Disclaimer: Your characters are your own, and your stories are controlled by yourself and your RP partners. You are allowed to tell the stories you'd like to tell (within reason) and you don't need any level of depth in pro wrestling knowledge to do so. This guide is intended to help you better understand other users' characters and stories that lean more into standard pro wrestling tropes and booking. It is not intended to put down anyone for lack of pro wrestling knowledge. It is only meant to increase accessibility and understanding.
Let's start with a few basic terms.
Most character profiles will have an "Alignment" field in the character's basic info. This is usually to specify if a character is face, heel, or tweener. There is a massive deal of confusion and even contention around what these terms mean to each individual user, to the point where I've seen some users express more than once that these terms are meaningless and unhelpful. I cannot express enough how incorrect this is. Many users, particularly those who aren't familiar with pro wrestling, liken these terms to "good", "evil" and "somewhere in between". This is incorrect as well. So let's formally define what these terms mean for roleplay on LAW
A face character is a character that's written/booked with the intention of drawing support from fans and readers both in continuity and out of continuity. A character that gets people invested in wanting to see them succeed is generally a good face.
By contrast, a heel character is a character that's written/booked with the intention of getting fans and readers, both in continuity and out of continuity to root against them. A character that gets people invested in wanting to see them shown up, set back, or even their downfall as a whole is generally a good heel.
A tweener is a character that can play either the role of face or heel depending on the situation (typically, they play the role opposite of the character they're feuding with or going up against but it depends. It's sort of a case-by-case basis thing).
It's very important to understand that these terms begin with the definitions above. Being a face does not inherently mean that a character has an upright moral alignment. Being a heel does not inherently mean a character is a bad person and will always do dirty or morally corrupt things. There are very many ideas and descriptions people have come to associate with the terms "face" and "heel", which have brought forth ideas like faces always being good guys and heels always being bad guys, but those things are not always true.
Those of you who have been following pro wrestling for a while probably already know of examples that defy these notions. During Eddie Guerrero's face run, he technically cheated almost all the time, not because he was a poorly written/booked face, but because cheating and in-ring shenanigans were a core part of his character. Similarly, Crime Time was a tag team that was written as face and had still their characters rooted in the idea that they regularly commit crimes. There have been heels in Ring of Honor that have chosen to observe the code of honor. Really, the list goes on.
I've had people disagree with me on these matters before, but as admin, and for the purpose of uniformity of understanding across LAW characters and roleplay at LAW, I'm enforcing these definitions for these terms. If a character makes you feel like you want to support them and see them succeed, then for you, that character is a face. If a character makes you feel like you want to see them fail or be brought to justice, then for you, that character is a heel. It's very important to realize that these definitions begin here, but do not end here. There are countless different characters in wrestling and on LAW, each unique in their own way with their own takes on how they personify face, heel, or tweener. What's important is understanding the basic definitions of these alignments and how you can iterate upon them for your characters and the stories you tell with them.
Let's get into more terms that you may see pop up on the forums or in the discord server, and terms I feel are worth knowing.
Heat - one of the more misused terms, I feel, and different from slang where "heat" with someone means having beef with them. Heat in wrestling is NOT momentum. Heat cannot be "stolen". Heat is the collective desire of fans and readers (again both in and out of continuity) to see a character (usually a heel) humbled or suffer karmic retribution for their actions or personality traits. If a character has done something to make you want to see them lose or get shown up, then they have heat with you.
Well-written heels are able to draw heat to themselves under many different circumstances. A heel can be 0 - 99. If they still manage to make you want to see them lose, then they're probably a really good heel character.
Go-Away Heat - There is such a thing as too much heat. When it is no longer fun to root against a character, when you're at the point of just wanting to see them go away so you can get back to the other parts of RP/wrestling you actually enjoy, that character has "go away heat" with you. Though not always the case, this often comes as a result of seeing a character go very long stretches of time without losing. You want to avoid "go away heat" if at all possible.
Jobber - The single most butchered term in the history of this community. A jobber is a character that loses the (overwhelming) majority of their matches for the sake of making other characters look strong/capable. Many users play jobbers like ragdolls, but there are plenty of ways to make jobbers (and any wrestling character) fun and interesting in the way they act, the moves they attempt, their personalities/mannerisms, and much, much more. Wrestlers sometimes use "jobber" as a pejorative term to write off other wrestlers that they deem easy to defeat.
The act of losing a match is described as "jobbing". Important: the act of jobbing (losing a match) does not make a character a jobber. Jobbing in the vast majority of your matches for the sake of building up others makes a character a jobber.
Selling - The act describing/showing the effects of another character's actions on your own. Selling can take the form of a character feeling hurt after taking a move. It can take the form of a wrestler being shocked or taken aback by another character's words during a promo. Being able to "sell" another character's actions is a core part of not just wrestling, but roleplay in general. I truly feel this is a skill that carries over into other fun pastimes that are adjacent to roleplaying. Always make an effort to sell the moves and actions your RP partner's characters land, when you choose to let them land, especially the characters, moves, and actions that they want to be a big deal. Always talk to your RP partner about things they want to highlight so you have a good idea of what to sell most. Always talk to your RP partners in general.
