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Match Times: WWE SummerSlam 2012

With "SummerSlam 2013" approaching this weekend, let's take a look back at the timing of last year's summer blockbuster. Here is a full breakdown of how much time each match was given at the "SummerSlam 2012" pay-per-view (PPV).

WWE's SummerSlam 2012 event lasted for 2 hours 49 minutes and 17 seconds (2h 49m 17s). Here is a breakdown of the timing for every single second of the show, in chronological order.

The matches are in bold. The "pre-match" segments include video packages, entrances, ring introductions, and any verbal promos that occur right before a match officially begins. The "post-match" segments include any celebrations, replays, angles, attacks, or promos that occur right after a match is finished.

  • 0m 20s: WWE's "Then, Now, Forever" opening
  • 2m 38s: Video hyping SummerSlam 2012
  • 1m 15s: Opening pyro while Cole welcomes us to SummerSlam
  • 3m 44s: Pre-match for Ziggler vs Jericho (with a 36s Vickie on-stage promo and a 38s video recap of Ziggler winning MITB)
  • 13m 06s: Ziggler vs Jericho
  • 1m 39s: Post-match for Ziggler vs Jericho
  • 0m 32s: Commercial for Slim Jim Steakhouse Strips
  • 0m 24s: Cole thanks Los Angeles for being great hosts
  • 1m 15s: Video recap of Lesnar breaking HBK's arm on Raw
  • 1m 23s: Backstage promo with Lesnar and Heyman
  • 3m 04s: Pre-match for Bryan vs Kane (with a 10s introduction of the Spanish announce team)
  • 8m 04s: Bryan vs Kane
  • 2m 11s: Post-match for Bryan vs Kane (with a 45s backstage attack involving Kane/Matthews)
  • 0m 31s: Commercial: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
  • 3m 50s: Pre-match for Miz vs Mysterio
  • 9m 10s: Miz vs Mysterio
  • 1m 22s: Post-match for Miz vs Mysterio
  • 0m 58s: Commercial for WWE App
  • 2m 22s: Backstage segment with Teddy, Eve, Punk, and AJ
  • 6m 51s: Pre-match for Sheamus vs ADR (with a 2m 05s video package)
  • 11m 23s: Sheamus vs ADR
  • 3m 04s: Post-match for Sheamus vs ADR
  • 0m 55s: Video for National Guard
  • 0m 13s: Cole hypes Night of Champions
  • 0m 21s: Cole discusses twitter war between Mike Tyson and Piers Morgan
  • 1m 09s: Replay of HHH talking to Scott Armstrong during pre-show
  • 0m 22s: Tweet from HBK
  • 2m 43s: Pre-match for Kingston/Truth vs Prime Time Players (with a 53s Raw recap of feud)
  • 7m 07s: Kingston/Truth vs Prime Time Players
  • 3m 43s: Video for SummerSlam Axxess
  • 9m 34s: Pre-match for Punk vs Cena vs Big Show (with a 3m 29s video package)
  • 11m 37s: Punk vs Cena vs Big Show Part 1
  • 1m 53s: Post-match for Punk vs Cena vs Big Show Part 1 (AJ restarts match)
  • 0m 58s: Punk vs Cena vs Big Show Part 2
  • 4m 03s: Post-match for Punk vs Cena vs Big Show Part 2 (Punk celebrates)
  • 1m 13s: Celebrities in attendance including Durst, Arquette, Menounos
  • 1m 18s: Movie trailer: The Day
  • 0m 17s: Cast of The Day is in the audience
  • 1m 23s: Video recap of Santino vs Cesaro from the pre-show
  • 4m 20s: Musical performance from Kevin Rudolf with dancing WWE Divas
  • 10m 17s: Pre-match for Lesnar vs HHH (with a 3m 51s video package)
  • 18m 45s: Lesnar vs HHH
  • 6m 29s: Post-match for Lesnar vs HHH

The seven matches combined for a total bell-to-bell time of 1h 20m 10s. This means that only 47.4% of the show was devoted to in-ring action.

The pre-match pieces combined for a total time of 40m 03s, which is 23.7% of the total show time.

There were three matches that didn't even last twice as long as their respective pre-match segments: Lesnar vs HHH, Cena vs Punk vs Big Show, and Sheamus vs ADR. In fact the Punk vs Cena vs Big Show match (12m 35s) was only three minutes longer than it's lengthy pre-match segments (9m 34s). This seems like a poor time allocation decision.

