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Uh, no, it's not that.[1]

File:Wwe-logo 5064.jpg

There we go.

WWE, formerly short for World Wrestling Entertainment, is a "Global Entertainment" juggernaut specializing in wrestling. Formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation, World Wide Wrestling Federation, and Capital Wrestling Corporation.

The company was created in 1952/1953 by Roderick "Jess" McMahon (1882-1954) and Raymond "Toots" Mondt (1894-1976) to promote wrestling matches in the New York City area. Vincent J. McMahon (1914-1984) took over in 1954, following the death of his father. Vincent expanded the company to cover the entire northeastern United States from Washington DC to Pittsburgh to Maine. Run by Vincent K. McMahon (1945-), the then-WWF revolutionized the pro wrestling world in the 1980s, using a series of closed-circuit broadcast events, colorful characters, and clever cross-promotion with MTV to transform wrestling from a regionalized industry with a series of small players in a loose confederation into its own private Idaho, and transforming themselves into a multi-billion-dollar global entertainment conglomerate.

Currently has two brands: WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown.

Tropes associated with the WWE

  • Aborted Arc: Happens not infrequently, owing to many storylines only being developed as they go along rather than pre-planned in their entirety; plus they are played out in a volatile live environment where participants can get injured mid-arc or otherwise fall from favour. Plots can be dropped abruptly due to an unfavourable initial response from higher-ups (like Vince McMahon), a change of writers, or unexpected audience reactions sending the wrestlers involved onto a different path or even through the Heel Face Revolving Door.
  • Action Girl: About half of the Divas qualify, among them Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool, and, when given half a chance, Nikki and Brie Bella.
    • Faux Action Girl: What the other half are, though the ratio is subject to change.
  • Affably Evil: Mick Foley, especially in his early years.
  • All-American Face: Hulk Hogan, Sergeant Slaughter [before and after his feud with Hulk Hogan], The Undertaker when he had his biker gimmick, John Cena, to the extreme. Subverted with Kurt Angle, JBL, and Jack Swagger.
  • Alliterative Name: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, Kofi Kingston, Michelle McCool, among others.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Billy & Chuck, until October 2002 when Chuck proposed to Billy and it was revealed a week later to just be a publicity stunt, giving Billy a CMOF when the reveal came.

  Billy: I'm not gay, and even if I was, I wouldn't marry Chuck.

