The Star Rating System

Ahh the greatest tools at the internet dork's disposal. The much-maligned, completely over-used Star Rating System. The little snowflake look-ey things that cause people to get SO worked up and testy.

Isn't it brilliant to watch people have a big, stupid fight on some strange and random forum over whether Baron Von Stinky Tits vs Simon Saggyscrote is ***, ***1/2, ***3/4, ***88/89 etc

To be frank, I don't have time for that. I don't read too much into star ratings. Never have, never will. But the reality is, you want to write wrestling reviews, you kinda need some kind of star-rating variant. Unless you're SO good with words you can continually innovate new and interesting ways to say 'I like it'...'I hate it'...'This guy is a useless sack of sh*t'.

So yeah, I do use the infamous Star Rating System. But you know what, I try to use it differently. For one thing, I don't do quarter stars, or three quarter stars, or nine tenth stars. Lets face it...whilst I appreciate people reading my stuff and, hey, maybe even value my opinion, does anyone really come here me to quibble over meaningless semi-snowflake portions? Besides, who am I to judge these wrestlers I'm watching? Am I trained pro? No, I'm not. Have I ever been in a wrestling ring? No I have not. I'm certainly not arrogant enough to presume I know anything about what goes on in that ring. Therefore I would feel bad if I sat down at my laptop with the mindset that I was going to run the rule over these guys busting their asses for my entertainment and scrutinise them to the point of hyper-criticism.

I review wrestling and give feedback based on how much I liked it. Nothing more, nothing less. At the end of a tape or DVD I've reviewed, I'm not going to get caught up in the amount of snowflakes I've dished out - it's about how much I enjoyed the show, and how far I would recommend it to a fellow wrestling fan. Nothing more...nothing less.

And what's more, each match I review and give a rating for has to be taken on it's merit. For instance, I might give a 6-minute long spot-fest featuring guys diving all over the place 3* - because it was good for what it was. Then I might give a 40-minute technical clinic between two talented guys who just never quite hit the highs and produced the performance they were capable of 3* too. It's all relative to the context. Both would've been good matches. But in the case of the spot-match, the competitors in that have worked hard and milked a lot out of a minimal match-time to produce an entertaining little match. Then in the mat-bout, two guys, whilst producing a solid bout, never really hit the highs I was expecting them to. Thus, two totally different matches achieve a similar rating.

Star ratings are totally subjective. One man's 5* classic is another man's sh*tfest. I'm well aware that my opinions may be totally different to others as well. That's just life. So rather than waste my life and your time agonising over these decisions. I've kept things nice and simple. It goes like this:


DUD - Absolutely no redeeming features. Avoid at all costs

(Generally I try to avoid giving these out. I try to be a positive guy, so generally I'll try to see the positive in anything I'm watching. But occasionally you just can't avoid it)

* - Poor match/Too short to mean anything etc

(Fairly self-explanatory here. If something's not very good, normally I'll try to avoid going all the way to DUD's-ville and dropping it in here. Alternatively, if something wasn't too bad, but just didn't last long enough to score a decent rating then I might lay down this rating too)

** - OK Match - lacking a little something to go higher

(So maybe a match was solid, but a little boring therefore not particularly entertaining. Maybe I couldn't find enough about it that I enjoyed to deem it 'good'. Again, I try to be positive at all times. I try to think of ** as the bottom end of a good review, as opposed to the top end of a sh*t one)

*** - Good/Solid match

(Once more, this one should be pretty straight forward. You'll probably see a lot of matches lumped into this category. Perhaps it was lacking a little excitement, or something to make a match particularly memorable, but still, nothing overly wrong with it. If something is good, I'll say so and it'll get this rating at worst)

**** - Very good match

(Now we're getting towards the top end of my scale, and if I find something memorable or exciting to watch, it'll normally get this rating. I think this may be the broadest of all my ratings. In that, I like to think that I'm fairly easy to please. If someone has a match that I've really enjoyed watching, but maybe has a couple of shortcomings that prevent it moving into MOTYC territory, then it'll be here. Basically, that means I tend to put anything that's good, but not *MOTYC good* into this bracket)

****1/2 - Match of the Year Candidate - worth going out of your way to see

(A yes, the holy grail for all wrestlers...the hallowed MOTYC. This is the ONLY half/fraction of a star you'll see me giving out. If a match has done enough to edge itself into one of my very favourite matches of a particular year, it'll get this rating (or alternatively, if I watch a match and think, retrospectively, that I consider it to be one of the best matches from a particular year, then once again, it'll get this rating). To be honest, this is the highest rating I really tend to give out on a regular basis. If I've enjoyed something, I tend to go 4* on it. If I've REALLY enjoyed something, I'll go 4.5*)

***** - Fantastic match - one of my all-time favourites

(I tend not to give this one out too often. Well, I try not to anyway. Just so we're clear, I'm not one of those writers that's so into themselves that they think 5* from them is some kind of massive deal. In my's simply not. I just tend to reserve my 5* ratings for my favourite matches of all time. Obviously one can only have so many favourites, so it takes a lot for a match/show to get onto the list) 
So there you have it. I try to be positive. I try not to take myself too seriously.

Obviously I realise the above system means that lots of matches end up with very similar ratings. But as I mentioned above - star ratings are so subjective, and can vary so wildly from person to person, they basically become meaningless. By trying to keep it simple as outlined, I believe I'm allowing good matches to get good ratings, allowing myself to find positive things to say about mediocre ones, and being able to sufficiently warn people to steer clear of some real stinkers.

Sure sometimes it's a little creatively restricting and it makes it hard to differentiate from one match to the next. But you know what - I'm just one reviewer. If I'm too specific, I'll feel like I'm making a reader's mind up for them. That's not what I want to do.

As I said - my mission statement is pretty simple. I'm not there to clinically and maliciously pick things apart, or to dissect matches into millions of pieces etc. I simply want to let people know whether I liked something, or whether I didn't. Things people should check out...and the things they should avoid. Pure and, hopefully, fairly simple!

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