WWE featured six total matches on the main card of Survivor Series 2021.
The main card of this pay-per-view (PPV) lasted 3 hours, 29 minutes, and 20 seconds (3h 29m 20s). Here is a sorted list of the bell-to-bell times for the six matches that took place during this event:
- 29m 56s: Men’s elimination match
- 23m 45s: Women’s elimination match
- 21m 53s: Big E vs. Roman Reigns
- 18m 14s: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
- 14m 46s: RK-Bro vs. The Usos
- 10m 37s: 25-man Battle Royal
These times add up to 1h 59m 11s, which is roughly 56.9% of the show. For comparison’s sake, the overall match time percentage for all WWE PPVs since the start of 2013 is 53.9%.
There was some online chatter about how this pay-per-view card was overloaded with filler. It’s easy to see where that sentiment comes from, considering the Vince McMahon mystery egg angle, a product placement Battle Royal for Pizza Hut, and very long gaps of time between the closing bell of one match and the opening bell of the next match.
On that final point, about 18m 43s lapsed between the closing bell for Becky’s match and the opening bell for the Men’s elimination match, mostly due to all of the individual entrances for the latter bout.
Similarly, there was a gap of 18m 56s between the closing bell of RK-Bro’s match and the opening bell for the Women’s elimination match. This period of time included a replay of the RK-Bro match finish, a Cricket Wireless commercial featuring The Miz, Paul Heyman promoting Draft Kings, an ad with Steve Austin promoting WrestleMania 38, a video celebrating a moment from The Rock’s career in WWE, Vince McMahon’s egg being stolen, a Xia Li hype video, an ad for Black Friday deals on replica titles on WWE Shop, and entrances for the Women’s elimination match.
A lot of folks were frustrated, and the following tweet late in the show the from F4WOnline’s Bryan Alvarez was probably meant to be a criticism of Survivor Series:
107 minutes of wrestling on a show that’s been on the air for 186 minutes. So 79 minutes of videos and entrances.— Bryan Alvarez (@bryanalvarez) November 22, 2021
How can a 3+ hour wrestling show only include 107 minutes of wrestling, right? I think that’s the point Alvarez was trying to make.
When I saw those numbers, though, I did some quick math and concluded that Survivor Series was going to have less filler than the typical WWE pay-per-view (PPV). That’s because going back to the start of 2013, WWE’s 122 PPV events have been comprised of 53.9% match time, which is smaller than the percentage for this event implied by the above tweet (57.5%).
I’ve personally tracked the data for almost nine years now. This is just how it is with WWE PPV events. On average, there were will be roughly 97 minutes of wrestling for 180 minutes of show time. In fact, WrestleMania events often fail to reach 50% match time, which means regular WWE PPV events average some number that’s a bit higher than 53.9% match time.
Some folks may quibble with the definition of the word “filler” and argue that the Pizza Hut Battle Royal fits the bill. Fair enough. I’m not here to defend that Battle Royal as a good use of your time, particularly because very few things in WWE get bigger eye rolls out of me than the booking of Omos, who is a terrible wrestler despite the Undertaker comparing him to Andre the Giant.
However, if we stick with an objective measurement of bell-to-bell match time, then Survivor Series actually included a slightly higher percentage of match time than the typical WWE PPV.
Are you surprised by any of these results, Cagesiders? Which of these matches received less (or more) time than you hoped for?