March 4, 2006
Philip DiLiegro

Thank you very much for reading my inaugural article not only here, but anywhere on the web, pertaining to wrestling. My ambition here is to introduce to the lexicon of web-based wrestling fans some form of objective statistical analysis of professional wrestling. I have long admired the statistical revolution in baseball led by SABR and Baseball Prospectus and what follows is my admittedly primitive attempt to follow their lead. I began recently using Graham’s thorough (though incomplete) database of WWF results beginning in January of 1987 to begin this endeavor. (FYI: I chose that year as it was my first experience as a wrestling fan and it includes the famous WrestleMania 3). The statistics compiled include only one month of data so there is serious sample-size issues when we look to draw any kind of conclusions at least yet. Each week, I’ll update the data and soon we’ll have enough to do some analysis. For now, I’d like to introduce the statistical measures I’ll be compiling:

Wins/Losses/Draws/Winning Percentage – This is fairly self-explanatory. It is worth noting that I included only matches against non-jobbers and JTTS types like Paul Roma and Jimmy Jack Funk. So, the stats are not a full record of a wrestler’s matches, only those against viable competition. Regular tag teams (Harts, Bulldogs, Killer Bees, etc.) have two listings, one as a team and another for each member’s singles matches (if any). Singles wrestlers have only one listing; therefore, any wins or losses they suffer in tags or six-mans count toward their overall total.

CW/CL/Push % – Stands for clean wins and losses: includes only wins and losses by pinfall, submission, or other rare “clean” decisions (escaping a cage, winning a ladder match). Push % is winning percentage including only clean decisions; this stat gives a better idea of how hard bookers push a wrestler than regular winning percentage.

Opponents’ W, L, CW, CL, etc. – Merely how a wrestler’s opponents fared in matches other than those against that particular wrestler. This stat will become more significant as the wrestlers become more “connected” after more entries to a database.

Adjusted Winning % and Adjusted Push % - The most important and interesting statistics here. Equals a (wrestler’s winning/push percentage) minus (1- their opponents’ winning/push percentage). A perfectly average wrestler will have values of 0% for both entries (i.e. the won 2/3 of their matches and their opponents won 1/3 of theirs). In NCAA basketball, this kind of analysis is necessary to account for the wildly varying degrees of difficulty in teams’ schedules. It is helpful in wrestling for the same reason: consider the Can-Am Connection’s entry: the team had a perfect winning and push percentage in January, 1987 (10-0 and 10-0 for100%) but only has a push % of 9.09%. Why? Because their opponents (Muraco & Orton and the Dream Team) seldom won against other competition, the push they received is not that impressive. Generally, when WWF wants to elevate a wrestler, they’ll put them over other successful wrestlers.

JANUARY 1987 STATISTICS (Microsoft Works Database file)

Again, thanks for reading. I’ll be back next week with an updated database and analysis on it. Feel free to e-mail questions, comments, complaints and compliments to philfortyfour@yahoo.com.

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