  • And That's Terrible: If the Heels and the announcers didn't tell you who the heels were, most people wouldn't know who to boo.
  • The Artifact: Several finishers and hometowns no longer fit with their gimmicks. Most notable being Triple H, who started in the WWE as an upper-class blueblood, but since that is no longer his gimmick, his finisher (The Pedigree), his hometown (Greenwich, Connecticut), and even his ring name ("Triple H" refers to the initials of his original ring name, Hunter Hearst-Helmsley) don't fit. Though he really does live in Greenwich (but contrary to his original gimmick, wasn't born there).
    • Even more glaring is The Undertaker, who, in what is currently portrayed as an at-least-semi-realistic combat sports league, is Death himself.
    • Believe it or not, Stone Cold Steve Austin was once a Gorgeous George type with blonde hair. The name of his finishing move - the "Stunner" - is an oblique reference to this.
    • Ghanaian wrestler Kofi Kingston was initially billed as Jamaican, and his character's surname is the capital of Jamaica. It's now acknowledged that he's from Ghana, but the name has stuck.
  • Ash Face: During his first six years in the WWE, the "Big Red Monster" Kane never appeared in public with any part of his body uncovered; the story was that he'd gotten caught in a fire started in his parents' funeral parlor and had barely survived, and his burns were too horrific for the sight of "normal" humans. In 2003, however, he was finally forced to remove his trademark red-and-black mask - and revealed, instead of grotesquely pitted features, a comically mild-looking Ash Face. (It was made even funnier by the Raw commentators speculating on how ugly and deformed Kane would look.)
  • Ass Kicks You: Any wrestler who would use a butt-drop as a move, including Yokozuna, Earthquake, Doink the Clown, and Rikishi. Goldust would use a jumping butt attack (often called a butt-butt).
  • Ass Shove: The JR colonoscopy skits.
    • "The Rock is going to take (some object, usually his boot but other times whistles, a camera, the Smoking Skull championship belt, Curtis Hughes, et al), shine it up nice and pretty, turn that sumbitch sideways and stick it straight up your candy ass!"
    • Rikishi would use this to attack his oppenents after knocking them down in the ring turnbuckles, shoving his own ass in their faces in a move dubbed "The Stink Face."
  • Attack of the Political Ad: In 2004, Mick Foley thought the big giant screens seen at political conventions resembled the Titantron, and since politics was, in his eyes, an imitation of the WWE, he figured maybe the WWE could imitate politics. This resulted in a pitch to Vince McMahon for an angle where Randy Orton would do political attack ads against Mick Foley. "Mick Foley claims to be a hardcore legend, but is he really?" McMahon laughed and approved the idea for storyline in early 2004.
  • Author Appeal: It's no secret Vince seems to think tall, very muscular men make the ideal wrestler, so it's no surprise those types are often the champion. Just ask Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Triple H, to name a few.
  • Author Avatar: The McMahon family (and to an extent, Triple H, who married into the family)
  • Bad Boss: Vince McMahon. In fact it's the entire premise for his onscreen persona.
    • Eric Bischoff, as RAW general manager, certainly fit this trope, as did Paul Heyman as both SmackDown general manager and ECW chairman. Longtime SmackDown general manager Teddy Long, however, is an inversion: He tolerates no disrespect or Loophole Abuse by the heels. The anonymous RAW general manager was a bit of a mixed bag, as was Triple H. The current RAW general manager, John Laurinaitis, also fits the trope.
  • Badass: WWE's resident go-to Badass is Mark Callaway, better known as The Undertaker (see his Crowning Moment of Awesome entry). Come Hellfire or Vince McMahon, this man lives for the fans, and he's respected for it.
  • Badass Beard:
  • Badass Family: The Guerreros, the McMahons, The Samoans, the Harts/Neidharts.
  • Badass Grandpa: Ric Flair, Undertaker, Batista (in Real Life, no less), occasionally Mr. McMahon.
  • Badass Longcoat: Undertaker, Edge
  • Badass Long Hair: It seems that every wrestler from the eighties and nineties had this, especially amongst the Kliq: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and though the look might have seemed to be a passing vogue, most stuck with it. There are a number of newer wrestlers that have it too, like John Morrison.
  • Bald of Awesome: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg.
  • Bad Mood As an Excuse: Used in excess by heel characters. Face characters aren't immune to this either. In general, it's dangerous to your well being to be around a wrestler when they're frustrated.
  • Beard of Evil: Played straight with the early '00s Triple H.
    • Subverted with Justin Gabriel, post-Corre breakup in 2011; also subverted by Daniel Bryan.
    • Though as of January 2012, Bryan's most definitely playing this straight.
  • Big Bad: Vince McMahon, nearly constantly. In the year 2006, he took this Up to Eleven by paying off a bewilderingly diverse Carnival of Killers (Shelton Benjamin, the Spirit Squad, Chris Masters, and Umaga just to name a few) to either convert to McMahonism, rid WWE of D Generation X, or both. In fact, practically every heel on RAW (and even some from Smack Down! and ECW) were either on the take or pressed into working for Mr. McMahon.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Sometimes people such as Rey Mysterio, Jr. or Maryse will cut part of a promo in their native language, or sometimes the whole thing.
    • Inadvertently inverted by Maryse on the 09.27.2010 edition of RAW: she and Ted Di Biase Jr. received a piece of paper with "next week, you will be mine" written on it. Maryse read it in french first, saying: "la semaine dernière, tu étais à moi", which translates as "last week, you were mine", which is not what was written, and probably made many French-speaking fans weep.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Admittedly, pretty much every character in WWE has been a heel at some point during his or her career. Rey Mysterio is the only prominent figure who even comes close to being a true Mary Sue character.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Hulk Hogan for most of his career, Triple H and John Cena at times.
    • The Ultimate Warrior was arguably the worst offender. How many times did you EVER see the Ultimate Warrior put someone over clean?
      • Answer for most fans: zero times.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It's extremely rare that they actually do this, rather than just Leaning on the Fourth Wall, but it finally happened (pretty much) in NXT season 3. During Goldust and Aksana's wedding, Michael Cole wondered aloud why Goldust was getting along with his brother after seemingly hating him previously, and Josh Matthews responded with "You know this is fake, right?" After a few seconds of mock-disbelief, they went right back into taking the ceremony pseudo-seriously. NXT in general has increasingly begun to break or lean on the fourth wall, whether it's through commentary or someone like Dolph Ziggler mockingly accusing a challenge of being rigged and Matt Striker simply answering with "Ya think?" The pros at their seats are also generally not in character and so it's not uncommon to see the various heels and faces chatting or otherwise doing something unrelated to the show.
    • Before that at the first One Night Stand pay-per-view Paul Heyman gave a speech that started as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as he thanked the loyal ECW fans then turned into a fourth wall destroying "The Reason You Suck" Speech and general Take That to the WWE members that had "invaded" the show.
    • During his shoot promo, CM Punk briefly made reference to the fourth wall, even going so far as to waving directly to the camera. Since then, his character has given him the freedom to escape the confines of the show's premise any time he wants.

  CM Punk: Woops, I'm breakin' the fourth wall!

