Welcome to the 3 Count Movie Review Glossary!
Veterans of the pro wrestling business have used and explained wrestling terms (called Carney) in tons of pro wrestling podcasts, books and interviews in the last several years. Now wrestling fans use Carney constantly in conversations with each other.
In the spirit of being an obsessed pro wrestling devotee, I include wrestling terms in 3 Count Movie Reviews, because they’re useful for describing characters, scenes, and any kind of storytelling concept in a gazillion movies from every genre. In fact, the more wrestling terms that can be applied to a movie, the better the movie is! Boom!
The following ever-expanding 3CMR Glossary defines wrestling terms and references and is filled with SPOILERS!
- (adj) Real. Anything that is “a shoot” is real. WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle’s Olympic gold medals are a shoot. But when Hulk Hogan said he had the largest arms in the world, that was not even close to a shoot.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Documentaries are a shoot. At least they say they are.
- (n) A plot or storyline. One of WWE’s best angles involved WWE management trying for weeks to prevent underdog good guy Daniel Bryan from competing in the championship match at WrestleMania 30. He fought like hell, overcame their shenanigans and won the championship like a badass.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It’s a movie’s plot, so this term obviously applies to nearly every movie. Even “Dumb and Dumber” has an angle; two idiots travel to Aspen, Colorado to return a woman’s briefcase, and hilarity ensues.
- (n) Hero. Babyfaces come in all shapes and sizes: clean-cut buff guys, beer-drinking rednecks, undersized underdogs. Their moral code can be squeaky clean or a little gray as long as it’s stronger than the bad guy’s.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Atticus Finch, Ellen Ripley, Harry Potter, and T’Challa are all babyfaces. Although Batman’s moral code dictates that he won’t kill anyone, which is good, he is a vigilante operating outside the law, which is morally murky. However, since the Joker continues to kill people every day of the week and twice on Sundays, Batman is a babyface.
- (v) Be nice/butter up. It could be genuine or not.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Truman Show,” everyone Truman knows is babyfacing him because they are all secretly actors on a television show about his life.
- (n) A character change from bad guy to good guy. Babyface turns usually occur when a bad guy is in his prime “badness” so the turn means more.
- (v) Make a change from bad guy to good guy.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” Darth Vader’s babyface turn leads to him killing his master, the evil Emperor, rather than let his son Luke be killed by the Emperor for defying the Dark Side. A case can be made that the filmmakers were teasing a turn since Vader wanted Luke to rule the universe with him. Instead of Luke turning, Vader turned because, although he couldn’t convince Luke to join the Empire, he still loved him. Hooray! But then Vader died. If he had just stayed bad, he’d have lived. So much for being good!
- (n) Endangered hero. When a fan-favorite wrestler is getting cheated, beaten, battered, and can’t seem to gain the advantage, that’s a babyface-in-peril. It’s a great way to create sympathy in wrestling fans. For that reason, heroes can’t just be good, they also have to suffer.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Finding Nemo,” Marlin, Dory, and Nemo are babyfaces-in-peril. Sharks, fishing nets, whales, seagulls, and short-term memory loss are all dangerous obstacles that the three heroes must avoid to stay alive.
- (n) A one-sided attack on outnumbered victims. Beatdowns are almost always done by villains. The Four Horsemen is a wrestling stable who have dished out some of the most infamous beatdowns in wrestling history.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Beatdowns happen in movies all the time. But the same rule applies to what the airplanes do to King Kong on the Empire State Building. Even a giant, deadly gorilla looks sympathetic when he’s outnumbered and in a beatdown situation.
Best for business
- (adj) Profitable (no matter what). “Best for business” is always used as a tongue-in-cheek phrase for doing what’s profitable over doing the right thing. For example, in the Daniel Bryan vs The Authority storyline, WWE management believed Bryan didn’t fit the image of a WWE champion, so he wasn’t “best for business” even though WWE fans wanted Bryan to be champion more than anybody else.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Robocop,” heartless megacorporation OCP does what they see as best for business. They take a nearly dead police officer, tell his family he’s dead, and turn him into a half-human/half-robot cop so they can sell his services to the Detroit police department. Plus, one of OCP’s highest executives is also funding the street crime that makes the purchase of Robocop necessary.
- (n) Razor blade.
- (v) Cut someone open. Wrestlers discretely cut themselves or an opponent with a piece of razor blade hidden in their wrestling gear to create the illusion that devastating punches or a deadly weapon drew blood.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Very few movie characters cut themselves (like in “The Devil’s Advocate” when Mary Ann blades herself). But blading others? Happens all the time! The Bride from “Kill Bill” is known for blading her opponents just as much as The Original Sheik.
- (v) Cutting someone open. (See “Blade”)
- (n) A tag without a partner reaching for it. Blind tags in tag team wrestling can signal either crisp teamwork or friction. A blind tag that leads to a two-man move on an opponent is a good blind tag. A blind tag that leads to the tagged team mate looking upset or surprised is a bad blind tag.
- (v) To tag in without a partner reaching for it.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Die Hard,” coked-up salesman Ellis blind tags himself into the conflict between the terrorists and John McClane. He tries to schmooze and make a deal between the two sides. This upsets McClane because the terrorists are more dangerous than Ellis realizes. And McClane is right, because they shoot Ellis in the face.
- (n) Final phase. The blow-off of a storyline between two wrestlers doesn’t necessarily signify the end of their rivalry.
- (v) End something.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The last confrontation at the end of every movie is the blow-off. Each Harry Potter movie has a blow off, but “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is the blow off to the Harry Potter movie series.
Blow off the heat
- (v) To finish a storyline. The final match of a rivalry blows off the heat of the rivalry. Also, if a rivalry is getting over like a fart in church, then it’s typical to blow off whatever little heat there is and just move on.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The end of almost every movie blows off the heat of the conflict in the final confrontation, but there’s no guarantee it’s a happy ending. In 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” the cops blow off the heat with the two titular criminals by blowing holes through their bodies like it was their jobs. Well, I guess it was.
- (v) Push the body to its limit. A wrestler can blow up themselves or their opponent if they out-hustle them in a match, making them suck wind and look like a fish out of water. A wrestler in that state is “blown-up.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Dirty Harry,” detective Harry Callahan has to run on foot all over San Francisco answering ringing telephones before he hands off $200,000 to serial killer Scorpio. Harry blows-up just before he reaches the handoff spot, so Scorpio easily attacks the winded hero, which was Scorpio’s plan all along.
- (v) To arrange storylines. Historically, creating wrestling storylines is called booking rather than writing, but some big wrestling companies have been using Hollywood writers to book their storylines.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: There is no movie equivalent to wrestling booking. No matter what the combined runtimes are for the Infinity War movies, or what happens with all the plots and characters, it’s still not the same as booking multiple wrestling storylines that play out live every episode. Let’s be honest, the closest things to weekly, episodic storylines in pro wrestling are soap operas. The movie “Soapdish” is about creating a soap opera. One of their storylines involves the return of a dead man. Sound familiar?
- (n) The one who arranges storylines. The booker has to keep all storylines filled with engaging, escalating conflict that culminates in one, last, huge match. Some companies have more than one booker or even a booking committee.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Wonder Woman,” Ares is like a booker. He arranges for humanity to stay in constant conflict so World War 1 continues until mankind ends in one, last, huge battle.
- (n) The one who arranges storylines. (See “Booker”)
- (n) Mistake or unsuccessful attempt.
- (v) Make a mistake or unsuccessful attempt. Describes mistakes of every kind in wrestling; tripping over words during an interview, missing an entrance cue, the ring ropes breaking during a match, the wrong graphic appearing on-screen, anything that’s an oops.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Spider-Man,” Peter Parker botches when he tries to swing on his web but smashes into the billboard. The original Spider-Man trilogy could have been great if they hadn’t botched the third movie.
- (v) Break character. It used to be taboo to break kayfabe the further back you go in the history of the wrestling business. It breaks the illusion for fans that some element of the business might be real.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Reservoir Dogs,” Mr. Orange never breaks kayfabe to any of the jewel thieves he infiltrated that he is an undercover cop. But, at the end of the movie, when all the other criminals are dead, he breaks kayfabe and tells Mr. White, the one thief he feels he can confide in. For Orange’s honesty, Mr. White blows Orange’s brains out. The lesson is don’t break kayfabe!
- (n) Impact to the body. Bumps can be taken from moves or falls inside or outside the ring, either to the wrestling mat or into/through nearby objects.
- (v) Take an impact to the body.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Action movies are full of people taking bumps. “The Princess Bride” has a huge bump when Buttercup pushes The Dread Pirate Roberts down a big hill. It’s not the biggest bump in movies, but you can think of your own example, as you wish.
- (v) Repeatedly get knocked down and get up. One wrestler “feeds” themselves into another wrestler’s punches (or other offense) and falls, then gets up and feeds into more offense, over and over, making the dominant wrestler look tough as hell. When a string of wrestlers bump-and-feeds for one guy, that guy looks like a badass.
- (n) A moment when someone repeatedly gets knocked down and get up.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Action movies, especially martial arts movies, feature bumping-and-feeding when the hero repeatedly and rapidly smacks down his opponents. But the bump-and-feed can also happen verbally. In “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” Scott Evil keeps trying to tell Dr. Evil to just shoot Austin Powers and be done with him, but Scott can’t finish his sentence since Dr. Evil keeps “sshh”ing him. Over and over he tries, bumping-and-feeding into another “sshh” until Dr. Evil warns Scott he’s got a big bag of “sshh” with Scott’s name on it.
