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HomeSportsWhat does jabroni mean? Explaining the origins of Travis Kelce's wrestling-inspired diss

What does jabroni mean? Explaining the origins of Travis Kelce’s wrestling-inspired diss

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Finally, the Chiefs have come back to the Super Bowl.

If Travis Kelce’s AFC championship game promo stirred up memories of locking your brother in the Sharpshooter, or mimicking “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with water bottles, or crotch-chopping in the hallways of your elementary school, then there’s a good chance that you grew up a wrestling fan.

That’s because the Chiefs tight end let rip a “jabroni” in his on-field presser after Kansas City’s win over the Bengals, which is a staple of the vocabulary of Dwayne Johnson, better known as the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, The Rock. 

MORE: The Rock puts stamp of approval on Travis Kelce’s promo

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, “The Brahma Bull” spent many an hour on a WWF microphone, denigrating all of his opponents with the iconic insult. It’s a word that’s permeated the wrestling world and made it to pop culture in a big way, with Kelce the latest example of which.

But, what exactly does “jabroni” mean? The Sporting News has you covered.

What does ‘jabroni’ mean?

“Jabroni” is just another way to say dork, geek, jamoke, loser, fool, ignoramus, simpleton, nincompoop, dunce, blockhead, lame-o or any other of your favorite insults. The word has deep roots in pro wrestling, where it can also be used to describe “jobbers,” wrestlers whose sole purpose is to lose to other stars. 

Where did ‘jabroni’ come from?

Popularized by wrestling legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, jabroni is a term borrowed from another wrestling icon, The Iron Sheik. It was widely used by The Rock on WWF programming during the height of his popularity in the late 1990s.

In an interview with Esquire, Johnson explained the origin of “jabroni” and its precipitous rise:

When I was a kid, it was an inside term that guys would use. When wrestlers wanted to have a private conversation when fans were present, they would start talking carny because they used to wrestle in carnivals. I thought it was so cool. Jabroni was a word that was always used in the derogatory sense. Oh, this jabroni, that jabroni. But the Iron Sheik was famous for saying the word constantly backstage. Jabroni, jabroni, jabroni. Around 1998, I thought, ‘Why can’t I say it on TV?’ So I started saying it publicly, but the Iron Sheik was known for it.

MORE: The Rock delivers a supersized hype speech to start Super Bowl 56

The Iron Sheik, who is known for portraying a villainous Iranian in the 1980s, has become known for being one of Twitter’s more … colorful personalities. While The Rock put his stamp of approval on Kelce’s use of the word, “Sheikie Baby” also noticed Kelce’s fiery promo and weighed in following the game:

First, a Super Bowl date with the Eagles, but maybe Travis Kelce will find himself at WrestleMania 39 in a few months.


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