The post-match pieces combined for a total time of 22m 12s, which is 13.1% of the total show time.

The post-match for Lesnar vs HHH stands out the most, as it featured about 2m 19s of Lesnar's celebration and replays, before spending another 4m 10s on HHH refusing medical attention and slowly walking up the ramp while teasing retirement.

The post-match segment for Punk's victory was also lengthy, as it featured over 4 minutes of him celebrating and taunting a frustrated Cena while the commentators looked at replays and discussed Punk's antics used to secure the victory.

That leaves about 26m 52s (15.9%) of the show for other miscellaneous things. This includes a musical performance, commercials, movie trailers, celebrities in the crowd, video recaps, tweets, backstage segments, and so forth.

15.9% of the show being devoted to these miscellaneous segments is a high percentage compared to WWE's 2013 PPV events. Here is the complete sorted list thus far for this Miscellaneous category, including SummerSlam 2012:

  • 16.8%: WrestleMania 29
  • 15.9%: SummerSlam 2012
  • 14.1%: Royal Rumble 2013
  • 11.3%: Money In The Bank 2013
  • 9.7%: Payback 2013
  • 9.1%: Extreme Rules 2013
  • 8.7%: Elimination Chamber 2013

There seems to be a pretty big gap between the "Big Four" PPV events and the others when it comes to using time for these Miscellaneous segments. For this particular event, the musical performance is something that most of the lesser shows do not include. Also, at least 4m 30s of the miscellaneous segments at SummerSlam 2012 were used to push the Lesnar vs HHH match, not counting the opening hype video at the very top of the show. When you add those 4m 30s to the pre-match, match, and post-match times for Lesnar vs HHH, it comes out to at least 40m 01s (23.6%) of the show allocated for all things related to Lesnar vs HHH.

The average match time at SummerSlam 2012 was 11m 27s. This is shorter than the average match time at every single WWE PPV event in 2013. Not surprisingly, 47.4% of the show being allocated for in-ring action is also the low number of that group. WrestleMania 29 scored a 49.7% in this category and is the only other show that clocked in at under 55% in terms of total match time.

Here is the sorted list of match times for SummerSlam 2012:

  • 18m 45s: Lesnar vs HHH
  • 13m 06s: Ziggler vs Jericho
  • 12m 35s: Punk vs Cena vs Big Show
  • 11m 23s: Sheamus vs ADR
  • 9m 10s: Miz vs Mysterio
  • 8m 04s: Bryan vs Kane
  • 7m 07s: Kingston/Truth vs Prime Time Players

The brevity of the WWE Championship match (Punk vs Cena vs Big Show) once again stands out. In fact this match was eclipsed in time by the curtain jerking match of Ziggler versus Jericho. It is also noteworthy that SummerSlam 2012 went off the air earlier than any of WWE's 2013 PPV events. It seems like a couple of more minutes could have been tacked onto the show, so I'm not so sure that the WWE Championship match was really abbreviated due to a time crunch.

The main event of Lesnar vs HHH lasted 18m 45s. This main event was shorter than every single WWE PPV main event in 2013. The next shortest main event on that list is Lesnar versus HHH from Extreme Rules 2013 (20m 10s). Meanwhile the related pre-match, post-match, and miscellaneous segments associated with Lesnar vs HHH lasted 21m 16s in total, which was longer than the actual match.

The bottom line is that SummerSlam 2012 was a show with very few long matches and even a couple of main events that were relatively short compared to recent WWE PPV main events. This show had more filler and less action than every WWE PPV of 2013. Here is the total bell-to-bell match time for all of WWE's 3-hour PPV events this year, including SummerSlam 2012 as well:

  • 1h 44m 50s: Royal Rumble 2013
  • 1h 39m 57s: Money In The Bank 2013
  • 1h 38m 27s: Payback 2013
  • 1h 36m 35s: Extreme Rules 2013
  • 1h 35m 43s: Elimination Chamber 2013
  • 1h 20m 10s: SummerSlam 2012

So is SummerSlam 2012 simply an outlier, or is 15 fewer minutes of action what we can expect once again this year?

Final Results for SummerSlam 2012

Matches - 47.4% - 1h 20m 10s

Pre-match - 23.7% - 40m 03s

Post-match - 13.1% - 22m 12s

Miscellaneous - 15.9% - 26m 52s

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