Wrestling is a sport or contest in which two unarmed individuals struggle hand to hand with each other attempting to subdue or unbalance the other. Wrestling may consists of professional or amateur wrestlers. Widely recognized as the world's oldest competitive sport, amateur wrestling has featured in every Olympic games since its ancient conception.


The principal object of wrestling is to overcome the opponent either by throwing or pinning him to the ground or by causing him to submit. Submission occurs when one opponent put the other in a submission hold, a maneuver that locks the other wrestler into a painful position. Eventually he or she will signal to the referee that the pain is too great, and will simply give up.

A wrestler tries to pin his opponent to the mat. Wrestling requires a great deal of body and cardiovascular strength; individuals who want to wrestle professionally are also trained in technique at special wrestling schools.

A wrestler tries to pin his opponent to the mat. Wrestling requires a great deal of body and cardiovascular strength; individuals who want to wrestle professionally are also trained in technique at special wrestling schools.


WWE, Inc. is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling. As of 2016, it is the largest professional wrestling company in the world, reaching 36 million viewers globally, and broadcasts its shows in 30 languages to more than 150 countries.


The Greeks engaged in a form of wrestling that is known today as freestyle wrestling. The Roman Empire adopted elements of Greek wrestling with an emphasis on brute strength, which is known as Greco-Roman wrestling. It requires wrestlers to perform all moves on the upper body only. Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are the two international amateur forms practiced today in the Olympic Games. They have clear rules and weight classes. Points determine winners, and violations result in disqualifications.

In the United States, wrestling grew out of the traveling carnival strongman, who would challenge anyone to beat him in the ring, or even to last ten minutes. Challengers almost never won the prize money, since the strongman had helpers who would cheat to ensure his victory. Eventually, carnies realized they could make more money off the crowd than the entry fees of the fighters. They started accepting wagers on the fights that were always fixed. Sometimes, the local fighter was even in on the fix, helping to hype the fight. These wrestlers used fake names and played up the animosity of the crowd to encourage betting. In 1901, the National Wrestling Association (NWA) was formed.

After WWII, the NWA divided wrestling into regional leagues. The leading league was the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). By the 1980s, there was only one league in existence, World Championship Wrestling. Today, the WWE is the largest wrestling organization in the world.


WrestleMania is the Super Bowl of wrestling. It was first produced in 1985, and occurs annually in late March or early April as a professional wrestling payper-view event. All WrestleMania events are sold out within a short period of time, with recent editions being sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale. WrestleMania has also featured celebrity appearances with varying levels of involvement. In 2017, WrestleMania 33 took place in Orlando, Florida.


Wrestling, a sport in which two competitors attempt to throw or immobilize each other by grappling, may consist of professional or amateur bouts. Unlike amateurs, professional (pro) wrestlers are paid. Professional wrestlers also are more skilled. A sporting commission regulates amateur wrestling, but professional wrestling is intentionally unregulated. In its early days, wrestling fell under the state sporting commission authority. League owners soon realized that they could avoid the hassle by classifying their shows as entertainment, not a competitive sport.

Professional wrestling does have rules, however, the rules are loosely defined and loosely enforced. The skills of the wrestlers do not determine the outcome of the match. Instead, writers work on plots and storylines well in advance, and every match is another chapter in the story. Who wins and loses is all in the script. Professional wrestling matches are scripted, amateur matches are not.

Professional wrestling is in a boxing-like ring and it is scripted show for entertainment, for example WWE, TNA, and ROH. Amateur wrestling usually takes place on a gym mat in a one on one competition only. The outcome of matches are based on the athleticism of the wrestlers. Amateur wrestling matches are seen mostly in high schools, colleges, and the Olympics. In amateur wrestling, you cannot use pro wrestling moves. It is mostly about grappling and takedowns. At its highest level, professional wrestling is a combination of athletic display, scripted drama, and media spectacle.


