- Airplane Spin – An airplane spin is a wrestling move where a wrestler will pick up their opponent, balance them on their shoulders, and start to spin like a waltzer ride at an amusement park. Eventually, when they decide that they’re done, the wrestler will drop their opponent to the mat, usually without slamming them.
- Arm-drag – An arm-drag is a wrestling move where a wrestler hooks their opponent’s arm, and then throws themselves backwards to the mat, using their momentum to flip their opponent to the mat.
- Attitude Era – The Attitude Era was a period in the late 90’s in which WWF rebranded itself in an “extreme” way to win the ratings war against WCW. Storylines became more violent, women were treated as sex symbols, rather than legitimate wrestlers, and the general content of WWF’s flagship Monday Night Raw show became more titilating and shocking in an effort to claw back the number one spot. Thanks to performers like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, and others, as well as gimmicks like TLC matches and bra and panties matches, WWF won the ratings war, and WCW went out of business in 2001. The Attitude Era came to an end in 2002, when the WWF lost a lawsuit against the World Wildlife Fund, and had to rebrand as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The change in branding also heralded a greater emphasis on wrestling, rather than shocking storylines.
- Axe-handle – A move where a wrestler knots their fingers together, as if holding an axe with both hands, raises their hands above their head, and then hits their opponent.
- B+ Player – In wrestling, a B+ player is basically a wrestler who is technically good, but who will never be a big star, or appear in the main event of a major PPV; whether they don’t look the part, or are perceived to lack charisma, skills on the mic, or a good gimmick. B+ players’ ceiling is usually a good reign as a mid-card title-holder.
- Babyface/Face – A “good guy” wrestler. A babyface is usually beloved by the audience, and will give high-fives during their entrance. Babyfaces usually follow the rules (e.g. will release a submission hold almost immediately if the opponent grabs the rope or taps out), tries to keep their matches fast-paced, and will use exciting, often high-flying moves.
- Backdrop/Back Body Drop – A backdrop is a wrestling move where a wrestler will crouch in front of their opponent, grab them, and then stand up quickly, throwing the opponent over their head. This move is very often used against an onrushing opponent.
- Backslide – A backslide is a pinning move in wrestling, where a wrestler will stand back-to-back with their opponent, hook their opponent’s arms, and then lean forward and drop to their knees. This will cause the opponent to slide down the wrestler’s back, and hit the mat with their shoulders. The wrestler holds their opponent in place by the arms, causing a pin. Like a roll-up, it is quite rare for a backslide pin to end a match, though.
- Baseball Slide – A baseball slide in wrestling is exactly what it sounds like – the wrestler slides along the ground, feet first, like a baseball player sliding for a base. A baseball slide is used as an evasive move, by sliding through an oncoming opponent’s legs; or as an offensive move against an opponent outside the ring, where a baseball slide may be used to kick the opponent in the head or torso if they are standing near the edge of the ring.
- Battle Royal – A match involving multiple wrestlers – battle royals often have as many as fifty competitors. Battle royals can start with all the competitors in the ring, but can also start with just two wrestlers in the ring, introducing an additional random competitor at set intervals during the match. Wrestlers are eliminated when they are pushed or thrown over the top rope, and both feet land on the ground below. The winner is the last wrestler left in the ring.
- Belly-to-belly suplex – A type of suplex that starts with both wrestlers facing each other; the wrestler performing the move wraps their arms around their opponent’s middle, and then performs the throw. Often with a belly-to-belly suplex, the opponent is thrown to the side rather than overhead.
- Blockbuster – A Blockbuster, also known as a Flipping Neckbreaker, is an acrobatic wrestling move in which a wrestler, standing on the ropes or on a turnbuckle with their opponent in front of them, jumps over their opponent, flipping in mid-air, and grabs their opponent around the neck to perform a neckbreaker.
- Body check – A body check is not even really a wrestling move; it merely involves a wrestler standing their ground when their opponent runs into them, which results in the opponent being knocked back, or thrown to the ground. This typically happens after the wrestler has irish whipped their opponent, or if the opponent has sling-shotted themselves off the ropes to try and gain enough momentum to knock down a larger wrestler.
- Body-slam – A body-slam is a wrestling move where a wrestler, facing their opponent, picks them up – usually with one hand on the opponent’s shoulder, and the other between the legs – and then slams them, back first, to the mat.
- Booker – A booker is the person responsible for arranging matches in “real life”. A booker usually works closely with (or is) the writers to put together matches and cards. In smaller promotions, the booker may also appear as an authority figure.
- Bra and Panties Match – The female equivalent of a tuxedo match, a bra and panties match is a wrestling match between female competitors, the goal of which is to strip your opponent down to their bra and panties.
- Bridge – A bridge in wrestling is a type of maneuver that can be used to pin an opponent, or to break up a pin on oneself. A bridge is performed by a wrestler, initially lying face up on the mat, arching their pack and supporting themselves with their feet (often the tips of their toes, when pinning an opponent), and either their hands, forearms, or their head. When being pinned, a wrestler can “bridge out” of the pin by using their head and feet to arch their back, thereby raising their shoulders from the mat. When pinning an opponent, usually after some kind of overhead slam or suplex, a wrestler can perform a bridge to place more of their weight on the opponent, making it harder for the opponent to escape the pin.