  • Break the Cutie: Done very, very cruelly with Mickie James. There's a reason that more than one wrestling publication called that angle pretty much a humiliation for the industry.
  • Breakup Breakout: The WWWF was the first major wrestling company to break ties with the NWA and declare its own world champion. Flash-forward to today and the WWE is a billion-dollar industry while the NWA barely exists.
    • Anytime a tag team break up and one of the wrestlers does better than the other. The most prominent example is Shawn Michaels after the break up of The Rockers. Marty Janetty was the former tropenamer for this reason.
  • Brick Joke: During the 900th episode of Raw, Edge referred to Sheamus as Beaker. On the Halloween 2011 episode of Raw, Sheamus came face to face with Beaker. Turns out they're cousins.
  • Butt Monkey: Santino Marella.
    • Chavo Guerrero. Because there's nothing more humiliating than jobbing to Hornswoggle over and over and over again. Or doing it while wearing an eagle costume.
      • When his uncle Eddie Guerrero (who was like an older brother to him) died, and the company engaged in about a year of what fans derisively refer to as "Eddiesploitation", it was Rey Mysterio who got the big push as Eddie's successor. Despite the fact that Mysterio and Eddie had little connection beyond both being Hispanic and having feuded several times in the past.
        • It's been said that Chavo was offered the big push before Rey, but turned it down.
    • Two words: Michael. Cole.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Kaientai from the "Attitude Era". They were EEEEEVVVIIILLLL!!!! INDEED!!!
    • "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase made many Batman villains look subdued, for crying out loud. ("Everyone's got a price! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!")
    • Most heels during the 80's and early 90's would count.
  • Catch Phrase: And how! Check out the Character Page for examples.
  • Channel Hop: Raw went from the USA Network to TNN/Spike TV (2000-2005), and back to USA.
  • Character Development
  • Chew Toy: The Spanish Announcers Table, which seems to exist solely so wrestlers can take bumps through it.
  • Cool Mask: Kane (until he was unmasked), Rey Mysterio, Jr.., Mankind.
  • Cool Shades: Edge, John Morrison, Bret Hart.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Too many to count, but most obvious was Vince and Shane McMahon.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Happens from time-to-time. Usually, between an incoming Big Bad and a Jobber.
    • Occasionally subverted too. Drew McIntyre made his debut like a standard jobber (starting in the ring with no entrance)... only to end up squashing the superstar he was facing and declaring himself the Chosen One.
    • This was taken Beyond the Impossible in the Rey Mysterio vs JBL match at Wrestlemania 25. Rey Rey won the match in a matter of seconds.
    • Ultimate Warrior made a career out of them.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Attitude Era, the period in the late 1990s and early 2000s where the product was loaded with ultra-violence and sex appeal.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Undertaker, if he's a face.
    • 'Taker is currently rivaled in this department by Randy Orton. Despite being known as "The Viper" and hardly ever smiling, he gets enormous cheers from the fans. It must have been a Draco in Leather Pants transition.
      • A popular theory about Orton's popularity is that he reminds fans of Stone Cold Steve Austin. He dresses in similar clothing (black boots and trunks), has a snake-like nickname (The Viper compared to Austin's Texas Rattlesnake), works a slow, deliberate "no-frills" style similar to Austin's and his finisher, the RKO bears a passing similarity to Austin's Stone Cold Stunner. Orton, coincidentally (or perhaps deliberately) has since shaved his head and begun using the Lou Thesz Press.
    • Stone Cold Steve Austin fits as well. He's a Type V Antihero (hero in name only) who dresses in dark colors, drinks beer, attacks people unprovoked (sometimes even Divas, civilians and the elderly) and is generally loathsome... He then turned that dial up to 11 and exacerbated this behavior as part of a Face Heel Turn; despite the announcers screaming how reprehensible these actions were, and the other wrestlers condemning him, fans continued to cheer him simply because he was Stone Cold Steve Austin. As a result, his turn never quite took and he was turned back relatively quickly.
  • Day in The Limelight: Everyone - and I mean everyone - gets one in WWE. Don't believe me? Just ask Hornswoggle.
  • Deep South: Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Jesse and Festus, Jamie Noble.
    • Also, Jeff and Matt Hardy to a certain extent.
    • Florida-born Michelle McCool is sort of a bitchy Southern belle as a heel.
    • Hillbilly Jim (and his "kin"), full stop. Ditto the Godwins.
  • Designated Villain: Some of the heels who get the most negative reactions from audiences are really more annoying or misguided than truly evil. Jillian Hall (whose only real crime is having an atrocious singing voice and not realizing it) is a perfect example. If such a heel is booked to be part of an important or semi-important storyline, the writers will usually have him or her quickly kick dogs.
  • Discontinuity Nod: In a 2007 promo on Raw, Shawn Michaels and Triple H took shots at the infamous Katie Vick angle.

 Shawn Michaels: I don't know who writes this garbage, but this is the worst debacle since that whole Katie Vick thing years ago!

    • CM Punk also took shots at Katie Vick in an episode of Raw.

 CM Punk: Just look it up on Youtube, and it'll drive you to drink, and then you can come to me and I'll save you!

