I was in the same boat. Hadn’t played since WWE 2K13, and sucked royally at kicking out. Still kind of do but I manage here and there.
One thing I can tell you is that you pretty much need a finisher to pin/submit somebody. This game doesn’t seem to like matches finishing on anything but that. You can have the lowliest jobber in purple and it wont matter. They always kick out of moves that aren’t finishers and wont submit to any submissions that aren’t finishers. I’m not saying thay is absolutely 100% the case but it’s mostly how things go.
Also, every time you pin a guy and he kicks out, he gets a huge momentum boost which could be contributing to your losses (assuming you’re getting hit with signatures/finishers).