WWE SmackDown Features Surprisingly Little In-Ring Action

Last Friday's episode of "WWE SmackDown" presented an astonishingly low amount of actual in-ring action, with a cumulative match time that was by far the smallest amount for an episode of "SmackDown" so far this year.

Viewers watching last Friday's "SmackDown" saw 13 minutes and 40 seconds of total match time over the course of the two-hour program. The longest individual match on the episode was Shinsuke Nakamura's victory over Ludwig Kaiser, which clocked in at 6 minutes and 40 seconds — though it should also be noted that a match between the Usos and Los Lotharios started during a commercial break, making its exact length difficult to determine.

An analysis by Wrestling Inc. of match times from every "SmackDown" episode this year (sourced from Cagematch.net) revealed what an extreme outlier last Friday's episode was. We found no other episode this year that dipped below 20 minutes of cumulative match time. Only three were under 25 minutes: the episodes on April 8 (21:28), March 4 (24:15), and February 25 (24:00).

In addition, our analysis found seven individual matches this year on "SmackDown" that were longer than the sum total of all the matches on last Friday's episode:

  • July 1: Battle Royal (14:36)
  • June 17: Roman Reigns vs. Riddle (16:56)
  • June 3: The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Riddle (13:41)
  • February 19: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn (18:15)
  • February 11: Charlotte Flair vs. Naomi (19:55)
  • January 21: The Usos vs. Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens (15:00)
  • January 7: The Usos vs. Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (17:45)

WWE's on-air product, and professional wrestling as a whole, are often about more than just matches. Many fans have cherished memories of watching their favorite stars brawl backstage, trade verbal jabs, or drive various vehicles into an arena. However, that does not discount what an extreme outlier last Friday's "SmackDown" was. You can view the chart below to see how dramatically the cumulative match time dipped and compare it to the other episodes thus far this year.