- Bulldog – A bulldog is a wrestling move where the wrestler will run towards their opponent from behind, grab their head, and use their momentum to drive their opponent face-first into the canvas. The move gets its name from “bulldogging” in rodeo – where the cowboy attempts to do something similar to a steer.
- Burial – The opposite of a push. When a wrestler is being buried, they will typically go on a losing streak, have less involvement in storylines, and generally be depicted in a poor light.
- Cage Match – A cage match is a match that takes place in a ring surrounded by a steel cage. A cage match can be won by pinfall, submission, or by climbing out of the cage, and putting both feet on the ground outside.
- Camel Clutch – The camel clutch is a submission move in wrestling, where a wrestler, with their opponent face-down on the ground, crouches over their opponent, grabs the opponent’s chin with interlocked fingers, and then pulls back to bend their opponent’s back backwards.
- Champion’s Advantage – In a championship match, where the holder of a championship is fighting to retain their title, the champion typically can only lose their title by submission or pinfall. Therefore, if a championship match ends by count-out or disqualification, the champion retains their title, even if they were counted out or disqualified.
- Championship – Like other sports, professional wrestling has championships, and like other combat sports, the award for these championships is a belt, usually a wide leather strap that closes at the back, and has a large, metallic plate at the front, bearing some sort of design to represent the promotion, and the name of the title. The terms championship, belt, and title can be used interchangably. Championships typically change hands if the champion loses a match that is specifically designated as a championship match; although a championship can be vacated if the holder retires, leaves the promotion, or occasionally, a champion can be stripped of their title for some reason. If a championship is vacated, or if it is a brand new title, there is usually a tournament to determine who wins the championship.
Bigger wrestling promotions typically have a “World” championship, which top-level, main event contenders compete for; a mid-card championship (like WWE’s United States and Intercontinental championships) which up-and-coming wrestlers compete for; and then tag team and womens’ championships, and sometimes a cruiserweight championship, for smaller wrestlers (typically those under 200 lbs or so).
Championships play a large part in storylines, whether directly or indirectly; a feud may arise between a champion and another wrestler because the other wrestler feels that they should be champion; or alternatively, wrestlers may feud over who deserves to be the number-one contender for a title.
A title holder will typically carry their belt around with them, either strapped around their waist, or over their shoulder, as both a status symbol, an accessory to taunt other wrestlers with, and often an impromptu weapon.
Currently in The NXT Wrestling Fan’s coverage, NXT has three championships – the NXT Championship, the NXT Tag Team Championship, and the NXT Women’s Championship.
- Clothesline – A clothesline is a move where a wrestler hits their opponent, usually at chest or neck height, with an arm outstretched, parallel to the ground.
- Corner Man – Corner man is a generic term for anyone who accompanies a wrestler to the ring for a wrestling match. A corner man can be a valet, a manager, or a fellow wrestler (e.g. a tag team partner. Unlike other combat sports, a corner man in wrestling is not supposed to help the wrestler they are accompanying in any way, though they often do, by distracting either the wrestler’s opponent or the referee at an opportune moment, or attacking the opponent while the referee is not looking. A corner man has to be officially sanctioned by the wrestling promotion to appear at ring-side, and is nominally obliged to follow the referee’s orders if told to leave the ring-side.
- Count-out – Another way to lose a wrestling match is to be counted out. Obviously, a wrestling match should take place within the ring. Sometimes, a wrestler may be thrown out of the ring, or may leave the ring to escape their opponent, or to catch their breath. When this happens, the referee will start a count; if the referee reaches 10 without the wrestler returning to the ring, that wrestler has been counted out, and has lost the match. If both wrestlers are outside the ring for the count, they are both counted out, and both lose the match.
- Crossbody – A crossbody block is a wrestling move where a wrestler throws themselves at an opponent, hitting them horizontally across the body – forming the shape of a cross on impact. This can be performed either off the mat, with a running start, or by jumping off the top turnbuckle.
- Crucifix Pin – A crucifix pin is a pinning move in wrestling where a wrestler is hanging horizontally off their opponent’s shoulders, with their legs wrapped around one arm, and their arms wrapped around the other. The wrestler then flips their opponent to the mat, and holds their opponent’s shoulders to the mat, with their arms stretched out horizontally, hence the name. While a standard crucifix pin is a quick move similar to a roll-up, it can be performed with more force, which is called a crucifix bomb, or crucifix driver.
- DDT – A DDT is a type of wrestling move where one wrestler, facing their opponent, will wrap an arm around the opponent’s head, and then fall backwards, driving the crown of their opponent’s head into the canvas.
- Developmental Promotion – Wrestling companies are referred to as “Promotions”, and a Developmental Promotion is similar to a minor league baseball side – young wrestlers will join a developmental promotion to gain experience before being ready for national television. Developmental promotions typically are not televised nationally, and do not tour.
- Discus clothesline – A discus clothesline is a variation where a wrestler twirls around to clothesline their opponent, mimicking the movement made when throwing a discus.