- (v) Diminish. There are many ways to bury a wrestler, including talking trash about them, acting like their moves don’t hurt when wrestling them, booking them less often for shows, or booking them to lose a lot.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Goodfellas,” Tommy buries Spider when he insults Spider in front of everyone, then shoots Spider in the foot, then shoots Spider to death, then literally buries Spider in the ground. It’s difficult to diminish a guy’s standing more than that, right?
- (adj) To be bleeding from the head. I know “busted open” sounds like a wrestler’s brains are hanging out of his head, but it’s just a colorful way to say a guy is bleeding from the head.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Jason X,” Jason Voorhees submerges a girl’s face into liquid nitrogen, freezes it, then bashes it into tiny pieces on the table. Now, that’s “busted open.”
- (n) An instruction. Like “making the call,” a wrestler tells another what the next move will be.
- (v) To give instructions. Like “calling the shots,” one wrestler calls the match by telling the other wrestler(s) what the next move will be.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Speed,” homicidal maniac Howard Payne makes the calls that puts hotshot cop Jack Travern on the bus that can’t slow below 50 mph or it explodes. Once Jack figures out how to interrupt Howard’s ability to see what is happening on the bus, Jack makes some calls that get everyone off the bus before it explodes.
Call it in the ring
- (v) To improvise. Wrestlers improvise the parts of a wrestling match they haven’t worked out beforehand by calling the moves in the ring based on what the crowd is responding to.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Neighbors,” Mac and Kelly go to the raging fraternity party next door to tear apart the frat from the inside. They call it in the ring and figure out how to create a rift between frat bros Teddy and Pete by hooking up Pete with Teddy’s girlfriend Brooke.
- (n) The collection of fights on a show. The first matches are the lowest stakes, and the last matches are the highest stakes. The higher on the card a match is, the more interest it usually has.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Any movie with a series of conflicts is like a wrestling card. “Mortal Kombat” has a card where different fighters square off in a tournament format. And the “Lord of the Rings” movies have several confrontations leading to the big one at the end of the series. Like a well-made wrestling card, every confrontation is different than the rest as far as the number of combatants, size of the battle and type of fight.
- (n) The original name for wrestling terminology. Originating from wrestling’s earliest days in the carnival circuit, current wrestling terminology is a combination of Carney terms and newer terms, which are also a combination of real words and made-up jargon.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The closest language in movies to Carney has got to be Jive from “Airplane!” Jive is also a combination of real words and jargon. The captions for the Jive Dudes in that movie helped viewers understand what they were saying. I hope this glossary helps new wrestling fans speak Carney as well as Barbara Billingsley speaks Jive.
- (n) A character’s popular phrase. The most popular money-making wrestlers from the last few decades have at least one catchphrase. If people can quote a wrestler, it helps boost their popularity. Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Degeneration-X, and John Cena all have catchphrases. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin finished every interview with his catchphrase, “And that’s the bottom line ‘cause ‘Stone Cold’ said so.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Many of the biggest movie characters of all time have a catchphrase, which helps boost their popularity. John McClane, Darth Vader, Quint, Woody and Buzz all have catchphrases. The Dude finished “The Big Lebowski with his catchphrase, “The Dude abides.”
- (n) Sneak-attacking coward. Any villain who attacks the vulnerable and runs from the strong is a chickenshit heel.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Many heels do this when it gets a little hot in the kitchen, so to speak. In “IT,” Pennywise picks on vulnerable children, but he turns into a chickenshit and retreats when they stand up to him.
- (v) Hand out several ass-whoopings. A great way to make a wrestler look tough.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “T2: Judgement Day,” the T-800 cleans house in the biker bar. None of the bikers’ offense stops or slows him down. They got those hands until the T-800 got the biggest guys’ clothes, his boots, his motorcycle.
- (n) Ending without controversy.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The end of “Guardians of the Galaxy” has a clean finish. The Guardians kill the bad guy, save the planet, are pardoned for their crimes, and become a close-knit team. Groot even resprouts as a dancing sapling. Happy happy, joy joy clean finish.
- (n) Blood. Depending on where the wrestler is bleeding from, there might be a limb-specific adjective thrown in there. Blood from the arm is “arm color,” for example.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It’s still just blood.
- (n) The hero’s final, furious offense. When it seems the villain has the fight in hand, the fan-favorite rallies and makes a comeback by letting loose a burst of energy and a barrage of fists, feet or flying moves, sometimes leading to victory.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Black Panther,” when T’Challa sees Killmonger closing in on his sister Shuri, T’Challa fires up and tackles Killmonger, leading to the intense, final battle between the two in their supersuits.
- (n) Disqualification via absence. If a wrestler is outside the ring for longer than the referee’s ten count, that wrestler loses via count-out.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Honest to God, 1978’s “Halloween” has a count-out finish. Michael Myers leaves the area of combat, the house where Dr. Loomis and Laurie Strode still are. And he stays away so long the movie ends and the credits roll. You cannot tell me that’s not a freaking count-out!
- (n) A blood-covered face.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The best crimson mask in movies is at the end of 2013’s “Evil Dead” after Mia kills the demon by shoving the chainsaw through its head and revving it up while blood rains from the sky.
- (n) Smaller wrestler around 200 lbs. They are usually fan-favorites because they are smaller than most other wrestlers, and they can still draw a lot of money.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Tom Cruise.
Cut a promo
- (v) Deliver a fiery monologue. (See “Promo”)
- (n) Moment where hero loses momentum. The cutoff is a quick moment that begins to turn the tide from the fan-favorite.
- (v) Take the momentum from the good guy.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Dark Knight,” Bruce Wayne throws a fundraising event for District Attorney Harvey Dent. Then, the Joker and his henchmen cutoff the good time when they invade the party and introduce a little chaos.
- (n) Match that happens before the main show. Dark matches are not advertised nor televised because they are typically tryout matches for unknown talent. A good dark match gets people excited for the rest of the show.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Many horror movies have a dark match to get viewers excited for the rest of the movie. In “Scream,” there is a quick confrontation between teenager Casey Becker and slasher Ghostface at Casey’s house at night. It’s basically a dark match. And, like I said, it happens in the dark of night. So, there.
- (n) Big move meant to switch momentum. (See “High-risk maneuver”)
Do a blade job
- (v) Cut someone open. (See “Blade”)
Do the job
- (v) Lose. (See “Job”)
- (n) A point where both combatants are down. A big burst of energy from both sides of a fight usually leads to a double down. Once down, the audience cheers for who they want to rise to their feet first. The double down is normally at the end of the fight, just before the big finish.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Gangs of New York,” Bill “The Butcher” and Amsterdam Vallon are knife-fighting during a riot when the Navy fires cannon balls into New York that takes everyone off their feet. When the smoke clears, Bill and Amsterdam are in a double down. They slowly rise to their knees and finish their fight.
- (n) Happy ending that turns unhappy. Dusty Rhodes was known for matches where it seemed he won, but then the referee would inform everyone about a technicality that prevented him from winning, bursting everyone’s bubble.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Brazil,” Sam Lowry is captured by the government and narrowly avoids being tortured when he is rescued by freedom fighters. He flees through the city and eventually escapes to the country with his lover to live happily ever after together forever. Except he never escaped, he was tortured, and he imagined the happy ending in his broken, catatonic mind. How does that feel? That’s a Dusty Finish!
- (n) Tough guy. Nicknamed “The Enforcer,” Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson is the roughest and toughest ass-kicker in the group. Another example is Big Bubba Rogers, the bodyguard for villainous manager James E. Cornette. The enforcer is who the opposition has to go through to get their hands on the boss of the group.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The same rule applies in movies. Many James Bond movies have an enforcer for the main villain. In “Goldfinger,” Oddjob enforces Goldfinger’s will on others. In case that sentence was confusing because you haven’t seen it, “Oddjob” and “Goldfinger” are names of characters. The James Bond movies are weird.
Expose the business
- (v) To expose a secret. Exposing the secrets of the wrestling business can be done intentionally or not. If a wrestler gives an interview and says how to correctly and safely put his opponent through a table, he’s exposing the business intentionally. On the other hand, if you overhear one wrestler call the next move in the match to his opponent, it takes you out of the story because they unintentionally exposed the business.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Wizard of Oz,” Toto exposes the business when he literally pulls back the curtain and shows that the Great and Powerful Oz is really just an old man. And in “The Matrix,” when Neo has DeJa’Vu, Trinity says it’s a glitch in the matrix that means the machines changed something, and the group goes into high alert. Deja’Vu exposes the business of the machines. They really ought to call in the IT guy and get that fixed.
- (n) A hero or good guy. (See “Babyface”)
- (n) Clique. Factions have always been popular in wrestling, whether they’re made up of good guys or bad guys. The most popular include the Four Horsemen, Degeneration-X and the New World Order.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The best faction in movies is a toss-up for me. It might be The Wild Bunch, who have one of the most chaotic and violent shootouts in movies, or the Goonies, who have Chunk.
Falls count anywhere
- (adj) Anything goes! A “falls count anywhere” match is a no-rules match that can end anywhere. Basically, “falls count anywhere” promises chaos!
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Man of Steel,” falls count anywhere in the fight between Superman and Zod: skyscrapers, streets, construction areas, satellites in space, anywhere.
