This article is about wrestling in the form of athletic entertainment. For wrestling in the form of combat sport, see Wrestling.
"Pro wrestling" redirects here. For other uses, see Pro wrestling (disambiguation).
A professional wrestling match in Sikeston, Missouri in May 1938, where two wrestlers grapple in a wrestling ring while a referee, dressed in white, looks on
|Descendant arts||Shoot wrestling|
|Originating culture|| United States|
|Originating era||19th century|
Professional wrestling is a dramatized athletic performance that portrays a combat sport. Taking the form of live events held by touring promotions, it is a unique style of combat based on a combination of adopted styles, which include classical wrestling, catch wrestling and various forms of martial arts, as well as an innovative style based on grappling (holds/throws), striking, and aerialism. Various forms of weaponry are sometimes used.
The content – including match outcomes – is scripted and choreographed, and the combative actions and reactions are performed to appear violent without injuring the wrestlers. Before the 1980s, these facts were considered trade secrets; in the mid-90s, the pretense that professional wrestling was 'real' was largely done away with. By and large, the true nature of the content is ignored by the performing promotion in official media in order to sustain and promote the willing suspension of disbelief for the audience by maintaining an aura of verisimilitude. Fan communications by individual wrestlers and promotions through outside media (i.e., interviews) will often directly acknowledge the fictional nature of the spectacle, making the predetermined nature of the sport something of an open secret. The presentation of scripted events as legitimate is known as "kayfabe".
Although the combative content is staged and communicated between the wrestlers, there are legitimate physical hazards involved - including permanent injury and death.
Main article: History of professional wrestling
Originating as a popular form of entertainment in 19th-century Europe and later as a sideshow exhibition in North American traveling carnivals and vaudeville halls, professional wrestling grew into a standalone genre of entertainment with many diverse variations in cultures around the globe, and is now considered a multimillion-dollar entertainment industry. While it has greatly declined in Europe, in North America it has experienced several different periods of prominent cultural popularity during its century and a half of existence. The advent of television gave professional wrestling a new outlet, and wrestling (along with boxing) was instrumental in making pay-per-view a viable method of content delivery.wiki link