Of the various criticisms which are aimed at WWE, the concept of 50/50 booking is among the most common and consistent.
Paul Levesque — better known as Triple H — thinks the naysayers are wrong, and, in fact, that the term itself is nonsense to begin with.
“It’s just a term somebody came up with,” Levesque told ESPN. “It’s just terms that people throw out there.
“When somebody goes, ‘Well, you just can’t get people over with 50/50 booking,’ [I’ll always say] ‘Oh, I’m sorry, how’s your territory coming? Because this one seems to be doing pretty good over here.’ We just had the largest WrestleMania in history. People talk a lot of smack about ratings and things, but they don’t understand all of the dynamics of everything we do. They don’t. They sit on the internet and they read one thing and they give their point of view.”
Another common criticism of WWE, partly derived from the notion of 50/50 booking, is that wins and losses have been depleted of most of their meaning, as opposed to other eras in professional wrestling.
Levesque thinks this is the wrong focus though, and what really matters is the “feel.”
“Do I keep track of the exact wins and losses of talent? No. To me, all of this stuff is a feel. All of it is a feel.
“Sometimes you’re beating a talent because you want to beat them and that’s the sympathetic reaction you’re trying to elicit. There are some talents that, when you beat them, they get more popular, but as soon as they start on a winning path, their popularity begins to wane. … People want that underdog to strive to succeed and then get a little bit of success and then get knocked back off that perch and be the underdog again.”
And if you were wondering how far this mindset stretches, look to the very top of WWE.
“People don’t understand it when Vince [McMahon] will say it’s not about wins and losses or those things. Do they matter? Sure. Are they the be all, end all? Absolutely not.
“I suppose there’s a stone somewhere that it’s written on that says, ‘Thou shalt not book 50/50 because it won’t lead to success for your promotion.’ We’ll stand on that stone while we’re selling out Brooklyn three days in a row.”
WWE will be hosting three consecutive events in Brooklyn, New York; three of their biggest events of the year with an NXT TakeOver special, SummerSlam, and then Monday Night Raw.