Triple H: Do wins and losses matter in pro wrestling?

triple hIt’s a big deal to Floyd Mayweather that he’s 49-0, but that’s boxing, where won-loss records are key to marketing.

But think about the last time you cared about a pro wrestler’s won-loss record going into any particular fight.

Maybe Bill Goldberg during his ballyhooed 173-match winning streak in WCW back in the late 1990s.

Triple H sure doesn’t care about even keeping track.

“Do I keep track of the exact wins and losses of talent? No. To me, all of this stuff is a feel,” the former champ-turned-WWE exec told ESPN.

Pro wrestling is more like MMA, where a competitor’s won-loss record is usually not anywhere near clean, and is basically immaterial to the booking and marketing.

With wrestling, which is, of course, sports entertainment, wins and losses are doled out with strategy in mind.

“Sometimes you’re beating a talent because you want to beat them and that’s the sympathetic reaction you’re trying to elicit,” Triple H said. “There are some talents that, when you beat them, they get more popular, but as soon as they start on a winning path, their popularity begins to wane. People want that underdog to strive to succeed and then get a little bit of success and then get knocked back off that perch and be the underdog again.”

Sounds like the booking plan for Daniel Bryan post-WrestleMania 31 that we never got because Bryan went on the shelf there, doesn’t it?

Cynics would point to the booking of Triple H, the wrestler, as bucking that trend, of course, but fans of Triple H, the exec, tend to spritz him in the cologne of NXT, the developmental unit within WWE that has birthed a bevy of homegrown talents, including current WWE champ Dean Ambrose, former champs Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, WWE women’s champ Sasha Banks and challengers Charlotte and Becky Lynch, and mid-card staples like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

Triple H felt compelled to defend himself on the wins and losses thing in the ESPN interview, though he likely didn’t need to.

“I suppose there’s a stone somewhere that it’s written on that says, Thou shalt not book 50/50 because it won’t lead to success for your promotion. We’ll stand on that stone while we’re selling out Brooklyn three days in a row,” he said.

Well, there’s that, and then there’s record-low ratings for Raw. But losses don’t matter, right?

Story by Chris Graham

 

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