to elevate the midcard of both shows to find a new top star to help with the problem, but it wasn't until CM Punk's ascent to superstardom during the "Summer of Punk II" in 2011 that they actually got one. After Punk, Daniel Bryan began to steadily build his popularity, and The Shield (all of whom were earmarked for top spots in developmental) debuted and began their own steady push, leaving all four men waiting in the wings for when the time was right. When Punk legitimately walked out on the company at the beginning of 2014, they pulled the trigger on Bryan at WrestleMania XXX and broke up the Shield a few months after that (and after having Evolution put them over), injecting four new main eventers into the roster relatively at the same time, filling the vacuum for the next couple of years.
    • The injury epidemic of early 2016 was so bad that, at one point, there was only one active main eventer in the entire main roster (Dean Ambrose). Everyone else was either a part-timer or injured. This was particularly bad, as that was during the Road to WrestleMania. After that, the company made more of an effort to push more people to the top — AJ Styles, Finn Balor, and Kevin Owens carved out a place in the main event scene by winning world titles and feuding with the already established main eventers: the former members of The Shield, John Cena, and Randy Orton.
    • The forced hiatus of Roman Reigns thanks to his leukemia tore a massive hole in the main event scene, because the brand split spread out all the upper-midcard/main event talent between RAW and SmackDown — combined with another injury epidemic that hit the company at the same time, there were only four actual main event talents on RAW in total: Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, and Reigns' ex-Shield teammates, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Of those four, only Strowman was actually competing as a main eventer; Balor was in the midcard and Ambrose and Rollins were in the tag team division. The latter two were forced to break up the same night that Reigns revealed his condition to the world (by accelerating Ambrose's planned Face–Heel Turn) just so the company could have a top heel and a top face to fill the void.
  • Expy:
    • Some of the next generation of wrestlers like Randy Orton and John Morrison seem a bit like they're a call back to previous superstars. Randy as mentioned above has crossed into Steve Austin territory while John Morrison wouldn't seem too far out of place alongside Shawn Michaels.
    • Ted DiBiase Jr. was one to his father during his post-Legacy heel run.
    • Husky Harris was repackaged in NXT as Bray Wyatt, an expy of Dan Spivey's short-lived Waylon Mercy character from the mid-'90s which was itself an expy of Max Cady, Robert De Niro's character from the Martin Scorsese remake of Cape Fear.
  • The Face: Someone who comes along just once a decade. The Big Five. Namely, Bruno, Hogan, Austin, Rock (more or less a torch-carrier for Austin after the injury), and Cena; guys who fundamentally changed wrestling and left WWE far different than they found it. Billy Graham also deserves a ton of credit for introducing feuds: a long-running story arc leading up to the big blowoff. (In the olden days, heels never stood a chance unless it was against a midcard scrub, and then only to make the face look even more powerful.)
  • Face–Heel Turn: A standard procedure. Often used to start a new storyline or to advance an old one.
    • Heel–Face Turn: This is pretty common among the main-eventers, as fans start to want to cheer for a fascinating heel but don't want to feel "dirty" doing it.
    • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Happens when a wrestler turns within months of previous turn. Kane and Big Show are prone to this, and the women used to switch between the two without much notice or setup.
      • The Miz in 2013 pulled this off several times, but reverted to being a fulll-time heel in 2014.
      • Chyna was notorious for switching sides multiple times on the same show.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: The Rock's The People's/Corporate Eyebrow
  • Fat Bastard:
  • Five Moves of Doom: Trope Namer is Bret Hart, though the Trope Codifier is John Cena and an Ur-Example is Hulk Hogan.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel:
    • Played straight with The Iron Sheik, Kamala, Vladimir Kozlov, William Regal, The Great Khali, practically every Canadian heel ever, and Finlay when he was heel. Averted by the likes of Kofi Kingston, Yoshi Tatsu and Finlay as a face, but played so straight with practically everyone of foreign extraction ever seen in WWE at some point in their careers, it's become one of Vinnie Mac's defining tropes - not that it's ever been confined to WWE, of course. Even applied to wrestlers who are not actually foreign or even of the same racial background as the character portrayed, providing they don't need to speak a lot - e.g. Jimmy Yang, a Korean-American, played Tajiri's Mook 'Akio' in a Japanese stable (some time before he subverted this trope by becoming 'Jimmy Wang Yang', a 'foreign'-looking chap who happens to act like he's a cowboy, which is therefore amusing), or Yokozuna, a quasi-'Japanese' Polynesian wrestler played by Rodney Anoai of the great Samoan wrestling dynasty. Many of this family have been presented as semi-savages when their ethnic background is recognized, from the Wild Samoans to Umaga. The Canadian Bret Hart got massive heel heat in America by proclaiming his home country's superiority, yet simultaneously retained a fanatically loyal Canadian fanbase that kept the Hitman face north of the border (and in the rest of the world) – which presumably made his opponents Evil Foreigners from a Canadian perspective. Years later, the various incarnations of La Resistance were always Evil Foreigners (whether billed as from France or Quebec, except for one delirious babyface night in Montreal), which led to the absurd commentary habit of referring to them as first "French sympathizers" and subsequently "Quebec sympathizers" – prompting some mystification amongst those who had missed the exact point at which the USA or indeed WWE had declared war on France and Quebec...
    • WWE had always been rather supportive of the armed forces (witness Tribute to the Troops). That might explain it.
    • Subverted when WWE did the "Kerwin White" gimmick with Chavo Guerrero, showing him pretending to want to be a stereotypical preppy white dude. After his Uncle Eddie's death, the gimmick died with him. (It should be noted that both Eddie and Chavo were/are American.)
    • As of 2010, WWE has toned down their usage of this trope - they now have a plethora of foreigners (such as Wicked Cultured Alberto Del Rio, Genius Bruiser Wade Barrett, Miles Gloriosus Sheamus, Violent Glaswegian Drew McIntyre), and while many of them are heels, none of them are evil because they are foreign - each has a full-on heel gimmick to get heat. Sheamus and Del Rio would evenutally turn face, and while Del Rio was quickly turned back, Sheamus has continued to have success as both face and heel. McIntyre would become a face upon his return to the company in 2017. Only Barrett has remained a heel for his entire career.
    • And as of 2012, an equal number of foreigners who are face. As with the heels, they're the good guys with their own characters rather than using their foreigner status as their sole defining feature.
    • Revived by Fake Russians Rusev and Lana in 2014 (previously using the gimmick in NXT as well) despite generally being thought of as a Dead Horse Trope, and it's been surprisingly successful at garnering heat considering Cesaro got almost no heat at all while he did his anti-American United States Champion run just a few years earlier. This was dropped once Rusev reverted back to being Bulgarian.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Gangrel. (He never really got the stardom to be a face or a heel.)
