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Daily DeMarco: Do Wins And Losses Matter?

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Macho Man Randy Savage WWE Wins and Losses

Greg DeMarco offers his thoughts on a controversial question in the world of pro wrestling: Do Wins And Losses Matter?

Professional wrestling is based on the carnival act of staging a fight, originally in a boxing ring, and challenging members of the audience to pay for an attempt to knock the big act off, with the promise of winning back a larger portion of money for a win. Eventually someone would win, but they were also part of the show. It was all about the work–from day one.

Wrestling - Sikeston, MO 1938 - 1.jpg

Wrestling in Missouri, circa 1938

But wrestling (minus the “pro”) also has its Olympic roots, as a true competitive sport. In the 1896 Olympics, Carl Schuhmann pinned Georgios Tsitas on the second day of their match, as the first day saw them grapple for 40 minutes before the match was suspended for darkness.

There were five Olympians total in this open weight competition, with Schuhmann scoring the events only pinfalls in both of his matches. Schuhmann was a gymnast, by the way. The four matches in these Olympic games were contested with Greco Roman Rules, but there was no time limit and no scoring. The two non pinfall “finishes” saw one wrestler retiring from the match, and the other ended due to a shoulder injury.

Believed to be a wrestling match from the 1896 Olympics

While completely different in nature, scope, and presentation, both of these early wrestling examples shared one common thread: Wins and Losses Mattered.

What happened?

Wrestling, the professional variety anyway, evolved from its carnival roots to start staging multiple matches, not using audience challengers or plants. Matches were still staged, but the stakes were changed. At first the biggest stake was a championship, with other stakes usually coming in the form of… you guessed it… wins and losses!

The carnival roots still held strong, since early champions tended to be a champion you had to overcome. Fans traveled miles and paid good money to see championships defended in the main event, and men (and sometimes women) battle for wins and losses on the undercard.

Boxing also had an influence on early wrestling, as early boxing was more of a fight. The earliest written rules of boxing that I could find reference to was in 1713, and they included headbutts, chokes, throws, and even eye pokes! Boxing obviously changed, but it established the idea of rankings, championships, and the structure of a card. Wrestling (and later MMA) would take this format on.

But even in eras we are old enough to remember or read/watch, wrestling was still about winning and losing. Even when personal issue was added in as a stake, in the end you got your revenge by making your opponent suffer a loss–not being set on fire, buried alive, being sacrificed to the Gods, etc. Granted, those things are still losses, but they weren’t deemed necessary.

Something else came to the forefront as professional wrestling progressed–it was really a form of entertainment. While being presented as a sport, it was selling because it was an entertaining one.

Again, WHAT HAPPENED?

Well, this answer is easy: Vince McMahon happened. Or more accurately, Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Vince McMahon had to fight to get into the wrestling business, but you also have to understand why he fell in love it to begin with. When his father took him to his first ever show, he didn’t fall in love with sport. He fell in love with the characters and the showmanship- the larger-than-life characters. “Larger than life” is in his own words, and that’s why it’s so often used to describe the ideal WWE Superstar.

It was Vince McMahon who had to make a balloon payment to his dad and his business partners, a payment that if he missed even by a day, would have meant Vince lost everything. WrestleMania was the gamble that allowed Vince to make that payment. It was seen by 19,000+ at Madison Square Garden, and over a million paying normal ticket prices to watch on closed circuit television.

What made WrestleMania different? Spectacle. Liberace was the timekeeper for the main event. former Yankees manager Billy Martin was the ring announcer. Muhammad Ali the referee. The Rockettes performed in the ring. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T won the main event. It wasn’t built–or sold–on competition. Wins and losses really didn’t matter. It was built on larger-than-life characters performing in a larger-than-life spectacle.

And it allowed Vince McMahon to fully own what would become the WWE we know and love (love to hate?) today. Pushing wins and losses aside allowed the the business’s most powerful figure to take full ownership of the business’s most powerful entity.

Dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmnnnnn man! That is a huge statement to swallow!

Let it sink in: once Vince McMahon put on an event where wins and losses took a back seat to being a larger-than-life spectacle, the business took off. Once Vince has his moneymaking model, the rest of the business was ripe for the picking. Vince couldn’t have gone national–thus running in others’ territories–without a larger-than-life spectacle. Without Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Roman Reigns. As Vince himself has said, they “broke the mold.”

Once Vince McMahon created Sports Entertainment, there was no looking back. It was about performing first, winning second. Pro wrestling became a show, but more importantly it became about the show. And in some parts of the story, the show would be about Vince McMahon.

The regional territories couldn’t compete with Vince McMahon, and most of them died off. Killing the territories wasn’t Vince McMahon’s intention, but it was a byproduct of his success. He bought a lot of his competitors, paying them handsomely in the process. Others refused to be bought, and that decision was usually futile. Vince McMahon, using Hulk Hogan, had changed the business, and they had to change or get out.

So…do Wins and Losses matter?

Wrestling is a show. The wrestlers in the ring are telling a story, and the best stories have a stake that the performers–and the audience–are invested in. That stake is the biggest part of the story. Sometimes that stake is a championship (or the quest for a championship), other times it’s a personal issue. Rarely do two wrestlers stand face-to-face in the center of the ring, with an invested crowd hanging at each movement, with the main stake simply being a win. And the match is rarely judged on the stake, it’s usually judged on the performance.

