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WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Match Time and Statistics

The 2016 Royal Rumble match lasted 61 minutes and 43 seconds (61m 43s).  This match featured Roman Reigns trying to overcome everybody on the roster but ultimately losing his WWE Championship to Triple H.

This text graphic captures much of the information discussed below.  It gives time stamps for each superstar's arrival and exit from the match, as well as showing who the longest lasting superstars were as the match progressed.  This graphic gives Reigns and Kingston full credit for being "in the ring" even during the times when they were active but outside the ring.

This alternate text graphic is similar to the one above, except it is updated to reflect the extended ring absences of Reigns and Kingston while they were still officially active in the match. The graphic provides a quick visual way to understand which wrestlers dominated the 2016 Royal Rumble match as time progressed, as well as seeing how crowded the ring was at any given point.

For comparison's sake, here are other versions of this graphic for Royal Rumble matches from 1988, 1992, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2013.

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.

The average superstar survival time for the 2016 Royal Rumble match was 11m 54s and the median survival time was 7m 25s.

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

  • 59m 48s: Roman Reigns (falls to 29m 25s when adjusted for his absence)
  • 50m 47s: Chris Jericho
  • 29m 35s: Dean Ambrose
  • 27m 49s: AJ Styles
  • 23m 33s: Luke Harper
  • 18m 43s: Kane
  • 17m 44s: Braun Strowman
  • 13m 57s: Stardust
  • 12m 20s: Ryback
  • 10m 44s: Bray Wyatt
  • 10m 01s: Neville
  • 9m 12s: Brock Lesnar
  • 8m 56s: Titus O'Neil
  • 8m 10s: Kofi Kingston (falls to 4m 29s when adjusted for his absence)
  • 7m 49s: Triple H
  • 7m 00s: Dolph Ziggler
  • 6m 47s: Alberto Del Rio
  • 5m 57s: Goldust
  • 4m 32s: Sami Zayn
  • 4m 25s: Kevin Owens
  • 4m 21s: Big Show
  • 4m 18s: Sheamus
  • 4m 13s: Erick Rowan
  • 1m 38s: Miz
  • 1m 30s: Rusev
  • 1m 08s: Curtis Axel
  • 0m 57s: Tyler Breeze
  • 0m 37s: R-Truth
  • 0m 28s: Mark Henry
  • 0m 15s: Jack Swagger

If the adjusted times for Reigns and Kofi are used, the average survival time falls to 10m 46s and the median drops to 6m 54s.

Kofi Kingston's elimination was not shown on camera when it happened, and there was a 0m 37s gap between the point when Kofi was last seen on camera and the point when the viewer could tell that he was eliminated.  Theoretically his feet could have hit the floor at any point during that 0m 37s window when he was off camera.

However WWE did show his elimination on replay a few minutes later, and the replay showed that his elimination occurred right around the time when Rusev was splashing Roman Reigns through a table.  Therefore I feel pretty confident that my survival time for Kofi is within 4 seconds of the true number.  It's not an ideal situation, but it is still much better than having a 0m 37s margin of uncertainty.

Roman Reigns was in the match for the first 21m 00s (there is a brief moment during his initial encounter with Rusev where he was outside the ring, but I'm ignoring that here).  The 21m 00s time stamp is where Reigns was dragged outside of the ring.

His absence from the ring then lasted 30m 23s.  This counts the entire time when he was still the main focus of the story when the League of Nations were annihilating him outside the ring.  Reigns was last shown on camera walking to the back at the time stamp of 26m 48s.  He was off camera for a total time of 24m 35s.

He later returned into the ring at the time stamp 51m 23s and survived until 59m 48s.  When his two separate stints in the match are combined, they add up to 29m 25s.

The bottom 6 names on this list did not last long enough to make it to the next buzzer.

Mark Henry and Jack Swagger weren't given any chance to make their pre-show tag team victory worthwhile.

The sum of the 15 shortest survival times is 48m 06s, which means that Chris Jericho lasted longer than all 15 of those men combined.

I gave Triple H one extra second of survival time at the very end of the match because it took about one second after Ambrose was eliminated for the bell to ring to officially end the match.

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. The first two entrants (Reigns, Rusev) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.

  • 7m 19s: Miz
  • 4m 29s: Sheamus
  • 1m 17s: Triple H
  • 1m 11s: AJ Styles
  • 0m 44s: Harper
  • 0m 42s: Wyatt
  • 0m 38s: Big Show
  • 0m 34s: Jericho, Owens
  • 0m 25s: Kane, Kofi
  • 0m 24s: Axel, Truth, Ambrose, Zayn
  • 0m 23s: Goldust
  • 0m 22s: Rowan
  • 0m 21s: Breeze
  • 0m 20s: Ryback, Henry, Lesnar
  • 0m 19s: Strowman
  • 0m 17s: Stardust, Neville
  • 0m 16s: Swagger
  • 0m 15s: Del Rio
  • 0m 12s: Titus, Ziggler

Miz joined the commentary team before ever entering the ring.  I counted that entire duration as part of his entrance time.  If the clock on the entrance for Miz was instead stopped at the point when he joined the commentary team, his entrance time would drop from 7m 19s to 0m 38s.

