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WWE Royal Rumble 2004 Match Time and Statistics

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The 2004 Royal Rumble match lasted 1 hour, 1 minute, and 31 seconds (1h 01m 31s). This match featured a tease of the Undertaker’s eventual return as the Deadman, as well as Chris Benoit surviving bell-to-bell for over an hour in order to clinch his spot in the main event of WrestleMania 20.

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.

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 2004 Royal Rumble match was 9m 19s and the median survival time was 5m 28s. One of the 30 participants (Spike Dudley) never made it into the ring, so if he is removed from the equation then the average survival time was 9m 38s and the median time was 5m 43s.

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

  • 61m 31s: Chris Benoit
  • 33m 48s: Randy Orton
  • 29m 00s: Kurt Angle
  • 22m 33s: Big Show
  • 14m 53s: Chris Jericho
  • 14m 19s: Matt Hardy V1
  • 14m 02s: Rhyno
  • 12m 15s: Matt Morgan
  • 9m 12s: Booker T
  • 7m 38s: Christian
  • 7m 30s: John Cena
  • 6m 54s: Charlie Haas
  • 6m 50s: Scott Steiner
  • 6m 37s: Rob Van Dam
  • 5m 43s: Billy Gunn
  • 5m 12s: Mark Henry
  • 3m 49s: Rikishi
  • 3m 49s: Nunzio
  • 3m 41s: Tajiri
  • 2m 08s: Goldberg
  • 1m 44s: A-Train
  • 1m 30s: Kane
  • 1m 05s: Rico
  • 0m 56s: Ernest Miller
  • 0m 43s: Mick Foley
  • 0m 38s: Shelton Benjamin
  • 0m 37s: Bradshaw
  • 0m 33s: Rene Dupree
  • 0m 20s: Hurricane
  • 0m 00s: Spike Dudley

The bottom 8 wrestlers on the list did not survive long enough to make it to the next buzzer.

7 wrestlers lasted under one minute, and 10 wrestlers lasted less than 2 minutes.

Only 4 men lasted for at least 15m 00s. Out of the 26 Royal Rumble matches that I have analyzed thus far, just 7 matches (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2015) had no more than 4 superstars last for at least 15m 00s.

Spike Dudley was chokeslammed onto the entrance ramp by Kane on his way to the ring, and he never recovered in time to enter the ring. That’s why his survival time is listed as zero seconds.

Scott Steiner’s elimination was difficult to pinpoint because it was only mentioned by Jim Ross on commentary while the camera was focused on Kane walking down the entrance ramp. WWE did show a replay of Steiner’s actual elimination and I tried to calculate the exact moment he was eliminated based on the notes of Kane’s song that were audible on the replay; nonetheless, the margin of error on Steiner’s survival time is a littler bigger than most others.

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 (Benoit, Orton) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.

  • 8m 53s: Nunzio
  • 1m 29s: Mick Foley
  • 0m 47s: John Cena
  • 0m 46s: Spike Dudley
  • 0m 32s: Big Show
  • 0m 25s: Kane
  • 0m 21s: Henry, Rikishi, Miller
  • 0m 20s: Steiner, RVD
  • 0m 17s: Morgan, Booker T
  • 0m 16s: Christian, Goldberg, Dupree, Hurricane
  • 0m 15s: Chris Jericho, Bradshaw
  • 0m 13s: Matt Hardy V1
  • 0m 12s: Rico
  • 0m 11s: Tajiri
  • 0m 10s: Angle, Rhyno, Benjamin
  • 0m 09s: Charlie Haas, Billy Gunn
  • 0m 07s: A-Train

Nunzio first had to deal with Mr. Socko being stuffed down his throat during his entrance, and then once that was over Nunzio decided to just hang out by the barrier near the ring instead of stepping foot into the ring. 5 more buzzers went off before John Cena came down the aisle, noticed Nunzio, and finally tossed him into the ring. Therefore a total time of 8m 53s lapsed between the point when Nunzio’s buzzer went off and the time when he finally entered the match.

When the buzzer for Spike Dudley went off, it initially began with an Undertaker gong. This freaked Kane out and led to his elimination, and then the music changed and Spike Dudley appeared to make his entrance. Spike Dudley never made it into the ring, so I cut off his entrance time at the moment when Kane chokeslammed him onto the ramp. At that point I considered Spike to be eliminated. But I counted the entire Undertaker tease as part of Spike’s entrance time.

John Cena’s entrance time was extended a bit because he spent some time figuring out how he should deal with Nunzio.

Nobody came out for a while when Buzzer 19 went off. Then a backstage segment aired where Test was presumably taken out by someone, and Steve Austin ordered that mystery assailant to take Test’s spot in the match. That’s when Mick Foley’s music began to play and he made his way to the ring. This entire sequence was counted as part of Foley’s entrance time.

These numbers add up to about 16m 24s of total entrance time out of the entire 1h 01m 31s match. That means that for about 26.7% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance. However if Nunzio’s entrance time is reduced to 0m 27s (this is how long it took before he decided to just hang out by the barrier), and Foley’s and Spike’s entrance times are reduced to 0m 21s and 0m 24s respectively (this is how long their entrances each took starting at the point when their actual music began), then this percentage would drop to 13.5%.

