clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Backlash 2016 was the shortest WWE pay-per-view in nearly 5 years

WWE.com

WWE’s Backlash 2016 lasted for 2 hours 37 minutes and 52 seconds (2h 37m 52s).

It’s very unusual for a WWE pay-per-view (PPV) to finish up at such an early time, and so I decided to look at the total length of every WWE PPV since the start of 2011.

Here is the sorted list of the total show times for all 71 of these PPVs:

  1. 4h 51m 53s: WrestleMania 32
  2. 4h 03m 34s: SummerSlam 2016
  3. 3h 59m 38s: WrestleMania 31
  4. 3h 58m 13s: WrestleMania 27
  5. 3h 57m 27s: WrestleMania 28
  6. 3h 55m 30s: WrestleMania 30
  7. 3h 50m 54s: WrestleMania 29
  8. 3h 45m 39s: SummerSlam 2015
  9. 3h 23m 52s: Money in the Bank 2016
  10. 3h 15m 49s: Battleground 2016
  11. 2h 59m 46s: Royal Rumble 2016
  12. 2h 59m 11s: Survivor Series 2014
  13. 2h 59m 02s: Money in the Bank 2015
  14. 2h 58m 34s: TLC 2015
  15. 2h 58m 28s: Elimination Chamber 2015
  16. 2h 58m 22s: Fastlane 2015
  17. 2h 58m 03s: Extreme Rules 2015
  18. 2h 57m 00s: Payback 2014
  19. 2h 56m 51s: Extreme Rules 2012
  20. 2h 56m 33s: Vengeance 2011
  21. 2h 56m 16s: Payback 2016
  22. 2h 56m 14s: Hell in a Cell 2014
  23. 2h 55m 51s: Money in the Bank 2014
  24. 2h 55m 28s: Elimination Chamber 2011
  25. 2h 54m 27s: Extreme Rules 2013
  26. 2h 54m 09s: Elimination Chamber 2013
  27. 2h 54m 05s: Night of Champions 2013
  28. 2h 53m 51s: Elimination Chamber 2014
  29. 2h 53m 34s: Survivor Series 2011
  30. 2h 53m 14s: Extreme Rules 2016
  31. 2h 53m 14s: Hell in a Cell 2013
  32. 2h 53m 09s: Payback 2015
  33. 2h 52m 33s: Hell in a Cell 2012
  34. 2h 52m 26s: Hell in a Cell 2015
  35. 2h 52m 20s: Battleground 2013
  36. 2h 52m 14s: SummerSlam 2013
  37. 2h 51m 58s: TLC 2014
  38. 2h 51m 48s: Money in the Bank 2013
  39. 2h 51m 43s: SummerSlam 2014
  40. 2h 51m 40s: Extreme Rules 2011
  41. 2h 51m 04s: Capitol Punishment 2011
  42. 2h 51m 04s: Night of Champions 2012
  43. 2h 51m 01s: Over the Limit 2011
  44. 2h 50m 52s: Battleground 2014
  45. 2h 50m 47s: Payback 2013
  46. 2h 49m 58s: SummerSlam 2011
  47. 2h 49m 55s: TLC 2012
  48. 2h 49m 49s: Royal Rumble 2013
  49. 2h 49m 43s: No Way Out 2012
  50. 2h 49m 42s: Money in the Bank 2012
  51. 2h 49m 23s: Money in the Bank 2011
  52. 2h 49m 17s: SummerSlam 2012
  53. 2h 48m 59s: TLC 2011
  54. 2h 48m 41s: Fastlane 2016
  55. 2h 48m 40s: Over the Limit 2012
  56. 2h 47m 34s: Night of Champions 2015
  57. 2h 47m 11s: Night of Champions 2011
  58. 2h 47m 10s: Elimination Chamber 2012
  59. 2h 46m 46s: Night of Champions 2014
  60. 2h 46m 45s: Royal Rumble 2012
  61. 2h 46m 25s: TLC 2013
  62. 2h 46m 13s: Survivor Series 2015
  63. 2h 45m 58s: Survivor Series 2012
  64. 2h 45m 14s: Royal Rumble 2011
  65. 2h 44m 43s: Battleground 2015
  66. 2h 44m 01s: Extreme Rules 2014
  67. 2h 44m 00s: Royal Rumble 2014
  68. 2h 43m 34s: Survivor Series 2013
  69. 2h 43m 06s: Royal Rumble 2015
  70. 2h 37m 52s: Backlash 2016
  71. 2h 37m 33s: Hell in a Cell 2011

Hell in a Cell 2011 aired on October 2, 2011, and so it has been nearly 5 years since WWE ended a PPV quicker than Backlash 2016. These two events are nowhere near the rest of the pack, trailing Royal Rumble 2015’s total airtime by more than 5 minutes.

The top 8 PPVs on the list were all advertised as 4-hour events. If those 8 events as well as Backlash 2016 are removed from the list, then here are some quick summary numbers on the remaining 62 events, which were all expected to be 3-hour cards:

Overall average = 2h 52m 12s (62 events)
Overall median = 2h 51m 42s

2011 average = 2h 49m 48s (12 events)
2011 median = 2h 50m 30s

2012 average = 2h 49m 47s (11 events)
2012 median = 2h 49m 42s

2013 average = 2h 51m 10s (11 events)
2013 median = 2h 52m 14s

2014 average = 2h 51m 57s (11 events)
2014 median = 2h 51m 58s

2015 average = 2h 52m 42s (11 events)
2015 median = 2h 53m 09s

2016 average = 3h 02m 56s (6 events)
2016 median = 2h 58m 01s

It is evident that PPV run times have been trending upward in recent years, starting with 2013, which was still prior to the advent of WWE Network. This increasing trend makes the low overall show time for Backlash 2016 stand out even more, because Hell in a Cell 2011 at least took place in an environment of slightly shorter PPVs than we have been accustomed to seeing in 2015 and 2016.

At the same time, it is possible that PPV run times have been increasing because WWE has had trouble cramming every valuable WWE superstar onto the events, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why the brand split was needed in the first place.

There are legitimate concerns about the depth of the SmackDown Live roster, and the short total show time for Backlash 2016 is very likely a byproduct of that issue. I don’t think the addition of Jack Swagger is going to solve this depth problem. Therefore it will be interesting to see if shorter PPVs becomes the norm for SmackDown branded cards going forward, or if Backlash 2016 simply represents one data point gone awry.