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WWE Royal Rumble 1998 Match Time and Statistics

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The 1998 Royal Rumble match lasted 55 minutes and 26 seconds (55m 26s). This match featured Steve Austin destroying everybody in his path in order to earn a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania 14.

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 1998 Royal Rumble match was 14m 49s and the median survival time was 10m 48s. One of the 30 participants (Skull) never actually made it out to the ring, so if he is removed from the equation then the average survival time was 15m 19s and the median survival time was 11m 33s.

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

  • 51m 32s: The Rock
  • 35m 47s: Blackjack Bradshaw
  • 32m 22s: D-Lo Brown
  • 30m 44s: 8-Ball
  • 28m 48s: Phineas Godwinn
  • 28m 09s: Thrasher
  • 26m 02s: The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust
  • 25m 22s: Chainsaw Charlie
  • 19m 55s: Honky Tonk Man
  • 19m 38s: Marc Mero
  • 19m 07s: Mark Henry
  • 15m 57s: Steve Austin
  • 13m 59s: Kama Mustafa
  • 13m 10s: Mosh
  • 11m 33s: Henry Godwinn
  • 10m 03s: Faarooq
  • 9m 30s: Savio Vega
  • 9m 23s: Cactus Jack
  • 9m 16s: Ken Shamrock
  • 7m 54s: Dude Love
  • 5m 59s: Steve Blackman
  • 4m 56s: Chainz
  • 3m 38s: Kurrgan
  • 3m 19s: Ahmed Johnson
  • 2m 40s: Mankind
  • 2m 15s: Vader
  • 2m 01s: Owen Hart
  • 1m 04s: Jeff Jarrett
  • 0m 12s: Tom Brandi
  • 0m 00s: Skull (he never appeared)

The bottom 3 guys on the list were the only ones who did not survive long enough to make it to the next buzzer.

Mick Foley’s three personas combined to survive for 19m 57s. Their three individual survival times all fell below the average and median survival times.

Vader had a very disappointing performance from the number 30 slot. He only lasted 2m 15s before he was unceremoniously clotheslined over the top rope by the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust.

Coming in to this match, would anybody have predicted that 8-Ball, Phineas Godwinn, and Thrasher would each last close to 30 minutes?

It was also pretty bizarre seeing Honky Tonk Man still in the ring for the final stretch of the match, after all 30 entrants had been revealed.

The exact moments when Honky Tonk Man and Savio Vega entered the ring were not shown on camera, so the margin of error for their times is a couple more seconds than the rest.

Skull never made it out to the arena after his buzzer went off, so I gave him a survival time of zero seconds. I believe the storyline was that Los Boricuas took him out backstage under the assumption that he was Steve Austin.

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 (Cactus Jack, Chainsaw Charlie) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.

  • 16m 46s: Owen Hart
  • 0m 44s: Ahmed Johnson
  • 0m 38s: Jeff Jarrett
  • 0m 28s: Mark Henry
  • 0m 23s: Kurrgan
  • 0m 22s: Marc Mero
  • 0m 21s: The Rock, Honky Tonk Man, Vader
  • 0m 20s: Steve Austin
  • 0m 19s: Phineas Godwinn
  • 0m 16s: Kama Mustafa, Faarooq
  • 0m 15s: Mankind
  • 0m 14s: Thrasher, Dude Love
  • 0m 13s: Bradshaw, D-Lo Brown, Mosh
  • 0m 09s: Goldust, Shamrock, Chainz, Brandi
  • 0m 08s: 8-Ball
  • 0m 07s: Steve Blackman
  • 0m 06s: Henry Godwinn
  • 0m 05s: Savio Vega
  • 0m 00s: Skull (he never appeared)

Owen Hart was attacked during his entrance and he did not make it into the ring until about 16m 46s after his buzzer went off.

These numbers add up to about 21m 29s of total entrance time out of the entire 55m 26s match. That means that for about 38.8% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance. However if Owen’s Hart entrance time was magically reduced to 0m 08s (which is how long his entrance lasted before Jarrett attacked him), then the superstar entrance times add up to 7m 21s, which is 13.3% of the match.

