Last Friday, we released the final 10 matches in our 2015 Match of the Year poll. The 2015 Match of the Year project — our largest to date featuring 99 voters and just under 200 matches — always leaves a lot of room for interpretation and study. What regions stood out, what promotions did better than others and more important, what individual wrestlers stood out in 2015 and could make a case for “Best in the World”? Thanks to our very own Rob Reid (@TheRDouble) for culling much of the data used here and, of course, thank you to each and every voter in this year’s poll for helping us collect this awesome data.

Regions

Canada and America reigned supreme in 2015 leading in overall points, votes and matches. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise given it’s the majority of our voters homebase, but for the gap to be that far ahead of Japan is telling.

CropperCapture[265]-1

This visualization tells the tale of just how dominant Can-Am was taking nearly half of all matches with Japan just eating into that sliver a bit. While encouraging overall, Europe and Mexico’s small slice of the pie shows a disparity we’ve attempted to reduce as the Match of the Year poll has grown over the years. Given the ambitious start to the year in Europe and the growing accessibility of Mexican promotions, this sliver could see an increase in 2016.

CropperCapture[266]

Another great visualization of how dominant Can-Am was in 2015. Can-Am swallows more than half of the pool in points and completely decimates both Mexico and Europe with Japan holding some amount of respectability.

CropperCapture[268]

Take that America! The only region-based statistic not dominated by Can-Am, Japan dominated first place votes taking more than half proving that while there may have been a higher number of elite matches in Canada and America in 2015—or that there was simply more eyes on Can-Am wrestling—the elite of the elite resides in Japan.

Promotions

Votes, first place votes and points all went to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2015. The most startling fact of all — it wasn’t even close.

image (30)

NJPW dominated every other promotion in first place votes grabbing 62 overall, 43 of which going to the Wrestle Kingdom 9 main and semi main event with an additional 8 for the G1 Climax 25 finals. In-between that dominance was 11 first-place votes for Bayley vs. Sasha Banks from August, giving WWE + NXT a solid spot in second. Interestingly, if you break up WWE and NXT into separate promotions, NXT took 15 first place votes, far exceeding that of main roster WWE. However, the gap in points (798 vs. 782) and votes (118 vs. 147) is minimal or inversed. Other promotions to garner first place votes including Dragon Gate, Mexico’s CMLL, Lucha Underground, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor, EVOLVE, DDT, WWNLive, Revolution Pro Wrestling, SHIMMER and Tenryu Project.

Tenryu Project had the distinction of playing last among promotions with first-place votes getting only four votes total (including the first-place bid) for a mere total of 30 points. In contrast, Big Japan Wrestling (77 points), Stardom (63), Pro Wrestling NOAH (47) and PROGRESS Wrestling (44) all finished above Tenryu Project in points but did not receive a first-place vote.

Much like first place votes, points was all NJPW this year, beating out the combined WWE and NXT brands by 1,103 overall points (or a little over 78 first-place votes). Yeah, it was a big gap. Worse yet if we split up the two WWE brands — NJPW would’ve beat NXT by 1,885 points and main roster WWE by 1,901.

image (31)

Eliminating NJPW and WWE + NXT from the picture gives us a very tight race between a number of secondary promotions across the world. Dragon Gate takes the biggest chunk but only slightly above CMLL, Lucha Underground and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. In fact, those four account for nearly half of the remaining point outputs with major American independents like Ring of Honor and EVOLVE tailing behind.

image (33)

An interesting note regarding Ring of Honor, it’s vote total of 36 is tied with that of Lucha Underground and only slightly behind that of Dragon Gate (38), CMLL (39) and Lucha Underground (40), yet in points those three promotions blew Ring of Honor away. Given Ring of Honor’s near-universal in-ring praise this year, they didn’t register enough of the high-placing match votes in this year’s poll to beat out some of their competitors.

image (34)

Individuals

Now for the part most of you care about — what individual wrestlers dominated the field this year?

This year was all Shinsuke Nakamura who garnered the most points (1,096), most votes (132), and most first place votes (36). The only two categories Nakamura was topped in was the number of matches, that distinction when to Wrestling Observer’s Wrestler of the Year A.J. Styles and number of promotions which saw Styles, Kazuchika Okada and Zack Sabre Jr. tie at four.

The remainder of the Top 10 for points includes Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Sasha Banks, Okada, Bayley, John Cena, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar and the aforementioned Styles.

image (35)

61 different wrestlers registered a first-place vote and in a microcosm of her character in WWE, Becky Lynch had the highest point total (91 points) without a first place vote. She was followed by Daisuke Sekimoto, Dragon Lee and his hated rival Kamaitachi. Of those, Sekimoto had seven different matches from three different promotions included in the pool.  

