The first week of 2021 hasn’t been kind to current titleholders in WWE.
Most of WWE’s current crop of champions competed in (mostly non-title) matches on either last week’s (Jan. 1) episode of SmackDown or this week’s (Jan. 4) episode of Raw. The results were not pretty. Here is the list of match results, with the champion’s name in bold:
- Drew McIntyre defeated Keith Lee
- Apollo Crews & Big E defeated King Corbin & Sami Zayn
- Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans defeated Charlotte Flair & Asuka
- Lucha House Party defeated The Hurt Business
MattRiddle defeated Bobby Lashley
- R-Truth defeated Angel Garza
- Bayley & Carmella defeated Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks
The champions found themselves in the losers’ column in five out of seven matches. These are the kind of results that can fuel fan frustration regarding devalued championships in WWE.
In a vacuum, some of these losses make sense to me, or I at least think I understand the logic behind the decision. Cedric Alexander’s ego is way out of control, for example, so his team’s loss to Lucha House Party escalates tension within the Hurt Business in an interesting manner.
In the case of Bobby Lashley and Sasha Banks being pinned, I understand the idea of giving their upcoming challenger a win, but I found the layout of the finishes to be ineffective. In Banks’ case, the level of interference that was allowed to take place in front of the referee’s eyes simply reached an implausible level. As for Lashley, well, I watched babyface Riddle cleanly tap out to him, so I’m not sure that a fluke roll up afterwards makes up for that.
Finally, I can’t begin to explain what WWE was trying to accomplish with the bizarre booking decision where Ric Flair tripped his own daughter, leading to her loss.
Even if the logic behind some of these losses makes sense independent of each other, the fact that five of these losses occurred in such close proximity is a bit much.
What do you think about WWE kicking off 2021 with a bunch of matches where their current champions were pinned? Is there nothing to see here, or does WWE need to do a better job of creating interesting challengers while still protecting the champs?