Katz Files: The Unwritten Laws of Wrestling

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The Unwritten Laws of Wrestling

The Kingfish Arnie Katz woke up early this Monday so you don’t have to. He’s in one of his weird moods, so hold onto your keyboards!

Pro Wrestling wasn’t invented yesterday.

It isn’t a new business. The North American version began with guys fighting all challengers at carnivals more than a century ago. (No, one of them was not Fit Finlay.)

Pro Wrestling thrived even as the Six-Day Bicycle Race and Roller Derby became respectively, defunct and small-time. Although I’ve encountered a few wrestling promoters who are geniuses, most of them are somewhat less than brilliant.

One of the things that has helped promoters survive is the vast storehouse of practical knowledge that pro wrestling has accumulated over more than a century. There’s nothing fancy; it’s more like a catalog of what works and what doesn’t.

These unwritten rules rank somewhere between the Ten Commandments and the US marijuana laws in terms of how strictly they are enforced. Imaginative bookers bend, break and twist them in fascinating ways, but most promoters can stay out of real trouble by just sticking with them.

The result of having hundreds, perhaps thousands, of promoters resort to the Unwritten Rules of Professional Wrestling is that many situations have a level of predictability that telegraphs the climax to many smartfans. Frankly, a lot of my predictions over the years have derived from simply spotting the Unwritten Laws at work.

It is an Unwritten Law that…

… If there is a trophy, the loser must break it over the head of the winner or at least a member of the recipient’s family.

… Nothing riles an American crowd like the singing of another country’s National Anthem. It should always be sung badly by a heel for best effect.

… If there is a cake, someone must sit on it or have it ground into his face.

… The guy who dominates the opening segment of the match will lose.

… A champion tag team that isn’t meant to keep the belts long should have a miscommunication that leads them to either lose the title or fight each other for sole possession of it.

… Slow-witted guys are super strong. They also have exceptionally hard heads.`

… When one of something doesn’t lead to a pin, three of the same thing will.

… The homeliest guy in the promotion will be known as “Pretty Boy”

… Every wedding, contract signing and celebration must end in a fight, with whatever is around getting broken in the process.

… The man who wins a match on the TV show immediately before a pay per view is likely to lose at the pay per view.

… Heels sing badly.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(3/2/09)