Wrestlers That Look Better Losing Than Winning (2008-13)

I’ve been working on combing through the last 5 years of Observers which are online to mine all of Dave’s star ratings. This covered 472 TNA matches (58 PPVs), 481 WWE matches (69 PPVs) along with 219 NJPW matches (20 events), 84 DG/DGUSA matches (13 events) and 118 ROH matches (15 events).

I was curious if there was any wrestlers who have a track record where Dave rated their losses consistently rated higher than their wins.. I used the critiera that they had to have at least five wins and five losses to be included in this list. Nine people popped out: Big Show, Kane, Karl Anderson, Takashi Iizuka, Velvet Sky, Santino Marella, Yoshi-Hashi, Scott Steiner, Sin Cara

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#1: Santino Marella: 16 matches (7-9-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 1.75
Summerslam 2008: 2. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix became IC and women’s champs respectively, beating Kofi Kingston & Mickie James in 5:40. *3/4

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.0
Money in the Bank 2012: 1. Dolph Ziggler won the Smackdown Money in the Bank match over Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, Christian, Damien Sandow, Tensai and Tyson Kidd in 18:27. There were so many high spots here it would be impossible to list them all. ****

Win Average: 0.25 stars (7 matches) -0.86 vs avg
Loss Average: 1.78 stars (9 matches) +0.67 vs avg
Overall Average: 1.11 stars
Win vs Loss Differential: -1.53 stars

#2: Kane: 41 matches (16-24-1)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 4.0
Money in the Bank 2010: 1. Kane won the Smackdown Money in the Bank match over Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, Christian, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes and Kofi Kingston in 26:18. ****

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.5
TLC 2012: 5. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose beat Kane & Daniel Bryan & Ryback in a TLC match that could only end via pinfall or submission in 22:44. ****½

Overall Average: 2.30 stars
Win Average: 1.41 stars (16 matches) -0.90 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.92 stars (24 matches) +0.61 vs avg
Draw Average: 2.00 stars (1 match)
Win vs Loss Differential: -1.51 stars

#3: Sin Cara: 10 matches (5-5-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 3.0
Survivor Series 2012: 2. In an unadvertised 10-man elimination match, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara & Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel & Brodus Clay beat Tensai & Titus O’Neil & Darren Young & Primo & Epico in 18:26. ***

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.0
Money in the Bank 2012: 1. Dolph Ziggler won the Smackdown Money in the Bank match over Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, Christian, Damien Sandow, Tensai and Tyson Kidd in 18:27. ****

Overall Average: 2.68 stars
Win Average: 2.00 stars (5 matches) -0.68 vs avg
Loss Average: 3.35 stars (5 matches) +0.68 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -1.35 stars

#4: Yoshi-Hashi: 16 matches (7-9-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 3.25
2012: 2. Rocky Romero & Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi beat Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & Captain New Japan in 9:26. ***1/4

Highest Star ratings for losses: 3.5
G-1 2013: 9. Kazushi Sakuraba & Akebono & Kota Ibushi beat Takashi Iizuka & Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii in 13:23. ***½

Overall Average: 2.13 stars
Win Average: 1.64 stars (7 matches) -0.48 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.50 stars (9 matches) +0.38 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.86 stars

#5: Takashi Iizuka: 19 matches (6-12-1)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 2.0
2012: 2. Tomohiro Ishii & Takashi Iizuka & Jado & Yoshi-Hashi & Toru Yano beat Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Captain New Japan & Negro Casas in 7:20. **
2012: 1. Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano beat Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata & Strongman (Jon Anderson) in 11:29. **

Highest Star ratings for losses: 3.5
2013: 4. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan retained the IWGP tag team titles in the three-way championship team battle against NWA tag champs Davey Boy Smith jr & Lance Archer (The Killer Elite Squad) and GHC tag champs Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka in 11:50. ***½
2013: 4. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima retained the IWGP tag team titles beating Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka. ***½
G-1 2013: 9. Kazushi Sakuraba & Akebono & Kota Ibushi beat Takashi Iizuka & Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii in 13:23. ***½

Overall Average: 2.08 stars
Win Average: 1.46 stars (6 matches) -0.62 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.31 stars (12 matches) +0.23 vs avg
Draw Average: 3.00 stars (1 match)
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.85 stars

#6: Velvet Sky: 17 matches (5-12-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 1.75
Genesis 2013: 6. Velvet Sky won a women’s gauntlet match to become the top contender for Tara’s Knockouts title, over Gail Kim, Miss Tessmacher, ODB and Mickie James. *3/4

Highest Star ratings for losses: 3.0
Hard Justice 2008: 2. Taylor Wilde & Gail Kim & ODB beat Angelina Love & Velvet Sky & Awesome Kong in 11:27. ***

Overall Average: 1.19 stars
Win Average: 0.60 stars (5 matches) -0.59 vs avg
Loss Average: 1.44 stars (12 matches) +0.25 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.84 stars

