The actual business of professional wrestling can be traced all the way back to the 19th century and beyond in some form, and it seems that with every passing generation of grapplers comes a new generation of fans. Sure, the business may not be at the heights that it once was right now, but it’s still ridiculously popular and has a special place in the heart of many a man, woman and child. That’s not to say that it’s always made sense, though.
Despite so many loving the wrestling industry and its performers, there are so many holes, irrationalities and illogicalities that stand out a mile if you actually decide to take a step back and look at modern-day sports entertainment from a reasonable, practical and realistic viewpoint. And yet so many of the things that don’t make any sense whatsoever are the things that we love or the moments that instantly stand out in your memory when thinking about great moments of yesteryear or today.
Certain parts of wrestling history, wrestling matches or just the current regular WWE TV product may grab people’s attention and get audiences on their feet, but quite often when you just think about what’s happening, you’ll find that what you’re seeing is simply stupid, ridiculous, or just flat-out nonsensical.
So, with that said, let’s take a look at 15 things that we all love about the professional wrestling business, but that really, really don’t actually make any sense at all, no matter how much you try and justify them.
15. Babyfaces Taunting Before Finishers
For those of us who like to dabble with video games, there’s nothing better than smugly taunting your opponent before hitting your finishing move and pinning them on the likes of WWE 2K17. But that’s a video game, and we’re likely not the nicest of people.
In the real-life wrestling realm, the very nature of a taunt is to mock your opponent or rub their faces in the fact that you’re quite simply better than them. It’s something that exudes arrogance, and it’s something that can be used brilliantly by the right person at the right time. That right person, though, should largely always be a nefarious bad guy, a pantomime villain, a no-good heel.
Seeing a supposedly whiter-than-white, do-good babyface taunting before delivering a finishing move? That just makes no sense in most situations, for taunting an opponent just screams “bad guy” unless there’s an extremely personal issue at hand. Then again, the very concept of being a babyface is something that’s a little bit of a grey area in the modern wrestling landscape.
14. Starting With A Whimper
This one is pretty inexcusable for the most part, and it’s something that happens with annoying regularity in the WWE and the wrestling world as a whole at times.
When two superstars have spent weeks tormenting each other on the microphone, verbally tearing one another apart, and maybe even getting involved in some intense brawls, there’s nothing more ridiculous than seeing the pair’s long-awaited match start with something like a headlock or armbar.
Considering the angst, aggression and intensity that’s typified many a rivalry and feud over the decades, it just beggar’s belief to see all of this heated animosity finally come to a head with a simple, methodical standard wrestling move. We should be expecting a flurry of erratic offense as two rivals finally get their hands on each other, but instead we’ve so often seen the actual matches themselves start with the weakest of whimpers rather than the ferocious fire that we’d been rightfully expecting.
13. Painfully Slow Ladder Climbs
From a storyline point of view, it adds drama and tension to the match, but seeing a superstar taking an absolute age to climb a ladder can be one of the more illogical things in wrestling at certain times.
It’s understandable that a beaten down grappler who’s been involved in a brutal, unrelenting, draining ladder match won’t be exactly spry on their feet, it’s just that a slow ladder climb can look ridiculous if the timing is off a little. When two superstars are slowly climbing up either side of a ladder, that’s fine, but the problem is when one wrestler is making his climb whilst clearly awaiting somebody to come in and knock him off, yet that incoming superstar is a little late on their mark and so all we get to see is somebody climb up the ladder, rung by rung, at the speed of a snail (if snails could climb ladders, obviously).
12. The Varying Toughness Of A Referee
When it comes to referees, nobody had it worse than Earl Hebner over the years. Poor Earl was knocked on his behind more times than most superstars at one point in time! But he wasn’t the only ref to get more time in the spotlight than some lower-on-the-card performers.
What doesn’t make sense, though, is that whilst even a simple shove from a superstar has been known to leave a referee out cold for 5 whole minutes, how many times have we seen the biggest and most brutal of wrestlers held back by the exact same referees? Lots of times, that’s how many.
Two ripped and jacked superstars will be at all-out war with one another, and the two will end up butting heads, often in the aisle or backstage, and yet all of a sudden a usually-feeble referee is the one tasked with holding these performers back. And not only tasked with doing this, but they usually succeed in holding back these goliaths.
11. Magic Ropes
For as long as we can all remember watching professional wrestling, this particular point is something that’s always been there.
