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The first 28 WrestleMania (WM) events included a total of 279 matches. 64 of those matches (22.9%) didn't even last 5 full minutes from opening bell to closing bell. Here is some basic summary data about those matches as well as some other tidbits that I noticed.
The average time of these 64 matches is 3 minutes and 1 second (3m 01s).
The percentiles for these 64 matches are:
25th percentile: 1m 37s
50th percentile: 3m 21s
75th percentile: 4m 12s
This means that 25 percent of these matches were less than 1m 37s, 50 percent of these matches were less than 3m 21s, and 75 percent of these matches were less than 4m 12s.
13 of these 64 matches included at least one female combatant.
13 of these 64 matches were team matches.
14 of these 64 matches were championship matches: 6 Women's Championship, 2 Tag Team Championship, 2 IC Championship, 1 WWF Championship, 1 WHC, 1 ECW Championship, and 1 Hardcore Championship match. The title changed hands in 5 of these 14 matches.
The only streak match on this list is Undertaker's WM debut (4m 20s) against Jimmy Snuka from WM 7.
WM 6 and WM 7 combined to include 13 of these 64 matches. WM 6 led the way with 7 such matches on its 14-match card.
In fact, 33 of these 64 matches took place during the first seven WM events.
WM 17, which is considered by many to be the best WM event of all-time, included 3 of these matches on its 11-match card. Those matches were a Gimmick Battle Royal (3m 6s), APA and Tazz versus Right To Censor (3m 53s) and Chyna versus Ivory (2m 39s) for the Women's Championship. You have to go all the way back to WM 7 to find another WM card with at least 3 of these matches.
WM 11 and WM 13, which are often ranked among the worst WM events of all-time, are the only WM events in history that did not feature any of these 64 short matches. In fact, the shortest match on WM 13 was The Rock vs. The Sultan, clocking in at 9m 45s. This is by far the longest "shortest match on the card" in WM history. WM 11's shortest match of Luger and Bulldog vs. Blu Brothers (6m 34s) comes in at a distant second place. The Rock and The Sultan will likely hold this record for a long time.
Only 4 of these 64 matches received a Meltzer star rating of 2 or more stars: Steamboat vs. Borne (3.25 stars), Santana vs. Executioner (2.5 stars), Roberts vs. Wells (2 stars), and Martel vs. Koko B. Ware (2 stars).
44 of these 64 matches received less than 1 star from Meltzer. 34 of these matches received 0 stars or worse. Warrior vs. Hercules from WM 4, which lasted 4m 29s, is notable for achieving a score of negative 1.5 stars.
Dino Bravo might be the king of appearing in short WM matches. He competed in four of these matches and also appeared ringside for the WM 3 battle between The Rougeaus and The Dream Team. His record was 1-3.
Earthquake competed in 4 of these 64 matches. The only match he lost was the Gimmick Battle Royal.
Hercules wrestled in 3 of these 64 matches and had a winless record of 0-3.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Torrie Wilson, Tito Santana, Kane, and the One Man Gang each competed in 3 of these 64 matches as well.
5 of the 28 WM events opened the show with one of these 64 brief matches. They are WM 1 (Santana vs. Executioner), WM 2 (Orndorff vs. Muraco), WM 6 (Martel vs. Koko B. Ware), WM 26 (ShowMiz vs. Truth and Morrison), and WM 28 (Sheamus vs. Bryan).
The Elite 18
18 of these 64 matches didn't even last two full minutes. Here is the complete list of those 18 extremely short matches.
- 11s: Kane vs. Chavo, Title Match (WM 24)
- 18s: Sheamus vs. Bryan, Title Match (WM 28)
- 19s: Hart Foundation vs. Bolsheviks (WM 6)
- 21s: JBL vs. Rey, Title Match (WM 25)
- 21s: Hogan vs. Yokozuna, Title Match (WM 9)
- 24s: Bundy vs. SD Jones (WM 1)
- 32s: Rooster vs. Heenan (WM 5)
- 34s: Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb (WM 10)
- 35s: Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean (WM 15)
- 59s: Legion of Doom vs. Hercules and Roma (WM 7)
- 1m 03s: Big Show vs. Akebono (WM 21)
- 1m 11s: Owen vs. Skinner (WM 8)
- 1m 21s: Mountie vs. Santana (WM 7)
- 1m 25s: Moolah vs. McIntyre, Title Match (WM 2)
- 1m 27s: Fatal 4-Way Pillow Fight (WM 19)
- 1m 33s: 8-Man Tag Match (WM 27)
- 1m 38s: Warrior vs. HHH (WM 12)
- 1m 49s: Big Boss Man vs. Akeem (WM 6)
10 of these 18 matches didn't even last one full minute.
