If you've been following pro wrestling for any amount of time, you should be familiar with some of the vernacular. For people on the outside looking in, most if not all of the terminology should make you scratch your head and just go "huh?". Babyface, heel, selling, what does it all mean? Well believe it or not there actually is a reason for all the wacky names. Back in the days when most pro wrestling matches would take place inside of carnivals and circuses, the wrestlers would need to use inconspicuous sounding words to ensure that their audiences would not pick up on the fixed nature of the business. Even as pro wrestling evolved past its embryonic stages however most of the jargon was passed on from generation to generation, like stories around midnight campfire. If your campfire stories involved seemingly beating your co-workers within an inch of their lives.
While it may have made sense to use these terms when you were forced to lead your audience astray, we simply don't live in that era anymore. Everybody knows that wrestling is scripted, so why continue using these terms that make absolutely zero sense? That's not to say that all the terms on this list are going to come from the circus days of grappling. No, current promotions like WWE and TNA have several titles which are misused as much a teenage boy with a sock. So for the following entries on the list, don't just think of them as terms that make no sense. They can also be terms which are misused or are only applicable in one sense and then used in a completely different sense. Now with that out of the way, let's delve into the wacky world of pro wrestling terminology.
P.S This list is going to be very nit-picky so if that annoys you... I don't know, go outside and play baseball or something.
15 15. Dark Match
As everyone should know by now, I'm kind of a big nerd. I dabble in anime, and read entirely too many superhero comics for my age. So when I hear dark match in pro wrestling, I tend to think of a good guy facing off against an evil version of himself. No, instead dark matches are actually just matches which take place before (or after) the real show gets underway.
14 14. Attitude Era
As is going to be a recurring theme on this list, the use of this term is mostly due to marketing. When WWE wanted to turn their sterile product of the mid 1990s around, the company thoroughly and exhaustively researched their audience and... NAH just kidding, they stole ECW's ideas and cleaned them up just enough for cable television. In the process, they gave this new creative direction a name which makes little sense.
13 13. Lumberjack Match
Surprisingly not innovated by human goat man Daniel Bryan, the Lumberjack match is a match variant where dozens of wrestlers surround the ring to ensure that the two competitors in the ring stay there, rather than fight on the outside. Aside from being one of the lamer match types in history (aside from Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam 2014), it also baffles my mind.
12 12. Potato
Coming from La Belle Province of Quebec, I know a thing or two about potatoes. They have to be the most versatile food in existence and more importantly they are the basis for a gift from the heavens known as poutine. So with this vast potato knowledge, I'm baffled that I don't understand the use of it in professional wrestling.
11 11. Reverse Battle Royal
Oh TNA, your name alone you give us so much material to work with but with match types like this you put icing on the cake. Back in a time where they could have possibly (but not really) been considered a competitor to WWE, TNA tried everything they could to be different from McMahon's empire. Six-sided ring? Check. Having a reverse battle royal? Check... wait what?
Yup, in 2006 TNA promoted the first ever Reverse Battle Royal as part of their Fight for the Right tournament. What are the rules to said match? Well it goes like this:
10 10. The Schoolboy
On any wrestling show ever, you're bound to see this move performed by at least one wrestler. It's simple, it's fast and it's also called a schoolboy. Why????!!!!
9 9. Foreign Object
Given his view on immigrants and his past involvement in pro wrestling, I believe it's fair to say that Donald Trump would not approve of the use of foreign objects in professional wrestling. After all I'm certain that those steel chairs, title belts and 2x4 are all rapists and drug traffickers. Political joke over.
8 8. Finishing Move
Up until very recently this term was fine. Every wrestler has in their bag of tricks a move that signals the end of a match, a (usually) high impact technique which a competitor uses to finish their foe. That was until about 2009 when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker made it cool to kick out of multiple finishers for drama. Yes, people like Stone Cold and The Rock did it before Taker and HBK, but the Phenom and Showstopper brought it back in roaring fashion.
7 7. Heel
A moment of academics if you please. Allow me to look up the first three definitions of the word heel in the Oxford dictionary:
6 6. Babyface
Just like in the best moments in wrestling history, the "babyface" overcomes the "heel" on this list. However in this case, it merely means that babyface makes even less sense than heel. Well done.
5 5. Squared Circle
Basic geometry 101: how many sides to a square? Well done, the answer is indeed four. By this chain, a wrestling ring would be a square, correct? No, it is actually called a squared circle.
4 4. Live Event
Why is it that the word "live" is so overused in today's linguistic landscape? Whether it's wannabe gangsters saying "bro this happened LIVE right in front of me" or Windows Live, live needs to die. The worst use of the word though has to be WWE's use for calling its non-televised shows as "Live Events".
3 3. Superstar
The following is a list of some "Superstars" currently employed by the WWE: John Cena, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan and Diego. Which of these things is not like the others?
2 2. World Heavyweight Championship
Being called the heavyweight champion in a combat sport like boxing or mixed martial arts used to be seen as the highest honor imaginable, even if there were more skilled champions in other weight classes. By extension pro wrestling adopted this model and made the most prestigious title in every company the "World Heavyweight Championship", even if they didn't define what exactly they mean.
1 1. Diva
If I called you a diva right now, it would be considered an insult. Calling someone a diva is meant to say that the person is a drama-queen, selfish and generally annoying. This is the term used to describe all of the female wrestlers in WWE.
Essentially, by calling all of their female athletes "divas", the WWE is calling some of your favs like Paige, Charlotte, Natalya and Sasha Banks all of the things mentioned above. While I bemoaned the term superstar before, at least it's a positive term. This term degrades all of the talent and gives them a stupid looking title on top of that.
WWE, if you really want to have a revolution, start by just calling your female wrestlers superstars and changing the title from Divas Championship to Women's Championship. Not really revolutionary, but better than the present.
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