- Disqualification – Performing an illegal action during a match can lead to losing the match via disqualification, or DQ. Illegal actions include:
- Not releasing a submission hold within a count of 5 when the opponent is touching the ropes
- Hitting your opponent in the crotch (AKA a “low blow”)
- Use of a weapon or other “foreign object” to attack your opponent
- Egregious hair-pulling or eye-gouging
- Attacking the referee
- A third party attacking your opponent
Disqualification for any of these offenses is at the referee’s discretion; the referee may choose to merely issue a warning, especially for hair-pulling, eye-gouging, or failing to release a submission hold.
- Distraction Finish – A distraction finish is when a wrestler loses a match because of something happening outside the ring. This is often a heel, or someone the wrestler is in a feud with, deliberately trying to make the wrestler lose. Sometimes, a heel’s manager or valet will distract the heel’s opponent to help them win. Often, the loss will be to an opportunistic pin, like a roll-up.
- Dragon Screw Leg Whip – A dragon screw leg whip is a wrestling move where a wrestler, standing facing their opponent, will grab their opponent’s raised leg, and then drop to the mat, simultaneously twisting their opponent’s legso that the opponent is dragged over them, landing on their back. This move is often used against an opponent trying to get back into the ring, with one leg between the ropes.
- Draw – In the event of both wrestlers being counted out, disqualified, or otherwise unable to continue, the match ends in a draw. The match also ends in a draw if time runs out, although this rarely happens unless there are storyline reasons for it. Live televised shows will often have an announced time limit for each match.
Draw can also refer to the ability of a wrestler to draw a large crowd, sell a lot of merchandise, or basically make a lot of money for their promotion.
- Drop-kick – A drop-kick is a wrestling move where a wrestler will jump at their opponent, stretch their legs out parallel to the ground, and strike their opponent with both feet. A drop-kick can be performed from a stationery standing start, with momentum after bouncing off the ropes, or from a raised platform, like off the top turnbuckle.
- ECW – Extreme Championship Wrestling (originally Eastern Championship Wrestling), or ECW, was a hardcore wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia in the late 90’s. The switch from “Eastern” to “Extreme” came after Paul Heyman joined the company, having left WCW. ECW worked for a while in cooperation with the then-WWF, but filed for bankruptcy, after losing talent and market share to WCW and WWF during the Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era. Most of ECW’s remaining assets and employees were bought/hired by WWF. ECW was later resurrected by WWF as a stable, and also a short-lived brand.
- Entrance – How a wrestler enters the ring. This may include music, video shown on arena screens, props, crowd interaction (e.g. high fives), fireworks, or a light show. Jobbers typically do not get an entrance.
- Faction – A faction is a name for a group of wrestlers who have banded together for some common cause – often to oppose a stable. A faction usually consists of face wrestlers, and doesn’t have any one wrestler who is the leader – the wrestlers are bound together by mutual respect.
- Fall – A referee’s decision about who has won or lost the match, whether it is by pinfall, by submission, or by disqualification.
- Feud – A feud is the wrestling term for an extended storyline between opposing characters. It will usually involve trash-talk in the ring, or in promos and packages; often, a series of matches; and sometimes surprise attacks backstage or in some other location outside the ring (e.g. in the arena car park). Feuds are often used to push new wrestlers, and can often last for weeks. A related term is “program”, although program refers more to the series of matches, rather than the surrounding storyline.
- Finisher – A finisher is a specific move used by a given wrestler as their “signature” move; usually a hard-hitting, powerful, and/or impressive move that is intended to end the match, whether by leading to a pin, or by causing the opponent to tap out. Finishers will often have their own specific names, especially for more popular wrestlers – for example, Bray Wyatt’s finisher is a move usually called the Swinging Reverse STO, but in his case it is called the Sister Abigail. He embellishes the move – another common feature of a finisher – by kissing his opponent on the forehead afterwards.
- Flapjack – A flapjack is a wrestling move where a wrestler, facing their opponent, and to one side, will grab them, and then throw themselves backward, thereby slamming their opponent face-first to the mat.
- Gauntlet Match – A gauntlet match is a match with multiple competitors. The match starts with two competitors in the ring, and once one wrestler has beaten their opponent, the next wrestler will enter the match. The winner stays on in the ring, until all competitors have fought, with the last wrestler standing being the winner of the match. A gauntlet match can also involve tag teams instead of individual wrestlers.
- Go Away Heat/Go Home Heat/X-Pac Heat – Go Away Heat is when the audience just do not care about a wrestler, and simply do not want to see them, regardless of their abilities. This can happen if the wrestler delivers consistently poor performances, either on the mic or in the ring, or if the wrestler is being pushed too hard by the promotion. One of the more extreme examples of this involved a wrestler named X-Pac in the early 2000’s.
- Grabbing the Tights – Grabbing your opponent’s tights to gain leverage during a pin attempt is an illegal move in wrestling, just as it is in amateur wrestling. In a pro-wrestling match, it is typically done by a heel, and in such a way that it isn’t visible to the referee, to show that the heel couldn’t beat their opponent cleanly. Despite the fact that most wrestlers wear leggings, trunks, jorts, or other clothes on their lower half, commentators still refer to “grabbing tights” as shorthand.
