In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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Professional wrestling’s in-ring performance is most often quantified using star ratings or other subjective metrics, but there are many statistics and metrics that can be used to objectively analyze a wrestler’s performance. Each week in this column I’ll take a look at the sport of pro wrestling including in-ring statistics, trends, streaks, and advanced aggregate calculations of wrestlers in US based professional wrestling companies.
Jon Moxley’s first act in an All Elite Wrestling ring was a literal and figurative kick to the gut of longtime WWE peer, Chris Jericho. Moxley and Jericho’s parallel paths have finally diverged into a crash course that will intersect in Chicago on Feb. 29 at AEW’s next pay-per-view event, Revolution.
When one looks at the broad strokes of each of the defectors post-WWE careers, their paths are parallel. They have both recently spent time competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling and they’ve both made their undeniable mark with undefeated singles success in All Elite Wrestling. But that’s where the similarities end.
Jericho, formerly a perennially strong drawing upper-mid-carder, is suddenly featured at the top of cards. He has pushed into to the main event scene of both NJPW and AEW but he has worked a remarkably light schedule over the course of his 2-plus years post-WWE. The pro wrestler turned Fozzy frontman has only wrestled in 19 matches since the beginning of 2018, an average of one match every 41 days.
Conversely, Moxley has wrestled in 47 matches since his last WWE match on April 21, 2019. Moxley competed in the grueling G1 Climax tournament and he has routinely travelled between NJPW, AEW, and Connecticut-based North East Wrestling. Moxley is averaging a match every 5 ½ days since his debut in NJPW on June 5. He has won 29 of his 34 singles matches over the course of the last 8 months. His 0.853 winning percentage in singles matches is nearly unprecedented and he’ll certainly carry that confidence with him as he enters his first World Championship match since 2016.
In line with his trend, Jericho will enter his matchup with Moxley well rested. His last singles match was with NJPW on Jan. 5 in the Tokyo Dome where he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at 22:24. Jericho’s last AEW singles match was Dec. 18, 69 days before his scheduled match with Moxley. Jericho has participated in two tag matches since the calendar turned to 2020, but it should be noted that Jericho’s legal time in the ring was less than one-third of each of those matches. It remains to be seen whether Jericho will enter the AEW Revolution main event rusty or rested.
Jon Moxley has already wrestled 13 times in 2020. His grueling schedule has included 11 singles matches and he has accepted challenges from each of Jericho’s Inner Circle stable mates, defeating Sammy Guevara, Ortiz, Santana, and AEW new comer Jeff Cobb on recent episodes of AEW Dynamite. In addition to his AEW match card, Moxley has wrestled five times in Japan in 2020 with three defenses of his IWGP United States championship, including a 17:16 brawl with the legendary Minoru Suzuki and a Texas Death Match with Lance Archer at Wrestle Kingdom. The workload might suggest that the former Dean Ambrose is entering his first singles World Championship match since 2016 beaten up and tired, but his recent success in the win column suggests otherwise. Moxley rides a 16 match singles win streak into the AEW World Championship match. His draw with Pac on October 23rd is the last match singles match he didn’t walk out of victorious.
Chris Jericho’s AEW World Championship reign is his first world title reign in nearly a decade. His last run with the WWE Undisputed Title ended on April 2, 2010. The 175 days that he has spent as AEW World Champion at the time of this writing represents the second longest championship reign of his career, behind only his mostly dormant IWGP Intercontinental Championship reign in 2018.
History and longevity are in Jericho’s favor. The former Lionheart has been competing for top-level championships since 1996 when he competed for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. He holds a 0.426 winning percentage with a 20-27 record in world title matches between WWE, WCW, ECW, and AEW and he has spent 409 days as a top-level champion
Jon Moxley’s history in world title matches doesn’t build much confidence in his ability to overcome the incumbent Jericho. Mox has competed in 16 world championship matches, winning only six for a 0.375 winning percentage. He held the WWE Championship for a total of 84 days during his 2016 reign.
Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship match on Feb. 25 will be a clash of strategies. The story going into the match, if told as a sport, is one of Moxley as a seasoned and conditioned. He has had the recent success to justify getting into the ring with the crafty Jericho. The counter-argument with Jericho is that he is well-rested, but he could enter the match rusty for maybe his toughest AEW Championship challenger yet. Neither wrestler has a deep history of success in world championship matches, but AEW is a whole new world, and if Jon Moxley has anything to say about it, it’s already time for a paradigm shift.
All Elite Wrestling’s leadership team put a microscope on their booking tendencies before they even booked a match and I’ve taken on the task of curating and quantifying detailed AEW in-ring metrics at sportofprowrestling.com/aew. I’ve aggregated metrics including ring time, fall differential, strength of schedule, match stakes, match placement, participating match type, recency, and many more to paint a clear statistical picture of each AEW wrestler’s in-ring performance.