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Match Times: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Edition

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WWE's Royal Rumble 2016 lasted for 2 hours 59 minutes and 46 seconds (2h 59m 46s).  Here is a breakdown of the timing for every single second of the show, in chronological order.

The matches are in bold. The "pre-match" segments include video packages, entrances, ring introductions, and any verbal promos that occur right before a match officially begins. The "post-match" segments include any celebrations, replays, angles, attacks, or promos that occur right after a match is finished.

Start End Description Duration
0m 00s 0m 20s WWE's "Then, Now, Forever" opening 0m 20s
0m 20s 1m 49s Backstage interview with McMahons 1m 29s
1m 49s 4m 26s Video hyping Royal Rumble 2016 2m 37s
4m 26s 5m 20s Opening pyro as Cole welcomes you 0m 54s
5m 20s 8m 13s Pre-match for Ambrose vs Owens 2m 53s
8m 13s 28m 35s Ambrose vs Owens 20m 22s
28m 35s 30m 07s Post-match for Ambrose vs Owens 1m 32s
30m 07s 30m 38s Commercial for Cricket Wireless 0m 31s
30m 38s 32m 02s Commercial for WWE Network 1m 24s
32m 02s 32m 29s Filler commentary 0m 27s
32m 29s 39m 01s Pre-match for New Day vs Usos 6m 32s
39m 01s 49m 54s New Day vs Usos 10m 53s
49m 54s 51m 36s Post-match for New Day vs Usos 1m 42s
51m 36s 52m 07s Commercial for WWE Create A Superstar 0m 31s
52m 07s 54m 00s Commercial and hype for WWE 24 1m 53s
54m 00s 55m 13s Raw Recap: Wyatts attack Lesnar 1m 13s
55m 13s 56m 22s Backstage Wyatt promo 1m 09s
56m 22s 59m 42s Pre-match for Del Rio vs Kalisto 3m 20s
59m 42s 1h 11m 13s Del Rio vs Kalisto 11m 31s
1h 11m 13s 1h 12m 40s Post-match for Del Rio vs Kalisto 1m 27s
1h 12m 40s 1h 15m 13s Kickoff Panel hosted by Renee 2m 33s
1h 15m 13s 1h 17m 21s Backstage with Heyman and Stephanie 2m 08s
1h 17m 21s 1h 19m 02s Commercial for Edge and Christian Show 1m 41s
1h 19m 02s 1h 20m 00s Commercial and hype for Fastlane 2016 0m 58s
1h 20m 00s 1h 27m 18s Pre-match for Charlotte vs Becky 7m 18s
1h 27m 18s 1h 38m 59s Charlotte vs Becky 11m 41s
1h 38m 59s 1h 44m 19s Post-match for Charlotte vs Becky 5m 20s
1h 44m 19s 1h 45m 43s Commercial for WWE Network 1m 24s
1h 45m 43s 1h 46m 44s WrestleMania 32 is 70 days away 1m 01s
1h 46m 44s 1h 48m 32s Chex Mix Focus Group video 1m 48s
1h 48m 32s 1h 56m 19s Pre-match for Royal Rumble match 7m 47s
1h 56m 19s 2h 58m 02s Royal Rumble match 61m 43s
2h 58m 02s 2h 59m 46s Post-match for Royal Rumble match 1m 44s

Match Times

The 5 matches combined for a total time of 1h 56m 10s. This means that 64.6% of the show was devoted to bell-to-bell action.  This is the highest percentage in this category out of the 38 WWE events in my data set, which begins with Royal Rumble 2013.  Out of the 34 three-hour events in my data set, the total match time of 1h 56m 10s also ranks the highest.

Here is the sorted list of match times for Royal Rumble 2016.  This also includes where each match time ranks out of all 269 matches in my data set.

  • 61m 43s: Royal Rumble match (longest match in my data set)
  • 20m 22s: Ambrose vs Owens (53rd longest out of 269 matches)
  • 11m 41s: Charlotte vs Becky (134th)
  • 11m 31s: Del Rio vs Kalisto (138th)
  • 10m 53s: New Day vs Usos (152nd)

A full break down of the timing of the Royal Rumble match can be found by clicking here.

The total match time of 1h 56m 10s is not only the most out of any 3-hour PPV in my data set, but it is also more than WrestleMania 29 and WrestleMania 31, both of which were 4 hours long.