- Gutwrench Suplex – A gutwrench suplex is a suplex variant where a wrestler, facing their opponent, will grab them around the midriff before throwing them.
- Handicap match – A handicap match is a wrestling match where one side is outnumbered; e.g. one wrestler takes on two wrestlers, two wrestlers take on three wrestlers, etc.
- Hart Dungeon – The Hart Dungeon (or Hart Family Dungeon) was a wrestling school, founded by Stu Hart in the 1950’s and based in the basement of the Hart family mansion, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Stu’s motivation was to provide a training facility for wrestlers signed to his new promotion, Stampede Wrestling.
Attending the Dungeon gained a reputation for being a grueling, intense experience that would produce some of the best, and most famous, wrestlers in North American wrestling history – being a graduate of the Dungeon became a note-worthy achievement that would be mentioned by commentators, especially after Stu’s son, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, became a superstar.
The Dungeon remained in operation until Stu’s death in 2003, and in 2012 the entire Hart mansion was declared a heritage site by the city of Calgary. Unlike his successors, Stu never accepted payment from those attending the Dungeon during his tenure as head coach – he trained wrestlers purely out of love of the sport.
Famous graduates of the Dungeon would include the extended Hart family – Bret, Owen, and their brothers, as well as their brothers-in-law, Davey Boy Smith (aka The British Bulldog), and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart; many notable Canadian wrestlers, such as Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Rick Viktor, and Lance Storm; as well as a variety of other wrestlers, such as Gorilla Monsoon (later to be one of WWF’s most famous commentators), Jushin Thunder Liger, Ken Shamrock, Mark Henry, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Natalya Neidhart – daughter of Jim “The Anvil” and Elizabeth Hart, and thus Stu’s granddaughter – was the only woman to have graduated from the Dungeon.
- Heat – Heat is a term used for a negative reaction. Heat can be the desired reaction elicited by a heel – when they trash-talk a babyface opponent, for example – or can be genuinely negative reaction backstage, where a wrestler might not be given matches or storylines purely because they are unpopular in the locker-room, or have otherwise gotten in trouble with the promotion’s writers, bookers, or management.
- Headscissors – A headscissors is a wrestling move where a wrestler will catch their opponent’s head between their legs, and then use their legs to flip the opponent over, slamming them back-first onto the mat.
- Heel – A “villain” wrestler. Hallmarks of a heel include attacking their opponent before a match has officially started, ignoring or trash-talking the audience, and acting arrogantly, taunting, and trying to slow things down during a match.
- High-Flying Move – A high-flying move is generally any wrestling move that involves climbing onto the top rope or turnbuckle, and jumping off, towards your opponent.
- Hot Tag – The hot tag is a specific circumstance in a tag-team match. Often in a tag-team match, one member of a tag team, usually on the babyface team, will be stuck in the ring for a long time, and be isolated and beat on by the heel team, so that they can’t make a tag. That team member is referred to as the “face in peril”. Eventually, the face in peril will somehow make it to their corner, to tag one of their partners, and the wrestler tagged in will seem invulnerable for a few moments, landing moves and beating on their opponents, regardless of the circumstances. Such a tag is known as a Hot Tag.
- Hurricanrana – A hurricanrana is a wrestling move that is a combination of a throw and a pin. Originally a Mexican lucha libre move, the hurricanrana involves a wrestler jumping onto their opponent’s shoulders while facing them, so the wrestler’s thighs are either side of their opponent’s head, then arching backwards to touch the floor with their outstretched hands, then pulling their legs forward, lifting the opponent off their feet and slamming them, back-first, to the canvas. The wrestler can then reach back and grab the opponent’s legs with their arms, to pin them – i.e., a rana. The hurricanrana can be used to counter a powerbomb attempt, and vice versa.
- Inter-gender Wrestling – Inter-gender wrestling is the practice of allowing two wrestlers to compete against each other in the ring, regardless of their gender. Also known as “wrestling”.
- Inside Cradle – An Inside Cradle is a pinning move in wrestling. To perform an inside cradle, a wrestler will wrap an arm around their opponent’s head, scissor the opponent’s far leg with their own legs, and then fall backwards, rolling over in the process until the opponent’s shoulders are on the mat. Also known as a small package.
- Irish Whip – A basic wrestling move where one wrestler shoves their opponent into the ropes, and the opponent sling-shots off the ropes and across the ring.
- Ironman Match – an ironman match is a wrestling match with a specific time limit (usually 30 minutes or an hour), where the winner is determined by who can pin or submit their opponent the most times during that time limit.
- Jobber – A wrestler with no established character, whose sole job is to lose a match.
- Jobber Squash – A squash match where the wrestler being squashed is a jobber.
- Kayfabe – Kayfabe is a wrestling term that refers to the “fictional universe” or continuity in which wrestling happens. “Keeping kayfabe” means that a wrestler sticks to their established character, even in interviews or other situations outside of a wrestling show. Related terms are “shoot” – which can be used as a verb or a noun to refer to an event or action that breaks kayfabe – and “work” – which refers to a match or promo deliberately scripted to be part of kayfabe.