- (n) Fake ending. Just when it seems like the fight is over, the “defeated” wrestler pulls another move and shows he’s still in the fight.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Most horror movies have false finishes, but “Aliens” has a great one. Ripley, Newt, Bishop and Hicks escape the planet full of aliens and blow it up. Whew, that was a close one. They return to the Sulaco warship where they’re all safe and Ripley thanks Bishop for saving their lives when SUDDENLY BISHOP’S IMPALED AND RIPPED APART BY THE QUEEN ALIEN’S TAIL! She came back with them! This movie isn’t over! Ripley’s got more fighting to do!
Fight from underneath
- (v) Fight from a defensive position. When a vulnerable wrestler defends themselves from a dominant wrestler’s attack, the defending wrestler grapples and strikes upward from underneath their opponent. Normally, fan favorites fight from underneath to gain sympathy until they gain the advantage back.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Kick-Ass,” amateur superhero Kick-Ass interferes in a 3-on-1 beating in a parking lot. He’s knocked down right away and is targeted by two of the attackers. He fights from underneath and beats them back, but he is knocked down and fights from underneath again. Eventually, the attackers leave because Kick-Ass just won’t quit.
- (n) The ending. The end of a wrestling match is the finish, no matter what kind of finish it is.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The end of the conflict in the movie.
- (n) Clincher. A wrestler’s finisher is their special, signature move, like Steve Austin’s Stone Cold Stunner, Eddie Guerrero’s Frog Splash, and Brock Lesnar’s F5 that normally puts an opponent down for the count.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Freddy Krueger had a lot of ways to kill his victims, but his signature finisher was stabbing and slashing them with his glove. Does blood rust metal?
- (v) Emotionally rally. When the fan-favorite fires-up, they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. They stop feeling pain and start laying into their opponent with furious offense. Hulk Hogan was so well-known for his way of firing up that it’s called “Hulking Up.”
- (n) Big, emotional rally.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Almost every movie with a central likable character has a fire-up, especially action movies. But “A Christmas Story” has one of the greatest fire-ups ever. When Ralphie can’t take anymore bullying from Scut Farkus, “deep under the recesses of [his] brain, a tiny, red, hot, little flame began to grow.” Then he screams, charges Scut and beats the tar out of that punk. It’s great. Uh, but violence is wrong, kids.
Flat back bump
- (n) Fall onto the back. The flat back is the most common fall in wrestling. It’s the safest and makes the loudest noise.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Home Alone,” when low-rent thief Harry charges up the front steps of the McCallister house, he slips on ice, flies into the air, and lands with a perfect flat back bump.
- (n) Weapon. Any object someone uses when cheating to win is a foreign object. What is it foreign to? Foreign to the conventions of a wrestling match under normal rules.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Bad guys in movies bust out foreign objects to win all the time. In “Roadhouse,” when Dalton and Jimmy are fighting on the bank of the lake, good guy Dalton fights clean while bad guy Jimmy uses two foreign objects. He smashes Dalton’s ribs with some wood, then whips out a pistol and almost shoots Dalton. Does Dalton stoop to Jimmy’s level, take the gun from him and shoot Jimmy? No! Dalton rips out Jimmy’s throat with his bare hand.
- (v) Shed blood.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Dickie got color when Tom sliced his face open with that boat oar. It was sick, right, guys? No? Okay, fine. “Braveheart.” Just think of “Braveheart.” There.
Get color on somebody
- (v) Shed somebody’s blood. (See “Get color”)
- (v) Build animosity and conflict. Bad guys get heat by talking trash, cheating in matches, and being all-over terrible. Getting heat is done in a lot of ways.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Every bad guy in movies should get heat so we know who we don’t like in the story. In “Inglorious Basterds,” SS officer Hans Landa is a murderous, sneaky, disloyal, greedy villain who gets heat in every scene he’s in.
Get heat on somebody
- (v) Attack or victimize. The two main ways to get heat on somebody in wrestling is to beat them up or berate them. A villain blindsiding and attacking a hero is “getting heat on” the hero, which is a great way to “get heat” with the fans, but it’s not “getting heat on” the fans.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: There are so many ways to get heat on somebody in movies. One of the most deplorable is in “Braveheart.” King Edward instates the law of prima nocta, which allows English nobles to sleep with Scottish women on their wedding night so the English can “breed” the Scottish out of Scotland.
- (v) Become popular. (See “Over”)
Get the rub
- (v) To gain credibility by working with bigger names. There are a few ways to get the rub. Two options are getting put into a tag team with an already popular wrestler, or getting put into a rivalry against one. To clarify, the newer wrestler gets the rub, and the one they got it from gives the rub.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “A Star Is Born,” waitress/singer/songwriter Ally is discovered by famous country artist Jackson Maine. She gets the rub when he brings her on tour with him, which launches her onto her own career as a famous musician.
Get their shit in
- (v) Perform their signature stuff. When a wrestler “gets his shit in,” he performs all his signature moves, says all his catchphrases, and makes all his signature gestures during a match or show. For example, The Rock always got his shit in. He said all his catchphrases during interviews, used his signature moves (The Rock Bottom and the People’s Elbow) during matches, and raised the People’s Eyebrow in every match and interview. All that plus off-the-chart charisma helped to make The Rock one of the greatest of all time.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets his shit in when he says, “I’ll be back,” in every movie since 1984. And James Bond gets his shit in in every one of his movies: ordering martini “shaken, not stirred,” saying punny one-liners when killing the main bad guy, and banging the “Bond girl.”
- (n) Unique feature. If a wrestler is known for something nobody else does, then that is their gimmick. Sometimes, the gimmick is the whole character.
- (n) Character. This can pertain to a wrestler’s character or defining character trait that someone or something is best known for. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s gimmick is the beer-swilling, middle-finger gesturing, angry, Texas redneck. Meanwhile, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese’s gimmick is a waste management professional (aka garbage man). Not all gimmicks are created the same. There are also gimmick matches, meaning they have different rules than other matches. For example, The Money in the Bank match has the gimmick where wrestlers climb ladders to reach a suspended briefcase with a contract inside for a guaranteed title match whenever they want.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Storm’s gimmick from “X-Men” is she makes storms while Robby Hart’s gimmick is he’s the wedding singer who sings at weddings.
- (v) Alter or modify something. Typically, people gimmick an object, so it does something other than what people expect it to do. Anything that has been altered or modified has been “gimmicked.” In 2014, Dean Ambrose gimmicked Seth Rollins’ Money in the Bank briefcase, which guaranteed him a title match, so that it shot green slime all over Rollins when he opened it.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Desperado,” the mariachis gimmicked their guitar cases to launch missiles or to fire bullets at their enemies.
- (n) The use of someone else’s character. If a wrestler is doing a 1930s Chicago gangster character and another wrestler debuts shortly after with the same kind of character, that would be gimmick infringement. This concept has been used for storylines too, like in 1994 when The Undertaker had to wrestle the fake Undertaker because there can be only one Dead Man.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Single White Female,” Hedy Carlson moves in with Allison Jones and becomes obsessed with her. Hedy goes by Allison’s name in public, buys duplicates of her clothes, gets the same hairstyle and color, and tries to take Allison’s boyfriend. That’s gimmick infringement, folks!
Give a receipt
- (v) Get revenge. When a wrestler “gives a receipt,” to another wrestler, he’s getting revenge for whatever was done to him. Giving a receipt can include hitting a wrestler back for a hard hit earlier or pulling a prank on someone who pranked them first. Whether playful or serious, giving a receipt lets people know a wrestler doesn’t put up with nonsense without fighting back.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Revenge movies are all about giving a receipt to somebody, including movies like “Revenge” (2017), “Revenge” (1990), “Revenge” (1964), or “Jaws: The Revenge” (1987).
Give the iggy
- (v) Give a signal. Wrestlers give the iggy to referees or other wrestlers that they’re okay after a big move by quickly squeezing their hand, arm, foot, or whatever. It can also be used to describe when one person secretly clues another in on something.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Ghostbusters,” Peter tells a hotel manager the rate for removing an unwelcome ghost guest. Egon gives Peter the iggy to charge $5000 by discretely holding up four fingers for the cost of Slimer’s entrapment and one finger for the cost of proton charging and storage of the beast.
- (n) Closing section. It’s the final set of moves and moments that close out the match.
- (v) Wrap it up. Usually, the referee will tell the wrestlers to wrap up the match by saying, “Let’s go home.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It’s Act 3 of every movie, the last few scenes that take you to the end.
- (n) Notice to wrap it up. The Go-home cue is normally given by the referee to the wrestlers in the final minutes of the match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Untouchables,” lawmen Eliot Ness and George Stone have a hostage-taking thug cornered. When the thug threatens he’ll count to five before he shoots the hostage, Ness gives George the go-home cue by saying, “Take him.” George fires. The bullet when right through the thug’s mouth as he was taking a breath to say, “Two.”
Go out on your back
- (v) Lose a last fight. Could be a wrestler’s last match in the company or their last match ever.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Almost every villain in movies goes out on their back. Some heroes go out on their back too. In “Gladiator,” both the villain Commodus and the hero Maximus go out on their backs after their one-on-one battle. Maximus’ body is respectfully carried out of the arena. Commodus’ body is kicked off a cliff. Probably. We don’t actually see.
- (v) Win. When a wrestler wins his match, he goes over his opponent.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” The Average Joe’s dodgeball team goes over all their competition in the Dodgeball championship in Las Vegas to reach the finals. The Average Joe’s go over the Purple Cobras in sudden death and win the $50,000 prize. Thank you, Chuck Norris.