    • Amidst the bizarrely entertaining hodgepodge of half-intentional comedy that is NXT season 3, there have been at least a few of these; for example, during the Goldust/Aksana wedding, Michael Cole said of the minister "Is that Al Wilson?" (See Out with a Bang below.)
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Very popular with heels, and often a starting point for a feud. Faces aren't exactly innocent of using this either.
  • The Dragon: Shane O'Mac to his father Vince when both are heels. Alternatively (or perhaps at the same time), Vince will use a top heel wrestler as this. The best example is The Rock when he was the "Corporate Champion".
  • Dragon Ascendant: The Rock in the Nation of Domination and Triple H in D Generation X.
  • Dumb Muscle: Often played straight, with a cocky heel accompanied by large, silent, not-especially-bright Mooks – but sometimes subverted: some very muscular wrestlers like Batista, Bobby Lashley or Triple H, although not being geniuses, aren't stupid either.One of Triple H's Red Barons is even "The Cerebral Assassin". Of course, with a cast composed mostly of well-fit adult men and complex drama needing intelligent characters, an aversion of this trope was inevitable.
  • Enemy Mine: Virtually a given in any Triple Threat Match. Is especially funny in the Royal Rumble Match, particularly in 2005 when Muhammad Hassan tried to participate. He didn't last too long.
    • The build up to Team WWE vs. The Nexus at Summerslam 2010 involved John Cena and Bret Hart forging a fragile alliance with Edge and Chris Jericho. In a matter of weeks, Edge and Jericho would join the team, quit the team, and rejoin six days before the match. The only thing that kept the team together was mutual hate for Nexus, and it only lasted until Edge and Jericho's eliminations from the team.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Kelly Kelly. There was more than a little Les Yay evident when Candice Michelle enthusiastically accepted Kelly's invitation to join her in an ECW dance performance. Before that, Trish Stratus.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: John Morrison and Shawn Michaels, notably.
  • Evil Is Petty: Often used to gain heel heat, especially if said heel isn't getting the right kind of audience reaction. Kurt Angle once tried every offense tactic in the book in one promo "and these people still cheer for him"!
  • Evil Laugh: Ted DiBiase Sr., full stop.
  • Expy: Some of the next generation of wrestlers like Randy Orton and John Morrison seem a bit like they're a call back to previous superstars. Randy as mentioned above has crossed into Steve Austin territory while John Morrison wouldn't seem too far out of place alongside Shawn Michaels.
  • Face Heel Turn: A standard procedure. Often used to start a new storyline or to advance an old one.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: The Rock's The People's / Corporate Eyebrow
  • Fat Bastard: King Kong Bundy, Earthquake, Yokozuna, Bastion Booger, Rikishi, Big Daddy V to name a few.
  • Five Moves of Doom: Trope Namer is Bret Hart, though the Trope Codifier is John Cena and an Ur-Example is Hulk Hogan.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Played straight with Kamala, Vladimir Kozlov, William Regal, the Great Khali, practically every Canadian heel ever, and Finlay when he was heel. Averted by the likes of Kofi Kingston, Yoshi Tatsu and Finlay as a face, but played so straight with practically everyone of foreign extraction ever seen in WWF/E at some point in their careers, it's become one of Vinnie Mac's defining tropes - not that it's ever been confined to WWE, of course. Even applied to wrestlers who are not actually foreign or even of the same racial background as the character portrayed, providing they don't need to speak a lot - e.g. Jimmy Yang, a Korean-American, played Tajiri's Mook 'Akio' in a Japanese stable (some time before he subverted this trope by becoming 'Jimmy Wang Yang', a 'foreign'-looking chap who happens to act like he's a cowboy, which is therefore amusing), or Yokozuna, a quasi-'Japanese' Polynesian wrestler played by Rodney Anoai of the great Samoan wrestling dynasty. Many of this family have been presented as semi-savages when their ethnic background is recognized, from the Wild Samoans to Umaga. The Canadian Bret Hart got massive heel heat in America by proclaiming his home country's superiority, yet simultaneously retained a fanatically loyal Canadian fanbase that kept the Hitman face north of the border – which presumably made his opponents Evil Foreigners from a Canadian perspective. Years later, the various incarnations of La Resistance were always Evil Foreigners (whether billed as from France or Quebec, except for one delirious babyface night in Montreal), which led to the absurd commentary habit of referring to them as first "French sympathizers" and subsequently "Quebec sympathizers" – prompting some mystification amongst those who had missed the exact point at which the USA or indeed WWE had declared war on France and Quebec...
    • The WWE had always been rather supportive of the armed forces (witness Tribute to the Troops). That might explain it.
    • Subverted when WWE did the stupid "Kerwin White" gimmick with Chavo Guerrero, showing him pretending to want to be a stereotypical preppy white dude. Probably the one good thing about his Uncle Eddie's death is that this gimmick died with him. (It should be noted that both Eddie and Chavo were/are American.)
