A couple of years ago, a document was leaked showing words that the WWE commentators couldn't use during a live telecast. The script also showed a list of words to use. Yes, that’s right, the company has its own language; like for example, referring to us the fans as the "WWE Universe", and not "fans". With the WWE's professionalism at an all-time high, the company is very sensitive with the words it uses on the air.
All these changes were made in attempt to modernize the company further. McMahon stresses the importance of moving its product forward over time, and it remains to be seen what new changes will be made in the upcoming months, like with the word "Diva" for example. With the new Women’s Championship in place it seems like that term will be retired by the company. The plan is to refer to Divas as “superstars” instead like their male counterparts. This won’t be the first time the company retires a word though, here are 15 other words that are banned from the WWE. Enjoy!
15 “The Granddaddy of them all”
WrestleMania is Vince’s baby. There isn’t an event that McMahon is more protective of. When it comes to setting up the show, everything must be perfect; from the lighting to the venue to the slogan for the event. Just recently, McMahon felt the need to eliminate the slogan of “the granddaddy of them all”. According to rumors, McMahon felt like the saying was outdated and that it made the product feel old. With the WWE constantly trying to take on a modern view, anything that feels old is taken away from the product quickly. Vince prefers the term “the biggest event in sports and entertainment today”.
14 "House Show"
"House Show" another term Vince and the WWE felt the need to change because it sounded outdated and unappealing to the public. Old school wrestling fans remember the days when “Live Events” were simply called “House Shows”. The company decided to change this because they felt like a "live event" adds much more value to the show. Also, the WWE is slowly getting rid of generic wrestling terms, and house show was one of those words that the company wanted to eliminate from their vocabulary. Still, old wrestling fans have not made the transition and still call the events, House Shows.
13 Generic Wrestling Terms (ex: heel, face, rib, etc.)
Following the purchase of WCW in the early 2000s, the company became the only dominant force in the pro wrestling business. With this in mind, McMahon and the company steered away from the pro wrestling business and slowly transitioned into a sports and entertainment view. This transition has been taking place in the front of our own eyes now for the last decade. With this switch taking place, there are also some words the WWE discourages its commentators from saying live on the air. Some of these generic wrestling terms include: heel, baby face, blown up, shoot, rib, mark, kayfabe, etc.
More and more, it seems like the WWE is trying to stuff the term “WWE Universe” down our throats, and this is what McMahon demands that its commentators refer to the WWE fans as. Also, when using the word "fans", the company says it must be specifically directed towards something or someone; you cannot just use the word in general. So for example, RAW fans, our fans, Cena’s fans, etc. The company also wants the word to be replaced by “you” as opposed to fans. The ideology around this is to make you feel like you’re a part of the WWE family and not just some fan.
It’s been rather obvious that throughout the years the company has added some major prestige value to winning the WWE Championship. Not only have they changed the belt itself, but the title seems to be sticking with the same title holder for longer periods of time. Along with this, the company has banned some words when referring to the championship. "Belt" and "strap" have been banned by the company. According to the WWE, they do not have belts or straps, they instead have "Championships" and, or "Titles". The company wants its commentators to discuss how prestigious a championship is and how it represents something like hard work and dedication. They also want to discuss what it means; for example, the accomplishment of a goal or a target for other superstars in the WWE.
10 "Title Is On the Line"
As you can probably tell, the company is very protective over their championships, particularly the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. When referring to a title match, the phrase “the title is on the line” is banned from the company. The WWE prefers the title as being "defended". According to the company this adds value and prestige to the championship and its holder, as opposed to just saying “is on the line” which is more generic than anything.
9 "On Sale"
As we discussed earlier in this article, the company continues to try and modernize its brand every day. Another change they have made over the last couple of years is the way they refer to their merchandise. Who can forget during The Attitude Era, Michael Hayes yelling at us to buy a Shawn Michaels commemorative plaque with a piece of a ring on it? Hayes would scream at us to buy it right away and that it’s “on sale now!’. Well, like all other old traditions, the WWE changed this slogan and replaced it with “Now Available”. The company believes it is more of a modern approach while adding value to their merchandise.
