Winter Is Coming: Styles Make Fights #33
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Hangman vs Danielson, AEW World Championship
The last time I previewed an AEW match, the Hangman was challenging Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship. Now I'm previewing his first defense as the new champion, against the technical legend Bryan Danielson. Below are their respective stats for the percentile of their usage of different categories of offense:
Danielson is a volume striker, while Page strikes for knock-downs. Page uses a moderate volume of "grapples" (throws, drivers, suplexes, etc) while Danielson eschews them. Both men use aerial maneuvers, Page a bit more than Danielson. Both men use a lot of technical wrestling, but different types: Page uses counters and blocks, while Danielson focuses on submission holds. Both use an average or slightly under average rate of unorthodox offense.
But since he's been number one contender, Danielson has revealed a new edge, seeming to revel in hurting Page's friends within the squared circle. If we look to see if that has changed Danielson's mix of offense we discover that it absolutely has:
The Danielson that Hangman will face is a very different fighter from the one before Full Gear. He gets a much higher proportion of knockdowns. Surprisingly, he focuses slightly less on submissions, using instead a far higher rate of unorthodox offense.
While this new attitude will very likely effect the character of the upcoming match, I can't picture it effecting the outcome. Hangman's momentum, focus, and confidence are just too great for him to be knocked off the mountain he just climbed anytime soon, even by a competitor as undeniably great as Danielson.
Shida vs Deeb, Rubber match, No DQ
Over the past couple months, Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb have been building a heated and bitter rivalry. They split wins in their first two matches, so this will be the deciding confrontation. Below are their average offense use in all matches up to this point:
Hikaru is a striking specialist above all, but she is a kitchen sink type who uses every category of offense. Deeb, on the contrary, uses a style very focused on just a few specialties: technical wrestling, grapples, and fouls.
Below is the mix of offense in Shida and Deeb's first confrontation:
For the most part they didn't change much up compared to a typical match, except both used a lot more taunts, evidently testing one another, mentally.
Sticking to her strengths paid off for Deeb who earned the upset and acted as spoiler for Shida who had expected to hit her 50th AEW win.
But it went down very differently in their second encounter:
Shida once again stuck with her typical mix of offense, with one exception: she ceded submissions to the technical expert, and focused her technique on counters and reversals.
Meantime, Deeb completely avoided both strikes and grapples on this occasion to focus on technical wrestling and fouls. It wasn't a strategy that paid off for her.
Normally, I would expect Deeb to learn from her error and incorporate grapple moves back into her mix to go for the strategy that worked for her the first time. But this tie-breaker has been declared no-disqualification, upending all strategic considerations. Shida is well versed in the ways of the kendo stick and the steel chair, but less so in the art of deceiving the referee, so barring a heretofore unknown new ally on Deeb's part, I expect this stipulation to favor the former World Champion..
Maxwell Friedman vs Dante Martin, Dynamite Diamond Three-peat?
This annual match for the right to hold the Dynamite Diamond ring should make for a very intriguing matchup: one of the most impressive young stars in terms of agility and balance, versus one of the best in terms of strategy and treachery. Below are their respective offense stats:
They are a study in contrasts. For Friedman, unorthodox offense is his primary weapon, while Martin hardly ever uses it. Both competitors have strengths in technical wrestling, but Dante focuses on counters while Maxwell is more interested in painful holds. Aerial maneuvers are Martin's bread and butter while Friedman leaves his feet only occasionally. Dante prioritizes knockdown strikes over volume striking, while Maxwell hardly uses strikes at all.
Another reason for intrigue is that both young men have great win/loss records. In theory, the winner of their match should be hard to call. But this idea falls apart when you look at their record against other competitors with strong records. Below is each competitors' stats specifically against those opponents with greater than 2 net wins:
MJF's win/loss against stronger competition is still fantastic at 5/2. Whereas Dante is yet to come out on top in a tougher test. Martin shies away from grapple moves when facing high-level competition, and surprisingly, uses MORE taunts. Whereas Friedman's already-rare strikes disappear entirely.
There is one wild factor in this match-up: there's not much personal animosity between the two, as each is already in a heated feud with someone else. MJF has been in an escalating war of words with CM Punk for weeks. While Dante just joined and then betrayed Team Taz in the closing moments of the qualifying battle royal. Will either aggrieved party interfere in this match? We'll soon find out!