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This account is here to introduce the wider Fediverse to some of the terms people in the professional wrestling business use to describe the business, their interactions, and the world at large.

Hopefully you'll find some of these terms useful and incorporate them into your everyday conversations.

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Why use wrestling slang?

For starters, the terms are (generally) innately understood by native English speakers. Few were created; most simply have additional meanings to fit more contexts.

This slang also has the benefit of not being stolen from any particular race or ethnicity. It's not harmful to any group except, perhaps, people whose business is creating a false reality for crowds.

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sandbag (verb):

1 Failing to assist your opponent with a move.

Example: "I think I strained my back doing that suplex; Tom sandbagged me and it didn't go off well."

Many spots require both workers to put in effort. You can't just sell your opponent's move; you often are expected to put some energy in so the both of you get through the match without blowing up, without throwing the X. Sandbagging your opponent during a match can earn a lot of heat in the back.

We're going to try going weekly for a bit.

big league (verb):

1 To look down on or ignore someone, usually someone perceived as lower on the card.

Example: "I went to try and say hi to Cara, but she big leagued me & walked off!"

WWE in particular papers all its televised events, from weekly shows to pay-per-views. They have a producer (used to be Steve, but Steve was training a new guy last year) in charge of ensuring that the seats visible on-camera are full.

There's a group of up to fifty people who, in exchange for free seats, agree to move when called over by the producer, sit in an on-camera seat for a while, then return to their free seating when the actual ticket-holder arrives/returns.

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paper (verb):

1 To give away free tickets to a televised event so the audience appears at or near capacity.

Example: "I can't believe they felt they had to paper a 5,000-seat arena!"

There can be a fine line between some wrestlers' idea of "snug" and others' "stiff", but no one wants to finish a match and hear people backstage discussing how much air they saw.

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see air (verb):

1 To notice that a performer's strike makes no contact with their opponent.

Example: "Wow, we really saw air on that punch."

snug (adjective):

1 A match worked with tight spaces and light to moderate contact, with the goal of looking more believable.

Example: "Hamish likes to work pretty snug."

stiff (adjective):

1 A match worked with protected moves, but fairly shoot strikes, punches, etc.

Example: "Jenna works a match so stiff, you'll feel it for days after!"

lumberjack match (noun):

1 A match in which the ring is surrounded by non-competing talent, to ensure the competitors cannot leave the ring and to prevent shenanigans.

Example: "Maybe making it a lumberjack match will prevent run-ins?"

Lumberjack matches can be used to keep a match relatively "clean", but it's a gimmick match and always features some momentary shenanigans.

It's possible to call a good match without that many bumps; workers can collapse to their knees, slump after taking offense in the corner, succumb to submission holds, fall back over the ropes to the outside, or any number of things that still sell offense without involving an actual bump.

It's generally taken as a kind, respectful gesture if a more established, more over worker is willing to bump around for someone newer or lower on the card. Bumping makes your opponent look good.

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Bumps are a first, important step in a wrestler's training. A good flatback bump looks a bit like a martial arts fall: chin tucked, back and shoulders hitting the mat at the same time, arms slapping out to the sides to spread the force of the fall across as much area as possible.

A believable bump makes your organs shudder inside your ribcage.

Not keeping your chin tucked will bounce your head right off the mat, possibly causing whiplash and/or concussion.

No one enjoys bumping.

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bump around (verb):

1 To take an average number of falls during a match instead of calling for fewer bumps.

Example: "Matt's worked for 20 years, but he's still willing to bump around for the newer kids."

bump card (noun):

1 An estimation of how broken a performer's body is after a long career.

Example: "Kendra can still work a good match, but there probably aren't many punches left on her bump card."

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I'm a little shocked we haven't gotten to this term already!

bump (verb):

1 To fall and land on one's back, usually as part of a worked spot.

Example: "You roll out of the way and I'll bump off the top rope."

bump (noun):

1 When a wrestler falls and hits the ring mat, floor, or other object.

Example: "That bump looked really harsh!"

take a powder/powder out (verb):

1 To leave the ring during a match.

Example: "Kyle looked pretty blown up before he powdered out."

There are many reasons someone might powder out during a match: they're gassed and need a moment to recover, they're setting up a high spot on the outside, they need to focus attention in-ring and have the crowd forget about them for a few moments, they want to gig without being noticed, etc.

Promos are given directly to the camera, the crowd, an interviewer, or an opponent, one or two shots.

Vignettes are pre-taped and have some sort of cinematic montage.

Video packages have vignette shots, bits of match video, promo clips as overlaid audio tracks.

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vignette (noun):

1 A pre-taped promo, usually incorporating a montage of action shots.

Example: "Justine got a nice vignette before her match."

video package (noun):

1 A compilation of promos, vignettes, and match clips to bring an audience up to speed with an angle or program's developments.

Example: "Without that video package, I'd have no idea what this feud was about."

hardway (adjective):

1 When someone performs a dangerous spot or gets color in a shoot rather than a worked fashion.

Example: "Those Japanese tables are some thick, ungimmicked slabs; you only go through them hardway."

Some wrestling fathers:

Tully Blanchard is the father of Tessa Blanchard
"Cowboy" Bob Orton, Jr. is dad to Randy Orton
"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig is the dad of Curtis Axel
Rocky Johnson is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's dad
Ric Flair is father to Charlotte Flair
Paul Ellering is the father of Rachel Ellering
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka is Tamina Snuka's dad

Hope you've had a good day, dads.

gassed, blown up (adjective):

1 Out of breath or energy; tired.

Example: "The kids who do CrossFit never seem to get gassed out there."

When someone has to run back and forth across a wrestling ring for ten, fifteen, or even thirty or sixty minutes, it's important that workouts aren't just strength training. It's also important to call your match so there's time to catch your breath, maybe by selling hard after a high-spot or rolling to the outside.

The cameras can see when you're blown up.

Some workers do like to call the match to each other in the ring; even the ones who prefer to plan ahead occasionally need to "call an audible" and adjust spots on the spur of the moment. They might be taking advantage of an energetic crowd to throw in an unplanned high spot, or they might want to slow things for a bit.

It's an "audible" because the first few rows might hear it. Any mics around or above the ring might hear it. Calling an audible is best done quietly.

Kayfabe, brother.

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Here's to a month of wrestleslang!

call (verb):

1 To describe or plan elements of a match.

Example: "Jon likes to call matches in the back; Shawn prefers to call them in the ring."

Announcers call a match by describing it for the audience; workers call a match by planning out their spots.

A worker getting a stinger might not result in the ref throwing the X. Due to their temporary nature, if a performer gets a stinger in, say, their left arm, they might try to work through it, calling a few spot modifications to their opponent.

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