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How predictable was Payback 2020?

When a WWE pay-per-view (PPV) event is on the horizon, the staff of Cageside Seats usually offers predictions for all of the advertised matches on the card. This data can be used to calculate a simple predictability rating for any event.

Six different staff members predicted the winners for the matches that took place on Aug. 30 at Payback 2020. 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.

The Cageside Seats match preview articles for Payback also offered polls allowing Cagesiders the chance to weigh in with their predictions.

The following chart contains the prediction results for these matches. The leftmost column includes the match list. Below each staff member’s name, the number “1” is a correct prediction and the number “0” is an incorrect prediction. Empty boxes indicate where no prediction data was available. The rightmost column contains the overall predictability rating for every match, and the very last row shows the overall accuracy of each individual staff member.

Ruby Riott’s match was omitted because it was not advertised early enough.

The line for Bayley’s match can be interpreted as follows: “5 out of 7 predictions for Bayley’s match were correct, which is a predictability rating of 71.4%.”

Staff Predictions for Payback 2020

Match Geno Sean Cain Claire Kyle Stella Polls Total
Match Geno Sean Cain Claire Kyle Stella Polls Total
Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 85.7
Big E vs. Sheamus 1 100.0
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 42.9
Banks & Bayley vs. Jax & Baszler 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 71.4
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 42.9
The Mysterios vs. Rollins & Murphy 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 42.9
Wyatt vs. Reigns vs. Strowman 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 71.4
Total 83.3 16.7 66.7 83.3 16.7 66.7 85.7 60.5

These numbers add up to 26 correct predictions and 17 incorrect predictions, which means the overall predictability rating for Payback 2020 is 60.5%.

This decreases the overall predictability rating for 2020 WWE PPVs from 64.0% down to 63.6% (266 correct vs. 152 incorrect predictions). For comparison’s sake, the overall predictability ratings each year from from 2015 through 2019 were 63.4%, 61.1%, 61.6%, 58.7%, and 63.7%, respectively.

Now here are the voting percentages from the Cageside community polls for the winners of these matches:

  • 76%: Bobby Lashley over Apollo Crews
  • 93%: Big E over Sheamus
  • 84%: Matt Riddle over King Corbin
  • 69%: Jax & Baszler over Banks & Bayley
  • 52%: Lee over Orton
  • 49%: The Mysterios over Rollins & Murphy
  • 64%: Reigns over Wyatt (36%) and Strowman (1%)

The main thing that stands out to me about the results is how nobody really bought into the idea that Braun Strowman had a chance to win the Universal title triple threat match against Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. None of the Cageside staff picked him, and only 4 out of 544 community voters picked him.

Even when a match appears to have an obvious winner or loser, there will always be some people out there who go against the expected outcome. But the extremely lopsided vote against Strowman reached a level that surprised me. With so few people expecting him to be a serious contender in the match, I wonder how it affected fan perception of the match that it was just him and Wyatt battling it out for the overwhelming majority of the time, with Reigns not appearing until the final two or three minutes.

The other thing that stands out to me is that the community vote was pretty much split 50/50 for both Keith Lee and The Mysterios. WWE managed to develop those stories in such a way that it was hard to have high confidence in the outcome in either direction.

The staff of Cageside Seats had an okay night with predicting the winners at Payback 2020. How did you fare, Cagesiders?