I Watched 1003 Matches And All I Have To Show For It Is A Spreadsheet [TeeCoZee’s Wrestling Quarterly Roundup]
I know what you’re thinking. Seriously, I do. If you’ve spoken to me in the last year or you read the title of this article (I guess it’s possible that you’ve done neither), you would know that I watch far too much wrestling. Even those who got me hooked on the sport now think that I’ve gone too far. It’s not just a comfort to me, it’s become a way of life. Actually, no, I don’t even know what it being “a way of life” means. It’s just something that I thought sounded right. But it’s my pastime, my background noise, what wakes me up in the morning and lulls me to sleep at night. It’s an artform that I’ve grown to appreciate dearly. And since I’ve spent a lot of time consuming it, I decided that I would start keeping track of everything I watch, either fully engaged or in passing, and give it some sort of grade to differentiate one match from the other.
I spent the last 4+ months attached to my iPad, as I furiously typed in show cards while usually watching a match in the corner of the screen. It remains to be known why I’m doing this. I think I’m just doing it because it’s a thing to do. It keeps a sense of purpose and organization in my entertainment choices. It keeps me from falling down rabbit holes and watching countless hours of WCW Saturday Night or some random All Japan house show from the 80s. In keeping track of everything, I’m staying active and relevant in my viewing. So just how far did I go? What was the data that I gathered?
Here are the results of my findings:
In the 1st Quarter of the year, which spans from January 1 to Wrestlemania Weekend, I watched 1003 matches from 14 different promotions. Among those matches, I watched 142 shows in their entirety. Before I dive into any of this data, let’s break down the 14 promotions I watched. To keep myself honest, I’ll write one word per match watched. So if you don’t care about the individual promotions, I guess you can skip the next 1003 words.
All Elite Wrestling – 150 Matches, Average Rating 7.36
The real problem with AEW is that it’s too much of a good thing. While it’s far and away the best wrestling you can currently find, the trouble of riches is becoming too apparent. For starters, they offer too much content and typically only have 1 live show a week. That means that the attendees of the live shows become increasingly exhausted and the product suffers because of it. It’s hard to care about a technical clinic when it’s nearing midnight and we’ve been losing our voices for 5 hours. The match isn’t necessarily boring, it crowd is just too damn tired. The product also just seems to be stagnating in growth. The people that love AEW will stand by it, but the WWE fans that have yet to convert probably never will. To them, WWE is more familiar and they don’t care enough about the sport to branch out.
Best Match: Bryan Danielson vs MJF, 60 Minute Iron Man Match, 3/5/23 (9.8)
World Wrestling Entertainment – 158 Matches, Average Rating 5.90
As you can tell from the average rating, the quality of actual wrestling is lacking in WWE. But one thing to note is that my average rating of WWE shows is 6.75, which is significantly better. Say what you want about match quality, the WWE knows how to engage the audience and put on a show. Whether or not they choose to do that week in and week out is a different story. Since Triple H has “taken control of creative”, there has been a lot of bright spots and dark spots. You can say that the product has improved, but if you look at it under a microscope, it’s still pretty bad. The women’s division is going nowhere, most of the big returns have not had big…returns? Damage CTRL only win against developmental talent, Bray Wyatt completely flopped and Roman Reigns is still champ for no reason. Just because it’s the most popular doesn’t make it good.
Best Match: Gunther vs Sheamus vs Drew MacIntyre, WWE Intercontinental Title, 4/2/23 (9.4)
Stardom – 168 Matches, Average Rating 7.33
I put off watching Stardom for a long time. It wasn’t that I thought it wouldn’t be good, it was because I didn’t think it would be THIS good. When I finally got into it, it felt like a revelation. Stardom is, by leaps and bounds, the best women’s wrestling in the world. The things that they do on a nightly basis are unheard of in America. The match quality is second to none. And they aren’t even lacking in storylines, as everyone is organized into neat little factions and regular press conferences are held (thankfully with fans translating them on twitter) in lieu of a weekly television show. I admittedly watched every single show that Stardom put on this year, trying my hardest to familiarize myself with all of the talent and factions. It’s been difficult, as the shows usually don’t have commentary or nameplates. They’re a very small company. Which is why there’s no commentary on most shows and they’ll get edited and uploaded by one single guy, sometimes over a week after they happened. There is a high learning curve, but it’s well worth the effort.
