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Match Times: WrestleMania 31 Edition

WrestleMania 31 lasted for 3 hours 59 minutes and 38 seconds (3h 59m 38s). 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
  • 1m 48s: Aloe Blacc sings "America The Beautiful"
  • 2m 34s: Opening video hyping WrestleMania 31 featuring LL Cool J
  • 1m 03s: Cole welcomes you to WrestleMania 31
  • 4m 51s: Pre-match for Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 13m 49s: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 2m 05s: Post-match for Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 0m 31s: Commercial for Tapout clothing
  • 0m 24s: Filler commentary
  • 7m 05s: Pre-match for Orton vs Rollins
  • 13m 16s: Orton vs Rollins
  • 1m 57s: Post-match for Orton vs Rollins
  • 0m 31s: Commercial for WWE Total Control Double Attack Playset
  • 0m 21s: Ronda Rousey is in the audience
  • 0m 15s: Filler commentary
  • 14m 16s: Pre-match for Sting vs Triple H
  • 18m 36s: Sting vs Triple H
  • 2m 58s: Post-match for Sting vs Triple H
  • 1m 48s: Commercial for all new original series coming to WWE Network
  • 2m 34s: Backstage segment with Menounos, Bryan, and WWE Legends
  • 5m 56s: Musical performance featuring Skylar Grey, Travis Barker, and Kid Ink
  • 0m 31s: Commercial for Mountain Dew Kickstart
  • 0m 16s: Cole talks about Levi's Stadium
  • 0m 48s: Cole welcomes all the US armed forces
  • 3m 10s: Pre-match for Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ
  • 6m 40s: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ
  • 1m 20s: Post-match for Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ
  • 1m 01s: Video - WWE for the hero in all of us
  • 1m 13s: Filler commentary including the Tale of the Tape for Lesnar vs Reigns
  • 2m 50s: Video recap of the Hall Of Fame ceremony
  • 3m 13s: On-stage segment honoring the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2015
  • 0m 30s: Commercial for WWE 2K15
  • 0m 20s: Filler commentary
  • 14m 18s: Pre-match for Rusev vs Cena
  • 14m 32s: Rusev vs Cena
  • 2m 35s: Post-match for Rusev vs Cena
  • 0m 32s: Commercial for WrestleMania 32
  • 0m 22s: Filler commentary
  • 3m 45s: Expert panel analysis with video recaps of both pre-show matches
  • 23m 49s: In-ring segment featuring The Authority, The Rock, and Ronda Rousey
  • 0m 32s: Commercial for Terminator Genisys
  • 0m 19s: Filler commentary
  • 10m 10s: Pre-match for Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 15m 13s: Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 2m 07s: Post-match for Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 0m 41s: Commercial for Jericho's podcast on WWE Network
  • 0m 30s: Commercial for Extreme Rules 2015
  • 0m 13s: Cole talks about Levi's Stadium
  • 11m 59s: Pre-match for Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins
  • 16m 44s: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins
  • 2m 27s: Post-match for Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins

Match Times

The 7 matches combined for a total time of 1h 38m 50s. This means that 41.2% of the show was devoted to bell-to-bell action.  The average match time was 14m 07s.

Here is the sorted list of match times for WrestleMania 31.  This also includes where each match ranks on the sorted list of all-time WrestleMania match times, out of 301 total matches.

  • 18m 36s: Sting vs Triple H (43rd longest)
  • 16m 44s: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins (55th)
  • 15m 13s: Undertaker vs Wyatt (62nd)
  • 14m 32s: Rusev vs Cena (72nd)
  • 13m 49s: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (83rd)
  • 13m 16s: Orton vs Rollins (91st)
  • 6m 40s: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ (205th)

The match time for the main event includes the cash in from Seth Rollins.  The original match between Lesnar and Reigns lasted 15m 16s without interruption, at which point Rollins began to make his entrance.  It took 0m 47s for Rollins to make his entrance and for Lilian to announce that the match was turned into a triple threat.  And the triple threat portion of the match lasted 0m 41s.

Sting's match lasted for 9m 33s before Degeneration X made their 0m 15s entrance.  Then 2m 01s lapsed before the NWO's entrance began.  It took them 1m 01s to make their way down the ramp.  HBK showed up in the ring about 2m 13s after the end of the NWO's entrance. The match ended 3m 33s later.

41.2% is the lowest percentage of match time for any PPV that I have graded since the start of 2013.  This is the second consecutive PPV where WWE has set a new low percentage in this category.

