FanPost

Siesta in the Bank

WWE.com

Earlier this year Stone Cold Steve Austin said of Roman Reigns' performance in the Royal Rumble match, "I hate to keep going down that road, but that’s what happened. He goes into a corner and takes a nap."

For those that don't know what "taking a nap" means in a pro wrestling context, it's when a participant in a multi-man match retreats to a corner, rolls to the apron, or rolls to the outside, and proceeds to remain there "selling" for an unrealistic period of time while other participants feature in the primary action. To be fair, it's a necessary evil in these kinds of matches because the limitations of human attention are such that audience members can't possibly watch all seven (or 20 or 30) guys beating the shit out of each other in the ring at the same time.

The presentation of pro wrestling to home viewers is akin to a complicated sleight-of-hand illusion, whereby the actors and director try to draw your attention over here while the "work" is happening over there. Pro wrestling also works -- pun intended -- when even smarks like me are able to suspend our disbelief. Unfortunately, there often comes a point in a match -- be it an obviously assisted move, a blatant no-sell, someone taking a nap, what have you -- where the product fails in that regard, and the viewing experience becomes much less engaging than what it could have been.

For this smarky viewer, that's exactly what happened while watching Sunday's Money in the Bank ladder match. And after a bit of data collection while re-watching it, I now realize why. It turns out this was actually the "Siesta in the Bank" ladder match: Every wrestler took at least 4 naps and 68.8% of the total match time involved wrestlers napping.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a wrestler; never have been. I've read/heard that a multi-man match can be a royal pain in the ass to lay out, and can quickly go off the rails even if it was laid out well. Furthermore, there are probably all kinds of legitimate explanations for some of the naps I charted. Therefore, what follows isn't intended to be a critique of the wrestlers' performances. (Any seemingly harsh words are for comedic purposes only.) Rather, it's simply a data-based illustration of why multi-man matches that are laid out and executed like Sunday's MitB fail to entertain me as a fan/viewer of pro wrestling.

Here's how I came up with those stats, as well as the stats I'll present later on. I defined "taking a nap" (and timed each nap) as follows:

  • This wasn't a battle royal, so participants didn't have the luxury of napping inside the ring a la Reigns in the Rumble. Therefore, I only timed selling that took place outside the ring.
  • If the wrestler's nap was induced by a move taken inside the ring, then the nap started when they exited. If it was induced while they were already on the outside, the nap timer restarted.
  • A nap ended when the wrestler re-entered the main action, be it on the apron or in the ring.

Because the duration of napping should be related to the devastation of what "caused" it, I also noted the move that directly led to each nap. (Unfortunately for my ability to pepper this piece with Punk puns, none of them were the Go to Sleep.)

Overall SitB Stats

Bell-to-bell time for the MitB ladder match was 20:33, so the seven wrestlers amassed 2:23:51 of total match time (i.e., 20:33 x 7). With that in mind, overall SitB stats were as follows:

  • There were a total of 42 naps, i.e., 6 naps per wrestler.
  • In aggregate, the seven SitB participants had a total nap time (TNT) of 1:39:00, or 68.8% of the combined match time available.
  • In aggregate, they spent 1:11:51 (72.6% of total nap time, 49.9% of combined match time) in naps that resulted from taking moves inside the ring.
  • They spent 27:08 (27.4% of total nap time, 19.9% of combined match time) in naps that resulted from taking moves while already outside of the ring.
  • Every single wrestler spent at least 55.1% of the SitB match napping, i.e., no one actually wrestled for more than 11:19.
  • Only 2:42 (13.1%) of the SitB match involved combat between three or more wrestlers inside the ring, 2:18 (85.2%) of which occurred in the first 5:05.
  • With so little multi-way, in-ring action, one would expect/hope that there would be a bunch of outside action to pick up the slack. Nope: Only 0:23 (0.2%) of the actual 20:33 match time involved two or more wrestlers engaging with each other outside the ring, and all 23 of those seconds involved Sheamus offense from 2:59 to 3:22.

In addition to those general SitB stats, I tabulated these wrestler-specific SitB stats (Remember that the total match time per participant was 20:33.):

Overall

In-to-Out

Already Out

Wrestler

Naps

TNT

Naps

TNT

Naps

TNT

Kane

7

16:34

4

7:46

3

8:48

Orton

7

16:16

5

8:52

2

7:24

Reigns

5

14:28

5

14:28

0

0:00

Ziggler

6

14:20

4

9:50

2

4:30

Kingston

5

14:13

4

13:37

1

0:36

Neville

8

13:20

6

9:24

2

4:16

Sheamus

4

11:19

3

7:54

1

1:54

Total

42

1:39:00

31

1:11:51

11

27:08


These are not typos. (Feel free to double-check my work, and alert me in the comments to any mistakes I made.) As unbelievable as it looks, Kane and Orton actually did spend about 80 percent of the SitB match selling outside the ring.

Given those two data points, Reigns' 69.8% nap rate would seem to signify an improvement over his Stone Cold-maligned Royal Rumble performance. And indeed it was according to the nap definition I've given here: His TNT in the Royal Rumble was 7:51 out of 27:29, or only 28.3% of total match time. But if we were to expand my current definition to account for the equally bullshit napping that takes place in a battle royal (i.e., the proverbial near-elimination spot, two guys exchanging blows in the corner [but not really], etc.), then Reigns actually napped for almost the same proportion of time in SitB as he did in the Royal Rumble match (19:02 of 27:29, or 69.3%).

Meanwhile, the bottom three in the table above seem to suggest two things:
  1. As nearly everyone suspected beforehand, Kingston and Neville were only included in the SitB match to be minimal-selling spot monkeys: Despite taking several of the more devastating moves, Kingston sold two powerbombs for a total of 3:57, and Neville's average nap lasted only 1:58.
  2. Sheamus was clearly booked to look STROOOOOOOOOONG. Although hindsight is 20/20, maybe this kind of thing telegraphs the outcome of a multi-man match, i.e., the wrestler who is most featured in the early action usually wins in the end? Maybe not? Definitely seems like an interesting question to investigate.
Before moving on, it would be disingenuous on my part to not mention that the in-ring performers and WWE's Executive Vice President of TV Production -- yes, him -- did do a good job of preserving kayfabe when naps began. First, out of 21 instances in which a SitB participant rolled out of the ring to take a nap, only 5 rollouts were clearly visible to viewers at home. Second, napping was logical insofar as -- for the most part, and all else equal -- wrestlers napped longer as a result of taking finishers than as a result of taking standard moves: Eleven finishers led to just about as much of a proportion of TNT (49.1%) as did 31 non-finishers (50.9%).

Most Kayfabe-Shattering Five Naps During the SitB Match

OK, so hopefully I've convinced you that the MitB ladder match was laid out in such a way that it ended up being SitB for smarks like me; now comes the humor. Below are my picks for the five most kayfabe-shattering naps in the SitB match. When I saw this shit, sleight of hand and suspension of disbelief went right out the window. In their place emerged the deep despair of wondering why I was spending a Sunday night watching ballet when I signed up to watch pro wrestling.

#5 -- Reigns Takes a Knee

As shown above, Reigns was by no means the worst overall offender when it came to napping during SitB. That said, 2:36 into the match, he was kneed off the apron by Sheamus and proceeded to take a nap for 3:15. Sure, it came on the heels (pun intended) of a punch from Kane at 1:21, but if Reigns was (kayfabe) recovered enough from that punch to return to action, then its effect shouldn't have (kayfabe) factored into selling Sheamus' knee, especially so early in the match.

#4 -- Sheamus has Trouble in Paradise

Less than five minutes into SitB, Sheamus took Kofi Kingston's finisher, Trouble in Paradise. Yes, it's a finisher, but --let's be honest -- the move is a glorified enziguri. Sure, if he hit me with it, the briefcase would easily be his, but he didn't hit it on me; he hit it on a non-jobber WWE superstar in the fifth minute of a multi-man match for the third-most prestigious prize in the promotion. And yet -- and yet! -- it was enough on Sunday to make Sheamus roll out of the ring and sell it for 4:39.

#3 -- Orton + Ladder Love Tap + Barricade Love Tap = Love Nap?

The sequence of events between Sheamus and Orton from 1:14 to 2:25 in the SitB was borderline comical. It was almost as if they initially botched the sequence, and simply said, "Fuck it, let's do it again." First, Sheamus tossed Orton out of the ring (through the second rope), which allowed Orton to take a nap for 1:25. Upon Orton's return, Sheamus (gently) hit him with the ladder, which Orton sold for only 6 seconds. Twelve seconds later, Sheamus tossed Orton out once more; again through the second rope and again for a 6-second nap.