Focusing on the number of matches included in this year’s countdown, Styles as mentioned is tops with 14 in four different promotions. That’s a theme among wrestlers in the Top 10 for match quantity. Second place finisher Roderick Strong had 11 matches total from three different promotions while Okada and Sabre Jr. had 10 in four promotions. The highest finisher of match frequency while sticking with one promotion is John Cena.

image (37)

You can see the full breakdown of regions, promotions and individuals in the tables below. Find anything interesting? Share it with us on our forums and the Match of the Year discussion thread at http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=844

Region

RegionsPointsFirst VotesVotesMatches
Can-Am39875371598
Japan23206749868
Mexico29845619
Europe10012116

Promotions

PromotionsFirstPointsVotes
NJPW622683391
WWE + NXT221580265
NXT15798118
WWE MR7782147
DG323838
CMLL321039
LU219440
PWG116536
ROH112536
EVOLVE111326
BJW07719
Stardom06315
DDT15210
WWN2507
NOAH04712
RPW1448
PROGRESS0449
SHIMMER1346
Tenryu1304
TNA0296
Chilanga0244
Empire0205
AJPW0204
Cara Lucha0173
ProSouth0153
AIW0143
AAA0114
ZERO1083
CZW072
PREMIER061
IWA-MS051
wXw051
AWE041
Infinity041
Tetsujin041
CWF MA021
ICW021
AAW011
Anarchy011
GUTS World011
ISW011
M-Pro011
SHINE011
TCW011

Individual Wrestlers

Wrestler1stsPointsVotes# Matches# Promotions
Nakamura36109613252
Ibushi2883810462
Tanahashi2391012773
Okada16690100104
Banks1574010541
Bayley156599031
Cena651096101
Rollins65008051
Lesnar64917931
O'Reilly41842943
KUSHIDA41823043
Takagi31732752
ZSJ218940104
Strong220544113
Hero2841983
Fenix21683233
Ishii22944651
Sombra2921541
Honma22413531
Muertes21643121
Atlantis2881321
Mochizuki21402111
Styles130367144
Thatcher1871973
Galloway117333
Ospreay11312482
HARASHIMA1501152
Volador146852
Young Bucks1551442
Gargano137742
Sydal148922
Reigns12344041
J. Briscoe136741
Saito128431
YAMATO128431
T-Hawk125331
CIMA131421
Ohata127321
M. Briscoe125421
Kimura124321
Kzy119221
Owens11924011
Tenryu130411
KUDO125311
A. Kong122211
Euforia122211
Guerrero122211
Kansai122211
Matsumoto122211
Mistico122211
Nakagawa122211
Ozaki122211
Roja122211
Skater122211
Valiente122211
Anderson120211
Gallows120211
Hanson120211
Rowe120211
Sekimoto0852173
Scurll0461043
End024743
Lee024743
Sugiura0421233
Rave031833
Pentagon022733
Bailey022652
Tanaka011542
Elgin0401032
Kingston029732
Sato025832
Del Rio015332
Rush015332
Ricochet014532
Aerostar012432
Yim012332
Flamita019422
Busick016622
Joe016422
Nation013322
Matthews012222
Drago011322
Komatsu010322
LuFisto09222
Walter09222
Ciampa06222
Omega05222
Eagles03222
Shibata0822251
Susumu040741
Goto027641
Dragon Lee0841931
Kamaitachi0841931
Ishikawa0701531
Satomura0581231
Cesaro0471431
Suzuki0471231
Balor044831
Hojo037731
Lethal0341031
Shirai026831
Cole015431
Tozawa07331
Iwatani05331
Lynch0911721
Yoshino029421
Virus024421
Big E022621
Kalisto022621
Sin Cara022621
Usos022621
Shiozaki020421
Hulk017321
Gulak015421
Doi014321
Horiguchi014321
Kong014321
Zayn011421
Mundo010221
Myzteziz09221
Sheamus07221
Sting06221
B. Cage06221
Mack06221
Angelico05221
Havoc05221
Eita03221
Pain02221
Bryan035711
Okabayashi0291111
EC3028511
Spud028511
Kagetora020311
Sachi020311
Haskins018311
Cerebro016311
Doering016311
Sakuraba015611
Undertaker015311
J. Havoc014211
Everett013411
Super Dragon013411
Henry012411
Kanda012211
K-ness012211
Ryu012211
Tanizaki012211
Vampiro011411
Charlotte010211
Marufuji010211
Cavernario010211
Titan010211
Ohka08211
Aguayo08111
Avisman08111
Romero07411
Trent07411
Barrett06111
Graves06111
Kay06111
Naito06111
Page06111
Ryback06111
Woods06111
Bennett05211
Taven05211
Ivelisse05211
ADJ05111
Akito05111
Damo05111
Gacy05111
Irie05111
M. Cage05111
Mercer05111
Pickard05111
Akiyama04111
Alexander04111
Gable04111
Hayato04111
Jordan04111
LA Park04111
Lovelace04111
Miyahara04111
Moose04111
Omori04111
Wagner04111
Hino03211
ACH03111
Athena03111
Bael03111
Castro03111
Cisco03111
Fish03111
Sakaguchi03111
Attitude02111
Cuerno02111
Fox02111
Killshot02111
Liger02111
Lude02111
Mephisto02111
Ryck02111
Savoy02111
Skyler02111
Sterling02111
Texano02111
Wilkins02111
A. Suicide01111
Amore01111
Bate01111
Bengala01111
C3PO-101111
Cassady01111
Chisako01111
Daga01111
Daisuke01111
Dawson01111
Donst01111
Dunne01111
Edwards01111
Fale01111
Fantasma01111
Fireball01111
Gage01111
GAIN01111
Gatton01111
J. Hardy01111
Kei01111
Kinya01111
Laredo01111
M. Hardy01111
Master ET01111
Morgan01111
Mysterio01111
Nova01111
O'Hare01111
R2D2-201111
Richards01111
Robin01111
Sachiko01111
Sasuke01111
Shu01111
Slim J01111
Super Fly01111
T. Yoshino01111
Takayama01111
Taro01111
Triple H01111
Wilder01111
Yehi01111
Yung01111