Pro Wrestling

10 Dumbest Ways To Lose A Wrestling Match Source:

Losing a match happens to every wrestler, sooner or later. Sometimes, your opponent is just better, stronger, or smarter, and you end up with your shoulders pinned to the mat. Honestly, there’s no shame in being beaten by a better wrestler. Or at least, there shouldn’t be. However, over the years, wrestling has developed dozens of ways to lose matches that, theoretically, allow the loser to “save face” in defeat, since the win wasn’t “clean” under the rules. In reality, such tainted wins and losses often end up making the wrestlers involve look dumb, incompetent, or some combination of the two, and yet these hackneyed and terrible finishes keep getting trotted out on a weekly basis, because someone, somewhere, has decided that it’s impossible to look good in defeat. We disagree with that statement strenuously, and we’ve got some examples of ways in which wrestlers lose matches that are commonly used, and are far worse for any wrestler’s credibility than simply taking a pin.

10. No Contest

Technically, you don’t lose a No Contest decision, but nobody wins, either, so we’re counting it. In fact, that’s the exact reason why it’s dumb, and considered one of the worst finishes to any important match. We’re not talking about a Raw match that ends with two wrestlers brawling so much that the referee throws the whole thing out and the circumstances dictate that they have to have a re-match on Pay Per View to settle things. In that case, it’s a semi-decent booking strategy. However, we have seen entire Pay Per Views ruined by a main event in which there simply wasn’t a finish to the match. The most infamous example we could think of was during the New World Order’s reign of terror, in which nearly every match involving the faction would end with members of the group running in en masse to beat up a helpless wrestler, resulting in the entire thing being thrown out and nothing getting resolved. Think about how terrible that sounds for an audience that paid money to watch that show, and yet, it’s a finish that gets used regularly, and unapologetically, in order to extend feuds from one Pay Per View to another. Source:

9. Opponent Escapes The Cage

You might be surprised to know that the stipulation of escaping a steel cage to win the match didn’t always exist. In fact, it was entirely invented by WWE in order to differentiate their cage matches from other wrestling organizations, where cage matches only ended in pinfall or submission. The main problem with the “cage escape” stipulation is that it works against the entire concept of a cage match, which was originally created to settle feuds without the possibility of outside interference. However, escaping the cage subverts the whole idea by allowing a wrestler to win by running away from their opponent instead of actually fighting and defeating the wrestler they’ve been feuding with. In fact, originally, escaping the cage was the only way to win a cage match in WWE. This became even sillier in tag team cage matches, where both team members had to escape, meaning wrestlers were forced to leave their tag partner in a handicap match by escaping, actually leaving the team at a theoretical disadvantage as a result of trying to win. To be fair, WWE eventually realized how dumb that was and added pinfall and submission stipulations (as well as creating Hell in a Cell, which was originally supposed to be inescapable), but the escape option still exists to this day. Source:

8. Last-Minute Stipulations

In 1998, Vince McMahon attempted to screw “Stone Cold” Steve Austin out of the WWE Title multiple times, but since Austin was a big draw and face of the company, Vince needed him to actually lose the title in a match, rather than simply taking it away from him. Thus, in one case, Austin was placed in a match against Dude Love, where Vince’s cronies were in various positions of power at ringside, and Vince himself was the referee. During the match, several situations arose where Austin might have managed to escape with the title in various ways, forcing a quick-thinking Vince to exert his power as President of WWE to add stipulations to the match that enabled it to continue, eventually removing countouts and DQ’s, as well as making the match “Falls Count Anywhere”. It was pulled off beautifully and was a great match in the bargain, however, WWE (and other wrestling companies) have shamelessly ripped off the concept and twisted it so many ways since then that it has become cliche, and also more often used as an incredibly lame way to give babyfaces “moral victories” before getting screwed over, rather that the original idea, which saw Austin overcome impossible odds, making him look awesome in the eyes of the fans. Source:

7. Over The Top Rope DQ

The rule that you would be disqualified for deliberately throwing your opponent over the top rope to the floor was actually used regularly in several old-school territories, including WCW, as late as the mid-90’s. The idea, presumably, was that wrestling should take place inside the ring, without any deliberate shenanigans that come with taking it outside the squared circle. However, in practise, it resulted in a bunch of cheap finishes where someone would get tossed out behind the ref’s back, then come back and win (this actually was commonly seen in Dusty Finishes, which we’ll get to in a bit), or a heel would save their title by deliberately throwing their opponent over the top rope. It also led to a lot of technicalities surrounding the rule, involving things like wrestlers falling out via their own momentum, or simply forgetting the rule in the heat of the moment, while the announce team scrambled for a reason why they weren’t DQ’d. Of course, on its own it was already a cheap finish, robbing the customers of a satisfying conclusion to many heavily-hyped matches, including several high-profile World title matches. Source:

6. Failure To Break DQ

So, you’ve probably seen referees start a count when wrestlers are punching or kicking someone in the corner of the ring, or when they’ve got a submission hold locked in with their opponent holding onto the ropes. This goes back to the classically established rules of pro wrestling, which are somewhat based off legitimate rules from other fighting sports. In this case, you are required to break a hold once an opponent makes the ropes, or allow them a chance to re-set themselves once they’ve been backed into a corner. In these cases, the referee’s count is a reminder to the wrestler to either break or stop hitting their opponent, or be disqualified, and in 99% of cases, the referee never reaches five, or stops his count in order to break things up himself. The reason for that is because getting DQ’d for refusing to break a hold or let someone out of the corner is a stupid finish that makes everyone involved look bad. The “winner” looks bad for needing the referee to save them, and the “loser” looks dumb for managing to get DQ’d for doing too well at beating their opponent. This is why, in those 1% of times where a wrestling match has ended in that fashion, it gets rightfully booed out of the building. Source:

5. Twin Magic

The idea of a team of identical wrestlers switching out behind their opponents back in order to pick up a surprise victory certainly didn’t originate with WWE’s Bella Twins, but Brie and Nikki are definitely an example of when a spot that can be clever eventually turns into something incredibly stupid. Honestly, the “Twin Magic” spot works fairly well, right up until the first time it gets foiled by a clever opponent. When that happens, the crowd generally pops for someone finally being smart enough to figure out the ostensibly heel maneuver, and it doesn’t get used again because everyone should now know how to counter it. The problem is, WWE went back to the well so many times where the Bellas were concerned, making their opponents look that much dumber each time they failed to grasp what was happening. More importantly, as the years progressed, Nikki and Brie evolved significantly different appearances, to the point that Nikki had both differently colored hair, different ring gear, and significant cosmetic enhancements, which made the twins basically impossible to confuse. However, during Nikki’s record-breaking reigns as Divas Champion, WWE continued to use the “Twin Magic” finish, despite the fact that no one with even partial vision should have realistically been fooled by the switch. Siource:

4. Deliberate Count-Out

This tired heel antic is dumb for so many reasons, not least because it throws the entire basic concept of wrestling as a sport out the window. We know, you’ve been told that “wins and losses don’t matter” for so long that you’ve actually started to believe it might be true, but when you get right down to it, the entire show is about a series of matches where wrestlers are trying to win. There used to be a conceit about a “winner’s purse”, but these days, it’s just about winning to ensure your legacy or something. The idea that a wrestler would just shrug his shoulders and walk away from a match just doesn’t make any sense, especially since it’s allegedly used to prolong feuds. Why would we care about a feud continuing? The wrestler walking away from the match certainly doesn’t seem to care if they win or lose. More importantly, there already exist plenty of times when a wrestler chases after a departing opponent and forces them to return. Why doesn’t that happen every time someone decides to throw up their hands and leave? The image of a perfectly healthy wrestler seemingly forced to remain standing in the ring while their opponent casually walks away is one of the dumbest things you’ll ever see in wrestling. He’s right there! Just go get him! Source:

3. Montreal Screwjob

All right, the Montreal Screwjob inadvertently created the biggest heel in the business, and when WWE did a call-back to it the next year at Survivor Series, it was somewhat clever. But that was the only time. Ever since 1997, wrestling fans have been assaulted at regular intervals with reminders of the time Vince McMahon shouted “Ring the f***ing bell” and screwed over Bret Hart, usually in matches involving anyone who was even tangentially related to the original incident. At this point, we’re down to screwing over Bret’s niece, which if nothing else, should tell you that this has been going on for way too long. More importantly, most of the time, there is no story behind it that could at least justify another Screwjob. Suddenly, a match will just end because a referee called for a submission and the announcers will scream “just like Montreal!” as if that instantly justifies it. Possibly the worst part of the whole thing is the fact that WWE seems to take so much glee in rubbing the Screwjob in the face of Canadian wrestling fans, re-visiting it every time they pass through Montreal, or just Canada in general, or if a Hart family member shows up on Raw some random week. Canada would love to “get over” the Screwjob, as they’ve been told for many years, but WWE seems intent on never letting anyone forget. Source:

2. The Dusty Finish

As great a wrestler as Dusty Rhodes was, the times he spent as a booker led to some incredibly questionable decisions, some of which are blamed for killing off entire companies. Chief among these promotion-destroying ideas is the derisively-named “Dusty Finish”, attributed to the man who both came up with it, and then continued to use it again and again throughout his booking tenures. Basically, the idea behind the Dusty Finish is that it gives a babyface a feel-good victory over a dastardly heel, perhaps even a big title victory, at a big, heavily-promoted event. Then, at the very next show, the finish is completely negated due to some technicality, with any title victories scrubbed from the history books. This was, at least in part, due to the fact that the World Champion during the territory days would move from region to region having feuds with various top faces, but wouldn’t be able to drop the title before moving on (in those days, World title changes were decided by a committee well ahead of time). On the surface, sure, it’s a way to prolong title chases and get multiple big events out of a feud, but the problem is that it leaves the fans feeling like they were getting screwed, by buying tickets to see a huge face victory that was ultimately meaningless. In addition, once the Dusty Finish became common, fans stopped reacting as well to big face victories, because they were already looking for reasons why the win could be undone the next day. Source:

1. Distracted By Music

What is it about someone else’s music playing during a match that renders professional wrestlers into the dumbest people on the planet? No matter what they’re doing, even if they’re literally about to pin their opponent and win the match, which takes a whole three seconds, the minute any sort of music plays, a wrestler is apparently conditioned to completely forget that they are currently involved in a match, face the entrance ramp and become entirely distracted, allowing their opponent in the ring to pin them easily. This condition is so severe that it often doesn’t even require the wrestler whose music is playing to appear, or if they do come out, walk down to ringside and actually do anything that could interfere in the match itself and believably affect the outcome! Somehow, the sheer threat of their potential appearance is enough to cause a wrestler’s brain to completely shut down, rendering them unable to continue with the match. And this finish is used regularly, occasionally multiple times in the same episode of Raw! Forget about the common cold, scientists should study a way to stop this from happening, so that no one ever loses a match this way again.;jsessionid=7BBDD8213B7CAC9E6960ED1DECFC00AE?r30_r1_r1:page=17 Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.