- Kip-up – A kip-up is the term used in wrestling for when a wrestler, lying on their back, rocks back on their shoulders (sometimes also using their hands), and then flips back into a standing position.
- Knees up – Getting your knees up is a common counter to a high-flying move. If a wrestler is about to execute a move from the top rope onto a prone opponent, a common counter is for the opponent to raise their knees up, so that the wrestler doing the move lands on them, rather than on the opponent’s body.
- Knockout/technical knockout/ref stoppage – If one wrestler is unconscious, injured, or just too beat up to continue, the referee will stop the match, and the wrestler still standing wins. Often, the referee will judge whether a wrestler is still conscious by raising the wrestler’s arm three times, to see if they can keep their arm up, or whether it flops back down. Another way of judging consciousness is by a 10-count; if a prone wrestler hasn’t gotten to their feet by the end of the count, they have lost the match.
- Ladder Match – A ladder match is a no-DQ match that is won by the first wrestler to use a ladder to detach an object handing from a hook above a ring – usually a briefcase, or in the case of a Championship match, a belt. Ladder matches were popularized during in WWE during the Attitude Era, especially by tag teams such as the Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian, and the Hardy Boyz.
- Lariat – A lariat is a wrestling move similar to a clothesline. The difference is that with a clothesline, the arm is generally kept motionless, while with a lariat, the arm is swung forward along with the body. The two terms are often used interchangably.
- Leg-Scissors – A leg-scissors is a submission move in wrestling, where a wrestler will wrap their legs around their opponent from behind, putting pressure on their ribs, usually while both of them are on the mat.
- Low Blow – A Low Blow is an illegal move in wrestling, where a wrestler will hit their opponent, who is almost always male, in the crotch. As a low blow is illegal, it is typically done in conjunction with referee distraction – for example, a wrestler might talk to the referee while their valet performs a low blow, or vice versa. A low blow is sometimes enough to enable the wrestler to pin their opponent, but is often used to soften the opponent up for the wrestler’s finisher. Occasionally, a wrestler will feign being hit by a low blow to win a match by disqualification. Use of the low blow is a tactic almost exclusively used by heels.
- Main Event – The Main Event of a wrestling show is usually the last match of the show. This match typically involves the most popular wrestlers in the promotion, and is often part of a major storyline, or a title match.
- Manager – A wrestler’s manager is a character who will accompany the wrestler to the ring, and will speak on their behalf, although they usually will not get physically involved.
- Mixed Tag – A Mixed Tag match is a specific type of tag match where both teams have mixed competitors – for example, when both teams have a male wrestler and a female wrestler. In WWE, a mixed tag match has explicit rules that, if a male wrestler tags in his female team-mate, the female wrestler on the other team must also be tagged in. Any attack by a male wrestler on the female wrestler on the opposing team (and, presumably, vice versa) is grounds for disqualification. Mixed tag matches, and their specific rules, are unique to promotions that do not do inter-gender wrestling.
- Monkey Flip – a monkey flip is a wrestling throw where a wrestler, facing their opponent, will grab their opponent, flip themselves up so that their feet or shins are against the opponent’s chest, then throw themselves backwards, releasing their opponent so that they are flipped over and land on their back.
- Moonsault – A Moonsault is a wrestling move where a wrestler, usually on the top rope or turnbuckle and facing out of the ring will leap backwards, flipping vertically as they jump, to land face-down on their prone opponent. A variant is the standing moonsault, where a wrestler will perform a moonsault from a standing base.
- Neckbreaker – A Neckbreaker is a wrestling move – usually a type of slam – that focuses on the opponent’s neck. The most common type of neckbreaker is where a wrestler, facing their opponent, grabs the opponent around the neck, then turns around – forcing their opponent to turn around also – and then, with their opponent’s neck resting on one shoulder, the wrestler drops to the ground, slamming their opponent’s neck against their shoulder.
- No contest – If, for some reason, both wrestlers are unable to compete, the ref can end the match as “no contest”, which is pretty much the same as a draw.
- Northern Lights Suplex – A suplex variant where the attacking wrestler bends all the way back when slamming their opponent to the mat, and is often followed up by a bridging pin attempt.
- Number-One Contender – The number-one contender to a title is a term for the wrestler who is next-in-line to get a shot at that title. Being the number-one contender to a title can be earned by winning a lot of matches; often, it’s earned by winning a tournament or battle royal organized for that specific purpose.
- NXT – Currently a 2-hour live show shown on network television, NXT used to be a 1-hour taped show that was made available via the WWE app. NXT was the brain-child of Triple-H, a former wrestler, and son-in-law of WWE owner Vince McMahon. NXT served as a developmental promotion for WWE, featuring mainly young wrestlers starting off their careers, or wrestlers who had been signed from independent wrestling promotions who were seen as not yet being ready for “prime time”. NXT occasionally featured crossovers with the “main roster” shows (Smackdown and RAW) – main roster talent would appear in NXT if they were doing a show in the area anyway, and NXT talent who were judged to be ready for a “call up” would join the main roster. NXT began its life as an online “reality” show, which was eventually merged with WWE’s Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) developmental promotion.
