|Pictured: A guy who can take losing in stride|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Henry is the ultimate late-bloomer, a guy who had to wait his turn for 15 years (unless you count his WWECW Championship run, which I don't from a smark-ass n00b, "credibility" standpoint), and when he finally got his run, he became the destroyer of worlds that we all thought he could've been when he debuted in the late '90s.
There is no such thing as someone losing too much as to damage their longterm credibility. Credibility is subjective anyway, and while I give fans a lot more credit than Vince McMahon allegedly does, most of us have short memories. While people will remember the times a guy was on losing streaks, if what he's doing for us lately is impressive, then of course fans will flock to him.
Personally, it doesn't matter if Ziggler wins or loses for me anyway because he's such a sterling performer. For those who want to try and play the populist card and imply that this point of view is "wrong" (as if any way to view wrestling is wrong, no matter how much I or anyone else disagrees with it), I've heard people whose opinions I respect greatly say they'd RATHER see Ziggler lose because he looks so damn good doing it. For me, wrestling is the ultimate in high-impact theater, and I like watching great stories. IN a great story, someone has to ultimately lose in order for the protagonist's triumph to mean something. So Ziggler's role right now has been to take a fall for the other people to look good? He's great at it. People remember villains too.
The counterargument is that people get invested in wrestling like it is a sport, so having someone lose all the time is antithetical to getting them "over". Honestly, there are so many holes in this argument that it might as well be Swiss cheese. For one, wrestling is not a sport. Again, it's full-impact theater with sports tropes. It's a lot easier for someone like me to watch with either no attachment to wins and losses or with an attachment that has perspective. Of course I want to see Daniel Bryan, my favorite wrestler right now, get Ryback's streak with the submission prowess of every e-fed character based off him in every match. That being said, if he wrestles a great match where he ultimately loses like the one against Wade Barrett at SummerSlam last year or any one of his epic PPV matches from Extreme Rules to last night's No Way Out, that's the endgame for me.
Even still, it is possible to love a game so much that you can watch without attachment. Bethlehem Shoals of Court Vision, The Classical and GQ has no favorite basketball team, but does that make him any less of a NBA fan? Anyone who reads his writing will rightfully call you nuts if you imply that. The same goes for Josh Zerkle, lead writer for The Go Route, co-founder of Kissing Suzy Kolber, a great friend of this blog and multiple time guest on some podcast of mine. He renounced his fandom for the Bengals, and I don't think his experience as a fan of the NFL has been any less rich for it.
If it's possible for people to be fans of a sport without attaching them to any team as a favorite, then why would it be that hard of a jump for people to want to watch pro wrestling, a staged event that is more soap opera than soccer match, just to see great matches, great promos, great performances?
That's why Ziggler losing "all the time" is okay in the longterm. He's simply a great performer. When the time comes where his number will be called, he will rise to the occasion and win with the same gusto as he's been losing. The fans will flock to him and no one will remember that he was the guy who lost all the time. Winning is a great mind eraser.
Again, even if we do compare to sport, no one stops being a fan of a team because they lose all the time. What happens is that maybe those fans will stop following them, but you bet your sweet ass that when they start winning, those bandwagon fans will come back. I've seen it with the Phillies. The hardcore fans like myself continue to watch when they suck, but in 2007, when they started winning again, the rest of the fans came back.
In all honestly, Ziggler losing last night was probably the best option given that it was a short program built upon replacing a guy who got a concussion a week before the match. And also in honesty, WWE is kinda terrible with how they decide who wins and who loses. That being said, when they get behind someone, they really get behind them. Again, just look at Henry. When Ziggler gets that treatment, hero or villain, (and he will get it, WWE wouldn't feature him this prominently if he wasn't in line for SOMETHING), he'll be just as well off as the World's Strongest Man, if not better.
Then man, will all the whining about wins and losses taking a dump on how the fans perceived him look totally stupid, won't it?