Follow The Buzzers

Jim Ross 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 - Mark Henry
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 2 - Tajiri
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 3 - Bradshaw
  • 1m 40s: Buzzer 4 - Rhyno
  • 1m 40s: Buzzer 5 - Matt Hardy V1
  • 1m 36s: Buzzer 6 - Scott Steiner
  • 1m 44s: Buzzer 7 - Matt Morgan
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 8 - Hurricane
  • 1m 54s: Buzzer 9 - Booker T
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 10 - Kane
  • 1m 36s: Buzzer 11 - Spike Dudley
  • 1m 55s: Buzzer 12 - Rikishi
  • 1m 43s: Buzzer 13 - Rene Dupree
  • 1m 29s: Buzzer 14 - A-Train
  • 1m 38s: Buzzer 15 - Shelton Benjamin
  • 1m 35s: Buzzer 16 - Ernest Miller
  • 1m 55s: Buzzer 17 - Kurt Angle
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 18 - Rico
  • 1m 42s: Buzzer 19 - Mick Foley
  • 3m 08s: Buzzer 20 - Christian
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 21 - Nunzio
  • 1m 55s: Buzzer 22 - Big Show
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 23 - Chris Jericho
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 24 - Charlie Haas
  • 1m 34s: Buzzer 25 - Billy Gunn
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 26 - John Cena
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 27 - Rob Van Dam
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 28 - Goldberg

9 of the 28 waiting periods fell within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal.

The average waiting period was 1m 43s and the median time was 1m 38s.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Goldberg's entrance) would have gone off 42m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 47m 53s.

If the outlier waiting period of 3m 08s between Buzzers 19 and 20 was magically erased, the average waiting period would fall to 1m 39s.

That waiting period was the one where Test was shown knocked out backstage and then Mick Foley eventually took his spot. Just getting Foley into the ring took up 1m 29s. After that, Foley eliminated himself and Orton before brawling around ringside. Christian then made his entrance in the middle of this brawl between Orton and Foley.

The next 4 longest waiting periods lasted either 1m 54s or 1m 55s:

  • Between Buzzers 19 and 20, Foley and Orton were finishing their brawl up the ramp, which ended up with Nunzio eating Mr. Socko.
  • Between Buzzers 11 and 12, the Undertaker tease took place and then Kane destroyed Spike Dudley on the ramp.
  • Between Buzzers 16 and 17, Ernest Miller received a special ring introduction and then performed a dance routine in the ring while Benoit and Orton were temporarily incapacitated.
  • Between Buzzers 8 and 9, Hurricane had a one-on-one showdown with Matt Morgan, but there was still plenty of time left when they were finished. I’m not really sure why this period lasted 1m 54s.

In general, it’s at least possible that many of these 28 waiting periods were extended in order to get Benoit to that 1 hour mark.

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 39m 30s. Given that the match lasted a total of 1h 01m 31s, that comes out to an average of 4.5 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.

2004 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness

Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
2 8m 57s 14.5 14.5
3 14m 34s 23.7 38.2
4 9m 29s 15.4 53.6
5 6m 29s 10.5 64.2
6 13m 20s 21.7 85.9
7 4m 55s 8.0 93.8
8 1m 23s 2.2 96.1
9 1m 56s 3.1 99.2
10 0m 28s 0.8 100.0

The first 25m 41s minutes of the match gradually rose from a depth of 2 to 7 superstars, and then back down to just the first 2 entrants (Benoit and Orton) remaining. There was an average of 4.9 competitors in the ring at any given second for the first 25m 41s of the match.

From 25m 41s through 35m 00s, the ring depth remained between 2 to 4 men, and this was one of the low points of the match as far as ring crowdedness is concerned. This section included Ernest Miller coming out and dancing in the ring throughout his entire survival time, as well as the showdown between Foley and Orton. Taking a wider glance at the timing boundaries shows that there were 4 or fewer men in the ring throughout the entirety of the period from 24m 13s to 40m 12s , which is nearly 16 consecutive minutes.

From 35m 00s through 48m 37s, the ring depth steadily increased from 3 to 10 superstars, with only Christian being eliminated during this rise. The final entrant (Goldberg) entered the match to achieve a max depth of 10 wrestlers, which lasted for 0m 28s.

This match featured a lengthy final 4 battle from the time stamp 53m 13s through the end of the match; the match had an average of 4.8 superstars in the ring at any given point prior to the final four survivors.

Largely due to the middle portion of the match where the ring only had between 2 and 4 active men, as well as the lengthy final four battle, there were 4 or fewer active competitors battling it out for 53.6% of this match.

There were more than 7 men in the ring for a total time of just 3m 47s, which is 6.2% of the match.

End of the Match

Once Goldberg entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 10-man Battle Royal to the finish between Benoit, Angle, Big Show, Jericho, Haas, Billy Gunn, Nunzio, Cena, RVD, and Goldberg.

This final segment of the 2004 Royal Rumble match lasted 13m 22s, and at that point Chris Benoit emerged as the winner of the match.

The final four battle between Benoit, Angle, Jericho, and Big Show took up 8m 28s of this time, with the final sequence between Benoit and Big Show lasting 3m 58s.

That's all you need to know about the timing of the 2004 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?

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Previous Royal Rumble analyses:

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2001

2002

2003

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016