In an industry where match outcomes are predetermined, glorifying losses really isn’t as bad as it seems. And that’s exactly what WWE is doing with the epic losing streak, now at 0-220, of Curt Hawkins.
Despite having returned to WWE in 2016, Curt Hawkins has never been more relevant and more popular than he is now. And as strange as it sounds, he’s achieved that status as well as what could be seen as a mini-push, thanks to the last thing a performer wants: losses. Not just a few losses and not just televised or singles either. No, it’s been 220 consecutive matches overall, be it on RAW, Smackdown Live, Main Event, ppvs, house shows, network specials, etc, where Hawkins has watched someone else have their hand raised.
When Curt Hawkins first came back to WWE, after having last appeared for the company on NXT in 2014, his gimmick was that of an obnoxious heel who told people to “Face the Facts.” While his return was at first supported by fans, the gimmick wore old pretty quickly and soon, Hawkins was used mostly as a midcard jobber, destined by nature to pick up losses.
By July 2017, he had picked up so many losses in fact, that WWE recognized Hawkins as having a 100-match losing streak, which they called the longest such streak of the modern-era. Hawkins embraced the streak with a unique spin, by coming out week after week on Monday Night Raw and issuing open challenges. Hawkins referred to it as the “Curt Hawkins Star FACTory” as each week a victory against him catapulted someone else into a bigger spot on the red brand. Without much else to do, Hawkins turned the streak into somewhat of a comedic element as fans seemed to enjoy the fact that he kept losing and losing.
As bad as 100 straight losses was, Curt Hawkins seemed to accept his record, opting to look at his value as going beyond wins and losses. After all, as he said in an interview with WWE.com, he was making stars.
One hundred matches, 100 stars made in my ‘Star FACTory.’ I win every night, whether the stats say it or not. I make stars, it’s what I do.
But that attitude was hard to keep up as the losses kept piling in. On September 25, 2017, Hawkins issued an open challenge to the RAW locker room with the goal being to break his then 118-match losing streak. By the end of that year, Hawkins losing streak sat at 0-157 as an entire calendar year had gone by without him winning a match.
It’s unlikely when the losing streak started that WWE knew what they were doing. Hawkins was essentially enhancement talent in 2016 so when he picked up 10 straight, 25 straight, even 50 straight losses, it probably didn’t even phase the company. But at some point, WWE caught wind that Hawkins’s losing streak was starting to close in on triple digits and at that point, it seemed he was intentionally booked to lose to keep the story going.
A new year meant new opportunities for Hawkins, who at this point was becoming increasingly desperate to stop making history. However, Hawkins kept losing. He opened 2018 with his 158th loss against Matt Hardy on RAW, picked up his 160th loss against Braun Strowman on the WWE Live Holiday Tour, and lost his 170th and 180th against Goldust, first at a house show in January and then on the Road to Wrestlemania Tour in March. Somewhere in the midst of those losses, Hawkins, who regularly wrestles on Main Event, was seen less like a heel and more of a sympathetic character who fans had turned from wanting to see him lose, to wanting to see him break the streak.
Hawkins’ losses started to become more and more frustrating as on Main Event, week-after-week he seemed to come closer and closer with near falls. And because of the streak, fans didn’t boo him when he tried to use the ropes or get his opponent DQ’ed or really anything he could think of to put an end to his losing ways. Hawkins even asked Strowman if he could be the man’s partner for the Wrestlemania 34 tag team championship match against the Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) but Strowman in no uncertain words, and really no words at all as he threw him against a wall, turned him down. So instead, Curt Hawkins was entered into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale where he lost his 188th consecutive match.
— Brian Myers (@TheCurtHawkins) August 28, 2018
Loss No. 190 came at the Greatest Royal Rumble, where Curt Hawkins was one of 49 other men to be thrown over the top rope in the match won by Braun Strowman. And as it turns out, at this point, WWE had started chronicling Hawkins’ streak so they could ultimately produce the mini-documentary they released on their Youtube page this week. Beginning at loss No. 190, the documentary captures Hawkins’ reactions to several of his next 10 losses leading up to the infamous No. 200.
With a record of that magnitude on the line, Hawkins had the match on RAW and it was against a local talent. Hawkins was convinced the streak would come to an end and it almost did, but while wrestling James Harden, Baron Corbin came into the ring and attacked the local performer, getting Hawkins disqualified and thus prolonging what is now considered to be the longest losing streak in WWE history.
Well, we got an answer…
— Brian Myers (@TheCurtHawkins) September 21, 2018
Given the match was a lay-up, people were probably shocked that WWE pulled the trigger on loss No. 200. But it was a lay-up, which means people in equal percentage were probably expecting that the streak was going to be prolonged as the win would have been too easy. Whatever the case, fans are invested in a guy losing, which is WWE doing what it does best by turning a nonsense angle into a compelling storyline. And for that reason, it makes sense that the streak is still active today as when it does ultimately end, it needs to be a pretty big moment on a pretty big stage.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Hawkins has to defeat Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania 35, though fans probably would be extremely jubilant if he did. It just means that WWE should wait for the right opportunity to pull off the win and Hawkins’ mini-push. It is clear they are paying attention to the angle and if you don’t believe that, look no further than the documentary and Hawkins’ recent network collection “Nothing to Lose,” which showcases some of WWE’s most legendary losses as well as a series of Hawkins’ own losses during the streak.