Thursday, May 8, 2014

The 2013 TWB 100 Epilogue #2: Normalizing the Process

Melissa was a poster child for someone who could have been helped by a different voting method
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If I were to identify one flaw within the entire TWB 100 process, it is that I don't have a uniform ballot size. It was a compromise that I wanted to make in order to cast as wide a net as possible for potential voters. I didn't want to shut the people out who only had strong opinions on a small number of wrestlers or who only watched WWE/a certain indie in favor of long lists, but I also didn't want to make those dorks like myself and Dylan Hales who felt compelled to rank a full slate of 100 to feel like their extended contributions wouldn't be warranted or welcomed.

I like the way the list is now, even with that flaw, but I can't help but thinking that the lack of uniformity may have skewed the results a bit. For example, what's the exchange rate in thought? Should the last place ballots on any given size be given the same weight as the first place ones. Does the 25-voter have the same opinion of his/her 25th place wrestler that someone like me would have of the respective 100th place one, or did that person just stop at whom he/she thought was 25th best and didn't bother to go further down? Honestly, without gaining psychic powers, I could not answer that question with validity.

This year, I was curious to see what a normalized list would look like. I had two options. The first and most inclusive was to consider the top 25 wrestlers on everyone's ballots only, no matter how many wrestlers were submitted. The results are listed below:

1 Daniel Bryan
2 Antonio Cesaro
3 Seth Rollins
4 Sami Zayn/El Generico
5 John Cena
6 Dean Ambrose
7 Roman Reigns
8 CM Punk
9 Goldust
10 Randy Orton
11 Kevin Steen
12 Bray Wyatt
13 Cody Rhodes
14 AJ Lee
15 Nick Jackson
16 Matt Jackson
17 Adam Cole
18 Dolph Ziggler
19 Drew Gulak
20 Alberto del Rio
21 Paige
22 Luke Harper
23 Johnny Gargano
24 ACH
25 Green Ant
26 Ricochet
27 Tim Donst
28 Brock Lesnar
29 Frank O'Rourke/Biff Busick
30 Jack Swagger
31 Big E Langston
32 Michael Elgin
33 Cheerleader Melissa
34 Sheamus
35 Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno
36 Chuck Taylor
37 Trent?
38 AR Fox
39 Drake Younger
40 Kyle O'Reilly
41 Bully Ray
42 AJ Styles
43 Eddie Edwards
44 Kane
45 Eddie Kingston
46 Emma
47 Mark Henry
48 Damien Sandow
49 William Regal
50 Davey Vega
51 Athena
52 Vordell Walker
53 Christopher Daniels
54 UltraMantis Black
55 Chris Dickinson
56 Chris Jericho
57 Bobby Roode
58 Gail Kim
59 Bo Dallas
60 Mark Angelosetti
61 Sami Callihan
62 Jessicka Havok
63 Veda Scott
64 Icarus
65 Adrian Neville
66 Austin Aries
67 The Big Show
68 Jimmy Uso
69 Joseph Park/Abyss
70 Candice LeRae
71 Jey Uso
72 Ryback
73 TJ Perkins/Manik
74 Davey Richards
75 Gary Jay
76 Rich Swann
77 Ethan Page
78 Samoa Joe
79 Madison Eagles
80 Kyle Matthews
81 Mike Cruz
82 Jay Briscoe
83 Josh Alexander
84 Michael Hutter/Derrick Bateman/ECIII
85 Kana
86 Kofi Kingston
87 Uhaa Nation
88 Archibald Peck/Robert Evans
89 Akira Tozawa
90 Christian
91 Estonian Thunder Frog
92 Jojo Bravo
93 Kimber Lee
94 Mercedes Martinez
95 Shynron
96 Jeff Hardy
97 The Undertaker
98 MsChif
99 Tyler Breeze
100 Colt Cabana

The first thing that jumps out is that Vordell Walker made the leap all the way from unranked on the main list to #52 on this list. While he didn't appear on a whole lot of ballots, the ones he did show up on, he was exceptionally well-rated. Other Southern faves such as Mike Cruz and Kyle Matthews made appearances as well. Cheerleader Melissa leads the trend towards more women on the list too. She did make the proper 100, but she was in the bottom quarter. Here, she is in the top 35. Mercedes Martinez, MsChif, Madison Eagles, and Kana all made this list, while Veda Scott, Athena, and Gail Kim saw bumps in their rankings. Still, I thought this list was pretty similar to the main list, especially at the top. One notable omission from this list, however, was Fandango. He made the original 100, but since the highest vote he received was 28th place, he actually got ZERO votes in this accounting of ballots. That dropoff certainly could qualify as the most precipitous.

