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The Weekly Brainbuster (9/12/19): The Babyface Dilemma in WWE

This week breaks down some numbers for the top babyfaces in WWE!

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This week breaks down some numbers for the top babyfaces in WWE!

Welcome to the second edition of the Weekly Brainbuster here on The Chairshot!

Last week we evaluated how signature moves became part of wrestling and what some analysis showed about some specific moves in wrestling today. This week, our topic is the most alarming trend in WWE! We’ve all talked about it, we’ve all noticed it, but this week we are going to analyze why it is so damaging to the company!

As I discussed last week, I’m going to start analyzing by looking back. What do you remember about wrestling from when you were young? Most of us were drawn into Hulk Hogan in the WWE. But before Hulkamania, a certain type of wrestler dominated the house shows. Hulkamania became so vibrant and popular because of the ground work laid down many years before Hulkamania began. I’m sure you’re thinking about large, muscular, bodybuilders, and while that is valid, you will have noticed that many of the top champions before Hulk Hogan were bad guys. But after January 1984, it all changed in the WWE. The company always needed a “top babyface star”after that such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Rock, and John Cena. But, if you look at other companies such as NWA/WCW; the top champions were always bad guys!

During WCW’s reign on top, the biggest faction and stars were part of the nWo, but even before that, during the Crockett days, the biggest star was Ric Flair, a bonafide, over the top bad guy, escorted by his Four Horsemen, always holding back names like Dusty Rhodes, Sting, the Road Warriors, and other good guys because they would manipulate rules, cheat, lie, and steal their way to victories. The same thing happened in the WWF pre-Hulk Hogan. Look at “Superstar” Billy Graham, he’d win by a thread and retain his championship against the top names of the day. It was during that time, the late 70’s that the saying “Faces sell merchandise, but heels sell tickets” became part of wrestling. Fans anticipated the good guy to win, but the bad guy would win by the skin of his teeth, drawing fans to go to the next show, waiting for the good guy to win. Rinse and repeat.

What is the biggest problem the WWE is facing right now? The company has record setting television deals, great merchandise sales, but, low ratings and poor attendance. Even though the highest ratings of all-time were guided by a “babyface” Steve Austin in 1998, look at his character. He was as close to a traditional bad guy as you could get. The character succeeded because the product at the time embraced that type of behavior, but drinking beer, flipping middle fingers, fighting the boss, and getting arrested, were traditional qualities associated with heels. For the last 10-15 years in the WWE, the company has embraced a PG rating and top babyface stars like John Cena and Roman Reigns, and now currently, Seth Rollins. And yet the company is suffering more than it has been ever in company history in ratings.

Looking at the last two years, here is the list of some of the highest winning percentages:

  • Becky Lynch (41-13, 77%)
  • Roman Reigns (41-13, 72%)
  • Braun Strowman (45-18, 71%)
  • Cedric Alexander (38-16, 70%)
  • Seth Rollins (61-26, 70%)
  • Ricochet (27-13, 68%)
  • Bayley (45-23, 66%)
  • Finn Balor (50-32, 61%- the 2nd most Wins, and most total matches)

Prior to turning babyface in July, Kevin Owens had compiled a record of 12-36 over the last two years, a 25% win percentage. Since turning babyface, he has gone 5-2 (71%). During Braun Strowman’s eight week heel run in 2018, he went 2-3 as a heel (40%), and as a face he went 43-15 (74%). After Bayley turned heel on September 2nd, she lost her first match as a heel on September 9th, after only averaging one loss per month over the last two years! I’m assuming she’s also going to lose at Night of Champions, which would mean she’d double her average “loss per month” in two weeks, let alone any other loss after that this month. Alarming!

Let’s look at the other side, the person with the lowest win percentage with at least 30 matches, is Sami Zayn, who has won 5 matches in two years. He has a 15% winning percentage, and 3 of those wins happened around Royal Rumble last year during his feud with AJ Styles involving Kevin Owens, leading to a WWE Title match at Royal Rumble. His only other wins, were a tag match where Owens got the pin at this years Stomping Grounds, and a dirty pinfall over Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere match where he required interference. After him on the main roster? The aforementioned Kevin Owens, followed by Cesaro, and Andrade, Rusev, and Miz (who was a heel most of 2018).

