It has been an open secret for years that wrestling is a fixed sport.
While WWE admitted so in 1989, it was nearly a hundred years prior to that that fans and newspaper reporters began to question whether or not it was a real fight as advertised.
In the end it was admitted that the whole thing was rigged and that the winners of the match were decided prior to the fight taking place. But who decides who wins pro-wrestling matches? Do the WWE choose who wins their matches?
Do WWE Decide Who Wins Matches?
In the WWE, Triple H decides who wins the matches. The wrestling matches are predetermined, with the victor being decided before either man has made his way to the ring. The head of creative is the one who ultimately has the decision on who wins the fights in the WWE.
In previous years, Vince McMahon was the chairman of the WWE and the head of creative. He had a team of writers behind him, to help him craft storylines and decide what each character was going to do next.
This always led him up to a match between the wrestlers, the winning gaining some measure of victory, whether it be bragging rights, a championship belt or even shaving off the hair of their opponent.
Vince McMahon was ultimately the decider on who won the match, but he did have a booking committee during his times at the head of the WWE. He retired in 2022, but has since returned to the company, although not as the man in charge of booking.
Throughout the Hulkamania Era to the Attitude Era, he had a select few close colleagues that would go to his house to help book the shows and decide the winners.
Over the years, former WWE employees like Pat Patterson, Jim Ross and Jim Cornette have all been part of the committee and have shaped the landscape of the WWE from beside McMahon’s pool.
The man who decides who wins the matches is called “The Booker”. This is also called “having the book” or “having the pen”, as they are the ones who book the wrestlers to perform in the shows and ultimately decide who will win.
Once the booker has decided who wins, it is up to the writers, agents and wrestlers themselves as to how they will win the matches, and the consequences of that victory.
The reason for a wrestler winning a wrestling match may vary. Usually they will be declared the winner, so they can go on to fight for a championship match, attempting to mimic real sports.
Other times, it will be to further a storyline. Winning matches consistently is called a push, and wrestlers can be pushed for a variety of reasons.
Vince McMahon stepped down as head of creative and booker for WWE in 2022, when some very credible sexual misconduct allegations came out that forced his and the boards hand.
He was replaced by son in law and 14 time world champion Triple H, who is the new booker and decides the finishes the matches.
This article is about professional wrestling, the art form popularised by the WWE in modern times in the United States.
This is different to amateur wrestling, the combat sport that can be seen in the summer Olympic Games. While these are two sports, wrestlers have competed in both disciplines, such as former WWE Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle.
How Do WWE Script Matches?
Matches are scripted behind the scenes, before the wrestlers step into the ring. After being told the most important details of the match (such as who is winning, and how the finish of the match should play out), the two wrestlers meet up backstage with a producer to plan out their wrestling match.
This script can be as intensive as the wrestlers like. Some like to plan out their entire match from scratch, learning every single move and step they make off by heart. Doing this can help craft a more focused story for the match, although if the crowd do not respond to the match as expected, the whole thing can go south, fast.
Meanwhile, some wrestlers may want the bare minimum instructions before their match, preferring to do most of their wrestling via improvisation. Wrestlers like John Cena like to listen to the live crowd, and change matches based on their reaction to certain situations.
On very rare occasions, even the wrestlers don’t know what is going to happen until it does. At Survivor Series 1997, Bret Hart was due to beat Shawn Michaels in the main event, to retain his WWE Championship.
However, Vince McMahon ran down to the ring during the match, forcing the timekeeper to ring the bell and declare Shawn Michaels the winner.
Michaels had Hart locked in The Sharpshooter, although The Hitman did not tap out. The company conspired to make him lose the fight, in one of the most controversial matches in WWE history. It has gone on to be known as The Montreal Screwjob.
However, this is a very rare occurrence. Wrestling is a sport based entirely on trust, as in each match the wrestlers put their lives in each other’s hands (you can read about wrestlers who died during matches by clicking this link).
Do WWE Script Matches?
The matches are scripted backstage before the wrestlers go to the ring. Triple H tells the wrestlers who is going to win the match, and any notes they need for the match, including how they are supposed to win and anything they need to do to advance the story.
Do WWE Wrestlers Know Who Is Going To Win Before The Match?
Triple H informs the WWE producers to tell the wrestlers who is going to win the matches in WWE. They then work with the producers to help set up the match, discussion spots and moves they should do in the ring together.
Is WWE All Choreographed?
All WWE matches are choreographed in some way, but a lot of the match is improvised. The wrestlers can choose to only talk about parts of the backstage, and work out what to do in the ring by listening to the crowd.
How Do Wrestlers Decide Who Wins?
The wrestlers are told by Triple H who is going to win the match, and do not get to decide if they win the match or not. This excludes wrestlers like Hulk Hogan who had creative control in their contract.
Are WWE Matches Rehearsed?
Some WWE matches are rehearsed, but not all of them. Some matches, like Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels, saw the wrestlers touch each other for the first time when they began wrestling in the ring, meaning that they did not rehearse at all before the match.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.