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What was the most predictable WWE Pay-Per-View of 2015?

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Every time a WWE Pay-Per-View (PPV) event is on the horizon, the staff of Cageside Seats offers predictions for all of the advertised matches on the card.

With all of this prediction data available, it begs the question: which 2015 WWE PPV was the most predictable?

Here is a rough idea of the simple process that I used to calculate the predictability rating for a given PPV.  I'll use TLC 2015 as a specific example.

Eight different staff members each offered predictions for 7 different matches at TLC 2015.  That means there were 56 total match predictions for this PPV spread across those 8 staff members.  From there it was just a matter of counting how many of those 56 predictions were right and how many were wrong.

In the vast majority of cases I did not consider anything the staff member wrote other than which wrestler was listed as the winner of the match.  So it didn't matter to me if someone predicted that Roman Reigns would turn heel at Survivor Series.  Staff members received credit for a correct prediction of the winner of any match, even if they were wrong about the context of that victory.

Here are the results for TLC 2015, sorted by match order.  Note that Sasha's pre-show match didn't make the cut because it wasn't advertised early enough.  The first line of the list can be interpreted as follows: "6 staff members out of 8 correctly predicted the winner of New Day's match at TLC 2015, which is a success rate of 75%."

  • 75.0%: New Day vs Usos vs Lucha Dragons (6-2)
  • 50.0%: Ryback vs Rusev (4-4)
  • 87.5%: Del Rio vs Swagger (7-1)
  • 87.5%: ECW Originals vs Wyatt Family (7-1)
  • 12.5%: Owens vs Ambrose (1-7)
  • 100.0%: Charlotte vs Paige (8-0)
  • 100.0%: Sheamus vs Reigns (8-0)

Adding up all those numbers in parentheses produces an overall record of 41-15, which is 73.2%.  That means that TLC 2015 had a predictability rating of 73.2%.

Repeating this method for all of the other WWE events in 2015 produces the following predictability ratings:

The overall predictability rating for 2015 was 63.4% (350-202) spread across 96 different matches.  It is worth noting that every single card from Night of Champions through TLC had a very high predictability rating compared to this overall number of 63.4%.

This method results in Survivor Series being the most predictable show of the year.  Keep in mind that the Money in the Bank cash-in did not factor into these calculations because that match was not part of the predictions.  The predictability rating only includes matches (including any pre-show matches) that were advertised far enough ahead of time for the staff to make predictions on.

I think the predictability of the Survivor Series card is one of the big reasons why that event was seen as a disappointment.  Predictability by itself shouldn't really be an indication of whether an event is worthy of praise or criticism.  However, consider the context of Seth Rollins suddenly dropping out of the title picture and rampant speculation about whether Ambrose or Reigns would take his spot as the top heel.  I think the fans were excited for drastic changes for either one of those characters.  Instead what they got was babyface Roman overcoming the odds on arguably the most predictable show of the year, at least until Sheamus cashed in his briefcase.

I wasn't sure if I should include the main event of WrestleMania 31 in the results, because the advertised match of Lesnar versus Reigns was hijacked by Seth Rollins.  I decided to include it, and none of the 6 staff members officially picked Rollins as the winner.  If that match is thrown out from consideration, the predictability rating for WrestleMania 31 increases to 60.4%.

The Elimination Chamber card was the most difficult one to predict.  Nobody picked Ryback as the winner of the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber match.  The Owens victory over Cena was only predicted correctly by one person, and the same is true for Ambrose's victory over Rollins.  And only 2 out of the 6 staff members correctly predicted that Nikki Bella would win her triple threat match against Naomi and Paige.

Predictability Ratings for individual matches

26 of the 96 matches had a predictability rating of 100.0% (or 153-0).

9 matches yielded a predictability rating of 0.0% (or 0-50).

This means that 35 out of the 96 matches had a predictability rating of either 0.0% or 100.0%.

The predictability rating for the remaining 61 matches was 56.4% (197-152).