You know the drill by now. A bad guy is in the ring running their mouth about a rival. Said heroic rival then runs into the ring to shut up for their foe, only to see the smack-talking villain quickly run out of the ring. Does the hero immediately pursue their nemesis out of the ring? Well, they would, but obviously there’s the magic ropes holding them back.
Time and time again we’ve seen this play out. The bad guy in this particular scenario will have escaped the ring and be standing in the aisle, but the good guy can’t bring themselves to go after them for they’re apparently held back by the ring ropes.
Of all the entries included in this article, this is one of the most baffling things. And it’s something that’s affected every single big name over the decades, from Bob Backlund to Hulk Hogan to Bret Hart to Shawn Michaels to Steve Austin to The Rock to Triple H to John Cena to… you get the idea.
10. Hulking Up
The key phrase here may be “hulking up”, but it’s not something that’s just exclusive to The Hulkster, brother. Whilst Hulk Hogan may indeed be more guilty of this than most, he’s just one of many superstars who’ve suddenly become invincible at a certain moment of a match over the decades.
Using Hogan as an example, he’d usually dominate his opponents for the majority of his matches, but there’d almost always be a moment in those bouts where Hulkamania wasn’t exactly running wide and Hogan was on the ropes. And then, just when it looked like there was no way back for Hulk, he’d magically start shaking. His opponent would continue to land blow after blow on Hogan’s torso, but The Hulkster would continue to shake these strikes off before eventually ominously pointing at his soon-to-be-doomed foe.
The fact that someone like Hogan did this in such a large percentage of his matches over the years, and those matches all saw every opponent fail to overcome the hulking up, meant that you’d have to question why anybody would rationally ever decide to step in the ring with Hulk Hogan.
9. Top Rope Moves In The Royal Rumble
So the basic concept of the WWE’s annual Royal Rumble event is to not be thrown over the top rope and thus get yourself eliminated. With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense to do whatever you can to avoid going anywhere near the ropes at all, let alone near the top rope? Yeah, that use of logic is a killer at times…
There’s no denying that top rope moves from high-flying masters like Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Billy Kidman, Paul London, and more recently Neville and Kalisto, guarantee getting a crowd off their feet, but in the Royal Rumble match it just makes absolutely no sense as it goes against the very concept of the match itself.
Then again, Royal Rumble logic seemingly went out of the window when “Macho Man” Randy Savage tried to actually pin Yokozuna during the closing moments of the 1993 Rumble.
8. Secret Meetings
So you’re a top level WWE superstar engaged in a bitter rivalry with a longstanding foe. You need to discuss your top secret game plan with one of your few trusted colleagues, so what do you do? Oh, you just have an uber-private meeting with your pal… whilst standing in front of a cameraman who has a camera in hand that’s going to broadcast your meeting out to millions of people across the globe.
What makes this even more insulting to viewers is how the superstars involved will usually actually be whispering to each other in order to keep their discussions hush-hush, which in turn tries to force home just how top secret these moments are.
In fairness, there are some of these segments where the camera will cut away before anything too juicy is said, but there’s still far too many mind boggling moments where the camera and cameraman are ignored by the superstars involved.
7. High Risk Cage Match Moves
To many wrestling fans, there’s nothing better than seeing some daredevil take flight from way up high with an electrifying move that’s guaranteed to bring fans to their feet or conjure up a “Holy sh*t!” chant. That’s all well and good, but when in a cage match environment, some of the most memorable moves and moments from WWE history make no sense whatsoever.
Setting the scene: a performer has battled their opponent in the confines of the beloved steel cage. With a successful climb out of the cage resulting in victory, time and time again we’ve seen superstars scramble up the side of the cage, get to its summit, look to the welcoming floor that awaits them and a win… then decide to actually dive back into the ring to hit one last big move on their rival instead of opting to just drop to the outside of the cage and get the victory.
Logically this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. In fact, logic would suggest dropping to the outside and winning the match, then return to the cage and continue your assault on your opponent if you so wished.
6. Ric Flair
Even those of us who claim not to be Ric Flair fans can’t help but admire what The Nature Boy has achieved in the wrestling business. A 16-time World Champion – though if you believe Flair, that figure’s actually in the 20s – and a true icon of the industry, the fact that Flair is often revered by his peers as the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots should tell you all you need to know about the dirtiest player in the game.