In that time there have been six different 3-hour PPV events that contained more match time than this 4-hour event.

This was the lowest overall match time on a WrestleMania card since WrestleMania 15.

WrestleMania 31 also did not include any 20+ minute matches, which last happened at WrestleMania 18.

John Cena's match with Rusev scored 3.5 stars from Dave Meltzer.  John Cena has now wrestled in 12 matches at WrestleMania in his career, yet only one of those matches has ever reached 4 stars (WrestleMania 23 against HBK), while none have surpassed 4 stars.

WWE matches that last less than 15 minutes have rarely received a score of 4 stars or more from Meltzer over the last couple of years.  However both the ladder match and Orton's match earned that distinction at WrestleMania 31.

The main event match scored 4.5 stars.  WrestleMania 24 is the last one of these shows that failed to include a match of at least 4.5 stars.

7 matches on this card scored at least 2.5 stars.  The only other WrestleMania card that shares this trait is WrestleMania 26WrestleMania 19 and WrestleMania 29 would both qualify if the threshold was lowered to 2.25 stars.

Prior to this event, the US Championship had not been defended on the main card of a WrestleMania event since WrestleMania 23.

Lesnar's match featured the second shortest match time for a WrestleMania main event over the last 20 WrestleMania cards, going back to WrestleMania 12.  Only Miz versus Cena at WrestleMania 27 was shorter.

Without a ton of match time on the show, there was plenty of space to fill between matches.  Here is how much time lapsed between the closing bell of one match and the opening bell of the next match, in chronological order:

  • 10m 05s: Between the IC Ladder and Orton vs Rollins
  • 17m 20s: Between Orton vs Rollins and Sting vs Triple H
  • 18m 01s: Between Sting vs Triple H and Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ
  • 24m 45s: Between Bella Twins vs Paige/AJ and Rusev vs Cena
  • 42m 04s: Between Rusev vs Cena and Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 15m 30s: Between Undertaker vs Wyatt and Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins

The data above shows that the waiting period between match times increased almost entirely throughout the show.  These waiting periods include pre-match segments, post-match segments, and miscellaneous segments.

Pre-match Segments

The pre-match segments combined for a total time of 1h 05m 49s, which is 27.5% of the show.

Here is the sorted list of pre-match segment time for all 7 matches:

  • 14m 18s: Rusev vs Cena
  • 14m 16s: Sting vs Triple H
  • 11m 59s: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins
  • 10m 10s: Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 7m 05s: Orton vs Rollins
  • 4m 51s: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 3m 10s: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ

WrestleMania 31 included 19 separate pre-match superstar entrances.  These 19 entrances took up a total time of 42m 31s.  Here is the sorted list of these 19 entrance times:

  • 5m 13s: Triple H
  • 4m 34s: Undertaker
  • 4m 17s: Sting
  • 4m 01s: Rusev with Lana (with a 0m 13s plug for Extreme Rules 2015)
  • 3m 42s: John Cena (with a 2m 01s patriotic video)
  • 3m 37s: Bray Wyatt
  • 3m 13s: Roman Reigns (with a 0m 15s plug for The Today Show)
  • 2m 32s: Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman
  • 1m 54s: Randy Orton
  • 1m 54s: Paige and AJ (with a 0m 08s plug for Mountain Dew Kickstart)
  • 1m 32s: Seth Rollins with J & J Security (with a 0m 10s plug for Terminator Genisys)
  • 1m 19s: Daniel Bryan (with a 0m 17s intro of Cole's announce team)
  • 1m 11s: Bella Twins (with a 0m 21s plug for Hulu)
  • 0m 47s: Bad News Barrett (with a 0m 13s intro of the international announce teams)
  • 0m 43s: R-Truth
  • 0m 35s: Dolph Ziggler
  • 0m 32s: Luke Harper
  • 0m 29s: Dean Ambrose
  • 0m 26s: Stardust

There were 4 other superstar entrances that occurred outside of pre-match segments.  The entrance times for Degeneration X (0m 15s), the NWO (1m 01s), The Rock (2m 33s), and Rollins cashing in (0m 24s) added up to 4m 13s.  That results in a total entrance time of 46m 44s for WrestleMania 31.