The problems with this go even deeper than just wins and losses. Why should anyone watch WWE if the same people win every single week? But do they win every week? According to my wrestling database “The Most Complete Wrestling Database Online Project”, let’s go deeper and evaluate main event matches on PPV. Babyfaces have won 18-22 main event matches on PPV since January 2018. Of those 4 wins by heels? Three of them belong to Brock Lesnar, and one belongs to Asuka, who wasn’t a full blown face when she won at TLC 2018 because the match included red hot Becky Lynch. In addition, an additional 7 out of 8 babyface won co-main events (90% match on card rating or higher) on PPV, with the lone exception being Dean Ambrose who defeated Seth Rollins at TLC 2018 (So that’s the ONLY SHOW to see non-faces win not named Brock Lesnar). That’s a babyface win 83% (25-30) of the time in the upper card on major shows, and 96% in matches that don’t involve Brock Lesnar. Overall, babyfaces win 2-3 times as much as the top heels. It seems that if a bad guy DOES win, they lose again the next week or at the next show, which many refer to as “50/50” booking, but as can be seen, things are far from 50/50 on WWE television!

With ratings at an all-time low, is it time for the company to embrace a top bad guy? The Era of John Cena has passed us by, yet, it still seems to linger with new names. In 2019 alone, the most losses belong Drew McIntyre, Cesaro, Samoa Joe, Bobby Lashley, and Baron Corbin. What is wrong with the company? Well, when the bad guys can never win, that completely deflates the point of them being a bad guy. They’re supposed to be cunning and cheat and manipulate so you hate them. You hate them because those qualities lead to win after win, until the good guy finally beats them in an epic encounter, resulting in a huge reaction from fans in a feel good moment. What is there to feel good about when Seth Rollins wins every single week? What is there to feel good about when Becky Lynch wins every single week (besides the fact that shes The Man and she’s the best thing going in WWE and has been for a solid year), but shouldn’t she lose more to make those big wins feel that much important? That’s the problem the company finds themselves in. That is one of the main reasons for ratings being at an all-time low. Chris Benoit’s victory at WrestleMania XX would not have felt as emotional had he already been a six time world champion who always beat Triple H every week, right? That moment lives on in highlight videos and our memories as a great moment because the bad guy…..finally lost.

That does it for this weeks edition of The Weekly Brainbuster! As always, if you enjoyed this article, tell me what your favorite fact from this weeks article was in the comments. Follow me on Twitter “@TMCWDOP”, or you can send me an email at “Matthew.Davis7819@gmail.com”. Until next week!


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Cook’s Top 5: Miz Moments

Cook brings the most must see Top 5 of the week! Is it obvious or a MIZtery?

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The Miz WWE

This week is all about our new WWE Champion, The Miz!

Let’s be honest, Miz might not hold the Championship for too long. He’s got a big match with Bobby Lashley next week. We wish him luck, and maybe something unlikely will happen resulting in Miz holding on to the title longer than anybody expects. Still, I feel the need to get this particular edition of the Top 5 out there as soon as possible.

Here are the Top 5 Miz Moments!

5. Main Eventing WrestleMania

The match itself…not so great. Miz was obviously the third most important person in the match. He also suffered a concussion. But the guy still main evented WrestleMania and beat John Cena, which is something that not too many other people can say. This will remain Miz’s biggest WrestleMania match unless they get Bad Bunny to wrestle him this year.

4. A Ladder Match with Dolph Ziggler

Miz & Ziggler have quite a bit in common. Both hail from the Cleveland area. Both prefer to think of themselves as being from Hollywood. They’re both egotistical characters that make up for what they might lack in size with ego. They’ve been in WWE forever with limited changes to their character, pretty much on the same level of the card. Naturally, they get along pretty well & have good chemistry.

2016 saw the best incarnation of their on-screen issues, with Miz & Ziggler trading the Intercontinental Championship back & forth. The Ladder Match ending the feud at TLC is considered by most to be Miz’s best match. I don’t have a ton of other options off the top of my head, so we’ll go with that.

