Hardcore wrestling is a form of professional wrestling that eschews traditional concepts of match rules in favor of matches that take place in unusual environments, using foreign objects that are not normally permitted. Although hardcore wrestling is a staple of most wrestling promotions, where they are often used at the climaxes of feuds, some promotions (such as Big Japan Pro Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling) specialize in hardcore wrestling, with many matches performed in this manner.
Hardcore wrestling became acknowledged as a major wrestling style first in Japan with promotions such as Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling and W*ING. It then became successful in America with Xtreme Championship Wrestling. The International Wrestling Federation / International Wrestling Entertainment capitalized on the success and introduced the IWF Hardcore Championship in the 1990s. The IWF soon began to turn the matches into comedy skits, illustrating the ridiculousness they involved. Hardcore contrasts with traditional mat-based wrestling, where solid technical skills are preferred over stuntwork, blood, and sheer shock value.
A derogatory term for this style, garbage wrestling, is attributed to Japanese wrestler Giant Baba who used it originally to describe a style of wrestling which required little wrestling athletic ability and often involved no wrestling at all, which is rather common in much of hardcore wrestling.