4 of the 5 shortest matches in WM history actually concluded with a title changing hands. Moolah vs. McIntyre is the only championship match that lasted under two minutes with the champion retaining.
Does WWE purposely try to book an under two-minute match onto recent WM cards? WM 24, WM 25, WM 27, and WM 28 each included a match that did not last two full minutes. And in fact, three of those four matches didn't even last 30 seconds.
Among these 18 matches, there are 2 female matches, 3 tag team matches, 1 Sumo match, and 1 Brawl For All match.
The WM 19 Pillow Fight ended abruptly without a winner or a bell ring to officially conclude the match. As a result, some people don't consider this to be an actual match on the card
Big Show and Kane each appeared in two of these 18 matches. Kane had it particularly easy, as he wasn't forced to wear sumo attire in any of his matches.
Daniel Bryan versus Sheamus was the only one of these 18 matches that opened the show.
Hogan vs. Yokozuna is the only one of these matches that closed the show.
WM 6 and WM 7 each hosted two of these 18 matches.
Here is the remaining list of 46 matches that were longer than 2 minutes but did not reach the full 5 minutes.
- 2m 5s: Kirchner vs. Volkoff (WM 2)
- 2m 25s: Terri vs. Kat (WM 16)
- 2m 36s: Sable, Torrie vs. Miss Jackie, Stacy (WM 20)
- 2m 39s: Chyna vs. Ivory (WM 17)
- 2m 56s: Bigelow vs. One Man Gang (WM 4)
- 3m 01s: Adonis vs. Elmer (WM 2)
- 3m 06s: Gimmick Battle Royal (WM 17)
- 3m 11s: Tornado vs. Bravo (WM 7)
- 3m 13s: Melina vs. Ashley (WM 23)
- 3m 14s: Earthquake vs. Valentine (WM 7)
- 3m 15s: Goldust vs. Maven (WM 18)
- 3m 15s: Ziggler, LayCool vs. Trish, Snooki, Morrison (WM 27)
- 3m 15s: Jake Roberts vs. Wells (WM 2)
- 3m 20s: Blayze vs. Leilani Kai (WM 10)
- 3m 22s: ShowMiz vs. R-Truth, Morrison (WM 26)
- 3m 24s: 10-Diva Tag Match (WM 26)
- 3m 39s: Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware (WM 3)
- 3m 45s: Razor Ramon vs. Backlund (WM 9)
- 3m 49s: Duggan vs. Bad News Brown (WM 5)
- 3m 51s: Martel vs. Koko B. Ware (WM 6)
- 3m 53s: Boogeyman vs. Booker T and Sharmell (WM 22)
- 3m 53s: APA and Tazz vs. Right To Censor (WM 17)
- 3m 54s: Torrie vs. Candice (WM 22)
- 3m 58s: Owen and Jarrett vs. D-Lo and Test (WM 15)
- 3m 59s: Bravo vs. Garvin (WM 5)
- 3m 59s: Rude vs. Snuka (WM 6)
- 4m 03s: Rougeaus vs. Beefcake and Valentine (WM 3)
- 4m 05s: Savage vs. One Man Gang (WM 4)
- 4m 10s: Orndorff vs. Muraco (WM 2)
- 4m 11s: Trish vs. Christy (WM 21)
- 4m 15s: Duggan vs. Bravo (WM 6)
- 4m 16s: Rikishi and Kane vs. Road Dogg, X-Pac (WM 16)
- 4m 20s: Undertaker vs. Snuka (WM 7)
- 4m 22s: Hillbilly Jim's Team vs. Bundy's Team (WM 3)
- 4m 22s: Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog (WM 3)
- 4m 29s: Warrior vs. Hercules (WM 4)
- 4m 33s: Barbarian vs. Santana (WM 6)
- 4m 33s: Tatanka vs. Martel (WM 8)
- 4m 37s: Steamboat vs. Borne (WM 1)
- 4m 44s: Demolition vs. Tenryu and Kitao (WM 7)
- 4m 49s: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock (WM 14)
- 4m 50s: Santana vs. Executioner (WM 1)
- 4m 52s: Earthquake vs. Hercules (WM 6)
- 4m 53s: Muraco vs. Bravo (WM 4)
- 4m 53s: Victoria vs. Molly (WM 20)
- 4m 54s: Ted DiBiase vs. Duggan (WM 4)
So that finishes the full list of the 64, WM matches that did not last 5 full minutes. Which ones are your personal favorites, CageSiders? Is it ridiculous that over one-fifth of WM matches haven't even lasted 5 minutes? Which upcoming WM 29 match has the best chance to join this list? Or do you think WM 29 will join WM 11 and WM 13 as the only WM events in history without a match this short?