In this article you will find the statistics from all four matches that took place at Winter is Coming 2. However we will be focussing in on 'Hangman' Adam Page vs Bryan Danielson, for obvious reasons...
Adam Page vs Bryan Danielson went 60 minutes in an AEW first and an American TV wrestling rarity. How did they use this time, and how did the run length affect the match itself? Below, we go through the statistics and then I dive into my thoughts on what was a great but not excellent TV match, in my opinion.
Adam Page vs Bryan Danielson
A 60 minute match was always going to lead to big numbers and Danielson's tallies of 170 Strikes, 321 seconds of Submission and 40 Strikes certainly fit that mould. With that being said the first thing that jumps out to me is the gulf between Danielson and Page. Danielson almost doubled Page's offensive tally.
We can also see that the two men approached the match very differently. It was plentiful Strikes and Submission time versus powerful Grapples and a higher percentage of Strikedowns from total Strikes. Danielson's demeanour was also incredibly different to that of the Hangman's with a cumulative total of 40 Taunts, alongside large Foul and Pin Attempt figures; a contradiction perhaps?
Due to the almost doubling of total offence Danielson dominates the offence throughout. He firmly takes control in the 11th minute with two plus 10 minute Submissions and 16 Strikes. There's also a 10 minute spell where Danielson restricts Page to 3 Strikes; 27m-36m.
Page manages to maintain the advantage for the first 7 minutes but struggles to gain many minute by minute advantages after this. In fact, Page only won the advantage in 18 out of the 60 minutes compared to Danielson's 32 out of the 60. However Page's surge in the last minute of the match is notable in comparison to his efforts in the previous 59.
The Cumulative version of the Flow of Offence shows how each man builds up pressure on their opponent. Often wrestlers wrest this advantage from each other as the match progresses. This was not the case at winter is Coming, Post minute 11, Danielson strode away from Page in terms of total offence. The gap becoming especially wide around the 40th minute mark.
The Match Flow version of the Flow of Offence shows how the match as a whole ebbed and flowed. You can clearly see the afore mentioned Danielson surge in the 11th minute as the most offence rich period of the match. The 42nd minute also stands out as Danielson has another surge and Page manages a Grapple too! The final minute is also notable as Page scrambles to secure the victory before the clock hits midnight.
Here we have the complete overview of the match where you can see how the graphics reflect and bleed into each other.
Here is the per hour rates for this match. Which was simpler to calculate than usual. You can use this to compare this match to any other that I have covered.
So this is very interesting, when we compare Danielson/Page to similarly lengthened matches there are some very surprising results.
The main difference is the extent to which one of the wrestlers out-did the other in terms of quantity; I don't think this is an issue in Omega/Bryan as the numbers are less extreme. I also think the fewer reversals in Page/Danielson is a missed opportunity to draw in the audience and communicate struggle.
The most similar match is the Ibushi/White Wrestle Kingdom match. White absolutely dominates Kota Ibushi akin to Danielson dominating Page. The big difference was that White did this via memorable and powerful Grapples in contrast to Danielson's numerous Submissions. The other difference was that Ibushi performer the underdog role with more of an explosive edge; 20 Strikedowns in under 50 minutes.
Personally, I didn't feel Danielson hit the heights of Omega/Okada 2 and Grappl/Cagematch stats reflect that, nor do I feel it hit the heights of the other two pictured. People will say that you can't measure a feeling, they're probably not right. But can I measure a feeling? No!
However, stats can certainly show correlations between statistical facts within matches and feelings. I tend to like offence rich matches, such as the Young Bucks series of all-action bangers earlier this year. However when you look at the above matches, Danielson/Page seems to have that, particularly with Strikes and Submissions...
I like Submission exchanges but I abhor using long Submission to pad match times and get to time limit drama that way. Striking in wrestling matches can be great but it can also be a way to fill space. There's a difference between fiery exchanges and aimless whacks of errant limbs. It seems that what may separate Page/Omega from the others is the stories of the moves.
Page doesn't have the same body of work as White, Ibushi, Okada, Omega and Danielson. The Buck Shot Lariat has been built up superbly, but what else is Page's repertoire of offence famous for? He's hard hitting, uses the Deadeye and often counters with a Rolling Elbow? But these moves lack the panache of the Okada Tombstone, a Jay White German or, especially, an Omega V-Trigger or Snap Dragon.
Danielson is different. He has a repertoire of submission moves already established, I'd suggest the danger in this wasn't utilised enough here, it should have felt like Page didn't know what potentially deadly hold was about to hit him. Then there's the path of destruction Danielson weaved through the Dark Order, built around his use of arm-trapped Head Stomps. When this was used in the match it didn't feel as deadly as it should have; it lacked selling on Page's part or commentary's.
Why am I writing this? Well, the reaction to the Danielson/Page match online has been momentous. People are saying it is a Match of the Year contender and a five star match. I gave it four stars on Grappl. It was a great match. I really enjoyed it. But I want to fully understand my thinking when I push back against what seems to be a consensus of excellence.
I think this match is both a bridge and an experiment. Kenny Omega was the man who I thought would bring this kind of match to American TV. It appears that Omega's body was not in the right place to do this at the right time. So instead Bryan Danielson is here instead. That should work!
This match was not designed to be a 'greatest of all time contender' or to rival the finest New Japan epics. It was there to break barriers and to introduce new parameters as to what an AEW main event could be. In short, to move the Overton Window.
So why, do I think, the AEW faithful, those that care enough to be part of the AEW Twitter fanbase online, rate this match so much higher than I do? AEW have not hit the heights of New Japan or NXT, big events, of the 2010s. But via excellent week to week television and by being a WWE alternative, they have cultivated an incredibly loyal and well-meaning fanbase.
A fanbase that are desperate for AEW to eviscerate the memory of WWE through sheer excellence.
In time AEW could get there, but this was a step and not the end product.