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Ranking all 30 Royal Rumble matches by ring crowdedness

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There have been 30 Royal Rumble matches in WWE history, with one match taking place every year from 1988 through 2017.

These 30 matches have included 900 total Royal Rumble entrants with a combined survival time of 162 hours, 59 minutes, and 31 seconds (162h 59m 31s). The 30 Royal Rumble matches sum together for a total match time of 28h 32m 45s. That comes out to an average of 5.7 active competitors at any given second.

With that in mind here is a ranking of all 30 Royal Rumble matches from most crowded to least crowded, measured by the average number of active participants at any given second. This includes all active wrestlers in the match, including those who may have spent long stretches of time away from the ring while active (like Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999, or Roman Reigns in 2016).

  1. 2009: 8.7 active competitors at any given second, on average
  2. 1998: 8.0
  3. 1991: 7.6
  4. 2008: 7.0
  5. 2013: 6.8
  6. 2006: 6.7
  7. 1988: 6.7
  8. 2017: 6.6 (drops to 6.0 if Jericho’s ring absences while active are deducted)
  9. 2003: 6.5
  10. 2014: 6.5
  11. 1996: 6.5 (drops to 6.0 if Lawler’s ring absence while active is deducted)
  12. 2007: 6.4
  13. 2005: 6.1
  14. 1994: 6.0
  15. 1995: 5.9
  16. 2016: 5.8 (drops to 5.2 if Reigns & Kingston’s ring absences are deducted)
  17. 1992: 5.6
  18. 2000: 5.4
  19. 1993: 5.2
  20. 1999: 5.1 (drops to 3.7 if Austin & Vince’s ring absences are deducted)
  21. 2011: 5.0
  22. 1990: 5.0
  23. 1989: 4.9
  24. 2012: 4.6
  25. 2004: 4.5
  26. 1997: 4.5
  27. 2015: 4.4
  28. 2001: 4.0
  29. 2010: 3.5
  30. 2002: 2.8

If the deductions noted in the above list are all made, then the average active competitors at any given second for all 30 Royal Rumble matches would drop from 5.7 to 5.6. There are a few absences that I never did account for though, like Santino in 2011 or Rusev in 2015, so accuracy there could still be improved.

Here is another way to understand how many superstars were active at any given time. This chart shows the total time that the ring was filled with an exact number of discrete superstars at once. This is using the unadjusted data.

1988 - 2017 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness (Version 1)

Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
0 2m 0s 0.1 0.1
1 46m 47s 2.7 2.8
2 3h 44m 11s 13.1 15.9
3 3h 20m 30s 11.7 27.6
4 3h 24m 39s 11.9 39.6
5 3h 01m 26s 10.6 50.2
6 3h 00m 32s 10.5 60.7
7 3h 13m 17s 11.3 72.0
8 2h 49m 03s 9.9 81.9
9 2h 11m 48s 7.7 89.6
10 1h 17m 29s 4.5 94.1
11 41m 05s 2.4 96.5
12 32m 44s 1.9 98.4
13 19m 18s 1.1 99.5
14 7m 08s 0.4 100.0
15 0m 48s 0.0 100.0

And here is the same chart, now adjusted for the aforementioned deductions.

1988 - 2017 Royal Rumble Ring Crowdedness (Version 2)

Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
Active Wrestlers Total Time % of Match Time Cumulative %
0 3m 45s 0.2 0.2
1 53m 34s 3.1 3.3
2 3h 53m 55s 13.7 17
3 3h 24m 27s 11.9 28.9
4 3h 26m 09s 12.0 41.0
5 2h 56m 46s 10.3 51.3
6 3h 08m 39s 11.0 62.3
7 3h 19m 45s 11.7 74.0
8 2h 28m 27s 8.7 82.6
9 2h 01m 56s 7.1 89.8
10 1h 16m 50s 4.5 94.2
11 40m 09s 2.3 96.6
12 31m 50s 1.9 98.4
13 18m 37s 1.1 99.5
14 7m 08s 0.4 100.0
15 0m 48s 0.0 100.0

Regardless of which data set you prefer, roughly half of all Royal Rumble time has included 5 superstars or fewer in the ring. Alternatively, roughly half of all Royal Rumble time has included 6 superstars or more in the ring.

Similarly, about 90% of all Royal Rumble time has included 9 superstars or fewer in the ring. Alternatively, about 10% of all Royal Rumble time has included 10 superstars or more in the ring.

Finally, here is a listing of the maximum depth for each Royal Rumble match. The maximum depth is the highest number of active superstars reached in the match.

  • 6 superstars: 2002
  • 8 superstars: 1989, 1990
  • 9 superstars: 1993, 2001, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016
  • 10 superstars: 1992, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2015
  • 11 superstars: 1988, 1991, 2014
  • 12 superstars: 1995, 2007, 2013
  • 13 superstars: 1994, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2017
  • 14 superstars: 2006
  • 15 superstars: 2009

The 2009 Royal Rumble match is the only one in history to ever reach a depth of 15 active superstars, and it achieved that depth on two separate occasions in the match. The 2006 Royal Rumble match is the only other one that ever reached a max depth of 14 superstars.

In contrast, the 2002 Royal Rumble match never surpassed 6 active superstars. It is the only match in history to never reach a max depth of 8 active superstars.

13 different Royal Rumble matches reached a maximum depth of at least 11 superstars. This also means that the remaining 17 Royal Rumble matches maxed out at 10 or fewer active superstars.

The 1991 Royal Rumble match is one of the most crowded in history, yet never reached a maximum depth beyond 11 active superstars.

So that’s a quick summary of 30 years worth of data on Royal Rumble ring crowdedness. Do your personal favorite Royal Rumble matches tend to fall into the more crowded or less crowded years? Or does ring crowdedness not really affect your enjoyment of the match?

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Previous Royal Rumble analyses:

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017