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WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Match Time and Statistics

Let's break down some numbers from the 2015 Royal Rumble, shall we?

The 2015 Royal Rumble match lasted 59 minutes and 35 seconds (59m 35s).  This match featured an extremely negative reaction from the live crowd in Philadelphia once Daniel Bryan was tossed out of the ring like a mid-carder during the first half of the match.  Roman Reigns was booed out of the building on his way to victory, and even a surprise appearance and endorsement from The Rock could not quiet the backlash from the audience.

Here is a text graphic that displays much of the information discussed below, including a chronological listing of who the longest lasting men were at any given point in the match. The graphic provides a quick visual way to understand which wrestlers dominated the 2015 Royal Rumble match as time progressed, as well as seeing how crowded the ring was at any given point. And if you really want to dig deeper, the graphic also includes time stamps for when each wrestler stepped foot into the ring as well as time stamps for each wrestler's elimination.

For comparison's sake, here are other versions of this graphic for Royal Rumble matches from 1988, 1992, 1999 (version 1, version 2), 2003, 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

Survival Times

My definition of the Survival Time for a superstar is the time that lapses between the point when a superstar steps foot into the ring and the time that the superstar's feet hit the floor to signal elimination. This does not include the time it takes for a superstar to make his way from the entrance ramp down to the actual ring.

I did not count Erick Rowan as an official competitor in the match even though he entered the ring in place of Curtis Axel.  The commentators emphasized the point that Rowan was not a legal participant, and so I treated his appearance (and The Rock's appearance) like any other run-in or interference.

I did count Curtis Axel as a participant of the match even though he never made it into the ring.  Therefore he was stuck with a survival time of 0m 00s.

The average survival time for all 30 superstars was 8m 49s.  That number increases to 9m 07s if Axel is excluded.

The median survival time for all 30 superstars was a shockingly low 4m 50s.  That means that half of the superstars didn't even last 4m 50s.

Here is the full list of survival times for all 30 superstars:

  • 46m 58s: Bray Wyatt
  • 35m 18s: Rusev
  • 27m 30s: Roman Reigns
  • 16m 55s: Kane
  • 14m 49s: Big E
  • 13m 30s: Dean Ambrose
  • 12m 50s: Jack Swagger
  • 12m 25s: Stardust
  • 11m 00s: Ryback
  • 10m 11s: Daniel Bryan
  • 8m 21s: Big Show
  • 7m 36s: Fandango
  • 6m 21s: Goldust
  • 5m 47s: Bad News Barrett
  • 4m 56s: Cesaro
  • 4m 44s: Bubba Ray Dudley
  • 4m 17s: Luke Harper
  • 4m 13s: R-Truth
  • 4m 01s: The Miz
  • 2m 51s: Kofi Kingston
  • 2m 28s: Diamond Dallas Page
  • 2m 26s: Tyson Kidd
  • 2m 20s: Dolph Ziggler
  • 0m 48s: The Boogeyman
  • 0m 37s: Sin Cara
  • 0m 34s: Zack Ryder
  • 0m 18s: Damien Mizdow
  • 0m 10s: Adam Rose
  • 0m 05s: Titus O'Neil
  • 0m 00s: Curtis Axel

7 superstars didn't even survive for one full minute.  That does count Curtis Axel but not Erick Rowan, who unofficially survived in the ring for about 0m 51s before being tossed out by Bray Wyatt.

Daniel Bryan had the 10th longest survival time in the match.

Cesaro's survival time of 4m 56s actually puts him in the top half of survival times.

The survival time for Titus O'Neil seemed to be between 4 and 5 seconds.

Rusev rolled under the rope and to the outside mat after a chokeslam from Kane.  He re-entered the ring about 9m 19s later.  That means approximately 26.4% of his survival time was spent hiding outside of the ring.

There are some major differences between the survival times I calculated and the survival times listed on WWE's web site.

For example, I have Bubba Ray Dudley listed at 4m44s while they have him at 5m 22s.  I have Adam Rose clocked in at 0m 10s while they have him listed at 1m 01s.  There are several other examples like this.