To become a wrestler, one must attend wrestling school. There are several schools scattered throughout the United States and Canada. Tuition is usually a few thousand dollars, and the training is extremely difficult. There will be constant endurance and weight training, combined with endless repetition of falls, slams and throws. Once a prospective wrestler has completed wrestling school, his instructor will use his contacts to try to place him in the major promotions. There are no guarantees. However, many graduates have to pay their dues in smaller promotions and work their way to the top.

The good guy or heroin a wrestling angle. This is the wrestler the fans are supposed to cheer for. A babyface is also known as a face for short.
The object used by wrestlers to cut themselves. Also, a term used to describe wrestlers cutting themselves to get blood in their matches. This is done to add drama to a match.
The person who writes (books) the wrestling angles. The booker decides who wins and loses the matches.
Gimmick match—
A match with stipulations that differ from the normal rules (ex: steel cage match)
Engage in a close fight or struggle without weapons.
The bad guy or villain in a match.
House show—
An event that is not televised.
When league management directs the storylines to make a certain wrestler a big star.
The art of making your opponents moves look as though they hurt.
When something is done not according to the script. This can be either really trying to hurt your opponent or making comments out of character.
A fan that knows what goes on behind the scenes, but still enjoys watching the events.
A match in which a big name wrestles a nobody and beats him easily.
When a face becomes a heel or when a heel becomes a face.
Anything in wrestling that follows the bookers script. The opposite of a shoot.
Worked shoot—
A work that has some real-life elements in it. Anything in wrestling that follows the bookers script.

In the United States, high school and college wrestlers must wear a wrestling singlet, or a one-piece tight fitting spandex uniform; boots or shoes to prevent ankle injuries and to provide the best traction; kneepads are recommended; and mandatory headgear to protect the ears from cauliflower ear and other injuries. Wrestling is conducted on a padded mat that must have excellent shock absorption, tear resistance, and compression qualities. Most mats are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rubber nitrile foam. Recent advances in technology have brought about new mats made using closed cell, cross-linked polyethylene foam covered in vinyl backed with non-woven polyester.

Training and conditioning

To become a professional wrestler a person will need an overall strong body to be able to take punishment. One must have great cardiovascular strength, as well as just being in good shape one needs to be in “ring shape.” This means one should contact a professional wrestling school and sign up for wrestling lessons so one's body can get used to taking bumps from grappling and bouncing off the ropes.

Weightlifting is important to increase strength as much as. To get the best results in the weight room, compound, multi-joint exercises should be emphasized over single-joint, isolation type exercises. For most trainees, the only exercises that should be emphasized are variations of the squat, bench press, deadlift, military press, pull-ups, rows and dips. Research in the Journal Sports Medicine showed that lifting heavy weight for low reps has much more of a neural effect and is better for improving raw strength, while higher volume routines with less weight are better for building muscle. For a wrestler who wants to build strength but does not want to move up to a heavier weight class because of muscle gain, training with heavy weight in the low rep range is the superior option. Other training may include pushups and other strength and muscle-building exercises.



Wrestling can be a dangerous sport, and there are many risks associated with wrestling. For example:


Wrestling is one of the few sports that can be traced back to the beginnings of recorded history. There are cave drawings in France that are over 15,000 years old. Babylonians and Egyptians depict wrestling bouts where wrestlers are using most of the holds known to the modern-day sport. Today, people enjoy watching both professional and amateur wrestling. Some consider amateur wrestling more enjoyable because it does not include scripts, and according to some, is not fake. Nonetheless, wrestling is a sport that can build the strength and fame of the competitors, while providing entertainment for the viewers.



Albano, Captain Lou, et al. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro Wrestling. New York: Alpha Books, 2000.

Lentz III, Harris M. Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling. Jefferson: McFarland, 1997.

Strauss, Gerry Pro Wrestling: The Definitive Reference Guide. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2012.


“A Senate Run Brings Wrestling Into Spotlight.” The New York Times July 15, 2010.


WWE, 1241 E Main St., Stamford, CT, 06902, (203) 352-8600, http://www.wwe.com .

Karl Finley

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.