The match time percentage of 64.6% just barely edged out last year's Royal Rumble 2015 match time percentage of 64.5%.  The main difference between these two shows, as far as match time is concerned, is that this show lasted 2h 59m 46s, whereas Royal Rumble 2015 was the shortest event in my data set, lasting only 2h 43m 06s.  This difference in total show times meant that this event squeezed in 11m 01s more match time than last year's event even though the percentages were nearly identical.

Only 5 of the 38 events in my data set have surpassed 60.0% of match time, and only one of those PPVs was not a Royal Rumble event.  The hour-long Royal Rumble match pretty much mandates that these events will always rank at the top of the heap for overall match times.

Four of the wrestlers from the undercard pulled double duty by also wrestling in the Royal Rumble match.  Here are the total match times for these 4 wrestlers when their undercard match time is added to their Royal Rumble survival time:

  • 49m 57s: Dean Ambrose
  • 24m 47s: Kevin Owens
  • 19m 03s: Kofi Kingston
  • 18m 18s: Alberto Del Rio

Last week I wondered how WWE would handle the undercard time crunch on this show.  How would approximately 45 minutes be divided up among those 4 matches?

The answer is that WWE extended this show to a length of 2h 59m 46s, which is the longest show out of any 3-hour PPV in my data set.  By doing that, the 4 undercard matches combined for a total match time of 54m 27s, which is on the extreme high end compared to the previous 10 Royal Rumble events.

As a result of WWE finding a way to give each match enough time to deliver worthwhile content, each of the 5 matches on this card received at least a score of 3.25 stars from Dave Meltzer.  The only other PPVs in my data set with at least 5 matches on the main card rating 3.25 stars or higher are Payback 2013 and SummerSlam 2015.

This is the first time that the Intercontinental Championship received match time on a Royal Rumble event since 2002.

In the Last Man Standing match, it took the referee about 0m 25s to count to 10, securing the victory for Ambrose.

Pre-match Segments

The pre-match segments combined for a total time of 27m 50s, which is 15.5% of the show.  This is the lowest percentage in this category out of the 38 events in my data set.  Out of the 34 three-hour events in my data set, the total pre-match segment time of 27m 50s ranks 32nd highest.

Here is the sorted list of pre-match segment time for all 5 matches.  For some context, keep in mind that the median pre-match segment time in my data set is 4m 52s and the average time is 5m 41s.

  • 7m 47s: Royal Rumble match
  • 7m 18s: Charlotte vs Becky
  • 6m 32s: New Day vs Usos
  • 3m 20s: Del Rio vs Kalisto
  • 2m 53s: Ambrose vs Owens

Since the start of 2013, the four Royal Rumble events are the only PPVs with under 30 minutes of pre-match segment time.  Every other PPV contained at least 32 minutes of pre-match segment time.

Two matches received the special treatment of a dedicated video package right before superstar entrances.  The video hyping Charlotte's match lasted 3m 32s.  The "By The Numbers" video hyping the Royal Rumble match lasted 3m 41s.

The pre-match segment for Ambrose's match included 0m 31s of camera time on introducing the three separate announce teams sitting ringside.

New Day's pre-match segment included a 0m 44s Raw recap video in which Jericho broke Xavier's trombone.  There was also a 3m 06s promo from the New Day, where they debuted a new trombone.

The pre-match segment for Kalisto's match included a 1m 05s Smackdown recap video where Kalisto was beaten up by the League of Nations.  There was also a 0m 19s plug for Hulu during Kalisto's entrance.

The entrances for Becky's match included a 0m 12s plug for Chex Mix.

Post-match Segments

The post-match segments combined for a total time of 11m 45s, which is 6.5% of the show.  This is the 35th highest percentage in this category out of the 38 events in my data set.  Out of the 34 three-hour events in my data set, the total post-match segment time of 11m 45s ranks 32nd highest.

Here is the sorted list of the post-match segment time for all 5 matches.  For some context, keep in mind that the median post-match segment time in my data set is 2m 00s and the average time is 2m 31s.

  • 5m 20s: Charlotte vs Becky
  • 1m 44s: Royal Rumble match
  • 1m 42s: New Day vs Usos
  • 1m 32s: Ambrose vs Owens
  • 1m 27s: Del Rio vs Kalisto

Charlotte's post-match segment received extra attention in the form of a Sasha Banks appearance.  This is the 22nd longest post-match segment in my data set out of 269 total entries.