This happened because WWE is inconsistent with how they calculate survival times.  In the case of Bubba Ray Dudley and Adam Rose, my numbers align much more closely with WWE's numbers if I were to add the time for their entrance to the survival time that I calculated.

I timed Bubba's entrance at 0m 40s.  If you add that entrance time to his survival time that I calculated (4m 44s), the result is 5m 24s.  This is now within a reasonable two-second margin of WWE's claim that Bubba survived for 5m 22s.  They counted his entrance as part of his survival time.  I'll address the difference of two seconds in the section about entrance times.

This happened for Adam Rose as well.  I clocked his entrance at 0m 53s and his survival time at 0m 10s.  Add those two numbers up and the result (1m 03s) is very close to WWE's claim that he survived for 1m 01s.  They counted his entrance as part of his survival time.

Therefore WWE's survival times for most of the superstars are longer than mine because they counted the entrance as part of the survival time for the majority of the participants.

But then there is Titus O'Neil, who they listed as surviving for 0m 04s, while I have him at 0m 05s.  They clearly did not count his entrance time as part of his survival time, because it took him about 0m 27s to make his way down to the ring.

They also did not count the entrance time as part of the survival time for Rusev and Reigns.

I don't know why WWE chose an inconsistent method for calculating survival times.  If they wanted to include entrance time as part of the survival time, that's fine, but their inability to apply it consistently to every superstar doesn't make any sense.

Then there's Dean Ambrose, who I have surviving for 13m 30s while they have him surviving for 10m 40s.  I have no clue what they did to calculate his survival time, but it seems very wrong to me.  So unless Scott Steiner shows up to confirm WWE's number, I think it is safe to assume that WWE simply has a typo in their results.

Entrance Times

Here are the entrance times for each superstar involved. This is the amount of time that passed between an entrance buzzer going off and when the superstar finally stepped foot into the actual ring.  In the case of Curtis Axel, I stopped the clock on his entrance once he was off camera after Rowan's attack. The first two entrants (The Miz, R-Truth) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.

  • 0m 57s: The Boogeyman
  • 0m 53s: Adam Rose
  • 0m 51s: Damien Mizdow
  • 0m 40s: Bubba Ray Dudley
  • 0m 33s: Bray Wyatt
  • 0m 30s: Roman Reigns
  • 0m 27s: Luke Harper, Titus O'Neil
  • 0m 26s: Stardust
  • 0m 25s: Curtis Axel
  • 0m 24s: Rusev, Bad News Barrett
  • 0m 22s: Cesaro
  • 0m 21s: Diamond Dallas Page
  • 0m 20s: Kane, Big Show
  • 0m 18s: Daniel Bryan, Jack Swagger
  • 0m 17s: Ryback
  • 0m 16s: Fandango, Kidd, Goldust, Big E
  • 0m 15s: Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara
  • 0m 14s: Zack Ryder
  • 0m 12s: Dean Ambrose
  • 0m 11s: Dolph Ziggler

Sometimes it is very tricky to determine when a superstar's entrance ends and when their survival time begins.  Several superstars would walk down to the ring and climb on the apron and stall for a few seconds before entering the ring.  In the case of Tyson Kidd or Stardust, they would be waiting for an opponent to stand up so they could attack him with a springboard maneuver.  In the case of Adam Rose, he stood on the apron in disbelief as the rosebuds carried Kofi around the ringside area.

I counted any apron time like that as still part of the entrance.  I did not start the clock on a superstar's survival time until they stepped through the ropes (or jumped over the ropes) to enter the ring.

There is also a chance that my entrance times are all maybe two seconds longer than what they should logically be.  I immediately start the clock on an entrance when the countdown buzzer hits zero.  Generally speaking though, the buzzer itself takes an extra second to go silent, and then there might be another second of silence before the next superstar's entrance music begins to play.

The main reason I calculate it like this is just for my own convenience, as it saves me a lot of time to calculate the buzzer hitting zero as both the end of a waiting period and the start of the next entrance, as opposed to logging those numbers as separate events.  So while I am considering the above list to be "entrance times", it would be more accurate to describe it as "the time that lapses between a buzzer sounding and the next superstar entering the ring."