    • As of 2010, WWE has toned down their usage of this trope - WWE now has a plethora of foreigners (such as Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Justin Gabriel), and while many of them are heels, none of them are evil because they are foreign - each has a full-on heel gimmick to get heat.
    • And as of 2012, an equal number of foreigners who are face. As with the heels, they're the good guys with their own characters rather than using their foreigner status as their sole defining feature.
    • However, recently, the wheel is turning back as Alexander Rusev that, despite being bulgarian, praises Russia and demeans the United States at each opportunity, not helped by his name beginning with "Rus". Ironically, the moment he stops talking about America and begins to wrestle, people cheer him.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: Averted, when UPN moved SmackDown! to Friday nights, and again, when it switched to My Network TV, the WWE aggressively promoted the show, and it more or less retained their audience.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Gangrel. (He never really got the stardom to be a face or a heel.) Kevin Thorn would later adopt the vampire gimmick.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Let's see: Irwin R. Shyster, the wrestling taxman...Henry O. Godwin and Phineas I. Godwin, wrestling swine-farmers, Montel Vontavious Porter, the Captain Ersatz for Terrell Owens, Rosey the Super Hero In Training.
  • Genre Shift: NXT went from being a show of finding the next breakout star, full of challenges and the like, to become sort of a third brand in 2012 after they had abandoned the Challenges some months prior. It's being broadcasted on, so not many are aware of this.
  • Geodesic Cast: The Brand Extension to Raw and Smackdown (and briefly ECW).
  • The Giant: Andre the Giant, Kevin "Diesel" Nash, The Big Show and The Great Khali, and to a lesser extent, Kane, and The Undertaker.
  • Gimmick Matches
  • Hammerspace: Under the ring is pretty much this. In addition to the fact that pretty much anything can be found underneath it, Hornswoggle lives under it in Kayfabe. And DX once had to go under it as part of a storyline where Hornswoggle sued them, discovering an entire building under the ring populated by people of Hornswoggles size. This was previously mentioned by JBL, but no one believed him...
  • Heel Face Revolving Door
    • Rosa Mendes seems more fit to be heel than face, but she can't even keep to any alignment beyond a few weeks anymore.
  • Heel Face Turn: This is pretty common among the main-eventers, as fans start to want to cheer for a fascinating heel and the company decides on capitalizing it by making his character more sympathetic.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Vince McMahon as the Higher Power in 1999. Triple H hijacking Test's kayfabe wedding to Stephanie McMahon (and push) in the same year.
    • Stone Cold Steve Austin getting run over by a car driven by Rikishi: Triple H was revealed as the mastermind out of nowhere a few months into the feud.
      • Rikishi did it for the Rock. He did it for the people.
  • Ho Yay: A whole page worth barely scatches the surface
  • I Ate What?: Al Snow's "Pepper steak".
  • I Have Many Names: Most of the wrestlers have had more than one name (or at least more than one gimmick) during their runs. The company itself has gone through this. From Capitol Wrestling Corporation to World Wide Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Entertainment to WWE, Inc.
  • Idiot Ball: The most frequently-occurring case is when a wrestler completely switches focus from the opponent they have lying on the mat to yell at someone (either the ref, or whomever came to the aid of their opponent) in the opposite direction or outside the ring. 9 times out of 10, this results in them turning and walking straight into the opponent's finisher; the remaining 1 is a successful roll-up.
  • Informed Ability: NXT rookie Michael Tarver hasn't knocked anyone out in '1.9 seconds' on screen yet.
    • Now subverted with the NXT riot. His first victim? John Cena.
  • Insistent Terminology: Professional wrestling soon gave way to "Sports Entertainment" and, as of 2010, "Live Entertainment."
    • As mentioned by Joey Styles, WWE's insistence upon calling the wrestlers "Superstars" (Which, to be fair, they have done since the 80s.)
    • Taken to the next level when TV Week wrote a press release about Drew Carey being inducted into the "Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame" and the WWE demanded the headline be changed because it included the words "Pro Wrestling". Read more about it here.
      • Although to be fair, the WWE Hall of Fame does not represent the industry as whole so there were likely more reasons beyond simply the terminology.
  • Jobber: In the 1990s, it was Barry Horowitz. Also, Al Snow and the "J.O.B. Squad". Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler, was the traditional "virgin-slayer" in the 80s and 90s, just about everyone who wasn't jobbing got their first win over him. In 2008 Colin Delaney lost so often, losing actually became his gimmick.
  • Kid Appeal Character: Rey Mysterio and John Cena, Jeff Hardy to a lesser extent.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: This Christmas promo for and the Elimination Chamber playset. CMOF for Shawn Michaels.
  • Lame Comeback: Very often, a face and a heel will converse and the face will mock and insult the heel. And virtually every single time, the heel will either respond with spluttering outrage or by saying some variation of "You think you're pretty funny, huh?"
  • Lampshade Hanging: posted this job opening for the RAW General Manager position when it was vacant in-universe in late 2011.
