This article stresses the importance of statistics and lack thereof in professional wrestling and, particularly, World Wrestling Entertainment.
Vince McMahon has made it abundantly clear that his line of business is entertainment first, sport second.
To be honest, I applaud that. In fact, it is the entertainment aspect of professional wrestling that intrigues me more than the closeness to boxing or MMA. The moonsault, for example, is enthralling not because it is a good offensive move (you could easily move out of the way by the time a 180 is performed), but because of its acrobatic, awe-inspiring sight. Then you have the interviews and promos which are 100% entertainment through and through.
But with all the talk of entertainment, just like any other sport, the Holy Grail is the championship. The WWE Championship is what all who enter the ring strive to achieve (note, I said WWE Championship…and not the World Heavyweight Championship. That is another article all to itself). Just like the Stanley Cup or the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, the WWE Championship represents the best of the best. But, you have to be honest; the mere fact of being a WWE Champion does not hold the same clout it once did. The quick title changes (Mankind-Rock), bogus victories (partial referees), and villainous plots (getting disqualified on purpose) have diluted the importance of what it means to be a champion.
However, that can easily be changed by respectable wins, honorable challenges, and longer title reigns. The WWE Champion is and will always be the standard bearer for greatness in professional wrestling and it will never change, but there are so many more accomplishments that are being looked over and it’s time Vince McMahon opened up his eyes to see them.
It’s time that this world of sports entertainment not only feed off the entertainment aspects, but also embrace the sport’s side. Dare I say it!
Let’s look at America’s pastime – Major League Baseball. The ultimate prize in MLB is the World Series Trophy. True. So, in essence, the WWE Championship is the World Series Trophy. There is where the similarities end. And this is where MLB shines and WWE does not. WWE is blind to see that there is so much more going on in their sport of wrestling that they fail to acknowledge it. Perhaps because they are too busy thinking of ways to reuse Billy and Chuck’s theme music. You look so good to me? Really! (Watch for ‘Really!’ by the way in your everyday life, it’s going from Saturday Night Live popularity to overused popularity…we’ll be sick of it soon…Really!)
Back to Major League Baseball. Not only does it have the World Series Champions accomplishment, but it has statistical accomplishments – batting average, home runs, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging, plus so many more. Baseball is all about statistics and milestones…and…wait for it…wrestling can be, too!
You heard me right.
The biggest achievement is and will always be how many world titles a wrestler won. Ric Flair winning 16 championships is top notch…or naitch and Triple H going on to break the record and win 4,500 titles is also incredible…I think.
However, there are so many milestones (you look up a synonym for milestone, I’m busy) that WWE is missing out on just because it is either (a) doesn’t realize it or (b) is so against anything to make it look like a sport.
Just look at a baseball card and you will see the list of stats for that particular player; Heritage IV WWE cards could have similar stats for each wrestler.
Here are just some stats that WWE should instate into their regimen:
TM: Total Matches – This number represents the number of matches a wrestler has taken part in
TSM: Total Single Matches – This number represents the number of single matches a wrestler has taken part in
TUM: Total Tag Team Matches – This number represents the number of tag team matches a wrestler has taken part in (U is in place of T. Reason explained soon.)
MW: Matches Won – The number of matches a wrestler has won, no matter what match, no matter how they won.
TMW: Total Matches Winning Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of matches based upon the total number of matches wrestled in. This includes singles, tag match, six man, battle royal, Royal Rumbles. Every Match. Equation – MW (Matches Won)/TM (Total Matches)
PPVW: Total Pay Per View Wins
PPVM: Total Pay Per View Matches
SMW: Single Matches Winning Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of single matches a wrestler has won. Equation – SMW/TSM
UMW: Tag Team Matches Winning Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of tag team matches a wrestler has won. Equation – UMW/TUM (Why U? Because we already used T and T +T = U.)
PS: Pin, Submission Number – This number represents the number of matches a wrestler won via pin or submission.
DQC: Disqualification, Countout Number – This number represents the number of matches won via DQ or countout
PSP: Pin, Submission Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of matches won by pinfall or submission. Equation – (TMW – DQC)/TMW or PS/ TMW
DQCP: Disqualification, Countout Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of matches won by DQ or Countout . Equation (TMW – PSP)/TMW or DQC/TMW
PPVP: Pay Per View Percentage – This statistic represents the percentage of matches won on pay-per-view outings. Equation PPVW/PPVM
MVC: Matches versus Champion – This number represents the number of matches a wrestler had against a champion
WVC: Won versus Champion – This number represents the number of matches a wrestler has won against a champion
VCP: Versus Champion Percentage – This represents the percentage of wins a wrestler has in championship opportunities Equation: WVC/MVC
And I am sure there are plenty more to create, but just think of the ones explained above and what they can do to this entertaining sport.
A great wrestling match needs meaning. The best catalyst of meaning is the championship, but these stats could add additional meaning. What about the Undertaker looking for his 500th match victory, that’s meaning! Or Matt Hardy looking to keep a 500 average (if we are to use baseball terms), and he needs to win his next match to stay at 500. Or Edge could point out Jeff Hardy’s VCP as 20% and say that Jeff’s average will go down to 10% after Sunday. (Can you picture Ryan Howard taunting Matt Holliday about his batting average? No, but stat trash talk can take place in WWE, though.)
Stats would also give the graphic operator more to show when a wrestler walks down the aisle under the superstar’s name. For example (with random numbers picked out of the blue), if the Big Show were to come down for a pay per view title match, the chyron (as it’s known in some parts) would read: Big Show TM: 587 PPVP: 66% VCP: 30%
This would also give some additional points for the commentators to talk about other than just saying ‘what you are watching is the greatest thing ever.’
So, to end this, I say it’s time for WWE to welcome the sport side of the business with open arms and start acknowledging missed opportunities that could create some big payoffs.
But who knows – they could take this idea and next thing you would see is the IPI stat– the number of In-ring Promos Interrupted.
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