Attempt to Calculate the most time on WWF/WWE TV

I took my 1963-June 2013 WWWF/WWF/WWE database (compiled from TheHistoryofWWE results) and tried my best to attribute which matches were televised.  Analysis by Chris Harrington (chris.harrington@gmail.com)



I also extracted match lengths. 
For matches that were televised but I did not have the match length, I applied the average match length for that show. This ONLY includes matches - no contest, no rumbles, and explicitly excludes 2/3 falls and 3/5 falls matches. I haven't cross-referenced the televised results that I guessed against the actual show histories (i.e. I tried to figure out what matches were part of the Velocity taping, but I haven't gone back to double-check that exactly those matches aired.) This does not include interviews - so good luck adding those adjustments in!

Top WWF/WWE performers in terms of length of televised matches
(through about June 2013)

rank name RAW CABLE PPV SMACKDOWN SYNDICATED OTHER total
1 Triple H 2895 73 2837 848 185 32 6870
2 Glen Jacobs 2216 434 1655 1964 56 107 6433
3 Chris Jericho 2812 174 1747 1376 0 18 6126
4 Shawn Michaels 2311 928 1961 153 528 201 6082
5 Randy Orton 2730 121 1711 1304 0 144 6009
6 Undertaker 1142 443 2319 1579 333 53 5869
7 Edge 2085 150 1685 1650 106 51 5728
8 John Cena 2658 48 1919 983 0 114 5722
9 Big Show 1528 276 1369 1696 9 75 4953
10 Bret Hart 553 2004 959 0 911 349 4775
11 Matt Hardy 911 685 857 1984 216 1 4654
12 Christian 1449 801 931 1321 75 5 4581
13 Rey Mysterio Jr 663 138 1070 2508 0 77 4456
14 Jeff Hardy 1514 183 959 1203 202 20 4082
15 CM Punk 1283 827 1039 846 0 50 4045
16 Chris Benoit 1137 93 895 1742 0 17 3884
17 Kurt Angle 854 84 1109 1643 2 12 3704
18 Rock 1327 56 1340 741 96 17 3578
19 Tito Santana 22 1562 208 0 1275 506 3573
20 Greg Valentine 0 1591 168 0 886 636 3281
21 Davey Boy Smith 609 1088 586 77 671 235 3266
22 Miz 1267 631 661 527 0 121 3207
23 John Morrison 759 787 623 1004 0 24 3196
24 Hulk Hogan 60 1593 417 96 360 654 3180
25 Batista 1027 26 905 1131 0 38 3128
26 JBL 957 138 748 950 285 8 3085
27 Booker T 793 87 714 1240 0 10 2844
28 Dolph Ziggler 1024 163 512 937 0 114 2750
29 Billy Gunn 1027 262 537 495 397 15 2732
30 Owen Hart 999 440 579 2 563 122 2705
31 Rob Van Dam 1077 511 597 511 6 0 2702
32 Kofi Kingston 972 284 569 718 0 152 2696
33 Mark Henry 771 514 500 682 86 69 2623
34 SD Jones 0 642 0 0 1357 599 2599
35 Sheamus 961 88 565 840 0 114 2568
36 Bob Backlund 110 312 48 7 603 1457 2537
37 Randy Savage 55 1512 268 0 359 340 2533
38 Cody Rhodes 977 194 497 694 0 118 2481
39 Ted Dibiase 40 1186 226 0 680 302 2434
40 Bob Holly 612 560 314 527 401 6 2420
41 Shelton Benjamin 793 453 410 756 0 5 2417
42 Tony Garea 0 320 0 0 1431 617 2368
43 Eddie Guerrero 299 32 621 1403 4 7 2366
44 Sean Waltman 1007 185 465 401 294 13 2364
45 Jim Neidhart 98 1252 253 0 473 274 2350
46 Steve Austin 865 6 1022 226 91 36 2246
47 Bubba Ray Dudley 905 116 539 630 44 0 2235
48 Johnny Rodz 0 163 0 0 1357 679 2199
49 Rick Martel 64 930 181 0 751 265 2191
50 Ric Flair 1036 307 457 110 161 29 2100
51 MVP 292 288 376 1129 0 10 2095
52 Don Muraco 0 847 49 0 606 550 2051
53 D-Von Dudley 674 123 505 700 48 0 2049
54 Chavo Guerrero Jr 141 632 318 922 30 0 2043
55 Rikishi 522 142 269 729 358 21 2041
56 Bryan Danielson 769 133 365 662 0 92 2022
57 Finlay 66 490 330 1103 0 22 2012
58 William Regal 615 565 297 509 4 3 1993
59 Jack Swagger 575 462 396 530 0 27 1991
60 Big Bossman 267 847 273 167 291 132 1976
61 Nikolai Volkoff 23 823 98 0 653 314 1912
62 Ed Leslie 4 1086 160 0 379 270 1900
63 Steve Lombardi 101 767 13 9 774 218 1882
64 Jose Estrada Sr 0 331 42 0 1061 446 1881
65 Ron Killings 564 218 429 547 36 69 1863
66 Test 756 252 270 482 83 0 1843
67 Curt Hennig 142 726 177 0 544 246 1836
68 Jacques Rougeau Jr 138 913 245 0 361 177 1835
69 Alberto Del Rio 686 4 417 627 0 96 1830
70 Mick Foley 769 47 740 125 121 26 1828
71 Marty Jannetty 217 756 279 18 381 157 1808
72 Haku 29 995 146 20 335 275 1800
73 Mike Rotondo 241 639 148 0 534 194 1755
74 Dustin Rhodes 714 360 410 22 217 9 1731
75 Jake Roberts 63 923 215 0 368 158 1726
76 Scott Taylor 347 293 171 465 434 0 1711
77 Val Venis 661 432 200 278 121 6 1698
78 Baron Mikel Scicluna 0 122 0 0 1042 522 1686
79 Jim Duggan 113 833 165 6 415 149 1680
80 Road Dogg 691 68 394 296 170 10 1630
81 Barry Darsow 18 1021 166 0 299 118 1624
82 Pedro Morales 0 429 0 0 654 526 1608
83 Hercules 0 957 164 0 247 230 1598
84 Sgt Slaughter 38 637 112 5 458 346 1596
85 Ron Simmons 604 61 313 317 234 4 1532
86 Andre the Giant 0 671 121 0 294 434 1519
87 Dino Bravo 0 790 119 0 450 150 1509
88 Matt Bloom 348 191 203 584 148 35 1509
89 Dominic DeNucci 0 79 0 0 960 464 1503
90 Iron Mike Sharpe 39 715 0 0 498 235 1487
91 Paul Roma 0 935 118 0 252 169 1475
92 Carlito 818 220 229 185 0 16 1468
93 Ivan Putski 5 240 3 0 834 379 1461
94 Wade Barrett 404 100 325 481 0 150 1459
95 Charles Wright 472 285 156 245 280 19 1456
96 Iron Sheik 6 554 36 0 559 284 1440
97 Bill Eadie 0 780 155 0 311 170 1416
98 Barry Horowitz 152 383 32 0 689 148 1405
99 Scott Hall 460 122 388 13 419 0 1402
100 Ultimate Warrior 35 907 151 0 161 99 1353

