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How predictable was Fastlane 2021?

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 Mar. 21 at Fastlane 2021. 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 Fastlane 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.

Braun Strowman’s match with Elias is not included in these results. Strowman was originally advertised for a match against Shane McMahon, but the match was pulled from WWE’s web site within 24 hours. The match with Elias was unadvertised filler that was added during the course of Fastlane, so the Cageside staff did not have a chance to predict the outcome.

The line for Big E’s match can be interpreted as follows: “6 out of 7 predictions for Big E’s match were correct, which is a predictability rating of 85.7%.”

Staff Predictions for Fastlane 2021

Match Geno Sean Cain Claire Kyle Stella Polls Total
Match Geno Sean Cain Claire Kyle Stella Polls Total
Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 71.4
Jax & Baszler vs. Banks & Belair 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 71.4
Big E vs. Apollo Crews 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 85.7
Rollins vs. Nakamura 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 100.0
Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 100.0
Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 71.4
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 100.0
Total 85.7 85.7 85.7 71.4 100.0 71.4 100.0 85.7

These numbers add up to 42 correct predictions and 7 incorrect predictions, which means the overall predictability rating for Fastlane 2021 is 85.7%.

This increases the overall predictability rating for 2021 WWE PPVs from 57.1% up to 68.9% (82 correct vs. 37 incorrect predictions). For comparison’s sake, the overall predictability ratings each year from from 2015 through 2020 were 63.4%, 61.1%, 61.6%, 58.7%, 63.7%, and 65.5%, respectively.

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

  • 79%: Riddle
  • 69%: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
  • 55%: Big E
  • 80%: Seth Rollins
  • 88%: Drew McIntyre
  • 89%: Alexa Bliss
  • 84%: Roman Reigns

Look at all of those community voting percentages in the 80% range! Having that strong of a voting consensus for so many matches on one card is a rare occurrence. The only match that was more or less a coin toss for the community voters was Big E vs. Apollo Crews. This high level of predictability was also reflected in the Cageside staff results, where three of the winners (Rollins, McIntyre, Reigns) didn’t fool a single person. Keep in mind that the numbers above do not include Strowman’s match against Elias, which was perhaps the most predictable bout of them all.

High predictability isn’t inherently a good or bad thing. In this case, Fastlane was a bit of a lame duck show needlessly crammed into the calendar just three weeks before WrestleMania 37. With the direction for WrestleMania pretty clear by that point, that made for a late March PPV with a whole lot of predictable outcomes.

The staff of Cageside Seats had a fantastic night with predicting the winners at Fastlane 2021. How did you fare, Cagesiders?

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