Here is the full list of the predictability ratings for all 96 matches:

  1. 100% (8-0): Charlotte vs Paige (TLC)
  2. 100% (8-0): Sheamus vs Reigns (TLC)
  3. 100% (7-0): Reigns vs Del Rio (Survivor Series)
  4. 100% (7-0): Charlotte vs Paige (Survivor Series)
  5. 100% (7-0): Ziggler vs Breeze (Survivor Series)
  6. 100% (6-0): Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way (WrestleMania 31)
  7. 100% (6-0): Rusev vs Cena (WrestleMania 31)
  8. 100% (6-0): Undertaker vs Wyatt (WrestleMania 31)
  9. 100% (6-0): Cena vs Rusev (Extreme Rules)
  10. 100% (6-0): Reigns vs Big Show (Extreme Rules)
  11. 100% (6-0): Rollins vs Orton (Extreme Rules)
  12. 100% (6-0): Neville vs Dallas (Elimination Chamber)
  13. 100% (6-0): Nikki vs Paige (Money in the Bank)
  14. 100% (6-0): Ambreigns and Jericho vs Wyatt Family (Night of Champions)
  15. 100% (6-0): Rollins vs Cena (Night of Champions)
  16. 100% (6-0): Charlotte vs Nikki (Hell in a Cell)
  17. 100% (6-0): Rollins vs Kane (Hell in a Cell)
  18. 100% (6-0): Lesnar vs Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)
  19. 100% (5-0): Nikki vs Paige (Fastlane)
  20. 100% (5-0): Sheamus vs Ziggler (Payback)
  21. 100% (5-0): Wyatt vs Ryback (Payback)
  22. 100% (5-0): Cena vs Rusev (Payback)
  23. 100% (5-0): Amell and Neville vs Stardust and Barrett (SummerSlam)
  24. 100% (5-0): Ryback vs Miz vs Big Show (SummerSlam)
  25. 100% (4-0): New Age Outlaws vs The Ascension (Royal Rumble)
  26. 100% (4-0): Usos vs Miz and Mizdow (Royal Rumble)
  27. 87.5% (7-1): Del Rio vs Swagger (TLC)
  28. 87.5% (7-1): ECW Originals vs Wyatt Family (TLC)
  29. 85.7% (6-1): Ambrose vs Owens (Survivor Series)
  30. 83.3% (5-1): Ambrose vs Harper (Extreme Rules)
  31. 83.3% (5-1): Rollins vs Ambrose (Money in the Bank)
  32. 83.3% (5-1): Cosmic Wasteland vs Neville and Lucha Dragons (Night of Champions)
  33. 83.3% (5-1): Rollins vs Sting (Night of Champions)
  34. 83.3% (5-1): Neville, Cesaro, Ziggler vs Sheamus, Barrett, Rusev (Hell in a Cell)
  35. 83.3% (5-1): Owens vs Ryback (Hell in a Cell)
  36. 80.0% (4-1): Rusev vs Cena (Fastlane)
  37. 80.0% (4-1): Bryan vs Reigns (Fastlane)
  38. 80.0% (4-1): New Day vs Cesaro and Kidd (Payback)
  39. 80.0% (4-1): Neville vs Barrett (Payback)
  40. 80.0% (4-1): Rollins vs Reigns vs Ambrose vs Orton (Payback)
  41. 80.0% (4-1): Truth vs Barrett (Money in the Bank)
  42. 80.0% (4-1): Ambrose and Reigns vs Wyatt and Harper (SummerSlam)
  43. 75.0% (6-2): New Day vs Lucha Dragons vs Usos (TLC)
  44. 71.4% (5-2): Undertaker and Kane vs Wyatt and Harper (Survivor Series)
  45. 71.4% (5-2): Ambrose vs Reigns (Survivor Series)
  46. 66.7% (4-2): Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (WrestleMania 31)
  47. 66.7% (4-2): Tag Team Championship Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber)
  48. 66.7% (4-2): Cena vs Owens (Money in the Bank)