- O’Connor Roll – The O’Connor Roll is a pinning move in wrestling, named after Pat O’Connor, a New Zealand wrestler of the ’50s and ’60s, who himself called the move a Reverse Rolling Cradle. The move is performed by a wrestler, holding their opponent from behind in a waistlock, throwing themselves backwards, and rolling their opponent until the opponent’s shoulders are on the mat. The move often begins with the wrestler pushing their opponent into the ropes for extra momentum, and sometimes the wrestler will perform a bridge while holding the pin, for extra leverage.
- Over – In wrestling, Over can mean winning – e.g., a booker might tell a wrestler “tonight, you are going over the jobber” – or it can mean getting the desired response from the audience. For a babyface, that might mean that they elicit cheers from a crowd; while for a heel, it could mean getting booed. A wrestler can put their opponent over by losing to them, by doing a good job selling their moves, or by their actions in promos.
- Package/Video Package – A pre-recorded promotional video segment shown between matches.
- Pinfall – One way to win a wrestling match is to pin your opponent to the mat long enough for the referee to count to three. Both of the opponent’s shoulders must be touching the mat. Often, the wrestler performing the pin will raise one or both of their opponents legs and hook them with their arm, to gain more leverage. The referee punctuates their count by slapping their hand on the mat. The count can be broken if the opponent gets their shoulders off the mat by arching or jackknifing their body (known as “kicking out”), or by grabbing or otherwise touching one of the ropes.
- Pop – In wrestling, a pop is a positive reaction from the audience. A cheap pop is getting a positive reaction from the audience in an easily predictable way, e.g. by praising the local sports team, or by complimenting the audience.
- Powerbomb – A powerbomb is a wrestling move where a wrestler, facing their opponent, lifts their opponent so that their opponent’s legs are on their shoulders, and then slams them, back first, to the mat. Variations of the powerbomb include:
- The sit-out powerbomb, where the wrestler performing the move will drop to a seated position on the floor while slamming their opponent to the mat
- The release powerbomb, where the wrestler performing the move will release their hold on their opponent before they hit the mat
- The running powerbomb, where the wrestler performing the move will run a short distance with their opponent on their shoulders before slamming them – often into the turnbuckles
- The spiral powerbomb, where the wrestler performing the move will spin around several times with their opponent on their shoulders before slamming them
- The sunset flip powerbomb, where, instead of hoisting their opponent onto their shoulders, the wrestler performing the move will trap their opponent’s midsection between their thighs, and then flip forward, ending up in a similar position to the sit-out powerbomb
- Promo – A live segment, generally from backstage, showing either an interview or some interaction between wrestlers.
- Push – Not referring to the physical act of pushing someone, a push is when a wrestler is being heavily promoted by their promotion. This can involve promos and packages of the wrestler being shown during a show, increased storyline involvement, appearances in main event matches, and title shots.
- Rana – A rana is a pinning move in wrestling, that is usually the result of a flip or slam move, such as the hurricanrana or monkey flip. A rana involves the wrestler performing the pin sitting on their opponent’s chest, with one knee either side of the opponent’s head, and securing the opponent’s legs under each arm. This pin is also known as the double leg cradle.
- Referee – You cannot have a wrestling match without a referee (although you can have a wrestling match without wrestlers). The referee is there to enforce the rules of the match. Referees typically wear black-and-white striped shirts or a polo shirt with the promotion’s branding, and have very little peripheral vision. The referee signals the start and end of a match, and the referee’s decisions are final; however, a referee can only make decisions on what they see.
- Rematch Clause – A Rematch Clause is a clause commonly inserted into the contract for a championship match, which grants a title-holding wrestler the right to a rematch in the event that they lose the match. A rematch clause – and, indeed, the match contract itself – is more of a plot point then an actual legal stipulation or document, though. A rematch clause is typically used to reinforce the new champion – any wrestler can get lucky in one match, but beating the champion one night, and beating them again in their next match, proves the wrestler’s mettle.
- Ring – The elevated, square stage in which wrestling takes place, which usually measure twenty feet by twenty feet. The base of the ring consists of a steel frame, with storage space underneath for props (such as tables, kendo sticks, and solid steel folding chairs), and a “floor” made of wooden planks, covered with foam padding, covered with canvas. There is typically a large spring in the middle of the ring, beneath the floor, to give the ring its bounce. Each corner of the ring has a padded steel post, which supports the ropes. The floor surrounding the ring is typically covered by some form of padding. The perimeter of the ring is called the apron, which, in wrestling lore, is the hardest part of the ring; typically, the there are sheets of fabric, which are referred to as the skirt, hanging from the apron, or wrapped around the ring like a ribbon. The skirt serves to hide whatever is stored underneath the ring, as well as usually advertize the wrestling promotion.
- Roll-up – A quick, opportunistic pinning move, where a wrestler will knock into the back of their opponent’s legs, rolling them onto the mat with their shoulders down, and legs in the air. Usually viewed as a very cheap way to win a match.
