If that title reads as counterintuitive, what's more counterintuitive is the manner in which WWE f*cking RAW books its f*cking f*ck finishes. The practise is indescribably dumb. The field for the upcoming Royal Rumble is wide open because to arrive at the correct answer, one must play a guessing game:
Who's the least f*cked?
But it's hard, because so many of them are f*cked. They are f*cked because stealing one via roll-up and scarpering out of the ring doesn't settle a goddamn thing. Most everything is a fluke, and the babyface looks like a worm slithering out of the ring more than they do a winner, or even an athlete. These people run away like they are getting away with something - like they've done something wrong, and not achieved the very thing all of this is about. That finish and the 50/50 booking that is still shockingly prevalent creates this indistinguishable tier of damned faces in which zero investment can be traced nor felt.
Going out like a damn man - thereby putting over the winner as the man - is something WWE just doesn't do, and as a result, there can be no arcs. No progression. And ultimately, no purpose.
Booked well, the spirited defeat means so much more than the lucky victory, or the disqualification that never, ever functions to get the heat on the heel.
It can even mean everything.
10. Darby Allin
Darby Allin's early win/loss record was uneven by calculated design.
In addition to getting Darby over as an emerging, spirited talent, it put the very notion of achievement over, how difficult it was to ascend. The dissonance between his record and his performance level asked a probing question - "What else does he have to do?" - with the fundamental answer to everything: "win".
He took Cody to the limit in an inspired match at Fyter Fest 2019, in that it positioned Darby as a future player and established the drama of a time-limit draw unfamiliar to modern U.S. audiences. In the Dynamite era, Darby defeated the fellow midcard pack (Kip Sabian, Sammy Guevara) but lost to the established top-level players (PAC, Jon Moxley). He showed out in those defeats, which were deftly orchestrated to put him over as a man on the cusp of the big time; Mox had to put him away with the top-rope Paradigm Shift, PAC had to use the steps.
Allin was twice defeated by Cody to further a rivalry indebted to the great Misawa Vs. Kobashi series. When Darby finally ascended, at Cody's expense, it was going to mean more than any rocket-strapped push because he had to earn it.
He did, at Full Gear 2020, in a sensational match structured with the next chapter in mind: Allin was a very skilled wrestler, despite the patronising misgivings of Taz.