  • Fun with Acronyms: Let's see: Irwin R. Shyster, the wrestling taxman...Henry O. Godwin and Phineas I. Godwin, wrestling swine-farmers, Montel Vontavious Porter, the Captain Ersatz for Terrell Owens, Rosey the Super Hero In Training...
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Recently has pretty much become this, especially since Triple H took over as women's matches have increased and have gotten longer. In addition, it's not unusual for a women's match to main event a show (especially on RAW where there is a lack of male main eventers due to Roman Reigns not appearing much on the show).
  • The Generic Guy: Prior to the Women's Evolution, the WWE's women roster (then known as the WWE Divas) was criticized by numerous fans for having a bunch of cookie-cutter models with virtually no wrestling ability whatsoever (there were a few women who managed to break the archetype such as A.J. Lee, Natalya, Paige and Beth Phoenix). Thankfully when Triple H replaced John Laurinaitis as WWE's Head of Talent, he began to gradually phase out the models and replaced them with indie wrestlers who don't fit the Diva mold while most of the cookie-cutter wrestlers are now on the men's side of things. These days, fans consider the WWE Women's Division more entertaining than the men's division.
  • Genre Shift: NXT went from being a show of finding the next breakout star, full of challenges and the like, to become sort of a third brand in 2012 after they had abandoned the challenges some months prior, to then becoming a show for their developmental talent. It was broadcasted on up until the end of season 5, then it was moved to Hulu, so not many were aware of this. It's now part of the WWE Network, and are being talked about more, so the awareness factor has increased.
  • Geodesic Cast: The Brand Extension to Raw and Smackdown (and briefly ECW) from 2002 up to 2011, and again starting 2016 when it was reinstated. Add NXT (which itself later got a UK edition), which has become recognizable a brand as either TV program and 205 Live, which each have its own rosters.
  • The Giant: André the Giant, Kevin "Diesel" Nash, Big Show and The Great Khali, and to a lesser extent, Kane, and The Undertaker.
  • Gimmick Matches: The WWE is responsible for a number of them, with Hell in a Cell, the Royal Rumble, the Elimination Chamber, Money in the Bank, etc. all having their own PPVs.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Dawn Marie made out with Torrie Wilson in a segment on SmackDown in 2002, and in 2003, Raw briefly introduced a recurring segment called HLA featuring a couple of lesbians kissing.
  • Grub Tub: Before the PG-era (2007-), occasionally there would be pudding matches, where female wrestlers would battle each other in a larger kiddie pool filled with chocolate pudding.
  • Hammerspace: Under the ring is pretty much this. In addition to the fact that pretty much anything can be found underneath it, Hornswoggle lives under it in kayfabe. And DX once had to go under it as part of a storyline where Hornswoggle sued them, discovering an entire building under the ring populated by people of Hornswoggle's size. This was previously mentioned by JBL, but no one believed him...
  • The Hero: The top Faces fill the role. The most notable examples are Hulk Hogan (for the 80s Golden Age), Bret Hart (for the New Generation Era), Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (for the Attitude Era), The Rock, John Cena, Batista, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and Becky Lynch, though Austin, Rock, Punk, and initially Lynch are more anti-heroes.
  • Hide Your Gays: Zigzagged with Darren Young, the first openly gay superstar to come out while still in the company. On the one hand, the company hasn't tried to cover up anything about his sexuality, and has in fact been very supportive of it. On the other hand, he was purposely left out of a company tour of the United Arab Emirates, since homosexuality is illegal in that part of the world, and his boyfriend's face was later airbrushed out of a skit on WWE Swerved. This later turned out to be a triple-subversion, since Titus O'Neil's kids were also given the airbrush treatment, leading to many people suggesting that Darren's boyfriend simply hadn't given WWE permission to show his face on TV. (Conversely, WWE not only later put Titus's real-life sons onscreen, but featured them in a TV angle.)
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
  • History Repeats: Those who wanted a second Attitude Era have thus far remained disappointed; however, the apparent re-focus on match quality, the revival in particular of women as wrestling talents as opposed to (or more accurately, along with) being nice to look at, and the heavy influx of talent resulting in an outright brand split, the mid-2010s are taking a very similar path to the Ruthless Aggression Era of the 2000s.
  • Hunks: Oh-so-naturally, in an industry comprising of big, muscular men fighting around for dominance in shirtless, skimpy clothing. And with such large variety of sizes, shapes and colors, it's practical eye candy for ladies (and guys) alike!
  • I Have Many Names:
    • Most of the wrestlers have had more than one name (or at least more than one gimmick) during their runs.
    • The company itself has gone through this. From Capitol Wrestling Corporation to World Wide Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Entertainment to WWE, Inc. (World Wrestling Entertainment is still the legal name of the company.)
    • Subverted by Mark Calaway, AKA "The Undertaker". While the gimmick has changed during his 20+ year run, he's been The Undertaker through pretty much his entire run. He's only wrestled under a different name, Kane the Undertaker, at the very beginning of his WWE career, and only for the first couple of weeks.
  • Idiot Ball: The most frequently-occurring case is when a wrestler completely switches focus from the opponent they have lying on the mat to yell at someone (either the ref, or whomever came to the aid of their opponent) in the opposite direction or outside the ring. 9 times out of 10, this results in them turning and walking straight into the opponent's finisher; the remaining 1 is a successful roll-up. This can happen merely when an interloper's entrance music is played.
  • Informed Ability: NXT rookie Michael Tarver never knocked anyone out in '1.9 seconds' on screen. That is, until the NXT riot. His first victim? John Cena.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Professional wrestling soon gave way to "Sports Entertainment" and, as of 2010, "Live Entertainment."
    • As mentioned by Joey Styles in a Worked Shoot, WWE's insistence upon calling the wrestlers "Superstars" (which, to be fair, they have done since the 80s).
    • Likewise, from the Attitude Era until April 2016, female wrestlers were referred to as "Divas", despite the negative connotations the word carries about a woman being egotistical, flighty, and overbearing and/or with a large sense of entitlement. It sort of made sense in the '90s Anti-Hero environment of the Attitude Era but at best comes off as really 1990s when used with no sense of irony in any era since. This even carries over to the WWE women's singles title being the "Divas Championship", choosing to eliminate the Women's Championship that had been in WWE for over fifty years. Somewhat averted by A.J. Lee in her 2014 worked shoot on Stephanie McMahon, where she repeatedly used the word "woman" to refer to herself and other female talent. Afterwards it became more common for announcers and wrestlers to use "woman" or "girl" where "Diva" would have been ordinarily used, before the term was effectively retired at WrestleMania 32, with the Divas Championship being retired and replaced by a second Women's Championship.
