Shoot (professional wrestling)

From Academic Kids

In professional wrestling, a shoot refers to any event during a show that is unplanned and spontaneous: that is, it is real, not staged.

As virtually everything in pro wrestling is worked, shoots occur rarely. Shoots go against the nature of the business, similar to an actor ab-libbing or dropping character during a performance. Performers who shoot during a wrestling event are often fired, since they cannot be trusted to act according to the bookers' wishes. While the term technically only applies to wrestling performers, crowds also cause shoots by interfering in events, usually by assaulting a wrestler. For example, if a wrestler was standing at ringside, some of the spectators will throw objects at him/her.

Shoots also occur when wrestlers stop co-operating in a match. This may occur to teach the wrestler 'a lesson'.

Some interviews or promos during wrestling shows are described as being shoot; these are portrayed as being unscripted and genuine, although they rarely are. This is an example of the writers breaking the fourth wall and attempting to court the certain cache of fans who are interested in shoot, and are more accurately described as worked shoot.

A "true" shoot interview is generally conducted and released by someone other than a wrestling promotion, conducted out of character.

Example of spontaneous events that are not shoots include mistakes by wrestlers (these are known as botches, and are usually greeted by repeated chants of "YOU F***ED UP!!!" from the crowd) or matches where the wrestlers are good enough to not need to plan and rehearse beforehand, and make it up on the spot as time dictates.

The related term "shoot-fighting" is often used by wrestling fans to refer to mixed martial arts competitions, which, while superficially similar to wrestling matches, are actual athletic competition rather than scripted entertainment.

Drawing from this related term, a shooter is not a wrestler with a reputation for being uncooperative but one who uses legitimate hooking skills as a gimmick; an example is Dean Malenko, who used "The Shooter" as a nickname.

Examples of shoots

  • The MSG Incident (see Clique).
  • The Montreal Screwjob is generally acknowledged to be a shoot, in that an agreed-upon plan was secretly changed in order to take the WWF Title off of Bret Hart.
  • Stanislaus Zbyszko defeated champion Wayne Munn on April 15, 1925 for the world title, when Munn was supposed to retain. A similar situation occurred on March 2, 1936 when Dick Shikat defeated champion Danno O'Mahoney. Apparently the winners felt they deserved the title, and genuinely out-wrestled their opponents.
  • Tiger Mask wrestled Akira Maeda on September 2, 1985. The match was stopped by the referee as both men began beating each other up for real.
  • On April 27, 1985, newcomers The Road Warriors wrestled veterans Larry Hennig & Jerry Blackwell but refused to sell their moves. Hennig and Blackwell proceeded to beat up the Warriors in the ring as a lesson.
  • In January 1987 Lex Luger wrestled Bruiser Brody. Luger had angered other wrestlers by leaving to work for a rival promotion. A few minutes into the match, Brody stopped selling Luger's moves. A scared Luger quickly got himself disqualified and left the ring in a hurry.
  • In 1998 Steven Regal was uncooperative during a live match with Goldberg on WCW Monday Nitro, seeking to expose the limited ability of Goldberg, and was dismissed from the company as a result.
  • In 1998, on a live Monday Nitro, the Four Horsemen stable was reunited, with Ric Flair returning to the company. In Flair's in-ring promo, he screamed obscenties at WCW President Eric Bischoff. Flair revealed in 2004 that the promo was "100% shoot."
  • Owen Hart accidentally died in 1999 in Kansas City, shortly before a match in which he was to participate. He fell 78 feet into the ring while being lowered from above.
  • An apparent shoot was at Bash at the Beach, 2000. Hulk Hogan was booked to lose to Jeff Jarrett; however, Hogan refused to lose, using his creative control to alter the outcome of the match. In response Jarrett laid down to throw the match, and Vince Russo fired Hogan live on PPV.
  • Another possible shoot occurred on June 5, 2004. After entering the ring, John Bradshaw Layfield attempted to draw heel heat by giving a crowd in Munich, Germany several Nazi salutes while goose-stepping around the ring. Such a display is illegal in Germany if used for political purposes; the German government chose not to prosecute because the display was obviously for show only. Three days later, the financial news channel CNBC fired Layfield from his position as an on-camera analyst for the network as a direct result of this incident.
  • In 2004, at a SmackDown! house show, Hardcore Holly was up against Rene Dupree as part of a tag team match. At one point in the match, Holly was punching Dupree and later hit him in the head with a steel chair as hard as he could. Dupree then ran backstage. It was said that Holly did this because he let Dupree drive his rental car; while driving it, he got a speeding ticket, which he refused to pay for. Holly had to job to someone as punishment. After this incident, Dupree appeared with a black eye.
  • On June 12, 2005, at the ECW One Night Stand PPV, Rob Van Dam cut a shoot interview about his dissatisfaction with the direction of his character in WWE. Paul Heyman later cut a shoot interview where he scolded Edge for having an affair with female wrestler Lita, who was at the time the girlfriend of Matt Hardy. In the brawl at the end of the show, John "Bradshaw" Layfield shot on The Blue Meanie, drawing blood with his stiff punches.

Examples of worked shoots

These examples may not be confirmed "worked shoots," but are generally regarded as such, especially by the smark community.

  • Ken Shamrock calling out The Undertaker using his real name, Mark (Calaway), on an episode of Monday Night RAW.
  • Stephanie McMahon referring to Test by his real name, Andrew (Martin), throughout 1999.
  • Triple H regularly referring to Batista by his real first name of Dave (i.e., David) on RAW.
  • Also on RAW, a current (mid-2005) storyline in which Lita left her storyline husband Kane for Edge. This is generally thought to be an attempt to cash in on the aforementioned real-life affair between Amy Dumas (Lita) and Adam Copeland (Edge), which indirectly led to Matt Hardy's release from WWE.
  • At WCW New Blood Rising (August 13, 2000), Bill Goldberg sandbagged a powerbomb attempt by Kevin Nash during a three-way match also involving Scott Steiner, and pushed him away. The commentators acted like the incident was a shoot, and acted like they were completely unprepared for the match afterwards, while the wrestlers also acted like they were improvising. This led to an angle in which Nash and Goldberg traded "shoot" promos at each other to build to a later one-on-one match.

See also: professional wrestling slang


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