Posted in: CPR Productions Statistically SummerSlam #10 - Dead Man Walking... (CPR Productions)
Jun 10, 2013 - 1:33:23 PM
‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Have you noticed that change out on the streets recently? The sun is coming out, the ladies are wearing skimpy little outfits and the whole country has gone BBQ crazy which can mean only one thing... Summer’s here. Of course, it will probably be chucking it down with rain by the end of the week but we love to cling onto that illusion of being in warmer climates for as long as we can. There are plenty of things you associate with Summer (no, not Fandango) but as a wrestling fan all roads lead to SummerSlam. For a couple of years now I have wanted to do a prolonged series in the build-up to the biggest party of the summer but have never quite managed it. This year however I thought it would be time to dive in and it would be perfect to do the column in conjunction with the new LoP Radio project. So keep a lookout for the next edition of “The Right Side of the Pond” which should be available on Friday. Here I will be joined by fellow Brit, Bobby Cash as we discuss today’s main theme in a bit more detail. But for now, it is time to get on with the old-fashioned written version...
So just what is going on here? Exactly what it says on the tin. I’ve compiled a load of statistics from all 25 editions of the WWE’s number two PPV and have come up with a nifty little equation to crown the number one performer in SummerSlam history. I have made the 29 men to have competed in 5 SummerSlam matches or more eligible, and they have been ranked in 5 different categories. The highest ranked in each category will receive 30 points, the lowest 2 points with everyone in between on a sliding scale. The scores for all 5 categories will be added up and the guy with the most will be crowned Mr Statistically SummerSlam. I will be doing a column/podcast on each of the top 10 as we head towards the biggest party of the summer and crowning a winner. The categories will be as follows:
Appearances - Obviously longevity plays a huge part. The more appearances you have, the higher up the rankings you will go.
Win Percentage - Yeah, of course wrestling is predetermined but winning still counts for a lot, otherwise the IWC getting all pissed off at their favourites losing would just be pointless. Right? RIGHT?
Average Match Length - The amount of time the WWE gives you on a big PPV is usually a good indication of your worth to the company. Whether you are curtain jerking or main eventing, if you are given time to show your stuff off on a regular basis, it probably means you are doing something right, which is why it counts for something on this list.
Average MIF (Match Importance Factor) - The MIF basically grades each match by importance. The final match of the night gets you 4 points, a secondary main event (world title or huge marquee match) gets you 3 points, a midcard match gets you 2 points and a pointless throw together or filler match gets 1 point. Essentially this rewards people who consistently have high profile matches as opposed to those who appear at the weaker end of the card.
Average Star Rating - Last but not least is what will be the most important category to a lot of you. Quality. There is no doubting its importance. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to go back and grade every match in SummerSlam history but fortunately there is a bloke out there by the name of Dave Meltzer! The better your average star rating, the higher up the rankings you go.
Confused? Well I’m only getting started. So each edition Statistically SummerSlam will be focused on one of the top 10, but also taking a look at the other 19 guys who were in the running for the title. As I have spent a bit of time explaining how it all works, this week I will only be looking at one of the also-rans. So coming in twentieth in the quest to be Mr Statistically SummerSlam is...
20 - Eddie Guerrero
Appearances: 5 (=15th/29)
Win Percentage: 40% (=23rd/29)
Average MIF: 2 (=25th/29)
Average Match Length: 12:46 (=16th/29)
Average Star Rating: ***1/4 (5th/29)
So Eddie pops up in a position which is about where I would have guessed he’d finish beforehand, yet he got there in a roundabout way. When you look at those first 3 categories, things don’t look good at all. His equal 15th place for his 5 appearances gives him a share of last place in that category with half the other guys who had just enough matches at SummerSlams. His win record of 2-3 doesn’t help matters, neither does his average MIF of 2, with all his matches being midcard bouts. Things get a bit better when it comes to his average ring time. He finds himself in the middle of the pack here as opposed to the bottom. To be honest that is a good indication that he was seen as a reliable workhorse for the company, being entrusted with matches in excess of 10 minutes on 4 out of 5 occasions, with the last one even sneaking past the 20 minute mark. Add in the fact that there are no world title matches or main events in there and you have to say that is a decent showing.
