This is an analysis of the differences in quality between the world's biggest wrestling promotions. To compare and contrast the different companies we are going to focus on their biggest shows of 2020. Therefore we will look at Wrestlemania 36 and Takeover: Portland from WWE, AEW Revolution and NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14.
First we will very simply look at the match quality as quantified by Grappl app users. The Grappl app is a mobile app where users give matches a star rating out of 5. It is a rival to the Wrestling Observer however collates data from numerous users.
The first comparison looks at every match on the card. This skews the data in favour of NXT and AEW as they have less 'warm-up' matches.
Takeover:Portland consisted of a snug 6 matches, none of which were just thrown on the card. They all had stakes or were the result of story-building. Revolution with 8 matches wasn't dis-similar but a couple of those matches could have been on weekly TV.
Wrestlemania and Wrestle Kingdom both had multiple pre-show matches and lesser matches on the main card. Their 19 and 20 matches, respectively and both over 2 days, featured a wider variety of importance.
We see Takeover:Portland leaving the rest of the field behind here as it puts out 6 matches, each of which is over, at least, 3.4 stars. High scores from Revolution and Wrestle Kingdom are not able to pull up the average scores of those shoes anywhere near NXT's offering.
To balance out the use of pre-show matches and 'rest' matches, we have now filtered out the bottom 50% of matches on each show. This graph shows the average of only the top half of matches on each show based on their Grappl rating.
By doing this we then see the closeness in overall quality between the shows, well 3 of the shows. The WWE is still languishing in 4th. NJPW is now best rated with AEW now right behind NXT.
By focusing on the 3 best matches from each card, we are now comparing the companies to see who can really produce top quality wrestling.
As you can see, that AEW tag match really pulls the show up whereas Takeover and Wrestle Kingdom have a narrower range of ratings.
We can also now see the superiority of NJPW in terms of in ring superiority. Their best 3 matches are 3 of the 4 best out of the 12 matches listed above!
WWE lags behind AEW and NJPW in terms of match quality when it comes to main roster PPVs. However in it's NXT guise, WWE has a competitive product.
In it's early days as a company AEW has an impressive product. However it is not yet up to the standards set by NXT and NJPW in terms of in-ring quality. This is of course with the exception of Kenny Omega.
The run away winners here were NJPW. Still the standard bearers for in-ring work and leaving the opposition well behind.
To see how NJPW dominated match quality in 2019, check out the Grappl100 here: