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#1 Posted by lennyy (79 posts) -

Help, I'm from the UK and therefore have NO KNOWLEDGE OF WRESTLING WHATSOEVER.
I was completely lost while listening to the PowerBombcast this week, and if someone can just explain everything.
Or even just something to explain what the difference is between WWF and WWE, why NWA are now wrestlers, and what are 'storylines'?

What I know from having a friend who watched WWF/WWE when we were kids is:
Wrestling is when you hit people
Action figures
The Rock
'You can't see me'
Spider-Man wrestling scene

Please help

Avatar image for damodar
#2 Edited by Damodar (2003 posts) -

This should answer all your questions.

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#3 Edited by DinosaurCanada (617 posts) -

You seem to already have it down pretty well.

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#4 Edited by Mister_V (2332 posts) -

@plewney: I'm not sure what being from the UK has to do with it. I watched plenty of wresting growing up. I have fond memory's of taping the royal rumble and watching it round a friends house.

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#5 Edited by Brodehouse (10827 posts) -

Always liked this. I'm stealing from TVTropes.

"Tonight, the arena is sold out. A dozen shades of gray will square off in a pageantry of war. The opponents are unlikely in the real world, but in the amphitheater of our imagination, they're well matched. The punk rockers will battle the mountain men. The black separatists will fight the post-apocalyptic warriors. The gang-banger will rumble with the aristocrat. The future will struggle with the past, and the living will duel with the dead. In the end, just like a good Soap Opera, no issues will be resolved; the story is "To Be Continued". The combatants will live to fight another night, in another town. Is wrestling fake? Absolutely. It's as fake as your imagination, as phony as your daydreams. Are we celebrating violence when we enjoy a wrestling match? Definitely. Does this mean we're a society in decay? Maybe, but don't forget that, unlike the Romans, we're not throwing Christians to the lions here. Maybe we should sit back, relax, enjoy the show, and take comfort in the knowledge that we live in a society that prefers its mayhem to be make-believe. Sure, wrestling's fake; we wouldn't have it any other way."

~ Steve Allen, The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling

And then here's their more in-detail explanation.

Pro wrestling is usually full of concepts from different types of shows. Each match is roughly choreographed (though not usually in much detail since wrestlers don't have much rehearsal time, let alone for whole matches, given that they wrestle twenty-eight days per month on average—most of a match's details will be improvised, with only the beginning, the end, and few key "spots" in between specifically planned; the mark of a good wrestler is being able to make match flow naturally despite the lack of more than a rough outline of the plan). World Wrestling Entertainment's programs remind one of nothing so much as a Soap Opera for guys, complete with all the emotion, melodrama, and occasional comic relief that the phrase implies. Other organizations, such as Ring of Honor, strive for a more gritty, realistic presentation, but still incorporate many soap opera elements.

The history of pro wrestling is a bit convoluted; until the late '80s/early '90s, promoters claimed that wrestling was a legitimate sport, and attempted to hide the fact that it was scripted at all costs. The truth is the performances are as standardized and stylized as Japanese Kabuki theatre, or Commedia dell'Arte — each match is a miniature set piece, using stock characters, "plots" and "twists". This has become more obvious in recent years with the increased sense of theatre provided by the major promoters and programs. As more and more wrestling fans grew wise to the fact that wrestling was scripted and choreographed, promoters had no choice but to reveal the secret that everybody already knew by that point anyway. Vince McMahon went so far as to televise a speech on an episode of Monday Night Raw, in which he promised to "stop insulting (fans') intelligence" and referred to Raw as an "action-adventure" series.

All wrestling organizations will have a "booker", or person who decides which wrestlers are going over on any given "card" or event. The larger wrestling organizations will have full booking teams, made of bookers (who help wrestlers lay out the matches) and scriptwriters (who tell the bookers the companies' long-term goals with the storylines). These are often called the "creative teams", or simply just "creative" (as in "Creative has no ideas for your character at the moment"). Booking wrestling matches and storylines is a difficult skill; most of the boom times for wrestling can largely be accounted for through good booking of matches. Poor booking can be disastrous: WCW was literally destroyed through terrible creative decisions, first under the stewardship of Vince Russo and a few others, then through the WWE's terrible "Invasion" vanity trip.