    • WWE doesn't have bookers, it has "writers". They don't work angles, they run storylines. The "superstars" don't have gimmicks, but "characters", superstars don't operate in the locker room but "backstage". This started to become true to an extent, as WWE began favoring soap opera and Hollywood writers over pro wrestling bookers, resulting in WWE programming becoming more heavily scripted. "Superstars" are often told what to say word for word and sometimes have their matches planned out hold to hold in advance. For better or worse, WWE has effectively distanced itself from a lot of what makes pro wrestling, with some "superstars" prioritizing acting classes over tapes or training. Because of WWE's size and wide distribution, occasionally workers from other companies talk about "characters" or "writers" even if nothing of the sort is present just because WWE is so pervasive. In fact, one can judge WWE's foothold in any given area by going to a wrestling event and taking note of how much or how little of its terminology they fall into.
    • Taken to the next level when TVWeek wrote a press release about Drew Carey being inducted into the "Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame" (referring to the WWE Hall of Fame) and WWE demanded the headline be changed because it included the words "Pro Wrestling". Read more about it here. To be fair, the WWE Hall of Fame does not represent the industry as whole, so there were likely more reasons beyond simply the terminology, plus there is an actual independently-run Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame as well.
    • WWE does not have "fans". Rather, they have the collective "WWE Universe".
    • Championship belts are almost never referred to as objects in the modern era. Instead, they are referred to as the "championship" the belt represents, rather than as a "belt"; ex: "John Cena is holding up the WWE championship!", as opposed to "He is holding up the championship belt!"note  If you're lucky, you'll find them referring to it as "title", but never "belt".
      • One exception was made for Becky Lynch due to the popularity of "Becky Two Belts", but WWE soon dropped it by having Becky lose one belt. It most likely wasn't because of this particular use of terminology, but then again, with Vince McMahon you can never know.
    • Personal pronouns, while not forbidden on commentary, are unusually rare. It's very common to hear a wrestler referred to by name and then referred to by name again in the very next sentence, even after it's been clearly established who the announcers are referring to and a pronoun (he, she, them, etc.) would be perfectly acceptable.
    • Superstars don't get title shots, but title opportunities.(and at least on Superstar got into trouble for asking for a shot)
  • Insane Troll Logic: Stephanie McMahon claimed, of Ronda Rousey, that her attack on Triple H was brutal and savage, and that, unlike the UFC, WWE would not allow that type of behavior. This is despite the fact that, in kayfabe, the number of violent incidents between competitors is exponentially greater in WWE than in the UFC.
  • Invincible Hero:
    • Hulk Hogan for most of his career, John Cena at times (2005-2006, 2008-2012)
    • The Ultimate Warrior was arguably the worst offender. How many times did you EVER see the Ultimate Warrior put someone over clean? Answer for most fans: zero times.
  • Invincible Villain: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
  • Jobber: In the 1990s, it was Barry Horowitz. Also, Al Snow and The J.O.B. Squad".. Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler, was the traditional "virgin-slayer" in the 80s and 90s, just about everyone who wasn't jobbing got their first win over him. In 2008 Colin Delaney lost so often, losing actually became his gimmick. These days, the go-to jobber is Heath Slater, to the point that he led a stable many consider to be the modern-day J.O.B. Squad — The Social Outcasts. With Slater in this faction are regular enhancement talents Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, and Adam Rose.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: The posters for the WWE Invasion PPV had half Vince McMahon and half Shane McMahon, since the invading force was the WCW/ECW contingent led by Shane. WWE Superstars always opened with a montage of them.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Hulk Hogan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and John Cena, Jeff Hardy to a lesser extent.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: This Christmas promo for and the Elimination Chamber playset.
  • Lame Comeback: Very often, a face and a heel will converse and the face will mock and insult the heel. And virtually every single time, the heel will either respond with spluttering outrage or by saying some variation of "You think you're pretty funny, huh?"
  • Lampshade Hanging: posted this job opening for the RAW General Manager position when it was vacant in-universe in late 2011.
  • Large Ham:
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: The Great Khali, so, so much.
  • Laxative Prank: Eddie Guerrero did this to The Big Show using a bagful of spiked burritos.
  • Le Parkour: John Morrison practices this both in-ring and outside.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Many, many instances. Triple H, especially, loves this one.
    • During most of the backstage segments that aren't direct promos or interviews, most superstars don't acknowledge that there is a camera crew right there in the room with them. They'll sometimes openly discuss secret plans as if they were the only ones in the room and the people who's backs they're sneaking behind couldn't just watch the show later on DVR. Kane is a notable exception; towards the end of most backstage skits he's in, he'll give an evil stare directly into the camera.
    • NXT season 3. The show was due to be "cancelled" mid-season in order to bring Smackdown to the SyFy network, and WWE apparently took this as an opportunity to launch into full-blown self-referential insanity, especially at the commentary table. Michael Cole constantly derided the show as being terrible and "quit" at one point. He was briefly replaced by CM Punk, which resulted in an episode where the commentary (aside from seeing a substantial increase in quality) reached a nearly Mystery Science Theater 3000 level of mocking, and it stayed right around that level ever since. In addition to just trashing the show in general, the commentary frequently danced around kayfabe.
  • Lesser Star: The reason fans (and some wrestlers) whine so much about getting into the "main event" is because unless you are in the main event, you aren't going to get a compelling, sustained storyline in WWE. Everything else is a halftime show. In the 80s this wasn't an issue in the WWF because the secondary and tag titles held some importance. The Intercontinental champ seemed like a big deal. Those same titles are no longer valued by the company, and so the fans ignore them in turn.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Well, they discontinued WWE Magazine, but kept the kids' version of it...
    • Since WWE's free shows became rated TV-PG, starting in 2008. The pay-per-views were rated TV-14, until the Hell in a Cell PPV, which was rated TV-PG. That's just the culture of the Aughts, though: Attitude was a reflection of the 90s, South Park and Jerry Springer. WWE has always been a funhouse mirror of popular culture, and if the culture isn't as edgy, and more PC, then so it with WWE. It's quite possible that VKM is now basing his decisions, also, as a grandfather rather than a businessman.
    • The general consensus on the revived ECW (WWECW) brand. Despite several warnings (from Heyman and others) that it was a terrible idea to stick to formula in one of the former ECW strongholds and to only throw in one of the original ECW guys to keep the crowd happy, One Night Stand played out no differently from Raw, with Show main-eventing with Batista. The crowd, which had been pretty affable until this point, started booing like crazy which Joey Styles actually tried to play off as a "mixed reaction". Maybe he meant "mixed" between those giving the finger and those chanting for refunds. December to Dismember, broadcast from Georgia later that year, was nothing more than an Elimination Chamber event attended by actively hostile southerners. Also visible in the crowd are businessmen in suits waving inflatable kendo sticks. Yikes. These were preceded by a pair of not-bad PPVs, One Night Stand '05 and '06, which at least featured some tables and ladders.
    • The addition of little-person wrestler Hornswoggle and his inclusion in many storylines seemed to come at the very beginning of this new phase of WWE's existence. Curiously, many fans don't seem to like the panto matches he's involved in very much. Actually, nowadays JBL and Cole go out to lunch whenever the Little Bastard appears, as if they're tired of him as well..
