SPORTS OF PRO WRESTLING: Booking The Elite  – Cody, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks each have different paths to success in AEW

SPORTS OF PRO WRESTLING: Booking The Elite  – Cody, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks each have different paths to success in AEW

The Elite

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Professional wrestling’s in-ring performance is most often quantified using star ratings or other subjective metrics, but there are many statistics and metrics that can be used to objectively analyze a wrestler’s performance. Each week in this column I’ll take a look at the sport of pro wrestling including in-ring statistics, trends, streaks, and advanced aggregate calculations of wrestlers in U.S.-based professional wrestling companies.

This was not a good week for The Elite. Four-fifths of the group took a loss against a randomly assembled foursome on Dynamite, and Cody took ten lashes with a leather belt from his former protege, MJF. The Elite’s futility this week isn’t drawing the same criticism from the professional wrestling community as it did at the inception of All Elite Wrestling because, when it comes to high stakes wins and losses and championships, The Elite hasn’t delivered the way many anticipated.

The expectation that Kenny Omega, considered by some to be the best in-ring performer in the world, would achieve immediate greatness in AEW was essentially a forgone conclusion. Cody had an early penchant for building conflict-based matches with a new group of wrestlers. Matt and Nick Jackson were primed to finally dominate a stable tag team division that they had hand selected all while Adam Page had a clear sight to contention to be the face of All Elite Wrestling for years to come.

All Elite Wrestling’s flagship group began their tenure in the new league with a microscope placed directly over their in-ring results. Cody, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks’ front office positions were sure to influence their performance in the ring, but we had very little history to reference when it came to this group consistently wrestling against a roster with this variety of talent. Would they be distracted by their EVP responsibilities? Would they be motivated to impress masses of new viewers? Would they buckle under the pressure of wrestling meaningful matches weekly?

The Elite haven’t been dominant in AEW by any stretch of the imagination; they’re collectively 57-33-1 overall for a .629 winning percentage. That’s enough to keep themselves in the conversation for top tier matchups, but it’s not good enough to demand title shots or main event opportunities much longer as other wrestlers hit their stride and establish themselves to the league. Collectively, they’ve come up short in significant matches, they haven’t held the championships they were expected to, and they’ve had more success making others into stars than putting their new brand on their own backs.

But even without win-loss dominance, The Elite touts some of the best secondary metrics in All Elite Wrestling.  Most notably, they’ve dominated ring time. The company’s top four wrestlers in Total Match Length are Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, and Adam Page. Unsurprisingly for those familiar with his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Omega dominates this metric with a league leading six hours and twenty-three minutes of ring time over a company high twenty-two matches. That’s an hour-and-a-half more than Nick Jackson, who lands second in this metric. Omega hasn’t spent much time with a microphone to define his character to his new audience, but he has somewhat quietly been one of AEW’s most valuable in-ring assets. If Omega can keep his stamina and rack up some meaningful singles victories, it’s a near certainty that he’ll build towards an AEW championship opportunity when the opponent is right.

The only member of The Elite that doesn’t land on top of the Total Match Length list is Cody. Cody’s ring time has been a little more limited, landing 10th in the metric, but he is taking the most competitive bookings. Cody’s Average Match Length is second longest in AEW at 16:23. He has the best win-loss differential at +10:11, mostly because it takes a very long time for opponents to put Cody away successfully; his average losing match time is the longest in AEW at 23:43. Cody may not be able to compete for the AEW Championship due to his loss to Chris Jericho at Full Gear, but he has shown that he will continue to take the most competitive bookings AEW has to offer.

Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, have been true to their word. At AEW’s onset, they were determined to bring tag team wrestling to the forefront of the professional wrestling landscape, and while they have the least impressive statistics of any of their Elite unit-mates, they have appeared in over a quarter of the company’s main events. The tag team division in All Elite Wrestling is one of the strongest in all of professional wrestling, but aside from the two teams that have held the AEW Tag Team Championships, no team has been able to stretch together a meaningful winning streak. Currently, only SCU, Omega & Page, and The Dark Order have any sort of win streak in the tag team division, and none are longer than three matches. If The Young Bucks can link together even a few wins, they’ll rise through the ranks for an AEW Tag Team Championship opportunity with ease. If they can time it correctly to take on a less seasoned team (i.e. their friends and current champions Kenny Omega and Adam Page), they’ll have their sights set on the AEW Tag Team Championships in no time.

Adam Page is currently one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions, but his actions show that that isn’t really where he wants to be. The Hangman couldn’t capitalize to become the inaugural AEW World Champion earlier this year, and he has mostly floundered in the middle of the card as a singles competitor since. Page’s 6-4 all time singles record is deceiving. His wins include two battle royals and a four-way match against Jimmy Havoc, Jungle Boy, and MJF. His one-on-one singles match victories include Kip Sabian, Sammy Guevara, and Pac. The victory over Pac would be impressive, but Page has also lost to Pac twice. Hangman will need to work his way up the card with one on one victories to work himself into the championship picture. The dissention between The Hangman and Kenny Omega could be Page’s best strategy to get himself booked into a very meaningful singles match against the top tier Omega.

We’ve seen a significant shift from Kenny Omega, Cody, Adam Page, and The Young Bucks since the calendar turned to 2020 and The Elite seems to be hitting their in-ring stride now. The group had produced a .592 winning percentage since All Out, essentially league average for competitors with over five matches. They seemingly traded wins and losses through the tail end of 2019 and none of them could string together a significant win streak.

2020’s reset has been especially good Omega, Cody, and Page. They entered their eight-man tag on Feb. 5 undefeated, but Omega and Page took a loss in the match. The Young Bucks are .500 on the year so far, so they still need to turn a corner to build a championship résumé. The Elite is currently riding a .714 winning percentage on the new year and prior to their loss to The Blade, The Butcher, and The Lucha Brothers, their winning percentage was a staggering .882. If momentum holds up, the statistics are lining up for 2020 to be an establishing year for All Elite Wrestling’s flagship group.

Omega, Page, Cody, and the Jackson brothers are all capable of dominating All Elite Wrestling eventually. The main event scene is currently in good hands without them, occupied by recent WWE departures Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley. If The Elite continues to play their role well by taking only the most competitive bookings and building a cache of secondary statistics to point to when the time is right, they’ll open the doors of opportunity when they can fully capitalize.

All Elite Wrestling’s leadership team put a microscope on their booking tendencies before they even booked a match and I’ve taken on the task of curating and quantifying detailed AEW in-ring metrics at I’ve aggregated metrics including ring time, fall differential, strength of schedule, match stakes, match placement, participating match type, recency and many more to paint a clear statistical picture of each AEW wrestler’s in-ring performance.

RECOMMENDED: SPORT OF PRO WRESTLING: If Wins And Losses Matter, Everything Else Does Too – Ideas to deepen the layers of how AEW computes wrestler success

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