Professional wrestling

Professional wrestling is a form of performing art involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers with established character roles. Professional wrestling is not to be confused with the contact sports of amateur wrestling.[1] The wrestling matches are based on classical and "catch" wrestling, with modern additions of striking attacks, acrobatics, feats of strength, fast-moving athleticism and occasionally, improvised weaponry.[2] Professional wrestling also liberally incorporates melodrama. Much like some of the real prizefighters they imitate, the characters in professional wrestling have large egos, flamboyant personalities (often attached to a gimmick), and turbulent interpersonal relationships. These personas are scripted much like the matches. Performances mainly take place in a ring similar to the kind used in boxing.[3] In televised wrestling shows, many additional "backstage" scenes are also recorded to supplement the drama in the ring.[4]

Professional wrestling
A professional wrestling match in 1938: two wrestlers grapple in a wrestling ring while a referee (in white) looks on
Ancestor arts
Descendant artsShoot wrestling
Sports entertainment
Originating era19th century
A short video showing how a professional wrestling training session looks

Professional wrestling in the United States and the United Kingdom began in the 19th century and early 20th century as a genuine competitive sport based on Greco-Roman wrestling and later the more popular catch wrestling. Beginning in the early 1920s, wrestlers began choreographing some of their matches to make the matches less physically taxing, shorter in duration, and more entertaining. This allowed the wrestlers to perform more frequently and attract larger audiences. Authentic matches were still held into the 1930s but far less frequently. This business model was very successful and was imitated in other countries, with particular success in Mexico and Japan. Historically, professional wrestlers tended to have a strong background in amateur wrestling or catch wrestling, but this gradually faded over the years and promoters began attracting athletes from other sports. Modern day pro wrestlers do not necessarily need an amateur background to succeed in the sport.[5] However, many pro wrestlers still consider a solid amateur background to be beneficial before embarking on a professional career.[6]


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Professional wrestling, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.