In case you're not keeping track, here's where we've arrived: After 2:23 in the SitB match, Orton has already napped three times: 1:31 for Sheamus tossing him out of the ring twice and 6 seconds for Sheamus smacking him with a ladder. That's 94.5% of Orton's available match time at that point!

So then at 2:25, Sheamus tossed Orton into the barracade outside the ring, and Orton took a nap for 5:19. Seriously.

#2 -- Ziggler + White Noise = Coma

I mentioned earlier that finishers -- thankfully for kayfabe -- led to more napping than non-finishers. Ziggler's nap after taking Sheamus' White Noise, however, was a kayfabe-shattering, over-selling travesty: The spot happened at 2:25 of the SitB match, and Ziggler didn't return until the 11:17 mark. That's an 8:52 nap, folks...in a 20:33 match.

I can already anticipate what some of you will comment in response: "These fucking smarks. When Stone Cold tells them that modern-day wrestlers don't sell enough, they complain about non-selling. But then when they see a modern-day wrestler take a nap, they complain about over-selling." Dear anti-smark, let me assure you that I too prefer over-selling to under-selling. Unfortunately, Ziggler went (kayfabe) unconscious outside the ring for nearly nine minutes after receiving a pretty weak midcard finisher in the third minute of a 20-minute match. It was especially egregious considering how other wrestlers sold far more-protected/devastating finishers:

  • Kane choke-slammed Reigns off a ladder in the 10th minute, and Reigns only napped for 7:08.
  • In the RKO-fest between 8:37 and 9:32, Neville napped for 3:20, Kane napped for 6:19, and Kingston napped for 7:02.
  • In the 12th minute, Orton took Sheamus' other finisher, the Brogue Kick, and napped for 5:00.
Put simply, Ziggler's selling of White Noise for nearly nine minutes made no sense in the context of a) when the move happened, and b) the extent to which other wrestlers were affected by worse.

#1 -- LOLKANENAPS

Scroll up and look at that table again. SitB was a 20:33 match, and Kane napped for 16:34 (or 80.6%) of it. Truth be told, I really can't blame Kane here. If I were a 48-year old future Hall of Famer with significant pull both on- and off-camera, I'd no doubt lobby hard to only work like 20 percent of any match, let alone a pay-per-view signature match. It's a great gig if you can get it.

That said, how exactly was Kane able to pull this shit off from a technical perspective? The answer is a combination of a) only returning to the ring to take a nearly immediate bump that sent him back outside, and b) participating in nearly every spot that occurred outside the ring:

  • At 2:05, Ziggler hit a jumping DDT on Kane. Kane rolled out of the ring and returned at 2:41 (0:36 nap).
  • At 2:44, Sheamus smacked Kane with a ladder. Kane rolled out of the ring, and then Sheamus smacked him again with a ladder on the outside at 3:22, which induced a nap until the 7:40 mark (4:56 nap after two innocuous ladder bumps).
  • Soon after his re-entry at 7:40, Kane took the aforementioned RKO at 8:37, and didn't re-enter SitB until 14:56 (6:19 nap).
  • Less than a minute later, at 15:50, the end for Kane was nigh. First, he took a Superman Punch from Reigns, then he was a victim of Reigns' suicide dive at 16:03, then he was a victim of Reigns power-bombing Kingston to the outside of the ring at 17:57, and then the SitB match ended at 20:33. (Taken together, that's 4:43 of napping, which may very well have been more if not for the match ending mid-nap).
All in all, after a likely scripted clusterfuck in the first 2:05 of SitB, Kane spent a total of only 1:54 in the ring...out of a possible 18:28. It's a great gig if you can get it.

Bottom Line

  1. I wasn't entertained by the Money in the Bank ladder match because it devolved into the Siesta in the Bank ladder match.
  2. Nearly 70% of SitB involved wrestlers selling outside the ring.
  3. Despite that, less than 1% of SitB involved wrestlers fighting outside the ring.
  4. Kane and Randy Orton each napped for approximately 80% of SitB.
  5. Seriously, Ziggler sold Sheamus' White Noise for nine fucking minutes.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.