In the most simple of terms, the main objective of a wrestling match is to be victorious over your opponent. Why would a single cognizant soul care about a wrestling match (or the competitors) if the outcome isn’t important?
Call me old-fashioned, but wins and losses should matter in professional wrestling. Newer generations of fans have been conditioned to believe who wins and who loses isn’t important. The mantra in the WWE today is anyone can be beaten, but as long as the personalities are over, it doesn’t matter.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. In wrestling, perception is everything. Fans might like a certain wrestler for their personality, their charisma or their in-ring talent, but if they’re made to lose on a regular basis, nobody will take them seriously. Not at the box office, anyway. How could they?
Case in point: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. Since Feb. 3, Orton has a record of 2-6 on television and has been pinned five times, thrice by Daniel Bryan. Beating world champions on TV has become standard operating procedure for the WWE, and nothing is more irksome.
How are fans supposed to take Orton seriously as a world champion? Losing that many times on TV devalues both Orton and the championship.
Orton’s reign may be coming to an end shortly, but that’s no reason to book him this weakly. If Orton is booked like a real world champion who almost never loses, whoever defeats him for the belt will look even better by comparison. Bryan’s already pinned the champion three times, so what’s the big deal if he does it again at WrestleMania XXX?
When you study the most successful champions in WWE history, it’s not hard to find a common denominator – they don’t lose! If Hulk Hogan lost a match on television, let alone PPV, it would have been a BIG deal. Nowadays, the world champion gets pinned and they move on to the next segment.
The WWE has always been a face-heavy promotion. Both Vince McMahon Sr. and Vince McMahon Jr. liked having strong face champions on top. Fan favorites like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart dominated the world title scene for the first 35 years of the promotion. None of these guys lost many matches.
Orton should get the same treatment. Winning matches is even more important for heels, because heels draw money when they are both hated AND perceived as being the top wrestler in the promotion. It’s all a matter of perceived credibility. A heel who never wins is just a guy people don’t like, and that doesn’t equate to dollar signs.
This is all part of the “new way” in wrestling. It stinks.