The 2001 Royal Rumble match lasted 61 minutes and 55 seconds (61m 55s). This match featured Kane lasting nearly an hour and setting the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble match. It all culminated with a showdown between huge stars like Austin, Rock, and Kane. The One Billy Gunn was also around in the final four. A bloodied Steve Austin knocked Kane senseless with a chair and clotheslined him over the top rope to secure his spot in the main event of WrestleMania 17.
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 2001 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, 2014, and 2015.
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 2001 Royal Rumble match was 8m 10s and the median survival time was 3m 58s.
Here is the full list of survival times for all 30 superstars:
- 53m 44s: Kane
- 38m 44s: The Rock
- 17m 39s: Bradshaw
- 15m 54s: Albert
- 14m 05s: Hardcore Holly
- 10m 47s: The Undertaker
- 10m 22s: Val Venis
- 9m 37s: Stone Cold Steve Austin
- 8m 52s: Raven
- 7m 54s: K-Kwik
- 7m 23s: The One Billy Gunn
- 7m 09s: Al Snow
- 6m 38s: Jeff Hardy
- 5m 05s: Saturn
- 4m 45s: Matt Hardy
- 3m 11s: Steve Blackman
- 2m 53s: Drew Carey
- 2m 52s: Haku
- 2m 35s: Rikishi
- 2m 30s: Crash Holly
- 2m 09s: Bull Buchanan
- 2m 09s: Test
- 2m 01s: William Regal
- 1m 23s: Big Show
- 1m 18s: The Honky Tonk Man
- 1m 04s: Grand Master Sexay
- 0m 58s: Faarooq
- 0m 47s: Scotty 2 Hotty
- 0m 14s: The Goodfather
- 0m 10s: Tazz
The seven men at the bottom of the list did not survive long enough to make it to the very next buzzer.
Jeff Hardy and Bull Buchanan initiated physical contact with each other a little before the bell officially rang to start the match, and so I did not count that as part of the match time.
The median survival time of 3m 58s shows that this match was filled with short cameos from many mid-card wrestlers before eventually being eliminated by the real stars like Kane or Undertaker.
The Big Show was angry after being eliminated by The Rock, and so he proceeded to drag Rock under the rope and chokeslam him him through a table. Rock eventually recovered and re-entered the ring, but he was outside of the ring for a total of 5m 41s. This all counted as part of his survival time even though he was just playing dead outside the ring for most of that time.
Steve Austin was not the 30th entrant but he was the final man to officially enter the fray. This is because he drew number 27 but was beaten to a bloody pulp by Triple H before he could enter the ring. Austin recovered from this vicious beating just in time for Rikishi's entrance, who was the 30th entrant. Austin attacked Rikishi and threw him into the ring before finally entering the match himself. Therefore even though Undertaker is recognized as the first man to ever draw number 30 and win the Royal Rumble match (in 2007), it could be argued that Austin was the first man to win the Royal Rumble match after being the final man to enter the ring.
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 (Jeff Hardy, Bull Buchanan) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.
- 6m 01s: Steve Austin
- 1m 07s: Kane
- 0m 56s: Drew Carey
- 0m 40s: Honky Tonk Man
- 0m 35s: Rikishi
- 0m 32s: Saturn
- 0m 30s: Scotty 2 Hotty
- 0m 23s: Undertaker
- 0m 16s: Rock
- 0m 15s: Big Show
- 0m 14s: Goodfather
- 0m 13s: Haku
- 0m 12s: Crash
- 0m 10s: K-Kwik
- 0m 09s: Bradshaw, Regal, Sexay, Tazz
- 0m 08s: Hardcore Holly, Billy Gunn
- 0m 07s: Val Venis, Matt Hardy
- 0m 06s: Albert, Blackman, Test
- 0m 05s: Raven, Faarooq
- 0m 01s: Al Snow
As I explained earlier, Austin was battered by Triple H during his entrance. This entire sequence counted as part of my time for Austin's entrance because I do not start the clock on a wrestler's survival time until they officially step into the ring.
Kane came out for the Royal Rumble when Drew Carey was the only man in the ring. Kane slowly circled the ringside area during his entrance, like a predator measuring his prey. This time all counted as part of Kane's entrance.
Scotty 2 Hotty walked extra cautiously to the ring during his entrance because he was staring down the imposing duo of Kane and Undertaker, who had the ring all to themselves at that point and were working together. Scotty knew that he was doomed and so he did not rush into the ring.
Undertaker riding a motorcycle to the ring still resulted in a longer entrance time than most other wrestlers who walked fast or ran down to the ring.
Al Snow unexpectedly stormed down the ramp to assault Raven (who was outside looking underneath the ring for weapons) even though no buzzer countdown ensued to signal Snow as a new competitor. Snow got a few shots in on Raven before Raven rolled back into the ring. The referees managed to prevent Snow from entering the ring because at that point he was just providing unwanted interference in the match. The buzzer countdown then occurred and as soon as the buzzer went off, Snow officially entered the ring to start the clock on his survival time. This is why his entrance lasted about one second - he basically entered the ring as soon as the buzzer sounded.