- (v) Demolish someone in a one-sided fight. The Ultimate Warrior was known to guzzle his opponents in the early part of his career in the WWE.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Death Proof,” Stuntman Mike uses his death proof car to guzzle four unsuspecting women by plowing into them head-on. Limbs, glass, faces, lives are all demolished in one crash, but he survives to terrorize another day.
Hall of famer
- (n) Legend with a lasting legacy. Among the long list of wrestlers who drew tons of money and influenced generations of wrestlers are The Rock, Shawn Michaels, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and “Gorgeous” George.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: A character like Rocky Balboa is a Hall of Famer, both in the boxing world of his movies and as a movie character.
- (v) To get blood with blunt-force trauma.
- (n) The incident of getting blood with blunt-force trauma. Hardways typically happen to the face when a wrestler smashes into a ring post or guardrail. Old-school wrestlers would sometimes do hardways intentionally. This was obviously way before wrestlers’ retirements were followed by big movie careers and their faces on IMAX screens.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Midnight Meat Train,” when the back of Randall’s head explodes after Mahogany bashes him with a hammer, well, that’s a hardway.
- (n) Animosity. Heat is integral to pro wrestling. The more heat a story or match has, the more engaging it is. Wrestlers who lie, cheat, and steal get heat with the fans, which is what they want. If you have heat, you have people emotionally invested.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Getting heat in movies should be easy! There’s a much bigger list of evil, despicable things to do, especially in R rated movies. For some examples of “heat,” see “heatseeker,” “heel authority figure,” and “heel.”
- (n) Animosity instigator x10. Jim Cornette, manager of the tag team the Midnight Express, has been a heatseeker his whole wrestling career by being a master of microphone work and interfering in the Midnight’s matches to give them wins.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Cape Fear,” Max Cady gets heat with lawyer Sam Bowden by breaking into his house, killing his dog, seducing his daughter, endangering his job, assaulting his friend, killing another one, molesting his wife, and, finally, trying to kill him. And he never stops talking trash. Every scene he’s in, he gets heat, and he’s in a lot of scenes. That’s a heatseeker!
- (n) Villain. Thank you, bad guys, for being lying, cheating, stealing, blind-siding, trash-talking pieces of human garbage! You make wrestling great!
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Darth Vader, Jaws, Michael Myers, Thanos, and especially Pat Healy and his chompers.
Heel authority figure
- (n) Corrupt, powerful figure. Heel authority figures use their power to disadvantage the fan-favorites. WWE’s CEO Vince McMahon is the best-known heel authority figure in wrestling.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest,” Nurse Ratched is the heel authority figure and head nurse of a mental facility who treats the patients like children, making passive-aggressive comments and striking fear into them, leading one of them to commit suicide.
- (n) A character change from good guy to bad guy. There’s nothing worse than a hero becoming a villain. It’s a betrayal! It hurts! And the top names in the business have all done it at least once. Except John Cena and Ricky Steamboat.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Primal Fear,” hotshot defense attorney Martin Vail defends his client, the kind but feeble Aaron, by exposing the court to Aaron’s alter ego, the abusive and violent Roy, who actually committed the murder. After Aaron’s sentence is drastically reduced due to insanity, Aaron turns heel by revealing he is only Roy, and there never was an Aaron.
Hide under the ring
- (v) Avoid a confrontation by hiding. Jerry “The King” Lawler hid under the ring during the 1996 Royal Rumble, hoping to wait it out until there were fewer opponents to fight. It’s infuriating to watch when he’s supposed to be there to fight.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Saving Private Ryan,” Private Upham hides behind columns and sinks down in foxholes while his squad fights and is torn apart by the German army. It’s infuriating to watch when he’s supposed to be there to fight.
- (n) Aerial offense specialist. Anyone who takes to the air for most of their offense is a high-flyer. Many smaller wrestlers are great high-flyers, with Rey Mysterio being the most popular in the last couple decades.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Besides Superman and Neo, you also have Spider-man, who frequently strikes his opponents from the air.
- (n) Big move meant to swap momentum. Usually includes jumping off of something onto an opponent.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Tommy Boy,” Tommy Callahan ties road flares to himself to appear like he’s strapped with dynamite so he can get upstairs and talk to Ray Zalinsky, the CEO of Zalinsky Auto Parts. It is a ridiculous, high-risk maneuver that shouldn’t work AT ALL, but it totally does!
- (n) Big moment of emotional impact. Brief point where the emotional impact peaks. With a proper build, and without hitting the emotional peak too often beforehand, a highspot can really stand out, whatever it is. It could be an exciting somersault over the top rope onto an opponent, but it could also be a simple body slam from a wrestler whose arm seemed too injured to use.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Actions scenes are a common highspot in action movies, but dramas have them too. A highspot in “Stand By Me” has the boys running on elevated train tracks away from the oncoming train before it hits them. And in a highspot from “Terms of Endearment,” Aurora argues with some lazy nurses about giving her ailing daughter a shot for her pain. After some back and forth between her and the nurses, Aurora finally snaps and screams, “My daughter’s in pain! Give her the shot, do you understand me?! GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!” and one of them hustles to her daughter’s room with the shot.
Hit the music
- (v) Play a theme song. Whenever a wrestler enters an arena, wins a match, has the final word in an interview, or does anything else that ends with them having momentum or looking good, they’re theme music plays. But you don’t “play” the music in wrestling. You “hit” the music.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Superman” from 1978, when Clark Kent needs to save Lois Lane from a deadly fall off a building, he rips open his shirt to reveal the iconic red and yellow “S.” Right then, they hit the music, announcing the entrance of Superman to save the day!
Hit the ring
- (n) Raid and attack. (See “Run-in”)
- (n) Hero’s momentary gain of momentum. Hopespots end when the villain steals the momentum back.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” after a few aggravating failed attempts to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hut, all the heroes are captured and about to be dropped into the sarlacc pit. Just as Luke drops off the plank, a major hopespot happens when he begins a rally that helps free himself and the rest of the heroes from Jabba’s control.
- (adj) Pissed off. As in, “I don’t know anyone that wasn’t hot about Lesnar beating Undertaker at Mania.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Steel Magnolias,” after Shelby, a young wife and mother, passes due to complications from diabetes, nobody is hotter about it than Shelby’s mother M’Lynn. She’s a kind lady who reaches her boiling point and screams and cries and yells, “I just want to hit something!” It’s not the same as the Hulk getting hot, but when a sweet character like her loses it about a realistic situation, it resonates.
- (n) To get right into a it. (See “Start hot”)
- (n) A desperately needed tag in. The hot tag is “hot” because of the big build toward making that tag. Usually, the villain team will dominate one wrestler on the fan-favorite team for a long time, making him struggle for the tag again and again. Finally, he gets clear of them and tags in his partner, which gets a big cheer from the crowd.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Back to School,” pissed off football players walk into a bar and grab weirdo Derek Lutz, threatening to kill him for dumping paint on them earlier. Derek’s friend, the chubby older millionaire Thornton Melon, asks them to take it easy on Derek, so the players threaten to fight him too. Neither Derek nor Melon are fighters, and they’re outnumbered by these big, hot-headed, athletes. Melon doesn’t get physical, he just gets upset. When he gets upset, he gives the hot tag to his bodyguard Lou, and Lou gets physical. When Lou steps in, he starts kicking football player ass, and a riot erupts in the bar.
- (n) No-good loser. Jerry “The King” Lawler used the term first on TV in the 70s, and The Rock made the term famous in the 90s.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: All the nameless thugs Schwarzenegger kills at the end of “Commando.” Also, that poor schlub in “Total Recall” who gets shot to pieces when Arnold uses him as a human shield before throwing his dead body down the escalator. That guy died like a freaking jabroni.
- (v) Lose. Any wrestler can lose at any time, but “job” is the least glamorous term for it.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: To lose or die as a stupid, nameless jobber. In the closing credits of “Death Wish 3,” the jobbers are the characters credited as “Punk at Car” and “Street Punk,” and they died at the hands of Charlie Bronson like jobbers. Believe me.
- (n) No-good loser. (See “Jabroni”)
- (v) Lose. (See “Job”)
- (v) Cut someone open. (See “Blade”)
- (n) Presentation of being in character.
- (adj) Fake.
- (v) Be in character.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Tootsie,” when actor Michael Dorsey fails to land a role on a soap opera, he dresses as a woman named Dorothy Michaels and lands a different role on the show instead. He kayfabes as Dorothy on and off set. His kayfabe is so convincing that women confide in him and men lust after him.
- (v) Keep information from someone. This is what Mr. McMahon did to Mankind heading into the 1998 Survivor Series, making him believe he was his handpicked champion when McMahon had secretly chosen The Rock instead.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Usual Suspects,” small-time criminal Verbal Kint kayfabes Agent Kujan, telling him about the schemes, heists and murders Verbal has been involved in, yet little to none of it is true.
- (v) Refuse to lose. Okay, so a literal kick out means kicking your legs to get out of being pinned. But it’s an action that represents a wrestler’s desire to keep fighting.
- (v) Get unpinned. There. There is a literal definition. Is that better?
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In the “Mission: Impossible” series, Ethan Hunt kicks out of every tough situation he ends up in. He could be pinned down by gunfire under a burning car with a bomb inside of it, and he’ll still find a way to kick out and kill all the bad guys.
