Thursday, June 14, 2018

R.I.P. Dave Meltzer's Ratings Scale: 1980-2018

R.I.P.  Dave Meltzer's Ratings Scale: 1980-2018

With Dave Meltzer's recent rating of Omega/Okada as 7 stars, we can finally put his ratings scale to rest.

Dave has spent close to 40 years creating a system to judge matches on that has been universally accepted and has become the standard for professional wrestling. Back in the 1990's and 2000's, when we wanted to find the best in wrestling, Dave Meltzer's various ratings was our main guide. While we may have not completely agreed, they were reasonable enough that it wasn't worth making a fuss over. Unfortunately, Dave has decided that this ratings scale is no longer suitable for the supposed superior "quality" of professional wrestling in 2018.

Dave created a lot of controversy by rating the first Omega/Okada match 6 stars which puts it in the one percent of his reviewed matches of all time. Dave justified it as the best match he had ever seen at the time. A few months later, Omega/Okada 2 happened and Dave rated it even higher at 6.25 stars. Some "greatest match ever", huh? The third edition of Okada/Omega came and went with Dave giving it a measly 6 stars. We are now on the fourth edition of Okada/Omega and Dave ended up trapping himself, as many figured he would. If he truly did enjoy it more, he'd have to rate it even higher than the previous matches, destroying his scale even further and destroying his claims of Omega/Okada 1 being the best match of all-time, followed by Omega/Okada 2 being the best match of all time.

Dave has justified his ratings with defenses such as "it doesn't matter" and "who cares?". It does matter, Dave, and we do care. I envision an IWC 20 years into the future where people will be saying things like "Yeah, Flair was good and all, but he's no Kenny Omega" and "Come on, Misawa/Kawada '94 was only a 5 star match". I'm then going to have to explain Dave's foolishness and then watch true GOATS such as Flair, Lawler and others get treated as second-tier wrestlers as I curse Dave under my breath for bringing these headaches upon me.

Dave's ratings are a cautionary tale of not being a reactionary reviewer and creating ratings systems without any standards. All wrestling is subjective to some degree, but we all know roughly what to expect in a top rated much like heat, story, mastering the basics, realistic work and making the match stick out from the usual offerings. I find it insulting that Dave considers the gap between Omega/Okada 4 and classics like The Zaps vs LCO '97 or Jungle Jack vs Bull and Grizzly '90 to be similar to those and random throwaway matches that no one remembers. It's an insult to the workers and it's an insult to the masterpieces they have created.

While I have no say in Dave's ratings, I can promise that ProWresBlog treats its ratings seriously. ProWresBlog puts its reputation on the line when it gives matches high praise and will always be happy to defend its ratings. Whether it be 5, 10 or even 50 years down the line, when people come to ProWresBlog, it's highly rated matches will maintain their relevance and be just as good now as they will be then, because truly great matches will always stand the test of time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

All Japan Pro Wrestling 4/27/1974 - The Destroyer vs Abdullah the Butcher

All Japan Pro Wrestling 4/27/1974 - The Destroyer vs Abdullah the Butcher

I've been wanting to review either an Abby or a Sheik match. I even found a match with them against each other, but this blog's format and camera set-ups of the time really isn't kind to that style. It also doesn't help that every match involving them seems to involve screwy finishes.

This went to a double countout after about 8-9 minutes when both brawled outside of the ring. It's a shame too as this wasn't a bad match. It was what you would expect - some striking before Abby gets a weapon, he stabs Destroyer, Destroyer stabs him back and they brawl. Abby could still move some at this point and looked decent and I really liked The Destroyer heeling it up and brawling with him. I also loved the visual of the blood on the white mask as that is something I haven't seen in a long time. I'm not sure why I expected an ending other than what we got, but the match looked like a neat clash of styles(which it was) and I wanted to see it.

Friday, May 4, 2018

WWF 10/12/1985 - The Missing Link vs Paul Orndorff

WWF 10/12/1985 - The Missing Link vs Paul Orndorff

"How do you get a game plan going against a guy like The Missing Link?" - Jesse | "With this guy, you're not gonna know what's gonna work and what isn't." - Jesse
"Oh, The Link likes that. That's the wrong maneuver." - Gorilla

The finish
Paul Orndorff beat The Missing Link with a slow motion flying knee. The Link stuck to various head butts and head battering rams and Orndorff got the win out of nowhere when Hart got on the apron with the megaphone and The Link was confused, leading to the pin. This was only a few minutes long but it was really fun with a quicker than usual pace. Say what you will about The Missing Link, but there's no one who wrestles the way he does. You probably aren't getting a 5 star match out of him, but you will get something unique and that's important too. This was a fun match.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

All Japan Pro Wrestling - Jumbo Tsuruta vs Don Leo Jonathan

All Japan Pro Wrestling - Jumbo Tsuruta vs Don Leo Jonathan

Don Leo Jonathan got the win after reversing the keylock as seen above inside the ring then getting on top of Jumbo for the win. Jumbo basically had Don in the keylock for the majority of the match.  They rolled through the keylock a bunch of times and even rolled out of the ring then back over it with it, but it just needed more than that to keep my attention. It was a unique and clever match, but it was just too slow and that hurt it.

All Japan Pro Wrestling - Jumbo Tsuruta vs Chris Taylor

All Japan Pro Wrestling - Jumbo Tsuruta vs Chris Taylor

Yay, a Chris Taylor match! There's always been really limited footage of him available and this is probably the first time I've seen him in a non-squash match. He was always kind of an enigma to me as he had the real life creds and size but he died only a few years after he started, so there's not much footage to go around.

Jumbo grabs the 1st fall with this at 11:20

2nd fall finish - The announcers call it the Flying Sausage LOL

Jumbo Tsuruta got the win 2 falls to 1 when in the last fall, both men fell out and Taylor didn't make it back in before the 10 count. It could have been worse but it could have been better.  Taylor might be a 10 in the real life credentials section, but he's a 0 in charisma and a 0 in striking. He had absolutely nothing personality wise and his strikes were so bad that I don't even think you could call some of them punches. He worked way too soft, when a guy his size doesn't even need to be real stiff to make things look good. Jumbo was younger here but fine. He could have been a little more fiery but he got a respectable match out of Taylor. The only true highlight here was the announcers calling Taylor's splash, "The Flying Sausage", which is one of the greatest move names I've ever heard. It's pretty clear why Taylor didn't make it and there's a reason he is completely forgotten in wrestling history. It's a shame too as I think a fat guy amateur wrestler is a trope that hasn't been explored and is something that really could work well if done right.