How does AEW book Winners and Losers?
Over the past 6 months I have collated statistics for every traditional rules 1v1/2v2 AEW Dynamite and PPV match. The results of this is we can now see the differences in each wrestlers styles and which wrestler leads certain in ring metrics, you can find all that information here.
For this article I have collated all the winning performances and losing performances to find averages for each. Below you will find the average match offence split for the average winning and losing performance in each division.
As you can see little separates winning and losing performances on average. With the exception of the women's division, which can be explained by the influence of Hikaru Shida's booking, AEW books winners to take only slightly more than 50% of the offence in a match.
It would have been my assumption that on average winners would be booked stronger than losers in the ring or the wrestlers themselves would feel compelled to get more in to put themselves over when booked to win. However my most noticed feature of wrestling matches since compiling these stats is the presence of winning wrestlers being booked as underdogs.
Contrasting Winning Performances with Losing Losing Performances in Each Division
Let us start with the similarities, each division sees winners utilise more strikedowns, grapples and finishers than losers. Whether this is a booking decision or a natural thing for wrestlers to do when booked to win is up for debate but what is for sure is that striking an opponent to the mat or driving them to the mat with a strong grapple-slam is a symbol of strength for a wrestler. That more winners use finishers is the most unsurprising finding of all!
Usually winning wrestlers use more submission time than losing wrestlers, suggesting grinding down your opponent is also used to signify the stronger wrestler. This is not the case in the women's division however this may be the case due to the wrestling style of Shida who has wrestled in 16% of 1v1 women's matches on TV. Another theory is that it could be due to the way women naturally wrestle or due to the effects of cultural expectations of women in the wrestling ring.
The strikes category includes strikedowns and non-strikedown strikes and does not correlate with winning wrestlers in singles matches but it does in male tag matches. This would suggest that in singles matches it is more important to move beyond simple strikes and hit knockdown strikes or grapples whereas in tag matches utilising simpler strikes is more important. This could be as winning wrestlers tend to tag more and simpler strikes may be used to knit together these tagging exchanges?
The other similarity that we did not touch on earlier is the booking/effect of dives. Diving moves are not booked to win matches/used to signify a winning performance. In all divisions losing performances utilise dives more than winning performances. Is MJF right about dives? It seems so...
Additionally, reversals don't seem as important than one would assume, fouls seem inconsequential and pin attempts help in singles but not tag!
Comparing Average Winning and Losing Performances in the Each Division
If you want to win a wrestling match in AEW it seems you should:
- Limit simpler strikes.
- Prioritise Strikedowns, Grapples and Submission moves.
- Exhaust with pin attempts.
- Don't cheat unless you're in a male singles match.
- And definitely do not jump off anything high!