Live the gimmick
- (v) Be in character to the extreme. Nikita Koloff was a Russian wrestler who was actually a guy named Steve from Minnesota. But he lived the gimmick and stayed in character all the time, including in locker rooms filled with nobody but other wrestlers who knew he was Steve from Minnesota.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Tropic Thunder,” movie actor Kirk Lazarus throws himself into his character 100%, living the gimmick entirely. Even after his director is exploded by a landmine and he’s lost in the jungle filled with guerrilla fighters, he still doesn’t break character.
- (n) The biggest, most-hyped match of the show. The biggest names in a wrestling company usually close out the show in the last, big match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: From the shootout at the end of “The Wild Bunch” to the main floor dance hall scene at the end of “Dirty Dancing,” the end of the movie is the main event, where the big, final confrontation occurs.
- (n) One of the best in the business. (See “Top Guy”)
Make the save
- (v) To interfere on someone’s behalf. This happens a lot in tag team matches. A wrestler will hop in and hit an opponent who is pinning his partner, making the save.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Making the save happens all the time in movies. A last-second shot through a bad guy’s head just before he hits the launch button on the nuclear missile, and stuff like that. Here’s a different kind; in “The Last of the Mohicans,” when the Huron tribe move to burn Cora Munro alive in retribution for her father’s sins, Major Duncan Howard makes the save and volunteers to take her place. He is chosen instead, and that allows Cora to have a future with Hawkeye, the hot, hunky hero who makes the save for Duncan by shooting him so he doesn’t have to burn to death.
- (n) Fan. It used to be a kind of derogatory term used by wrestling insiders and originates from the early carnival days of the business. Now, wrestling marks know what it means, and we wear it like a badge of honor.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Fan,” baseball mark Gil Renard is obsessed with player Bobby Rayburn, and endangers Rayburn’s career, his life and his son. Wow, I should have picked a less depressing example of a mark in movies.
- (v) Freak out over something cool. Nothing makes a 30-something-year-old man mark out like a six-year-old more than seeing his favorite wrestler make his entrance for a big wrestling match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Elf,” Buddy absolutely marks out when he hears Santa is coming to the mall. He knows him!
- (n) Average quality attraction. Midcarders have fans, but they’re not quite the draw the main event wrestlers are for any number of reasons.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Every character in “Friday” is a great character, but Big Worm, Ezal and Little Chris are midcarders. A consistent movie midcarder character is the main character’s best friend who gives him relationship advice.
- (n) Someone who talks for others. Whether they are a manager, an advocate, the leader of a group, or the more talkative one on a tag team, the mouthpiece tells it like it is for the less loquacious type standing next to them.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “From Dusk Till Dawn,” Seth Gecko is the mouthpiece for him and his brother Richie. And Woody is the mouthpiece for the rest of Andy’s toys in “Toy Story.”
- (n) Old nickname for WWE. Although based out of Connecticut, WWE used to regularly run its shows out of Madison Square Garden in New York.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Like the nickname “New York,” John Milton has so many names in “The Devil’s Advocate” because he’s actually the devil. Kevin Lomax can call him “Dad.”
- (n) An ending that resolves nothing. These matches end without one wrestler defeating the other. Double count-outs are usually the go-to non-finish. Non-finishes suck, so hopefully the match itself is entertaining and part of a build to a bigger match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It’s… “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” And “A Serious Man” ends abruptly with a non-finish. Wrestling matches and movies without endings confuse, disappoint or infuriate people. There can be artsy-fartsy reasons filmmakers use non-finishes, but it’s hard to make those movies popular.
- (v) Deny/ignore something’s impact. Classic no-sells in wrestling mean not showing pain after a move. Road Warrior Hawk would get dropped on his head with the pile driver but no-sell it by popping up a second later like nothing happened. No-selling should be rare in wrestling but can be useful for making a wrestler look tough.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: As far as a physical no-sell, every movie monster that kept on coming after being shot with round after round of high-caliber bullets was no-selling. But the more common no-sell is emotional. In “The Silence of the Lambs,” Clarice Starling tries to no-sell the fear she feels when in Hannibal Lecter’s frightening presence.
- (n) Animosity x10. There’s making people mad, then there’s Nuclear Heat, which can lead to real violence in the locker room between wrestlers or riots in the crowd at wrestling shows. For example, in Cleveland, 1974, Ox Baker got nuclear heat and started a riot after repeatedly hitting “The Big Cat” Ernie Ladd with the Heart Punch, a supposedly terminal move. People stormed the ring and threw things at him, chasing him from the building.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Rian Johnson in 2017.
On the chase
- (adj) In pursuit of a goal. It’s best applied to a fan-favorite in pursuit of a championship being held by a bad guy.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Being on the chase in movies can mean trying to catch a killer, stop a robot uprising, or getting your family to Wally World. But bad guys can be on the chase too. In “Scarface,” Tony Montana wheels, deals, and kills his way to the top of the cocaine industry because he is on the chase for money and power, and he reaches his goal. I mean, yeah, he loses his friends, his family, and his life, but he reaches his goal.
On the gas
- (adj) On a performance enhancer. Wrestlers on performance enhancers? What? If one or two were, then they were on the gas.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The nuclear radiation that turned Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk put Banner permanently on the gas.
- (adj) Popular. A wrestler needs to be over with wrestling fans so they care about him, his matches and his storylines. Whether a good guy or bad guy, wrestlers who are over make fans buy tickets.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: At the end of “Rudy,” Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, Notre Dame’s “5-foot nothin’, 100 and nothin” defensive end tackled Georgia Tech’s quarterback and was carried triumphantly off the field while the whole stadium chanted his name. That’s not just over. That is super over. Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs” is over with moviegoers after all these years too, no matter his unorthodox hobbies.
- (n) An unidentified location. Wrestlers, they’re just like us! They come from normal places like Minnesota, Florida, New York, Canada, and spots all over the south. But the truly mysterious wrestlers, like Ultimate Warrior or Papa Shango, have enigmatic origins, so they’re announced as hailing from Parts Unknown.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Although there are plenty of movie characters whose places of origin are never explained, Parts Unknown is better reserved for the truly mysterious and captivating movie character. Take Anton Chigurh from “No Country for Old Men,” the psychopathic, philosophizing hitman. There’s a guy that makes you ask yourself, “Where the hell did that guy come from?” The answer is Parts Unknown.
- (n) Training facility. WWE’s performance center is where they train their future superstars.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Rocky IV,” while Rocky exercises in the freezing Russian wilderness, his opponent, Russian boxer Ivan Drago, trains in, not just a gym, but a performance center filled with the finest and latest technological advancements in fitness equipment. And indoor heating.
- (v) Hold down an opponent. A wrestler must keep both of their opponents’ shoulders down for the duration of the referee’s 3 count to win by pin.
- (n) The most common way to win a match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Pining your opponent means you’re in a dominant position over them. Being pinned symbolizes a loss, and the biggest loss in movies is death. But what if a character who is pinned to something also dies? Then you must be watching the end of “Logan.”
- (n) Loud cheer. The bigger, the longer, the better.
- (v) Cheer. “They popped when he won.”
- (n) Laugh. “You should have heard the pop when I told that joke.”
- (v) Laugh. “They popped when he fell off the ring apron.”
- (v) Make someone laugh or cheer.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Back to School,” all definitions of “pop” are achieved when Thornton Melon performs the, not just hard, but impossible, Triple Lindy.
- (n) A hard punch or slap. Potatoes are usually mistakes resulting from a punch connecting harder than intended.
- (v) To slap or punch someone hard.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Most punches and slaps in movies are fake, but sometimes you get some potatoes. The fight scenes in Tony Jaa’s martial art movies are full of potatoes. But a classic example is from “Moonstruck” when Ronny tells engaged Loretta he loves her. Loretta gives Ronny two nice potatoes across the face and yells, “Snap out of it!”
- (v) Leave. Wrestlers’ exits are as important as their entrances. What happened between a wrestler’s entrance and their exit? Did they attack someone else in the middle of their match, then hightail it like a coward, or did they walk out for their championship match and leave as the champion? How they leave determines the last impression the audience has of them.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: “Casablanca” has one of the most famous powders in movies. Gin-joint owner Rick Blaine is emotionally devastated by the entrance of his former lover Ilsa into his life with her new husband Victor. But at the end of the movie, Rick puts aside his feelings for her, and encourages her to powder on an airplane with Victor instead of staying with Rick.
- (v) Leave. (See “Powder”)
- (n) A plot or storyline. (See “Angle”)
- (n) Monologue or interview. Wrestlers’ promos are meant to build interest in a storyline and usually focus on who they have a problem with, why, and what they’re going to do about it. They can yell it like Ric Flair, whisper it like Jake “The Snake” Roberts, or let their manager wail it like Paul Bearer did for The Undertaker. The best ones are pointed, emotionally engaging, and quotable.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin’s “Always Be Closing” promo sets the expectations for the real estate salesman in the office; sell or you’re fired. In “Taken,” Liam Neeson’s “particular set of skills” monologue is a short and perfectly crafted pro wrestling promo. Whether just a few lines, or a full-blown rant, a promo needs to provoke strong emotions in the viewer.
- (v) Cleverly display to hide weaknesses. Many wrestlers who are somewhat limited, “more show than go,” need their image to be protected. Their strategic presentation can help them to still be popular with the fans, as long as the fans don’t catch on.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Superbad,” Seth should have been protected by being kept away from Jules, the girl he likes. When he sees her at the party, he’s hammered drunk, crying, and accidentally headbutts her when he passes out. At least protect him by sitting him in a chair!