  49. 66.7% (4-2): Orton vs Sheamus (Battleground)
  50. 66.7% (4-2): Ryback vs Owens (Night of Champions)
  51. 66.7% (4-2): Ziggler vs Rusev (Night of Champions)
  52. 66.7% (4-2): Reigns vs Wyatt (Hell in a Cell)
  53. 60.0% (3-2): Usos vs Cesaro and Kidd (Fastlane)
  54. 60.0% (3-2): Bella Twins vs Tamina and Naomi (Payback)
  55. 60.0% (3-2): Cena vs Owens (Battleground)
  56. 60.0% (3-2): Rollins vs Lesnar (Battleground)
  57. 60.0% (3-2): Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way (SummerSlam)
  58. 60.0% (3-2): Lesnar vs Undertaker (SummerSlam)
  59. 50.0% (4-4): Ryback vs Rusev (TLC)
  60. 50.0% (3-3): Sting vs Triple H (WrestleMania 31)
  61. 50.0% (3-3): Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ (WrestleMania 31)
  62. 50.0% (3-3): Nikki vs Naomi (Extreme Rules)
  63. 50.0% (3-3): Prime Time Players vs New Day (Battleground)
  64. 50.0% (3-3): Nikki vs Charlotte (Night of Champions)
  65. 50.0% (3-3): Cena vs Del Rio (Hell in a Cell)
  66. 50.0% (2-2): Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble)
  67. 50.0% (2-2): Bella Twins vs Paige and Natalya (Royal Rumble)
  68. 50.0% (2-2): Cesaro and Kidd vs New Day (Royal Rumble)
  69. 50.0% (1-1): Neville vs Barrett (Extreme Rules)
  70. 40.0% (2-3): Stardust vs Goldust (Fastlane)
  71. 40.0% (2-3): Orton vs Sheamus (SummerSlam)
  72. 40.0% (2-3): Team PCB vs Team Bella vs Team B.A.D. (SummerSlam)
  73. 33.3% (2-4): Nikki vs Naomi vs Paige (Elimination Chamber)
  74. 33.3% (2-4): Ryback vs Big Show (Money in the Bank)
  75. 33.3% (2-4): New Day vs Prime Time Players (Money in the Bank)
  76. 33.3% (2-4): Truth vs Barrett (Battleground)
  77. 33.3% (2-4): Reigns vs Wyatt (Battleground)
  78. 33.3% (2-4): New Day vs Dudley Boyz (Night of Champions)
  79. 33.3% (2-4): New Day vs Dudley Boyz (Hell in a Cell)
  80. 25.0% (1-3): Lesnar vs Cena vs Rollins (Royal Rumble)
  81. 20.0% (1-4): Rollins vs Cena (SummerSlam)
  82. 20.0% (1-4): Cesaro vs Owens (SummerSlam)
  83. 16.7% (1-5): Orton vs Rollins (WrestleMania 31)
  84. 16.7% (1-5): Ziggler vs Sheamus (Extreme Rules)
  85. 16.7% (1-5): Cena vs Owens (Elimination Chamber)
  86. 16.7% (1-5): Rollins vs Ambrose (Elimination Chamber)
  87. 12.5% (1-7): Owens vs Ambrose (TLC)
  88. 0.00% (0-5): Ziggler, Rowan, Ryback vs Rollins, Big Show, Kane (Fastlane)
  89. 0.00% (0-5): Ambrose vs Barrett (Fastlane)
  90. 0.00% (0-5): Meta Powers vs The Ascension (Payback)
  91. 0.00% (0-5): Ziggler vs Rusev (SummerSlam)
  92. 0.00% (0-6): Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal (WrestleMania 31)
  93. 0.00% (0-6): Lesnar vs Reigns (WrestleMania 31)
  94. 0.00% (0-6): Cesaro and Kidd vs New Day (Extreme Rules)
  95. 0.00% (0-6): IC Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber)
  96. 0.00% (0-6): Money In The Bank Contract Ladder Match (Money in the Bank)

