It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
That famous literary phrase does a good job of describing the last two weeks of RAW, doesn’t it? While the October 6th edition of the longest running episodic . . . whatever Michael Cole keeps calling it. . . will likely be remembered for the time Kathie Lee and Hoda made a mockery of our beloved sport, last night’s RAW seemed to make up for it in spades.
In fact, it was easily one of the most popular RAW’s in recent memory . . . If not THE best. . .
So why is that? What made last night’s show so good? What, besides the obvious, made the week before’s so bad? Well, I think I know the answer, and its as simple as 1, 2. . . a 1, 2, 3 ,4!
Last night’s RAW was special for 4 basic and mathematically driven reasons.
I did a little research thanks to the good folks at profightdb.com. I looked at the match times for RAWs for the past 3 months. (before that, some match times are missing. . . Plus, I got tired.) Here’s what I found...
80 minutes, folks. 80. Minutes. Almost an entire hour and a half of wrestling on a 3 hour card. That’s insane, especially when you consider that the Kathie Lee episode had less than half of that (39 and a half minutes, which actually was 2 minutes more than the RAW from September 29th, oddly enough).
80 minutes is the longest amount of actual wrestling seen on RAW in the data I compiled. I’m honestly glad Pro Fight DB had some missing entries, because Lord knows how far back I’d have to go in order to find another RAW so chuck full of the actual reason most people watch WWE.
(While part of me is glad, the stat dork part of me weeps a little bit, so if you know of another website that has RAW match times, send it my way. Or, if you want to do the research yourself and tell me the last time RAW had 80+ minutes of action, go for it!)
In fact, of the 14 RAW’s I looked at, only 4 of them had match time totals that were over an hour. An equal number of them had totals less than 45 minutes. I imagine if we went back and looked at the feedback and buzz from the 60+ minutes of action nights, they’d be overwhelmingly positive.
In fact, these 4 matches accounted for over an hour of wrestling on their own! How crazy is that? Of the RAW’s I looked at, half of them didn’t have a single match that reached 14 minutes.
Now, I am obviously manipulating the stats to prove my point. (which, I might add, everyone does. My boss at work told us that in a recent survey given to our clients, the negative response to one question went up 400%. What he didn’t tell us was that the data showed we went from 1 person answering negatively to 5. . . Or is that 500%? Damn, I need a statistics class.)
Where was I? Ah, yes, I’m toying with the data. So let’s be more objective about it. Here are the total number of matches for each RAW that lasted over 10 minutes, a much rounder and more proper number for our discussion.
10/13 (Last night) - 4 matches
10/6 - 2 matches
9/29- 1 match
9/22- 3 matches
9/15- 3 matches
9/8- 2 matches
9/1- 3 matches
8/25- 1 match
8/18- 3 matches
8/11- 2 matches
8/4- 2 matches
7/28- 3 matches
7/21- 2 matches
7/14- 2 matches
You see why I tweaked the data, don’t you? My 14 minute point is much more impressive than the 10 minute point, since 5 other RAW’s had at least 3 matches of that length. Still, 4 matches is technically better than 3, right?
I can see I’m losing some of you. . . Onto point number 3!
“Teach,” some of you might be saying, “Some of these matches are AWFUL. We WANT them to be short!” I see your point, I truly do. However, let’s make another chart, this time of the number of matches on each RAW that lasted less than 5 minutes. Since I’m feeling generous, I’ll make you a table, and I’ll include matches that lasted less than 120 and 60 seconds respectively.
|Date||5 minutes or less||2 minutes or less||1 minute or less|
|10/13 (Last night)||2||1||0|
Just look at some of those numbers. Those are NXT numbers for some of these shows, and you have to remember that NXT is A. 60 minutes long and B. developmental in nature, so that matches are supposed to be short.
For a company that seems, at times, desperate to fill their 3 hours, there really is no excuse to be having such squash-fests on Monday Nights.
Like, exactly 10 minutes. Well, technically 10:00:15, but that’s close enough for us, right?
This last point is pretty self-explanatory - you have a number of long matches and not too many short matches, and you’re bound to get a high average match length. Only 2 other RAW’s in the group I studied had averages over 8 minutes, compared to the 4 “flagship shows” where the match mean was less than 5.
Conclusions. . . AKA. . . So what?
Well, I think that’s obvious, don’t you?
When WWE focuses on actual WRESTLING, people tend to like RAW more.
Last night was supposed to be the catastrophe that was. . . Whoever those guest hosts were, I honestly have no idea. . . Instead, their screen time was minimized and ring time was maximized, and people as a whole loved last night’s show.
One final statistical point: Of the Monday Night RAW’s since September 1st, 5 out of the 7 have had total match times greater than 50 minutes. The seven that came before that? Only 1 RAW had that much action.
You’re heading in the right direction, WWE. Keep this up, and good things lie ahead, and I’m not just #PromotingPositivity.WWE