What Is A Count-out In Pro Wrestling? What Are The Rules?

What is a count-out in professional wrestling?

Count outs in professional wrestling are entertainment fodder that never fails to disappoint. Originating from Boxing, count outs happen when the wrestler exits the ring.

The referee starts the count to 10. Acting like a signal, it prompts the wrestler to re-enter the ring. Failing which, the wrestler gets disqualified from the match. 

Difference between count outs in WWE and New Japan Style 

1. Count outs in WWE

count out in wwe

In WWE, the referee initiates the count out up to 10. In reality, a 10 count out can last for 35 seconds.

The reason is Storytelling. Matches in WWE play out according to powerful scripts. Hence, wrestlers need to act around the boundaries of their roles, including the referee. 

2. Count outs in New Japan Pro-Wrestling

In New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the count out lead up to 20. But, it can last for 26 seconds.

In Japanese wrestling, oftentimes, the referee does not start the count immediately; the moment the wrestler exits the ring.  

The referee waits for the right time to intervene, allowing the wrestlers enough time to show their out-of-the-ring actions.

Hence, Japanese matches are meaty, containing special performances outside the ring. However, at some point, he must start the count-out. Right? And, he does.

If the situation gets impossible to manage, the referee starts the count, drawing back the wrestlers inside the ring.  

What are the rules of a count-out in pro wrestling?

1. The wrestler must be outside the ring

For the referee to initiate the 10 or 20 count out, the wrestler needs to exit the ring.

The moment he goes out of the ring, the referee starts the count to 10. And, the wrestler must re-enter the ring within 10 counts to disqualification.

2. The count outs should lead up to 10

It is important to note that count outs are not limited by the time element. For instance, count outs in WWE can last for 35 seconds, as we saw earlier.

It is called count outs because the referee decides the counts based on the script.  

3. Double count outs

Double count outs happen when – both wrestlers stay outside the ring and fail to re-enter within 10 counts called by the referee, then both are disqualified. 


Count outs can lead to results that can reshape the match outcomes. We hope this article helps to demystify count outs for the readers. 

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