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.
At this Saturday’s pay-per-view event, AEW Revolution, all three of All Elite Wrestling’s championships will be defended. Chris Jericho will defend the AEW World Championship against Jon Moxley, Nyla Rose will defend the AEW Women’s Championship against Kris Statlander, and the odd-couple team of Kenny Omega & Adam Page will defend the AEW World Tag Team Championships against The Young Bucks. Sensibly, the last event that all three titles were on the line was AEW’s last pay-per-view event, Full Gear on Nov. 19.
Piecing together sensible, well-booked, championship story arcs over the course of a quarter of the year is a skill that we haven’t seen practiced in United States professional wrestling in what seems like ages. By bell time on Saturday, Feb. 29, it will have been 16eeks since Full Gear. During these 16 weeks, each of AEW’s championship pictures have matured to the point where we can truly analyze each title’s position in the company and the logic of the booking in each championship anchored division.
To be honest, it’s much easier to write a column like this when the booking is egregious or when there’s a questionable match on the card to critique. To AEW’s credit, as we head into Revolution, it’s challenging to poke any holes into the championship matches on the card this Saturday night. Below, I’ll explore each championship and the statistics that support these matchups being the best that AEW can offer on their first pay-per-view of the year.
Men’s World Championship
Jon Moxley is, without a doubt, the strongest AEW competitor that doesn’t currently hold a championship. His path to a World Championship match hasn’t been easy, either. Moxley’s strength of schedule has been most challenging in AEW and he has come out of his initial 14 matches undefeated, only scoring a time limit draw against Pac on the Oct. 23 episode of Dynamite. Moxley rectified that draw in a 17:14 battle against Pac on Chris Jericho’s cruise to firmly plant himself as the number one contender. During Moxley’s ten match winning streak, he has defeated highly touted competitors Kenny Omega, Darby Allin, Joey Janela, and Trent. And most recently, Moxley has mowed down Inner Circle members Sammy Guevara, Ortiz, Santana, and Chris Jericho’s hired-gun Jeff Cobb.
Momentum and recent performance is an important factor to build a number one contender’s resume. Moxley is 3-0 over the last 30 days and 8-0 over the last 90. Chris Jericho has descended down our statistical rankings recently due to a lack of volume. He enters this match 0-0-1 in singles competition over the last 90 days, with only his time limit draw against Jungle Boy on Dec. 18 landing in that timeframe. As a champion, Chris Jericho has the benefit of taking time away from competition while the next challenger reveals themselves, but it’s reasonable to speculate that the seasoned and well-conditioned Moxley will enter Saturday’s main event with the momentum he’ll need to overcome what is likely to be a hard-fought match.
Jericho has wrestled in less than half the amount of singles matches as Moxley in AEW, but he has proven that he can sustain and win in longer matches than Moxley. Jericho’s average winning match length lands at 21:22, the longest in AEW singles competition and over nine minutes longer than Moxley’s 12:17. Moxley’s greater quantity of matches bodes well for him to offset Jericho’s single-match stamina. Moxley has wrestled in 14 singles matches since AEW’s inception, the most in the league and three more than Joey Janela’s 11 and Kenny Omega and Adam Page’s 10.
World Tag Team Championship
The best accidental tag team in recent memory, Kenny Omega and Adam Page, have actually established themselves as a very intentional team. Their most recent loss as a tag team unit was on Dec. 18 to the Lucha Brothers and since then, they have won five straight tag team matches against the likes of Private Party, Best Friends, Proud & Powerful, and The Butcher & The Blade. During their five-week run as AEW Tag Team champions, Omega & Page have already defended the titles against SCU and The Lucha Brothers, clearing the top of the contenders ranks for The Young Bucks to step in for this weekend’s defense.
The Young Bucks are in the midst of their best 30-day stretch in AEW. They ride a contender-leading three match winning streak into Revolution, recently defeating The Butcher & The Blade, Peter Avalon & QT Marshall, and winning the number one contendership battle royal on Feb. 19. While the strength of The Young Bucks recent schedule has left something to be desired, the only other tag teams entering this weekend with a winning streak in-tact are The Dark Order, SCU, and Best Friends. SCU already lost a rematch for the titles and Best Friends and The Dark Order each have had a significantly easier schedule than The Young Bucks.
The Bucks strained relationship with fellow Elite members, Page & Omega pushed them to the forefront of the Tag Team championship picture, but their recent performance provides them with the merits to participate in a match that is sure to be one of the most interesting on the Revolution card.
Women’s World Championship
The women’s division is the victim of being the lowest volume division in AEW. With fewer opportunities to make a mark, Kris Statlander is really the benefactor of being placed into a significant number of singles matches during her 106 days with the company. Of her nine matches, six have been singles matches and this will already be her second world championship opportunity.
In some discourse, Statlander’s low volume is a point of contention to her championship match against Nyla Rose, but only a handful of women have competed in more singles matches in AEW than Statlander (Riho, Hikaru Shida, Britt Baker, Big Swole). Of Those competitors with more singles matches than Statlander, only Hikaru Shida and Riho have records over 0.500. Statlander enters with a winning percentage of 0.833, behind only Riho. Statlander defeated Hikaru Shida on Dec. 4 and Britt Baker on Dec. 18, giving her the edge over all of AEW’s higher volume women aside from Riho, who didn’t seek a rematch after her championship loss to Nyla Rose on Feb. 2.
AEW’s Women’s Division is still finding its direction, but booking Statlander into a championship match against the dominant Nyla Rose is far from egregious. Statlander’s recent dominance of Diamante and Shanna has shown that she could very well be the competitor to highlight the AEW Women’s World Championship for a long time to come but whether this is her time to come out victorious remains to be seen.
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.