3. The First MITB Cash-In

You always remember your first. At this point in time, much like here in 2021, Miz wasn’t seen as the most believable choice to be WWE Champion. However, the man had a briefcase, and, importantly, this was back before the briefcase gimmick was completely run into the ground. So when Miz ran down at the end of Raw to cash in on Randy Orton, it got a tremendous reaction.

People were either really happy or really angry. I was on the angry side of the spectrum, especially since I had a cold and was writing a news column during all of this. Man, I remember when the week or so a year I would a cold was the only time I really felt like crap.

What can I say, Miz has grown on me over the years.

2. Feuding with The King

A lot of old school wrestling fans found it hard to believe that The Miz had become WWE Champion when more deserving wrestlers from their childhood never had been. Heck, Jerry Lawler, a God of Memphis rasslin who piledrove Andy Kaufman into oblivion, had never even gotten a shot at that title, even though he’d worked for WWE for nearly twenty years. Seemed wrong to a lot of people, but nobody expected that wrong to be addressed.

Lawler was celebrating his sixty-first birthday the week after Miz defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. One thing led to another, and Lawler got his very first WWE Championsgip opportunity. In a TLC match! They got the fans believing that Lawler could win the title…until that pesky Michael Cole kept Lawler from climbing further up the ladder.

It was nice to see the King get another important run on WWE television long after we thought it was possible. A large part of the reason it was possible? The Miz. He portrayed himself as just beatable enough that the title change could happen. Also held up his end of the bargin in the promos, which was never easy for Lawler’s opponents.

I know everybody likes a title change, but this was the best work Miz did during his first WWE Championship reign by a wide margin.

Honorable Mention: Marrying Maryse

You knew I had to mention this, right?

1. Talking Smack to Daniel Bryan

I’ve always been a Daniel Bryan guy. Back when he was Miz’s “rookie” on NXT, I thought the idea that Miz would have something to teach him was a bit outrageous. It was an interesting pairing though, and the Miz/Bryan relationship/rivalry has provided plenty of compelling moments over the years.

None moreso than the night where Miz did something that a lot of people didn’t think was possible: make himself seem right & Daniel Bryan seem wrong. The way Miz defended himself in this tirade was pretty much impossible to argue with. Maybe Miz doesn’t wrestle the way that hardcore wrestling fans would like, but he is pretty much the prototypical WWE Superstar of his era. He always works hard, is never hurt, and you don’t have to worry about him embarrassing himself or the company.

This promo raised Miz’s character to another level at the time, and definitely added some fuel to the fire for Bryan’s eventual return. If you want to see one Miz promo that sums up who he is & was, this would be it.


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE Elimination Chamber 2021

Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!

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WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 Kevin Owens Jey Uso

Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!

Due to the short build between the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, there was a general lack of excitement from fans heading into the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, especially with the lack of established matches on the card. Despite this, the Elimination Chamber was still a solid show to watch, mainly due to both chamber matches being fun to watch, with the last chamber match, having a shocking but awesome twist.  So as we leave the Elimination Chamber and take yet another step forward on the Road to WrestleMania, let us look at the top 5 moments that stood out on this short but solid show.

5. Riddle becomes United States Champion

Heading into this match, it seemed highly unlikely that Riddle would beat the United States Champion, Bobby Lashley. Even though the match was a triple threat match and Riddle did not have to pin Lashley to win the title, fans had seen Riddle lose to Bobby time and time again, making it seem the only real threat to Lashley’s title reign in the match was Keith Lee. However after Lee was taken out and John Morrison won a match on the pre-show earlier in the night, things seemed somewhat possible for Riddle.

All three men looked good in this match, as Lashley dominated the start of the match, helping fans get their breath back from the opening Elimination Chamber. This would force Riddle and John Morrison to team up on Lashley, despite being teamed up on Lashley would fight back and seemed to have things won as he put the hurt lock on John Morrison, only for Riddle to attack Lashley with the crutch belonging to MVP and pin John Morrison to become United States Champion

Yet again, special credit has to be given to MVP as a manager, he serves a purpose and actually looks like he’s being effective in helping Lashley. An example of this was MVP encouraging Lashley to stay outside the ring to recover as Riddle and Morrison treaded blows inside the ring.