  • Laxative Prank: Eddie Guerrero did this to The Big Show using a bagful of spiked burritos.
  • Le Parkour: John Morrison practices this both in-ring and outside.
  • Lighter and Softer: Since WWE's free shows became rated TV-PG, starting in 2009. The pay-per-views were rated TV-14, until the Hell in a Cell PPV, which was rated TV-PG.
    • The addition of little-person wrestler Hornswoggle and his inclusion in many storylines seemed to come at the very beginning of this new phase of the WWE's existence. Needless to say many fans don't seem to like the overly cartoony matches he's involved in very much.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Many, many instances. Triple H, especially, loves this one.
    • During most of the backstage segments that aren't direct promos or interviews, most superstars don't acknowledge that there is a camera crew right there in the room with them. They'll sometimes openly discuss secret plans as if they were the only ones in the room and the people who's backs they're sneaking behind couldn't just watch the show later on DVR. Kane is a notable exception; towards the end of most backstage skits he's in, he'll give an evil stare directly into the camera.
    • NXT season 3. The show was due to be "cancelled" mid-season in order to bring Smackdown to the Sy Fy network, and WWE apparently took this as an opportunity to launch into full-blown self-referential insanity, especially at the commentary table. Michael Cole constantly derided the show as being terrible and "quit" at one point. He was briefly replaced by CM Punk, which resulted in an episode where the commentary (aside from seeing a substantial increase in quality) reached a nearly Mystery Science Theater 3000 level of mocking, and it stayed right around that level ever since. In addition to just trashing the show in general, the commentary frequently danced around kayfabe.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There is a reason we have Raw and Smackdown, as well as NXT. And if one where to check out their Alumni page on Wikipedia you see how many have been employed at one point or another.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Mick Foley's four wrestling personas - Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind and himself - are all completely separate characters.
    • Note: Unlike Isaac Yankem DDS and Kane, say, who were played by the same person but are totally separated characters, it is openly acknowledged that Foley is one guy in 4 roles. It was even Lampshaded when he once entered a Royal Rumble match three times (he wasn't working under his own name at the time), once for each persona.
  • Loser Leaves Town: The Career Threatening Match forces a wrestler to leave the company if he loses said match. Comes in numerous variants, including the Exactly What It Says on the Tin 'Loser Gets Fired' match.
  • Loud Gulp: Vince McMahon has turned this into an art.
  • MacGuffin Melee: For a while the Hardcore Title was defended on the "24/7 rule." Anybody could challenge for the belt at any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter what the champ was doing, as long as they had a WWF ref to call the match. Frequently the new champ would then be attacked by one of his friends, who would win the belt only to be challenged in turn, and so on.
    • The 24/7 thing came to an end when Crash Holly was at a bar and a random wrestling fan tried to pin him and win the Hardcore Title. WWE quickly dropped the idea after that incident.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Edge and Triple H, and sometimes Mr. McMahon.
  • Manipulative Editing: Used in-universe for a John Laurinitis "People Power" video package for Over The Limit 2012 in the style of a business commercial. John Laurinatis, the heel authority figure who is routinely booed, is made to look like a well-loved politician as the praises of People Power are sung by the charts and voice-over.
  • Melee a Trois: Triple Threat Matches and Fatal x-Ways, usually. Upped to "always" when a title's on the line.
  • Misplaced Accent: Kofi Kingston is from Ghana (West Africa) but was initially billed as 'Jamaican' and used an accent approximately more like he's from Jamaica.
  • Mook: If Vince McMahon is a heel, pretty much every heel can be considered this, since he can summon them whenever he wants. To a lesser extent, a lower-level heel authority figure or even main heel wrestlers can use lower card heels this way, especially if they have a Power Stable that's larger than a Five-Bad Band.
  • Named by Democracy:The fans were asked to name every program on the WWE Network. Also how Air Boom got their name.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Yes, we DO know that it's fake, thank you. You can stop informing us.
  • Never My Fault: Commonplace. A heel can never accept they lost a match legitimately, they will accuse their opponent of using illegitimate tactics or manipulating a weakness. Can often lead into another feud arc if they blame their loss on an ally involved (and usually try beat that point into them).
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Stone Cold Steve Austin pretty much codified the trope for Professional Wrestling, let alone WWE. He was followed by Bikertaker, The Rock (as a face) and Triple H's non-DX face character.
  • Not Using the W Word: WWE is notorious for frequent attempts to distance itself from the concept of wrestling; instances include (but are not limited to) billing itself as "Sports Entertainment" rather than 'professional wrestling', press releases to magazines playing the trope straight, exclusively referring to wrestlers as "Superstars" rather than 'wrestlers', referring to Fans as "the WWE Universe"; and, most lately, discarding its own name (World Wrestling Entertainment) – 'WWE' is now officially not an acronym, the company is purely named as WWE.
