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.