- (adj) Cleverly displayed to hide weaknesses. (See “Protect”)
- (n) Nail in the coffin. These days, there are few, if any, protected finishes. Yes, wrestlers have control over how protected their finishers are, but they just don’t bother that often anymore. Even Brock Lesnar’s F5 isn’t always a match-ender after one use, and he’s WWE’s biggest star. The most protected finish of all time is the Road Warriors’ tag team finish called the Doomsday Device. It’s not a move anyone wants to take twice.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Movies are full of people surviving things that should kill them. I mean, have you seen “Regarding Henry”? Speaking of Harrison Ford, the most protected finish in movies is from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Nobody survives Mola Ram’s sacrifice move: pull a guy’s heart out and drop him into lava.
- (n) Boost in status. A push is an opportunity from the powers-that-be for a wrestler to eventually become a top star, and it may include any or all of the following: getting more TV time, winning more matches, working in bigger storylines, wrestling against big stars, or winning lower-tier championships.
- (v) To give a boost in status.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Big,” Josh Baskin works at MacMillan Toy Company as a data entry clerk. After he impresses Mr. MacMillan in a chance meeting at a toy store, MacMillan gives Josh a push, promoting him to Vice President in charge of Product Development. Josh is secretly a twelve-year-old in an adult’s body. Josh’s adult girlfriend doesn’t know that, so when she decides to give their relationship a push one night, it’s super awkward to watch.
- (v) Lose. The loser puts over the winner.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Revenant,” Hugh Glass is attacked in the woods by a grizzly bear, and Hugh puts over the grizzly bear, not that he had a choice.
- (v) Compliment. Yes, really. In wrestling terms, the same phrase for losing also describes complimenting someone.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Young Frankenstein,” Dr. Frankenstein desperately puts over his own 7-foot tall, monstrous creation so it doesn’t kill him. He starts by screaming, “Hello, handsome!” which stuns the beast. He then puts over the monster’s looks, his strength, and says everyone else is jealous of him. Then Frankenstein tells him he loves him. By the time Frankenstein is done, the Monster is crying and they are embracing each other. Now, that’s how you put somebody over!
- (n) Pyrotechnics. Pyro exploding is a great exclamation point for a wrestler’s entrance or victory.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Django Unchained,” Django celebrates his victory over evil slaveowner Calvin Candie, and everyone aligned with Candie, by giving the Candie plantation the pyro treatment and blowing it the hell up.
- (n) Payback. (See “Give a receipt”)
Red means green
- (n) Blood draws money. Blood in a storyline or match hooks the people and brings them back for another show.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: “Red means green” for horror films, which typically have a bigger return on investment each year than any other genre. People are sick!
- (v) Change character/personality. A wrestler may be repackaged when they’re a good in-ring performer but their personality doesn’t connect with fans. Normally, they’re taken off TV for a few months until they re-debut with a new name, a new look, a couple new moves, and a new personality.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Get Out,” the Armitage family repackages black people using hypnosis and brain surgery to transplant old, white peoples’ personalities into them.
- (n) Slowdown in action. Different than a submission hold, a rest hold (like a headlock) bridges two higher-action sections of a match. They seem to stop the momentum of the match, but rest holds bring the energy down on purpose so the match has somewhere to build from. The antsy feeling fans get during a rest hold is a sign the rest hold is working and the crowd is ready for the energy to ramp back up again.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Rest holds in wrestling are like slow scenes in movies. Most rest holds show characters talk, talk, talk. Maybe a slow scene has important exposition, or maybe it’s just a time-wasting, useless scene. “The Terminator” has a good rest hold scene when Reese takes a few minutes to explain important information about the future war to Sarah while they hide from the Terminator. Bad rest hold scenes don’t move the story forward in any meaningful way, like much of the “Twilight” series. I guess. I didn’t see it and never will.
- (n) Joke or prank. One way wrestlers used to pass time between shows was ribbing each other, which Owen Hart and “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning were especially known for. Ribs can range from fun to dangerous, including prank phone calls, hiding wrestlers’ gear, super-gluing their bags shut, putting feces in food, calling the cops on innocent wrestlers, slipping pills into drinks, and running each other off the road. Yes, really! And a whole lot more!
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Ribs in movies also range from fun to dangerous. A fun rib in “Big Fat Liar” involves a kid putting blue dye in a guy’s swimming pool, which turns his skin blue. A dangerous rib in “Carrie” involves high schoolers Chris and Billy dumping pigs’ blood from a bucket suspended by a rope from the rafters of the gymnasium onto outcast Carrie in front of the whole school. The bucket falls and hits the kind and popular Tommy in the head, killing him, and the blood gives Carrie a bad case of trichinellosis. Nah, I’m ribbing ya! She turns psychotic and kills everyone in the gym with her telekinetic powers. Boy, I got you good! You should have seen your face!
Rib on the square
- (v) Criticize through humor. Ribbing on the square can be seen as a cowardly/A-holish way to tell someone something they don’t want to hear without being direct about it.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In every movie that features Jay and Silent Bob, Jay ribs on the square about Silent Bob’s weight, calling him “tons of fun,” “lunchbox,” and “a fat man in an overcoat.” Silent Bob takes it in stride because they’re best friends and hetero life mates.
- (n) Wrestling’s storytelling technique. Ring Psychology is a combination of sections and moments wrestlers use to tell the story of a pro wrestling match that invests the fans emotionally.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Although principles of Ring Psychology can be applied to movies, the movie industry doesn’t have one storytelling method it uses like the pro wrestling industry uses Ring Psychology. I think that’s why there are 400 million screenplay writing books about how to write a blockbuster movie.
- (n) Groupie. Ring Rat is an old school derogatory term for a wrestling fan who sleeps with people from the wrestling business. What better way to reward your favorite wrestler for winning their big match, or to show your appreciation to the referee who raised that wrestler’s hand in victory?
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Almost Famous,” the groupies that travel with the rock band Stillwater think they’re not groupies. They call themselves Band-Aids. I think they’re Rock-and-Roll Ring Rats.
- (v) Raid and attack. Bad guys normally do this in groups, like the Four Horseman and the NWO.
- (n) Raid-and-attack. “Here comes the NWO with the run-in on Sting.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Avengers,” the Chitauri aliens run-in on Captain America and the team like they’re hitting the ring when droves of them come from the sky to kill the Avengers, destroy New York City, and take over the planet.
Road Warrior pop
- (n) A monstrously loud cheer. The Road Warrior Pop is named after the enormous eruption from the crowd when they heard the entrance music for the tag team, the Road Warriors.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It’s what you heard explode from you and everyone in the movie theater where you saw “Infinity War” when Thor landed in Wakanda and yelled, “Bring me Thanos!”
- (n) A sudden ending without a big build. Rushed finishes in wrestling matches can happen for any reason, including that was the plan, or the planned ending was changed because a wrestler was injured during the match, or the time for the match was cut for television.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In 1974’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” the Sawyer family has poor Sally surrounded while Grandpa is trying to hit her in the head with a hammer. Then, within 3 minutes, she jumps out a window, runs to the road (where Nubbins Sawyer is run over by a random semi), flags down a passing flatbed truck, hops in the back and escapes. It’s an ending, but the amount of illogical and coincidental shenanigans shoe-horned in to get there makes it a rushed finish.
- (n) Riot. The more people fighting each other all over the place, the better. It’s a great way to close a wrestling show and get people excited for an upcoming match involving tons of people, like a Battle Royale.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The best schmoz in movies is the news team rumble from “Anchorman.” Brick killed a guy!
- (v) Show physical or emotional pain. Selling is one of the most important things wrestlers must do in a match. If a wrestler’s leg has taken damage, she needs to sell the leg: grab at it, hold it, try to keep the opponent away from it, limp and fall when trying to walk on it, and show pain on her face. If she’s supposed to be frustrated, mad, disappointed, sad, whatever, she must sell it. Selling is important to show the audience how much bad things hurt.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Selling in movies is acting hurt, disappointed, mad or any other negative emotion. A great way to sell in movies is to cry, which helps people buy the pain the actor is selling. Sometimes, a character in a movie sells to fool another character. In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Donnie arrives at a parking lot to make a handoff to Brad. Donnie drives in like a manic, nearly runs himself over with the car while getting out, and is clearly messed up on drugs. He slowly slides along the car toward Brad, staring at the ground, slurring his speech, saying he’s f’ed up. Brad is furious at Donnie for coming to the handoff like this. Then Donnie… POPS UP, smiling, posing like he just stuck the landing in a gymnastics routine, and says he was joking. Donnie was selling, and Brad bought it.
- (n) Awesome start for the hero. Normally in the earliest part of the good guy’s involvement in the match, the shine helps the audience learn why they should like a good guy through his actions or personality, if he gets to shine at all.
- (v) Look awesome.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “300,” after Act 2 starts and the 300 Spartans agree to fight Xerxes’s army, they march confidently toward battle, looking more impressive than some of their fellow Greeks along the way, before coming to a village destroyed by Xerxes’s forces, ending the shine.
- (v) Tell the truth. Occasionally, wrestlers give interviews called “shoot interviews” where they are out of character and telling stories about what people in the industry are really like. Even then, it’s not easy to know if the things they say are a shoot.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Julianne tries to break up a couple’s engagement. Finally, she confronts the couple and shoots with them about what a terrible person she’s been. But it’s Julia Roberts with all that big, curly, red hair, so I’m like, “You’re forgiven!”
