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Did the waiting intervals actually last 90 seconds in the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble match?

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WWE typically claims to use 90-second waiting intervals between each entrant in recent Royal Rumble matches. How well did the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble match adhere to that standard? Here are the waiting times between all 28 buzzers, in chronological order:

  • 1m 29s: Buzzer 1 - Sami Zayn
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 2 - Mustafa Ali
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 3 - Jeff Hardy
  • 2m 38s: Buzzer 4 - Dolph Ziggler
  • 1m 45s: Buzzer 5 - Shinsuke Nakamura
  • 1m 38s: Buzzer 6 - Carlito
  • 1m 50s: Buzzer 7 - Xavier Woods
  • 1m 18s: Buzzer 8 - Big E
  • 1m 31s: Buzzer 9 - John Morrison
  • 1m 38s: Buzzer 10 - Ricochet
  • 1m 39s: Buzzer 11 - Elias
  • 1m 36s: Buzzer 12 - Damian Priest
  • 1m 49s: Buzzer 13 - The Miz
  • 2m 31s: Buzzer 14 - Matt Riddle
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 15 - Daniel Bryan
  • 1m 36s: Buzzer 16 - Kane
  • 2m 39s: Buzzer 17 - King Corbin
  • 1m 21s: Buzzer 18 - Otis
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 19 - Dominik Mysterio
  • 1m 52s: Buzzer 20 - Bobby Lashley
  • 1m 41s: Buzzer 21 - The Hurricane
  • 1m 48s: Buzzer 22 - Christian
  • 2m 02s: Buzzer 23 - AJ Styles
  • 1m 37s: Buzzer 24 - Rey Mysterio
  • 2m 17s: Buzzer 25 - Sheamus
  • 2m 05s: Buzzer 26 - Cesaro
  • 1m 32s: Buzzer 27 - Seth Rollins
  • 1m 54s: Buzzer 28 - Braun Strowman

As far as I can tell, the ring announcer didn’t actually reveal what the length of the waiting times was supposed to be for this men’s Royal Rumble match. I’m not sure if it was mentioned on commentary either. I’m testing the typical 90-second rule here, but it might technically be true that WWE never made that claim for this specific match.

Only five of the 28 waiting periods fell within 5 seconds of the 90-second goal. 13 of the 28 waiting periods came within 10 seconds of the 90-second goal. Overall, 27 of the 30 intervals lasted longer than 90 seconds, according to these results.

The average waiting period was 1m 48s, and the median time was 1m 40s.

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

  • The waiting period between Jeff Hardy and Dolph Ziggler lasted 2m 38s. This interval included Randy Orton RKO’ing three different men in the ring, and it finished with the table spot between Edge and Orton outside the ring. As soon as Orton’s body impacted the table, the countdown clock began to tick down from 10.
  • The waiting period between The Miz and Riddle lasted 2m 31s. This interval included the entire angle between Miz and Bad Bunny. The countdown clock appeared on the screen shortly after Bad Bunny’s splash on Miz and Morrison.
  • The longest waiting period of the match (2m 39s) occurred during Kane’s entry. Everything that Kane did was crammed into one waiting interval. This includes entering the match, eliminating Dolph Ziggler and Ricochet, hugging Daniel Bryan, and being eliminated by Damian Priest.
  • The waiting period between Christian and AJ Styles lasted 2m 02s. This interval featured Christian’s dramatic return to WWE and his reunion with Edge. It also included multiple wrestlers teaming up to eliminate Bobby Lashley.
  • The waiting period between Rey Mysterio and Sheamus lasted 2m 17s. This included Mysterio and the commentary team getting in a plug for Victoria Beer, and then Omos eliminating Big E from the match.
  • The very next segment then lasted 2m 05s. Sheamus entered the ring. Sheamus was given time to get a piece of most superstars in the ring, including multiple Brogue Kicks. This period culminated with Rey Mysterio’s 619 being interrupted by Omos, and then Omos eliminating him. Once Mysterio was eliminated, the countdown clock began ticking down from 10.

The shortest segment of the match lasted 1m 18s. This occurred between the entries of Xavier Woods and Big E. It looks like they wanted to get to Big E assisting Xavier against Sami Zayn & Mustafa Ali, and decided to shave off a few seconds to get there.

The next shortest waiting interval (1m 21s) followed right after Kane’s extra long waiting period. King Corbin entered the ring and eliminated Shinsuke Nakamura. The period ended with the buzzer going off for Otis.

In a perfectly timed match, the final buzzer (signaling Strowman’ entrance) would have gone off 42m 00s after the start of the match. In reality, this buzzer went off at 50m 15s. That means the match was extended roughly eight minutes due to planned angles or spots.