"Showing ass." This is one of those expressions you come across somewhat often if you tend to read a bunch of nerds on the internet arguing back and forth about fake fighting, and yet there aren't any sources that I could find that offer a concrete definition of what exactly the concept means. That's probably because - like most of those insidery wrestling terms - the meaning of the phrase was likely only known to wrestlers and those in the business, until the popularity of pro wrestling exploded around thirty years ago, and these terms began being tossed around by fans who want to sound like they know what they're talking about even when they probably don't.
Granted, I could easily fall into that same category, but my attempts to give the term a concrete definition have more of an academic basis - if we're going to talk about acting like a big enough asshole so that thousands of people will boo you and want to see you get your ass kicked in an academic way, we must define our terms, people. And this is a simple one to define, really - basically "showing ass" means if you're going to be a convincing asshole, you have to be willing to go above and beyond to look like one.
Take, for example, Ric Flair. Yes, most of the time he acted like the coolest motherfucker on the planet, but even he wasn't above dropping to his knees and begging Sting to stop beating the shit out of him in pretty much every match they ever had (especially if it left a window open for a swift thumb to the eye).
The reason for this is so that good guy Sting seems way cooler than Flair, even though Flair rocks jewel encrusted bath robes, massive pinky rings, and a beautiful feathered platinum mane. That's the essence of showing ass.
In fact, some of the greatest pro graps villains have at times indulged in a somewhat rare bit of self-aware meta interpretation of this trope, in which the bad guy will literally show his ass during a match. Ric Flair himself loves doing this. What better way to look foolish than to be running around with your bare ass out in front of an arena full of people and millions watching at home?
To better illustrate this phenomenon of literally showing ass, let us study this classic instance from the main event of Wrestlemania XIV, in which Shawn Michaels shows us how it's done.
#1: First, be as much of a self-important dick as you can during your entrance, preferably while wearing a mirror-bedazzled male stripper outfit. Be accompanied to the ring by your roided up blonde butt buddy (and before you cry homophobia, know that "butt buddies" is the most accurate possible description of the original Degeneration-X).
#2: Pose with the hilariously lame band of clowns who played you out to the ring.
#3: Start the championship main event match by turning tail and fleeing from blue-collar beer-drinking ass-kicking fan favorite Stone Cold Steve Austin.
#4: Until he clocks you right between the eyes to the delight of many.
#5: Attempt to crawl on your hands and knees to safety.
#6: Only to be dragged back into the ring by the seat of your pants, exposing your bare ass for all to see.
#7: Proceed to get said bare ass kicked around the ring.
#8: Continue to get bare ass kicked around the ring for a good 30 seconds (while Iron Mike Tyson looks on).
#9: Attempt to mount bare-assed comeback by bouncing off the ropes for momentum...
#10: ...only to be unceremoniously launched from the ring...
#11: ...landing bare-ass-first in the face of your aforementioned butt buddy.
This has been Faces of the Pro Wrestling Heel's in depth look at the wrestling bad guy practice of "showing ass." Join us next time for our salute to foreign national anthems.