4. The Tribal Chief reigns supreme for now

Instead of defending the Universal Championship inside the Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns would use his power to face the winner of the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, straight after the match. This was yet another great heel move from Roman as it once again showed how much power he has backstage due to his bloodline and role as a main-event player.

After Daniel Bryan survived a brutal chamber match, Roman Reigns would come out straight after the match, giving Daniel Bryan little time to recover. Roman would go to spear Daniel, only for Daniel to reverse it into the Yes Lock, making the impossible seem possible, only for Roman to counter and punish Daniel, locking in the guillotine for the win.

After holding the Universal Title, Roman would be hit with a spear by Edge, who seemed to copy Roman from earlier on SmackDown as he whispered in Roman’s ear, before pointing to the WrestleMania sign, giving fans his answer on who he’s gonna face at WrestleMania.

3. An Awesome finish

After The Miz won the Money In The Bank briefcase at Hell In A Cell against Otis, it seemed like every Pay-Per-View he would give Drew McIntyre a threat, stating he was going to cash in, however as time went on, it seemed more unlikely he would ever successfully cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase and win the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre.

Each after he pulled out of the Elimination Chamber match, it still seemed unlikely Miz would cash in successfully, especially with it being so close to WrestleMania. However, after we saw backstage footage of The Miz talking to MVP backstage before the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, things started to become interesting.

After McIntyre had won the Elimination Chamber match to retain his WWE Championship, Bobby Lashley would come out and dominate Drew, leaving The Miz to cash in on Drew, allowing Miz to win the WWE Championship, putting a massive twist on the Road to WrestleMania.

2. McIntyre survives the Elimination Chamber   

The Elimination Chamber match was filled with heaps of sub feuds, especially with the WWE Champion, Drew Mcintyre who had old rivals in Randy Orton and AJ Styles, as well as a new feud with his former best friend Sheamus, despite this, Drew would keep a level head and dominate everyone in the match, before eventually hitting a claymore on AJ Styles to win the match and retain his title before The Miz would cash in.

Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton would start the match before Drew would come in and dominate both men. Kofi Kingston would come in next and hit Orton with a roll-up to score a shock elimination. Orton would RKO both Hardy and Kofi, allowing Styles to have an advantage as Omos helped destroy his pod, so Styles could enter early in the match. Kofi would be eliminated by Sheamus, as well as Hardy who was eliminated by Drew.

AJ, Sheamus and Drew would trade blows, with Sheamus hitting Drew with a Brogue kick, only for Styles to hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Sheamus to eliminate him. With Drew now battered and broken Styles would attempt a Phenomenal Forearm on Drew, only for Drew to hit a Claymore Kick in mid-air to survive and win a great Elimination Chamber match.

1. Daniel Bryan goes the distance 

Despite the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship being a great match I personally found the opening chamber match earlier in the night much more enjoyable. It felt much more smooth and natural than the later chamber match with all 6 men involved looking strong with Daniel Bryan, being the clear MVP of the match as he entered the chamber first with fellow dark horse Cesaro and went on to win his third Elimination Chamber match.

Cesaro and Daniel would start things off slow as they entered the match first. King Corbin would then come out, followed by an irate Sami Zayn who could not believe we entered forth. Corbin would be the first eliminated after Cesaro put him the Sharpshooter. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso would then come out with Owens eliminating Sami. As Sami exited the ring Jey would trap Kevin’s arm in the Chamber door, superkicking him then eliminating him.

Cesaro would then mount a comeback only for Jey to ruin his momentum as he superkicked Cesaro and hit a splash to eliminate him. Jey would then attempt a splash of a wounded Bryan, only for Bryan to get his knees up and hit Jey with the running knee to win the Elimination Chamber match.

These were my top 5 moments from the Elimination Chamber. What were your top 5 moments and what did you think of both Elimination Chamber matches? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


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