Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada - Rivalry Statistical Analysis
In this article, we are going to compare the four Okada/Omega matches to find out how each wrestler used in-ring metrics to tell their story. We are going to show how Omega and Okada's offence changed over the 4 matches as Omega caught up with and surpassed Okada. We will also spend some time talking about how the two wrestler's used in-ring offence to underscore wins or losses.
To accurately compare the wrestlers' performances across the 3 hours and 21 minutes of wrestling broken up into 4 matches of differing lengths, we will need to scale their match by match performances to a per hour rate. Otherwise, each wrestler's most statistically plentiful performance will just be in the longest match.
As you can see, the majority of the biggest totals come from the longest match. By using a per hour rate we can flatten this:
Now we see more interesting fluctuations of offence rather than just by match length. In fact, rates of offence in the longest match actually slowed due to wrestlers selling tiredness and/or legitimate tiredness.
Rate of Offence refers to the total offence each wrestler would have achieved if they wrestled for an hour using the average speed in which they dealt out offence in that match.
The first thing that jumps out is that Omega always got in more offense than Okada. This is most evident in their G1 match where he wrestled at a frenetic pace to take advantage of Okada's injuries suffered at the hands of Minoru Suzuki; the additional storyline reason being that if he lost, he would likely be unable to challenge Okada again while he was champion. It was also a shorter match, wrestlers were able to wrestle faster than longer matches where they have to conserve energy.
As you can see wrestlers tend to get in more offence per hour in shorter matches. However we can see Omega's offence in the time limit draw and Okada's in the 2/3 falls match are most ahead of where you'd expect in comparison to each wrestler's other performances.
Look at the consistency of Omega's Strike Rate! 90, 94, 90 and then 89 Strikes per hour, in that order, match by match.
The other interesting thing we can take from this comparison is Okada's jump in the G1 loss to Omega. This underlines the historic finding of Pro Wrestling Musings that simple, non-Strikedown, Strikes don't lead to victory. In fact they are often a sign of a wrestling performance telling the story of a losing wrestler, desperately trying to get their licks in in any way they can.
Here we seem to have the story of Omega reeling in Okada's explosive striking. In the G1 win, Omega wins after reducing the advantage his opponent had over him, before pretty much neutralising that strength in his eventual IWGP Heavyweight Championship match.
Here we have the clearest example of an in-ring metric being tied to match outcomes. Okada bests Omega whilst hitting more Grapples at Wrestle Kingdom 11. Then as the two draw their Grapple Rates are almost identical. In Omega's destruction of an injured Okada at G1 Climax 27, he achieved the highest Grapple Rate of the series and the biggest differential. In Omega's eventual title win, he again bests Okada for Grapples.
The story with Dives, it would appear, is that they were not really presented as result influencing. Instead they can be linked to attitudes. Omega's exuberance and flashiness a year after leaving the Junior Division did not serve him, thus leading to the biggest differential between performances that either wrestler utilised with his lowest number at Dominion 2017.
Okada, on the other hand, stayed consistent before utilising Dives slightly more probably out of desperation at the G1. He then dipped considerably, again probably, to conserve his body in the 3 fall match.
Okada's Submission Rates show why statistics tend to tell stories rather than being tied to how wrestlers are presented as winners or losers.
With his 0 seconds of Submission at the G1, we can see that Okada really didn't control the match in a manner that would allow him to grind down Omega with tiring Submission holds in the shortest match of the series, whereas his numbers are consistent in his other three matches.
On the flip side, Omega's highest and lowest numbers are from the two matches he won. Showing that Submissions were perhaps inconsequential to his plan or that he was able to change match to match and unlock Okada in more manner than one.
Reversal Rate seems to be key to how Okada out-did his opponent in the first encounter and then perhaps points to how he tried to hold on in his most decisive loss.
These numbers also point to how back and forth each match was. The two longer matches conserving energy.
Again Okada is consistent in his use of an in-ring metric, this time Pin Attempts. Omega was not! As you can see, Omega's last chance mindset was evident at the G1 as he desperately went for pin fall after pin fall to tie the series with Okada, which ultimately led to Okada challenging him again months later.
It will come as no surprise that Foul Rate is best linked to how each wrestler worked in their heel or face characteristics into the match.
As time goes on, Omega drops the rule-breaking until his opponent actually works dirtier than he does in their final encounter. Omega moves from villainous Bullet Club boss to Golden Lover throughout this feud, whereas Okada actually starts to stray further away from the rule book as his opponent surpasses him in the ring.
Taunting does seem to be notable. Omega always taunts more than Okada, and more or less so depending on the strength of the result. Taunting less when losing and most when winning decisively. There is less of a pattern from Okada but his 0 taunts when getting crushed at the G1 does support the findings of Omega's numbers.
You would be forgiven for expecting to find stronger links between finishers and wins and losses. However as always there are more than one way to utilise an in-ring metric to tell a story.
Okada's finishers would have been used to signal strength in the first two matches, before being used as a signifier of desperation, a Hail Mary, in the third encounter. Omega's use of the One-Winged Angel is more attached to his outcomes. The quicker he hits it, the more strongly he is being booked.
With simple Strikes often shown as somewhat unimportant, it's important to look at how important the other metrics are. The data across these matches don't really show us much in that regard. The only part of this story that utilised 'Big Offence' to put over a wrestler was in Omega's dominance at the G1.
Here you have the Flow of Offence graphs for each match, interestingly the biggest spike of offence in each match is achieved by Kenny Omega. The biggest 'back and forths' come in the first and last match ups. However, Okada seems to have more big-ish bursts in all of the matches, most notably at Wrestle Kingdom.
When you break up the Flow of Offence graphs into 5 minute chunks, the matches that Omega wins, he dominates the offensive periods. However matches he does not win the offensive periods are more evenly distributed. All the longer matches have pretty balanced and 'back and forth' patterns.
As you can see from the above graph, Omega does dominate the offence in each of the matches. Omega usually dominates in terms of Submissions, Strikes and Grapples. Whereas Okada edges it in terms of Strikedowns and Reversals.
Thank you for reading and please let us know anything that you notice from the plethora of data and analysis in this article in the comments below.