That is the biggest way the wrestling business has changed. At their simplest form, wins and losses do not matter. The result of a win or a loss is the true stake, although there are plenty of times where a winner loses in the end. That’s part of the story.

But the importance of a win–or a loss–can be built into the story. It can be sold by the promotion…the performers…the announcers…the fans. It’s a simple principle: the stakes matter. If wins and losses are the stakes, then wins wins and losses matter. When the stakes are something else, wins and losses don’t matter.

That’s why I have coined the phrase that I maintain today: “Wins and Losses don’t matter–except when they matter.

Good Reads On The Chairshot

And that’s it for today’s blog post! Thank you for reading the 7th Daily DeMarco–here’s to many more!

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco

Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/27/19)

Dolph, Brock, and an amazing in-ring performance!

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WWE Raw Dolph Ziggler

WWE Raw hit the airwaves for a holiday edition, and Box Office Brock is officially Boom Box Brock. Who stood out to Greg DeMarco?

WWE Raw was live on Memorial Day, and the show provided some memorable moments. Here’s what I think are the most memorable performances of the night.

The Third Star for WWE Raw: Boom Box Brock Lesnar

So Brock Lesnar didn’t know that he has a year to cash in Money In The Bank? Of course he didn’t! Brock was dancing, smiling, and having the time of his life. But if he wanted to, he could still kill you. His interactions tonight were fabulous, especially the moment when he realized he had a year to cash in the contract. Brock rarely speaks or makes decisions, but when he does it’s so carries to much impact. Well done!


Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!

 

Be like Elisa and get yours at:
https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/related/thechairshot.html


The Second Star: Dolph Ziggler

I know there is some confusion around Dolph’s character. He’s technically still a Raw superstar (as listed on WWE.com), and he came back out of nowhere. But his delivery has been spectacular, and I am interested to see what he does in the ring at Super ShowDown. Will he change his in-ring style to match his persona? Will he stick around after the PPV?


Must Listen:
Driving With DeMarco: I Enjoyed Raw, And You Can Too!


The First Star for WWE Raw: Ricochet and Cesaro

You owe it to yourself to watch this match. They killed it, and busted out some stuff you don’t normally see. I don’t care about 50/50 booking or any other internet complaint. Go. Watch. This. Match.


Who are your Three Stars of WWE Raw?
Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom,
and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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AEW Coverage

Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: AEW Double Or Nothing (5/25/19)

“Cody Rhodes can now take his place among the greatest in-ring storytellers of all time, a seat right next to Triple H himself.”

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AEW Double Or Nothing Kenny Omega

ALL Elite Wrestling made its debut with AEW Double Or Nothing. Who stood out from the talented crowd?

AEW Double Or Nothing is history, and it was quite the history making event. From the stellar matches, to the surprise debut of Jon Moxley (the former Dean Ambrose), the show delivered in a million different ways. It’s nearly impossible to pick three standout performances from a night like this, but I am the man for the task!

Featured image credit James Musselwhite, courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

The Third Star for AEW Double Or Nothing: SCU

AEW Double Or Nothing SCU

There will only ever be one first PPV match for All Elite Wrestling, and it will always belong to SCU. Yes, Strong Hearts were also involved, and yes, Al Linda Man is an unsung hero of this match, but Christopher Daniels (one of the true greatest of all time), Frankie Kazarian (one of the greatest in-ring workhorses of all time), and Scorpio Sky (one of the most underrated wrestlers in the entire world, of all time), delivered a performance that is worth remembering as the first PPV match ever for AEW. This match in general hit on all cylinders, and the talent deserves a nod for their performance.


Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!

 

Be like Elisa and get yours at:
https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/related/thechairshot.html


The Second Star: Kenny Omega

AEW Double Or Nothing Kenny Omega

Image Credit: Ricky Havlik/AEW

Kenny Omega wanted to give the fans a main event they deserved, and he did just that with Chris Jericho. It wasn’t as spot-tastic as the tag team match that preceded it (and that’s a good thing), but the story involved and Jericho working a new style that suits his age (and conditioning) meant that Omega needed to nearly kill himself to deliver the match he wanted everyone to see. In the end he put Jericho over, but is obviously on a collision course with Jon Moxley–potentially at ALL OUT. But on this night, Kenny Omega put the AEW brand on his shoulders and carried it into the stratosphere.

Honorable Mention: Jon Moxley

He needed to give everyone a memorable moment to end the show, and he did just that.


Must Listen:
The Doc Says… AEW Double Or Nothing Reaction


The First Star for AEW Double Or Nothing: Cody Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes

AEW Double Or Nothing Cody Rhodes Dustin Rhodes

Image Credit: Ricky Havlik/AEW

This match is what pro wrestling is all about. The amazing story told in the ring was sold by two true brothers, and in the end it was Cody who stood tall. That’s not enough to give one man the nod over the other, as this was obviously a team–no–a family effort. Dustin took the lead for most of the match, and you can tell both wanted to put on a performance that would make Dusty Rhodes proud. There was an old school moment when DDP carried Brandi Rhodes backstage kicking and screaming, but that doesn’t take away from what this was. It wasn’t old school, it was pro wrestling. Cody Rhodes can now take his place among the greatest in-ring storytellers of all time, a seat right next to Triple H himself.


Who are your Three Stars of WWE Raw?
Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom,
and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

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