The 1990 Royal Rumble match lasted 58 minutes and 44 seconds (58m 44s). This match featured a showdown between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior that foreshadowed their eventual main event match at WrestleMania 6.
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.
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 1990 Royal Rumble match was 9m 45s and the median survival time was 8m 17s.
Here is the full list of survival times for all 30 superstars:
- 44m 52s: Ted DiBiase
- 22m 34s: Haku
- 18m 19s: Dusty Rhodes
- 16m 19s: Bret Hart
- 16m 04s: Jimmy Snuka
- 14m 59s: Smash
- 14m 31s: Ultimate Warrior
- 12m 51s: Hulk Hogan
- 12m 50s: Ax
- 12m 22s: Roddy Piper
- 10m 16s: Andre the Giant
- 10m 11s: Randy Savage
- 10m 06s: Jake Roberts
- 8m 43s: Jim Neidhart
- 8m 17s: Warlord
- 8m 16s: Rick Martel
- 6m 29s: Rick Rude
- 6m 13s: Dino Bravo
- 6m 05s: Bad News Brown
- 5m 48s: Barbarian
- 5m 09s: Tito Santana
- 4m 02s: Honky Tonk Man
- 3m 33s: Mr. Perfect
- 3m 02s: Hercules
- 2m 32s: Akeem
- 2m 31s: Earthquake
- 1m 58s: Red Rooster
- 1m 37s: Koko B. Ware
- 1m 36s: Marty Jannetty
- 0m 12s: Shawn Michaels
Ted DiBiase became the first man to ever achieve a survival time north of 30m 00s in a Royal Rumble match.
Once DiBiase was eliminated, Haku enjoyed a brief period of 1m 37s where he had the highest survival time out of all active competitors in the ring. Hulk Hogan put an end to that run by booting Haku over the top rope and out of the match.
Did the Rockers piss someone off backstage prior to this match? Michaels and Jannetty had the two shortest survival times in the 1990 Royal Rumble match.
It’s probably a coincidence. Michaels happened to enter the match right as Hogan and Warrior were clearing the ring to set up their one-on-one showdown. Jannetty was a victim of Ted DiBiase’s early dominance, where the Million Dollar Man had the ring to himself multiple times after tossing opponents out one at a time.
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 (Ted DiBiase, Koko B. Ware) are excluded because their entrances took place prior to the start of the match.
- 0m 27s: Jake Roberts
- 0m 26s: Andre the Giant
- 0m 20s: Bad News Brown
- 0m 19s: Warlord
- 0m 16s: Jimmy Snuka
- 0m 14s: Honky Tonk Man, Earthquake
- 0m 13s: Akeem
- 0m 11s: Martel, Bravo
- 0m 09s: Hercules
- 0m 08s: Dusty, Piper, Rooster, Jannetty
- 0m 07s: Haku
- 0m 06s: Bret, Hogan, Ax, Savage, Perfect, HBK
- 0m 05s: Warrior, Neidhart, Santana
- 0m 04s: Smash
- 0m 03s: Barbarian
- 0m 00s: Rick Rude
Rick Rude didn’t wait for a clock to count down or for a buzzer to ring. He just ran down the aisle and joined the match with no indication that it was time for him to come out. Due to the lack of a buzzer or indication that a waiting period was over, I gave Rude an entrance time of 0m 00s and counted his entrance into the match as a waiting period boundary.
A few other entrance times end up on the short side because some superstars started to run down to the ring before the buzzer actually went off. I start the clock on entrance time only when the waiting period ends, even if a superstar jumps the gun.
These numbers add up to about 4m 37s of total entrance time out of the entire 58m 44s match. That means that for about 7.9% of the match, at least one superstar was in the midst of his entrance.