The WWE made a massive impact on The United States following the tragic 9/11 events. The company was the first to address the events, claiming: “The Show Will Go On”. This gave millions of Americans hope and a sense of pride following how well the company reacted to the situation. As much as the company loves travelling internationally, they’ve always held a sense of pride with their relationship with the American community. On the air, the commentators are told to avoid the word “U.S.” and refer to the country as “The United States”.
"Talent" is a kayfabe word the company tries to avoid as much as possible while on the air. The company stresses the words “Star”, “Superstar” and “Diva”, when referring to the company's wrestlers. Even the word "wrestlers", is strongly discouraged, but we'll have a little more on that later in this article. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the word “Diva” in the next couple of months. With the title changing back to its original roots as the Women’s Championship, you can expect the word "Diva" to be slowly faded out of the company. According to rumors, women will now be referred to as “Superstars” just like the men.
As a fan, or should I say, a part of the "WWE Universe", all I can say is, it’s about time.
Backstage is yet another old school wrestling term that we dearly love which has been banned from the company. For some reason, the company told its commentators to refer to the backstage area as “in the back” or “in the locker room area”. It seems like the company felt the need to change this generic term wrestling fans cherished, into a more professional term. Who can forget those glory days in which JR would tell us, "let's go backstage", only to see wrestlers going at it. Oh, the glory days.
For wrestling fans around the world, the word "feud" has been in our vocabulary forever, it seems like. As a child, whenever I heard the word "feud", I typically thought of some of the best rivalries of all time. Well, much to our displeasure, the company once again decided to ban this generic wrestling term and switch to the word “rivalry”. The company feels like the word adds a sense of value and prestige. The WWE also feels like it tells more of a story rather than referring to it as being a feud.
4 “The Referee Didn’t See it”
This was actually a change requested by Stephanie McMahon. According to Vince’s daughter, Stephanie found it childish and insulting to the fans when a commentator would say “the referee didn’t see it”. McMahon requested the term to be replaced by something more legitimate, like “the ref's vision was impaired”. Yet another change to make the show seem that much more real and professional.
3 "Pro Wrestler"/ "Pro Wrestling"
Some things just won’t change no matter how hard the WWE tries. When thinking about our all-time favorites, we refer to them as our favorite “wrestlers”. Well, the company has banned the terms "pro wrestling" or "pro wrestler" from its language. As we discussed earlier, Vince wants it to be referred to as "Sports Entertainment" and referring to its wrestlers as "superstars", "stars" or even "athletes". It seems like for the last decade the company has been trying to make this transition stick, but unfortunately, for those die-hard wrestling fans, superstars will forever be known as "wrestlers".
Something that has never changed since the origins of pro wrestling is keeping the company a secret, whether it’s on live television or backstage behind the scenes. This factor keeps millions of fans around the world intrigued, although most of know it isn’t real (sorry if I ruined it for you). We are still so interested in knowing what will happen every week, and keeping it a secret is the driving force behind the company’s success. For years now, McMahon has tried to minimize the amount of people he tells when something major is about to go down. Even with a debuting or returning wrestler, the company keeps them hidden away from the talent so that the information is not leaked to the public. Wrestlers are usually hidden in trailers inside of the parking lot, and they are normally taken out a couple of minutes before it's show time.
Not a real surprise, but the WWE has put the word “fake” on the no-no list.
1 "World Wrestling Entertainment"
One constant theme new wrestlers discuss about the WWE is how professional everything seems to be, from the front office to the backstage crew. Newest long time wrestlers A.J Styles and Sting, were blown away by how organized and professional everything was with the company. It’s rather evident, McMahon is trying to mold his company into something like the NFL or a major sports league. Another change the company is currently making is to be refereed to as just "WWE"and not "World Wrestling Entertainment". Like other major sports leagues, the company only wants to be referenced to by its initials. Notice on live television how the commentators recently stopped calling it "World Wrestling Entertainment" and now refer to it as the "WWE".
Here’s an additional list of words that the company keeps away from that did not make this list: the business, our industry, performance, international (use global), acrobatics, interesting, DQ, faction (use group) and hospital (medical center or medical facility).