A Sabremetrics Approach to Wrestling Stables

A while back, I wrote an article about the 10 best horror themed wrestlers of all time and it still ranks as my most popular article here on Man vs Horror.  I thought I’d step away from the world of horror with this post and focus on the wrestling world.

I was feeling a little nostalgic today as I was watching a lot of Attitude Era WWF clips on YouTube.  Back in the day, mid 90s to early 2000s, in my adolescent years, I was a hardcore wrestling fan.  Every Monday and Thursday night I was glued to my TV, switching back and forth between USA, watching Stone Cold wreak havoc on Mr. McMahon and his Corporation, and with TNT, watching Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the nWo wreak havoc on WCW.  Girls in school thought I was a loser for watching over 8 hours of wrestling a week while guys praised me for watching so much wrestling (as you can tell from that sentence, I wasn’t much of a ladies man in junior high or high school).

The one recurring motif that has been constant in wrestling promotions has been the Stable, a group of wrestlers who share a common element, theme, or storyline.  There are the classics such as The Four Horsemen, nWo, and D-Generation X, but there were also lesser known but equally important stables like The Radicalz and Evolution.  I decided to rank the best stables during the peak of my viewing experience, 1995-2003.  But how do I rank them?  On personal preference?  I thought I’d use a different approach, something more objective, like Sabremetrics.

According to Wikipedia, Sabremetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics, that measure in-game activity.  Now this approach works great for any type of sport.  Athletes accumulate stats throughout their career so you can use math to create an objective argument over which athletes are good and which ones are terrible.  The problem with professional wrestling is that it’s very subjective and they don’t keep stats, such as wins or losses (how come no wrestling promotion besides WCW, recording Goldberg’s historic streak, ever do this?  Boxing does it.  MMA does it.  Even horse racing does it.  Come on!!!!).

The only thing we could look at as far as stats goes is championships won.  But not all championships are created equal.  A Heavyweight Championship is obviously better than a European Championship, so I created a point based system to determine the importance of one championship over another:

  • Heavyweight Championship – 4 points:  For obvious reasons, this level means you are the best in your company (with the exception of a few:  I’m looking at you David Arquette!!!!!!!) at that time so it garners the most points.
  • Intercontinental/ US Championship – 3 points:  These championships are the promotions’ secondary title to the Heavyweight title, a training ground for potential Heavyweight champions down the line.  Most winners of these championships have received major pushes up to Heavyweight status and have either competed or won their company’s top prize.  Past winners have been Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger, and Goldberg, all future Heavyweight Champions.
  •  Tag Team Championships – 2 points:  Simple.  This belt requires two men to compete so the champions get 1 point each, equal to 2 points.  While not as prestigious as the Intercontinental/US Championship, this championship is certainly a notch above the various individual championships in the promotions.
  • Other (European, Television, Hardcore, etc.) – 1 point:  The breeding ground for potential talent.  These belts are equivalent to entry level jobs:  start at the bottom and hopefully you’ll work your way up to the top.
  • Royal Rumble / World War III Winner – 3 points:  Same reasoning as the Intercontinental / US Championships:  if you win this event, which is very tough by the way, it sets you up for a push towards  Heavyweight Championship status.  Like the secondary titles, previous winners such as Batista, The Rock, Bret Hart, Randy Savage, and Kevin Nash all won the event and eventually became Heavyweight Champions shortly after.
I will tally up the totals and whoever has the most points wins the title of “Man vs Horror’s Best Wrestling Stable Circa 1995-2003.”  Also, the points go towards championships won during this 8 year stretch.
Now why am I using championships as a basis to rank stables?  Simple.  In the timeframe that I was watching wrestling, the most important stables of that era showcased tremendous talent who won numerous team and individual titles, in some cases multiple times.  Quite simply, the best stables showcased the best talent.  Period, end of sentence, you can take that to the bank.
The criteria for the chosen stables is simple:  you had to compete in either WCW or WWF/E during the eight year time frame I was watching.  Easy.  I figure eight years is a good enough sample size for my little “experiment.”  And now, 700 words later, I present, the 10 best wrestling stables between 1995-2003:
Notable Members:
The Rock, Faarooq, D’Lo Brown, Mark Henry, Ahmed Johnson, Kama Mustafa
Championships:
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time) – The Rock
  • WWF European Championship (2 times) – D’Lo Brown
Total Points:  5
Notable Members:

Raven, Kanyon, Perry Saturn, Billy Kidman, Lodi
Championships:
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time) – Raven
  • WCW World Television Championship (1 time) – Perry Saturn
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – Raven and Perry Saturn
Total Points:  6
Notable Members:
The Undertaker, Shane McMahon, Mideon, Viscera, Triple H, Chyna, Big Bossman
Championships:
  • WWF Championship (1 time) – The Undertaker
  • WWF Tag Team Championship (2 times) – The Acolytes
  • WWF European Championship (2 times) – Shane McMahon (1), Mideon (1)
  • WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time) – Big Boss Man
Total Points:  11
Notable Members:
Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Bill Pullman, The British Bulldog, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
Championships:
  • WWF Championship (1 time) – Bret Hart
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times) – Owen Hart
  • WWF European Championship (1 time) – British Bulldog
  • WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – Owen Hart and British Bulldog
Total Points:  13
Notable Members:
Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko
Championships:
  • WWF European Championship (3 times) – Eddie Guerrero (2), Perry Saturn (1)
  • WWF Hardcore Championship (2 times) – Perry Saturn
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times) – Chris Benoit (2), Eddie Guerrero (1)
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times) – Dean Malenko
Total Points:  16
Notable Members:
Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page, Randy Savage, Sid Vicious
Championships: 
  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship (6 times) – Ric Flair (2), Kevin Nash (2), Sid Vicious (1), Diamond Dallas Page (1)
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – Kronik
  • WCW Hardcore Championship (2 times) – Terry Funk
  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time) – Lt. Loco
Total Points:  28
Notable Members:
Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista
Championships:
  • World Heavyweight Championship (6 times) – Triple H (4), Randy Orton (1), Batista (1)
  • World Tag Team Championships (2 times) – Ric Flair and Batista
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship (2 times) – Randy Orton (1), Ric Flair (1)
  • WWF Royal Rumble Winner (2005) – Batista
Total Points:  37
 
Notable Members:
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Steve “Mongo” McMichael
Championships:
  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship (8 times) – Ric Flair
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times) – Ric Flair (1), Arn Anderson (1)
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit
  • WCW World Television Championship (2 times) – Arn Anderson
  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time) – Dean Malenko
Total Points:  43
Notable Members:
Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, “Road Dog” Jesse James, “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, X-Pac
Championships:
  • WWF Championship (3 times) – Shawn Michaels (1), Triple H (2)
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (5 times) – Triple H (2), Road Dogg (1), Chyna (1)
  • WWF European Championship (5 times) – Shawn Michaels (1), Triple H (2), X-Pac (2)
  • WWF Hardcore Championship (2 times) – Road Dogg (1), Billy Gunn (1)
  • WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – Triple H and Shawn Michaels
  • WWF Tag Team Championship (7 times) – Road Dogg and Billy Gunn (4), X-Pac and Kane (2), Triple H and Shawn Michaels (1)
  • WWF Women’s Championship (2) – Chyna (1), Stephanie McMahon- Helmsley (1)
Total Points:  52
Notable Members:
“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sixx, The Giant, Eric Bischoff, Buff Bagwell, Sting, Randy Savage, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, Konnan
Championships:
  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship (7 times) – Hulk Hogan (5), Randy Savage (1), Kevin Nash (1)
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (8 times) – Curt Henning (1), Bret Hart (3), Lex Luger (1), Scott Hall (1), Scott Steiner (1), Jeff Jarrett (1)
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship (10 times) – Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (5), Sting and The Giant (1), Sting and Kevin Nash (1), Scott Hall and The Giant (1), Ron and Don Harris (2)
  • WCW World Television Championship (3 times) – Konnan (1), Scott Steiner (1), Scott Hall (1)
  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time) – Syxx
  • WCW World War 3 Winner (3 times) – The Giant (1996), Scott Hall (1997), Kevin Nash (1998)
Total Points:  85
So there you have it, the nWo comes out on top.  Now remember, I tried to take a topic that is very subjective and applied stats to it to make it more objective.  I know there is still the element of personal preference that has to be addressed into this study.  My personal preference of greatest stable is D-Generation X, but the math shows them being 2nd.  I hope you enjoyed my attempt to do this and feel free to comment on your favorite stables, any stables I missed, and what you think of this whole approach.
Until next time,
Matt De Luna, the De Lunatic.
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