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Did the waiting intervals actually last 90 seconds in the 2020 men’s Royal Rumble match?

WWE stated that there would be 90-second waiting intervals between each entrant in the 2020 men’s Royal Rumble match. How well did WWE stick to that claim? Here are the waiting times between all 28 buzzers, in chronological order:

  • 1m 33s: Buzzer 1 - Rowan
  • 1m 29s: Buzzer 2 - Robert Roode
  • 1m 51s: Buzzer 3 - John Morrison
  • 1m 49s: Buzzer 4 - Kofi Kingston
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 5 - Rey Mysterio
  • 2m 08s: Buzzer 6 - Big E
  • 2m 09s: Buzzer 7 - Cesaro
  • 1m 25s: Buzzer 8 - Shelton Benjamin
  • 1m 52s: Buzzer 9 - Shinsuke Nakamura
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 10 - MVP
  • 1m 50s: Buzzer 11 - Keith Lee
  • 2m 08s: Buzzer 12 - Braun Strowman
  • 2m 30s: Buzzer 13 - Ricochet
  • 1m 18s: Buzzer 14 - Drew McIntyre
  • 2m 40s: Buzzer 15 - The Miz
  • 1m 57s: Buzzer 16 - AJ Styles
  • 1m 44s: Buzzer 17 - Dolph Ziggler
  • 1m 28s: Buzzer 18 - Karl Anderson
  • 1m 38s: Buzzer 19 - Edge
  • 2m 23s: Buzzer 20 - King Corbin
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 21 - Matt Riddle
  • 1m 46s: Buzzer 22 - Luke Gallows
  • 1m 35s: Buzzer 23 - Randy Orton
  • 1m 17s: Buzzer 24 - Roman Reigns
  • 1m 26s: Buzzer 25 - Kevin Owens
  • 1m 24s: Buzzer 26 - Aleister Black
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 27 - Samoa Joe
  • 1m 30s: Buzzer 28 - Seth Rollins

Only nine of the 28 waiting periods fell within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal. 11 of the 28 waiting periods came within 10 seconds of the 90-second goal.

The average waiting period was 1m 46s, and the median time was between 1m 44s and 1m 45s.

Six of the waiting periods lasted longer than two full minutes, so here is some context behind those intervals.

The first two such waiting periods occurred consecutively, during the periods when Rey Mysterio and Big E joined the match. Kofi Kingston was already in the ring when Mysterio entered the match in the first of these periods, and the time was extended until both Rey and Kofi were beaten up and rolling out of the ring to regroup. The latter period then saw Big E make his entrance, and the three babyfaces teamed up to try taking Brock out. The waiting period was extended until Lesnar tossed out all three superstars and cleared the ring once again. That’s when the countdown clock to Cesaro’s entrance began ticking down from 10.

The next two waiting periods of greater than two minutes in length also occurred consecutively. This included the entrances of Keith Lee and Braun Strowman into the match. The first of these periods included a 50 second entrance from Lee, and was extended to culminate with a double clothesline spot. The latter period was extended to allow Lesnar time to once again clear the ring of Lee and Strowman.

Those two periods were followed by one of the shortest intervals (1m 18s) of the match, which saw Ricochet enter the match and get dropped with a backbreaker and german suplex. Ricochet needed to lay there in the corner for the eventual nut shot that he would deliver to Brock in the following waiting period, so I guess they jumped the clock a bit to get McIntyre out there for that spot.

McIntyre’s waiting period then clocked in at 2m 40s, which was the longest of the match. This was the turning point of the match and was used for Lesnar’s elimination, Ricochet’s elimination, and an extended staredown between McIntyre and Lesnar.

The final waiting period that went longer than two minutes was the one that saw Edge return to active competition in WWE. This included his dramatic entrance and a barrage of spears.

The final five waiting periods of the match stayed very close to or under the 90 second mark. Perhaps they were just loading the ring up for the chaos that would ensue once Rollins and his gang joined the match.

The shortest interval of the match lasted 1m 17s, and this is when Randy Orton entered the match. It seemed strange that Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were still in the ring, and this is when they were disposed of by Edge and Orton. Orton’s entrance (26 seconds) was faster than I expected, in fact he even ran or jogged for the last few seconds. Then he nailed a few RKOs, the Good Brothers were eliminated, and Randy exchanged a few words with Edge.

The median entrance time in this match was 31 seconds, which makes up a substantial part of the 90 second waiting interval. This might help explain why there weren’t far shorter intervals during Lesnar’s time in the ring, because lengthy slow entrances could have delayed the inevitable for a wrestler walking to certain doom. For example, MVP’s waiting period included his 69 second entrance. Bobby Roode’s entrance was 45 seconds, Shelton Benjamin’s was 47 seconds, Morrison’s was 39 seconds, and Nakamura’s was 38 seconds. For each wrestler, that’s the time that lapsed between the buzzer going off and when they finally entered the ring.

Lesnar and Heyman did pad some time by occasionally parading around the WWE championship when the ring was empty.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Rollins’ entrance) would have gone off 42m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 49m 24s. That means the match was extended roughly seven or eight minutes due to inaccurately timed waiting periods.

Overall, WWE’s claim that the buzzer would ring every 90 seconds was mostly inaccurate.

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