Time Between Buzzers

Lilian Garcia stated that there would be 90 second waiting intervals between each entrant. How well did WWE stick to that claim? Here are the waiting times between all 28 buzzers, in chronological order:

  • 1m 30s: Buzzer 1 - Bubba Ray Dudley
  • 2m 35s: Buzzer 2 - Luke Harper
  • 1m 39s: Buzzer 3 - Bray Wyatt
  • 1m 39s: Buzzer 4 - Curtis Axel
  • 1m 56s: Buzzer 5 - The Boogeyman
  • 2m 08s: Buzzer 6 - Sin Cara
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 7 - Zack Ryder
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 8 - Daniel Bryan
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 9 - Fandango
  • 1m 38s: Buzzer 10 - Tyson Kidd
  • 1m 27s: Buzzer 11 - Stardust
  • 1m 53s: Buzzer 12 - Diamond Dallas Page
  • 2m 09s: Buzzer 13 - Rusev
  • 2m 08s: Buzzer 14 - Goldust
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 15 - Kofi Kingston
  • 1m 43s: Buzzer 16 - Adam Rose
  • 2m 07s: Buzzer 17 - Roman Reigns
  • 1m 36s: Buzzer 18 - Big E
  • 1m 41s: Buzzer 19 - Damien Mizdow
  • 1m 40s: Buzzer 20 - Jack Swagger
  • 1m 43s: Buzzer 21 - Ryback
  • 1m 43s: Buzzer 22 - Kane
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 23 - Dean Ambrose
  • 1m 34s: Buzzer 24 - Titus O'Neil
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 25 - Bad News Barrett
  • 1m 53s: Buzzer 26 - Cesaro
  • 1m 49s: Buzzer 27 - Big Show
  • 1m 49s: Buzzer 28 - Dolph Ziggler

These are some pretty interesting results.  WWE did a really poor job of sticking to the claim that waiting intervals would last 90 seconds.  Only 4 of the 28 waiting intervals fell within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal.  That is about as awful as it gets.

It's really easy to conclude that WWE lied to you when they said that there would be 90 seconds between superstars.  5 of the 28 waiting times lasted for over 2 full minutes, while another 15 waiting intervals lasted somewhere between 100 and 120 seconds.

With such widespread divergences from the 90-second goal, it is at least possible that there is a fundamental difference between how I calculate the timing boundaries for a waiting interval and how WWE calculates it.  However I have timed 8 previous Royal Rumble matches, and this calculation was never really an issue in those past matches.  My method is to just calculate the time between adjacent buzzers.  I don't stop the clock for any reason whatsoever in between.  I doubt this has anything to do with the results above, but I wanted to point out that is at least possible that WWE didn't keep a continuous clock rolling the entire time for this year's Royal Rumble match.

I think it is much more likely that this happened because the show was running short and they needed to stretch it out.  Roman Reigns was declared the winner with more than 20 minutes of air time remaining in the 3-hour PPV time slot.  Even with a lengthy post-match segment that featured The Rock endorsing Roman, the show still went off the air with almost 17 minutes left to spare in the 3-hour time slot.  Even with these longer-than-advertised waiting intervals, no PPV since the start of 2013 ended earlier than Royal Rumble 2015.

There are several clear cases where WWE extended a waiting interval so that a specific sequence or angle could fully play out in the ring first.

Bubba Ray Dudley needed a lot of time to make his heroic entrance and then hit all of his signature Dudley tag team moves with R-Truth.  That resulted in the longest waiting interval of the night at 2m 35s.

Boogeyman's long entrance and his spook-off with Bray Wyatt also was given more than two minutes to play out.

They allowed DDP plenty of time to fit in his spree of Diamond Cutters, as it took 2m 09s for the next superstar to come out.

The waiting period that began with Rusev's entrance also included the elimination of DDP, Fandango, and then Daniel Bryan.  The circumstances surrounding Bryan's elimination likely played a role in WWE extending that waiting interval beyond two minutes as well.