    • Saturday Morning Slam on The CW's Vortexx Saturday morning block is even more lighter & softer than its other programming, being rated TV-G as opposed to TV-PG. The show places more of an emphasis on colorful characters to appeal to a younger audience, and matches featured on the show tend to focus on the athletic aspects of pro wrestling, with WWE higher-ups even forbidding moves that target the head.
    • Shortly before her release, the company had Sherri put over Todd Pettengil, the geeky host of the kids-themed WWF Mania (causing a young RD Reynolds' head to explode). Judging by her excitement, you'd think she was off to meet Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Long Game: Kane's multi-year plan for revenge against The Undertaker in 2010 qualifies as this. Also, Randy Orton to a lesser extent in 2009 when he revealed that his recent actions towards Triple H were all part of a plan for revenge against Triple H after Triple H kicked him out of Evolution in 2004.
  • Loser Leaves Town: The Career Threatening Match forces a wrestler to leave the company if he loses said match. Comes in numerous variants, including the Exactly What It Says on the Tin 'Loser Gets Fired' match. When the Brand Extension was in full force and you didn't move between Raw or Smackdown unless there was a Draft, you had the Loser Leave Raw/Smackdown, and had to move over to the other brand.
  • Loud Gulp: Vince McMahon has turned this into an art.
  • Love Triangle: "Personal issues draw money." — Jerry Jarrett. When the news about the Matt-Lita-Edge love triangle leaked out, all hell broke loose. WWE fired Matt for airing heir dirty laundry in public, then only acknowledged it as a storyline because the audience wouldn't let it go (the "YOU SCREWED MATT" chants). Note that, at the time this came out, Lita had been forced into marriage with Kane. WWE kept her as a sympathetic babyface for months even after the crowds had turned on her. The fans crapped on her in Madison Square Garden: Heel Trish was playing defense for babyface Lita, who came out on crutches. So Matt got rehired because someone saw money in it ("WE WANT MATT" and "SLUT" chants all day), and the storyline with Kane was dropped in favor of a everything you're watching is not real but THIS IS real story, giving Edge and Lita a bigger push—almost rewarding them for what happened. (Edge mentioned in one of his documentaries that folks backstage were pissed at him, too. Triple H requested that Edge be fired.)
    1. What they were going for was reinforcing the Matt Hardy Will Not Die tagline. At SS, Matt lost due to a fluke (the face-plant in top of the turnbuckle) and Edge made the most of it. Edge just kept kicking him in the skull until the Ref called for the bell after Matt kept getting up and motioning come at me at Edge.
    2. The cycle repeated itself several times: Edge beat Matt towards what appears to be a complete inability to defend himself before Matt pulled off some piece of suicidal devastation and regained control. One such match ended in a no-contest when Matt Side Effected them both into a bunch of electrical boxes.
    3. On paper and in-storyline, they were 1-1 until the Loser Leaves Town match, in which Lita incapacitated him with the ropes to end the feud.
  • MacGuffin Melee: For a while, the Hardcore Title was defended on the "24/7 rule." Anybody could challenge for the belt at any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter what the champ was doing, as long as they had a WWF ref to call the match. Frequently the new champ would then be attacked by one of his friends, who would win the belt only to be challenged in turn, and so on. The Spiritual Successor is the 24/7 title.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Edge and Triple H, and sometimes Mr. McMahon.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: This was basically Ted DiBiase's entire "Million Dollar Man" character in a nutshell. Ric Flair also qualifies.
  • Manipulative Editing: Used in-universe for a John Laurinaitis "People Power" video package for Over The Limit 2012 in the style of a business commercial. John Laurinaitis, the heel authority figure who is routinely booed, is made to look like a well-loved politician as the praises of People Power are sung by the charts and voiceover.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Triple Threat Matches and Fatal x-Ways, usually. Upped to "always" when a title's on the line.
  • Misplaced Accent: Kofi Kingston is from Ghana (West Africa) but was initially billed as 'Jamaican' and used an accent approximately more like he's from Jamaica.
  • The Mistress: Vince McMahon has had several on-screen mistresses, most notably Trish Stratus and Sable.
  • Mooks: If Vince McMahon is a heel, pretty much every heel can be considered this, since he can summon them whenever he wants. To a lesser extent, a lower-level heel authority figure or even main heel wrestlers can use lower card heels this way, especially if they have a Power Stable that's larger than five members.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In one episode, the Bella Twins stole Paige's outfit just before a match. Paige compensated by grabbing a random Rosebud (a Celebrity Cameo from indie wrestler Leva Bates) and dragging her into a dressing room. Cue Paige making her ring entrance in the unfortunate fan's purple fairy costume.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Some of the wrestlers' signature moves count as this, as they're made to look more devastating during a match than they would be in reality. The "People's Elbow" is a perfect example; it's nothing more than a standing elbow drop, but thanks to The Rock's charisma, it's sold as a finishing move, and the crowd goes crazy for it. Also of note is The Big Show's knockout punch - which doesn't need much to be sold as a finisher as it's being delivered by a 7 foot tall, 500 pound behemoth.
  • Named by Democracy: The fans were asked to name every program on the WWE Network. Also how Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) and Team Hell No got their names.
  • Never My Fault: Commonplace. A heel can never accept they lost a match legitimately, they will accuse their opponent of using illegitimate tactics or manipulating a weakness. Can often lead into another feud arc if they blame their loss on an ally involved (and usually try beat that point into them).
  • '90s Anti-Hero: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin pretty much codified the trope for Professional Wrestling, let alone WWE. He was followed by "Bikertaker", The Rock (as a face) and Triple H's non-DX face character.
  • Non-Indicative Name: For sixteen years the WWF Light Heavyweight title was under the jurisdiction of the International Wrestling Grand Prix and Universal Wrestling Association. When the WWF finally got around to using the belt, they ignored everything IWGP, UWA and anyone else for that matter, had done with it.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: More like "Not Using the W Word"; WWE is notorious for frequent attempts to distance itself from the concept of "wrestling"; instances include (but are not limited to) billing itself as "Sports Entertainment" rather than 'professional wrestling', press releases to magazines playing the trope straight, exclusively referring to wrestlers as "Superstars" rather than 'wrestlers', referring to its fanbase as "the WWE Universe"; and, most lately, discarding its own name (World Wrestling Entertainment) – 'WWE' is now officially not an acronym; although the company's legal name is still World Wrestling Entertainment, it does business exclusively as WWE. However, it would be zig-zagged afterwards; the word "wrestler" was part of CM Punk's Insistent Terminology, and by the end of the 2010s, WWE has relented somewhat on the policy, reportedly due to falling ratings.
