Metrics of a Match: The Science Behind Wrestling Ratings

by | Oct 1, 2023 | News | 0 comments

Wrestling, whether amateur or professional, is more than just two opponents facing off in a ring. It’s a dynamic blend of athleticism, drama, strategy, and spectacle. The appeal is as much about the storylines as it is about the technical skills displayed. When it comes to rating these matches, a simple star rating won’t suffice. Here’s a look at the science behind wrestling ratings, breaking down the multifaceted approach that determines how memorable or successful a match is.

1. Technical Proficiency:

  • Move Variety: The number and variety of moves performed can indicate the versatility of the wrestlers.
  • Execution: How cleanly and safely moves are performed. A botched move can be dangerous and breaks the suspension of disbelief.
  • Reversals and Counters: These show the ability of a wrestler to think on their feet and adapt to an opponent’s strategy.

2. Drama and Storytelling:

  • Psychology: This relates to how well wrestlers tell a story during the match. Does the flow make sense? Are they selling injuries and responding to previous events in the match?
  • Pacing: This is about the rhythm of the match. Are there well-placed peaks and troughs, building up to a climax?
  • Emotional Engagement: The ability of the wrestlers to draw the audience into their story, making them invest emotionally.

3. Crowd Engagement:

  • Crowd Reaction: Loud cheers, boos, or even silence can be telling. Engaging the crowd can elevate a match to legendary status.
  • Selling: The art of making a move or injury appear real and painful, crucial for audience immersion.
  • Promos and Mic Work: Building up a story or rivalry before and after the match can affect how the actual match is received.

4. Match Stakes and Context:

  • Championship Implications: Matches with title implications or that determine contenderships often have higher stakes and can be rated higher because of the added drama.
  • Rivalry Depth: Long-term storylines or feuds culminating in a match can elevate its significance.
  • Historical Significance: Some matches are iconic for their impact on the wrestling industry or for introducing new concepts (like new match types).

5. Innovation and Creativity:

  • New Moves or Spots: Introducing something never seen before can leave a lasting memory.
  • Unexpected Outcomes: Swerves or unpredictable moments can add an element of surprise, increasing the match’s memorability.

6. Production Values:

  • Camera Work: How the match is filmed can affect visibility and immersion.
  • Commentary: Good commentary can enhance a viewer’s understanding and appreciation of what’s unfolding in the ring.
  • Entrances and Aesthetics: The ambiance, including lighting and music, can set the mood.

7. Match Length and Structure:

  • Match Length: While not a direct indicator of quality, a well-structured long match can be epic, while a short match can be seen as a squash or not giving the wrestlers enough time to shine.
  • Match Type: Cage matches, ladder matches, royal rumbles, etc., each come with their own set of criteria.

Rating a wrestling match isn’t just about counting high-flying moves or dramatic near-falls. It’s about assessing a complex interplay of factors, from the technical to the theatrical. And while metrics can guide reviewers, personal bias and subjectivity always play a role. After all, wrestling, at its heart, is about eliciting emotion – and that’s something that’s felt rather than measured.

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