Analysis by Chris Harrington (indeedwrestling@gmail.com)published: 2/11/2013 - includes Graphs!I believe this study is the largest professional wrestling dataset
that has been calculated using an Elo rating algorithm. This dataset includes over 40 years of
WWWF/WWF/WWE data covering 15,000+ events, more than four thousand
wrestlers (and almost twice that number of gimmicks/tag teams) and approximately 115,000 matches.
Named for a physics professor living in WIsconsin, the Elo Rating System was created as a system for rating chess players. Each player is assigned a numerical ranking where higher rankings correspond to better performing players. When two people of unequal ability compete several times, the better performing player is "expected" to win a certain number of the battles. The expected outcome can be calculated as a formula based on the Elo rankings of each competitor. Whenever a competitor performs better than their expected result, their score increases while their competitor loses points.Elo Rating SystemWhile the expected outcome of each competition is calculated by the relative scores of each competitor, the magnitude of the points transfer is dictated by a concept known as the k-value. In Chess, the k-factor is typically a uniform number, with the possibility that players with limited history may have a higher k-factor in order to reach their "true" rating quicker. In my pro-wrestling model, the k-value was essentially the "importance" of each competition. Therefore, losing a world championship match was rated as far more important than simply losing the preliminary match at an untelevised event.
The Elo Rating system has been applied to many fields outside of Chess including MMA, Soccer, Video Games Tournaments, Football, Card Games and more. I've spent several years refining an approach to apply this system to the world of professional wrestling. While I've seen this idea discussed of applying Elo ratings to pro wrestling many times, and more simplistic points-based system approaches have been tried, I believe this is the most complete and in-depth analysis that has been done on this subject.ApplicationI contend that this study is the largest professional wrestling dataset
that has been calculated using an Elo rating algorithm. This dataset included over 40 years of
WWWF/WWF/WWE data covering 15,000+ events, more than four thousand
wrestlers (and almost twice that number of gimmicks/tag teams) and approximately 115,000 matches.
Pro Wrestling and ELO## Unique ElementsThere are certainly unique elements about applying Elo Rating to Professional Wrestling. Here were many of the factors specific to professional wrestling that I had to consider:(1) The outcomes in professional wrestling are predetermined (2) Competitors wrestle a lot - many often over a hundred times a year (3) Some competitions are broadcast on television or PPV while others are simply nightly touring acts (4) There are several outcomes to each match - win, loss, no contest, draw, disqualification wins & losses, count out, blood stoppage, interference, ref's decision (the list goes on and on). In addition, some wins are seen as "clean" while other victories are "not clean" (use of an illegal object behind the referee's back, outside interference, cocky superior opponent deciding to leave the ring and give away a victory via count-out, etc.) (5) There are many styles of matches including multi-person matches including tag-teams and several person matches (such as a three-way dance) along with unusual stipulation matches (cage, ladder, tables, etc.) not to mention battle royal (Royal Rumble) matches (6) The status of wrestlers are built over long periods of time, while Belts and other factors (such as the position of match on the card) can signal the "importance" of any given contest (7) How to deal with ELO Ratings for Wrestlers who leave for other promotions, wrestlers that withdraw due to injuries, wrestlers returning to a promotion after long absences, and wrestlers returning to a promotion under a new gimmick or altered identity. ## Further Notes
In greater detail, here is the implications of those unique elements: |

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