It is also the longest post-match segment in my data set for any Divas match.  The next longest Divas post-match segment was AJ's celebration following her championship win at Payback 2013, which clocked in at 4m 19s.

Nothing significant happened in any of the remaining four post-match segments, and they all finished below the average and median post-match segment times in my data set.

Miscellaneous Segments

That leaves about 13.4% (24m 01s) of the show for everything else.  This is the 15th highest percentage in this category out of the 38 events in my data set.  Out of the 34 three-hour events in my data set, the total miscellaneous segment time of 24m 01s ranks 8th highest.

This show had 5 separate blocks of Miscellaneous Segments.  Here is how long each block lasted:

Leading Into Duration Included Segments
Ambrose vs Owens 5m 20s Backstage with McMahons; opening hype video; opening pyro
New Day vs Usos 2m 22s Commercials for Cricket Wireless and WWE Network; filler commentary
Del Rio vs Kalisto 4m 46s Commercials for WWE toys and WWE 24; Stuff related to Wyatts attacking Lesnar
Charlotte vs Becky 7m 20s Kickoff panel; Heyman backstage; Hype for WWE Network and Fastlane 2016
Royal Rumble 4m 13s Hype for WWE Network; Chex Mix Focus Group video

This table shows that WWE crammed the most uninterrupted miscellaneous segment time (7m 20s) in between Kalisto and Charlotte's match.  This block included the Kickoff panel, which contained a 1m 00s recap video of the tag team victory for Henry and Swagger on the pre-show.

Summary

Here is a listing of how much total show time was allocated for each match when you add up all 3 components: pre-match time, match time, and post-match time.  This list also includes where each total time ranks among the 269 entries in my data set.

  • 71m 14s: Royal Rumble match (longest entry in my data set)
  • 24m 47s: Ambrose vs Owens (89th longest out of 269 entries)
  • 24m 19s: Charlotte vs Becky (91st)
  • 19m 07s: New Day vs Usos (129th)
  • 16m 18s: Del Rio vs Kalisto (168th)

The above list shows that Charlotte's match stands right next to Ambrose and Owens in total show time once the pre-match and post-match segments are taken into account.

Now here is a look at the "Match Time Percentage" for each match.  For any given match, this percentage shows how the match time compares to the combined pre-match and post-match segment time.  For some context, it's good to know that the median result here since 2013 is 63.0%.

(Here's an example calculation: an entry with a match time of 6m 00s, pre-match time of 3m 00s, and a post-match time of 1m 00s has a score of 60.0%, because the match time of 6m 00s is 60% of the total sum of 10m 00s for all three components.)

  • 86.6%: Royal Rumble match
  • 82.2%: Ambrose vs Owens
  • 70.7%: Del Rio vs Kalisto
  • 56.9%: New Day vs Usos
  • 48.0%: Charlotte vs Becky

Only 6 entries out of 269 in my data set score 80.0% or higher in this metric, and that includes the top two matches from Royal Rumble 2016.  All 4 Royal Rumble matches in my data set are in that 80%+ territory.

A score under 50% means that the sum of the pre-match and post-match segment times was greater than the respective match time.

In this specific case, the pre-match segment for Charlotte versus Becky included a lengthy video package, their post-match segment included an angle with Sasha Banks, and the match time was facing the constraints of a typical Royal Rumble undercard match.

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The timing of a Royal Rumble PPV is unlike any other event of the year.  The pre-match percentages for the four Royal Rumble cards in my data set all range between 15.5% to 17.0%, which never happens elsewhere during the year.  The match time percentages all range between 60.8% to 64.6%, which rarely happens elsewhere on the WWE calendar.  Three of the four cards devoted no more than 7.1% of the show to post-match segments, which is also very uncommon.

The main difference between Royal Rumble 2016 and the previous iterations in my data set is that the total show time in 2016 pretty much filled up the entire 3 hour block, whereas the other three Royal Rumble events each fell roughly 10 to 17 minutes short of that mark.

Final Results for Royal Rumble 2016

Match - 64.6% - 1h 56m 10s

Pre-match - 15.5% - 27m 50s

Post-match - 6.5% - 11m 45s

Miscellaneous - 13.4% - 24m 01s