Do competitors really have a 33.3% chance of winning a triple threat match?
Welcome to the greatest wrestling column on the internet, where it’s all still real to me: It’s a special SummerSlam edition of Explain Like I’m Kayfabe!
This time, before the Biggest Event of the SummerTM, we’re diving into a subject that some grapplers try to master live on television and occasionally fail hilariously at: Math! With all due deference to the Big Booty Daddy and local Shoney’s owner, Scott Steiner, here we go.
Math can be hard in the wrestling ring. In a basic one-on-one match, it might seem pretty straightforward: two competitors means a 50-50 shot at winning, right? Well, that’s only if both wrestlers are equally skilled — otherwise, you’re dealing with a weighted probability. Let’s look at the stats of one of Sunday’s lower card matchups, Finn Balor vs Baron Corbin.
The whole match is predicated on Corbin’s insistence that size trumps everything. He is bigger than Balor so, therefore, he will win. If we use WWE2K18’s Superstar Ratings and the Internet Wrestling Database as the basis for our statistics, however, we get a very different story. The game has Corbin as an 84 and Balor as an 88 rating. This gives the smaller man an advantage, but how much of one?
Comparing the numbers directly, Balor has a 51.2% chance of winning the match versus Corbin’s 48.8% chance. Using IWDB’s win/loss records, Balor has a 77.63% win percentage in WWE while Corbin has 50%. In this case, Balor has a nearly 61% chance of winning versus Corbin’s sub-40% chance. So, even in singles competition, math is tough.
What happens, though, when three people or teams are involved? Bo Dallas of the B-Team spelled it out this Monday on Raw, stating that they had a 33.33% chance of winning their match. This number gets tossed out a lot in triple threat matches. Do the numbers hold up?
It’s difficult to track tag teams in this regard, but let’s apply the math to the triple threat for the Smackdown Live Women’s Championship match between champion Carmella and challengers Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Using 2K’s numbers, Carmella ranks 79, Becky 83, and Charlotte 85. This straight-up gives Carmella a 32% chance of retaining, Becky a 33.6% chance of winning, and Charlotte the best chance at 34.4%. Pretty close!
The IWDB win/loss records, however, tell a grave story for the Princess of Staten Island. Her win record in WWE is a mere 16.6%. Even with her disputed wins over Charlotte and Asuka recently, that is abysmal. That’s out of 169 WWE matches, by the way. The Lass Kicker’s W/L is 62.2% and the Queen’s is 61.1%. While Becky and Charlotte are neck and neck at 44.5% and 43.6% respectively, Carmella’s chances of winning, based on her actual record, is only 11.8%.
Barring any outside shenanigans, this triple threat match will come down to who wants it more between Charlotte and Becky. If they can keep Carmella out of the way, one of them will walk out of SummerSlam the new Blue team Women’s Champion. Regardless of Scott Steiner’s 141 2/3% chance of defeating Samoa Joe at 2008’s TNA Sacrifice, the numbers just don’t lie.
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