Still, there’s so much of Ric Flair’s game that just doesn’t make sense.
Firstly, there’s the “Flair Flop” that sees a beaten down Flair stagger forward a few paces before dropping down flat on his face. Secondly, there’s the fact that his finishing move is the Figure Four yet there’s barely any targeting of the lower body by The Nature Boy during his matches. Thirdly, and most glaringly irrational, is the fact that every single Flair match ever will see him go to the top rope, get thrown off by an opponent, and yet he’ll try the exact same move in the very next match.
Making sense? Whilst he’s put on some of the greatest bouts in wrestling history, you can give yourself a serious headache if you try to approach Ric Flair’s matches with any sense of logic or reasoning.
5. The Authority Not Firing Superstars
This is one that goes way back to the heyday of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s battles with Vince McMahon. If an owner, general manager, commissioner or another authority figure hates a superstar that much, why don’t they just fire them?
Since the Attitude Era and the introduction of an evil authority presence, we’ve seen many a babyface shut down by the likes of a Vince, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, or even Corporate Kane. Obviously these babyfaces don’t take things lying down, and so they rebel and cause chaos in the lives of their bosses.
If this was any other sort of employment, a boss would fire any employee who was making their life a living hell. Not in professional wrestling, though. No, instead we see the target of the bosses’ hate – for example, Roman Reigns at one point in time – seemingly rewarded with main events and title opportunities on a regular basis. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em…
4. Multiple Main Events
Sure, we all love to see the big matches, the ones surrounded by all the hype and gusto and with a big championship or heated grudge at the centre of proceedings. The concept of advertising multiple “main events”, though, is just plain stupid.
Advertising the odd double main event was a rarity back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but the initial roster split of the 2000s meant that most big shows were given at least two so-called main events due to the WWE having two World Champions by that point in time. Then, for example, if you had a huge blood feud coming to a head at a PPV, the company would be billing the show as having three main events. Heck, even this October’s Raw-exclusive Hell in a Cell PPV was billed as having three main events – Roman Reigns vs Rusev, Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins, and Sasha Banks vs Charlotte.
3. No Matches Booked
You’d think that a Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live would have its card booked way ahead of time. Seemingly not.
How many times have we seen matches made on the fly or decisions made live on TV whilst a couple of angry grapplers are verbally jousting in the ring? Too many times, that’s how many.
Barely a Raw or SmackDown goes by without matches being made for that night on that very night. As viewers, or even just as logical beings, are we to believe that over-the-top dictator sorts like Stephanie McMahon don’t book any matches for their shows ahead of time? That certainly seems to be the case, and it just makes no sense whatsoever and makes those running the shows look foolish and like they haven’t got a clue as to what they’re doing – essentially they wait until the show starts, see which superstar interrupts another superstar’s promo, then book a match for later that night.
2. No Title Wins Via Disqualification
Considering that “sports entertainment” was treated as a competitive sport for decades, it seems pretty illogical to not have championships change hands via disqualification.
For years now, we’ve seen many a dirty heel – most notably Ric Flair in his pomp – take a cheap DQ loss against a plucky babyface challenger safe in the knowledge that his title belt wouldn’t be leaving his grasp any time soon.
Whether it’s a run-in from a friend, a deliberate low blow, attacking a ref, or one of the various other ways to get disqualified, seeing a bad guy keep the gold despite losing a match is something that should have been addressed in wrestling years ago now – essentially, it’s rewarding the villain for cheating. In a scenario where there’s an equally villainous authority presence in place, this can kind of make sense, but for the majority of the time this is one of wrestling’s most head scratching elements.
1. Playing Music During Run-Ins
When used correctly, such as Steve Austin returning to demolish the entire WCW/ECW Alliance or Seth Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31, playing a superstar’s entrance music during a run-in can cause a crowd to lose their mind. Used sparingly and in the right moment, doing something like this adds extra buzz to an already electric moment, but these days using entrance music during run-ins is something that often occurs several times on each episode of Raw or SmackDown Live.
The concept of a performer’s entrance music playing during a surprising and shocking run-in just makes no sense. Are we supposed to believe that on his way running from the back to the ring, Seth Rollins just happened to take a second to stop by and give the sound guy a heads-up before he runs out to save Roman Reigns from a beat down at the hands of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho? Is said sound guy instead just sitting idly by, eagerly with his finger on the button should a particular superstar decide to make an impromptu visit to the ring?