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10 Longest Matches In WWE Raw And SmackDown History

Seth freakin' Rollins helping to break records...

Putting together a WWE televised event must be an absolute nightmare. It's the commercials. The commercials are an unruly mistress when it comes to WWE shows. It's a good job our favourite Superstars take a tumble to the floor when they do because those commercials swoop in with zero remorse to chop up the action. It's actually some kind of miracle - when you think about it - that opportune moments to cut to the break happen during a show that is aired live each week... what a happy reoccurrence.

Having watched every inch of WWE programming for a while now, I reckon you're doing well if you can wrangle a two-commercial match from one of the company's weekly shows. That's, like, 20 minutes or longer of airtime and plenty of time to get your sh*t in, as they say in the trade.

Because of the nature of the show it's hard to get lengthy matches in due to the amount going on. A number of feuds have to be built so WWE Network subscriptions are purchased ahead of the next special event. Imagine if WWE simply built one feud and then had the rest of the card filler on any given Sunday event on the Network - it would be an unmitigated disaster.

So with a 54-year-old record tumbling on this week's Raw in terms of the company's complete history, let's have a look at the 10 longest matches in weekly episodic WWE televised history - otherwise known as the really long ones from Raw and SmackDown...

10. Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Edge Vs. Randy Orton, Batista And Ric Flair - Raw - 34:35


WWE


The night after Badd Blood 2004 and an elimination 6-man tag match was the main event of Raw.

At the PPV, Chris Benoit had retained his World Heavyweight Championship against Kane, Randy Orton retained his Intercontinental Championship against Shelton Benjamin, and Chris Jericho had defeated Tyson Tomko in a barnstorming affair that lasted three seconds short of six minutes. Wow.

This match was everything you would expect it to be, with the heels getting the upper hand only for the underdog babyface to fight back and get the big win in the end.

Triple H, who defeated Shawn Michaels in that Hell in a Cell match the night before, was at ringside being an absolute bastard and almost allowed Evolution to come out on top. However, TEAM CANADA'S Benoit locked in the Sharpshooter on Orton to gain a massive win in a massively long match.

This match was so long, in fact, that Raw went off the air after 11:20 pm - way after the show was supposed to end.


9. Rumble Match - SmackDown - 36:56


WWE


The likes of A-Train, Big Show, Billy Gunn, Ernest Miller, Hardcore Holly, John Cena, Nunzio, Rhyno, Rikishi and Tajiri took part in this Rumble with the winner going on to face Brock Lesnar the very next month. Yes, this is the match that booked Eddie Guerrero's ticket to his WWE Championship winning night at No Way Out 2004.

It's a Rumble where The Big Show dominates, so what's new? The final 10 minutes leading up to the finish is pretty exhilarating, however, with Eddie looking like he's going over the top before reversing to dump Kurt Angle to the floor for the win. Eddie's big push had started, we're off to the races.

Thank goodness he won, or we'd never have had that moment. Well, we might have had that moment somewhere down the line, but you can't help but feel it wouldn't have been as perfect as the moment we got at NWO '04.

8. Kevin Owens Vs. Roman Reigns Vs. Big Cass Vs. Seth Rollins - Raw - 37:00


WWE


The night that Triple H turned his back on Seth Rollins to hand Kevin Owens the recently vacated WWE Universal Championship. One hell of a moment that set off the Road To WrestleMania™ XXXIII in many ways.

Four men had qualified for a huge Fatal 4-Way Elimination match, with The Prizefighter taking home the gold after The Game's Pedigree to the Architect.

NICKNAMES!

Naturally, because it involves Triple H, it's a finish that completely overshadows anything that happened during the match - even if Mrs Ladyballs herself Stephanie McMahon - the star on any show - along with her whipping boy Mick Foley, were sat at ringside.

Daddy Game's shock appearance from the crowd led to a Pedigree on the floor to Roman Reigns which saw THE BIG DOG sent home packing after Cass' early elimination.

It's a match that's all about the finish so if you're going to go back and watch it, just watch the last 10 minutes or so. The rest is mere filler in comparison - which is testament to the finish by the way because it's a mighty fine match till then.

7. Daniel Bryan Vs. Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro & Ryback - Raw - 37:20


WWE


Gauntlet Madness, they called it.

Three weeks before SummerSlam and Brad Maddox opened Raw being as useless as he always was in his role of GM. He invites John Cena out to the ring to explain why he chose Daniel Bryan to challenge for his WWE Championship at the biggest party of the summer, berating the leader of the Yes Movement for being small and hairy and not what WWE look for in their premier champion.

You can imagine the back and forth that went on here, with Cena defending Bryan before comparing him to the likes of Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio.

Out comes Bryan, with Maddox giving the little goat man an opportunity to prove his doubters wrong - as if he needed to do so. He booked him in a match which actually turned out to be three matches in one, the cheeky scamp. What's Brad like, hey?

Bryan took on and defeated Jack Swagger thanks to a Yes Lock, Cesaro thanks to a rollup and Ryback following a DQ for going through a table - his path to SummerSlam looked like getting a lot bumpier after this.

At least Ryback hit the table this time I suppose...


6. 6-Way Elimination Match - SmackDown - 44:00


WWE


This is the one with JBL and Booker T and. Chris Benoit and. Christian and Muhammad Hassan. The Undertaker - the latter pair scrotum deep in their highly controversial feud. Taker would actually get himself disqualified from this match by taking a chair to Hassan's head - the silly goose.

This match had nothing to do with a dinosaur - I just like seeing JBL in faintly uncompromising positions.

Christian was revealed to be the latest Raw draftee to join SmackDown by GM Teddy Long, moments before the first bell. which of course gave Captain Charisma the advantage because his adversaries didn't have any time to prepare for him. That's how wrestling works. Christian replaced Big Show in the match because reasons.

Eventually we're down to Christan and JBL in the final two, with the self-proclaimed Wrestling God winning the match, and seemingly the SmackDown title... that's until Long reveals that there is no SmackDown title and John is merely the new number one contender to Batista's World Heavyweight Championship with The Animal the newest member of team blue.

This was a match with only one clean fall, with Chris Benoit of all people succumbing to a DDT.

5. John Cena Vs. Shawn Michaels - Raw - 55:49


WWE


Simply put, the greatest match in Raw history and absolutely worth the 55 minutes and 49 seconds it was afforded. And hey, it happened in England, so bonus Mars Bars all round for that too.

This was a match where GOAT Shawn Michaels led and John Cena followed - and rightfully so, since Shawn is a GOAT and John maybe isn't.

Everything about his match is great. The pacing, the action - a lot of it looking very familiar to HBK's WrestleMania XII classic against Bret Hart it must be said. But there are far worse matches to steal from, in all fairness - and the finish just hit the right nail in the right spot on its head.

Cena looked to have the match won with an STFU, only for Michaels to escape and hit a desperation Sweet Chin Music for the win. The way he flopped down on top of Cena for the cover told the story, and then some.

And to think, the pair would be involved in a huge championship Fatal 4-Way six days later. This match kind of makes Seth Rollins' decision to go the distance on Raw this week feel almost sane.

4. Kurt Angle Vs. Brock Lesnar - SmackDown - 60-Minute Iron Man Match


WWE


If Michaels vs. Cena is the greatest match in Raw history then Angle vs. Lesnar is the greatest in SmackDown history. No arguments.

Olympic Gold Medalist Angle and WWE's current Universal Champion were attached at the hip for large parts of the early noughties. A feud that culminated at WrestleMania XIX saw Angle forced to take time off due to well-documented neck complications, with this match taking place after his return.

It's a match that has everything - Brock even gets himself disqualified for one of the falls thanks to the use of a steel chair. The Beast dominated for large periods, with Angle fighting back sporadically - the contest really told the tale of the young upstart and wily veteran really well, mixed in with some incredible action as you would expect.

With the score 5-4 in Lesnar's favour and Kurt on the offensive, an Angle Lock was applied and it looked for all the world that the scores would be tied. However, time ran out - huge drama - limbs all over - what a marvellous end to a marvellous match.


3. Chris Benoit Vs. Triple H - Raw - 60-Minute Iron Man Match


WWE


The only reason this Iron Man Match ranks above the other Iron Man Match in this list is because it's marginally better. That's all I have for you. This is the kind of insight you have all come here for, I know.

Maybe it's because this match took place on live television rather than being taped and aired a couple of days later meaning you were more in the moment with Benoit and Triple H - but it really is one of those moments when you sit down side-by-side to watch something and firmly believe one is better than the other for reasons that aren't exactly clear.

This match also has the story behind it that the Lesnar/Angle offering doesn't. Nobody thought Chris Benoit could defeat both Triple H and Shawn Michaels, yet he did. And I'm almost certain that there was a similar feeling from the WWE Universe heading into this one, with a dastardly Game seemingly having a sleeve full of tricks to call upon when needed.

All I know is for sure is that talking about Benoit in such glowing terms like this feels really, really wrong. So we'll leave this long match here and move on.

2. Tag Team Turmoil - SmackDown - 65:15


WWE


Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Heath Slater & Titus O'Neil vs. The Ascension vs. The Big Show & Kane - yes, this is a thing that happened and yes, somehow, this a match that lasted over an hour in television land once all of the adverts were accounted for.

In all fairness, WWE were in the midst of telling a main event level story here, with Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns heading towards their Fastlane meeting with THE BIG DOG's WrestleMania match against Brock Lesnar on the line.

Would the two coexist against a bunch of lowly jobbers and a few others?

Yes.

They'd see off Kane and Big Show - who absolutely murdered the Royal Rumble a couple of weeks prior, how could anyone forget? - last to romp home to victory. The pair would look at each other and the WrestleMania sign before nodding approvingly at each other. On to Fastlane we go.

1. 7-Man Gauntlet Match - Raw - 146:55 (Officially - But It's Certainly Over 2 Hours with Ads Included)


WWE


The Seth Rollins Show.

Even though there was absolutely nothing on the line, The Architect's quest to turn Monday Night Raw into 'Monday Night Rollins' saw him go for a staggering 65 minutes to open the February 19 2018 show.

Taking the traditional formula for a go home event and throwing it in the bin, WWE went for a different feeling Raw by having this 7-man gauntlet last for the first two hours of the show (adverts included). It's weird how WWE have subtracted the ad time from the total, presumably meaning the competitors in the ring must have stood still during the ads until the show came back on the air each time...

Forget about that though, Rollins got over with the crowd thanks to a gutsy performance that produced as much grit as it did flamboyance - the stretch with John Cena really is essential viewing and wouldn't have looked out of place on a WrestleMania card.

Some could argue it went a bit too long but there's no denying that it was an entertaining bout throughout. Every Superstar had their chance to shine, with the pacing, character-driven spots and scenarios making the first two hours of Raw fly by.

Braun Strowman eventually came out on top after dismantling The Miz and his Miztourage, but it's Rollins who undoubtedly stole the show on the road to the Elimination Chamber.

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Editor-in-chief of Cultaholic.com and presenter on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]