As pro-wrestling has evolved far from its carnival roots, so has the nomenclature surrounding it. Some of these changes are made deliberately by those in charge. Other things change as the trends and fashions of the time change. For example, a shooter, as a wrestler may have been called in the 1920s, would be a confusing term for a modern day wrestling term. In addition, a fan today may not be certain what the term "promoter" means exactly.
Nowhere is this change more evident than WWE television. In fact, there are many words that are simply banned from being spoken on television. At times, wrestlers...wait, Superstars may get away with using a few of those terms. However, the announcers are specifically banned from using certain words, as a list surfaced in 2008 that detailed what the multi-national commentary teams weren't allowed to say.
Based on this list and our own empirical data collection, let's do a quick rundown of each of those terms. Some of these terms and their reasoning may be obvious, others not so much. However, as controversial or trivial as some of these may seem, they're all a part of a bigger attempt at creating a global brand for WWE. These semantic adjustments are deliberate and not just arbitrary nitpicking. Lets begin with something obvious.
15 Foreign Object
You'll notice that many of these terms play into a common sense approach to a PG product and an era of political correctness. This one is obvious, although a foreign object would only indicate a piece of equipment that is simply foreign to its environment. WWE's reaction to this is to simply call a weapon what it is. This is much preferred to WCW's attempt at calling weapons "international objects," which implies the "foreign" in foreign object is indicative of different nationalities.
Here's another one that is somewhat inconsequential. In the 80s, on NWA television, you may have heard The Four Horsemen referred to as a "faction." This term proved to be dated and WWE, when not addressing the group by name, will refer them to as exactly that, a group. You may also hear alliance or union, but you will definitely not hear the word faction.
11 On Sale
One would imagine that DQ sounds too much like wrestling jargon and disqualification spells out the ramifications in a more proper way. Also, DQ just makes me think of Dairy Queen.
It was once common to hear a wrestling championships referred to as a belt or strap. The reasoning behind this one being banned has a simple explanation. It's a simple matter of prestige. It's just better story telling to use the word Championship. Belts and straps are merely articles of clothing, while a Championship has a story behind it, it means something.
6 House Show
You'll never hear WWE announcers refer to a show as a house show. Let's face it, house show doesn't have the same allure as "live event." House show is definitely a term that died after the 80s and 90s. House show has such a bland connotation, where "live event" feels like a big deal, where anything can happen. Because, never forget "anything can happen in the WWE" and they don't want you thinking otherwise.
Never on WWE television will you hear announcer refer to the United States Championship as the U.S. title. You also won't hear this abbreviation in reference to our armed forces or our country as a whole.
2 Insider Terminology
Although most wrestling fans will tell you that kayfabe is dead, at least there are some protections around insider terminology. Specifically, the terms shoot, babyface, heel, rib, and others are not to be said on WWE television.
1 Professional Wrestler
As we all know, WWE "pro-wrestlers" are referred to as WWE Superstars. This is a gleaming illustration into the branding machine that is WWE. As many will say, Vince often tries to distance WWE from the older perceptions of "pro-wrestling," especially the negative ones.
Now, this decision has ruffled many a feather among the internet wrestling faithful, but is it really that bad? After all, and here's an unpopular opinion, pro-wrestling is anything but pro-wrestling. It's not as if calling them WWE Superstars makes them lesser, except maybe in the eyes of the "informed" wrestling fans. However, what's in a name? We don't mind. We'll go on enjoying WWE just the same, regardless of what we can and can't call things.
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