Follow The Buzzers

Howard Finkel stated that there would be 2-minute 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 - Tom Brandi
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 2 - The Rock
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 3 - Mosh
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 4 - Phineas Godwinn
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 5 - 8-Ball
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 6 - Blackjack Bradshaw
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 7 - Owen Hart
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 8 - Steve Blackman
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 9 - D-Lo Brown
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 10 - Kurrgan
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 11 - Marc Mero
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 12 - Ken Shamrock
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 13 - Thrasher
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 14 - Mankind
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 15 - The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 16 - Jeff Jarrett
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 17 - Honky Tonk Man
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 18 - Ahmed Johnson
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 19 - Mark Henry
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 20 - Skull
  • 1m 49s: Buzzer 21 - Kama Mustafa
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 22 - Steve Austin
  • 1m 53s: Buzzer 23 - Henry Godwinn
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 24 - Savio Vega
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 25 - Faarooq
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 26 - Dude Love
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 27 - Chainz
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 28 - Vader

The average and median waiting period was 1m 47s.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Vader's entrance) would have gone off 56m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 49m 55s.

The above list shows that none of the waiting periods came within 5 seconds of the 2-minute goal.

24 of the 28 waiting periods lasted between 1m 46s and 1m 48s, inclusive. This could indicate that WWE intentionally decided ahead of time to shorten the waiting periods to this range, and nothing was changed on the fly during the actual match.

My best guess is that WWE decided to shorten the waiting periods because this match did not main event the card, and so perhaps they were trying to shave off a few minutes here to make sure there was enough time for the show-closing angle with Kane setting the Undertaker on fire in a casket. Or perhaps WWE didn’t see a ton of star power in this match and figured it was ok to speed things up a bit.

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 7h 24m 15s. Given that the match lasted a total of 55m 26s, that comes out to an average of 8.0 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. This chart shows the total time that the ring was filled with an exact number of discrete superstars at once.

1998 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness

Active Wrestlers Total Time Percentage of Match Time Cumulative Percentage
Active Wrestlers Total Time Percentage of Match Time Cumulative Percentage
2 4m 14s 7.6 7.6
3 2m 15s 4.1 11.7
4 2m 59s 5.4 17.1
5 3m 17s 5.9 23.0
6 4m 09s 7.5 30.5
7 2m 05s 3.8 34.2
8 6m 03s 10.9 45.2
9 10m 12s 18.4 63.6
10 8m 28s 15.3 78.8
11 5m 05s 9.2 88.0
12 6m 02s 10.9 98.9
13 0m 37s 1.1 100.0

The ring reached a depth of 8 superstars at the 16m 14s mark, and it remained at a depth of at least 8 superstars until the 52m 41s mark, which is a span of 36m 27s.

8.0 competitors in the ring at any given second is the second most crowded Royal Rumble match that I have analyzed out of 21 Royal Rumble matches so far, trailing only 2009’s mark of 8.7 competitors in the ring at any given second.

Only 3 of the 28 waiting periods witnessed multiple eliminations.

The most time that lapsed without a single elimination was 9m 20s, and this occurred early in the match between the eliminations of Cactus Jack and Mosh.

The ring finally cleared out in a big way between the 51m 30s and 53m 24s marks; 7 men were tossed out in less than 2 minutes, leading up to the final four survivors.

End of the Match

Once Vader entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 13-man Battle Royal to the finish between The Rock, Thrasher, Goldust, Honky Tonk Man, Mark Henry, Kama, Austin, Henry Godwinn, Savio, Faarooq, Dude Love, Chainz, and Vader.

This final segment of the 1998 Royal Rumble match lasted 5m 10s, and at that point Steve Austin emerged as the winner of the match.

That's all you need to know about the timing of the 1998 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?

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Previous Royal Rumble analyses:

1988

1989

1991

1992

1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003

2005

2007

2008

2009

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016