The WWE Universe is a gigantic and very weird space. I’ve often argued that wrestling fans sit at the very bottom of the fandom pyramid because of the level of disdain we receive from humanoids who don’t understand what we watch and why we watch it. For example, I’m regularly told by outsiders “Wrestling isn’t real”. My stock response to this is “Thanks tips, the sky is blue and Han Solo isn’t real either”. Wrestling is just as “real” (or “unreal”, I guess) as any other area of entertainment, from the small screen to the big screen to the stage. The other reason that the WWE is seen as different from so many other fandoms is the sheer volume of content wrestling fans get to sift through. No other fandom gets as many weekly hours of sanctioned content with no off-season. For the above two reasons, wrestling fans have developed their own language to discuss their passion without drawing the ire of wrestling muggles. But how does a new fan learn the language? With a custom WWE wrestling glossary brought to you by the marks and smarks (look these up below!) of My Fangirl Life. Read on to find out all the terms you need to know to watch Wrestlemania 32 today!
Angle (noun) A fictional storyline where excuses are made for wrestlers to interact with each other.
Babyface (noun) A good guy. Often abbreviated as “face”.
Bump (verb) The act of being on the receiving end of a potentially dangerous move.
Divas (plural noun) Female wrestlers.
Face (noun) Short and more widely used term for “babyface”.
Championship Belt (noun) A belt that signifies a wrestler is the champion. Also referred to as belt, strap, gold, or many many other words.
Gimmick (noun) A reason for a wrestler to act the way they act. ie// The Miz is a Hollywood A-lister and may therefore act like an arrogant jerk.
Gorilla Position (noun) The backstage area wrestlers wait in, directly behind the Titantron, before coming to the ring. Named after former wrestler, Gorilla Monsoon.
Heat (noun) Negative reaction from the fans. If a heel has heat, this is a good thing.
- Nuclear Heat (noun) The highest level of heat. Fans, at this level, become legitimately angry.
- X-Pac Heat (noun) The most ironic level of heat. Named after a wrestler named X-Pac when fans just hated the guy and wanted him to go away. It probably had something to do with his rampant alcoholism and the sex tape featuring him and Chyna. DO NOT watch this. Actually, forget I said anything, this is not a rabbit hole you want to go down.
- Cheap Heat (noun) 1. Generally when a wrestler insults the audience with something unrelated to wrestling to illicit a quick negative reaction. 2. A wrestling themed ESPN podcast.
Heel (noun) A bad guy.
Kayfabe (noun) The important act of keeping the appearance that wrestling is real competition.
Kayfabe Only (noun) The theory that wrestling is better if you don’t bother going on the internet to find out the real life story behind the wrestling story.
Luchador (Mexican) for wrestler.
Lucha Mask (Mexican) DO NOT mess with these masks. They’re a physical representation of a Luchador’s power.
Mark (noun) A wrestling fan who loses sight of the business of wrestling whilst watching wrestling. Marks are looked down upon by smarks (like a carnival barker looks down at a rube) for being taken or fooled by seemingly obvious plot twists.
Match (noun) When wrestlers fight. Often two wrestlers simply having a fight isn’t enough to keep fans interested, so matches often include stipulations or gimmicks. Common versions below.
- Hell in a Cell Match (noun) Like a steel cage match, but with a roof. You can’t win by escaping because there is no escape, you know, because of the roof.
- Ladder Match (noun) 1. Hang something from the ceiling and the first person to climb a ladder to get the object of desire wins. 2. A match where someone is going to jump or fall from somewhere high.
- No Holds Barred Match (noun) A match where literally no holds are barred. Wrestlers can go where they want and use whatever they want in an effort to incapacitate their opponents.
- Steel Cage Match (noun) A match that takes place inside of a steel cage. You can win by escaping the cage
Monday Night Wars (epoch) The late 90’s era where WWF and WCW battled for wrestling supremacy. During this time WWF Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro combined rating were roughly 5 times what Raw’s ratings are today.
No-selling (verb) The act of making yourself look impervious to your opponent’s attacks.
NXT (noun) WWE’s minor league feeder promotion.
Over (noun) The goal of every wrestler or angle. Being over happens when the fans give the desired actions. Heels are lustily boo’d and faces are enthusiastically cheered. A state where everything is right in the wrestling world.
Part Unknown (noun) An imaginary hometown when a wrestler’s gimmick seems otherworldly.
Pipebomb (noun) A event that blurs the line between reality and kayfabe. CM Punk’s 2011 pipebomb is the current gold standard. Watch it now. Seriously.
Pop (noun) When an audience audibly “pops” for a move, wrestler, or event. The opposite of heat.
Popcorn Match (noun) 1. A match in the middle of the card designed to relieve tension and allow the audience to take a bathroom break, get some popcorn, or generally relax. 2. Any match involving women prior to 2015. 3. Please note, this is not an official type of match.
Promo (noun) What a wrestler does when they grab a microphone and tell the audience about what they’re doing or what they’re going to do and who they’re going to do it to.
Selling (verb) The act of making it look like your opponent is really hurting you.
Shoot (noun) When a wrestler goes off script in an interview, promo or match. These are high points of entertainment for smarks and confusing for marks. The opposite of a work.
Smark (noun) A wrestling fan who never loses sight of the business of wrestling whilst watching wrestling. Smarks are looked down upon by marks (like a person with a job looks down at a nomadic carnival worker) for not being able to lose themselves in an obviously fictional world that’s designed and exists for the sole purpose of drama.
Spanish Announce Table (noun) 1. A prop for someone to be body slammed into. 2. A table at which the Spanish speaking announcers theoretically call matches. This has never happened.
Spot (noun) Any pre-planned action or series of actions. Contrary to non-wrestling fan beliefs, wrestling matches are not totally scripted. Yes, the outcomes are scripted, but for the most part everything you see is improvised, or called, by the most senior wrestler in the ring. Spots are scripted for storytelling purposes.
- High spot (noun) A super exciting spot that either looks dangerous or is dangerous.
- Blown spot (noun) When someone screws something up. This usually results in ten seconds of awkward non-action or an injury.
Squared Circle (noun) The ring. Don’t ask me why.
Squash Match (noun) A match that inevitably is short and one sided. The loser is set up to be squashed by an obviously superior opponent. This is also not an official match designation.
Superstars (noun) Male wrestlers.
Suplex (move) It starts as a hug, but the huggee gets flipped over the hugger and lands on his back.
Suplex City (bitch) Where Brock Lesnar takes his opponents.
Titantron (noun) The giant video screen the wrestlers walk out in front of. Named after the WWF’s former parent company, Titan Entertainment.
Turnbuckle (noun) The padded bits that connect the rings to the poles. Occasionally the padded bits are removed… this causes much hurt.
Work (noun) Anything planned. As in, the crowd is being worked over. Usually, everything in wrestling is a work, except when it isn’t. The opposite of a shoot.
Work (verb) To repeatedly attack a specific body part on an opponent, usually because the opponent “injured” that body part previously.
Vignette (noun) Pre-taped segments used to further a storyline or hint at an upcoming plot twist.
Did I miss any words from this WWE wrestling glossary? Do you vehemently disagree with my definitions? Want to tell me that wrestling isn’t real? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you missed out on our other editions of The Fangirl Glossary, you can check the entire resource out here for all the terms you need to know to make your way in the fandom world.
Johnny Rico, a proud mark.
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