Portal:Professional wrestling

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Professional wrestling, or pro wrestling, is a non-competitive professional sport, which is also considered an athletic performing art, containing strong elements of catch wrestling, mock combat and theatre. It has origins in carnival sideshows in the late 19th century as part of displays of athletics and strength. Modern professional wrestling usually features striking and grappling techniques, which are modeled after diverse sets of wrestling and pugilistic styles from around the world.

Professional wrestling has become a pervasive form of entertainment especially in Japan and North American countries. High-profile figures in the sport often become cultural icons in their native or adopted home countries, such as Ric Flair, André the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock in the United States; Rikidozan, Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba and The Crush Girls (Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka) in Japan; El Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras in Mexico; and Bret Hart in Canada. Leading universities have developed courses of study on the cultural significance of professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling is a billion-dollar industry, drawing revenue from ticket sales, television broadcasts, branded merchandise and home video. It was instrumental in making pay-per-view a viable method of content delivery. Annual shows such as WrestleMania are among the highest-selling pay-per-view programming. Currently, the dominant professional wrestling company worldwide is the United States-based WWE, which absorbed many smaller regional companies in the late twentieth century, as well as its primary competitor, World Championship Wrestling. Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling are two other popular promotions in the United States. In Mexico, the top promotions are Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración; in Japan, it is New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Noah; and in South Africa, it is World Wrestling Professionals. (more...)

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Bret Hart

The Montreal Screwjob was a controversial professional wrestling incident in which World Wrestling Federation (WWF) owner Vince McMahon and other WWF employees covertly manipulated the pre-determined outcome of the main event match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at the Survivor Series pay-per-view event held on November 9, 1997, at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The manipulation – a "shoot screwjob" in professional wrestling parlance – occurred without Hart's knowledge and resulted in Hart, the reigning WWF Champion, losing the title to Michaels in Hart's last match with the WWF before departing for rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The "screwjob" is generally held to be an off-screen betrayal of Hart, who was one of the WWF's longest-tenured and most popular performers at the time.

Hart, who had won the WWF Championship in August 1997, signed a contract to perform with WCW beginning in December 1997. McMahon sought to prevent Hart from leaving the company as the champion, but Hart was unwilling to lose the title to Michaels – with whom he had a long feud both on-screen and off – at Survivor Series in his home country. Hart, Michaels, and McMahon came to an agreement where the Survivor Series match would end with a disqualification, which under normal rules would result in Hart retaining the title; Hart would then forfeit the title to McMahon on Monday Night Raw the following day. McMahon decided without Hart's knowledge that Michaels would win the title at Survivor Series. Accounts differ as to who exactly was involved in the plan and the extent of their involvement. The plan was executed when match referee Earl Hebner, on direct order from McMahon, ended the match as Michaels held Hart in the Sharpshooter submission hold, Hart's signature finishing move, even though Hart had not submitted. Michaels was declared the winner by submission and crowned as the new WWF Champion.

The Montreal Screwjob has garnered a notorious legacy both on-screen and off, and was partly chronicled in the 1998 documentary film Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows. The far-reaching impact of the incident led to its adoption as a theme in matches and storylines of the WWF's "Attitude Era" and the creation of the character "Mr. McMahon", the evil boss. It has been suggested by some that the entire incident may have been a work created by McMahon and Hart. Nonetheless, Hart was ostracized from the WWF while McMahon and Michaels continued to receive angry responses from audiences for many years. Hart and McMahon later reconciled, and Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006. On the January 4, 2010, episode of WWE Raw, Hart made his first live WWE television appearance since the Montreal Screwjob, and reconciled with Michaels. (more...)

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Jay Lethal as the ROH World Television Champion on August 13, 2011.

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