WWE has a strange policy of having wrestlers lose in their home town, sometimes seeming to go out of their way to book them on a show they might not otherwise wrestle on, or even switch a title when otherwise it might not have. For instance, on the Oct. 24 Raw in Minneapolis, Minn., Bo Dallas beat hometown wrestler Curtis Axel. And Jim Ross fans remember cringing at what was in store for Jim Ross when Raw went to Oklahoma City over the years. On Monday night, would the Women’s Championship have changed hands if Charlotte wasn’t in her home town?
Former WWE Creative Team member Matt McCarthy (2010-2011) told me earlier today on the PWTorch Livecast that he never knew why that was the unwritten policy in WWE. “I mean, I don’t know why (Vince) does that, but it’s something that’s always happened,” he said. “I don’t remember any specific examples of it, but there was always an awareness of, ‘Well, what town are we in, oh so-and-so is from here, Vince is probably going to want him to lose.’ I never, ever got an explanation for why that was. Even a general booking philosophy of why you’d do that.”
He guessed that Vince got in the habit of doing it a long time ago for a certain reason – perhaps to “go against the grain” of expectations – and now it’s turned into a bit of an ongoing prank or even a test to see how wrestles handle being asked to lose in front of family and friends.
“I don’t know,” said McCarthy. “I know Vince can get hung up on not wanting to just do the same old thing. That’s kind of a problem when you’re in your 70s and you’ve been doing this job your entire life and you’ve seen it all and done it all.”
McCarthy doesn’t see wisdom in doing something for one reason and never reevaluating it, especially if the point was to go “against the grain” because now it’s become so predictable among people in WWE and now even among many fans that it’s actually “going with the grain.”
“I think he can under-appreciate how much turnover there is in the audience and how many new viewers you get,” McCarthy said. “There are people who haven’t seen that stuff before. When I watch Jack Gallagher, I am smitten because I never get to see that type of wrestling anymore and I never have. I want that type of stuff, I love that type of stuff. There’s a whole century’s worth of booking philosophies and tricks that we’ve never seen. Johnny Carson said it once. ‘There’s no new jokes. There’s just an audience who hasn’t heard them yet.’ Not everything has to be – sometimes a wheel is what you need, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to go against the grain just because you’ve been going with the grain so long.”
McCarthy advocates for evaluating everything that is done and making sure it’s being done for prudent reasons, not just because it’s the way they’ve done things for so long that they forgot why they originally started doing it in the first place. “I’m talking about applying what we know works, examining the situation we’re in, and see what the most logical place we can go, and what’s something really exciting we can do that we haven’t done in a long time,” he said.”There’s only so many ideas in the bucket. I think I heard Kevin Nash say there’s really only nine reasons for guys to have a match, and it’s true. We’re still tuning in and we still watch to see the good guy beat the bad guy. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. It’s pro wrestling. It should be simple. It should just be pro wrestling. It doesn’t need to be anything more than that.”
LISTEN TO TODAY’S FREE ONE HOUR INTERVIEW WITH MCCARTHY HERE: PWTorch Livecast Interview Thursday (12-01-16): Ex-WWE Creative Team member Matt McCarthy joins Wade Keller to talk UFC collective bargaining, Jericho-Owens, Sasha-Charlotte