WWE has its own quirks when it comes to booking and storytelling, most of which can be traced back to the personal preferences of Vince McMahon. Nearly all of McMahon's booking habits have their outspoken defenders and critics, but there's one that is very rarely publicly defended on social media or in interviews — the inclination to have a wrestler lose whenever they're competing in their hometown. Other wrestling promotions, most notably AEW, tend to take things the complete opposite direction by celebrating a wrestler whenever they're in front of their hometown or home-state crowd (Britt Baker in Pittsburgh, CM Punk in Chicago, MJF on Long Island, Cody Rhodes in Atlanta, etc.). So why does McMahon do this?
According to Matt Hardy, who wrestled for McMahon for well over 15 years, it has to do with predictability. On a recent edition of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy, the former tag team champion discussed the first Tables, Ladders and Chairs match at the 2000 SummerSlam pay-per-view involving The Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz. The show took place in Raleigh, North Carolina (less than an hour away from the Hardy's hometown of Cameron), and McMahon decided to change plans and not let the Hardys win because he felt fans expected it.
"Well, that was supposed to be our big win, and then he said, 'Well, it's too predictable. Everybody in that venue is going to know you're going to win, and they're expecting you to win. So I don't want to do that. Let's do it the next show,'" Hardy explained (h/t Fightful). "I think sometimes it's a good thing, especially when you have babyfaces that are over that have been in this long rivalry and the fans want to be rewarded with this proper payoff, I would have loved to have had the win there. I think that'd been the time to do the win and also be the champions. Also to change the history of the TLC matches a little bit. But Vince is a big advocate of, 'If you're over as a babyface, there are times where you don't need to win, it doesn't make a difference,' and that that's kind of how we were looked at Yeah, we didn't ever have to win in those environments, because we were so beloved in so many ways. I think there is some merit to that argument. Yeah, there is some merit to it too. But then like, you know, when, if you want people to look at wrestling as a serious competition, even though it's entertainment, I think there are times where you have to pull the trigger and you have to give an act even if they're still gonna be popular, whether they win lose or draw, you gotta give them that respect and show them that win and let the people know like, Oh, these guys really are winners. So I'm glad to support them.'"
Do you agree with McMahon's line of thinking? Or does his strategy sabotage a wrestler's momentum? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!