Sheamus was punched out by Roman Reigns during his entrance.  Sheamus didn't manage to make it into the ring for the first time until after Triple H entered the ring, and so all of that time he spent on the floor counted as part of his entrance.  If the clock on the entrance time for Sheamus was instead stopped at the point when he was last seen on camera right after being attacked by Reigns, his entrance time would drop from 4m 29s to 0m 26s.

Stardust happened to be the unlucky wrestler who made his entrance during the time when Reigns was being destroyed by the League of Nations outside of the ring.  As a result, the exact time when Stardust entered the ring was not shown on camera.  However the level of uncertainty here is only a couple of seconds.

These numbers add up to about 21m 22s of total entrance time out of the entire 1h 01m 43s match. That means that for about 34.6% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance.  However if the aforementioned adjustments are made to the entrance times for Miz and Sheamus, then the superstar entrance times add up to 13m 04s, which is  21.2% of the match.

Follow The 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 46s: Buzzer 1 - Styles
  • 2m 09s: Buzzer 2 - Breeze
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 3 - Axel
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 4 - Jericho
  • 1m 52s: Buzzer 5 - Kane
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 6 - Goldust
  • 1m 44s: Buzzer 7 - Ryback
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 8 - Kofi
  • 1m 44s: Buzzer 9 - Titus
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 10 - Truth
  • 2m 07s: Buzzer 11 - Harper
  • 2m 12s: Buzzer 12 - Stardust
  • 1m 58s: Buzzer 13 - Big Show
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 14 - Neville
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 15 - Strowman
  • 1m 55s: Buzzer 16 - Owens
  • 2m 05s: Buzzer 17 - Ambrose
  • 1m 57s: Buzzer 18 - Zayn
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 19 - Rowan
  • 1m 50s: Buzzer 20 - Henry
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 21 - Lesnar
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 22 - Swagger
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 23 - Miz
  • 2m 05s: Buzzer 24 - Del Rio
  • 1m 41s: Buzzer 25 - Wyatt
  • 3m 01s: Buzzer 26 - Ziggler
  • 1m 41s: Buzzer 27 - Sheamus
  • 1m 40s: Buzzer 28 - Triple H

None of the 28 waiting periods came within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal.  I didn't think that it could get much worse than last year's Royal Rumble match in which only 4 of the 28 waiting periods came within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal, but this Royal Rumble match set a record that can never be broken.

The median waiting period was 1m 47s, and the average time was 1m 53s.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Triple H's entrance) would have gone off 42m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 52m 37s.

6 of these 28 waiting periods lasted longer than 2m 00s.  11 of them lasted at least 1m 50s.

I usually look at the handful of waiting periods that were furthest from the 90-second goal and see if there are any clear reasons to explain the difference.  But with a Rumble like this, where every single waiting period is off the mark, it perhaps is indicative of a bigger issue than just a handful of isolated disturbances.

Last year I speculated that the waiting times were stretched out because the overall show time was running short and WWE needed to fill more time in the 3-hour clock for the Royal Rumble event.  However that was not an issue at all for this event, where WWE filled just about every single second of the 3-hour clock.

In fact my gut instinct when the match began relatively late on the card was to assume that WWE would rush several waiting periods to make sure that the show safely landed within the 3-hour block of time.  But it looks like they actually did the opposite of that, and in doing so came dangerously close to going over the 3-hour edge.

As far as the individual waiting periods are concerned, the waiting time of 3m 01s between Wyatt and Ziggler obviously stands out.  This is the second longest waiting period that I have timed in the 20 Royal Rumble matches that I have analyzed.  The 1992 Royal Rumble included a waiting period that actually lasted 3m 21s.

The reason this waiting period took so long is because Bray Wyatt's entry into the match meant that Brock Lesnar was going to be eliminated by the entire Wyatt Family.  WWE made sure to let that angle play out in its entirety before having Ziggler join the match next.

There were 3 very long waiting periods between the buzzers for Truth and Big Show.

The first of these waiting periods lasted 2m 07s and included the entire comedy bit with R-Truth, which took up slightly more than a minute from the buzzer to his elimination.  But then they immediately followed that up with Kofi's elimination escape spot, which would have overlapped with the 90-second boundary.  It looks like WWE gave Kofi and his partners some time to bask in the glory of their antics before bringing out the next entrant.

