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What does ‘kayfabe’ mean? Explaining some of pro wrestling’s most confusing phrases

What does ‘kayfabe’ mean? Explaining some of pro wrestling’s most confusing phrasesDAZN

While professional wrestling is classed as sports entertainment, it still has its own collection of unique phrases.

These phrases often give better clarity to fans about certain decisions made the wrestlers and the dynamics of a particular match. 

Below, DAZN explains some of the more confusing phrases for both new and long-time fans of professional wrestling. 


When a wrestler convinces their audience that what they are seeing is real and not scripted in any fashion. One prime example was the Undertaker who portrayed himself to be a real man from the dead and never broke character. 


This is the hero or protagonist in a particular storyline, usually it's a wrestler which the fans cheer for. 


The opposite to a babyface, therefore it's a wrestler who is the villain in a specific storyline. 


This is a wrestler who generates a reaction from the fans. For the babyface an example would usually generate cheers from the crowd, while a heel would look to receive boos. 


The final match of a long-running feud. Often these have added stipulations to add extra jeopardy to a rivalry's climax. 


A word used to refer to a wrestler hitting the ground or mat, this can also apply to suplexes or falls off a ladder. 

Dark match

A match which takes place before or after the taping of a TV show. These can have two purposes, either hype up the crowd before the show starts or after as a bonus for the fans attending. 


The character traits which the wrestler implements when performing. These stretch to how they dress and perform in the ring regardless of their role in a storyline. 

These gimmicks can be based on reality or fiction. 


A wrestler who unfortunately has to always lose and make his opponents look good. 


A wrestling fan who treats what is happening as if it is unscripted. 


This occurs when a wrestler does not react to to an opponent's move. This could be a part of a gimmick or a sign of disrespect. 


The reaction a wrestler generates from the crowd. 'Pop' refers to a positive reaction, while 'heat' is a negative one. 


A crucial part of making wrestling look unscripted, it's how a wrestler reacts to an opponent's move. 


A wrestler going off-script and making something real, whether it be a speech or during an actual match. 


A scripted move or series of moves, usually pre-planned, and can have a huge effect on the structure of the match. 


A match where a wrestler beats another easily and in quick fashion. 


A wrestler who switches from babyface to heel or vice versa. 


A wrestler who is neither babyface or heel, and displays elements from both roles. Sometimes it can be a heel who is cheered by the crowd.