    • Zigzagged now; the word "wrestler" is part of WWE Champ CM Punk's Insistent Terminology, and WWE has relented somewhat on the policy, reportedly due to falling ratings.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sheamus' justification for helping John Cena in an episode of Raw.
  • Out with a Bang: Al Wilson, in what's probably an angle most people have repressed.
  • Overly Long Gag: Admit it - the fans shouting out "WHAT!?" grates on the nerves, seeing as Stone Cold (who started it up) has long been largely out of the picture, and it was only 'relevant' during his brief heel run a decade ago.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Invoked by John Laurinaitis with "People Power".
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Rey Mysterio, Jr. may be short, but he's also noticeably quicker than the vast majority of the guys he wrestles against. He's held his own against more than his share of big guys.
  • Playing with Fire: Kane; the Inferno Match; occasionally the wrestlers' pyros.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Inverted by Muhammad Hassan. Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises was a straight example. Kerwin White was the most extreme.
  • Poke the Poodle: One storyline had Tyson Kidd feuding with Yoshi Tatsu. Tyson's claim to villain/big heel act to get Yoshi angry? He broke Yoshi's action figure.
  • Power Stable: Some examples:
  • Religion of Evil:
  • Ring Oldies: Finlay is 49 years old. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are 45 years old. Triple H is 41 years old. Hulk Hogan is 58. However, special mention goes to Ric Flair who (after "retiring" at 59) wrestles past the age of 61.
    • None of them can hold a candle to The Fabulous Moolah, who won a match on her 80th birthday.
    • Or Mae Young who took a table bump (to clarify for non-fans, that means getting smashed through a table) from the Dudleys in her 80s... and who claims to have a standing invitation to wrestle Vince McMahon's (currently preschooler) granddaughter, Aurora Levesque, on Mae's 100th birthday.
      • Mae Young will turn 100 in the year 2023, at which point young Aurora will be sixteen plus change. So... plausible?
  • Still the Leader: Faarooq, after The Rock took over leadership of the Nation.
  • Suplex Finisher: Somewhat surprisingly, very few wrestlers use a suplex as an actual finishing move. The most notable examples are probably Mr. Perfect's Perfectplex and the T-Bone Suplex of Shelton Benjamin. There's also, to some extent, Goldust's Final Cut, Goldberg's Jackhammer and Al Snow's Snowplow brainbuster. Notable examples where a variety is used as the direct set-up for a finisher include Eddie Guerrero's Three Amigos twisting snap suplexes (for the Frog Splash), and the trifecta of German suplexes often used by Chris Benoit (for the Diving Headbutt) and Kurt Angle.
  • Take That: During the Monday Night Wars, and against those who left the WWE on bad terms.
  • Tears of Joy: Whenever someone wins their first championship.
  • Third Person Person: The Rock says that The Rock hasn't been mentioned yet!
  • Took a Level In Badass: Quite a few examples...
    • Jeff Hardy, full stop. When he and his brother Matt debuted in the company in the late 1990s, they lost every single one of their matches for a while. Ten years later, Jeff won the WWE Championship.
    • The Miz transformed over time from a clownish Dirty Coward to a legitimately threatening heel. When he became WWE Champion in November 2010, it's a bit surprising that the entire universe didn't explode as a result.
    • Many of the Divas make this list:
      • Stacy Keibler - After more than three years of mostly being used as eye candy, Stacy finally got a push of sorts in October 2004 when she pinned Molly Holly to become Number One Contender to Trish Stratus's Women's Championship. Although she didn't win her one-on-one with Stratus, Keibler got a second opportunity soon afterward when she entered a seven-woman Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday and made it two-thirds of the way through before getting eliminated by Holly.
      • Candice Michelle - She will go down in history as the first Diva Search contestant (2004) to win the Women's Championship. She accomplished this in June 2007, when she pinned then-champion Melina Perez at the first-ever Night Of Champions. She held the title for nearly four months, finally losing it to Beth Phoenix.
      • Maria Kanellis - Another 2004 Diva Search contestant, she started out as a "dim-witted" backstage interviewer for comic relief on Monday Night Raw. She made occasional forays into the ring over the next few years, finally becoming more or less a full-time wrestler in 2008. That's when she became the first Diva to pin Beth Phoenix since Phoenix had won the Women's Championship (though the match was non-title, and Kanellis needed some help from Candice Michelle to score the win). Kanellis and Phoenix met again at WrestleMania XXIV in a tag-team match that also included Ashley Massaro and Melina Perez, and Kanellis almost certainly would have pinned Phoenix clean if it hadn't been for interference by Santino Marella.