  • Now, Buy the Merchandise:
    • Listen up kids, if you want to become a champion, there's 3 things that you have to do: Do your exercises, say your prayers, and eat cream bars. Six a day if possible.
    • Sensational Sherri approves.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: John Laurinaitis
  • Oddly Overtrained Security: Inverted. Their security guards are absolutely destroyed whenever they’re called in to restore order.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness:
    • The "anonymous" RAW general manager ('played' by a laptop) was a bit of a mixed bag. It really depended on who was reading his/hernote  emails. A heel like Cole could get away with murder while escaping responsibility for what the GM ordered. Other times, the GM would help out the babyfaces.
    • It seems like WWE is publicly owned even in kayfabe now, hence the implication that the Board of Directors is independent of Vince and can go over him. This used to be the role of the "President" who seemed to have all the executive power. (Back when Vince was still "just" a color commentator.) Jack Tunney was a sort of super-commissioner.
    • In kayfabe, WWE's "board of directors" are mostly faceless and nameless. The board is by design ambiguous: It can either help The Authority or hurt them (e.g. The same board that fired Vince also fired HHH during the walkout storyline). In terms of power, the board seems to rule over all: they can hire/fire anyone they want, they can cook up any match that they want, and they can choose to strip a title if they want. It seems that this power is kept in reserve, as the day-to-day issues are handled by the McMahons.
    • Vince is the Chairman in reality, but in Kayfabe the last times he was on television, it was as a figurehead. Stephanie and Hunter are the ones answering to the BoD right now. The board kept the Authority from doing stuff like firing Bryan when he became a threat to Orton's title reign, and maintains a check on Stephanie's rasher decisions.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sheamus' justification for helping John Cena against The Nexus, on an episode of Raw.
  • Only One Name: Many wrestlers in WWE history have gone by just one name, and in the PG Era onward, several wrestlers have debuted with a full-name in-ring moniker, only to have their first or last name stricken from their character. Examples: Sheamus (O'Shaunnesy), (Alexander) Rusev, (Buddy) Murphy, (Matt) Riddle, (Gene) Snitsky, Big E (Langston), Natalya (Neidhart), (Antonio) Cesaro, (Luke) Harper, (Erick) Rowan, and more.
  • Out with a Bang: Al Wilson, in what's probably an angle most people have repressed.
  • Overly Long Gag: Admit it - the fans shouting out "WHAT!?" grates on the nerves, seeing as Stone Cold (who started it up) has long been largely out of the picture, and it was only 'relevant' during his brief heel run over a decade ago.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hulk Hogan as "Mr. America" in 2003. Also Santino Marella as his own twin sister, "Santina Marella", in 2009.
  • Parts Unknown:
    • The Ultimate Warrior, of course
    • The Undertaker, from "Death Valley", at least in his supernatural gimmick. He was billed from his actual hometown of Houston, TX in his Badass Biker run.
    • Luna Vachon, from "The Other Side of Darkness"
    • Mankind, from "The Boiler Room"
    • Damien Demento, from "The Outer Reaches of Your Mind"
    • The Boogeyman, from "The Bottomless Pit"
    • Shawn Stasiak, from "Planet Stasiak"
    • Who (Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart), from "Who Knows Where"
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Invoked by John Laurinaitis with "People Power".
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Rey Mysterio Jr. may be short, but he's also noticeably quicker than the vast majority of the guys he wrestles against. He's held his own against more than his share of big guys.
  • Playing with Fire: Kane; the Inferno Match; occasionally the wrestlers' pyros.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Inverted by Muhammad Hassan. Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises was a straight example. Kerwin White was the most extreme. Zeb Colter takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Poke the Poodle: One storyline had Tyson Kidd feuding with Yoshi Tatsu. Tyson's claim to villain/big heel act to get Yoshi angry? He broke Yoshi's action figure.
  • Power Stable: Some examples:
  • Prejudiced For Pecs: Rick Rude told Austin that. "Dammit, Steve, this is an upper body business."
    • WWE is behind the inflated size expectations of wrestlers in USA, though WCW shares the blame/credit. Before the WWF got a national TV deal, a 180 lbs man was considered on the small side but still a valid heavyweight. In WWF and WCW 220 lbs was considered too small for a heavyweight.
    • On the women's side WWE deflated size expectations. A 130 lbs woman used to be considered on the small side but still a valid heavyweight (which is itself a deflation, as the 138 Fabulous Moolah was initially considered too small to be a heavyweight by Jack Pfefer and got the Women's championship by virtue of the NWA deciding to not put a weight limit on the belt). By 2003 or so, 120 lbs was considered standard for WWE "divas". Thus watching WWE shows can be a pretty jarring experience for fans of US independent or foreign shows when they see wrestlers normally considered "towering" (Claudio Castagnoli) or "tiny" (Jacqueline) suddenly look pretty average. WWE occasionally does go against the grain, such as with 190 lbs Daniel Bryan or 180 lbs Chyna but they tend to be exceptions that prove the rule. Bryan's first World Championship reign was presented as him comically fleeing from Big Show and Mark Henry while Chyna was more famous for fighting men as none of the other woman gave her any real challenge-Lita got credit for simply not being squashed by her.
    • After the fall of WCW the 220 lbs Chris Benoit as World Heavyweight Champion was a big deal in 2004. With the Cruiser Weight Classic in 2016, it was stated the weight limit would be 205 lbs, which theoretically means anyone weighing at least 205 can also be a heavyweight champion in WWE, still higher than contemporary boxing but lower than any other major pro wrestling promotion with weight classes(and most MMA promotions, as the sport's pro wrestling roots gave them similar weight classes). This may not change who actually gets the belt, but it's a step.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • WWE has never been huge on strong swearing, so typically, the worst you'll ever hear is the word "shit" (censored on television) every now and then, to dramatize a situation.
    • WWE crowds also invoke this trope, saving their most vitriolic chants, such as "Bullshit", "Fuck you, [wrestler]" or even "Shut the fuck up" (towards Roman Reigns the night after he "retired" The Undertaker) for only the most displeasing situations, such as the aforementioned Roman Reigns incident as well as John Cena's appearance at the Hammerstein Ballroom for 2006's ECW One Night Stand.
  • Progressively Prettier: In 2004 WWE decided on a "new direction" for its women's division, which basically amounted too "If you have a big nose, get it reduced. If you don't have big breasts, get them fixed. If you're noticeably pudgy anywhere besides your butt or breasts, slim down. If you're bulkier than a gymnast, slim down. If you're more toned than a skateboarder, get softer. If your hair tightly curls, straighten it. Maybe get that jaw line cut back too." Because developmental was still being run by traditionalist wrestling and sports promoters, all sorts of athletes would be brought in and then find no amount of strong lockups, technically sound mat wrestling, agility, striking, power or scenery chewing would get them out of developmental but a new set of double Ds would at least get them attention. A select few were largely spared the "diva makeover", such as Beth Phoenix due to WWE being in quick need for a competent baby face opponent for Mickie James after Trish Stratus was injured, but most such as James herself were cases of nothing until boob job. After Serena Deeb realized the "wrestling" route was a dead end and went cosmetic she got a contract and was moved to an in house developmental program that didn't do outside bookings, meaning less work for 2 years until she finally got on the "main roster". Then Deeb was released eight months later with only one televised match. Deeb would get a measure of vindication, as after retiring on the independent circuit WWE offered her a coaching job, proving it was more likely her rhinoplasty rather than her wrestling that was insufficient.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: This was Zach Gowen's introduction. He's planted in the audience, Roddy Piper drags him into the ring, and gives him a step over toe hold - only for his leg to pop off.
  • Put on a Bus: Whenever someone is out due to injury, gets suspended or leaves the company. They usually come back after a while. For some it takes longer than others.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell:
    • Wendi Richter, who was booked in a match against a mysterious masked opponent known as "The Spider Lady", would soon find out what happens if you're holding a WWF championship and refuse to sign a contract extension. Vince brought back Moolah as the Spider Lady and, with help from the referee, stripped Richter of the Women's Title without her knowing. Richter, who clearly kicked out of a small package from Moolah, was still counted out at three. This incident came be known as the "original" screwjob. (See below.) Wendi's since appeared on Raw and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
    • Madusa anouncing her debut on WCW Monday Nitro by dropping the WWE Women's title belt in a trashcan. Vince was afraid that Bret Hart would do the same, and Hart became the recipient of the "Montreal Screwjob". After Bret, too, left for WCW, Vince dedicated a lot of time burying him in his shows and claimed, quite infamously, that "Bret screwed Bret". After Bret became interested in making a DVD for the WWE, Vince wasted no time in making amends with him and admitting, albeit vaguely, that it was partly his fault.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: At least if it's Cancer Awareness Month, something WWE has every year in October. The Harts always wear pink.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Any face GM. Teddy Long, Mick Foley, Daniel Bryan and Booker T come to mind. Since retiring from the ring, Triple H became one on-screen.
  • Recognizable by Sound: Regularly employed in WWE productions, where a wrestler's entrance music indicates he is on his way to the ring, often to the detriment of the wrestler already in the ring. Oftentimes, a unique sound precedes the theme. Examples include The Undertaker's gong, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's glass shatter, and Kane's hellfire pyro.
  • Redshirt Army: In addition to having the world’s most easily distracted and weakest referees in-Kayfabe, the WWE’s security guards tend to be absolutely incompetent at their job. The WWE has no shortage of security personnel, and they easily are knocked out in droves by Heels and Faces alike when called in to bring back order. The few who survive the onslaught run away, in a moment of being Genre Savvy.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: A number of wrestlers will make a Heel–Face Turn and still behave like heels. The noticeable change is that they start feuding with heels instead of faces and stop insulting the audience in their promos. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock are prime examples.
  • Religion of Evil:
  • Ring Oldies:
    • Finlay, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Kane are all 50 or older, and Triple H is nearing 50. Hulk Hogan is past 60. However, special mention goes to Ric Flair who (after "retiring" at 59) wrestled until 63, finally retiring from in-ring work shortly after Jerry Lawler (born in the same year as Flair) suffered his near-fatal heart attack on Raw.
    • None of them can hold a candle to The Fabulous Moolah, who won a match on her 80th birthday.
    • Or Mae Young, who took a table bump (to clarify for non-fans, that means getting smashed through a table) from the Dudleys in her 80s... and who claimed to have a standing invitation to wrestle Vince McMahon's (currently preschooler) granddaughter, Aurora Levesque, on Mae's 100th birthday. Young would have turned 100 in the year 2023, at which point young Aurora will be sixteen plus change. Unfortunately, she died in 2014, so that won't happen.
  • Ruling Couple: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Raw or Smackdown comes to Corpus Christi, it's become a tradition that something - or someone - will get tossed into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: While not in the typical sense, WWE loves to take a wrestlers' real names and change it around to get their ring name. Bryan Danielson became Daniel Bryan, and Curtis Jonathan Hussey became Johnny Curtis. This isn't a new thing, either. Shawn Michaels is legally named Michael Shawn Hickenbottom.
  • Still the Leader: Faarooq, after The Rock took over leadership of the Nation.
  • Suplex Finisher: Somewhat surprisingly, very few wrestlers use a suplex as an actual finishing move. The most notable examples are probably Mr. Perfect's Perfectplex and the T-Bone Suplex of Shelton Benjamin. There are also, to some extent, Goldust's Final Cut, Goldberg's Jackhammer and Al Snow's Snowplow brainbuster. Notable examples where a variety is used as the direct set-up for a finisher include Eddie Guerrero's Three Amigos twisting snap suplexes (for the Frog Splash), and the trifecta of German suplexes often used by Chris Benoit (for the Diving Headbutt) and Kurt Angle.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When CM Punk went off on his infamous "Pipe Bomb" Worked Shoot, his microphone was cut off after he started mocking the entire company on camera. It was announced immediately after that he had been suspended indefinitely, which is what would happen if any other professional athlete did something so brazen.
    • Despite Mick Foley saying that the various WWF/WWE Legends can return and claim the 24/7 title for themselves, most of them only manage to hold onto it for a few minutes due to their (relatively) old age preventing them from defending the title against the entire WWE roster across all brands.
  • Tag Team: Including many Tag Team Twins such as the Killer Bees, Jimmy and Jey Uso and the Bella Twins, the Blu Twins and Gymini.
  • Talk Show with Fists: Just to name a few:
  • Take That!:
  • Tears of Joy: Whenever someone wins their first championship.
  • Third-Person Person: The Rock says that The Rock hasn't been mentioned yet!
  • Tone Shift: The history of WWE is defined by its main eventers:
    1. "Rock n' Wrestling" Era: In the late 80s, fans grew up watching Hulk Hogan telling us to eat your vitamins and say your prayers. They grew up watching a dead man wrestle. A guy with a red Mohawk who acted like a rooster. A guy from the G.I. Joe cartoons who then turned on America. A male supermodel. A man named after a boat. A barber. We can keep going. The "new generation" in WWE isn't thought of as highly as others simply because they didn't have Hogan and Savage (and others like them), over-the-top larger-than-life personalities with the charisma to sell ice cubes to Eskimos.
    2. "New Generation" Era: The WWF was trying to transition from a live-action cartoon back to a wrestling company, and the fans were...not as receptive as the WWF had hoped. '93-'96 was the "eye of the hurricane" so to speak, the calm between the storms: The WWF at the time was going through a turnover in talents after WCW had cleaned them out. They lost some of the gimmickry eventually and pulled off a more athletically-driven program prior to Attitude taking over, but in the early-to-mid 90's, there was a garbageman, a repo man, hog farmers, a Native American dude, Max Moon, a dentist, a hockey player, and so on. They repackaged the company after the steroid trials, trying to clean up their act with guys like Bret Hart, Hennig, Flair, and Shawn Michaels.
    3. Attitude Era: 1997-2001. This era changed wrestling from being aimed at kids, to being aimed at teenagers. The landscape isn't the same today as it was then. Austin, HHH, Shawn, Foley, Taker etc. were veterans who toiled in the midcard for years. They were competitive. They were hungry to succeed. They had their pick of WWE, WCW and ECW. After the Montreal Screwjob (which created the evil Mr. McMahon character), and Austin defeating Shawn Micheals for the WWF title, thus igniting the Attitude Era. WWF changed from a warm & fuzzy program to a much more controversial one revolving around the Austin character, who drank beer on TV, gave everyone the middle finger, and raised hell. DX and Goldust were making sex jokes, groping audience members and acting like total degenerates. Women were used as eye candy to appeal to male viewers. It was all about controversy and getting ratings. Smackdown! debuted as a B-Show based on one of The Rock's edgier catchphrases. In some ways, the most embarrassing chapter in the company's history, and in others the most exciting (because it's just so unpredictable).
    4. Ruthless Aggression Era: 2001-2008. Like the New Generation era, was a transitional period for WWE. With the demise of WCW and ECW, the company regressed back to its roots, though not entirely: Wrestling was still TV-14 at this time, allowing sexuality, swearing, blood, among other things. The RA era was an extension of the Attitude Era; a mix of new talent and old talent, and a rebuilding time for WWE. An era that made many of it's own historic moments, such as Raw having a Women's Main Event, having the Cruiserweight Title Match as a main event (when Matt Hardy took on Rey Mysterio) and, for the first time, TLC was featured as a singles match. Other highlights include the formation of the group Evolution that launched the careers of both Batista and Randy Orton, the return of HBK to wrestling from a 4 year hiatus, and the start of John Cena's career (in which he stumbled upon his rap gimmick that launched his popularity).
    5. "PG" Era: 2008-2016. Many claim that wrestling went "PG" because Linda McMahon was running for senate and she wanted a squeaky clean image, divorced from the past decade of debauchery and sophomoric humor (she lost both races in part due to her televised appearances during the Attitude Era). However, the shift back to a "safer" family-oriented show was out of necessity for WWE's survival. Rampant drug and alcohol abuse, wrestler after wrestler being crippled by the dangerous stunts, the death of Eddie Guerrero and the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, former wrestlers dying from drug abuse, governmental scrutiny (that means the FBI), and every talking head known to man out to crucify pro wrestling in general and WWE in particular—all of that meant big-money advertisers pulling out. It was quickly discovered that Cena appealed to women and children more than the diehard male 18-34 male demographic of wrestling fans; thus WWE attracted a more mainstream audience, which meant more money. Other popularity-driven decisions included bookings of The Shield and experiments with new talent, including call ups from NXT. Indeed, WWE has made a remarkable turnaround: It's seen (again) by the mainstream as family entertainment. Big-money advertisers are lining up, the government isn't hounding them anymore, the media has stopped digging around WWE trash cans looking for scandals, WWE performers (especially John Cena) are in high demand in other forms of entertainment and make frequent media appearances. For a while, the downgrade to PG ironically destroyed what little credibility and class the women's division had, as it was forbidden for female wrestlers to get beaten up by men, so they had catfights for the audience's amusement.
    6. "The New Era": 2016-2023. By the end of the PG Era, audiences, on-air talent, and even authority figures were occasionally letting it be known that the company's direction wasn't quite where it could be. A series of changes were instituted to adjust the company's business model. Women were once again billed as legitimate wrestling talents and not "Divas", thanks largely to the efforts of the "Four Horsewomen" and Paige, who came up during the PG Era. Several high profile performers were called up from developmental, signed, or pulled away from top competing brands like NJPW and independent promotions, and, unusually, allowed to keep their same monikers, the prime example being AJ Styles. Shane McMahon returned as a Reasonable Authority Figure to balance out the rest of his family, resulting in Smackdown! (now Smackdown LIVE) and RAW once again being treated as competing A-shows. The Cruiserweight Classic tournament led to the resurrected division getting its own show, the UK Championship tournament and other efforts similarly signaled expansion, etc. All of the above was the first year of this "New Era", and by 2019, the WWE's most popular star was, for the first time in its history, a woman.
    7. Endeavor Era: 2023-present. By 2023, a series of scandals regarding Vince McMahon has caused him in real life to resign in disgrace but not before selling the company to Endeavour Group Holdings, the parent company of UFC. With the resignation of McMahon, Triple H has gotten complete creative control and has made many adjustments towards the storylines including making the tag team division more important than ever, adding a second world championship after Roman Reigns united the previous two and gradually making LA Knight a top superstar. Some notable returns many thought weren't possible include Kairi Sane, Naomi, and especially Cody Rhodes and CM Punk, the former due to helping to start and was the face of WWE's new competition and the latter due to having a notorious walkout and grudge against the company for many years. This is also the first time in a long time that the head on-screen authority figure wasn't a villain who was trying to make the faces life a living hell but a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is probably the ultimate example of this trope in Professional Wrestling. He started out as just a random henchman of Ted DiBiase, but thanks to the now-legendary promo at the 1996 King of the Ring event ("Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"), he gradually transformed into the stone-cold badass that fans eventually grew to love, cementing his place as a true legend of the ring and helping to put pro wrestling on the map in the late 90s.
    • Dwayne Johnson. He is one of the most prominent examples of Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in pro wrestling for a reason. When he started his career in 1996 as Rocky Maivia, he was a talented face with a super-nice-guy persona that was despised by fans, but after he turned heel, and changed his ring name to The Rock, he began his rise as the "most electrifying man in sports entertainment".
    • Jeff Hardy, full stop. When he and his brother Matt debuted in the company in the late 1990s, they lost every single one of their matches for a while. Ten years later, Jeff won the WWE Championship. Matt is a good example as well.
    • The Miz transformed over time from a clownish Dirty Coward to a legitimately threatening heel. When he became WWE Champion in November 2010, it's a bit surprising that the entire universe didn't explode as a result.
    • Stacy Keibler - After more than three years of mostly being used as eye candy, Stacy finally got a push of sorts in October of 2004 when she pinned Molly Holly to become Number One Contender to Trish Stratus's Women's Championship. Although she didn't win her one-on-one with Stratus, Keibler got a second opportunity soon afterward when she entered a seven-woman Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday and made it two-thirds of the way through before getting eliminated by Holly.
    • Candice Michelle - She will go down in history as the first Diva Search contestant (2004) to win the Women's Championship. She accomplished this in June 2007, when she pinned then-champion Melina at the first-ever Night Of Champions. She held the title for nearly four months, finally losing it to Beth Phoenix.
    • Maria Kanellis - Another 2004 Diva Search contestant, she started out as a "dim-witted" backstage interviewer for comic relief on Monday Night Raw. She made occasional forays into the ring over the next few years, finally becoming more or less a full-time wrestler in 2008. That's when she became the first woman to pin Beth Phoenix since Phoenix had won the Women's Championship (though the match was non-title, and Kanellis needed some help from Candice Michelle to score the win). Kanellis and Phoenix met again at WrestleMania XXIV in a tag-team match that also included Ashley Massaro and Melina Perez, and Kanellis almost certainly would have pinned Phoenix clean if it hadn't been for interference by Santino Marella.
    • Kelly Kelly - She joined the relaunched ECW on SyFy in June of 2006 as an exotic dancer ("exhibitionist," to use her term) with practically no wrestling skills. After just over a year of training, she began to appear in the ring sporadically and then full-time after being drafted to Monday Night Raw in 2008. She appeared in back-to-back (2008 and 2009) Divas Elimination Matches at Survivor Series, eliminating two opponents between them. Finally, she won the Divas Championship from Brie Bella on June 20, 2011, after being voted Number One Contender by the fans.
    • Trish Stratus - Seven time Women's Champion, who started out as a valet for T&A and eye candy for Vince McMahon, and who was initially so bad in the ring that she could botch a catfight. In fact, much like how WWE saw its tag team division more so as a Breakup Breakout factory than anything else over time ever since Shawn Michaels went from one of the Rockers to one of the greatest of all time, WWE's insistence on turning models into wrestlers is largely due to this trope working so well for Trish.
    • John Cena went from a comic-relief white-boy rapper to possibly the biggest face in the federation. Key moments in the transition included marking his return from injury by lifting Rikishi above his head, and slapping Vince in the face.
  • Tomboyness Upgrade: Becky Lynch is a major example: she debuted as a tomboyish type known as the "Irish Lass Licker," but when she became "The Man," her tomboyishness became even more pronounced as her aggression and masculine characteristics only upped to an ante that was followed by other female talents as such as Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross and Sonya Deville, among others. Speaking of which, the entire WWE Women's Division has a whole has become this ever since the WWE Divas Division was rebranded as the WWE Women's Division which moved away from Fanservice matches such as bra-and-the-panties matches, pillow fights, pudding matches, costume battle royals and bikini contests as well as women acting catty and childish. Nowadays, WWE's current female talents are presented in the same manner as their male counterparts including more violent brawls which sometimes included the entire WWE women's roster, serious trash-talking and the ability to compete in match stipulations that were previously been reserved for men such as Hell in a Cell matches and the Royal Rumble match.
  • Trash The TitanTron:
    • Happens each time when WWE upgrades its TitanTron. For example, on an episode of Raw in 2008, Triple H throws his sledgehammer at the TitanTron to make way for the current TitanTron HD set used on Raw, SmackDown, ECW, and Superstars.
    • The NXT rookies took this one pretty literally on the 6/7/10 Raw, when they took out everyone at ringside (down to the bell-ringer and medical personnel) and gave a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to John Cena.
  • Un-person:
    • Chris Benoit, though he is still mentioned in WWE's official title histories, match results, etc., as well as 2009's WWE Encyclopedia. It doesn't even mention that he's dead!
    • Vince McMahon tried to invoke this with CM Punk after he left the company after winning at the 2011 Money in the Bank PPV, and taking the WWE Championship with him. Off course this only lasted one or two weeks, as he came back after they had held a tournament to crown a new winner. Has unfortunately come true with his 2014 walkout, although to a much lesser degree than with Benoit.
  • Unrelated Brothers:
    • Long-time childhood friends Edge and Christian. Whose being kayfabe brothers in the past is no longer acknowledged.
    • Kane and The Undertaker.
    • Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins was for a short while in WWE listed as the Major Brothers, before their name change.
    • The Basham Brothers. Despite their similar appearance, Doug Basham (his real name) and Danny Basham (born Daniel Hollie) are not related, much less "twins" as Doug is six years older.
  • Vince's 2000-inch Titantron, the obscenely expensive Jeritron 5000
  • The Usual Adversaries: Scott Hall once mentioned that if Vince sees you can sell really well, then he will make you sell all the time i.e Dolph Ziggler.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Even though the WWE has turned Lighter and Softer ever since entering the PG era, some incredibly deranged and nightmarish heels still stuck out like sore thumbs.
    • The Wyatt Family was a cult of deranged and unsettling hillbillies who were lead by its namesake cult leader who called himself "The Eater of Worlds".
    • Bray Wyatt, the aforementioned cult leader, somehow got even worse when he was rebranded as a Depraved Kids' Show Host who could turn into "The Fiend", a demonic Monster Clown who straight up tried to kill people and whose matches had him bring the decapitated head of his previous gimmick.
  • Wham Episode: Among other memorable moments:
    • 4/11/11. Edge retiring.
    • June 7th 2010, The Nexus wrecks havoc on Raw.
  • Wild Card: Whoever is currently the commissioner of WWE/GM of Raw. Gorilla Monsoon took over in 1995, followed by Roddy Piper, then Gorilla again. When Gorilla retired in 1997, the Presidency was officially replaced with the Commissioner position. Michaels, Foley, and Regal have each served as commish. Past GMs include Bischoff, Maddox, and Vickie. Sometimes the GM has unlimited power, sometimes none.
  • Wild Samoan: The Wild Samoans, Umaga, Haku, Jimmy Snuka, and Rikishi. Averted by Yokozuna (who was Samoan but played a Japanese-style sumo wrestler), Manu, Rosey, The Usos, Tamina, Samoa Joe, Solo Sikoa and Roman Reigns. Oh, and The Rock. There were also The Headshrinkers and The Islanders (though Haku was a Tongan).
  • World's Strongest Man: Nickname used by several wrestlers including Mark Henry, Ted Arcidi, Ken Patera, and Dino Bravo.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Especially egregious in the late '80s and early '90s. Later examples include Simon Dean, The Boogeyman, and Fandango.
  • Wrestling Monster: Vader, The Undertaker, Papa Shango, Kane, Bill Goldberg, The Boogeyman, Kharma...
  • Yes-Man: The general attitude of Vince McMahon to some people is that he refuses to take "no" for an answer. Pretty much a job description for anybody on the writing team not related to the McMahons, according to virtually everyone.

Alternative Title(s): WWF, World Wrestling Entertainment, World Wrestling Federation, WWWF, World Wide Wrestling Federation, Capital Wrestling Corporation


Shawn Michaels' Playgirl Shoot

During an argument with the rest of DX, Triple H brings up that when Shawn Michaels loses his smile, he does weird things like pose for Playgirl. He excuses it by saying that he was young, stupid and needed the money.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / IWasYoungAndNeededTheMoney

Media sources: