AEW Rampage In-ring Statistics - Chicago September 3rd
While New Japan Pro Wrestling obsesses over 30 minute matches even when the participants are Chase Owens and Toro Yano. My wrestling fandom evolved in the late 2010s away from standard American TV wrestling; WWE and TNA, where I would watch the storylines and the odd match but it was standard practise for me to skip through a lot of the rather drab matches, to NXT and New Japan.
I started watching NXT after Kevin Owens eruption onto the main roster and started paying attention to ROH due to Cody Rhodes' title win in 2017. I dabbled with New Japan as Cody took on Okada and Omega won the US title, but it was Omega/Jericho that really hooked me in 2018. In 2018 my pro wrestling staples were NXT Takeovers and New Japan PPVs, the standard of wrestling on those events are still untouched since but what AEW is now doing is somehow as good in a very different way.
AEW essentially killed the top class NXT Takeovers of 2016-18 and took the bulk of the Western stars that made NJPW more accessible. But the week to week TV product does make up for that. This week we got FTR vs Proud and Powerful, Malakai Black vs Lee Johnson and Daniel Garcia vs Darby Allin. All of these matches could, arguably, get on a 2016-18 NXT or NJPW PPV card but we got all three, admittedly in a reduced TV form.
However all that being said, AEW can only be seen as a good thing for all facets of wrestling if they can start putting on PPV matches that are on the level of 2017-18 New Japan and NXT. Otherwise an argument can be made that AEW have reduced the frequency of top quality wrestling matches that can break the 4.75 level on GRAPPL. This criticism does need to be tempered with mentioning the pandemic of course!
Lee Johnson vs Malakai Black
'You can't put a Lee Johnson match on a PPV!' I don't know... I think this one could fit into a PPV card as is the magnetism of this Malakai Black character/performance. I was heavily critical of Black bailing out of the ring post-match when Johnson came out. However the following promo and the fact he did it again here to frustrate Dustin Rhodes really works.
The stats speak for themselves, Black dominated Johnson, as he should, but in a longer match as opposed to Cody and Brock. It is interesting to note that Black did not use any grapples against Johnson and stayed to strikes and submissions. I'd like him to do this more going forward to differentiate his style, however eventually utilising grapples and possibly dives in marquee matches seems sensible.
The fact Johnson had to take the the air more times than he utilised a strikedown, grapple or submission (the 4 seconds was one short hold) puts over the futility of his situation. You will note in the Flow of Offence below Johnson had one peak in an otherwise struggle against Black; during minute 6 Johnson hit 14/25 of his strikes, one being the only strikedown and his 2 dives. After this burst of offence he got nothing for the rest of the contest.
Kris Statlander vs Jamie Hayter and Rebel
This was very well done. They managed to put Statlander over huge and look; finally, a legitimate threat to Dr Britt Baker's championship.
The stats show that even though there were two of them, Rebel and Hayter were unable to move beyond simple strikes. This gives the impression they were in control without requiring Statlander to take too much that makes her look weak. Then once Statlander was in control she utilised those big offensive moves that would make her look strong.
Darby Allin vs Daniel Garcia
A fairly even affair if it were not for Daniel Garcia's added submissions. A good match befitting of the main event slot even if it was there via CM Punk link. This one was a twisting journey of back and forth strikes as neither man was able to hold on to the advantage for long. The the entire match there were only 3 instances of a wrestler stringing together more than 3 offensive moves; although Garcia did have a 3 minute spell with 13 consecutive moves.
The Flow of Offence is very illustrative of this match; Allin coming out hot before Garcia starts grinding him into the mat, Allin then comes back and takes the match after a period of zero offence.
This match was completely different as well as being very similar to the first version of it about a month ago in Pittsburgh. That version of it followed essentially the exact same template in terms of the rise and fall of the heel and babyface but was a more exaggerated version of it in terms of the offence split between Garcia and Allin.
Thank you for reading! Post any comments below!