Professional wrestling is an art that can be performed in many different ways and to many different fan receptions. Recently there has become a trend for wrestling all over the world when it comes to match lengths. A focus on having matches with a long build to an even longer climax has become the norm for singles matches in NXT, NJPW, and across the indies. With nearly every single IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match since 2017 going past the 30-minute mark, many seem to believe that long matches are the only way to produce quality matches in the world of professional wrestling. This belief is far from accurate.
A match does not have to be seemingly endless to make it great. In fact, you can find a fun and entertaining match to watch that lasts about as long as it takes to successfully make instant noodles. Let’s take a look at 8 matches under 5 minutes that deliver a good time!
Honorable Mention: Toru Yano vs Taichi – G1 Climax 29 Day 16
This match falls seconds out of our time range, but I just had to include Yano in a list of fast matches because he’s the king of fast matches! Having a total combined match time of only about 45 minutes in this year’s G1 Climax, Yano is at his best when competing in short matches. In this match particularly, the “Taishi” of Noboribetsu battled Taichi in a match that any Yano fan would love. This 5-minute barnburner was jam-packed with a turnbuckle spot, a forced stripping of Taichi, a Satori Surprise and a hilarious count-out victory for Toru Yano that made it a memorable match in the midst of a loaded tournament line-up.
Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg III – Wrestlemania 33
In the first official entry of the list, we have a match from Wrestlemania 33 where Brock Lesnar met Goldberg for the third time in history. In my personal favorite Brock Lesnar match since 2015, the match started with a bang and was total nonstop action from start to finish. In one of Lesnar’s most competitive matches in years, the high-intensity match woke the crowd up in the final stretch of the 5+ hour show.
In the end, Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg with a single F-5 to reclaim the Universal Championship. Clocking in at four minutes and 45 seconds, this match was able to excite and entertain the fans within minutes of the first bell.
Danny Burch vs Oney Lorcan I – NXT #257
Next up we have a match from NXT TV between eventual tag team partners Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Before deciding to team up and chase the NXT Tag Team Championships, these two men went to war with each other in the name of respect and making a name for themselves to the NXT Universe. The first of their two matches saw Oney picking up the win after a hard-hitting affair from two men who pride themselves on their sheer physicality inside the ring. Somewhat of a hidden gem, this 4+ minute TV match took place in the summer of 2017, a slow period in the history of the “black & yellow” brand.
Hazuki vs Starlight Kid IV – Oedo Tai Produce Show 2019
Moving on to the first joshi match on the list we have Hazuki and Starlight Kid’s fourth singles match against one another at the Oedo Tai Produce Show in May 2019. In what was Hazuki’s sixth successful defense of the High-Speed Championship, this match was just that: high speed. A four and a half minute sprint of a match, these women went all out to put their athletic abilities on full display to the audience.
This fast-paced action was a recurring theme of Hazuki’s reign as High Speed Champion, with the champ priding herself on defeating her opponents as quickly as humanly possible with her “Hazukistral” pinning combination. While not the shortest of her defenses, this match was, in my opinion, the best of Hazuki’s battles as High-Speed Champion.
Tajiri vs Rob Van Dam – RAW #427
Bringing it back to WWE TV, this match is the only singles meeting between Rob Van Dam and Tajiri for the WWF Hardcore Championship. Taking place in the heat of the 2001 Invasion, this short and sweet hardcore match between the two ECW alumnus was a discovery I made a few years ago and have watched many times since. After four minutes and 23 seconds, RVD was able to come away with the win over the Japanese Buzzsaw. Coupled with wonderful commentary from the duo of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, this match was a very delightful match to watch, though I’m sure RVD would’ve liked it if it were three seconds shorter.
Tsukushi vs Mika Iida – Catch The WAVE Scramble 2016
In another, slightly less mainstream entry from the wondrous world of joshi puroesu is this 2016 match between Mika Iida and Tsukushi. Taking place in the Blue Block of that year’s Catch The WAVE tournament, both women went at each other with both quick movements and strong strikes right from the start. In the loaded 32-women tournament, this match was possibly overshadowed by others at the time, but looking back is seen as a fun match that never stopped going 100mph. Ending after a successful roll-up sequence by Tsukushi, this match can make for a great introduction to joshi wrestling outside of bigger promotions such as Stardom and TJPW.
AZM vs Saki Kashima – 5STAR Grand Prix 2019 Day 7
Finally breaking out of the 4-minute zone is this recent matchup between Saki Kashima and AZM. Taking place during this year’s 5STAR Grand Prix, this bout between two of Stardom’s best high-speed talents did not disappoint, making for a fast-paced thriller that livened up the Osaka crowd. Starting the match hot with a missile dropkick right out of the gate, both women were looking for a quick victory as they passed the midway point of the tournament.
After an amazing eight-second victory over eventual tournament winner Hana Kimura, Saki faced off against AZM in a match that both women planned to win merely seven seconds after the bell. This plan did not follow through for either competitor, as it took a total of three minutes and 34 seconds for AZM to defeat Kashima with her signature roll-up. A bright spot of this year’s 5*, this match proved the worth of the unofficial high-speed division.
Ricky Marvin vs KENTA II – Autumn Navigation 2009
Coming in at the 2nd shortest match of the list is quite possibly my favorite as it sees KENTA take on Ricky Marvin in the 2009 NOAH Junior Heavyweight Leauge. In the 2nd match of the tournament, it is rumored that this match got cut for time. Rather than lessening the match, however, the combatants crammed a magnificent battle into just under 2 minutes of match-time. While not being the original plan, this was a great contrast to their 27-minute championship match at Southern Navigation 2009 that happened months prior.
This match also saw more aggression compared to their previous meeting, with both men battering each other in hopes of gaining two points in this A-Block matchup. A testament to this brutality, KENTA ended the match with an absolutely deadly punt kick to his opponent for the pinfall victory after one-minute and 59 seconds.
Hiromu Takahashi vs KUSHIDA II – Sakura Genisis 2017
Last, but not least, on this list is the infamous matchup between Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida at NJPW Sakura Genisis 2017. In one of the most shocking matches in NJPW history, this rematch for Hiromu Takahashi’s IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship was comprised of roughly four wrestling moves before Hiromu put Kushida away with a Timebomb. The intensity of the crowd, the Japanese commentators and the wrestlers made this match feel one of a kind and helped make Sakura Genisis 2017 one of the best shows of that year. Only five matches back from his 3-year excursion, this one minute and 56-second match also helped solidified Hiromu Takahashi’s position as a top Jr. Heavyweight for years to come.