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Guest TSMAdmin

Why Winning and Losing Doesn't Matter

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Guest TSMAdmin

"It's not losing and winning anymore, it's more about the reactions from the crowd. It's kind of funny about how things have changed, because five years ago it was about winning and losing. But if you look and see after a loss, people, you'll see I get a bigger reaction. "


- Chris Jericho, November 1999


Even four years ago, Jericho was right: Winning and losing in WWE doesn’t matter. Unless the WWE want it to.


Remember back to the Rey Mysterio vs. The Big Show feud going into Backlash. The feud came about from one contrived incident where Mysterio hit a 619 (and then fell over) around the ringpost and knocked Show down.


A lot of emphasis was put on how humiliating that was for The Big Show, which to a degree it was (it could have sold been sold more as a threat, but whatever.) But does anyone remember who won the match that happened before it? Or hell – even what the match was?


It was a tag team match featuring Rey and Tajiri against The Big Show and A-Train. The winners of the match were (surprisingly!) Show and A-Train, after an extended squash. But that victory was meaningless, since it was never mentioned again!


And this is where WWE is going wrong: There is far too little significance placed on winning matches. What the hell does it matter if Albert, The Big Show, Rey and Tajiri all go out and wrestle for 5 minutes if they are going to focus on one thing that lasted for seconds?


I don’t like fantasy booking, but wouldn’t it have made a hell of a lot more sense if Rey had just won the match with the 619? If they really wanted to preserve the Big Show’s heat (what little of it there is) then he could have been distracted.


Most people could have lived without the match at all, so why not clear it out and allow more talented workers a little more time? The Big Show could have made his point about being a Bully™ any number of ways, and Rey could have humiliated him any number of ways. But a horrible 5 minute match followed by an attack does nobody any favours.


I’m not saying that everything should be settled outside the ring – quite the opposite. All I am saying is that the whole point of that segment was to have Rey make The Big Show look stupid. There are so many ways of making that point without going through a horrible match.


Who gained anything from the match? Rey didn’t lose any heat from losing, just as the Big Show and Albert didn’t gain any from the squash. Cruiserweight vs. heavyweight matches just don’t work, because if the heavyweight wins, then it is expected. If he loses, then he looks VERY weak. This is because of the class system that WWE has, which places heavyweights about cruiserweights.


This is why the Bullying™ gimmick is so weak – They are comparing the Big Show to an older child beating up someone younger. This gives him “asshole” heat, but not the good kind. It gives him X-Pac style, “look… fuck off” heat.


Anyway, come Backlash, WWE have booked themselves into a corner: Do they go the HHH route and have Rey look like the underdog with no chance going into the match, and then job him? Or go the Hogan / Andre route, and have the small guy pull out all the stops and finally win?


They take the HHH route, and have Show no-sell three 619s. Whatever the logic is behind that, I don’t know. Kicking out of a finisher is bad, no selling it is really bad... but THREE?! We already get the idea that the Big Show is bigger and stronger. We don't need it ramming down our throats.


Post match though, they have Show swing Rey like a baseball bat into the ringpost.




That one moment overshadowed the whole match. That one move made the entire match meaningless, because every replay that is shown, every comment that is made, is about that swing. Who won the match is meaningless. At the end of the day, The Big Show Bullied™ Rey. While this may be quite good from the point of view that "at least people won't remember him no-selling the 619s", they are overshadowing the match yet again.


Perhaps it is intentional - have people remember The Big Show as a monster that beats people up after the match, rather than a shitty worker. With WWE - who knows.


Now to refer back to an older and more notorious match at Survivor Series 2000. HHH fought Stone Cold in a hell of a brawl, which nobody remembers. Why does nobody remember it? Because at the end, Stone Cold attempted to kill HHH by dropping him from a forklift. In a car. It sounds ridiculous, and while WWE managed to carry it off well by editing in old footage of HHH in the car with live shots of Stone Cold destroying it, it had no place in a wrestling match.


In terms of the storyline, it did make sense – previously, HHH had been the “mastermind” behind Stone Cold’s running down two years previously. After HHH defied death, nothing came of it – sure, he was a little pissed off with Austin, and cost him the title against Kurt Angle just over a month later, but there were no long term effects. If anyone else had been dropped like that, I’m sure it would change them, but HHH just sold it like any other injury. HHH has had no change of attitude towards getting into cars, or trusting people, or anything. He came back exactly the same as when he left – pissed off. If all they wanted to do was an injury angle, why not just have Stone Cold go “too far” with a chair, or leave him laying in a pool of his own blood.


Then the entire blow off to their feud at No Way Out 2001 was a fantastic match, ended with a cheap “hit each other at the same time and HHH lands on top” spot. WWE seemingly didn’t want to make either wrestler look better than the other. I’ll come back to this point in a moment.


On the other hand though, if they want to though, WWE can make even a small victory meaningful. Going back a LONG time, to when Sean Waltman was just another jobber on Raw. He fought Razor Ramon in what should have been another jobber squash (05.17.1993).


The Kid, as he was known, spends the whole match getting his ass handed to him by Ramon. Then, managing one offensive manoeuvre, hits a standing moonsault onto Ramon for the pin. He changed his name to the 1-2-3 Kid, in honour of his victory and then propelled himself to “fame” as X-Pac.


It wasn’t the victory over Razor that was meaningful – it was WWE’s hype over that victory. From CRZ’s report:


“Already the Kid's win is being exaggerated by the commentators ("He did thirteen somersaults in the air"), and Vince suggests calling him the "1-2-3 Kid." Heenan says that not only would that drive Ramon over the edge, but the fans may get behind the Kid”


That commentary came during another match! Now, the commentators always hype the main event during the other matches, but this was a minor match, on what should have been a throwaway show. WWE made it into a big deal.


A comparable situation would be the Hurricane vs. The Rock match on the 10th March Raw. The Hurricane won the match, but it was never mentioned again. Why throw away such a great opportunity? Hurricane was getting monster pops, and the Rock lay down for him in a great show of sportsmanship. They had both done their parts, but WWE managed to screw it up by doing nothing about it. There was great potential for the Hurricane


But why do they ALWAYS do this?


Sadly, WWE seems to be reluctant now to say “this wrestler won because he is better”.


The emphasis should be put back onto victories, rather than post match fighting. While it may be counter-productive to always say “X is better than Y”, make it clear that “X is better than Y on this occasion”. Don't make it sound like a lucky win, but even Steven booking helps nobody.


Look at the Rock / Austin Wrestlemania matches: Austin is up 2-1, but The Rock proved that he CAN beat Stone Cold at Wrestlemania. Both of them are viewed equally, showing that it doesn’t matter how many times you win, what does matter is the handling of the victory.


The “rematch clause” has become a part of WWE title matches now, granting everyone a chance to regain their heat. Generally, it works out so that nothing is decisively won – Someone may have the title, but they usually lose to the person they won it off in a tag match, or in a rematch.


No wrestlers come off as strong then, and even if they do win, WWE doesn’t know what to do with it – just look at the Hurricane.


As for the shenanigans (© Edge) that occur post match, pretty much every feud can be tweaked slightly to make it work in the ring. WWE really needs to put the emphasis back on wrestling.


Most wrestlers aren’t great actors – Hell, look at the Big Show’s “pissed” face:




There’s no need to put the Big Show in a position where he is required to do that – if you have to have acting, get an actor in, or a wrestler who can act. Believe it or not, storylines can be carried without acting. Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Chris Benoit have gotten way over without saying more than 100 words between them (and the words they have said were delivered very unconvincingly.) They all found a way of getting over without convoluted storylines, like RVD with his “big move followed by R-V-D thumb pose” wrestling style. Or Benoit, who got a standing ovation at the Royal Rumble, just for his sheer wrestling skill.


The Rock, on the other hand, plays off his natural charisma and can turn himself face and then heel within one sentence. He has natural acting ability, which should be utilised and put into angles. This is something that WWE can carry off very well, allowing him freedom to do and say pretty much what he wants. The Big Show hasn’t got this talent, so why put him in an angle that entirely relies on his acting skills? Get him over using one of the only things he has going for him – his size and strength.


At the end of the day, let them do what they do best: Wrestle.



This was my debut post, so I'd appreciate any feedback at all to [email protected].


I'd like to give a huge "thank you" to the Dames for giving me this opportunity, and also to FB - you know who you are.

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