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Dr. Darin Davis

Minnesota independent pro wrestler discusses past experiences and the current state of pro wrestling

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Category: Stats

Back in the beginning of August, I posted rankings of the top 15 wrestlers in the WWE and in TNA based on my own data on the quality of the matches over a one year period (Final Wrestler Stats)

Around the same time, Pro Wrestling Illustrated released their yearly PWI Top 500 wrestlers list. Regardless of what you think of their ranking system (I don’t remember how much effect reader ballots have on the rankings vs. PWI staff voting), I thought it would be interesting to match up my list with theirs to see how they compared.

Below are the same rankings I originally published, with the addition of the PWI top 500 ranking. Coincidently, the PWI rankings span the same months as my data collection (July through June).

WWE Top 15

Here are the Top 15 wrestlers under the WWE brands and their PWI 500 rankings for July 2009 through June 2010:

Name PWI 500 Ranking
1. John Morrison 27
2. Evan Bourne 63
2. Chris Jericho 21
2. Jack Swagger 5
5. Rey Mysterio 13
5. Christian 22
7. Dolph Ziggler 50
8. Kofi Kingston 26
8. Zack Ryder 117
10. CM Punk 3
11. Miz 12
12. Shelton Benjamin 76
12. John Cena 2
12. Jeff Hardy 20
12. Yoshi Tatsu 78

TNA Top 15

For TNA, there is only one program available that I was tracking (TNA Impact).

Here are the Top 15 wrestlers under the TNA brand and their PWI 500 rankings for July 2009 through June 2010:

Name PWI 500 Ranking
1. AJ Styles 1
2. Samoa Joe 31
3. Kurt Angle 9
4. Christopher Daniels 47
5. Chris Sabin 95
6. D’Angelo Dinero 87
6. Amazing Red 36
6. Doug Williams 45
6. Desmond Wolfe 28
10. Suicide/Kaz 92
10. Alex Shelley 88
10. Hamada not ranked
13. Matt Morgan 38
13. Hernandez 71
15. Sarita not ranked

Conclusion

Just what I expected… absolutely no correlation between my rankings and the PWI 500 (except for A.J. Styles in TNA).

You can see all the details about the rankings on the Wrestler Match Ratings page.

You can also look at the spreadsheet here– Google Docs: Wrestler Match Ratings Spreadsheet

From July 2009 through June of 2010, I collected some stats on the WWE Monday Night Raw, WWE Smackdown, and TNA wrestling products (and ECW until their shutdown on 2/19/2010). I was measuring the quality of the matches on each program by giving each one a “Thumb” rating. A great match gets one Thumb Up, an outstanding “match-of-the-year” candidate gets two Thumbs Up, and everything else gets zero (I was also giving Thumbs Down– more on that later).

When I recorded the Thumb Rating, I also happened to write down the names of the wrestlers that were involved in the matches. Since I had the data, I decided to total these up for each wrestler involved. All participants in the match got the same number of points.

You can read all the details and a bit of analysis on the Wrestler Match Ratings page, including a link to the spreadsheet so you can see the numbers for yourself.

I’m providing a quick summary below.

Top 15 in WWE and TNA

For the WWE, I used the combined data from the Raw, Smackdown, and ECW programming to calculate the rankings. I assigned one point per Thumb, so the scoring should be obvious.

WWE Top 15

Here are the Top 15 wrestlers under the WWE brands:

Name Total 1 Thumb Up 2 Thumbs Up
1. John Morrison 24 20 2
2. Evan Bourne 18 18 0
2. Chris Jericho 18 16 1
2. Jack Swagger 18 18 0
5. Rey Mysterio 17 13 2
5. Christian 17 15 1
7. Dolph Ziggler 15 15 0
8. Kofi Kingston 14 12 1
8. Zack Ryder 14 14 0
10. CM Punk 13 11 1
11. Miz 8 8 0
12. Shelton Benjamin 7 7 0
12. John Cena 7 7 0
12. Jeff Hardy 7 3 2
12. Yoshi Tatsu 7 7 0

TNA Top 15

For TNA, there is only one program available that I was tracking (TNA Impact).

Here are the Top 15 wrestlers under the TNA brand:

Name Total 1 Thumb Up 2 Thumbs Up
1. AJ Styles 22 12 5
2. Samoa Joe 13 11 1
3. Kurt Angle 12 6 3
4. Christopher Daniels 11 7 2
5. Chris Sabin 10 8 1
6. D’Angelo Dinero 9 9
6. Amazing Red 9 9
6. Doug Williams 9 9
6. Desmond Wolfe 9 5 2
10. Suicide/Kaz 8 8
10. Alex Shelley 8 8
10. Hamada 8 8
13. Matt Morgan 7 7
13. Hernandez 7 7
15. Sarita 6 6

Take a look at all the details on the Wrestler Match Ratings page.