However, as many Sitcom plots (and Botchamania) have implied, Professional Wrestling is very real in the sense that mistimed inexperience can leave someone seriously injured. Professional wrestlers are like stuntmen; they're acting out a scene, but physically, and with the chance of injury, not to mention they get no second takes. And whatever you may have heard, they do hit each other, although their moves are generally designed to seem much more devastating than they are, and they avoid harm whenever they feasibly can without it looking too obvious. A professional wrestler literally puts his life in his opponent's hands several times in a single match; the slightest misstep could result in a broken bone, a broken neck, paralysis, possibly even death. Don't Try This at Home.

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#6 Edited by stalefishies (411 posts) -

like soap operas, but sweaty

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#7 Posted by bigjeffrey (5282 posts) -

What isn't wrestling.

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#8 Posted by Yesiamaduck (2191 posts) -

*I find it hard to believe that someone from the UK doesn't know ANYTHING about wrestling.

But yeah basically a soap opera set around a worked fight.

Avatar image for k9
#9 Edited by k9 (653 posts) -

Watch this 30 minutes long mini documentary. Although it specifically focus on Japanese wrestling it will answer all of your basic questions:

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Good stuff. Recommended for all.

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#10 Posted by Demoskinos (17348 posts) -

@plewney: When they are talking about NWA they aren't talking about the rap group. NWA = National Wrestling Alliance its sort of a governing body for smaller independent promotions. Its been around for goddamn ever and the NWA belt has been held by some of the best of all time like Lou Thez, Harley Race, Ric Flair and Sting.

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#11 Posted by Justin258 (14484 posts) -

It's a bunch of sweaty men trying to get each other on the ground for ten seconds. There's some plot involved, but it's really only there to justify the sweat and pinning on the ground.

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#12 Posted by sammo21 (5401 posts) -

Soap operas for men (and women) that involve a mix of real and choreographed fights. There's a large level of goofiness to most of it and it also requires the watcher and audience to "buy in" to much of what is going on (you might have heard this referred to as "wrestling logic"). Having watched wrestling on and off for the past 23 years I can tell you that everything interesting in wrestling that could ever be done has been done and it has been done poorly in most cases.

Avatar image for mildmolasses
#13 Posted by MildMolasses (3200 posts) -

@plewney said:

'You can't see me'

I think you mean 'Not this'

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#14 Posted by Jaytow (793 posts) -

WWE has had huge success in the U.K, I don't understand the connection between being British and knowing nothing about wrestling. I'm English and I love it and have followed professional wrestling my entire life.

Avatar image for flstyle
#15 Edited by FLStyle (6284 posts) -

@plewney said:

Help, I'm from the UK and therefore have NO KNOWLEDGE OF WRESTLING WHATSOEVER.

I was completely lost while listening to the PowerBombcast this week, and if someone can just explain


Or even just something to explain what the difference is between WWF and WWE, why NWA are now wrestlers, and what are 'storylines'?

What I know from having a friend who watched WWF/WWE when we were kids is:

Wrestling is when you hit people

Action figures


The Rock

'You can't see me'

Spider-Man wrestling scene

Please help

Hello, I am The Rock, you may have seen me in films without hair, bigger muscles and lots more tattoos
Hello, I am The Rock, you may have seen me in films without hair, bigger muscles and lots more tattoos
  • The World Wifelife Fund sued World Wrestling Federation for the use of WWF, so they were forced to rebrand as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
  • NWA stands for National Wrestling Alliance, it's a governing body of sorts
  • Think of wrestling as sports crossed with Eastenders/Emmerdale/Coronation Street. Wrestlers get angry with each other and start a rivalry. The ending of matches are choreographed, pre-determined endings, but for the 10-20 minutes before the end they spend their time throwing each other about (which hurts) and pretending to punch each other in the face (which doesn't hurt).
  • The Rock is this guy, a wrestler who became a Hollywood action film star, you may have seen him in the Fast and Furious films, among others he's done
  • You can't see me is John Cena's catchphrase, wrestlers all have their own corny catchphrases in which they basically boast of their supposed superiority and make fun of their opponents supposed inferiority.
  • The most common ending to a match is by holding your opponents shoulders to the mat while the referee counts to 3.
  • PS. hundreds of thousands of UK people like me are knowledgeable of wrestling, I don't know where you got the idea that UK peoples don't.