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 02s: Buzzer 1 - Marty Jannetty
- 2m 09s: Buzzer 2 - Jake Roberts
- 1m 57s: Buzzer 3 - Randy Savage
- 1m 46s: Buzzer 4 - Roddy Piper
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 5 - Warlord
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 6 - Bret Hart
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 7 - Bad News Brown
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 8 - Dusty Rhodes
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 9 - Andre the Giant
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 10 - Red Rooster
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 11 - Ax
- 1m 58s: Buzzer 12 - Haku
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 13 - Smash
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 14 - Akeem
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 15 - Jimmy Snuka
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 16 - Dino Bravo
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 17 - Earthquake
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 18 - Jim Neidhart
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 19 - Ultimate Warrior
- 2m 01s: Buzzer 20 - Rick Martel
- 1m 59s: Buzzer 21 - Tito Santana
- 2m 01s: Buzzer 22 - Honky Tonk Man
- 2m 00s: Buzzer 23 - Hulk Hogan
- 2m 06s: Buzzer 24 - Shawn Michaels
- 1m 51s: Buzzer 25 - Barbarian
- 0m 51s: Buzzer 26 - Rick Rude
- 2m 21s: Buzzer 27 - Hercules
- 2m 09s: Buzzer 28 - Mr. Perfect
21 of the 28 waiting periods fell within 5 seconds of the 2-minute goal.
The average waiting period was 1m 58s and the median time was 2m 00s.
Only 4 waiting periods fell below that average time of 1m 58s. This is a case where the average time was greatly affected by the outlier of the very short waiting period that preceded Rick Rude entering the match.
I don’t know what happened with Rick Rude’s entrance, but there was no clock shown or no buzzer sound to indicate that it was time for him to enter the match. Commentator Jesse Ventura also made note of this bizarre occurrence, and Tony Schiavone mentioned something about seeing a 10-second clock after Rude already entered the ring.
At the time when Rude entered the ring, Hogan and Warrior had knocked each other out and Barbarian entered the match to take a few shots on their exhausted bodies. These were the only three men in the ring. Perhaps Vince McMahon decided that there was no need to see Barbarian take turns beating up Hogan and Warrior, and so Rude was sent out early to liven things up?
The very next waiting period then ended up as the longest waiting period of the night, clocking in at 2m 21s. During this time, the Ultimate Warrior saved Hulk Hogan from elimination, only for Hogan to eliminate Warrior a little bit later. Then Warrior ran back into the ring and beat up Rude and Barbarian some more before running out of the arena. The clock then started to count down once Ultimate Warrior ran out of the arena.
The second shortest waiting period (1m 46s) occurred very early in the match when only three men were in the ring, with two heels (DiBiase, Savage) beating up the lone babyface Jake Roberts. This waiting period was probably ended a little early so that the next babyface (Piper) could come out and even things up, rather than prolonging the two-on-one beatdown of Jake Roberts
The third shortest waiting period (1m 51s) occurred during the one-on-one showdown between Warrior and Hogan. Once they double clotheslined each other and were both lying on the canvas, there was probably no need to wait for the full two minutes before sending out the next guy.
In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Mr. Perfect's entrance) would have gone off 56m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 55m 05s.
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 52m 17s. Given that the match lasted a total of 58m 44s, that comes out to an average of 5.0 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.
1990 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness
|Active Wrestlers||Total Time||% of Match Time||Cumulative %|
|Active Wrestlers||Total Time||% of Match Time||Cumulative %|
The ring reached a depth of 5 men at the time stamp of 10m 12s, and it never dropped below that number until 47m 00s. This period ended when Hogan and Warrior were in the process of clearing the ring. 23 of the 30 participants were in the ring at some point during this time span, with the ring having a depth of between 5 to 8 men at any single point.
The longest period of time without any eliminations occurred between the time stamps of 3m 46s to 14m 44s, which is a span of 10m 58s. During this time, Jake Roberts, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Warlord, Bret Hart, and Bad News Brown all entered the match without any eliminations occurring.
End of the Match
Once Mr. Perfect entered the ring, the match essentially turned into a 5-man Battle Royal to the finish between Hogan, Barbarian, Rude, Hercules, and Mr. Perfect.
This final segment of the 1990 Royal Rumble match lasted 3m 33s, and at that point Hulk Hogan emerged as the winner of the match.
That's all you need to know about the timing of the 1990 Royal Rumble match. Which numbers do you find to be the most interesting?
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