I decided to combine the entrances for Paige and AJ into one entry.  Paige came out first and her entrance music played for 0m 45s.  Then there was silence for about two seconds before AJ's music started up.  AJ's music played for 1m 07s.  The reason I combined them into one entry is because Paige waited for AJ and they walked down the entrance ramp together while AJ's entrance music was playing.

In addition to entrances, the pre-match segments also featured 4 extended video packages.  The video packages for Orton versus Rollins (3m 17s), Sting versus Triple H (3m 49s), Rusev vs Cena (3m 33s), and the main event (3m 43s) add up to 14m 22s.  There was no such video package prior to Undertaker's match.  That could have been all part of the plan, but it also seems possible that maybe it was cut due to time constraints.

So when you combine the 19 pre-match entrances (42m 31s) and the 4 dedicated video packages (14m 22s) that accounts for 56m 53s of the overall pre-match segment time for the show.

The rest of the pre-match segment time went to things like commentator hype and ring introductions.  The ring introductions for Rusev versus Cena were especially lengthy.  2m 01s lapsed between the end of their entrances and the initial bell ring to start the match.  The main event included a 1m 53s gap between the end of the entrances and the official start of the match.

The overall pre-match segment time for WrestleMania 30 was 51m 52s.  At WrestleMania 29 it was 54m 15s.  WWE blew those lofty numbers out of the water here at WrestleMania 31, clocking in at 1h 05m 49s.  Are you cool with spending nearly 66 minutes of the show on entrances, ring introductions, and pre-match video packages?

It feels like tremendous overkill to me.  When I see that the pre-match segment for Cena's match was 14m 18s while the match time was 14m 32s, it seems like a questionable use of the clock.

Post-match Segments

The post-match segments combined for a total time of 15m 29s, which is 6.5% of the show.

Here is the sorted list of the post-match segment time for all 7 matches:

  • 2m 58s: Sting vs Triple H
  • 2m 35s: Rusev vs Cena
  • 2m 27s: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins
  • 2m 07s: Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 2m 05s: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 1m 57s: Orton vs Rollins
  • 1m 20s: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ

The post-match segment for Sting's match was the only one that did not include any replays of the match.

WrestleMania 30 included 25m 56s of post-match segment time, while WrestleMania 29 included 20m 59s of these segments.  WrestleMania 31 only included 15m 29s in this category, so this is one area that was minimized this year.

Miscellaneous Segments

That leaves about 59m 30s (24.8%) of the show for everything else.  This is by far the highest percentage I have ever calculated in this category since the start of 2013.  Only two other shows (Survivor Series 2014, Fastlane 2015) ever reached 20.0% here.

23m 49s of this time was spent on the segment featuring The Rock and Ronda Rousey, and it was longer than any other match or segment on the entire show.

7m 44s of the show was used for musical performances from Aloe Blacc, Skylar Grey, Travis Barker, and Kid Ink.

6m 03s was allocated for the HOF Class of 2015, including the video recap of the HOF ceremony as well as the on-stage segment.

The rest of the miscellaneous time here (21m 54s) was divided up between commercials, videos, backstage segments, filler commentary, and the expert panel analysis.

The expert panel segment included a 0m 39s video recap of the pre-show tag team championship match, as well as a 1m 17s video recap of the pre-show battle royal.

After The Rock's 2m 33s entrance was finished, about 2m 03s passed before he actually said a word.  Later on after Stephanie slapped The Rock and finished her trash talking, about 2m 24s of silence ensued before The Rock spoke again, this time with Ronda Rousey by his side.

WrestleMania 30 included 37m 33s of miscellaneous segments, while WrestleMania 29 contained 38m 53s of these segments.  WrestleMania 31 significantly bumped that number up all the way to 59m 30s.  And while Rock's segment took up 23m 49s of the show, keep in mind that Rock's segment last year with Hogan and Austin ate up 19m 16s at WrestleMania 30.

Summary

Here is a listing of how much total show time was allocated for each match when you add up all 3 components: pre-match time, match time, and post-match time.

  • 35m 50s: Sting vs Triple H (15.0% of total show time)
  • 31m 25s: Rusev vs Cena (13.1%)
  • 31m 10s: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins (13.0%)
  • 27m 30s: Undertaker vs Wyatt (11.5%)
  • 22m 18s: Orton vs Rollins (9.3%)
  • 20m 45s: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (8.7%)
  • 11m 10s: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ (4.7%)

The segment featuring The Rock and Ronda Rousey took up 9.9% of the total show time.

