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How much wrestling actually happened at SummerSlam 2021?

WWE featured ten total matches on the main card of SummerSlam 2021.

The main card of this pay-per-view (PPV) lasted 4 hours, 7 minutes, and 41 seconds (4h 07m 41s). Here is a sorted list of the bell-to-bell times for the ten matches that took place during this event:

  • 23m 00s: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena
  • 21m 15s: Edge vs. Seth Rollins
  • 13m 47s: Sheamus vs. Damian Priest
  • 13m 04s: A.S.H. vs. Ripley vs. Flair
  • 10m 50s: The Usos vs. The Mysterios
  • 7m 11s: Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg
  • 7m 05s: Omos & Styles vs. RK-Bro
  • 4m 38s: Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal
  • 3m 49s: Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie
  • 0m 26s: Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch

These times add up to 1h 45m 05s, which is roughly 42.4% of the show. For comparison’s sake, the overall match time percentage for all WWE PPVs since the start of 2013 is 53.9%.

The overall match time percentage of 42.4% for this show is the 4th smallest out of 120 WWE PPVs that I have analyzed going back to the start of 2013.

I wanted to dig a little deeper into that number so I also timed the pre-match (entrances, video packages, etc. right before a match begins) and post-match segments for each match, and compared the sum of those numbers to each match time.

Here’s an example calculation: an entry with a match time of 6m 00s, pre-match time of 3m 00s, and a post-match time of 1m 00s has a score of 60.0%, because the match time of 6m 00s is 60% of the total sum of 10m 00s for all three components.

The percentages for the 10 matches at SummerSlam are as follows:

  • 71.2%: Sheamus vs. Damian Priest
  • 64.0%: The Usos vs. The Mysterios
  • 63.2%: Edge vs. Seth Rollins
  • 56.2%: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena
  • 51.0%: A.S.H. vs. Ripley vs. Flair
  • 45.8%: Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal
  • 45.3%: Omos & Styles vs. RK-Bro
  • 39.1%: Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie
  • 32.3%: Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg
  • 2.3%: Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch

For some context, it’s good to know that out of all 735 WWE PPV matches from 2013 through 2019, the median value here was 61.4%. 140 out of the 735 matches fell below the 50% mark.

Half of the matches at SummerSlam 2021 fell below that 50% mark. It’s never surprising when this happens with a Goldberg match, or with very quick matches that are more about an angle, like Becky Lynch’s return.

But in the case of McIntyre, Bliss, and RK-Bro, the time allocation issue raises the question of why these matches were booked on the card to begin with. The Bliss and McIntyre matches simply didn’t need to take place at SummerSlam. The RK-Bro match is a different story, of course, but the match itself fell well short of the quality it could have reached if it was instead booked on a three hour episode of Raw and received more time.

Are you surprised by any of these results, Cagesiders? Which of these matches received less (or more) time than you hoped for?

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