Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wrestlenomics Radio: Episode One with Kayfabermetrics

Host Chris Harrington (@mookieghana) is joined by Matthew Timmons of Kayfabermetrics for 90 minutes of discussion on the art and artifice of creating pro-wrestling statistics. We cover inspirations, dataset challenges, inventing custom metrics, key learnings, great project names, overcoming hurdles and much more. Matthew explains his novel approach for looking at “velocity” going into a PPV, what it means to be pushed (or buried) based on match length, how to rate opponents’ strength and going far beyond the dull win-loss metrics that don’t really illustrate the full story. Also, we look at the weirdest keywords to gain readers, what tools we use, the mistakes that keep us up at night, the lonely life of making arguments using numbers and future goals.
* You can see Matthew’s work at (@kayfabermetrics) and Juice Make Sugar.
* Mookie’s work is up on his website is at and (@mookieghana).

It's my return to podcasting after a long, long break. I thought it would be fun to talk about wrestling statistics with other people who are also working on similar projects. Hopefully it's something that will entertain and enlighten listeners. The audio quality was so-so (my fault) but Rich at Voices of Wrestling did a wonderful job cleaning up my mess and turning this into something presentable.

Push Index Number (which we discuss in depth) is at:

I didn't tell anyone about this project until I already recorded the first podcast. (I had to approach the fellas at VOW with hat-in-hand this morning basically like, "I recorded a podcast but I don't really have any sort of platform to do anything with it. Please sir, can you help?")

Honestly, I don't know whether it will be interesting to anyone else, but talking with Timmons was both therapeutic (like we say on the podcast, you can feel like you spend a lot of time in a vacuum) and educational (for me). I had seen the Kayfabermetrics Push Index Number (great name) before but I honestly didn't understand it so I really appreciate that he took the time to walk through what it all meant, and what was his basis of thinking while crafting some custom wrestling metrics. If nothing else, I hope others listen and can provide him with feedback on how to improve, use, abuse what he's done. I know I came out of the conversation with some ideas and anxious to apply the methods to some of the datasets that I've already assembled!

In the much greater context, my hope is that if I start these conversations with other people who are working on wrestling stats, perhaps we'll be able to figure out a way to come together and collaborate, or at the very least interact more, on some forum or place of choice.

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