After Chris Jericho had his first match rated five stars by Dave Meltzer at the age of 47 back in January, curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out who the oldest wrestlers to ever be in a five-star classic were (a list which you can read here). Naturally, once I’d spent hours of my life working out pro wrestlers’ ages down to the very day, channelling my inner professor Scott Steiner, something began to bug me – what about those at the other end of the scale? Who managed to earn this honour in the earliest days of their career? Well, once again, curiosity got the better of me, and I had to brush up once more on my Steiner mathematics, so here it is – the Top 20 Youngest Wrestlers That Were in a Dave Meltzer Five-Star Match.
New Japan Pro Wrestling is a company built on traditions, and one of its longest-running customs has been to send members of its roster on learning excursions – extended trips to work in other promotions around the world in order to develop their characters, improve their grappling abilities, or just to have time away from NJPW fans so they can come back to the company with a new character or mentality. Although most wrestlers are sent on excursion during their days as a Young Lion (New Japan’s rookie wrestlers), some are sent away once they are a permanent graduate member of the NJPW roster to improve even further. But of all the many talents that have been sent abroad over the years by New Japan, which had the most successful journeys? Who was the biggest hit in their foreign promotions, and who made the biggest impacts upon their return? Let’s find out – here are the Top 10 Most Successful New Japan Pro Wrestling Excursions.
When Chris Jericho finally had his first-ever match rated five stars by renowned wrestling and MMA journalist Dave Meltzer on January 4th this year, it was a testament of how incredibly hard the former-WWE Champion works, and how when most wrestlers would have slowed down by now, Chris is still able to put on some of the best work of his career. To some, Meltzer’s opinion means nothing, to others, it’s the gospel. Personally, while I don’t always agree with his views, I do respect that somebody who’s been critiquing pro wrestling professionally for over four decades probably knows what he’s talking about, and as such, his ratings intrigue me. It’s incredible that in such a globally supported sport as pro wrestling, there’s only one critic who’s opinion really has any meaning behind it. Sure, you may be interested what other journalists, fans or personalities have to say, but a match is never referred to as five stars unless Dave Meltzer declares that it is. (Learn more about Dave Meltzer’s dedication to pro wrestling and why his opinion is so well respected by fans and competitors alike by reading my list of the Top 20 Five-Star Matches.)
2017 has almost come to an end. In my opinion, this has been one of, if not the best year for pro wrestling that I’ve ever been witness to, especially when it comes to match quality. Full of amazing moments, history-making matches, and an endless amount of fantastic content for any type of fan to enjoy around the world, wrestling in 2017 has truly been a gift to us all. But with a year so packed full of scale-breaking MOTY candidates, shocking moments, history-making events, and breakout performances, how am I supposed to whittle down an impressive selection of nominees into the best of the best?! Well, after twelve months of deciding, I am proud to present the End of Year Hairy Awards – a celebration of the greatest wrestlers, matches, performances, etc in the world of wrestling in 2017. As it has been such a fantastic year, I’m keeping these awards as positive as I can, so look elsewhere for your negativity (but please stay on my website, I beg of you). With that being said, let’s take a look at the (not so) prestigious winners.
The entire wrestling world is in utter shock right now.
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.