- (v) Use real strikes or grappling. If Kurt Angle wanted to shoot on his opponent, there wasn’t anything they could do about it.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: During the filming of “Creed,” pro boxer Tony Bellew’s character hits Michael B. Jordan’s character with a punch that makes the viewer think Jordan’s character ain’t never gonna get up. To get that believability, Bellew had to shoot on Jordan with a punch that nearly knocked Jordan out, and that punch is in the movie.
- (n) A trained fighter. Kurt Angle’s background in amateur wrestling made him a shooter in pro wrestling. I’m trying to tell you Kurt Angle is the real deal.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Not only does Dolph Lundgren play a badass in everything he’s in, he’s a life-long shooter off-camera too, having trained in several martial arts, fought in several tournaments and won a few tournaments and titles.
- (v) To narrowly win. Instead of the usual against-all-odds win fan favorites are known for, to slip over is an even more dramatic, skin-of-the-teeth, victory. When a villain slips over a dominant fan favorite with a quick cheapshot and an illegal pin, all in about 5seconds, well, riots started in the old says over a thing like that.
- (n) Narrow win.
- (adj) Being a narrow win.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The same last-second, slip over ending happens in movies of all kinds. In “The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Elwood Blues are pursued by every lawman and soldier in Chicago for all the chaos they caused while trying to reach the Cook County tax assessor with the $5000 to save an orphanage. The Blues brothers slip over by making the pay off so closely to their arrest that their hands are cuffed together as they’re reaching over the desk to take their receipt.
- (adj) Having secret knowledge. Back when the secrets of wrestling were not widely known, anyone who knew those secrets was “smart,” as in “smart to the business.” To ask a first-time wrestler in that era, “Are you smart?” was not the insult it would be now.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Fight Club,” once the Narrator is smart that he and Tyler are the same person, the look on his face matched mine when I learned wrestling wasn’t real. That was a rough 26st birthday party for me.
- (v) Inform. When the secrets of wrestling were shared with new wrestlers, they would be smartened up by a veteran of the business.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Men in Black,” Agent K smartens up rookie Agent J about the aliens all over the planet before initiating him into the ranks. Veterans of the wrestling industry wish they could make the public forget the secrets of wrestling by zapping everyone with the neuralyzer.
- (n) Additional authority figure. Special enforcers are usually stationed outside the ring. The best-known Special Enforcer was Mike Tyson in the main event of WrestleMania 14.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Normally, lifeguards are the authorities on a public beach. In “Jaws,” the Coast Guard acts like a Special Enforcer, an additional authority figure, stationed in boats and helicopters, looking for trouble from the man-eating shark.
- (n) Distinctive moment of action. Pretty vague, huh? Well, “spot” is usually preceded by an adverb. A “table spot” is a moment when someone goes through a table, a “hopespot” is a moment when the fan-favorite temporarily gets the momentum back from the villain, and a “highspot” is a moment where the emotional impact hits a peak in a match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Scenes with standout moments are like spots. Hey, which is the better “flying bus” spot in movies: the freeway-gap jump in “Speed,” or the airlift-over-the-city in “Swordfish”? In reality, a bus can actually be airlifted. But, screw reality, we want to be entertained, so the “flying bus” spot in “Speed” is better.
- (n) Position. If you listed a roster of wrestlers on a sheet of paper according to revenue generation, the biggest stars would be in the top spots. A wrestler’s spot can be taken over by another, hotter wrestler.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Zoolander,” Derek Zoolander won VH1’s Male Model of the Year award three times while casting his shadow over the male modeling world for over a decade. But Derek fears he’s losing his spot when young, hot, brash rookie male model Hansel wins the award in 2001. Hansel. He’s so hot right now. Hansel.
- (n) One-sided ass-whooping. WCW’s Goldberg is best remembered for his squash matches from early in his career, beating opponents in just a few seconds with just a couple moves. It’s a great way to make a wrestler popular with the fans.
- (v) Give a one-sided ass-whooping. “Goldberg squashed guys on his way to an unbelievable undefeated streak.”
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Troy,” the great warrior Achilles squashes a much larger rival when he kills him in about 2 seconds with one move.
- (v) Get right into it. Starting hot is great for matches with hot rivalries. Just skip the ring announcements and all the formalities and let a couple people start beating the dog crap out of each other. It’s a crowd-pleaser.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: “Chicago” starts hot by introducing both main characters in the first exciting, five-minute scene. Velma Kelly sings an upbeat jazz number in a nightclub and gets arrested for the murder of her sister she committed just before the movie started. Roxy Hart, the other main character of the movie, is in the same nightclub with the man she’s having an extramarital affair with and will kill shortly afterward, sending her to the same prison Velma ends up in. All the other backstory on these two comes later so the movie can get right into the story.
- (n) Rule. Short for “stipulation” because you’re too busy to say “ulation.” (See “Stipulation”)
- (n) Rule. Stipulations determine how matches are won and lost. For example, the stipulations for a cage match mean a wrestler wins if he pins or submits his opponent, or if he escapes the cage and both of his feet touch the floor first. The best stipulations are easy to understand, no matter the type of wrestling match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Movie stipulations tell the audience how the characters win or lose the conflict of the movie. The complexity of a movie’s plot determines the complexity of its stipulations. In “Smokey and the Bandit,” Bandit and Snowman have to travel from Georgia to Texas, pick up 400 cases of beer, and take them back to Georgia within 28 hours to win $80,000. Simple stipulation to understand. Meanwhile, in “Looper,” mafia hitman Joe must kill people sent back in time from the future, because, if he doesn’t, those people will change the future they’ve been sent from. After he doesn’t kill the future version of himself who has also been sent back, things devolve to where the stipulation for “victory” means Joe must either kill himself, kill the future version of himself, or allow the future version of himself to kill a child who will become the mafia boss responsible for the killing of Joe’s future wife. Honestly, I’m dizzy right now.
- (n) A butt-kissing lackey. Sometimes, a powerful heel has stooges who brownnose, blow smoke, and get them coffee. Stooges can do dirty work for their boss so the boss doesn’t have to do everything themselves. In the late 1990s, Vince McMahon’s on-screen stooges were Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Coneheads,” Eli Turnbull is a perfect stooge for his boss, Gorman Seedling. There isn’t a compliment he isn’t ready to give, an order he isn’t ready to take, or cup of coffee he isn’t ready to fetch.
- (v) Blab privileged information. If Wrestler “A” secretly plans to go to another promotion and tells Wrestler “B,” and Wrestler “B” tells others that info, he’s stooging off Wrestler “A”. But the fact Wrestler “A” told Wrestler “B” his secret plan means Wrestler “A” stooged himself off.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: There are many big-mouthed informants in movies, like Mark Whitacre in “The Informant!” who stooges himself off and goes to prison for his crimes he committed when he was supposed to help the FBI imprison others instead. Meanwhile, stoner and couch-resident Floyd in “True Romance” ignorantly stooges off the location of Clarence and Alabama to the Italian mob twice, leading to people getting seriously hurt and even killed.
Strap a rocket to him
- (v) Give a boost in status. (See “Push”)
- (n) Surprising reveal or twist. In wresting storylines, there are good swerves and bad swerves. A good swerve is like when fan-favorite The Rock turned bad by winning the WWE championship with the help of the evil Mr. McMahon at Survivor Series 1998. The story told over the weeks leading up to that surprising moment made sense even though nobody saw it coming. A bad swerve is like the “storyline” when 77-year-old Mae Young became pregnant with wrestler Mark Henry’s baby. An even worse swerve is when she gave “birth” to a rubber hand. Nobody saw any of this coming and it did not make sense. It still doesn’t.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Swerves in movies are also big reveals, but the most popular swerves are twist endings. Some are good, like the swerve at the end of “The Sixth Sense,” which you can see was coming all along even though you didn’t pick up on it the first time. Some swerves are bad, like the swerve at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Miranda Tate, a flat character-turned-damsel-in-distress, reveals herself to be a bad guy when she literally stabs Batman in the back. Maybe Batman should have stayed in some nights to watch more movies so he could see this stale plotline coming.
- (n) An attack involving a table. Table spots are a great way to add an extra pop to an attack when someone has been powerbombed or speared through one. Tables make a great sound when they bust, and the broken bits look awesome spread out all over the place.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Heathers,” after JD and Veronica poison Heather Chandler, she keels over and dies. When she falls, she does a glass table spot with the shattering sound of the table breaking and all the pieces of glass spread out all over the floor. It totally ticks the boxes for what a table spot should be.
- (n) Way to get in or out of the action. In a tag match, one wrestler stands on the ring apron and tags a partner to get into the match until they either tag back out, win, or lose.
- (v) Get in or out of the action.
- (v) Team up.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Okay, so, movie characters don’t literally tag each other to get involved in an action scene. But examples of a team fighting one-at-a-time, like tagging in and out of a match, happens all the time in martial arts movies, especially those starring Bruce Lee or Steven Segal. I’d also argue that the fight in “Captain America: Civil War” where Iron Man takes on Captain America and Bucky Barnes, is close to a tag match. Either Cap or Bucky fight Iron Man while the other guy hangs out just a few feet away before it’s his turn, like a tag match!
