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Work, Shoot, and what's in between.

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Professional Wrestling slang is based off of old carny, as a way for wrestlers to communicate with each other without breaking the fourth wall, as it were. One of the most important words for the fandom to know is the word "kayfabe". Kayfabe is derived from the word fake and a bastardization of Pig Latin. Kayfabe is the the narrative, basically a word that acts the same as "Nasuverse" or whatevere verse. When talking about the reality of professional wrestling the first thing you need to know is kayfabe.

What I'm going to highlight today are two other very important words that pertain to kayfabe. Work, and shoot. A work is something that happens within the confines of kayfabe. Generally speaking if you ever see something on TV it's considered a work. It might not have been 100% planned out beforehand but everyone has a general idea of what's going to happen, how it's going to happen, etc. etc.

A shoot, on the other hand, is real. When the UFC first burst on to the scene in the 90's it was called shoot fighting, to differentiate itself from pro wrestling(note: it didn't work as well as you'd think). In modern times shoots are a very rare thing and are mostly in interview form. Shooting on someone in the ring is a very distasteful thing to do and can quickly get you blackballed from every paying organization.

And then there's the bastard child, the worked shoot. The worked shoot is a very very strange thing that not even the fans can really define well. The worked shoot is generally thought of as a scathing promo where the person lets you their true feelings, but its used as fodder for storylines and drama. The most famous example, now, of a worked shoot is CM Punk's summer tirade about Vince McMahon and John Cena.

However, there are also promotions, in Japan, that are based around the idea of everything being a worked shoot. Since Japanese promotions don't put a lot of stock into promos, this has to take place in the ring. And now all of a sudden we've entered into a very strange territory where not even fighters can tell if it's real or not. The UWF was probably the most famous of these promotions and also changed the face of Japanese Pro Wrestling for(in my opinion) the better. However the UWF folded three times over a decade ago, and now it's pretty obvious it was all a work. However, its legacy lived on in promotions like Fu-ten. Fu-ten took the formula and expanded it so much that it is almost sickening to think this is all a work.

One of the many accusations against pro wrestling has always been "SHIT'S FAKE BRAH!" but now, as we've seen, there's always a thin line in pro wrestling between what's fake and what's real. Beyond the general absurdity of the accusation(most things on TV are fake, yet we still watch them) there's only so much validity to it. I'm rambling on a bit now, but the point of this blog was to highlight that things are almost always more than they seem.


  1. Dark Pulse's Avatar
    To this day, some argue if the infamous Montreal Screwjob was a shoot or a worked shoot. I've seen validity to both sides. That said, I'm pretty firmly convinced it was a shoot.

    On the other hand, it's what solidly propelled the WWF into its second golden age - the "Attitude Era" - and it changed the face of wrestling as we knew it.

    But I'll probably always wonder whether it was real, or really the most successful trolling of the audience in the history of wrestling. Only a few men know for sure.
  2. KENTA's Avatar
    Both sides of the screwjob agree that it was a shoot, even though it paints every single one of them in a bad light. I'm inclined to believe them on that. If Bret Hart is saying something bad about Bret Hart, it's pretty much true. The man has an ego that's only rivaled by his 80's contemporaries.