Shows included
ACTION ZONE: 8.8 min. avg
ALL AMERICAN WRESTLING: 6.2 min. avg
ALL STAR WRESTLING: 4.2 min. avg
ALL STAR WRESTLING/MAPLE LEAF: 2.8 min. avg
CANAL+: 9 min. avg
CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING: 3.8 min. avg
CHASE: 5.4 min. avg
COUNTDOWN: 8.3 min. avg
ECW: 4.8 min. avg
FNME: 4.8 min. avg
FREE FOR ALL: 6.1 min. avg
GCW: 7.4 min. avg
HBO: 11.6 min. avg
HEAT: 4.1 min. avg
INT'L WRESTLING CHALLENGE: 6.4 min. avg
JAKKED: 4 min. avg
JAPAN TV: 12.4 min. avg
Les Etoiles de la Lutte : 2.6 min. avg
MAIN EVENT: 10.8 min. avg
MAPLE LEAF: 4.6 min. avg
MARCH TO WM: 3.8 min. avg
MSG: 9.5 min. avg
MSG/USA: 9.1 min. avg
NXT: 6.3 min. avg
PPV: 11.1 min. avg
PRISM: 9.6 min. avg
PTW: 4.7 min. avg
RAW: 4.4 min. avg
SATURDAY MORNING SLAM: 6.8 min. avg
SHOTGUN: 5.5 min. avg
SHOWDOWN: 7.4 min. avg
SKY MOVIES+: 13.1 min. avg
SMACKDOWN: 4.2 min. avg
SNME: 6 min. avg
SUMMERSLAM FEVER: 3.5 min. avg
SUMMERSLAM SPECTACTULAR: 9 min. avg
SUNDAY NIGHT SLAM: 9.4 min. avg
SUPER ASTROS: 4.1 min. avg
SUPERSTARS OF WRESTLING: 6.8 min. avg
TELE+2: 9.1 min. avg
TELE5: 12.7 min. avg
THE MAIN EVENT: 7.7 min. avg
TNT: 6.5 min. avg
TRIBUTE: 5.3 min. avg
TV: 9.8 min. avg
ULTIMATE CHALLENGE: 7.4 min. avg
USA: 6.9 min. avg
VELOCITY: 4.5 min. avg
WRESTLING CHALLENGE: 2.5 min. avg
WWE SUPERSTARS: 6.9 min. avg
WWE.COM: 4.6 min. avg
WWF GCW: 5.9 min. avg
WWF SUPERSTARS: 2.7 min. avg
YOUTUBE: 7.3 min. avg
Grand Total: 4.1 min. avg

It's still my first stab at the topic and I do want to refine some of the metrics before I feel really confident at the findings.

I didn't include rumbles or 2/3 Falls match which would probably favor Hogan; obviously there is a lot more PPVs now for people to gain TV time (along with 3-hour RAWs and 2-hour SMACKDOWN!s). Hogan did a lot of TV interviews and wrestled on tons of house shows in the 80s (interviews to entice you to come to the show to see him) so he just didn't wrestle on free TV in a given year nearly as much as someone like Dolph does. This excludes Dark Matches too - previously Hogan/Andre wrestled lots of those, but now the champ does double-duty - once on TV and once for the live crowd. The Kane # of matches being SO much higher than HHH is a bit shocking to me; dunno if that's because Kane has stayed active these last few years while HHH has moved into a part-time role, or whether it's because Kane was doing tons of squashes (more matches, shorter overall time) or because I screwed up something! It could probably be split into quartiles of match lengths: under 3 minutes, 3-6 minutes, 6-10 minutes, above 10 minutes. Things like the Rockers/Rougeaus marathon matches obviously favor HBK's performance.

There's also Triple H and Undertaker average 17-20 minutes per PPV match while guys like Kane & Big Show only average 12. Over time, it adds up - Kane only had about 1,650 PPV minutes in my model while HHH had almost 2900. If Kane wrestled twenty minute average (like Hunter), he'd be up at 2,580 - much closer. Guys with 1,000+ minutes of PPV time (again, this excludes rumbles but does include some iron man matches): Triple H, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Edge, Glen Jacobs, Rock, Big Show, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio Jr, CM Punk, Steve Austin - obviously a very modern-centric list!

It's absolutely true that this list is very post-1982-centric. 

In terms of total matches, pre-1980, Bruno blows everyone away:
1963-1979 WWWF/WWF
1. Bruno Sammartino: 1843 matches
2. Baron Mikel Scicluna: 1473 matches
3. Chief Jay Strongbow: 1336 matches
4. Gorilla Monsoon: 1281 matches
5. Johnny Rodz: 1203 matches
6. Prof Toru Tanaka: 981 matches
7. Arnold Skaaland: 950 matches
8. Dominic DeNucci: 920 matches
9. Victor Rivera: 898 matches
10. Tony Garea: 897 matches
11. Ivan Putski: 755 matches
12. Larry Zbyszko: 734 matches
13. SD Jones: 697 matches
14. Pete Sanchez: 691 matches
15. Killer Kowalski: 681 matches
16. Luke Graham: 675 matches
17. Spiros Arion: 668 matches
18. Stan Stasiak: 641 matches
19. Manuel Soto: 616 matches
20. Pedro Morales: 613 matches
21. Tony Altimore: 579 matches
22. Johnny Valiant: 559 matches
23. Bobo Brazil: 535 matches
24. Haystacks Calhoun: 533 matches
25. Johnny Rivera: 508 matches

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to determine which matches were and were not televised.

Here's an example of what I'm tackling (I made up these results)

EVENT @ PLACE (ATTENDANCE)
All Stars Wrestling taping:
A. Dory Dixon defeated Tony Altimore
B. The Shadow defeated Gene Kelly
C. Prime Time Wrestling 9/30/84: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard defeated Pete Sanchez & Tony Martinelli in a Best 2 out of 3 falls match, 2-0
8/15/79:
D. Ted Lewin defeated Manuel Soto
E. Pedro Morales pinned Bull Johnson
8/22/79:
F. Ted Dibiase & Tito Santana defeated Jerry & Jimmy Valiant via disqualification
G. Andre the Giant pinned Big John Studd with a reverse cradle at 12:08

In this scenario, I would assume that matches C/E/F/H/I were televised (at least once, possibly more than once on several shows) while A/B were probably dark matches before the taping actually started. However, it's possible they were taped too. Making things even weirder, PTW showed some old pre-1980 matches in the mid-1980s too so you have the issue of people who had matches air on WWF TV years after they were originally taped.

To deal with this I labelled each match by what show they were possibly on as well as a separate flag on whether I thought that match ever aired. Some matches are "yes" (they aired), some matches are "no" (they probably didn't air) and some matches are "unclear" - which is that I have a length for the match, so it's very likely it did air even though it's unclear when it aired. I tried to include the "yes" and "unclear" matches in my analysis. For matches that were "yes" but didn't have a time, I applied the average length of time for a match on that show. So, as you can see, until I reconcile the results with match-airing lists, there's a lot of potential for mistakes.

Furthermore, usually after 1980, if there is a time on the match, quite often it was a televised match. However, in the pre-1980 results, there's a large discrepancy between matches with times and when the TV tapings seemed to be happening.

For instance, Bruno Sammartino has 256 matches with times (1963-1979) which total 4,499 minutes - this includes several 60+ minute matches with Waldo Von Erich, Gorilla Monsoon, Pedro Morales, Bill Miller and Hans Mortier.
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Chris Harrington,
Oct 22, 2013, 8:21 AM
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Chris Harrington,
Oct 23, 2013, 6:28 AM
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