Losing Streaks

Hi Scott,
I was wondering what your opinion on losing streak gimmicks are. A buddy of mine on another message board go back and forth on them and he doesn’t think they really harm guys that much while I think they’re a terrible way to get a guy over. He references Sheamus as a guy who got rebuilt after a losing streak gimmick while I’ve referenced guys like Matt Hardy and MVP as guys who a losing streak angle has hurt. Here’s our exchange.

Him–and, btw, I think you are wrong about the losing streak gimmick. Didn’t hurt sheamus last year and I don’t think it’s going to hurt miz this year. it only hurts if management perceives your character as a loser. I also think ziggler jobbed more than miz did these last 3 months.
Me–Ziggler is never portrayed as a loser though. They don’t mention that he loses all the time and they always talk about how Miz hasn’t done jackshit all year since Mania. When they make it the focus of your character, it hardly ever works. Most of the time a guy gets a losing streak gimmick, the writers play it up like they’re going to pay it off, they move onto a new guy and forgot about the losing streak guy and he’s stuck in jobberville. You can rehabilitate a guy’s character and rebuild him but it’s an uphill process. It’s a little easier nowadays to do so but there are still way more effective ways to get a guy over or build a storyline for him than having him lose week after week.

Was curious to see what your thoughts were. You can also throw this out as some fodder for the blog.

Well they sure didn’t build Undertaker into a giant star off a 20-0 losing streak gimmick at Wrestlemania, that’s for sure. Here’s the thing:  A losing streak can work as the buildup to a bigger payoff, IF the guy is someone who isn’t going to be hurt by it.  John Cena is already bulletproof and has been on top for years, so dropping four or five PPV main events in a row isn’t going to do much to hurt his drawing power.  Saying “a guy wasn’t hurt by it” is far from the same as “he was helped by it.”  Sheamus recovered from it because they pushed the F--- out of him once they got bored of beating him, and because he’s BFFs with HHH and thus gets protected.  I agree with the “me” portion of the argument.  Miz has been destroyed and if it wasn’t for his gig with the Marine you’d think he was wrapping up his employment with the company.  He desperately needs two or three months off to change his look up, find a new twist on the gimmick, switch shows, whatever.  Honestly, if I was WWE I’d just buy ROH and use it as a feeder system, so that they could send their C-level “main eventers” somewhere to legitimately be perceived as main eventers and recover from losing streaks.  Like, can you imagine the ROH super-smarks losing their minds if Miz came in and challenged Davey Richards?  He would literally be the biggest heel in the history of the promotion instantly.  He would be everything that their fans HATE about wrestling, the fake pre-packaged media-friendly reality show star with a lame catchphrase, and it would instantly freshen up his character and give him some buzz again.  Anyway, I’m getting off topic here. Otherwise, losing streaks always fail.  As you noted, once you brand a guy as a loser, it’s incredibly difficult to rebrand him.  It’s not tough to rebrand the PERSON, but rebranding the character is frequently a lost cause.  It would be like if were trying to sell Spirit Squad Nicky as a future World champion – it’s a waste of time when it’s much easier to scrap the character and come up with “Dolph Ziggler” instead.  And Ziggler is getting close to being dead, because he lost so much and now he only wins after interference from Swagger.  You might as well just throw it all out and start from scratch again, he’s still young anyway.  He can always go to Japan and get tattoos on his face – that always works, right?