- Ropes – A wrestling ring is surrounded by three ropes, arranged vertically around the ring, attached to the ring posts by turnbuckles. The ropes, from top to bottom, are called the top, second, and bottom rope.
- Schoolboy – A schoolboy is a pinning move in wrestling, similar to a roll-up; a schoolboy is performed by a wrestler reaching an arm up between the opponent’s legs to pull them down onto their back, followed by a pin. This move is often referred to as a “schoolgirl” when performed by a female wrestler.
- Sell – Selling a move is the term used to describe how an opponent reacts to a wrestler’s move to convince the audience that the move was “real”.
- Senton/Senton Bomb – A senton is a wrestling move where a wrestler lands on their opponent (typically on the opponent’s mid-section, with the opponent lying on their back) back-first. This can be done from a standing position, from the turnbuckle, or as a sling-shot maneuver off the ropes.
There are many different variations, mostly differing based on how many twists or flips the wrestler does before landing – the senton bomb invloves a single flip before landing on the opponent.
One popular variant involves leaping from the top turnbuckle with arms outstretched, as if diving into a pool, and executing the flip to land on the opponent back-first at the last second – Jeff Hardy used this version as his finisher, calling it the Swanton Bomb, though its originator, The Great Sasuke, called it the Senton Atomico.
- Shining Wizard – A Shining Wizard is a wrestling move, usually used on an opponent who is down on one knee, where a wrestler will step up on the opponent’s raised knee, then deliver a blow to the opponent’s head with the knee or shin.
- Skinning the Cat – Skinning the cat is a wrestling term for when a wrestler gets thrown over the ropes, but manages to hang on to them, and pull themselves back into the ring using only their upper body strength. This term especially applies during a Royal Rumble or similar match when competitors are eliminated when their feet hit the floor outside the ring.
- Small Package – Another name for an inside cradle, a pinning move in wrestling.
- Spinebuster – A move where a wrestler, facing their opponent, picks them up, usually around the waist, and slams them forward onto the mat, back-first. This move can also be performed by grabbing your opponent’s thighs, and thus flipping them onto their back.
- Splash – A splash is a wrestling move where a wrestler jumps on a prone opponent, lying on their back, landing stomach-first on them. This can be done by the wrestler simply jumping from a standing start, but more typically the wrestler will jump from the top rope, or the top turnbuckle.
- Spot – A spot is an inflection point in a wrestling match, whether a single big physical or impressive move, a sequence of moves, or a piece of character work, like a pose or a taunt.
Some types of spot have specific names – when a face makes a first, unsuccessful comeback in a match, that is known as a “hope spot”; when a face makes their “real” comback, that is known as the “comeback spot”, and if a spot fails – e.g., if a wrestler climbs to the top turnbuckle, but slips before executing their intended move – it’s known as a “blown spot”.
Wrestlers who eschew story-telling spots in favor of flashy or powerful moves are derisively referred to as “spot monkeys”.
- Springboard – Springboard in wrestling is a descriptor added to the name of a move, to indicate that it has been helped by the wrestler performing the move bouncing off the ropes. For example, a springboard tornado ddt would be when the wrestler uses the momentum of bouncing off the bottom or second rope to help execute the move.
- Squash/Squash match – Usually a short match, in which one wrestler totally dominates the other, and wins quickly and easily – although a heel will sometimes take their time with a squash match, to show how evil they are. Also used as a verb (e.g. “Mason Ryan absolutely squashed Enzo”).
- Stable – A stable is a group of wrestlers who were brought together for a common purpose – which is almost always to dominate the promotion they are in. Unlike factions, a stable always has a definite leader, and the members are usually all heels. One famous stable from the ’80s was The Four Horsemen, who consisted of leader Ric Flair – who competed for the main event championship, Tully Blanchard (who competed for the mid-card title), and the “enforcers”, Arn and Ole Anderson, who competed as a tag team. The Four Horsemen served as a model for later stables, such as The Undisputed Era in today’s NXT, and the stable of CM Punk and The Shield from the early 2010s.
- Strait Jacket Hold – As its name suggests, a strait jacket hold is a submission hold in wrestling, though it is more often used as a transitional move to something else. To perform the strait jacket hold, a wrestler will grab their opponent’s arms from behind, crossing them at the neck, and then pull, putting the opponent in a position similar to wearing a strait jacket.
- Stretch Muffler – A Stretch Muffler is a submission move in wrestling, where a wrestler will pick up a prone opponent’s leg, and drape it around their own neck and shoulders, so that the opponent’s knee is bent behind the wrestler’s neck. Also known as the over the shoulder single-leg Boston Crab.
- Submission – Another way to win a wrestling match is to cause your opponent to submit. This is done by applying a hold to your opponent that causes enough pain that your opponent signals that they give up by tapping either you, or the mat. This is known as “tapping out”. A submission hold can be broken by touching one of the ropes.
- Stunner – A stunner is a wrestling move where a wrestler, with their back to their opponent, will grab their opponent’s head – with one hand usually on top of the opponent’s head and the opponent’s jaw resting on the wrestler’s shoulder – and drop to a sitting position on the mat. Stone Cold Steve Austin famously used a variation (the “Stone Cold Stunner”, where he would kick his opponent in the chest before delivering the stunner) as his finishing move.