When looking through the matches with a predictability rating of 0%, it's not surprising to see a few large group matches in there like Elimination Chamber matches or Battle Royal matches.

Matches that end in a draw are also tricky to predict, as most staff members predict a definitive winner for any given match.  This is why nobody correctly predicted Rusev versus Ziggler at SummerSlam, as it resulted in a double count out with no winner.

The 13 main event matches together had a predictability rating of 69.3% (52-23).  If the Reigns versus Lesnar match from WrestleMania 31 is omitted, that percentage increases to 75.4%.

The Elimination Chamber main event of Ambrose versus Rollins was also tricky because it had one of those disqualification endings that tripped up most of the predictions.  Only one out of six predictions listed Ambrose as the winner.

Divas matches had a predictability rating of 71.4% (50-20).  When the championship was on the line that predictability rating rose to 80.0% (40-10).

Tag team championship matches had a predictability rating of 56.5% (39-30).

Intercontinental championship matches had a predictability rating of 43.8% (21-27).

John Cena's matches had a predictability rating of 66.7% (40-20).  The predictability rating for his 4 matches with Rusev was 95.5% (21-1), which I do believe was a significant detriment to the interest level in that feud.  That leaves a predictability rating of 50.0% (19-19) for Cena's remaining 7 matches.

CSS Staff Results

Here are the overall results for each individual staff member:

Name Win Pct Predictions Correct Incorrect Vs Pct Vs Correct Vs Incorrect
Chris Dawson 85.7 7 6 1 71.4 35 14
Kyle Decker 76.9 39 30 9 71.2 146 59
Jason Martin 69.0 42 29 13 63.7 142 81
Cain A. Knight 65.1 86 56 30 64.4 268 148
Bill Hanstock 65.1 43 28 15 70.7 159 66
Geno Mrosko 64.2 95 61 34 63.3 288 167
Keith Harris 60.0 95 57 38 64.2 292 163
Sean Rueter 58.9 95 56 39 64.4 293 162
Josh Gagnon 54.5 44 24 20 57.1 117 88
Eddie Mac 50.0 6 3 3 36.7 11 19

An explanation of this table is necessary, so here is one way to translate the row for Jason Martin:

"Jason Martin made 42 total predictions.  29 of his predictions were correct and 13 were incorrect, which is a 69.0 percent success rate.  The remainder of the CSS staff had a won-loss record of 142-81 on those same exact 42 matches, which is a 63.7 percent success rate."

First of all, Eddie Mac drew the unlucky fate of having his predictions all come from the Elimination Chamber card, which is basically like taking a one-way trip to Suplex City.  Eddie Mac performed better than his peers on that show, as the rest of the staff members combined to score 36.7% (11-19) on that card while Eddie Mac scored 50.0% (3-3).

Then there is Kyle Decker, who joined later in the year and jumped on all of those very predictable cards from Night of Champions through TLC.  He participated in 5 shows overall.  His peers on those 5 shows combined to score 71.2% (146-59) while he scored 76.9% (30-9).  So Kyle Decker can still go ahead and celebrate like he is the fourth member of the New Day because he outperformed his peers, even after taking into account the easier environment he was working with.  Kyle's biggest success compared to everyone else came on the SummerSlam card, where he scored 70.0% (7-3) while the remaining staff scored 47.5% (19-21).

Chris Dawson probably benefited from the predictability of TLC.  A quick glance at the right side of the table also shows that Bill Hanstock offered his predictions on slightly easier cards while Josh Gagnon's predictions came on slightly more challenging cards compared to the overall average.

It's also worth noting that these individual numbers are still small enough where just 6 more wins for Sean Rueter would have bumped his win percentage above Cain A. Knight's.  And if Sean knew that these results were being compiled, he probably wouldn't have predicted John Cena to win the match at TLC between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger.  The point is that there's a whole bunch of dumb luck involved in the individual differences exhibited in the table.

Geno, Sean, and Keith were the only people who offered predictions for all 13 events.  Notice though that they were each credited with 95 total predictions, even though I have said that there were 96 total matches in this investigation.

This is because there was a match for Extreme Rules that was advertised as Daniel Bryan versus Bad News Barrett, even though rumors at the time strongly suggested that Bryan would be replaced.  Neville ended up replacing Bryan after the CSS Staff predictions were already published.  I decided to omit the predictions of 3 staff members (Geno, Sean, Keith) who either predicted a Barrett win over Bryan or a Barrett win over an incorrect substitute for Bryan.  That's why Geno, Sean, and Keith ended up with 95 total predictions rather than 96 total predictions.

The remaining 3 staff members did predict that Neville would be in the match instead of Bryan.  However Jason Martin predicted an "excellent match" rather than choosing Neville or Barrett as the winner, so I omitted his prediction as well.  That left Josh Gagnon (who correctly predicted a win for Neville) and Cain A. Knight (who incorrectly predicted a loss for Neville) as the only two predictions that I counted for that match.

So there you have it.  How do you feel about the final 4 PPV events of the year being so predictable?