Best Match: Giulia vs Suzu Suzuki, World Of Stardom Title, 2/4/23 (9.3)
New Japan Pro Wrestling – 92 Matches, Average Rating 7.48
Although they’ll never reach their pre-pandemic heights, NJPW is looking better. Putting the belt on SANADA is definitely a choice and the departure of Jay White is definitely going to sting, but they have some momentum. Their partnership with AEW is going to continue to bear fruit and their willingness to put on shows in the States is going to help. But they need to fix their social media policies. With the inability to post videos, it’s hard for word of mouth to get around. That should be obvious, but it isn’t.
Best Match: Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay, IWGP US Heavyweight Title, 1/4/23 (10)
DDT Pro Wrestling – 98 Matches, Average Rating 6.90 (Nice)
It’s so fucking appropriate that the average rating is 6.9. This is a promotion that features a group named “Pheromones”. Their gimmick (from what I can gather) is that they are extremely sexy, like to get naked and are able to hypnotize their opponents into also getting naked. Many matches end in a no-contest to prevent genitalia exposure. DDT is essentially the Japanese C Promotion that isn’t afraid to do outlandish things and it’s become a personal favorite of mine. They have great talent and big personalities. What more could you ask for? Karaoke. DDT has that, too.
Best Match: Yukio Naya vs HARASHIMA, 2/26/23, (8.5)
Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling – 59 Matches, Average Rating 7.13
TJPW is basically the little sister to Stardom. But they get nicer things, like live streaming, limited PPV obligations and the ability to travel overseas. They definitely skew more to the goofy side, leaning into the fact that most wrestlers are former pop idols. But they have an immense amount of talent and every show is a joy.
Best Match: Yuka Sakazaki vs Mizuki, Princess of Princess Title, 3/18/23 (9)
Pro Wrestling NOAH – 59 Matches, Average Rating 6.99
NOAH had a good run at the beginning of the year. This was mainly due to them riding the coat tails of Keiji Mutoh’s retirement. They were able to milk 2 massive supercards out of it. But since the beginning of March, they’ve failed to do anything to peak my interest, I’m essentially tuned out for the time being.
Best Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Kaito Kiyomiya, 2/21/23, (9.3)
Deadlock Pro Wrestling – 17 Matches, Average Rating 7.95
DPW puts on nothing but bangers because that’s all they know. But they only do it monthly.
Best Match: Lucky Ali vs Colby Corino, DPW Worlds Title, 3/4/23
All Japan Pro Wrestling – 4 Matches
Watched 4 good matches.
Best Match: Kenta Miyahara vs Yuma Aoyagi, Triple Crown Title, 2/4/23 (9.4)
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla – 18 Matches, Average Rating 7.85
I really wish I could watch them more, but their shows are only on DVD, which is lame
Best Match: Konosuke Takeshita vs Mike Bailey, 1/8/23 (9.1)
House Of Glory – 9 Matches
The overall quality is way down from last year
Best Match: Kushida vs Low Ki, 3/10/23, (7.5)
Dragon Gate, 7 Matches
I only watched to reach 1000 matches.
Game Changer Wrestling – 96 Matches, Average Rating 7.3
The match rating seems a little weighted, as I usually only watch the matches that are worth my while. Meanwhile, with AEW and WWE, I will watch most of everything. I just don’t have the time to watch all of GCW. But what I have seen is only an improvement. They’re doing a lot of work to lose their Outlaw Mudshow stigma. There are still death matches, of course, but they’ve done a lot of work to win over some great international talent and the best of the American indies. They’re the best indie promotion, period.
