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Cup of coffee in the big time: On Iron Man matches and overlong WWE cards

I’m tempted to lead this off with something about the smartphone generation, millennials or modern attention spans.

But, the reality is, WWE has a pay-per-view length problem. And they’re moving in the wrong direction rather than address it.

I enjoyed Extreme Rules more than it seems most people did. I’m fine with Asuka losing, it’s part of a story. I’ve already shouted to the heavens multiple times about there being better ways to treat Balor and Bryan as “underdog little guys against the real men.”

But the length of these shows making watching them a chore. And it takes a clear toll on the live audience, as was on clear display during the Extreme Rules Iron Man main event.

Like anyone else who has been in a big show WWE crowd, I’ve felt the energy drain from the building after the third hour. Rusev and Styles got things going a little bit again in their match, but seeing the giant reminder on the screen of at least 30 more minutes likely wasn’t a help.

And, the reality is, the Iron Man stipulation has become its own issue.

WWE ironman matches basically have trained fans to only care about the final few minutes as that’s when the things that matter will happen. We’ll head to those final minutes either tied or with the face trailing by a fall and have the race to the finish.

So, the fans found ways — annoying as they were — to entertain themselves with the Royal Rumble-style countdown.

WWE, especially if they’re going to stick to the same tropes as always, needs to be looking at standard pay-per-views as two and a half to three hour affairs, not three and a half to five hours.

The elements were there for a good show last night, but there was too much drag, too much time and too little to keep the fans through the final moments of the show.

And with no reason not to, the fans checked out.

We’ll be back tomorrow with much, much more.

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