#7: Big Show: 46 matches (20-25-1)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 3.5
Hell in a Cell 2012: 6. Big Show pinned Sheamus to win the World title in 20:11. ***½
Hell in the Cell 2009: 4. Chris Jericho & Big Show retained the tag titles over Batista & Rey Mysterio in 13:41. ***½
No Mercy 2008: 5. Big Show beat Undertaker via ref stoppage in 10:04. ***½

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.25 stars
No Way Out 2009: 1. HHH won the Smackdown title in the elimination chamber over Undertaker, Edge, Jeff Hardy, Big Show and Vladimir Kozlov in 35:55. ****1/4
Elimination Chamber 2011: 2. Edge won the Smackdown elimination chamber match to retain the World title in 31:28 over Kane, Drew McIntyre, Rey Mysterio, Wade Barrett and Big Show. ****1/4

Overall Average: 2.28 stars
Win Average: 1.83 stars (20 matches) -0.46 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.61 stars (25 matches) +0.33 vs avg
Draw Average: 3.25 stars (1 match)
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.79 stars

#8: Karl Anderson: 24 matches (12-12-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 3.5
2013: 5. Karl Anderson pinned Roderick Strong in 12:33. ***½
2012: 9. Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson beat Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith jr to win the tag tournament in 15:36 ***½
G-1 2013: 2. (B) Karl Anderson pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 9:55. Crowd really into Tenzan. ***½
G-1 2013: 8. (B) Karl Anderson pinned Shinsuke Nakamura in 12:54 with the gun stun. ***½

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.75
2013: 9. Hiroshi Tanahashi retained the IWGP heavyweight title pinning Karl Anderson in 25:10. ****3/4

Overall Average: 3.25 stars
Win Average: 2.85 stars (12 matches) -0.40 vs avg
Loss Average: 3.65 stars (12 matches) +0.40 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.79 stars

#9: Scott Steiner: 16 matches (7-9-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 3.5
Final Resolution 2008: 7. Sting & Scott Steiner & Kevin Nash & Booker T beat AJ Styles & Samoa Joe & Team 3-D ***½

Highest Star ratings for losses: 3.5
Bound for Glory 2009: 5. Team 3-D won the IWGP tag titles and Doug Williams & Brutus Magnus (going in as IWGP champs) won the TNA tag titles over Scott Steiner & Booker T (former TNA champs) and Robert Roode & James Storm in a Full Metal Mayhem double ladder match in 17:13. ***½
Lockdown 2009: 7. AJ Styles & Daniels & Jeff Jarrett & Samoa Joe beat Kurt Angle & Kevin Nash & Booker T & Scott Steiner in the Lethal Lockdown match in 23:01. ***½

Overall Average: 2.25 stars
Win Average: 1.86 stars (7 matches) -0.39 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.56 stars (9 matches) +0.31 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.70 stars

By contrast, there was only two people who jumped out when you looked for the converse situation (that is, they were rated significantly higher when they win):
A. Undertaker: 20 matches (12-8-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 4.75
Wrestlemania 2010: 10. Undertaker pinned Shawn Michaels in 23:59 in what was billed as the streak vs the career. ****3/4
Wrestlemania 2012: 5. Undertaker pinned HHH in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as referee in 30:50. ****3/4

Highest Star ratings for losses: 4.25
No Way Out 2009: 1. HHH won the Smackdown title in the elimination chamber over Undertaker, Edge, Jeff Hardy, Big Show and Vladimir Kozlov in 35:55. ****1/4

Overall Average: 3.04 stars
Win Average: 3.46 stars (12 matches) +0.42 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.41 stars (8 matches) -0.62 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: +1.05 stars

B. Natalya: 13 matches (7-6-0)

Highest Star ratings for wins: 2.5
Fatal 4 Way 2010: 6. David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd & Natalya beat Jimmy & Jey Uso & Tamina in 9:28. **½

Highest Star ratings for losses: 1.75
Great American Bash 2008: 5. Michelle McCool beat Natalya in 4:41 to become the first Smackdown Divas champion. *3/4

Overall Average: 1.19 stars
Win Average: 1.64 stars (7 matches) +0.45 vs avg
Loss Average: 0.67 stars (6 matches) -0.53 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: +0.98 stars

Note: The multi-man spotfests (like MITB) create a lot of noise. Let’s look just at singles matches. 
Singles Analysis

This looks only at people who had 5+ singles wins and 5+ singles losses in the past five years on PPV/iPPV for matches that received star ratings.