Push - As a verb, refers to the act of presenting/writing a character like they're a big deal of becoming one. As a noun, this refers to a string of events (usually matches) where a character gets to look like a big deal/climb the ranks with important victories, showings, or other such advances in their careers.
Spot - Refers to an interaction (usually a single move or set of moves/counters in a match), usually with an intended outcome, though not always. Sometimes, people arrange certain spots just to make characters look cool. (I have an awesome idea for a spot where my character gets a near-fall)
Fall - A point earned in a match, usually via pin, submission, or knockout
Near Fall - A pin count that almost reaches 3, but not quite
Protect/Protected - When used in reference to characters, protected means the character is generally not made to lose matches. When used in reference to moves, protected means the use of the move by a specific character generally results in victory or the incapacitation of opponents that it is used on, when it lands. Finally, when used as a verb in reference to a wrestler, it refers to the act of providing leeway or justification for how the wrestler suffered a setback (i.e. protected in defeat by having a competitive match or by forcing the victorious wrestler to have to cheat to win)
Rub/Shine - Refers to a character gaining credibility/popularity from a significant moment or interaction (often a victory in a big match), usually meant to help establish them as a big deal
If anyone's made it this far, I'm glad. The last thing we should go over is general match rules and match types. I think having a firm understanding of what your usual standard match entails is a good way to give you the base you need to understand everything else. Most people put the match type/stipulation at the very top of the opening post for a match. But those are not always a complete description. Let's have a quick crash course.
A standard one-on-one match at LAW is one fall and can be decided via pinfall, submission, knockout, count out, or disqualification.
- Pinfalls, submissions, and knockouts can only earn a wrestler victory inside the ring
- The referee should begin counting when one or both wrestlers exit the ring. At a count of 10, all wrestlers outside the ring lose and this can result in a draw. The referee starts the count over when a wrestler returns to the ring and then exits it again. The count does not restart upon re-entering the ring or leaving, only when the ring is both re-entered and then exited again.
- A disqualification can occur when the referee witnesses specific infractions (outside interference from a third party), low blows, or use of a weapon brought to the ring by a wrestler. The referee may also begin a five-count for softer infractions (hair pulling, biting, contact with a wrestler that's touching the ropes, etc). By the fifth count, the referee typically either disqualifies the offending wrestler or physically gets involved to separate the wrestlers.
- A wrestler cannot be pinned or submitted while touching the ropes. Touching the ropes during a pin or submission "breaks" the pin or the hold, and prompts a 5 count from the referee if the attacking wrestler does not break contact
Being cognizant of the rules can help you come up with ways to better portray or characterize your character. For example, not all faces abide by each and every single one of these rules. There are face characters that occasionally bite briefly or pull a wrestler's hair to pull them up from off the ground. This is typically done to portray a character as more of a street fighter/brawler. A more classic example is a heel character that will refuse to release a hold right away when their opponent earns a rope break. Knowing what the rules are so that you can play around with them can help you give your characters character as wrestlers.
Knowing the rules can not only help inspire ideas for ways your character can express themselves in wrestling matches, but it can also help you avoid fundamental misunderstandings and miscommunications with your RP Partners. I've been doing this for many years. And even firsthand, I've had experiences that I felt at the time were completely immersion-breaking because of my partner's lack of understanding/cognizance of pro wrestling rules. And I would hope that knowing these rules would help readers avoid circumstances similar to those. Circumstances like a character low-blowing another character in a standard match in plain view of the referee with no effort to describe how they'd get away with it (I've seen this one at least 4-5 times and at least twice on LAW), a match with no disqualifications ending in a disqualification (I've seen multiple people emulate this because it was done one time in WWE, it doesn't make sense). Rather than have to moderate/mediate another one of these instances between users, my hope is that the above rules help you avoid such situations altogether.
Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, let's go over some common match types you'll see many users engage in on LAW
POW (Prisoner of War) Match: A standard match in which the winner of the match is allowed to claim ownership of the loser, usually for the night or whatever time was agreed upon prior to the match. The winner does with the loser as they please.
Hentai Match: A more erotic match. Victory is usually awarded by making the opponent climax.
Smother match: Victory is awarded by KO'ing the opponent with a smothering hold (i.e. breast smother, facesit, etc) inside of the ring.
Submission Match: A standard match where victory can only be awarded via submission inside of the ring, knockout, count-out, or disqualification
Hardcore/No Disqualifications Match: A match with no disqualifications where victory is to be awarded via pinfall, submission inside the ring, or knockout.
Last Woman Standing Match: A match with no disqualifications where victory is to be awarded only via knockout (with a ten count from the referee)
Falls Count Anywhere Match: A match with no disqualifications where victory is to be awarded via pinfall, submission, or knockout.literally anywhere.
Tag Team Match: A match that sees one team take on another. The "legal" or "active" wrestler on both teams duke it out while their tag partners remain on the apron. The legal wrestler can tag in/out with their partners if they can get close enough to make a tag. Standard Match rules apply. I have a longer blurb here explaining tag matches in fuller detail.
These are just a few for now. Please do not feel limited by this list. Come up with your own stipulations as you see fit. You can borrow inspiration from this Wikipedia page which lists a ton of other match types previously done in professional wrestling, or you can borrow some inspiration from your RP partners: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professio ... atch_types
Always. Talk. To. Your. RP. Partners.