- Submission Wrestling – A style of wrestling where the wrestler targets a specific body part, with strikes, submission holds, shoving the body part into a ring post, and other moves, with a view to wearing their opponent down and eventually getting them to tap out, once the wrestler has applied their finishing hold. When a babyface uses this strategy, it is described as being smart wrestling, but when it’s done by a heel, the commentators call it sadistic.
- Superplex – A superplex is a suplex that is performed from the top turnbuckle.
- Suplex – A type of wrestling throw where a wrestler grabs their opponent in some way, then lifts them up using their hips, and slams them to the mat, either back- or shoulders-first.
- Survivor Series – One of WWE’s pay-per-view events, a Survivor Series match is an elimination tag team match, usually featuring four- or five-person teams. Being an elimination match means that when a wrestler is pinned or submits, they are eliminated from the match, but the rest of their team continues on. Once all the members of one team are eliminated, the other team is declared the winner.
- Table Match – A table match is a no-DQ match that is won by the first wrestler to put their opponent through a table, whether by driving them through a table using a powerbomb or similar slamming/dropping move, or by laying their opponent on the table, and performing a moonsault or splash to break the table.
- Tag-team/Tag match – A match between two or more teams of wrestlers. Traditionally, a match will feature two tag teams, with two members each. Only one member of each team is allowed in the ring at a time; team members can only switch places by “tagging” each other – touching each other while the member on the outside is holding on to the tag rope attached to that team’s corner. Each team has a corner, and in two-team matches, the corners are generally diagonally opposite each other across the ring. When a tag is made, the wrestler who is tagging out has a five-count from the referee to leave the ring. Like regular matches, a tag-team match typically ends when a member of one team pins a member of the opposing team, or makes them submit.
- Texas Tornado Match – A Texas Tornado match, also known as a Tornado Tag match, is a tag team match without tagging, where all members of both teams are allowed in the ring at the same time. Often, a Texas Tornado match will also be a no-DQ and no-count-out match.
- Tilt-a-whirl Backbreaker – A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker is a wrestling move where a wrestler picks up their opponent at the waist, “twirling” them around their arm, before dropping to one knee, and bringing their opponent down, back first, on their raised knee.
- Tilt-a-whirl Slam – A tilt-a-whirl slam is a wrestling move similar to the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker; the difference being that the wrestler performing the move will slam their opponent to the mat, instead of bringing them down on a bent knee.
- Tornado DDT – A tornado DDT is a variation where a wrestler will jump around their opponent, often using one of the ropes as a springboard, before grabbing their opponent’s head, and executing a DDT.
- Triple Threat – A triple threat match is a sudden-death match with three competitors. The first wrestler to pin either one of the other wrestlers, or make one of them submit, is the winner. A triple threat match is always a no-disqualification match, as if one of the wrestlers was disqualified, then nobody would win the match.
- Turn – In wrestling, a turn is the term used to describe when a wrestler changes “alignment” – either a heel becomes a face, or vice versa. Typically, a heel to face turn will occur over a longer period of time, as the heel slowly realizes that they are wrong/evil, whereas a face to heel turn is often a surprise, where the wrestler will literally turn on an ally or tag partner. A turn may also occur when a wrestler returns after a hiatus (due to injury, or other circumstances), in order to get the crowd interested in seeing them again.
- Turnbuckle – A metal part on the ring post that each rope is attached to. The turnbuckle can be adjusted to increase or decrease the tension of the rope. Also an extremely fun word to say. Try it now. Turnbuckle.
- Turnbuckle pad – The removable pad on each turnbuckle. If the turnbuckle pad is removed, touching the exposed turnbuckle can incapacitate anyone who even barely touches it.
- Tuxedo Match – The male equivalent of a bra and panties match, a tuxedo match is a wrestling match where both (male) competitors compete while wearing tuxedos. The aim of the match is to get your opponent out of his tuxedo.
- Uppercut – An uppercut is a striking move in wrestling, where a wrestler strikes their opponent on the chin or the jaw with a rising blow.
- Valet – A character who usually doesn’t speak, and will accompany a wrestler to the ring as either muscle to intimidate the wrestler’s opponent, or as eye-candy. Unlike a manager, a valet is more likely to get physically involved in a match or in other situations on the wrestler’s behalf.
- Victory Roll – A victory roll is a pinning move where a wrestler jumps onto their opponent’s shoulders, then throws themself forward, grabbing their opponent’s legs as they roll forward, and ending up with the shoulders pinned to the canvas.
- WCW – World Championship Wrestling, or WCW, was, for a time in the late 90’s, the WWF’s biggest competitor. Their Monday-night show, Nitro, was in direct competition with WWF’s Raw, and for 83 consecutive weeks, received higher ratings. However, due to a combination of the WWF’s Attitude Era storylines, compelling wrestlers such as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, poor writing on WCW’s part, and the fallout from WCW’s parent company, Time Warner, merging with AOL, WCW “lost” the ratings war, and went out of business in 2001.