That's just the trouble with the stupid high stats Dragon Ball runs on. They past such a high threshold so early on, that to continue doing things on that scale just makes writing the story problematic. So things had to get condensed and everyone had to worry about planetary safety when fighting, or else Vegeta will wiff a regular punch against Cell by accident, and the shockwave will cut Earth in two and carry on through space through Venus and Mercury. So yeah, you're left with tell instead of show for the real extent of their powers, because you're always left with two or more combatants that are holding back when there are a number of times where you'd figure they really don't need to. Frieza wouldn't have had the issue with being worried for his life and only half-destroying Namek if he accidently blew up Namek early (Though it would have rid him of his Saiyan pest way earlier than he intended) if he actually threw blasts that could blow up the planet as he easily could. But it wouldn't be a very good story then, would it?