- (n) A team of two or more. Most tag teams have just two wrestlers, but there have been tag team matches with 5 or more people to a team.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In the “Lethal Weapon” movies, detectives Murtaugh and Riggs are an inseparable tag team. You can’t really picture one without the other.
Take a bump
- (v) Take an impact to the body. (See “Bump”)
Take a powder
- (v) Leave. (See “Powder”)
- (v) Quit. Tapping on an opponent’s body or the mat means a wrestler wants to quit the match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Whether it’s Scarface’s rage quit from his fast food job in “Half Baked,” or Teddy’s tap out of his delusional reality in “Shutter Island,” tapping out means you’re done.
- (n) Area or organization. During the Territory Era, wrestling companies ran shows regularly with their own roster and champions within a given city, state, or country. That meant “territory” simultaneously applied to a wrestling promotion and to the area it operated in. For example, you could say, “Verne Gagne ran the American Wrestling Association in Minnesota,” or, “Verne Gagne ran the Minnesota territory.” Now that traditional territories are gone, wrestlers and wrestling fans playfully refer to wrestling companies as territories.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Anywhere characters fight for supremacy of (or fight for the fate of) is a territory: Wakanda, Atlantis, Middle Earth, actual Earth, or Minnesota.
- (n) A leaping, head-first dive. Wrestlers usually perform a Topé (pronounced “tōpè”) Suicida to the outside of the ring onto their opponent. Obviously, leaping head-first that way can make the landing dangerous for the airborne wrestler.
- (v) To make a leaping, head-first dive.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Hereditary,” teenager Peter wakes up to a house of horrors when he finds his father burned to death, his mother chasing him around the house before she cuts her own head off, and naked, old people everywhere. So, he does the only thing you can do in that situation: Topé Suicida out the attic window.
- (n) One of the best in the business. They’re super successful, massively popular, and financially dominant. Top guys have the most fan interest, hold championships and work on top of the card in the biggest storylines. Not exactly a gender-neutral term, but anyone can be a top guy if they have the right qualities.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Any character who is the most successful in their industry is a top guy. For example, Tony Stark runs Stark Industries, one of the biggest tech companies in the Marvel universe, making him a top guy in the company and in his industry.
- (n) A change good guy to bad, or bad guy to good. Turns are usually big reveals that get a big rise from the crowd.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: It couldn’t get more on the nose for a movie
- Example than in “Star Wars: Episode Vi – Return of the Jedi” when Darth Vader wants his son Luke to join him and the evil Empire. Luke tells Vader, “I won’t turn.”
- (n) Disdain so bad you turn the channel. If it’s too crass, too corny, too stupid, too absurd, it has turn-the-channel heat. Wrestlers get turn-the-channel heat with fans for any number of reasons, but overexposure is a big one.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: The twist ending of “The Village” has turn-the-channel heat with a lot of people. But the movie with the most turn-the-channel heat at imdb.com, where it tops the 100 Lowest Rated Movies list, is “Disaster Movie.” What an appropriate title!
- (n) Half good/half bad guy. Tweeners are either good guys who occasionally do bad things or bad guys who occasionally do good things. Tweener wrestlers don’t connect with fans as easily as clear good guys and bad guys.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Movie tweeners can have deeper layers of moral complexity, they’re still just tweeners. In the 1997 film “The Apostle,” tweener and Pentecostal preacher “Sonny” Dewey sweeps into a small town. He builds a new church there, providing everyone a house of worship to practice their faith, and they love him for it. This all happens after he’s killed a man with a baseball bat and run from the law, which is how he ended up in that small town.
- (n) The old-switcheroo with similar looking people. The Bella twins would swap places when one was wrestling and the other was standing on the outside of the ring to support her sister. When the referee wasn’t looking, they would switch places and the fresher twin would win the match for her sister.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Parent Trap,” a set of twins use twin magic on their separated parents. Their own parents can’t tell the difference between them. What hope do referees have when wrestlers do it? I feel bad for them.
- (n) Anything that is one thing but is presented as another. For example, when Mankind was thrown from the top of the 16-foot tall Hell in a Cell in 1998, he fell through an announcer’s table and was checked out on the spot for several minutes by WWE staff before being helped onto a stretcher and wheeled away from the scene. Given the horrifying nature of the fall, the inordinate amount of time taken to tend to him in the aftermath, and the rare inclusion of the stretcher and numerous staff that tended to Mankind, it was hard to guess that it was all a work, a presentation of a real emergency that was just a premeditated part of the match.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Wag the Dog,” a movie about putting together a work, a Hollywood producer helps the government fake a war to take pressure off the president for his sex scandal. Let me also point something else out; movies are a work. A lot of effort goes into making their fake stories look real. Movie characters are actors, everything they say is written for them, directors tell them how to say it, everywhere they stand is built and decorated for them to stand there, everything they wear is designed and tailor-made for their bodies, stuntmen take the hits for them, make-up is put on them so they look pretty, and lighting is set up to show off all of this phony baloney. BUT the emotions you feel when you watch movies are real. That’s how a work works.
- (v) To present something as something else. Foley worked his injuries from the fall to make them seem worse than they were, because he wasn’t truly as hurt as he let on.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In the movie “Quiz Show,” a rigged television game show from 1958 is presented as a legitimate trivia contest. It resulted in a huge scandal when everyone learned the show had been worked. An outraged nation stopped watching that fixed farce and turned the channel to watch real competition, like Lou Thesz challenging Dick Hutton for his National Wrestling Alliance world championship.
- (v) Manipulate people. When Foley was working his injuries, the audience thought the match was over. But that’s because Foley was working something else: the audience. The point of working people is to get them to react the way you want them to. In this case, when Foley worked the audience into thinking the match was over, he had worked them right where he wanted them. Then it was time to work them more. Foley got up and started walking back to the cell, and the audience freaked out, cheered, screamed, and basically lost their minds, which is what he wanted.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: One of my favorite examples of working people in movies is from “Tommy Boy.” The cops signal for Tommy to pull over for speeding. So, Tommy decides to work them to get out of a ticket with a little trick his dad taught him. He swerves all over the road, pulls over, gets out and runs around, waving his arms like crazy, screaming he’s being attacked by a swarm of angry, “sting-crazy” bees. The cops buy it and flee in fear.
Work a body part
- (v) Attack a specific body part. If a wrestler targets his opponent’s arm, he’s working the arm. And if a wrestler has taped up ribs heading into a match, it’s logical for his opponent to work the injured ribs rather than a healthier body part.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “The Marathon Man,” a Nazi named Szell interrogates a marathon runner named Babe for information. After interrogating Babe doesn’t work, Szell works a body part: Babe’s teeth. First, Szell tortures Babe by poking into a cavity, then he bores a hole in another tooth with a drill, damaging the nerve inside. The scene’s a real nail-biter.
Work under a hood
- (v) Wear a mask. Mexican wrestling, called “lucha libre,” is full of masked wrestlers because masks are part of their cultural tradition. Non-lucha libre wrestlers, whether good guys or bad guys, work under a hood either for storyline reasons or for their entire career.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Most masked movie characters are bad guys, probably because it’s emotionally unsettling when you can’t see a person’s face. For every good guy with a mask (Spider-Man or the reformed Revolting Blob), there’s a Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Darth Vader, and the Predator.
Work yourself into a shoot
- (v) Create a real situation from a phony one. To recap, “work” is not real, and “a shoot” is real. If a wrestler is a villain on TV, that’s a work. If he acts like his character in public and is attacked for a shoot in the street by someone who believes he is like his character, that wrestler worked himself into a shoot.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Quiz Show,” the producers of a TV game show tampered with the results to of the show to make a better TV show. But they worked themselves into a shoot when working the show landed them in a real congressional hearing and their careers were ruined.
- (n) Anything that is part real and part unreal. It helps to suspend disbelief when wrestling includes some element of reality. For example, if a wrestler gives an interview where he uses his opponent’s real name and insults his wife, who is not a wrestler, then that is a worked shoot.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Movies that are “based on a true story” are best described as worked shoots. Or maybe documentaries are worked shoots too, depending on how cynical you are.
- (v) Fight as a good guy. Good guys are called “babyfaces,” and working baby means being more vulnerable, fighting defensively, and constantly getting screwed out of having the momentum in the story of the match by the villain.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Characters in movies who work baby include Andrea Sachs (“The Devil Wears Prada”), Luke Skywalker (“Star Wars”), Chris Gardner (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), and countless others, all of them working tirelessly and nobly to reach their goals in the face of all the forces at work against them.
- (v) Fight as a bad guy. Bad guys are called “heels,” and working heel means wrestling dirty, if not downright cheating. Low blows, cheap shots, illegal choking, exhausting the referee’s warning counts, and many other dastardly tactics.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: Working heel in movies means a character lies, cheats, steals, kills, and does whatever else to reach their goal. Heels can either work against a good guy or be the main focus of a movie. In “Nightcrawler,” Lou Bloom is a ruthless amateur journalist who captures footage of crime scenes to sell to local TV news. In pursuit of his goal to get better footage and become the top in his field, we works heel by progressively interfering in crime scenes and creating the violence he covers, eventually leading to the deaths of innocents.
- (n) Pulled punch. The closer a wrestler’s punch is without making too much impact, the better. I like Terry Funk’s working punch the most.
- MOVIE EXAMPLE: In “Snake Eyes,” a boxer has to throw working punches at his opponent to make their match last until he’s given the cue to lose. It’s a Nicholas Cage movie. He overacts in it a little.