Those Nigerian drums really confused the hell out of us


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.

a person standing in front of a crowd© 

Six different staff members predicted the winners for the matches that took place on Apr. 10 & 11 at WrestleMania 37. 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 WrestleMania 37 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.

The community vote for the Nigerian Drum Fight between Apollo Crews and Big E was omitted because it finished with a tie in the total number of votes for each wrestler. 204 Cagesiders voted in favor of Big E, and 204 Cagesiders voted for Apollo Crews. The community could not settle on a winner, so that prediction could not be graded. I think it’s pretty fitting considering the rules of the match were not revealed until super late, and the drums themselves were hardly involved in the action. It seems like WWE didn’t really know what to make of this one either.

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

These numbers add up to 53 correct predictions and 44 incorrect predictions, which means the overall predictability rating for WrestleMania 37 is 54.6%.

This decreases the overall predictability rating for 2021 WWE PPVs from 68.9% down to 62.5% (135 correct vs. 81 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:

  • 27%: Bobby Lashley
  • 29%: Natalya & Tamina (26% Lana/Naomi, 22% Riott, 14% Kay/Carmella, 7% Rose/Brooke)
  • 74%: Cesaro
  • 86%: AJ Styles & Omos
  • 69%: Braun Strowman
  • 94%: Bad Bunny & Damian Priest
  • 56%: Bianca Belair
  • 14%: Randy Orton
  • 13%: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
  • 72%: Kevin Owens
  • 53%: Sheamus
  • 65%: Rhea Ripley
  • 34%: Roman Reigns (49% Edge, 17% Daniel Bryan)

I think a common assumption with WrestleMania cards is that babyfaces tend to go over. But the heels fared very well for themselves at WrestleMania 37. Some of the babyface/heel classifications aren’t exactly straightforward, but by my count there were nine heel victories (Night One – Lashley, Tamina/Natalya, Styles/Omos; Night Two – Orton, Jax/Baszler, Sheamus, Crews, Ripley, Reigns) out of 14 total matches.

Night Two leaned more heavily on heel victories. Not surprisingly, the overall predictability rating for Night Two (37.5%) was much lower than Night One (71.4%). Orton’s win over Wyatt left the most people scratching their heads, with none of the Cageside staff correctly predicting that outcome, and only 14% of the community voters getting it right. Baszler and Jax retaining their tag titles was pretty much in the same boat as that one.

On the other side of the coin, just about everyone knew that non-wrestler Bad Bunny was going to prevail over the former WWE champion.

The staff of Cageside Seats had a mediocre night with predicting the winners at WrestleMania 37. How did you fare, Cagesiders?

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