Most of us watch wrestling because we enjoy the spectacle, we enjoy the feuds and the stories that are told through them, and we enjoy admiring the skills that wrestlers demonstrate in the ring.
While we’re watching a match, be it on TV or in person, few of us are considering the maths that wrestlers use both in and outside of the ring. Yet, numbers run right through the entire world of wrestling.
Behind the scenes in any game or sport, maths nearly always plays a part. In football, a player needs to accurately estimate the distance between them and the goal, calculate the angle that the ball needs to travel, and understand how hard to kick the ball to get the speed necessary to get it in the right part of the goal. While they may not consciously process trigonometric equations in their heads, they instinctively understand these factors and then convert the instinct into movement in their foot.
The same also happens when playing cards. Games like blackjack require you to add up the values of the cards you’re dealt to make a hand of a certain value. These cards are pulled from a shoe that’s comprised of several 52-card decks. Talented players can sometimes keep a running total of the value of the cards that have already been taken from the shoe, giving them an insight into the likelihood of high or low-value cards being drawn next. They can then use this knowledge to decide whether to hit or stand.
But enough about cards, let’s get back to wrestling.
Rewarding Wrestlers for Their Work
Of course, wrestlers at the highest levels of sport, namely those in the WWE, will use maths as part of their contract negotiations. They’ll want to know how much they’re going to be paid and when. They’ll want to quantify their contractual obligations and rights and rudimentary maths is required as part of this.
In every WWE contract are terms that grant the promoter to book them for events, sell tickets and TV rights, and negotiate merchandising deals. There are sometimes terms that set the number of days they must work and how much they receive as compensation for each day. For example, Ultimate Warrior signed a contract in 1996 that saw him work a minimum of 14 days per month, with additional payments of $2,500 per extra day.
Obviously, this is important as wrestlers want to be paid well for the time they spend working and to be recognised for the value they create for the WWE. Without it, there likely wouldn’t be a WWE, at least not in its current guise.
Keeping Wrestlers Safe
The WWE has developed a brand that is built around thrills and danger, and understandably so since this makes for exciting events and great television. However, performing common wrestling moves like jumping from large stage rigs onto hard surfaces or opponents is inherently dangerous.
That’s where maths comes in. Jeff Hardy is famous for this, regularly walking away unscathed from massive stunts. The only way he can do this is to implement some basic mathematical principles around force and pressure.
You’ll notice that whenever Hardy or other wrestlers fall from heady heights, they land flat, bringing all their body parts into contact with the stage at the same time. This spreads out the force (f) that is exerted on them over a much larger area (a), reducing the pressure (p) that’s applied to them.
If you want the equation for this, it is p=f/a.
Without this equation and the ability to apply the theory while in a fight would make wrestling a lot less entertaining.
Brand Splits and Extensions
In the early 2000s, the WWE split into two separate groups, Smackdown and Raw. For whatever reason, feuds can’t take place across groups, cutting the number of possible combinations in (almost) half.
When the split happened, there were around 60 wrestlers signed to the WWE, with 30 in each group. This meant that there was a total of 435 possible feuds within each group (870 across both).
However, when mixing the two groups together, the number of possible feuds actually increases by more than double to 1770.
Therefore, at least theoretically, merging the two together again could help create more variety and excitement in the WWE.