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WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Match Time and Statistics

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The 2002 Royal Rumble match lasted 1 hour, 9 minutes, and 22 seconds (1h 09m 22s). This match featured Maven’s shocking elimination of the Undertaker, as well as Triple H’s first Royal Rumble victory.

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 2002 Royal Rumble match was 6m 34s and the median survival time was 3m 36s.

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

  • 26m 47s: Steve Austin
  • 23m 08s: Triple H
  • 16m 06s: Kurt Angle
  • 15m 20s: Mr. Perfect
  • 13m 40s: Rikishi
  • 13m 02s: Goldust
  • 12m 47s: Christian
  • 9m 04s: Chuck Palumbo
  • 7m 41s: Undertaker
  • 7m 18s: Bradshaw
  • 5m 18s: Diamond Dallas Page
  • 5m 12s: Al Snow
  • 4m 47s: Lance Storm
  • 4m 17s: Matt Hardy
  • 3m 37s: Billy Gunn
  • 3m 35s: Maven
  • 3m 05s: Big Boss Man
  • 2m 57s: Val Venis
  • 2m 56s: Perry Saturn
  • 2m 46s: Big Show
  • 2m 35s: Scotty 2 Hotty
  • 2m 15s: Rob Van Dam
  • 1m 48s: Godfather
  • 1m 43s: Test
  • 1m 30s: Jeff Hardy
  • 1m 01s: Kane
  • 0m 48s: Hip Hop Hippo
  • 0m 40s: Hurricane
  • 0m 35s: Faarooq
  • 0m 33s: Booker T

Faarooq, Hurricane, Hippo, Kane, Jeff Hardy, and Test did not survive long enough to make it to the next buzzer.

When Christian was making his entrance, there was a 0m 33s period where the ringside area was ignored by the camera in favor of Undertaker assaulting Maven at a popcorn machine elsewhere in the venue. Christian entered the ring to begin his survival time at some point during that 0m 33s period. I made my best guess as to when that point was, but it is possible that I could be underestimating his survival time by a few seconds or overestimating it by up to 23 seconds.

Triple H did this annoying thing where he put one foot through the ropes during his ring entrance but paused for several seconds in that position before bringing his second leg into the ring. I generally try to wait until both feet are in the ring before starting the clock on someone’s survival time, so I did not count those several seconds where Triple H was paused with one leg on the apron and one leg in the ring.

DDP’s elimination was not shown live when it happened because the camera was focused on the Godfather’s escorts making their entrance. I simply marked DDP’s elimination point as the moment when JR notified the audience that DDP was eliminated. It’s possible that DDP’s actual elimination happened a few seconds before JR announced it.

This was not a good Rumble for long survival times. Only two men reached the 20m 00s mark, and only 5 other wrestlers even surpassed the 10m 00s mark. The average and median survival times for this match are both the lowest that I have recorded in all 22 Royal Rumble matches that I have analyzed thus far.

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

  • 3m 34s: Scotty 2 Hotty
  • 2m 16s: Triple H
  • 2m 11s: Godfather
  • 0m 48s: Mr. Perfect, Val Venis
  • 0m 32s: Undertaker
  • 0m 29s: Big Show, Christian
  • 0m 27s: Kane
  • 0m 26s: Steve Austin, Booker T
  • 0m 20s: Big Boss Man, DDP
  • 0m 19s: Hurricane, Matt Hardy
  • 0m 18s: Maven
  • 0m 16s: Rob Van Dam
  • 0m 13s: Angle, Palumbo, Jeff Hardy
  • 0m 12s: Test
  • 0m 11s: Perry Saturn
  • 0m 10s: Lance Storm
  • 0m 09s: Bradshaw, Billy Gunn
  • 0m 08s: Snow, Faarooq, Hippo

Scotty 2 Hotty was attacked by Undertaker during his entrance and so he did not make it into the ring until after the next participant already entered the match.

Triple H and the Godfather had ridiculously long entrances. In the case of the Godfather, his entrance time was longer than his survival time. He also accomplished that feat during the 2013 Royal Rumble match.

These numbers add up to about 15m 43s of total entrance time out of the entire 1h 09m 22s match. That means that for about 22.7% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance. However if Scotty’s entrance time was magically reduced to 0m 27s (which is how long his entrance lasted before Undertaker attacked him), then the superstar entrance times add up to 13m 05s, which is 18.9% 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:

  • 2m 00s: Buzzer 1 - Big Boss Man
  • 2m 04s: Buzzer 2 - Bradshaw
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 3 - Lance Storm
  • 2m 00s: Buzzer 4 - Al Snow
  • 1m 54s: Buzzer 5 - Billy Gunn
  • 2m 05s: Buzzer 6 - Undertaker
  • 2m 13s: Buzzer 7 - Matt Hardy
  • 2m 21s: Buzzer 8 - Jeff Hardy
  • 2m 27s: Buzzer 9 - Maven
  • 3m 14s: Buzzer 10 - Scotty 2 Hotty
  • 2m 10s: Buzzer 11 - Christian
  • 2m 06s: Buzzer 12 - Diamond Dallas Page
  • 2m 07s: Buzzer 13 - Chuck Palumbo
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 14 - Godfather
  • 2m 21s: Buzzer 15 - Hip Hop Hippo
  • 1m 53s: Buzzer 16 - Perry Saturn
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 17 - Steve Austin
  • 2m 24s: Buzzer 18 - Val Venis
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 19 - Test
  • 2m 31s: Buzzer 20 - Triple H
  • 3m 11s: Buzzer 21 - Hurricane
  • 1m 47s: Buzzer 22 - Faarooq
  • 2m 04s: Buzzer 23 - Mr. Perfect
  • 2m 03s: Buzzer 24 - Kurt Angle
  • 2m 04s: Buzzer 25 - Big Show
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 26 - Kane
  • 2m 03s: Buzzer 27 - Rob Van Dam
  • 1m 55s: Buzzer 28 - Booker T

14 of the 28 waiting periods fell within 5 seconds of the 2-minute goal.

The average waiting period was 2m 11s and the median time was 2m 04s.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Booker T's entrance) would have gone off 56m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 1h 01m 07s.

The shortest waiting period (1m 47s) occurred during a part of the match where Austin and Triple H had the ring to themselves. At the beginning of this waiting period, Hurricane made his entrance and didn’t last too long before he was tossed out. WWE probably decided to rush out the next guy (Faarooq), who was going to suffer the same fate as Hurricane, rather than waiting the full 2 minutes of Austin and Triple H exchanging blows.

The longest waiting period (3m 14s) took place during the angle where Maven entered the match and eliminated Undertaker. This involved the eliminated Hardys getting back in the ring and softening up Undertaker for Maven, and it also included the beginning of Undertaker’s post-elimination attack on Maven.

The next longest waiting period (3m 11s) was extended due to Triple H’s entrance. It’s not surprising that Triple H requires an unnecessarily long entrance every time he shows up.

The third longest waiting period (2m 31s) actually occurred right before the Triple H entrance period. This is because Austin had to clear the ring of all jabronis to be in position for a one-on-one showdown with The Game.

The fourth longest waiting period (2m 27s) saw the Hardys gang up on the Undertaker, before Undertaker eliminated them all, setting up an empty ring for Maven’s eventual entrance in the next waiting period.

The fifth longest waiting period (2m 24s) included Steve Austin’s entrance and his subsequent elimination of every superstar in the ring. He then tossed Christian and Palumbo back into the ring so he could eliminate them again within the same waiting period.

The waiting period for Godfather’s entrance (2m 21s) also needed to go long because of his entrance. He couldn’t resist dancing with his escorts over and over again rather than entering the ring.

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 3h 16m 51s. Given that the match lasted a total of 1h 09m 22s, that comes out to an average of 2.8 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.

2002 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness

Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
0 2m 00s 2.9 2.9
1 9m 56s 14.3 17.2
2 17m 01s 24.5 41.7
3 19m 58s 28.8 70.5
4 11m 06s 16.0 86.5
5 7m 31s 10.8 97.4
6 1m 50s 2.6 100.0

2.8 competitors in the ring at any given second is by far the least crowded match that I have analyzed so far out of 22 Royal Rumbles.

The most staggering number here might be that the max depth at any point was just 6 superstars. Every other Royal Rumble match that I have analyzed had a max depth of no less than 8 superstars.

The ring reached that max depth of 6 men on three different occasions, and those three time spans only add up to a total time of 1m 50s.

The cumulative percentages pretty much tell the whole story - the ring included 4 men or less for 86.5% of the match, 3 men or less for 70.5% of the match, and 2 men or less for 41.7% of the match.

The ring contained 1 man or less for 17.2% of the time, which is 11m 56s. Some of this is related to the ring having 0 or 1 official participants during a large portion of Undertaker’s post-elimination attack on Maven, and only having 1 guy in the ring (Austin) during Triple H’s lengthy entrance.

There were only two time spans of at least 3 consecutive minutes where the ring included at least 5 men. These stretches occurred during the time stamps of 8m 14s to 11m 31s, when Al Snow and Billy Gunn entered the match, and then again towards the end of the match between 55m 36s and 58m 37s, when Big Show and Kane joined the match.

The longest period of time without any eliminations occurred between the time stamps of 49m 39s to 58m 22s, which is a span of 8m 43s. During this time, Mr. Perfect, Kurt Angle, Big Show, and Kane all entered the match without any eliminations occurring.

End of the Match

Once Booker T entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 6-man Battle Royal to the finish between Austin, Triple H, Mr. Perfect, Angle, RVD, and Booker T.

This final segment of the 2002 Royal Rumble match lasted 7m 49s, 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 2002 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

1998

1999

2001

2003

2005

2007

2008

2009

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016