      • Kelly Kelly - She joined the relaunched ECW on SciFi in June 2006 as an exotic dancer ("exhibitionist," to use her term) with practically no wrestling skills. After just over a year of training, she began to appear in the ring sporadically and then full-time after being drafted to Monday Night Raw in 2008. She appeared in back-to-back (2008 and 2009) Divas' Elimination Matches at Survivor Series, eliminating two Divas between them. Finally, she won the Divas' Championship from Brie Bella on June 20, 2011, after being voted Number One Contender by the fans.
      • Trish Stratus - Yes, believe it or not, she belongs on this list too. Seven time Women's Champion, who started out as a valet for T&A and eye candy for Vince McMahon, and who was initially so bad in the ring that she could botch a catfight. In fact, much like how WWE saw its tag team division moreso as a Breakup Breakout factory than anything else over time ever since Shawn Michaels went from one of the Rockers to one of the greatest of all time, WWE's insistence on turning models into wrestlers is largely due to this trope working so well for Trish.
    • John Cena went from a comic-relief white-boy rapper to possibly the biggest face in the federation. Key moments in the transition included marking his return from injury by lifting Rikishi above his head, and slapping Vince in the face.
  • Too Many Halves: Montel Vontavius Porter: "I am half-man, half-amazing, half-tag-team-champion... I'm so great, I'm the only man on Earth with three halves!"
  • Too Soon: The Muhammad Hassan angle on SmackDown, Who Killed Mr. McMahon?
    • Although the latter is more of a "too early", considering the circumstances.
      • Both were. The Hassan angle was filmed before the July 7th bombings, it was only aired after them.
  • Trash The TitanTron: Happens each time when the WWE upgrades its TitanTron. For example, on an episode of Raw in 2007, Triple H throws his sledgehammer at the TitanTron to make way for the current TitanTron HD set used on Raw, SmackDown, ECW, and Superstars.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm:
    • Vickie Guerrero.
    • John Laurinaitis.
    • Really, most times Vince asserts his authority.
  • Unrelated Brothers:
    • Long-time childhood friends Edge and Christian. Whose being kayfabe brothers in the past is no longer acknowledged.
    • Wrestling/Kane and The Undertaker.
  • Unperson: Chris Benoit, though he is still mentioned in WWE's official title histories, match results, etc., as well as 2009's WWE Encyclopedia.
    • The encyclopedia doesn't even mention that he's dead!
    • Vince McMahon tried to invoke this with CM Punk after he left the company after winning at the Money in the Bank PPV, and taking the WWE Championship with him. Off course this only lasted one or two weeks, as he came back after they had held a tournament to crown a new winner.
  • Vince's 2000-inch Titantron
  • Wham! Episode: 4/11/11. Edge retiring. June 7, 2010, The Nexus wrecks havoc on Raw. And a bunch of other memorable moments.
  • Wham! Line: Has it own page.
  • What Could Have Been: Let's just give it its own page.
  • Wild Samoan: The Wild Samoans, Umaga, Haku, Jimmy Snuka, and Rikishi Fatu. Averted by Yokozuna (who was Samoan but played a Japanese-style sumo wrestler), Manu, Rosey, the Uso brothers and Tamina. Oh, and The Rock.
    • There was also The Headshrinkers and The Islanders (though Haku was a Tongan).
  • World's Strongest Man: Nickname used by several wrestlers including Mark Henry, Ted Arcidi, Ken Patera, and Dino Bravo.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Especially Egregious in the late '80s and early '90s. Still applies to an extent nowadays.
  • Yes-Man: The general attitude of Vince McMahon to some people is that he refuses to take "no" for an answer. Pretty much a job description for anybody on the writing team not related to the McMahons, according to virtually everyone.
  • You Look Familiar: Occasionally a wrestler will disappear and return with a new name and gimmick so radically different, many fans won't recognize him. Sometimes the WWE marketing actually helps this along, pretending that an earlier character played by a current athlete-actor never existed.
    • Jamal to Umaga.
    • R-Truth (a.k.a. Ron Killings) is actually K-Kwik from back in the day; he even won a title as K-Kwik, but WWE has apparently Handwaved that out of existence.
    • Similarly, when Dolph Ziggler won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2010, the announcers claimed that it was his first title, conveniently forgetting that the same wrestler was part of the Spirit Squad which won the World Tag Team Championship in 2006.
    • Festus is probably one of the best examples. He's now one of CM Punk's underlings.
      • Festus is actually a subversion: he's acknowledged to be the same person, but the story is that he's been "saved" by CM Punk and his teachings.
    • Festus was also the fake Kane. So he subverted it and played it straight.
    • Speaking of Kane, the real one previously played Fake Diesel when Kevin Nash left for WCW; earlier still, he was 'wrestling dentist' Isaac Yankem, before he was retooled (unacknowledged) under a mask into The Undertaker's psychopathic half-brother.
    • Charles Wright, who played Papa Shango, Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine, and The Godfather. While Kama sort of evolved into The Godfather, they never once acknowledged that he was ever Papa Shango. It sort of helps that Shango wore face paint all the time, and that the time between Wright's stints as Shango and Kama was a fairly long interval.
    • Tyler Reks was a short lived surfer dude who then showed up as Tyler Reks, dreadlocked demolition man.
  1. In fact, the World Wide Fund for Nature is the company responsible for WWE changing its name.