More than decent however is Eddie’s showing in the Average Star Rating category. Even though I have a strong appreciation of Guerrero’s tremendous in-ring talent, I wasn’t expecting him to show quite this high up the quality ladder. His SummerSlam story started in strange fashion back in 2000. During his “Mamacita” phase, he would tag with his lady, Chyna, to take on the team of Intercontinental Champion Val Venis and Trish Stratus. The stipulation of the match was that whoever got the pin would also get the IC belt. Unfortunately for Eddie, it was his partner who would get the job done. The match took 2 stars but he would not dip as low as 3 in his other outings. He would lose to Edge in 2002 but then go on to retain the recently re-established United States Championship the next year in a fatal four way against Chris Benoit, Rhyno and Tajiri. His top Meltzer-rated match came in 2004 against Kurt Angle. Following their match months before at Mania, Angle became SmackDown General Manager and was instrumental in Eddie losing his WWE title. Guerrero went for revenge at SummerSlam but came up short, tapping to the Ankle Lock in a match that scored 3 ¾ stars. Whilst it scored a quarter star less, my favourite Eddie match at SummerSlam and my fondest of all Guerrero moments would come at his final appearance.
Of course I am talking about the equally ridiculous and captivating business end of his 2005 feud with Rey Mysterio. For those of you that don’t know, this feud essentially started as a dick measuring contest between buddies and tag team champs at WrestleMania 21. Defeat however prompted Eddie to turn heel and as he continued to lose throughout the feud. Frustration kicked in and a secret was revealed to the world.
“The truth of the matter is I’m your father, Dominick. I’m your Papi”
Words that will go down as a huge part of Eddie’s legacy as he revealed he was the biological father of Rey’s son. Even if you could just about buy the story that Dominick was Guerrero’s illegitimate child who he allowed Rey to adopt, you had no chance to believe that custody of the kid would be put on the line in a ladder match. As I said, it was utterly ridiculous but throughout that feud Guerrero did some of the best heel work I have ever seen. The promo above is a great example but it continued into the match. I always remember thinking just how well Dominick did in the situation but Eddie stole the show that night. His interaction with everybody involved (including Vickie) was absolutely golden. If you prefer the spotty aspects of ladder matches, the two high flyers do deliver but this one was much more about the story being told and because of that is remains one of my favourite ladder matches of all time. Definitely a must see if you want to know just how good Eddie was with his character work. As fun as it is to reminisce about the late, great Guerrero, it is time to move onto the main event of the column and the man who has come in at number 10....
10 - The Undertaker
Appearances: 15 (1st/29)
Win Percentage: 60% (=11th/29)
Average MIF: 2.67 (=9th/29)
Average Match Length: 14:42 (=12th/29)
Average Star Rating: *3/4 (26th/29)
So this may come as a bit of a shock to many. The Deadman may have done enough in the last few years to have become the top performer in WrestleMania history but barely scrapes into the top ten for SummerSlam. Now it is time to look at just why that is. He stands alone at the top of the appearance charts, a position that he doesn’t look like he will lose any time soon. Still, considering he has 21 matches at the company’s premier PPV, 15 appearances in August looks a bit light. In fact, he has only one SummerSlam outing to his name since 2005, which is actually a huge factor in why he does rank so low. If you looked at his WrestleMania record back in 2005, that would also come across as extremely lacklustre, streak or no streak. The last decade has seen a huge increase in Taker’s stock, and this is reflected in his showing in the other 4 categories.
Let’s start with his win percentage. He falls just shy of the top 10 here and you would probably expect a better record than 9-5-1. This boils down to the fact that he has been an attraction wrestler throughout his career. When it comes to the big events, he will often play second fiddle to the main event guys. This basically equates to jobbing if he gets that main event slot, or beating midcarders if he doesn’t. Proof of this is that The Deadman has been involved in three world title matches at SummerSlam and lost them all. It’s the same issue which affects his MIF rating which is just inside the top 10. Finding himself more often than not in the upper midcard gave him a lot more 2s in the MIF category than he would have liked. The thing is, his legacy today would have probably seen him involved in more main events, even if they hadn’t closed the show. Each of his last 7 matches at Mania have been main events, despite 5 of them having no title on the line and 5 of them not going on last. I am pretty confident he would have found himself with a lot more 3s and 4s had he not been taking prolonged summer holidays in recent years.