You can also look at the spreadsheet here: Google Docs: Wrestler Match Ratings Spreadsheet

Back in July of 2008, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown to see if I would be able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming. This is assuming that if the quality (in my opinion) is better, I will watch more, and if the quality drops (again based on my tastes), I will watch less.

I tracked all four shows for a year before deciding to change things up and measure them differently (you can find the results of the that year-long experiment, including the charts and data, on the TV Viewership Stats page).

In July of 2009, I started collecting some different data about the same wrestling programming. What I was measuring this time was the number of matches per hour, and the quality of those matches as judged by a simple rating system.

The rating system I used was not one to five stars. It was closer to how I rate programming using my TiVo (Thumbs Up/2 Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down).

Since the WWE decided to shut down the ECW promotion, I stopped reporting on ECW and just did the other three.

The Final Results

After 52 weeks of collecting data from July 7th 2009 to July 9th 2010, here is a summary of the rating results. If you want to see more details, take a look at the TV Match Ratings page.

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Rating Totals

For each of the three brands, the thumb ratings have been totaled since I started collecting data the week of July 7th, 2009. Just to be clear, each “One Thumb Up” rating counts as one point, each “Two Thumbs Up” rating counts as two, and each “Thumb Down” rating counts as negative one (which subtracts from the total).

Here are the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down ratings for the three programs:

Total Thumbs Up Ratings

Despite all of the negative press it gets, TNA pulled out ahead of Smackdown and way ahead of Raw in the quality of the matches (in my opinion). TNA would have been even farther ahead on positive ratings, except that they have had so many bad matches since Hogan and company showed up that it pulled their total down (remember a really bad match gets a Thumbs Down which reduces the total by one).

Avg Ratings Over Time

One other thing of note was the average ratings per match over time for each brand.

Avg Thumb Rating Per Match

The Raw guest host format has certainly affected the WWE programming. They are consistently at the bottom, even though it is supposedly the WWE’s “flagship” program. About 1 in 20 Raw matches is considered great.

If you take a look at the trend of TNA, you can see the damage Hulk Hogan and his cronies inflicted after the first of the year (about the midpoint of the charts). The average rating of each TNA match was climbing until Hogan took over. At its peak about 1 in 3 matches was great. It has been steadily falling since then, up until the last few weeks where it leveled out.

Smackdown has been fairly consistent over time, equaling TNA in the last couple of months. About 1 in 5 matches are considered great.

Take a look at all the stats and my “brilliant” conclusions over on the TV Match Ratings Page

Since the WWE decided to shut down the ECW promotion, it didn’t make sense to continue to include the ECW numbers with the Raw, Smackdown, and TNA brands on my TV Match Ratings page. Comparing things like “Total Matches with ‘Thumbs Up’ Ratings” between a promotion that is producing new content every week and one that isn’t is like comparing (bruised) apples to (squashed) oranges.

So I took a snapshot of the match ratings up through the the last week of ECW and moved them to a separate page. You can find the ratings from 7/7/2009 to 2/19/2010 on the TV Match Ratings Including ECW page.

Thumbs Up/DownBack in July of 2008, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown to see if I would be able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming. This was assuming that if the quality (in my opinion) was better, I would watch more, and if the quality dropped (again based on my tastes), I would watch less.

I ended that tracking last summer. You can find the results of the that year-long experiment, including the charts, data, and a summary on the TV Viewership Stats page.

The New Method

In July of 2009, I started collecting some different data about the same wrestling programming. After a few months of dragging my feet I finally decided on how I want to show the data, so I’ve added the information to the website.

What I am measuring this time is the number of matches per hour, and the quality of those matches as judged by a simple rating system (1 Thumb Up, 2 Thumbs Up, 1 Thumb Down).

You can find out all the details on the new TV Match Ratings page. There is a new tab at the top of the main page for this.

I won’t be posting too much about it on the main page, other than the occasional reminder that it is happening, and maybe a summary every few months. Those that are interested can check out the details on the ratings page, and those that aren’t don’t have to look at it at all.

To finish out this announcement, I’m including one of the charts from that page that shows the total “Thumb” ratings for each of the four brands from 7/7/09 through 11/20/09. The idea is that the higher the number, the better the overall quality of the wrestling matches of that brand (click on the image for a larger view).

Total Thumbs Up Ratings Thru 11/20/09

Total Thumbs Up Ratings Thru 11/20/09

As of this writing, TNA is ahead, followed by Smackdown and ECW, with Monday Night Raw trailing pretty far behind. If I remember right, the change in format where Raw has a guest host every week started sometime in July. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

MeasurementBack in July of 2008, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown to see if I would be able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming. After collecting a year’s worth of data, I’m officially wrapping this up.

You can find a summary of the results on the TV Viewership Stats page if you’re interested.

Going forward, I’m going to continue to collect some similar information, but in a way that won’t require me to keep track of every minute of the 7 hours of weekly wrestling programming I had to watch (and I’m not even watching WWE Superstars!). I’ll probably tweak things a little bit over the next month and see how it works out before I post anything here about it.

MeasurementI had an error in the equation for the 4 week average in the WWE Monday Night Raw chart for TV Viewership Stats. Probably been there since I added it. Things looked a little too smooth for a while, and then the average ended up being lower than any of the data (you college kids should have caught that!).

Added a 12 week average to kind of smooth things out and show the trends as I’m coming up on a year of keeping track of this stuff.

As a side note, I’m planning on wrapping these up at the end of June. I think I’m going to be continuing to measure something, but not based on viewing time. I’ll let you know after I get a chance to think about it a little more.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I was thinking about keeping track of the actual Nielsen ratings for wrestling TV programs in addition to tracking my own viewing habits. Here’s why I don’t think I’ll ever do it:

A story last week stated that ECW had the lowest rating in its history (or something similar). Was it that bad of a program? No, the ratings were down because of the presidential election.

I’m trying to measure the quality of the programming. The ratings are not direct measure of quality or how enjoyable the program was to a wrestling fan. The ratings can be/are affected by the enjoyment, but they can also be affected by other factors.

The ratings measure how many people (wrestling fan and non-wrestling fan) decided to watch the programming rather than doing one of a million other possible things they had available to them. They could have decided to watch another program, play a video game, read a book, or believe it or not even go outside.

BTW, “share” is a measure of how many people that decided to watch TV watched a given program. It is a percentage of the total viewers during that time period. A “10” share would mean 10 percent of the people who were watching TV at the time were watching that program.

I’m more interested in what wrestling fans that watched the program thought of it than whether or not the general population watched it.

I switched over to Google Docs to keep track of the wrestling TV viewing habits that I’ve been publishing here for a few months. One of the advantages is that the Google spreadsheet makes it easy to publish the charts using the same links every week. That means after watching a program I can put in the new numbers, update the chart, and it will immediately appear on this blog without me having to do anything else. No more offline spreadsheet. No more uploading of image files, etc. No more modifying links to point to the new images.

The only downside so far is that the Google office app is pretty weak in the charting area. In fact to get them all using the same scale I had to artificially put in a trend line of 100% to force it to come out the same. Hopefully they’ll improve this over time.

Since it’s pretty easy to update them, I’ll be doing it several times a week rather than waiting until the end (or the end of the month like I used to do). Most likely I won’t post anything here when I do an update. You can just go to the TV Viewership page whenever you want to see the latest data.

If I add any new metrics, like the number of annoying poses Matt Morgan does per match, I’ll let you know.

I’m going to continue to keep track of how much of the weekly TV wrestling programs I watch, but I’m no longer going put those long postings and detailed graphs on the main page.

I created a new page/tab at the top of this blog for the TV viewership information. I’ll update it about once a week with the latest data, and probably just post a brief notice that it’s been updated.

I’ve been reading a few more things recently about blog formats and site designs. One thing I’ve tried to do in the past that it looks like I’ve gotten away from is mix up longer and shorter postings. I’m also trying to mix up some of the quicker news-related items (like the Daivari title win) with stories that are longer and specific to this site, like the training camp stuff.

I took a look at the main page and imagined what someone coming here for the first time would think. All I saw was extremely long postings of interviews and then a whole crap-ton of graphs. What’s up with the graphs? Isn’t this a wrestling site?

There were some decent (in my opinion) postings that got bumped off the main page because of some of this stuff, and to some people it might not be immediately clear that those are still available with a mouse click or two.

The advantage of having it a separate page is that it doesn’t get in the way of the normal flow of information posted here. People who are actually interested in that information can have a look at it. Everyone else doesn’t have to scroll past it. The only disadvantage I can think of is that it doesn’t show up in the RSS feed for the site when it’s updated. Posting a notice should take care of that issue, though.