And here is a look at the "Match Time Percentage" for each match.  For any given match, this percentage shows how the match time compares to the combined pre-match and post-match segment time.  For some context, it's good to know that the median result here over the last couple of years is roughly 63%.

  • 66.6%: IC Ladder Match (13m 49s match, 6m 56s pre + post)
  • 59.7%: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ (6m 40s match, 4m 30s pre + post)
  • 59.5%: Orton vs Rollins (13m 16s match, 9m 02s pre + post)
  • 55.3%: Undertaker vs Wyatt (15m 13s match, 12m 17s pre + post)
  • 53.7%: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins (16m 44s match, 14m 26s pre + post)
  • 51.9%: Sting vs Triple H (18m 36s match, 17m 14s pre + post)
  • 46.3%: Rusev vs Cena (14m 32s match, 16m 53s pre + post)

Rusev once again finds himself in the familiar place of scoring under 50% in this metric.  At least this time he did it while riding in on a tank.

Just about all the matches fell below the median value of the last couple of years, and this is mostly due to the lengthy pre-match segments.

Hourly Breakdown

Here is an hourly breakdown showing how the pre-match, match, post-match, and miscellaneous segment times were scattered across each hour of the show.

Hour One - Includes IC Ladder match, Orton vs Rollins

  • Match - 45.1% - 27m 5s
  • Pre-match - 35.2% - 21m 6s
  • Post-match - 6.7% - 4m 2s
  • Miscellaneous - 13.0% - 7m 47s

Hour Two - Includes Sting vs Triple H, Musical performance, HOF segment, Divas tag match

  • Match - 42.1% - 25m 16s
  • Pre-match - 15.7% - 9m 26s
  • Post-match - 7.2% - 4m 18s
  • Miscellaneous - 35.0% - 21m 00s

Hour Three- Includes Rusev vs Cena, Rock/Rousey segment

  • Match - 24.2% - 14m 32s
  • Pre-match - 22.6% - 13m 34s
  • Post-match - 4.3% - 2m 35s
  • Miscellaneous - 48.9% - 29m 19s

Hour Four (actually 59m 38s) - Includes Undertaker vs Wyatt, Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins

  • Match - 53.6% - 31m 57s
  • Pre-match - 36.4% - 21m 43s
  • Post-match - 7.7% - 4m 34s
  • Miscellaneous - 2.3% - 1m 24s

The middle two hours stand out for including most of the miscellaneous segments while de-emphasizing match times.

Overall, WrestleMania 31 was a show that focused on extravagant superstar entrances and non-wrestling segments rather than match time and post-match angles.  That might sound like the typical WrestleMania formula, but WrestleMania 31 took that formula to the extreme.  The miscellaneous segments and pre-match segments combined to make up 52.3% of the show!

The WrestleMania 31 Time Crunch

I wrote a post last week detailing the inevitable time crunch that WrestleMania 31 was facing.  Just a few hours later WWE solved that problem by officially moving the battle royal off of the main card.

In that post I calculated a Match Time Index for each WrestleMania card over the last 10 years, where a match that scored 100 had an average match time for that specific card, 110 was ten percent higher than average, 120 was twenty percent higher than average, and so forth.  Here is where the 7 matches on WrestleMania 31 rank on this scale.

  • 132: Sting vs Triple H
  • 119: Lesnar vs Reigns vs Rollins
  • 108: Undertaker vs Wyatt
  • 103: Rusev vs Cena
  • 98: Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • 94: Orton vs Rollins
  • 47: Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ

WWE took a different route at WrestleMania 31 compared to any of the previous ten cards.  A score of 132 wouldn't have been high enough to crack the top 2 spots on nearly every card of the last 10 years, yet it was the maximum score this year.

On the last three WrestleMania cards, no match scored between 80 to 130.  Yet 5 of the 7 matches on WrestleMania 31 ended up in that range.  This show featured a lot of parity up and down the card, with the exception of the divas match.

I asked for input from Cagesiders to predict these results.  WWE's decision to move the battle royal off of the main card screwed up the numbers though, so it's not really practical to crown one clear winner.  Instead here is the list of who came closest to predicting each match based on the raw match time:

Thanks to everyone who made a prediction!

Final Results for WrestleMania 31

Match - 41.2% - 1h 38m 50s

Pre-match - 27.5% - 1h 05m 49s

Post-match - 6.5% - 15m 29s

Miscellaneous - 24.8% - 59m 30s