The final waiting period that surpassed two minutes in length included Kofi's annual rumble spot, as well as Kofi's elimination.

The interval that included Rowan's attack on Axel and his subsequent showdown with Harper and Wyatt lasted 1m 56s.

This at least explains why the longest 5 or 6 waiting periods went as long as they did, but it doesn't explain why there were more than a dozen other lengthy waiting periods.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Ziggler's entrance) would have gone off 42m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 50m 21s.

Ring Crowdedness

I also wanted to take a look at how the ring filled up with superstars as the match progressed. If you add up each wrestler's survival time, it results in a total survival time of 4h 24m 19s.  Given that the match lasted a total of 59m 35s, that comes out to an average of 4.4 competitors in the ring at any given second.

Here is a more accurate way to understand how many men were in the ring at any given time. This table shows the total time that the ring was filled with an exact number of discrete superstars at once:

Active Wrestlers Total Time Percentage of Match Time Cumulative Percentage
1 4m 53s 8.2 8.2
2 12m 02s 20.2 28.4
3 5m 36s 9.4 37.8
4 11m 40s 19.6 57.4
5 10m 15s 17.2 74.6
6 2m 35s 4.3 78.9
7 2m 14s 3.7 82.7
8 5m 20s 9.0 91.6
9 3m 09s 5.3 96.9
10 1m 51s 3.1 100.0

The numbers above only include legal competitors in the match.  This means that Rowan and Rock were not included even though they were in the ring at some point during the match.  This also counts Rusev as being "in the ring" even when he spent 9m 19s hiding out on the floor.

The percentages in the table above show that the ring was filled with 5 or fewer superstars for 74.6% of the match.

It's not surprising to see such a sparsely populated ring considering the extremely short survival times for most of the superstars.  The 2014 Royal Rumble match featured an average of about 6.5 men in the ring at any given second. The 2013 Royal Rumble featured an average of 6.8 men in the ring at any given second. The 2015 Royal Rumble fell at least 2 full men short of those recent averages, which is pretty stunning.

As far as ring crowdedness goes, the match can be broken into three different parts.

The first 15 minutes or so were dominated by Bray Wyatt having several one-on-one altercations with various forms of jobbers and tossing them all out.  This is the chunk of the match where the ring was the least crowded.

Bryan's entrance began the second part of the match.  For about the next 20 minutes, there were usually at least 4 men in the ring.  However, the ring never surpassed 6 men during this time.  Keep in mind that in 2013 and 2014, the average number of men in the ring at any given second was at least 6.5.  In the 2015 Royal Rumble match, the ring didn't even fill up with more than 6 men until just over 40 minutes into the match.

The final 25 minutes of the match saw the ring quickly fill up to its eventual maximum size of 10 men.  There was a stretch of 7m 34s without any eliminations.  Unfortunately, the ring filled up with all of these guys just so that Big Show and Kane could toss most of them out in a rather ho-hum fashion.

End of the Match

Once the final entrant (Dolph Ziggler) entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 9-man Battle Royal to the finish between Wyatt, Rusev, Reigns, Kane, Ambrose, Barrett, Cesaro, Big Show, and Ziggler. This final segment of the Royal Rumble match lasted 9m 03s, and at that point Reigns emerged as the winner of the match.

A false match-ending bell rang at 6m 55s into this final stretch, right when Reigns appeared to be the winner when he eliminated Big Show and Kane.  I ignored this bell, because Rusev was still a survivor.

The Rock's entrance lasted about 12 seconds.  He then beat the crap out of Big Show and Kane for 1m 01s before exiting the ring.

Rusev re-entered the ring 0m 12s after Rock's departure.  Rusev only survived for 20 more seconds before Reigns easily tossed him out.

There was a one or two second delay between the time that Rusev's feet hit the floor and the bell ringing to signify the end of the match.  I counted this extra second as part of the match time even though it could be argued that the clock should have been stopped once Rusev's feet hit the floor.

That's all you need to know about the timing of the 2015 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?

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