These numbers add up to about 12m 43s of entrance time out of the entire 1h 01m 55s match. That means that for about 20.5% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance. If Austin's entrance time is readjusted from 6m 01s all the way down to 0m 17s (which is how long his entrance lasted before he was attacked by Triple H), that percentage drops down to 12.8%.
Follow The Buzzers
Howard Finkel stated that there would be 2 minute waiting intervals between each entrant. How well did WWF stick to that claim? Here are the waiting times between all 28 buzzers, in chronological order:
- 1m 45s: Buzzer 1 - Matt Hardy
- 1m 47s: Buzzer 2 - Faarooq
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 3 - Drew Carey
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 4 - Kane
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 5 - Raven
- 1m 44s: Buzzer 6 - Al Snow
- 1m 49s: Buzzer 7 - Saturn
- 1m 56s: Buzzer 8 - Blackman
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 9 - Sexay
- 1m 53s: Buzzer 10 - Honky Tonk Man
- 2m 11s: Buzzer 11 - Rock
- 1m 49s: Buzzer 12 - Goodfather
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 13 - Tazz
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 14 - Bradshaw
- 1m 53s: Buzzer 15 - Albert
- 1m 48s: Buzzer 16 - Hardcore Holly
- 1m 54s: Buzzer 17 - K-Kwik
- 1m 54s: Buzzer 18 - Val Venis
- 1m 54s: Buzzer 19 - Regal
- 1m 55s: Buzzer 20 - Test
- 1m 50s: Buzzer 21 - Big Show
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 22 - Crash
- 1m 53s: Buzzer 23 - Undertaker
- 1m 47s: Buzzer 24 - Scotty
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 25 - Austin
- 1m 36s: Buzzer 26 - Billy Gunn
- 1m 48s: Buzzer 27 - Haku
- 2m 01s: Buzzer 28 - Rikishi
Overall, only 5 of the 28 waiting periods landed within 5 seconds of the 2-minute goal. It seems that WWF couldn't be bothered with maintaining an accurate clock for this match.
The median waiting period was 1m 49s, and the average was 1m 51s.
In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Rikishi's entrance) would have gone off 56m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 51m 42s.
The Honky Tonk Man came down to a near-empty ring (except for Kane) and sang his theme song with the crowd for a while before Kane finally broke a guitar over his head and eliminated him. WWF let this segment play out in its entirety before bringing on the next entrance, which is why that waiting period lasted 2m 11s.
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 04m 52s. Given that the match lasted a total of 1h 01m 55s, that comes out to an average of 4.0 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. The chart below 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|
Even though The Rock was outside the ring laying on table shards for 5m 41s, I did not adjust any of these numbers to account for his temporary ring absence. In other words, I still counted those 5m 41s as him being "in the ring" for the purposes of any related calculations in this piece.
The average of 4.0 competitors in the ring at any given second is remarkably low, and it is also surprising that the ring was rarely ever filled with more than 8 superstars. The percentages show that the ring was filled with 4 or fewer superstars for 39m 41s, which is 64.1% of the match.
The longest time between eliminations was 13m 13s. This span began when Tazz was eliminated at the time stamp 24m 03s. Kane and Rock were alone in the ring at the time. The ring then filled up with 7 new superstars before William Regal was eliminated at the time stamp 37m 16s.
Five men were eliminated in the 10-second span between the time stamps 43m 31s and 43m 41s. This occurred shortly after Undertaker entered the ring.
There were at least 5 men in the ring the entire time between the time stamps of 29m 32s and 43m 37s, which is a stretch of roughly 14 consecutive minutes. This is when the ring reached its peak crowdedness of 9 wrestlers. These also happen to be the time stamps for Hardcore Holly stepping foot into the ring as well as Hardcore Holly's elimination from the match.
This match essentially broke down into 4 main sections. The first part was dealing with Drew Carey, and so the ring was kept mostly empty during the first ten minutes. The second part included the hardcore division using tons of weapons and ultimately becoming fodder for Kane. Then a bunch of other mid-carders filled up the ring to its maximum size until Undertaker showed up to work with Kane to clear the mob. The final sequence of the match played out when Austin finally entered the ring.
End of the Match
Once Austin and Rikishi entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 7-man Battle Royal to the finish between Kane, Rock, Undertaker, Gunn, Haku, Rikishi, and Austin. This final segment of the 2001 Royal Rumble match lasted 9m 37s, and at that point Austin emerged as the winner of the match. Because Austin was the last man to enter the ring, this entire final segment of the match was equal to his survival time.
That's all you need to know about the timing of the 2001 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?
Previous Royal Rumble analyses: