WWE: Why Beat the Clock Is a Great Match Concept

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterMay 8, 2012

Photo from Official WWE Facebook fan page of The Miz
Photo from Official WWE Facebook fan page of The Miz

The Beat the Clock Challenge is a fantastic gimmick match.

The simple concept creates suspense and raises the stakes of competition.

Wrestlers compete in successive matches where the winner is the wrestler who not only defeats his opponent, but does so in less time than any of the other winners.

Alfred Hitchcock's bomb theory shined light on the power that a ticking clock has in creating suspense.  Countless films and novels have used this concept to inject drama into a scene. 

WWE utilizes this device with the Beat the Clock matches.

A match is then not just a matter of winning and losing.   The significance of winning quickly makes every near-fall and submission hold stirring.

WWE could certainly insert bigger names into these challenges, but it's also a chance for lesser known stars to shine in a short match. 

Audiences are smart enough to know that Randy Orton will beat Yoshi Tatsu every time out.  A match between them might lose some intensity because of the obviousness of the outcome.

The Beat the Clock stipulation adds excitement. 

Sure Orton will beat Tatsu, but will he do it quickly enough?  And while Tatsu would get dominated in this fictional match, the gimmick could offer him a chance to still thrive. 


The finest example of the Beat the Clock's capabilities so far has been Daniel Bryan facing Batista on Raw in 2010.

Bryan was not established enough to earn a clean victory over Batista.  Batista towered over him. 

In a standard match, most fans would have seen the ending coming. 

While Batista did win as expected, the Beat the Clock stipulation made every moment that Bryan survived exponentially thrilling.

Batista opened the match with a kick to the gut and a powerbomb attempt. 

With a ticking clock echoing in his ears, Batista had to defeat his opponent quickly.  Bryan's crafty counters and escapes frustrated the bigger man.

In order to come out looking strong, Bryan didn't have to beat Batista, but simply prolong his own defeat. 

Normally a match of this length (5:06) doesn't resonant with fans.  In this case, the gimmick helped create one of the greatest short matches ever. 

The Beat the Clock element transformed this into something far greater—into attention-snagging entertainment. 

Unless WWE overdoes it by making it its own pay-per-view, the Beat the Clock Challenge can be a source of anticipation and thrills they can mine again and again.