One of the stories coming out of Raw 25 is how the two venue format was a mess, leaving fans at both locations disappointed at various points. Unrest at the Manhattan Center seemed to be especially high because the audience spent too much of their time staring at video screens.
To investigate the potential disparity between the two venues, I decided to time the television segments that aired from both locations. For the sake of this exercise, I ignored any video packages or backstage segments that aired, because fans in both venues would just be staring at video screens in those cases. I wanted to focus more on matches or talking segments in the ring for each venue. I also did not count commercial breaks that may have interrupted lengthy segments like the 8-woman tag team match or Razor Ramon’s entrance.
Here are the results for each venue, listed in chronological order:
- 2m 21s: Stephanie and Shane in the ring prior to the Raw 25 video package
- 12m 59s: Steve Austin attacks the McMahons
- 0m 16s: Steve Austin celebrates on the ramp
- 3m 57s: 8-woman tag team match (Part 1)
- 4m 01s: 8-woman tag team match (Part 2)
- 2m 08s: 8-woman tag team match (Part 3)
- 9m 00s: General Managers on stage; Reigns vs. Miz (Part 1)
- 9m 04s: Reigns vs. Miz (Part 2)
- 7m 25s: Christian hosts the Peep Show
- 3m 16s: Female legends on stage
- 11m 58s: Elias/Cena segment
- 3m 00s: Slater/Rhyno vs. Titus Worldwide (Part 1)
- 3m 31s: Slater/Rhyno vs. Titus Worldwide (Part 2); Dudley Boyz attack
- 1m 22s: Kurt Angle entrance with legends and superstars
- 6m 04s: Lesnar/Kane/Strowman segment
These segments for the Barclays Center add up to 80 minutes and 22 seconds. Any segments that are listed in multiple parts, like the 8-woman tag match, simply indicate that a commercial break interrupted the segment and was used as the boundary point for that part.
- 0m 39s: Show opens with JR and Lawler
- 1m 05s: JR and Lawler set up video package on Undertaker
- 5m 16s: Undertaker promo
- 3m 53s: Woken Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt (Part 1)
- 2m 02s: Woken Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt (Part 2)
- 9m 39s: DX (Part 1)
- 8m 14s: DX (Part 2); Balor Club vs. Revival
These segments for the Manhattan Center add up to 30 minutes and 48 seconds. 58% of that time (17m 53s) went to the Degeneration X segments and the following match between Balor Club and Revival. And I’m probably being a little generous here by counting JR and Lawler setting up the video package for Undertaker; I did not count the segment at Barclays Center where the ringside commentators were hyping up all the matches at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Overall the ratio of time for Barclays Center to Manhattan Center is roughly 2.6, and so it’s easy to see why many fans at the Manhattan Center felt so screwed over by the lack of content they were given at Raw 25. The televised time for the Manhattan Center segments didn’t even reach 13 total minutes prior to Degeneration X showing up. And this isn’t taking into account that many fans seemed to be greatly disappointed by the quality of the limited content they were given at the Manhattan Center prior to the segment featuring Degeneration X.
So there you have it, Cagesiders. Could WWE have avoided this extreme unbalance in a way to please fans in both venues, or was the two venue idea doomed from the start?