These are the five people with the largest difference between the average star rating for a win and a loss:

Singles #1: Karl Anderson: 13 matches (7-6-0)

Highest Star ratings for singles wins: 3.5
2013: 5. Karl Anderson pinned Roderick Strong in 12:33. ***½
G-1 2013: 8. (B) Karl Anderson pinned Shinsuke Nakamura in 12:54 with the gun stun. ***½
G-1 2013: 2. (B) Karl Anderson pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 9:55. ***½

Highest Star ratings for singles losses: 4.75
2013: 9. Hiroshi Tanahashi retained the IWGP heavyweight title pinning Karl Anderson in 25:10. ****3/4

Overall Average: 3.37 stars
Win Average: 2.86 stars (7 matches) -0.51 vs avg
Loss Average: 3.96 stars (6 matches) +0.59 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -1.10 stars

Singles #2. Kane: 18 matches (9-8-1)

Highest Star ratings for singles wins: 2.5
Summerslam 2010: 5. Kane pinned Rey Mysterio to keep the world title in 13:32. **½

Highest Star ratings for singles losses: 3.0
Elimination Chamber 2012: 6. John Cena beat Kane in 21:20 of an ambulance match ***
Extreme Rules 2012: 1. Randy Orton pinned Kane in 16:43 in a falls count anywhere match. ***

Overall Average: 1.49 stars
Win Average: 0.94 stars (9 matches) -0.54 vs avg
Loss Average: 2.03 stars (8 matches) +0.55 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -1.09 stars

Singles #3: Mickie James: 16 matches (6-9-1)

Highest Star ratings for singles wins: 2.25
Hell in the Cell 2009: 3. Mickie James pinned Alicia Fox to retain the Divas title in 5:20. **1/4

Highest Star ratings for singles losses: 2.5
Against all Odds 2011: 4. Madison Rayne retained the Knockouts title over Mickie James in 8:27 in a last woman standing match. **½
TLC 2009: 3. Michelle McCool retained the Women’s title beating Mickie James in 7:31. **½
Final Resolution 2010: 2. Tara pinned Mickie James in 10:25 in a falls count anywhere match. **½
Final Resolution 2012: 5. Tara pinned Mickie James to retain the Knockouts title in 7:51. **½

Overall Average: 1.52 stars
Win Average: 0.88 stars (6 matches) -0.64 vs avg
Loss Average: 1.75 stars (9 matches) +0.23 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.88 stars

Singles #4: HHH: 16 matches (10-6-0)

Highest Star ratings for singles wins: 4.25
No Mercy 2008: 6. HHH pinned Jeff Hardy in 17:01 to retain the WWE championship. ****1/4

Highest Star ratings for singles losses: 4.75
Wrestlemania 2012: 5. Undertaker pinned HHH in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as referee in 30:50. ****3/4

Overall Average: 3.23 stars
Win Average: 2.93 stars (10 matches) -0.31 vs avg
Loss Average: 3.75 stars (6 matches) +0.52 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.83 stars

Singles #5: Batista: 14 matches (8-5-1)

Highest Star ratings for singles wins: 3.75
Summerslam 2008: 6. Batista pinned John Cena in 13:41. Also a good match. Crowd booed Cena’s offense early. Batista used a jackhammer for a near fall. ***3/4

Highest Star ratings for singles losses: 4.25
Extreme Rules 2010: 10. John Cena retained the WWE title beating Batista in 24:34 in a last man standing match. ****1/4

Overall Average: 3.02 stars
Win Average: 2.75 stars (8 matches) -0.27 vs avg
Loss Average: 3.45 stars (5 matches) +0.43 vs avg
Win vs Loss Differential: -0.70 stars

(The singles competitors who have positive delta between Win/Loss star ratings were Undertaker and Tetsuya Naito.)

When you think of wrestlers that tend to look better when they’re losing rather than when they’re winning, who jumps to mind for you?

Finally, it’s interesting to pinpoint the wrestlers who looked consistent regardless of whether it’s a singles win or singles loss.
They were: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Matt Morgan, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Jarrett. 
All seven had less than a 0.08 star rating difference between their average for wins and their average for losses.

Average Star Ratings/Singles Records on PPV/iPPV (June 2008-August 2013)
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 20 matches (12-8-0) = 4.17 win average; 4.22 loss average
Matt Morgan: 19 matches (8-11-0) = 1.56 win average; 1.57 loss average
Prince Devitt: 16 matches (10-6-0) = 3.58 win average; 3.46 loss average
Edge: 15 matches (9-5-1) = 3.56 win average; 3.55 loss average
Shelton Benjamin: 13 matches (6-7-0) = 2.75 win average; 2.68 loss average
Matt Hardy: 13 matches (6-7-0) = 2.83 win average; 2.75 loss average
Daniel Bryan: 11 matches (5-6-0) = 3.40 win average; 3.46 loss average

(If you expand the span out to between .10 and .20 span, you add Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, Beth Phoenix, Mark Henry.)
(Between 0.20 and 0.30 lies John Cena, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Rob Van Dam, Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Jay Lethal, Christian, Kofi Kingston.)

Interesting to see how Big Show’s variance pretty much disappears if you limit him just to singles matches.

Remember, you can read all of my statistical work on http://indeedwrestling.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @mookieghana. Lastly, don’t forget to purchase my upcoming book “Wrestlingnomics” by emailing me at [email protected] for details on pricing and delivery options.

Author: Chris Harrington

indeedwrestling.com

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