Best Match: El Hijo del Vikingo vs Speedball Mike Bailey, 3/31/23 (8.8)
Ring Of Honor – 62 Matches, Average Rating 7.48
Nobody thought it was going to work, but Tony Khan has brought ROH back from the dead. The weekly show on Honor Club has been nothing short of a treat. Tony is using his deep rolodex to bring in the best matches possible. If only he can figure out a way to do tapings on a regular basis with a fresh crowd…
Best Match: El Hijo del Vikingo vs Komander, AAA Mega Title, 3/31/23 (9)
As you can see, El Hijo del Vikingo had the best match for two promotions. And he somehow did it…on the same day?!? So was he the best wrestler of the quarter? Here’s the data on the top wrestlers:
Kenny Omega – 8 Matches, Average Rating 8.88
El Hijo del Vikingo – 8 Matches, Average Rating 8.47
Bryan Danielson – 8 Matches, Average Rating 8.41
Speedball Mike Bailey – 13 Matches, Average Rating 8.32
Jon Moxley – 12 Matches, Average Rating 8.29
Konosuke Takeshita – 15 Matches, Average Rating 8.15
Giulia – 22 Matches, Average Rating 7.62
AZM – 22 Matches, Average Rating 7.55
The ratings for Giulia and AZM are heavily weighted because I basically watched everything they’ve done this year, including some forgettable tag matches. So with that all out of the way and with nothing better to do, here’s some random ass best and worst matches!
Best Opening Match – Jon Moxley vs Hangman Adam Page, AEW Dynamite #174, 2/1/23, 9.3 Rating
Best Mid-Card Match – Jon Moxley vs Hangman Adam Page, Texas Death Match, AEW Revolution, 3/5/23, 9.5 Rating
Best Main Event – MJF vs Bryan Danielson, 60 Minute Iron Man Match For The AEW Title, AEW Revolution, 3/5/23, 9.8 Rating
Best TV Match – Kenny Omega vs El Hijo del Vikingo, AEW Dynamite #181, 3/22/23, 9.5 Rating
Best Triple Threat+ Match – Gunther vs Sheamus vs Drew MacIntyre, WWE Intercontinental Title, WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night 2, 4/2/23, 9.4 Rating
Best Match By Day Of The Week:
Monday – Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi, IWGP Tag Team Titles, NJPW 51st Anniversary, 3/6/23, 9.1 Rating
Tuesday – Kazuchika Okada vs Kaito Kiyomiya, NOAH Keiji Muto Grand Final Pro-Wrestling “Last Love” Hold Out, 2/21/23, 9.3 Rating
Wednesday – Will Ospreay vs Kenny Omega, IWGP United States Title, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, 1/4/23, 10 Rating
Thursday – Konosuke Takeshita vs Josh Woods, ROH Honor Club TV #1, 3/2/23, 8.6 Rating
Friday – El Hijo del Vikingo vs Komander, AAA Mega Heavyweight Title, ROH Supercard Of Honor, 3/31/23, 9.0 Rating
Saturday – Kenta Miyahara vs Yuma Ayoagi, AJPW Triple Crown Title, AJPW Excite Series Tag 1, 2/4/23, 9.4 Rating
Sunday – MJF vs Bryan Danielson, 60 Minute Iron Man Match For The AEW Title, AEW Revolution, 3/5/23, 9.8 Rating
Best Tag Team Match – The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, WWE Undisputed Tag Team Titles, WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night 1, 4/1/23, 9.1 Rating
Best 6+ Man Match – The Elite (Kenny Omega, Nick Jasckson & Matt Jackson) vs The House Of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews), AEW Trios Titles, AEW Revolution, 3/5/23, 9.2 Rating
Best Women’s Match – Giulia vs Suzu Suzuki, World Of Stardom Title, Stardom 12th Anniversary Supreme Fight, 2/4/23, 9.3 Rating
Best Match Featuring Somebody That I Hate – Mark Briscoe vs Jay Lethal, AEW Dynamite #173, 1/25/23
Best Match That I Saw Live – Jordan Oliver vs Joey Janela, Jersey J-Cup Semifinals, GCW/JCW Jersey J-Cup Pt. 2, 2/11/23, 8.7 Rating
Worst Match That I Saw Live – Ichiban vs Eden vs Nolo Kitano vs Osito vs Raheem Royal vs Smiley, HOG With Glory Comes Pride, 3/10/23, 4.1 Rating
Worst Match – Lacey Evans vs Jazmin, WWE Smackdown #1223, 1/27/23, 2.1 Rating
Worst PPV Match – Bray Wyatt vs LA Knight, Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match, WWE Royal Rumble, 1/28/23
Most Frequently Watched Jobbers – The Outrunners, 4 Matches
If you made it to the end of this, congratulations. Hopefully, this has given you some guidance on what has been worth your time this year. Whether you like it or not, expect another quarterly report towards the beginning of July and we’ll hopefully learn that I’ve curbed my wrestling watching. But we all know that won’t be the case.