At times it seems that being a champion in WWE only assures one of persistent defeat.
WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown showcase the company's champions in non-title matches, matches where the champions lose again and again. Aren't the gold belts around their waists supposed to signify dominance?
A surprise win over a champion can be a thrilling addition to shows, but having the champs fall so often that it becomes the routine is a mistake.
Study the results posted on TheHistoryofWWE.com for 2013 and one finds a long list of champions made to lose. The win-loss records for the midcard champs, even discounting count-outs and disqualifications, are especially puzzling.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett has lost a total of 11 times in non-title matches since the New Year. Alberto Del Rio defeated him twice and Randy Orton outdid him with three victories over Barrett during that span. Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Miz, R-Truth, Chris Jericho and Bo Dallas all hold victories over Barrett in 2013.
That sounds more like the record of a bottom-feeder than a champion.
Antonio Cesaro fared no better during his U.S. title reign. He spent far too much of that run as champ on his back.
Orton beat Cesaro twice, as did Ryback. Miz made him tap out on Feb. 18. Sin Cara pinned him on March 6. Jericho, Kofi Kingston, Kane, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio claim non-title victories over Cesaro.
Team Hell No has not had as bad a year as Barrett and Cesaro, but they have lost three non-title matches so far this year. With as infrequently as Kaitlyn wrestles, one might be surprised to know that she has lost two non-title matches already. Not a week removed from winning the world title and Dolph Ziggler found himself losing to Jack Swagger on the tax-day episode of WWE Raw.
A loss here and there is one thing, but how does WWE explain turning its champions into glorified jobbers?
The purpose of the U.S. and Intercontinental titles should be to serve as launching pads for guys on the rise. Cesaro and Barrett should have been made to look formidable. Why weren't they beating on the likes of Justin Gabriel and Alex Riley more often?
What does having them lose to Orton every other week do for their careers?
Having a champion lose so often not only makes those title holders look unworthy of their position, but it devalues the title itself. How great can the IC belt be if the champion loses more often than the Charlotte Bobcats?
It doesn't make sense for men like Cesaro and Barrett to be untouchable, but booking them like chumps doesn't help anybody. It sucks all the excitement out of a title change when fans are so used to seeing the champion lose.
When Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, it shocked the world. Here was a seemingly unbeatable man unable to answer the 10-count for the first time in his career. Imagine how much less dramatic that moment would have been had Tyson lost five or six times previously in non-title matches?
Not every champion can go on a CM Punk-like run, but he should be difficult to pin. He should be made to look like he deserves his championship. Beating a champion, even the midcard champs must be made into a rarity not a regularity.
Had Cesaro not lost to the likes of Sin Cara and R-Truth then perhaps seeing him finally lose the belt to Kofi would have been a jaw-dropping sight rather than something banal.
Even Dallas' upset win over Barrett wasn't all that surprising. Things that happen just about every week lose their ability to stun us.
Having champions lose so often with no real purpose is careless booking.
Not everyone in WWE can be made to look strong all the time. Not everyone can go undefeated. WWE's champions, though, need to win far more often or risk washing away the significance of the titles they carry to the ring.