One month ago, I embarked on my biggest project to date – searching through every match given a full five stars by renowned journalist, Dave Meltzer, and ranking my top twenty personal favourites (CLICK HERE TO READ). It took many hours of research and hard work, but after channeling my inner Meltzer, the amazing response I received was more than worth it. However, after spending so many hours indulging in these rare, amazing quality matches, it got me thinking about an even rarer type of match, a match so bad it had to be banished to the other end of the grappling spectrum. While just over ninety matches were given that prestigious five-star rating, only five bouts in the history of professional wrestling were branded with the dreaded minus five stars. Out of the hundreds of thousands of matches to take place since 1983 when the Wrestling Observer Newsletter was founded, only five were considered to be the worst of the worst.
In every other field of entertainment, whether it be music, television, film, etc., the determination of how good or bad something is isn’t down to one individual. Opinions from hundreds of critics are gathered to determine whether a piece of cinema or music is universally acclaimed, middle of the road, or panned by the world. Yet as it is in so many ways, wrestling is unique when it comes to critical opinion. Despite being enjoyed by millions of people around the world, there is only one opinion that truly determines how good a match is. Sure, there are hundreds of podcasters, YouTubers, journalists and fans out there that give their opinions on every match they’ve ever seen, and yes, you may be interested in what certain people have to say, yet in the wider context of the wrestling world, their opinion holds no real merit. No match is ever quoted as being 10/10 or absolutely perfect because somebody from WhatCulture said so, or because another wrestler is quoted as saying it is, no matter how admired they are by the community. However, if respected journalist Dave Meltzer says a match is five stars, then it’s known forever as a five-star match.