I did a second normalization by taking the maximum ballots, the ones with 100 wrestlers on them, and making a list out of those. Obviously, that list was more exclusive than the first two, but it was also most extensive and conducive to having a complete look at the wrestling world. The following voters submitted ballots with 100 unique wrestlers on them:
TH, David Kincannon, Alex Torres, Martin Bentley, Joe Roche, Samuel DiMascio, Ryan Kilma, Tristan Wolfe, Rob Pandola, Mike Pankowski, Dylan Hales, Brandon Stroud
A fine lineup of voters if I ever saw one. With only those votes counted, the following is how the TWB 100 would have looked this year:

1 Daniel Bryan
2 Antonio Cesaro
3 Sami Zayn/El Generico
4 Dean Ambrose
5 Roman Reigns
6 Seth Rollins
7 John Cena
8 Goldust
9 Drew Gulak
10 CM Punk
11 Nick Jackson
12 Matt Jackson
13 ACH
14 Kevin Steen
15 Cody Rhodes
16 Adam Cole
17 AR Fox
18 Frank O'Rourke/Biff Busick
19 Randy Orton
20 Paige
21 Johnny Gargano
22 Green Ant
23 Bray Wyatt
24 Luke Harper
25 Eddie Kingston
26 Michael Elgin
27 Sami Callihan
28 Dolph Ziggler
29 Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno
30 Chuck Taylor
31 Tim Donst
32 Sheamus
33 Jack Swagger
34 Alberto del Rio
35 Big E Langston
36 AJ Lee
37 Brock Lesnar
38 Jessicka Havok
39 Icarus
40 Ricochet
41 Jay Briscoe
42 Emma
43 Jey Uso
44 William Regal
45 Jimmy Uso
46 AJ Styles
47 Bully Ray
48 Chiva Kid/Andrew Everett
49 Josh Alexander
50 Drake Younger
51 Rich Swann
52 Kyle O'Reilly
53 Candice LeRae
54 Archibald Peck/Robert Evans
55 Eddie Edwards
56 Kimber Lee
57 Davey Vega
58 Athena
59 Christopher Daniels
60 Michael Hutter/Derrick Bateman/ECIII
61 Mike Quackenbush
62 Colt Cabana
63 Christian
64 Mark Angelosetti
65 Adrian Neville
66 Veda Scott
67 Hallowicked
68 The Big Show
69 UltraMantis Black
70 Davey Richards
71 Mark Henry
72 Damien Sandow
73 Joseph Park/Abyss
74 Vordell Walker
75 Chris Dickinson
76 Ethan Page
77 TJ Perkins/Manik
78 Jigsaw
79 Kyle Matthews
80 Ophidian
81 Fire Ant
82 Austin Aries
83 Mike Cruz
84 Trent?
85 Tyler Breeze
86 Shane Hollister
87 Paul London
88 JT Dunn
89 Bobby Roode
90 Mike Bennett
91 Allysin Kay
92 Mark Briscoe
93 Bo Dallas
94 Natalya
95 Amasis
96 Chris Jericho
97 Estonian Thunder Frog
98 Cheerleader Melissa
99 Frightmare
100 Max Smashmaster

This list has a lot more drastic changes in it. Firstly, this list is the only one where an indie wrestler, in this case, Drew Gulak, made the top 10. I don't think that should surprise anyone since people who rank 100 wrestlers tend to have indie-friendly ballots, both in quality and quantity. The Young Bucks' placement on this list shouldn't be a surprise either. They were included on every single 100 ballot except for one. Even with all the shaking up of the order, only fourteen names are on this list that weren't in the original.

Even with the changes, I felt like all three lists were similar enough that I feel somewhat vindicated for running the process the way I do. Then again, a sample size of one year isn't sufficient enough to notice any trends. I don't have the time any kind of advanced numbers on changes or trends, although I'm sure someone out there (like ballot-submitter and numbers guru Chris Harrington, maybe?) would have a field day analyzing this year's stats. I would love to see those numbers. For now, I will forge ahead with the way I've been doing things, but I will continue to take a look at the trends, and if in a few years, something glaring comes up, I'd be willing to make a move in either direction.