WWE's potential move to legalize gambling on certain scripted matches could have dramatic negative effects on the wrestlers, writers and all those involved in the creative process.
As previously reported here via CNBC, WWE is working with accounting firm EY to secure the results of its high-profile matches in the hopes they can convince gambling regulators that the outcome of these contests are as secretive as Oscar winners. This could open the door for legitimate betting on certain WWE matches.
As one might expect, this potential development could have huge ramifications for the creative process for those major feuds and could "screw" main event talent, according to Dave Meltzer. Speaking on a recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer noted for WWE to not run afoul of gaming rules, the finishes to major matches would have to be locked in well in advance with only a very select few knowing the results, meaning that even the wrestlers themselves wouldn't know whether they're winning a feud.
If you’re a guy, and you’ve got a big pay-per-view match – if you’re gonna win the match or you’re gonna lose the match, the working of the match is very different, the story you tell is different. These matches are crafted, set up with agents and all these people, and the structure of the match depends on many different things, such as, ‘Where are we going next?’, ‘What is the match story?’, ‘How do we lead to the finish because what is the match finish’?. If you don’t know any of this…
If Roman Reigns is going into that pay-per-view against Sami Zayn, and he doesn’t know if he’s gonna win or lose until the last minute, how do he and Heyman and everyone craft the storylines for the week before and the week after and where they’re going and how you factor Cody Rhodes in, and everything. For the wrestlers and the wrestling and the booking, it’s a really bad idea.
Meltzer went on to speculate that this could lead some financially well-off talent to "walk away" if they become "mad" about the uncertainty surrounding their booking. He called it a "respect factor" for veterans to know that they might be losing a feud, but there's a plan for them afterward, none of which would be known under this situation.
Additionally, creative and agents can't know the finishes, which would create other problems.
Almost nobody can know these finishes, so now you’re on the writing team, and you have no idea of these finishes, so you can only write for a week, you can’t do long-term stories... [T]hey can’t do predictable finishes all the time. Because if you do, it’d be too easy to beat the system and then the gambling people would not want to be involved.
It screws the main event talent a lot because they’re not gonna know where they’re going, and it screws the booker because he’s gonna have to book in a logical manner and an illogical manner at certain points in time to keep from being predictable.
(h/t to WrestleTalk for the transcription)