What Is A Worked Shoot In Wrestling?

Hamish Woodward

A worked shoot is an angle or moment in professional wrestling that appears to break the fourth wall and go against the conventions of pro-wrestling, while actually still being within the realms of “Kayfabe“. A worked shoot purports itself to be going against the script, tapping into the real life struggles of the person behind the character.

To fully understand what a worked shoot is, we need to look at the two words in the phrase. In wrestling, a “work” is anything that is fake, or scripted. This includes all the wrestling matches, promos and angles, as they are pre-planned beforehand as part of the TV show or pay per view. Anything that is part of the overarching narrative of Kayfabe is a work.

Meanwhile, a “shoot” is the exact opposite of a work. A “shoot” is something that is real, outside the realms of kayfabe and not part of the script. This can include the wrestling ranting about his opponent outside of kayfabe, perhaps using his real name or referencing a real-life issue between the two, or even one wrestler attacking another during a match (such as in the Antonio Inoki vs The Great Antonio match).

A worked shoot convinced the audience that a wrestler is going “off script”, even though everything is completely what has been planned. A “worked shoot” promo may contain language that is not used in wrestling, or behind-the-scenes terms like “face”, “heel” or “mark” that is not widely used by wrestling fans.

The concept relies on the fact that the fans know that wrestling is fake. It makes wrestling seem real, challenging the idea that everything you see on screen and that everything is scripted (despite the fact that worked shoots are indeed scripted and planned in advance).

A worked shoot combines the elements of reality and fiction to create something that fans can’t quite put their finger on if it is real or fake – and that is the beauty in the worked shoot. Some of them draw you in and have you questioning the very nature of television, while others are so bad they make you think wrestling is even dumber than you usually do.

There is a delicate balance, and it is one that many people fail to perfect.

Best Worked Shoots In Wrestling

Some of the best worked shoots in wrestling history include the following (click the links to learn more about each one of the items on this list):

  • Shawn Michaels concussion against Owen Hart
  • Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler on David Letterman
  • CM Punk’s Pipebomb Promo
  • Paul Heyman’s Promo On Vince McMahon
  • Joey Styles “Backlash?!” Promo
  • MJF’s worked shoot promo in front of AEW Executives

Worst Worked Shoots In Wrestling

Some of the best worked shoots in wrestling history include the following (click the links to learn more about each one of the items on this list):

  • Jeff Hardy’s car crash and dead dog
  • Scott Steiner going off script in WCW
  • Donald Trump Buys Raw and Investors Freak Out
  • “Paul I can’t feel my legs”
  • Scott Hall drunk angle on WCW
  • Hulk Hogan Bash at the Beach 2000

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