Professional wrestling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States and across the world today. Thousands of fans fill arenas, auditoriums and gymnasiums to watch their favorite wrestlers put their bodies on the line merely to get applause and cheers. With its growing popularity, there are always new fans getting the spectatorship of professional wrestling. For those new fans, here are five terms you should know so you can be as entertained as the hardcore fan.
One of the things that makes professional wrestling so entertaining is the storylines. A storyline is basically a story in which two or more wrestlers are involved. For instance, two wrestlers could be having a feud because they are involved in a storyline in which one of the wrestlers is accused of trying to sleep with the other wrestler’s wife. These storylines play out in front of the crowd to make the matches more interesting and to give the fan a vested interest in cheering for their favorite performer.
The term “kayfabe” refers to the illusion that wrestling is not staged, or “fake” as many people call it. Kayfabe is what you see on-screen between wrestlers, but it does not necessarily reflect what goes on behind the scenes. As an example, two wrestlers may appear to hate each other when they are in front of the crowds and audiences, but they could be best friends behind the scenes. Kayfabe basically refers to hiding the stuff that goes on behind the scenes so fans can continue to suspend the reality of what happens in real life, leading to a better enjoyment of the product in many cases.
Most of the moves in professional wrestling do not hurt as much as they look like they do. In fact, if they did, most wrestlers would have short careers because of the abuse that they put their body through with these painful moves. Instead, wrestlers “sell” a move, which means that they make it look real and painful. When someone gets body slammed, the pain on their face is them selling the move to the crowd when, in actuality, they know how to fall on the mat in such a way that minimizes the impact and pain on their body. Similarly, an “oversell” is when a wrestler makes the move look ridiculously painful or exaggerated, such as when a simple punch makes the performer do a back-flip. This type of selling is ridiculously overdone and makes the moves look fake.
Feuds are just one of the things that make professional wrestling interesting. Two wrestlers may feud with each other several times over the course of their career. A feud is basically a set of battles or matches between two wrestlers or factions. It could involve several matches pitting the feuding wrestlers against each other along with promos designed to anger each other and make things seem more real. Feuds can last as long as several months or just a few weeks, depending on the storyline and other factors.
Wrestling would probably be very boring if every wrestler just wrestled as themselves. That’s where gimmicks come in. A gimmick is something that sets a wrestler apart from the rest. It’s basically a character that they play. For instance, a wrestler wearing a jumpsuit that looks like he just escaped from jail would be that performer’s gimmick. A Russian wrestler who constantly criticizes the United States and American opponents would be a gimmick. Gimmicks help set up feuds and storylines. The wrestler with the Russian gimmick may have feuds with wrestlers who have an American patriotic gimmick.