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Professional Wrestling and Competition

Professional wrestling is a form of theater that revolves around staged wrestling matches. The performers play the roles of wrestlers competing for glory and honor in fictitious tournaments.

Professional wrestling in the United States began in the 19th century as a genuine competitive sport based on catch wrestling. Around the turn of the century, wrestlers began to script the outcomes of their matches and pulled their punches to make them less physically taxing, shorter in duration, and more entertaining. This allowed the wrestlers to perform more frequently, reduce the risk of injury, and attract larger audiences.

The wrestlers did not admit that their sport had become theater, a tradition that became known in America as kayfabe. The fans played along with the façade even though most of them could see that the combat was contrived. Professional wrestling became very popular while authentic wrestling became a marginal sport. The business model was imitated in other countries, with particular success in Mexico and Japan.

Professional wrestling matches

In many of these Professional wrestling matches, performers are often seen executing a series of pre-planned moves and attacks, ranging from grappling and throws similar to those found in traditional forms of wrestling to more spectacular stunts, sometimes involving props and special effects. The moves used during these matches are designed to appear dramatic whilst reducing the risk of serious injury as much as possible.

Overall, the performers aim to minimize the actual injurious impact of their moves while maximizing their entertainment value. Shows produced by some of the largest professional wrestling organizations are traditionally performed at indoor venues in front of live audiences and are video recorded for living or delayed broadcasting. Flagship events in this profession like WrestleMania are sometimes staged at outdoor venues. Many of the high-level productions from professional wrestling promotions such as WWE are televised for an audience all over the world. Additionally filmed scenes known as “segments” or “promos”, are usually used to accompany the drama in these shows.

Although professional wrestling started out as small acts in sideshows, traveling circuses, and carnivals, today it is a billion-dollar industry. Revenue is drawn from ticket sales, network television broadcasts, pay-per-view broadcasts, branded merchandise, and home video. Pro wrestling was instrumental in making pay-per-view a viable method of content delivery. Annual shows such as WrestleMania, Bound for Glory, Wrestle Kingdom, and formerly Starrcade are among the highest-selling pay-per-view programming each year. In the modern day, internet programming has been utilized by a number of companies to air web shows, internet pay-per-views (PPVs), or on-demand content, helping to generate internet-related revenue earnings from the evolving World Wide Web.


General structure

Matches are held between two or more sides (“corners”). Each corner may consist of one wrestler or a team of two or more. Most team matches are governed by tag team rules (see below). Other matches are free-for-alls, with multiple combatants but no teams. In all variants, there can be only one winning team or wrestler.

Matches are held within a wrestling ring, an elevated square canvas mat with posts on each corner. A cloth apron hangs over the edges of the ring. Three horizontal ropes or cables surround the ring, suspended with turnbuckles that are connected to the posts. For safety, the ropes are padded at the turnbuckles and cushioned mats surround the floor outside the ring. Guardrails or a similar barrier enclose this area from the audience. Wrestlers are generally expected to stay within the confines of the ring, though matches sometimes end up outside the ring, and even in the audience, to add excitement.


The standard method of scoring is the “fall”, which is accomplished by:

  • Pinning the opponent’s shoulders to the mat, typically for three seconds (though other times have been used)
  • Forcing the opponent to submit
  • Disqualification of the opponent
  • The opponent remaining outside the ring for too long (countout)
  • Knocking out otherwise incapacitating the opponent

These are each explained in greater detail below. Pinfalls and submissions must occur within the ring unless stipulated otherwise.

Most wrestling matches last for a set number of falls, with the first side achieving the majority number of pinfalls, submissions, or countouts being the winner. Historically, matches were wrestled to 3 falls (“best 2 out of 3”) or 5 falls (“best 3 out of 5”). The standard for modern matches is one fall. These matches have a time limit; if not enough falls are scored by the end of the time limit, the match is declared a draw. Modern matches are generally given a 10- to the 30-minute time limit for standard matches; title matches can go for up to one hour. British wrestling matches held under Admiral-Lord Mountevans rules consist of six three-minute rounds, with the thirty-second break between each round and can either be 2-Out-of-3 Falls or the wrestler with the most falls wins at the end of the final round.

Champions advantage

An alternative is a match set for a prescribed length of time, with a running tally of falls. The entrant with the most falls at the end of the time limit is declared the winner. This is usually for 20, 30, or 60 minutes, and is commonly called an Iron Man match. This type of match can be modified so that fewer types of falls are allowed.

In matches with multiple competitors, an elimination system may be used. Any wrestler who has a fall scored against them is forced out of the match, and the match continues until only one remain. It is much more common when more than two wrestlers are involved to simply go one fall, with the one scoring the fall, regardless of who they scored it against, being the winner.

In championship matches, this means that, unlike one-on-one matches (where the champion can simply disqualify himself or get himself counted out to retain the title via the Champion’s Advantage), the champion does not have to be pinned or involved in the decision to lose the championship. Heel champions often find advantages, not in Champion’s Advantage, but in the use of weapons and outside interference, as these poly-sided matches tend to involve no holds barred rules.


Wrestling Competition

A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position.

Let us discuss some of the basic terms that we are going to encounter frequently in a wrestling game.


Action − It is the referee’s command to the wrestlers to begin wrestling.

Arms control − Controlling the opponent’s arms.

Arm throw − A move in which a wrestler throws his opponent over his shoulder by holding the opponent’s arm.

Base − It is a good wrestling position where the wrestler lays on his hand and knees instead of his back or belly.

Bridge − This is a position the wrestler prevents his back from touching the mat.

Bridge out − This move is used to escape the opponent. The wrestler rolls onto a stomach from a bridge.

Breakdown − This is a move where one wrestler tries to put another wrestler on the mat upon his stomach or side.

Clamping −

This is a process of interlocking the arms around the opponent. The opponent must control his arms, hands, and wrists from clamping.

Default − This is a process of announcing the winner when the opponent is injured so badly that he cannot play the match or he does not appear for the bout when his name is called upon.

Decision − This term signifies winning a match by 1-7 points.

Disqualification − If any wrestler breaks the rules of the match, he is disqualified.

Escape − If any wrestler breaks the rules of the match, he is disqualified.

Pin − The process in which one forces the other’s shoulder blade to the mat.

Reversal − This is a move in which the wrestler who is underneath another, gains control over his opponent. This type of move fetches the wrestler two points.

Folkstyle − The process is the same as freestyle with more focus given on the control.

Greco-Roman − A very popular style of wrestling in which the wrestler can use his upper body and arms to hold or attack his opponent’s same part.

Illegal hold − At any point of the match if one wrestler pushes another with much force that is beyond the tolerable limit. It performs any action that hampers the normal breathing process of the opponent, then it is called an illegal hold.

Major Decision − This is a process of winning a match by 8-14 points.

Neutral position − It is the position where both wrestlers have lost control. Hence; from this position, the wrestlers try to take down each other.

Takedown − To gain control by putting down your opponent on the ground from a standing position. This action fetches the wrestler two points.

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