Avatar image for noizy
#16 Posted by noizy (944 posts) -

It's a soap opera for men.

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#17 Edited by crusader8463 (14757 posts) -

It's theater. It's comic books come to life.

Avatar image for mike
#18 Edited by Mike (17338 posts) -
@noizy said:

It's a soap opera for men.

I was going to say it's like a bad soap opera for men. Well played.

I loved me some WWF when I was around 8-10 years old, though. Much like Santa Claus, it lost its appeal and mystique when I learned it wasn't real.

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#19 Posted by LTSmash (808 posts) -

The South Park episode about wrestling is pretty spot-on in its depiction.

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#20 Posted by bennym6 (479 posts) -
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#21 Posted by xite (970 posts) -

Stuntmen trying not to injure themselves.

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#22 Edited by diz (1254 posts) -

I remember the UK used to have wrestling on ITV every saturday afternoon during the 70's and 80's. British wrestling was huge in those days. Stars of the time included Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Kendo Nagasaki, Mick McManus, Pat "Bomber" Roach, etc.

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I recall being shocked at the famous unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki, as recorded in the above video.

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#23 Edited by noizy (944 posts) -

@mb: I didn't want to be redundant. I assumed bad was implicit to the term soap opera, like circular is to wheel.

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#24 Posted by Sinusoidal (3429 posts) -

I briefly wrestled. Had one show in a beer-drenched university auxiliary gymnasium. I was "Gunthar the Viking".

Wrestling is one of the last bastions of Vaudeville style performance in today's video game, TV-drama drenched society. It's all about creating an absolutely ridiculous spectacle, and a fucking boatload of fun for all involved! At least until the university shuts down your wrestling group because one of your wrestlers breaks an arm in practice. Dunno why, the stupid football players do it all the time, and they get ridiculous funding to do it. It is also entirely NOT for sissies. Shit might be fake, but it still fucking hurts.

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#25 Edited by TERMINATOR_FAN (28 posts) -

WWF Is wrestling that is fake however, a lot of the action in it is not fake. Such as the blood and the throwing and tossing each other around part.

The smack that wrestlers talk on one another is pure fake.

Avatar image for shagge
#26 Posted by ShaggE (8447 posts) -

An elderly woman gave birth to a hand. That, my friend, is wrestling.

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#27 Posted by alex (3508 posts) -

Wrestling is Life, but sweatier, and with more catchphrases.

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#28 Posted by lennyy (79 posts) -

@mister_v: I'm sorry for making it sound like people in the UK don't know wrestling, I just mean it's harder to get introduced to and in the situation I grew up in (Northern Ireland), there wasn't really anywhere for me to learn about it. Also, without Sky or anything, there was no TV service for me to watch it on.

@alex: I think that has actually enticed me.

Avatar image for SideburnGuru
#29 Edited by SideburnGuru (58 posts) -

It's still pretty entertaining today, tbh.

As long as you go in with a mentality that you understand that it's not real, but also smart enough to release some of the damage they're taking is, you should be fine. I've been a huge fan for years, but get ready for this idea that all wrestling fans are bloated, disgusting, morons because they enjoy something that others don't.

It's kinda sad.

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#30 Posted by LastThingYouSee (16 posts) -

I imagine you have an idea of what wresting is now though, and now that you know, what do you think?

I myself watch MMA and the UFC, but the pomp of wrestling has always turned me off, that and the male stripper aspect.

Avatar image for turboman
#31 Edited by turboman (9150 posts) -

this video is a decent way of capturing what Wrestling is if you're a fan. We also have our pro wrestling thread along with live chats during shows every week if you're interested in asking a bunch of questions.

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Avatar image for hadoken101
#32 Posted by Hadoken101 (1946 posts) -

@turboman: Man I had not seen that video before but that pretty much sums it all up perfectly.

Avatar image for flipperdesert
#33 Edited by FlipperDesert (2202 posts) -

I really wish I could find that Bombcast clip of Vinny talking about John Cena.


Avatar image for hatking
#34 Posted by HatKing (7275 posts) -

Well, when two grown men love each other very, very much and...

Avatar image for jasonr86
#35 Posted by JasonR86 (10178 posts) -

A way of life.