You could make the exact same argument for his average match length. Here he falls just outside the top 10 again, with a good half his matches falling under the 12 minute mark. His more high profile matches went a lot longer than the average as he found himself surpass the 20 minute mark on 4 occasions. But again, in the twilight of his career, Taker has been involved in longer matches and if he’d stuck around as much at the WWE’s number 2 PPV as he had at the number 1 event, this average would have surely been higher. However, it is average star rating which almost saw the unthinkable happen and keep the number one appearance maker out of the top ten overall.
Quality hasn’t been The Deadman’s strong suit at SummerSlam. Again, the fact that he has aged like a fine wine comes into play here. I think it is a pretty solid argument to say that Taker’s last 7 Mania matches are in his ten best overall. So once more it would be a fair assumption to say that his matches would have not only been longer and higher profile, but also better had he wrestled more since 2005. Proof of this is that his only match since, his Hell in a Cell with Edge, got his highest rating from Dave Meltzer, a whole star higher than second place. Just one match in 4+ star range (in your final appearance at that) just isn’t good enough to recover from years of mediocrity, particularly when you started out with a trio of negative rated matches. If you want to hear a more in depth discussion on Taker’s 15 SummerSlam outings, be sure to tune into the next episode of The Right Side of the Pond where I will be joined by Bobby Cash (details at the end of the column).
So there we have our first top 10 participant but I am not quite finished yet. To take this home I will be looking at a couple more interesting stats from the hottest party of the summer. Today it will be the guys that have just failed to achieve the 5 appearances needed to be eligible for the Mr Statistically SummerSlam title. There are 14 wrestlers with 4 SummerSlam matches to their name but it doesn’t seem as though any of them will be joining “Club 5” this year. The only person who looked likely to was Kofi Kingston but I am assuming his recent surgery will probably rule him out, even if is general irrelevance doesn’t. There are a whole host of names who are sadly no longer with us and unable to take get that 5th match. This group includes Mr Perfect, Owen Hart, John “Earthquake” Tenta, Hercules and The Big Bossman. Heading the list here though is Randy Savage who played a massive part in establishing the event in the early years. He was part of huge tag team main events, with and against Hulk Hogan at the first two SummerSlams. He also has a WWF title match on his CV against Warrior in 1992 and, of course, the Match Made in Heaven from 1991 where he headlined the event without even wrestling but instead getting married to Elizabeth.
Also stuck on 4 appearances are a handful of some of the best tag wrestlers in the history of the company. Marty Jannetty, Barry Darsow and Mike Rotunda add some representation for The Rockers, Demolition and Money Inc, but it is the current TNA world champ and former TV champ who are most prominent. What odds on The Dudleys coming back to the WWE down the line and finally joining that elusive club? That leaves us with just two more men on 4 matches, both are probably unlikely to add to that tally but I wouldn’t rule either out totally. The first is Shane McMahon who developed as much as a habit for wrestling on the number 2 PPV as his dad did for wrestling on the number 1 PPV. The other is a guy that surely would have made the top ten had he managed one more match. Stone Cold Steve Austin just misses the cut thanks in large part to his post-3:16 speech match with Yokozuna only making the pre-show Free For All (talk about buried!). He still has some big moments including Owen breaking his neck, his match with The Undertaker and his Invasion storyline match with Kurt Angle, an encounter that would have been pushing 5 stars if not for the ending. Will we see him again at the hottest party of the summer though? Unlikely unfortunately. If he does have that last match in him I can’t see it going down anywhere but WrestleMania.
And that is the end of the stats for this week but I do have something to keep your brain ticking over with a couple of SLOP (Stump Lords of Pain) questions. The man who I will be looking at next week as a 100% win percentage. Due to quite a few superstars only managing one appearance over the years, quite a lot of people find themselves in the same boat.
SLOP1: How many of the 231 people to compete at SummerSlam have a 100% record?
SLOP2: Of these, 14 are undefeated in more than one appearance. Name as many as you can?
Have fun with these but don’t go and look them up just to seem like a know it all in the comments section. This is just a little fun to exercise your mind, there are no prizes on the line!! You can pop your answers in the comments box or shoot me a message on Twitter or Facebook at the links below. I shall be back next week with another statistical installment. On Friday however you can check out the second edition of the new podcast “The Right Side of the Pond”. We won’t be on the LOP Radio schedule this week but I will be posting it here at Lords of Pain. Be sure to check that out as Bobby Cash and myself will look deeper into Undertaker’s SummerSlam record, in addition to another audio version of 101 Matches to See Before You Die from ‘Plan and Maverick and Joey Shinobi debuting Wrestling Room 101.