That next waiting period lasted  2m 12s and this is where Roman Reigns was pulled outside the ring and attacked by the League of Nations.  That attack then actually extended into the next waiting period (including Stardust's entrance) and so that third waiting period lasted 1m 58s.

The waiting period between Styles and Breeze lasted 2m 09s, and this is probably because of the ridiculously long entrance for AJ Styles and the crowd reaction his appearance created.  It would have been strange for him to make it in the ring and for the next countdown clock to start going down from 10, and so WWE let him and Reigns fight each other for a bit before bringing out Breeze.

The period between Miz and Del Rio lasted 2m 05s.  It's possible that WWE wanted to give Miz extra time on commentary to explain his strategy of dodging Brock Lesnar.

The three waiting periods between the buzzers for Strowman and Zayn lasted 1m 55s, 2m 05s, and 1m 57s.  The first of these waiting periods included Strowman's eliminations of Kane and Big Show, which it looks like WWE wanted to cram back-to-back in the same waiting period.

The next waiting period included the limping entrance of Kevin Owens and his subsequent elimination of AJ Styles.  It's possible that WWE knew the elimination of Styles would be a big deal and so they added some time on the end of it for the commentators to talk him up, as the crowd chanted his name.

The last of these three consecutive waiting periods included Ambrose's entrance and his immediate brawl with Owens.  During this waiting period, WWE actually showed a replay of the attack on Roman Reigns.  That's likely the cause of the extension here, because the replay lasted roughly 0m29s.

That covers the 9 longest waiting periods of the match.  More can probably be uncovered here considering how inaccurately timed WWE's waiting periods were in this match, but I wanted to at least touch on the biggest culprits.

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 5h 57m 14s.  Given that the match lasted a total of 1h 01m 43s, that comes out to an average of 5.8 competitors in the ring at any given second.

If the numbers are adjusted to account for the extended absences of Reigns and Kofi from the ring while they were still officially in the match, that number drops to 5.2 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 chart shows the total time that the ring was filled with an exact number of discrete superstars at once.  This is using the adjusted data for the absences of Reigns and Kingston.

Active Wrestlers Total Time Percentage of Match Time Cumulative Percentage
1 1m 28s 2.4 2.4
2 6m 15s 10.1 12.5
3 3m 52s 6.3 18.8
4 5m 26s 8.8 27.6
5 12m 38s 20.5 48.0
6 15m 08s 24.5 72.6
7 13m 34s 22.0 94.5
8 3m 22s 5.5 100.0

And here is the same chart without adjusting for the absences of Reigns and Kingston.

Active Wrestlers Total Time Percentage of Match Time Cumulative Percentage
1 1m 28s 2.4 2.4
2 6m 15s 10.1 12.5
3 3m 52s 6.3 18.8
4 2m 47s 4.5 23.3
5 7m 37s 12.3 35.6
6 12m 22s 20.0 55.7
7 12m 55s 20.9 76.6
8 12m 13s 19.8 96.4
9 2m 14s 3.6 100.0

The statements below are all made based on the adjusted data in which Reigns and Kofi are not counted during their absences.  This is reflected in the top chart.

It took a while for the match to get crowded, as the ring did not reach a depth of 5 men until Goldust entered at the time stamp 11m 19s.

Reigns and Styles were the only two men in the ring after they eliminated Axel at the time stamp of 7m 06s.  The next 10m 12s included six new participants (Jericho, Kane, Goldust, Ryback, Kofi, Titus) entering the ring without any eliminations occurring.  That was the longest chunk of time in the match between eliminations.

There were always 5 to 8 men in the ring between the time stamps of 11m 19s and 44m 18s.  The latter time stamp is when Luke Harper was eliminated by Brock Lesnar.

The ring was filled with 5 to 7 men for a total time of 41m 20s, which is about 67.0% of the match.

The ring was filled with 4 to 5 men between the time stamps of 41m 18s and 49m 48s.  This part of the match included the elimination of Brock Lesnar.  During the part of this time when Bray's three thugs unfairly entered the ring to deal with Lesnar, there were actually 8 men in the ring, but only 5 of them were active in the Royal Rumble match.

Reigns then rejoined the match at the time stamp of 51m 23s, and he was the 7th active man in the ring at that point.  When Triple H entered the ring shortly afterwards at the time stamp of 53m 54s, he was the 6th active man in the ring.

End of the Match

Sheamus didn't make it into the ring until the time stamp of 55m 26s.  So even though Triple H was officially the 30th entrant, he actually made it into the ring before Sheamus.

Once Sheamus entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 7-man Battle Royal to the finish between Reigns, Jericho, Ambrose, Wyatt, Ziggler, Triple H, and Sheamus. This final segment of the 2016 Royal Rumble match lasted 6m 17s, and at that point Triple H emerged as the winner of the match.

That's all you need to know about the timing of the 2016 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?


Previous Royal Rumble analyses:


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