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Basic Smarkometrics (8/28/15): The Ultimate PWR Power Rankings


It's been nearly a year since the Philippine Wrestling Revolution was formally born, and in the five shows we've seen, we here at the Smark Henry offices think it's high time we get an answer to the question that's been bugging PWR fans since day one:

Who is the best wrestler in the Philippines today?

We love wrestling and we love numbers, so today, we'll be going through our proprietary Smarkometrics Handicapping Iterative Technique (SHIT) to answer once and for all who the real king of Philippine wrestling is.


Winning Isn't Everything

In the wild and wooly world of professional wrestling, we understand that win-loss records don't necessarily mean a whole lot. But they can be a useful starting point to getting a good discussion rolling. We asked Buezzy, the Smark Henry House Elf, to sift through the box scores over the last year and assemble a comprehensive list of the winning percentages among today's active roster, regardless of whether wins or losses came in a singles match, a tag match, or some other multi-man match.

Here's how the record books stand as of today.



It's no surprise to see Mayhem Brannigan topping the charts. The leader of the Riot Squad is chaos personified, tough as nails, and his trademark do-or-die spirit has powered him to wins against fearsome superstars like The Apocalypse. But on the other hand, we weren't too hot on the names that followed: Kanto Terror. Ralph Imabayashi. Mark D. Manalo. Don't get us wrong, all of them are incredibly talented wrestlers (and could probably kick my ass in a bar fight), but surely not yet top-of-mind choices for being named the best the industry has to offer.

Ralph Imabayashi is good, but we're not ready to call him the third best wrestler in the country just yet. (Photo from PhilippineSports.net)
Other obvious hiccups popped up as well. How could reigning PWR Champion "Classical" Bryan Leo, for example, have a completely pedestrian .571 winning record, good enough for just the eighth best record in PWR? Why does Mark D. Manalo, a wrestler more beloved for his comedic affect than his in-ring dominance, have the fourth best record in the books? Does that make him the fourth best wrestler today?

And so a fundamental question appeared:

Who is more impressive, a wrestler with a spectacular winning record but fights mostly inferior competition, or a wrestler whose win-loss record may seem average, but has actually been fighting only against top-flight competition?

We'll answer that in the next section.


Strength of Schedule: The Real Measure of a Man

Wrestling is a tough man's sport, and that's why we said the latter made more sense; if we're going to be naming a guy the best wrestler in the Philippines, he'd better be battle-tested against some bad-ass competition.

We dug deeper into the numbers to see the quality of competition each PWR talent has faced throughout the course of his career. To compute for total opponent strength, we aggregated the total winning percentage of every opponent a wrestler has faced. A higher number means a tougher level of competition.

Here's how the total strength of competition for each wrestler looks.



Some interesting observations start to arise at this level of analysis.

We may have made fun of John Sebastian for his 0-2 slide to open his PWR career, but he apparently has chosen to face the toughest schedule of opponents on a sustained basis. 

Meanwhile, Bryan Leo has been competing at the highest level, facing the third-toughest slate of opponents throughout his PWR run. 

Kanto Terror and Manalo, who own the second- and fourth-best winning records in PWR, have apparently been facing the weakest run of opponents in the past few months to pad their records, while Chris Panzer, despite his immense popularity, has consistently been matched up with below-average opposition. 

The imposing Main Maxx, who's currently on the shelf rehabbing an injury and in the midst of a three-match losing streak, has been losing only against top competition—the total composite performance of his opponents shows that they have won nearly two-thirds of their matches in total.

Getting the inverse of the above table reveals another interesting data set: How often is a wrestler expected to win, based on the quality of his competition?


Our respect begins to grow even more for the brash young Sebastian. Based on the opponents he's matched up with, he's only actually expected to win one-third of the time. So his winning half his matches means he's actually been over-achieving. 

Even Peter Versoza and SANDATA of Dual Shock, who are both winless in PWR thus far, have consistently been underdogs in their matches, with less than a 50-50 chance of winning based on their opponents' records.


The Social Network: Who Has Each Wrestler Fought?

So now, we take a look at who exactly has each wrestler been facing that allowed their records to form in such manners. We took our analysis to the next level by mapping out each opponent every PWR wrestler has faced, how often, and how he performed. This would also hopefully reveal the range of each wrestler—has he been building his record against a wide, varied range of opponents? Or has he been stuck in repeat with a more limited set of opposition?

In this map, a wrestler connected to mostly big bubbles means he's been consistently facing opponents with winning records. Small bubbles, on the other hand, indicate a propensity to match up against weaker competition. 

Here's what we discovered.


Kanto Terror, who owns a .750 winning record, is primarily linked with weaker performers—the tandems of Dual Shock and Fighters 4 Hire, who own a composite winning rate of .143 and are represented accordingly by smaller bubbles.

On the other hand, John Sebastian may have only won .500 of his matches, but his bubble is linked exclusively against wrestlers with winning records—that's pretty kick-ass for a newcomer to the game. He may be an asshole, but he doesn't run away from trouble.

Mayhem Brannigan, who owns the finest win-loss record in PWR, has primarly been lined up against wrestlers sporting records distinctly inferior to his. Case in point: Does anyone remember the name Robin Sane? No? We didn't think so. 

Someone like Ralph Imabayashi may be sporting a .667 winning record, but we now see he's only been lined up against the winless Versoza and the erratic Sebastian throughout his career.

And most importantly, Bryan Leo may not have the most awe-inspiring record, but the bulk of wrestlers he's faced all sport grade-A win-loss records, and that's truly something worth acknowledging. He didn't earn the right to call himself champion by facing jobbers like Epitaph (!), THE Nelson Jr. (!!), or Mike Vargas (!!!), that's for sure.

We've plotted each wrestler on a graph, with the horizontal axis marking out his winning percentage, while the vertical axis marks out his expected winning rate. We can now cluster the  PWR roster under four types of wrestler typologies:
  • Those who win frequently because they go up against weaker wrestlers. We're calling them the Big Fish in Small Ponds.
  • Those who lose frequently because they go up against tough opposition. We call them the Fighting Spirit Awardees.
  • Those who go up against tough competition—but still win above their expected rate. Let's call them the Warriors.
  • Those who go up against weak competition—but still choke early and often. Let's be frank and call them Underachievers.




We respect a wrestler who stretches himself and consistently punches above his weight, and that's exactly what we see "Classical" Bryan Leo and "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon doing; as the sole occupants of the "Warriors" quadrant, we see that these are men who primarily test themselves—and win, more often than not!—against the finest competition that PWR has to offer. There's no shame in losing to a better man, right? Men like Bombay Suarez, Sebastian, and The Apocalypse are on the cusp of entering this section as well, so watch out for them to invade this territory in the near future.

We see as well how the owners of the two best records in PWR, Kanto Terror and Mayhem Brannigan, are primarily "Big Fish in Small Ponds." Their opponents haven't been expected to win their matches anyway; it's only expected that they emerge victorious from these fights. This isn't a knock against these guys though; we're just saying we need to see them prove themselves against top-shelf competition before we can take them more seriously. Even the much-adored Chris Panzer finds himself in this tier as well; we still need to see him really taken to the limit.

Peter Versoza and SANDATA of Dual Shock may be winless, but the graph explains why—these men aren't just fearless with their moves, they're fearless in their choice of opponents, continually being matched up against foes with more powerful records. Fan-favorite Ken Warren finds himself in the same boat; he may have just recently snapped his three-match losing streak at PWR Live, but he's dared to consistently punch above his weight, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for him. Keep an eye out on everyone in the "Fighting Spirit" quadrant, folks.


The boys of F4H need to step up their game though; Miguel Rosales in particular put on a star-making performance against Mayhem at PWR Live, but these boys just can't get going, whether as a unit or in singles competition. They're too good to be swimming aimlessly, but until they can recenter themselves, they'll be mired in the "Underachievers" quadrant for a long while to come.


So... Who's The Best?

We opened this article asking who the best wrestler in the Philippines today is, and through the course of the analysis, we realized that how we define being the best is the most important part of the conversation.

We want wrestlers who win. But we want them to win against great opponents. And we want them to win when nobody thought they had a chance to win.

And so here at the Smark Henry offices, we'd like to propose this as the definition of the best wrestler:

The best wrestler is the wrestler that fights only the best, and wins when he's expected to—and even when he's not.

So we went back to our original numbers and came up with a nifty little way to compute for how well each wrestler performed against this definition:



Here's what the numbers reveal.

To nobody's surprise, PWR Champion "Classical" Bryan Leo at #1 is indeed the best wrestler in the Philippines today, via our Smarkometrics competition. Not only has he chosen to line himself up against world-class competition at all times, he's exceeded expectations by 57%. That's an amazing accomplishment. The King of the Royal Flush is also the King of the Big Game.


His stablemate "Cutthroat" John Sebastian is a surprise #2, but we have a feeling that after his shocking upset over Bombay Suarez at PWR Live, nobody is doubting this first-rate douchebag anymore. Sebastian may talk smack, but Sebastian also delivers.


Former PWR Champion JDL may be in a bit of a slump after falling twice to Leo in the last couple of months, but his overall performance is nothing to discount, as he's outperformed expectations by 46%. In the past year, he's defeated Bombay, Panzer, Main Maxx, and Leo on separate occasions. He may no longer be the king, but he's still definitely still PWR's Ace.


Mayhem may have been preying on weak competition throughout his PWR run, but we'll give credit where credit is due at slot him in at #4. He's never been pinned, and the only blemish on his otherwise spotless record is a knockout loss to Bryan Leo in a submission match, after he refused to tap and instead passed out from the pain of the Classical One's devious Fold. He's back in gear after his recent TKO win over the dangerous Miguel Rosales, and will be a force to be reckoned with.


Bombay and Apocalypse are neck-and neck for the #5 spot, but we'll give Suarez, the Heart and Soul of PWR, the slight edge for his sheer range of opposition in the past year. From the brutish power assaults of The Apocalypse and Main Maxx to the over-all grappling savvy of Bryan Leo and Jake De Leon to the surgical striking skills of John Sebastian and Ken Warren, Bombay has seen it all, and survived it all.


*****

What do you think of our first-ever Smarkometrics-powered PWR Power Rankings? Are you shocked to see John Sebastian at #2? Do you think Ken Warren deserves better? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section, and let's get a great conversation started.

All photos, unless otherwise indicated, are by the fabulous Hub Pacheco.

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