The Controversial Dave Meltzer And His Ratings System

Written by sports guru- Wallace Muya:

When it comes to professional wrestling, boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), there is only one person to watch out for, in regards to the results. Dave Meltzer, is an American journalist who covers these sports and whose words on the ratings of matches performed, is highly respected. Dave has actually been called ‘the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism’ by Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated.

Dave Allen Meltzer:


Meltzer was born in New York City in 1959. His parents relocated to San Jose California when he was ten and that’s where he schooled. He earned the coveted journalism degree from San Jose State University and started his sports-writing career. He started working, and still works as an editor/publisher for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) and has written for other organizations including Yahoo! Sports, Los Angeles Times and The National Sports Daily. Dave also works frequents the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he lectures on many aspects of the business of MMA, professional wrestling and boxing.


His ‘Star Ratings’ System:

Dave popularized the ‘star rating’ system, devised by Jim Cornette and Norm M. Dooley. He has this system that has a scale of zero (0) to five (5) (and sometimes going to negative stars for bad matches), where he rates matches similar to many movie critics. Dave rates matches based on the workrate of a performer and the difficulty and variety of moves used, the history of the workers or performers and their feud, the development of an in-match storyline based on the wrestling moves and how they affect the performers, and the overall reaction of the crowd.

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It is very rare to get five-star rated matches. On two very rare occasions, he has rated two matches as six-star.

Six-Star Matches:

  • June 3rd 1994: Mitsuharu Misawa (c) vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Super Power Series 1994 – Tag 16 for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship);
  • January 4th 2017: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship)


Five-Star Matches:

They are rare to get. Despite this, there have been several five-star matches over the years, running over many promotions. Most of these matches however, are from the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion.


84 matches have received the honor. Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask I were the inaugural “five star match”. Mitsuharu Misawa has the most five-star matches with 26 (including one match wrestling as Tiger Mask II) plus one which six-star rated. Wrestlers, such as Bret Hart, have written how proud they were when their performances were praised by Dave in his Magazine.


The following are the best matches, five-star rated by Dave Meltzer according to promotion between 2000 and 2017:

  • NJPW: KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay (Best Of The Super Juniors, June 3rd 2017)
  • PWG: Will Ospreay, Ricochet & Matt Sydal vs Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson & Adam Cole (Battle of Los Angeles 2016 – Night 2, September 3rd 2016)
  • ROH: Davey Richards vs Michael Elgin (Showdown In The Sun – Day 2, March 21st 2012)
  • WWE: CM Punk vs John Cena (Money In The Bank, July 17th 2011)
  • TNA: AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels & Samoa Joe (Unbreakable, September 11th 2005)
  • NOAH: Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (Navigate For Evolution ’03 – Day 9, March 1st 2003)


With Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega’s rematch just played at NJPW Dominion on June 11th 2017, the Magazine said, “

I think this actually managed to surpass the Tokyo Dome (Wrestle Kingdom 11) in terms of match quality and drama — everything on this card was good…

A few days after the rematch Dave gave this particular match a 6.25 out of five. I do not think there will be a match that will break this Meltzer record!

Post Author: kwandege

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